Last Sunday, during our annual New Year cum birthday celebration at Uncle Chong Teik’s place, conversations amongst the group of 40 somethings revolved mainly around a hot topic that most people tend to take for granted – HEALTH. High cholesterol and high blood pressure seem to be the new norm. It is not surprising that it takes about 4 decades for reasonably intelligent people to fully appreciate the truth behind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words – “The first wealth is health.”
Uncle Kwang Hui shared about what he did after a shocking discovery – his triglycerides level is almost 3 folds of the ‘very high’ limit, so high that the ‘bad’ cholesterol count cannot be read. Miraculously, in just a few months, he managed to lower that by two third, way beyond doctor’s expectations. The secret? A strict and steady diet of dal, rice, and oat. It’s amazing what a man can do when survival is at stake. He had to literally ‘eat to stay alive.’
My cholesterol level isn’t pretty either. 10 years ago, I was told that my ‘good’ cholesterol was too low, and ‘bad’ cholesterol was too high. The doctor advised that I exercise more regularly and watch my diet. Did I listen? Of course, but only for a few months, before I reverted back to the usual habits – little or irregular exercise and an eat-anything diet.
Last month, the latest medical report revealed that my cholesterol count has now shot above the ‘high’ range, landing me in the zone of ‘high risk’ for heart diseases. The doctor gave me 3 months to bring that down to a manageable level, failing which she will start putting me on medication. What did I learn?
If you don’t change your direction, you are likely to end up where you are heading. Unknowingly, I was heading towards ill health, despite being fit enough to run a half-marathon. Fitness and health are two separate things. With a history of diabetes and heart disease in the family, I should have known better. There is no excuse.
Now that I’m ‘awakened’ to this fact, I will change my direction. I will do what it takes to regain my health. With half the battle being won (I’m already running 3 times a week), what’s left is to change my diet, before having to settle for a diet of rice, dal and oat, or be put on medication. Your mother has already started making some double-boiled soup that is good for cholesterol control. Son, hold me to my words, will you? And meanwhile, listen to your mother when she tells you to eat your veggie or go to bed early. She knows what’s best for you. And yes, vegetable is good for you, and so is sufficient sleep. You need to trust her, OK?
Your Health-conscious Dad