Have You Had Your MOT Yet

African-American-doctor-patientI am happy to say that both my car and I have passed this year’s MOT. She is getting on a bit, like myself (97 now) and had to have some work done on her but in the end she got her certificate pronouncing that she was roadworthy. She seemed to appreciate the new tyre and wing mirror, the tuning and oil and the big pat I gave to her just before I got behind the steering wheel. In fact she started first time and appeared to accelerate a bit faster than usual. She seemed so full of joie de vie, so energized and ready to take on any road or motorway.
On the way home from the garage it dawned on me that although I too had passed my MOT I never got a certificate saying that I was the human equivalent of roadworthy but then remembered that I had actually got, not a certificate, but a full printout of my medical history, as requested by me, from the time I joined the current surgery (1998) to now. I also realized how fortunate I am in that no spare parts were needed. In fact, my GP’s only concern was my slightly high cholesterol level. His parting words to me as I left the surgery were, “ I’ll see you in a few months’ time after you have worked on it”. My GP knows my aversion to tablets and pills generally and statins in particular. Statins, as you know, are the most prescribed drug for lowering cholesterol but they can have many adverse side effects.

On arrival at my home and after a cup of tea, with coconut milk, of course, this being the only milk I use, I took up my medical report and started to study it. I started with this year’s page and went back to 1998. What a difference. Back then I was heavier and without knowing it at the time was in a state known as pre-diabetic. I had not contracted diabetes but was heading in that direction. I was drinking fizzy drinks, eating junk and not using any herbs or spices, which to some degree, could counter the pro- inflammatory stuff I was putting into my body. Inflammation, of course being the major underlying cause of almost all the degenerative diseases we suffer. From cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. A few years later I paid the price. I was diagnosed as diabetic. My marker had gone from 3 to 11. At that time the norm was 7 but nowadays I believe it is 6.200489727-001

About ten years ago when I was diagnosed as diabetic, after undergoing a glucose tolerance test, my GP, who is quite understanding and empathetic, suggested exactly the same thing as he has done with my cholesterol this year “Go away, sort yourself out and I’ll see you in a few months’ time”. NO PILLS. I came away determined to sort myself out and avidly got into the subject of diabetes. I followed the instructions in one of my several health and wellbeing books almost to the letter, no dairy products for twenty one days, exercise regularly, no fizzy or sugary drinks and add half a teaspoonful of cinnamon to your daily diet. I went one step further and added half a teaspoonful of fenugreek (methi). This latter, not to be taken by pregnant or lactating women. Six months later I visited the surgery and underwent another glucose tolerance test. Diabetic marker? 5 and that’s the way it has been ever since. My weight is down, my blood pressure is down and my energy level up. Nowadays, of course, I am more involved in health matters and extremely conscious of the impact of diet and lifestyle on my health. I use a cross section of herbs and spices, which of course, deliver different anti- inflammatory and anti-oxidative benefits to my body. I am very selective as to the amount and type of dairy products I use and I exercise moderately ( don’t want to break my old bones).

What about my cholesterol? I know it’s on its way down, primarily because of my targeted approach to it. 75%of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver and the other 25 % comes from dairy products. You do not get cholesterol from plants. Some people have a genetic pre-disposition to high cholesterol but this does not necessarily mean they need medication. Also bear in mind that cholesterol plays a very important part in your overall health. For example, the neuro-transmitters in your brain that help send messages to the rest of your body are made of cholesterol. When you sit in the summer sun or take oral vitamin D to strengthen your bones cholesterol is a major player (more on this in another article). In fact, very low cholesterol is more dangerous than slightly high cholesterol. Foods that are high in soluble fibre (sweet potato, breadfruit, green bananas, okras etc.) are very effective in helping to lower cholesterol. Cocoa (not chocolate), coconut products, red kidney beans, black eye peas and other vegetables, whether leafy or root are fibrous and therefore help to reduce cholesterol.

CinnamonTiedWhiteBkgndAnd what about this MOT? You should have one every year without fail. Just tell your surgery and they will arrange it for you. On the day, they take an armful of blood (not really, about four phials) and the results are usually back in a week. They check your thyroid function, your liver, kidneys, cholesterol, full blood count, diabetic marker among other things. What they do not do as a matter of routine is a vitamin D blood test (also known as a 25 Hydroxy blood test). You have to ask for this as it much more involved and detailed than the others. Make this a MUST. (More on this in another article). Why not book the two MOTs on the same day. Take your car to the garage and then go on to the surgery and if you are both certified as fit have a celebratory drink of pure organic cocoa or a glass of coconut milk with half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Hot or cold!. Good health.