Yup. The human body doesn't waste resources. Excess cholesterol
is stored in adipose tissue, cell membranes and, subcutaneous fat where it then is converted to 7-Dehydrocholesterol for Vitamin D production or retroconverted back to cholesterol. A thing about cholesterol is that its production is regulated by Vitamin D; so low levels of Vitamin D will lead to low levels of cholesterol in the body, which isn't a good thing because it will then lead to low levels of androgen hormones. Something to watch out for.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_membranehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D#Production_in_the_skin
A thing about plant based diets is that there is a huge difference about how the body works when eating only plants and when eating animal products. When we eat only plants.. we have to produce all the important nutrients that are found in the animal products.. all the nutrients that those animals produced themselves and eating animal products is basically taking the lazy way out.
You said you want to get leaner.. have you tried including nuts into your nutrition.. some linoleic acid(omega 6) gets converted to various conjugated linoleic acids by gut bacteria. The various conjugated linoleic acids have been shown to reduce body fat mass. Here -> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15159244
Here is another one.. Arachidonic Acid(omega 6) increases muscle mass -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachidonic_acid#Muscle_growth
I'd also say that carbs in themselves are not something to be too worried about. You need carbs to be able to do anything, and so long as you're active they shouldn't hold you back, especially when they are in the form of fruit and vegetables. Obviously, you need to watch out for processed sugar, and grains.
+1 especially about the processed crap and grains. carb phobia doesn't apply when we eat a clean plant-based diet.
I want a mountain of ripe apricots now and they aren't even in season!