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Thread: Cholesterol

  1. #1
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Question Cholesterol

    anyone had their levels tested? i know the levels can vary with different physical and dietry circumstances, but may be useful to note when test was, were you vegan at the time? have you been re-tested since and did level change? etc..

    from my test sheet the levels were:

    below 5.20 - desireable
    5.20 - 6.50 - borderline high
    6.50 and above - high


    my level was 4.16 when tested last summer before i was vegan but had been veggie for 15yrs. i was pleased with that - i may get another test at the end of this year just to see. does anyone know how quickly levels may show a change,ie what time period should be left before re-testing?


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    I don´t understand your numbers - cholesterol is usually described in 3 digit numbers - there are two components : low density = ldl and high density=hdl, and then total cholesterol.

    I`ve forgotten all my numbers, but before I was vegan, my total cholesterol was 238 - I am young, healthy and normal weight - don´t drink or smoke - this is very high - 240 is considered high risk-

    So, I went vegan and 7 months later, my total cholesterol is 170. Nothing else in my life changed besides becoming vegan.

    Regular exercise also plays a big role - but I have done the same level of exercise as when I was omni.

    I would like to have a cholesterol result of 150 - but to do that I will have to lose weight and exercise alot - its a goal for the summer.

    Here is a site with the basic info - although I wouldn´t use this source as my only resource about it:

    http://www.heartcenteronline.com/The...html?WT.srch=1


    regards
    globesetter

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    One year ago my total cholersterol was 166. It was after 4 years of vegetarianism and 2,5 years of veganism.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Apparently the US reports lipid levels differently from the rest of the world 4.16 in the UK is the equivalent of about 160 in the US I think. There are conversion tables here - watch out, the conversions for triglycerides are different as mentioned at the bottom of the page

    http://heart.kumu.org/cholcomp.html

    I am a long-term vegan but still managed to have borderline high cholesterol as I described in the thread about hydrogenated oils http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189

    In answer to the question about how fast changes took effect, my doctor said that cholesterol levels could respond to "lifestyle" changes within just three or four weeks.

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    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    thats a useful conversion chart harpy, thanks.

    my level is quite good i think then?

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    Quote harpy
    Apparently the US reports lipid levels differently from the rest of the world 4.16 in the UK is the equivalent of about 160 in the US I think.
    That is interesting - here in Vienna they do it the same as in the US....

  7. #7
    marina
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    165 here, after 3 years of vegetarianism (no dairy).

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    i jus saw in the store the other day you can test your cholestrol at home...i dont know even know if those tests are accurate at all... i have no clue what my cholestrol is...
    Vegan-pagan-homeschooling momma to Khaila (5) and felines Gamma (3) and Mickey (3 mnths) and new foster cat Holly (2)

  9. #9
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    here in Vienna they do it the same as in the US....
    Hmm, maybe it's we in the UK who are doing our own thing then - however we have cunningly called our scale the "International" one

    Yes, 160-170 is pretty good I think - to be much better than that you probably have to be a Masai Mara tribesperson or something.

    The breakdown of HDL and LDL is also considered important and that is something you don't get from the home-testing kits, at least not from the more affordable ones - they just give you a single figure.

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    when i got my cholesterol tested at age 16, i had been a lacto-ovo vegetarian my entire life. it was in the 140s. i haven't gotten it tested since i've gone vegan, but i think it would be interesting.

  11. #11
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default cholesterol busting drugs with that pint sir?

    just saw on tv news that pharmacists are launching a 'road show', going round pubs and clubs with mobile cholesterol and blood pressure testing equip for folk who go there and maynot have considered it before, to check their health out.
    the prog suggested that they may be promoting the 'live like a slob then pop a pill to solve it' lifestyle but the pharmacists insisted that they were in it for the health but would be suggesting to folk to buy the tabs if they thought it would help

    er....wouldnt it be cheaper and healthier for dieticians to accompany these pharmacists to advise on diet change and the positive changes this can make instead of 'the drug is the saviour of all' taken by drugs companies as per usual?
    ...oh no i forgot, there would be no money in that would there

  12. #12
    ConsciousCuisine
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    HA! So true, so true.

    My partner and I used to do chair massage and Holistic Health Consultaions in the "club/party" scene. We actually got through to a few people, but more often then not we were just doing "damage control", making it easier for the person to wake up without a hangover in the morning by encouraging them to drink more water, take an "Emergen-c" supplement when drinking and giving them a chair massage. We had some pretty interesting conversations though...

  13. #13
    drummer
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    A few months ago my partner and I both had our cholesterol tested. My partner is not a vegan, I don't know what you'd call him, he doesn't eat dairy, eggs, mammals or birds, but he eats fish and sea creatures.
    We both had the same cholesterol level : 3.5
    His 'good' cholesterol, the cholesterol which removes 'bad' cholesterol from the arteries, was 30% higher than in men who eat dariy, eggs, mammals and birds. This is a good thing, because the good cholesterol keeps the bad cholesterol level low.
    I was suprised at my result because I have a bad habit of being a chocolate junkie.

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    Melissa assilembob's Avatar
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    High cholesterol runs in the family. I mystified my doctor when I told her I was a vegan...I actually haven't eaten ANY red meat since 1995. No cheese or eggs since June 2003. Yet my cholesterol doesn't budge.
    ~Mel
    ~Mel

    "Sweet songs the youth, the wise, the meaning of all wisdom...to believe in the good in man" - Legend

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    Quote vegan_drummer
    My partner is not a vegan, I don't know what you'd call him, he doesn't eat dairy, eggs, mammals or birds, but he eats fish and sea creatures.
    I call those people who eat fish and sea creatures, but otherwise vegetarian - "vegequarians" coz the fact that they eat fish does NOT classify them as vegetarians or vegans. I hate it when people say 'I am vegetarian but I eat fish"

    Quote vegan_drummer
    I was suprised at my result because I have a bad habit of being a chocolate junkie.
    I had a high cholestrol level when I got checked at the beginning of the year - 6.5. I eat healthily, but my family has a cholestrol problem despite dietary choices.

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    Years ago I had mine tested. It was 134. The woman was very impressed and she told me to keep with the same diet. I wonder what mine is now.

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    assilembob, I also have an inherited tendency to high cholesterol, and even though I've not consumed any food containing cholesterol for almost 40 yrs, mine was high, and the doc put me onto a statin. It then dropped down to 4.25, and each year it doesn't vary much. I asked the doc if it would be ok now to drop the statin (Lipitor), but she assured me it would zoom up again.
    Eve

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    I had my Cl tested a few years ago @ 30 and it came in at 3.4 the doc said that was good -apparentlyanything under 5 is good.
    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams

  19. #19

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    Apparently, regular exercise and a low-fat vegan diet is best to keep cholesterol levels in check, except for the 5 percent of people who have high cholesterol from hereditary.

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    I'm one of the unlucky ones with a hereditary tendency towards high cholesterol.
    I last had it tested around 10 years ago when I was veggie and it measured 5.7. So I went on a low fat diet for 3 months and was re-tested. It went UP to 5.9.
    I haven't bothered since.

  21. #21
    PinkFluffyCloud
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    Unlucky, Celtic Rose!!
    I know 2 ladies who are a size 8 (UK!), eat moderately (though not sensibly as they are both meat eaters!), and have really sky-high Cholesterol levels.
    I had a test a couple of years ago - I had become unhealthy, was a smoker (not anymore), a drinker, and a cake-eater! My level was 3, which seemed to kind of annoy my doctor!!
    Erm - obviously I do not endorse unhealthy habits!!

  22. #22

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    I had never checked my Cholesterol level. Is there any symptoms if it is going up? Do we see any change in our body/breathing etc.? I do not see any kind of problem in my body/breathing etc. I meant, is it silent/hidden problem some times?

    Manish

  23. #23
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Having high cholesterol doesn't necessarily produce any symptoms so it's probably worth getting a test sometime, esp if you have any history of cardiovascular problems in your family.

    As I think I have already posted mine was borderline high at the beginning of the year (despite my having been a vegan for more than ten years ) but after a few months of healthy eating and more exercise it's now OK. Even when it was borderline high the doc wasn't that worried because I don't have any other risk factors (e.g. high blood pressure).

    The link between high cholesterol and heart disease is rather controversial - some people think the may both have a common cause rather than one causing the other. And some people think other measurements, such as homocysteine levels, are better indicators of cardiovascular health.

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    Melissa assilembob's Avatar
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    Yes. The fact that I have no other risk factors other than EVERY health problem in the book somewhere in my family (and some wacky health thingys with me) is what saves me from high cholesterol drugs. My blood pressure is actually chronically low...

    ~Mel
    ~Mel

    "Sweet songs the youth, the wise, the meaning of all wisdom...to believe in the good in man" - Legend

  25. #25

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    Thanks Harpy.

    Fortunately, no CV history in my family and no blood pressure problem with me.

    Even, I think, that one who is more pro to mental stress work or suffering mental tensions all the time, is also on high risk of CV problems like heart attacks etc.

    Sometimes, I feels that, most peoples are born with hidden diseases in their genes itself. Inspite of regular life and healthy food style they do suffer.

    Manish

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    I eve's Avatar
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    Quote let_me_view
    I had never checked my Cholesterol level. Is there any symptoms if it is going up? Do we see any change in our body/breathing etc.? I do not see any kind of problem in my body/breathing etc. I meant, is it silent/hidden problem some times? Manish
    Hi let_me_view, no there are no symptoms of an increasing or high cholesterol level - other than a heart attack, by which time it is pretty late. However, it is quite simple to have a blood test to check it.

    The same applies to diabetes 2 - it takes a time before symptoms show up. That's why it is said that in Australia there are a million people who don't know they have the condition. Actually I did have symptoms - constant pins and needles in my feet, and the sensation that there were thick elastic bands around my ankles. The doc sent me for a blood test, and I must admit that I just didn't believe the results. I protested that I couldn't have sugar diabetes as I don't eat cakes, bikkies, chocolate, etc, or sugar (other than a spoonful in the odd cup of cocoa). Anyway, he sent me for a different test, and again my glucose levels were sky high. Now they are in the normal range. I don't take medication but control the condition by increasing my daily exercise, and eat low GI foods. The doc wanted to know exactly what I ate, and he agreed that the vegan diet is fine for me, but to avoid certain high glycaemic fruits, such as watermelon (that I used to eat quite a lot). While the condition is not curable, but still it can be controlled. I have a monitor to check the glucose levels frequently.
    Eve

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    I had my cholesterol tested once before I was vegan it was high… and twice since I’ve been vegan and the docs have been happy with its reduction.
    That is my “bad” cholesterol, my “good” cholesterol (HDL) is now considered to be very, very low also. Does anyone have any experience with this? Does anyone know of ways to raise this number and still stay vegan?
    What about the clams on the shore? :confused:
    Souls in progress, here come the fisherman - soul no more
    :(

  28. #28

    Default Cholesterol on labels- Is this true?

    I read once that if a label says 0% cholesterol on a product that it's vegan. Now, is this really true? It just seems too easy. lol It does make sense since vegan food is cholesterol free, but I'm wondering if there's some way that non-vegan ingredients could be in the product & still be cholesterol free?

    Of course, I'll still keep reading ingredient labels, just to be safe.

  29. #29
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    0% cholesterol does not mean vegan. If only it were that simple.

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    I've read vegans using it as one of the tests to see if it's vegan or not (if it has cholesterol, put it back), but as John says, 0 cholesterol does not mean vegan product. The only way to truely verify a vegan product is by reading that looooong list of impossible to pronounce ingredients. It's the safest way and the surest way of buying vegan foodstuffs.

    I also wish it were that easy to tell a vegan product just by looking at the cholesterol. Oh, how easy that would be! It would save me hours in the store, I can tell you that.

  31. #31
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    I was almost taken in by a margarine that said 100% cholesterol free but it had whey and casein which are cholesterol free if you take all the fats out but - well - they still come from milk. Like everyone has said, if it *has* cholesterol, it's a good bet it's not vegan.

    On a side note, there are actually plants that can make their own cholesterol. Usually they make phytosterols, but cholesterols have also been found in small quantities in some food plants. As if it were not already confusing enough!

    I argued this one with a heart specialist friend - but he was right in the end
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

  32. #32

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    Well, I guess I knew it was too good to be true. Oh well. lol

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    John's Avatar
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    Good question nonetheless.

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    Quote Ayla
    I read once that if a label says 0% cholesterol on a product that it's vegan.
    It's the other way round. Vegan diet = practically no cholesterol.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  35. #35
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    Quote veganblue
    On a side note, there are actually plants that can make their own cholesterol. Usually they make phytosterols, but cholesterols have also been found in small quantities in some food plants. As if it were not already confusing enough!
    That, I was not aware of. I always thought cholesterol was in animal products only cause they can ingest and expell. Can you kindly provide a source for this?

  36. #36
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    I will look it up for you
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

  37. #37
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    Default Cholesterol?

    My doctor's usual fill-in was telling me that humans need outside cholesterol sources to function properly. He also said that heart disease is not caused from eating too much cholesterol, but from the type of oils one eats, specifically hydrogenated oils. To him, fish oils are not bad because of the type of oil they are and their high cholesterol content is a moot point.

    I'm confused cause I thought that humans don't need any outside cholesterol at all to function properly and I thought that too much cholesterol leads to heart disease but he says I'm wrong.

    Who's right (from a purely health-based standpoint)?

  38. #38
    Kiva Dancer's Avatar
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    Ah thank you, veganblue.

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    General information about cholesterol

    Not exactly what I was looking for but it may help in understanding such things and HDL's and LDL's, where it is stored and made, what it is used for in the body and the connection between high blood cholesterol and stress.

    Cholesterol is very important for the body since it is a precursor to hormones, but can be adequately metabolised from phytosterols (plant sterol equivalents). What is interesting is that the body is not able to absorb plant sterols as easily as it can cholesterols, but high absorbtion is not beneficial in this case. Plant sterols also inhibit the absorbtion of cholesterol. I just read an extensive paper on experiments done on mice. How well that equates to human physiology is something else entirely.

    I have found several referrences to plants containing cholesterol, but not the article I previously found so at this stage I have to say that some plants produce cholesterol but no food plants that I personally know of. (The plant referred to is a Poinsettia).
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

  40. #40
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    I got my first blood test after being vegan for about 6 months. My cholesterol at that time:

    Total cholesterol = 112
    Triglycerides = 84
    HDL = 36
    LDL = 76
    HDL risk factor = 2
    LDL/HDL Ratio: = 1.64

    I had it done again just about 2 years after (about 5 months ago):

    Total cholesterol = 138
    Triglycerides = 53
    HDL = 57 (got it above 50!)
    LDL = 78 (holding steady...)
    HDL risk factor = 2
    LDL/HDL Ratio: = 1.24

  41. #41
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    People do not need animal cholesterol, we make our own cholesterol just like the animals do. Our cholesterol is controlled by our hormones. things that contribute to how much your body produces are body weight, heridity, cardiovascular fitness, metabolism, stress and diet.

    I had my cholesterol tested a few years ago and it was borderline high. The nurse told me to cut back on cholesterol, so I was shocked since I don't eat cholesterol! After lots and lots of research and subsciption to several heart related websites I have found that really cholesterol is controlled by the FATS we eat, not the cholesterol.

    UNSATURATED FATS (POLY AND MONO)- are "good" fats and help raise good cholesterol, which whisks away the bad cholesterol. In olives, avacados, nuts, whole grains and fruits and veggies.

    SATURATED FATS - will raise your bad cholesterol and thus your overall cholesterol. They also clog your arteries. The US Guidelines say to limit to 20 grams per day. Also in plants, but most concentrated in tropical foods - chocolate, coconut, palm oil. In the US TRANS Fats are listed on food labels under saturated fats.

    TRANS FATS (HYDROGENATED/PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS) - are evil and should be avoided always. These fats are starting to be practically banned in Europe (Denmark limits them to 2% per 100 grams of food) and are linked to heart disease directly. They are in most packaged foods in the US (including some Tofutti products ) In the US they label these under saturated fats, but they are much worse. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned for them to be broken out on food labels by 2006 and recommends eating as little as possible. http://transfreeamerica.org/about.html

  42. #42
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    A bit late, but I noticed someone was asking about how to raise HDL levels. There's a list here http://www.loweringcholesterol.net/s...dl-cholesterol of foods that have been thought to increase HDL - most are vegan apart from the fish. This is my excuse for having the odd glass of wine (if an excuse were needed ).

    There has recently been some research questioning the beneficial role of HDL, but I think for now it's still generally believed to be a Good Thing.

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    Wildflower, thanks for that information. I had mine checked recently and I'm borderline high, too. Fortunatly, my doctor decided against putting me on reducers because of how I eat but that information is very useful because now I know what to watch for. Thanks for posting it.

  44. #44

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    Quote harpy
    A bit late, but I noticed someone was asking about how to raise HDL levels. There's a list here http://www.loweringcholesterol.net/s...dl-cholesterol of foods that have been thought to increase HDL - most are vegan apart from the fish. This is my excuse for having the odd glass of wine (if an excuse were needed ).

    There has recently been some research questioning the beneficial role of HDL, but I think for now it's still generally believed to be a Good Thing.
    The anti-oxidant from whine is found in much greater quantity in grapes...

  45. #45
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    Mine is 156 (down from 165 a year ago) and my triglycerides are 39.

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    My triglycerides level is 71, is that high for a vegan?
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    Hope is not all those smoked "sausages" I eat!
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  48. #48
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    Okay, I'm slightly new to this forum...okay okay all forums ...and to veganism, but I love everything about it! Anyway, a little background about my cholesterol, I am a 21 year old female, average weight (I *suppose* I could lose a couple pounds), and my cholesterol was 275 pre-vegan. That was 2 points higher than my dad's was when he had a heart attack! I started taking Lipitor immediately. Anyway, two months after becoming a vegan, I was retested, and my levels were so low, they dropped my meds to the lowest dose. I stopped taking Lipitor after a month because I wanted to see what my cholesterol level was without it. I just tested myself, and five months after becoming a vegan, my cholesterol level is a completely normal and healthy 169 Sorry for boring everyone, but I am reeaallly excited. I was told that I was so genetically disposed to high cholesterol that I would be on a statin the rest of my life, no matter what my diet and exercise was like.

    Oh, in case anybody is interested in getting theirs checked, the over the counter tests work pretty well, but if it's anywhere close to borderline high, you should get a blood test done through your doctor, because they can be wrong up to 10 points.
    "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?"--Jeremy Bentham

  49. #49

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    To not be at risk (or at minimal risk) for a heart attack, you want to be at 150 or below. I know your doctor probably told you 169 was "normal and healthy," but the average person with 169 is at increased risk for heart attack. Great job on the reduction. I'm sure it will improve as time goes on. Are you exercising?

  50. #50
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    You're right it is an increased risk, but I figure, I've only been a vegan for 5 months...so maybe next year it'll be below 150! My "new years resolution" is to run a marathon (I ran a 10-mile last year), but it's still so cold here it's hard to get out and run!
    "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?"--Jeremy Bentham

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