Dad and son tackle cholesterol together

By Kirstin Buick
28 February 2014

They weren’t keen to be tested but were shocked at the results – now they’re working together to get their levels under control


STATS BEFORE: Francois 5,9 George 6’5 STATS AFTER: Francois 4’3  George 5’2 STATS BEFORE: Francois 5,9 George 6’5
STATS AFTER: Francois 4’3 George 5’2
I kept asking and asking,” Denise Erasmus of Skoongesig farm outside Villiersdorp says. “And every time we drove past the church hall and I saw the Flora posters I’d ask again – after all, the test is free and takes just 10 minutes.”
Finally her husband and son, Francois (62) and George (29), agreed. And that’s when they got a surprise: Francois’ cholesterol level was 5,9 and George’s reading was 6,5. Denise says she was particularly surprised by Francois’ reading. “He’s never had high cholesterol – he goes for a check-up every year and there has never been a problem. Francois’ brother and sister do have high cholesterol however, and it looks as if it runs in the family.” Experts say you should have your cholesterol checked if you have a family history of high cholesterol. The men are reluctant to admit they’re now eating more healthily and say they’re not exercising more than usual because they work hard enough on the fruit farm they run together. “We walk, lift crates, pack and unpack. That’s enough exercise,” Francois says.
'George now eats oat porridge for breakfast and both men eat Flora pro.activ on their bread'
Both made a few changes though. George now eats oat porridge instead of instant porridge for breakfast, while both Francois and George daily eat Flora pro.activ on their bread. Francois once even went on a walk with other residents. George has stopped eating potato chips and replaced bread with rye crackers. The men also eat less red meat. But these little changes have made a big difference – when they went for a second test their cholesterol levels had improved dramatically. At the end of the challenge on 14 February, Francois’ cholesterol was 4,3 and George’s 5,2. “I think the biggest thing about the challenge for me was that it makes one more aware,” George says. “We’re not doing that much different but it still helped.”


  • Eat less red meat.
  • Grill fish rather than frying it.
  • Regularly eat fruit for supper.
  • Drink low-fat milk instead of full-cream.
  • Keep up their daily exercise on the farm.


Breakfast: Weet-Bix or oat porridge with low-fat milk

Lunch (main meal): Red meat or chicken with vegetables and salad Supper: Fruit platter with a slice of bread and Flora pro.activ


Francois says of all the meals Denise has made since they started the cholesterol challenge, this salad was the most delicious.

  • 1½ cups crushed wheat, cooked
  • 3 fresh pears, sliced
  • quarter onion, chopped
  • handful cake-mix raisins
  • handful chopped mixed nuts

For the sauce:

  • 50 ml honey
  • 25 ml vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • half a lemon

Squeeze the lemon over the sliced pears. Combine the salad ingredients. Combine the sauce ingredients separately and stir well. Pour over the salad. Serve with chicken, sweet melon, coleslaw and a slice of bread spread with Flora pro.activ.

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