Just as with any machine check-ups are also necessary with with the human variety. We are in essence as far as the flesh is concerned machines of a kind and indeed a superior kind. We also need to have regular check-ups so that we can maintain our bodies. We cannot do as some are inclined to do with their mechanical machines and that is to leave well alone with the philosophy of ‘if it still works then why touch it’. We cannot be sure that there may be something wrong or that something if not seen to could develop into a much bigger problem, even to be life threatening. A wise person gets machinery routinely checked and so it should be with our health.
So it was that on Friday (8 th) I had an appointment to see the doctor to have a quick check-up. I am supplied with six-months of hormone medication to alleviate the need to visit the surgery too often and that means I therefore get two check-ups a year. On this visit the doctor made arrangements for me to have my blood checked but it would be ten days later (it’s the way the surgery operates) by the nurse. That test would be to check my blood cholesterol levels. It is imperative that cholesterol levels are kept low in every person’s case but especially if taking hormones. My own levels do tend to be on the high side but not too much, however I try to keep it low by exercise and diet. I would collect my medications from the local pharmacy perhaps on Wednesday the next week. I didn’t take my walk early in the day because of the early appointment. Instead I spent time on the gym equipment we have in the cellar. As I write this late morning I may take the walk this afternoon.
Monday was a busy day for me then I had a rest from my labours on Tuesday before another two days of hard slog! If I was twenty years younger of course my workload would be even heavier but those days are gone which suits me fine. So on Wednesday and again on Thursday I found myself once more very busy at work. Although the work left me feeling tired I still found it difficult getting off to sleep at night, something that seems to be the norm lately. I could say that worrying about getting off to sleep doesn’t help but in fact it is more the case that find it hard to switch off from the things that happen to me in my daily life. I do get to sleep eventually so I am not suffering from sleep deprivation which is just as well for someone who has a busy working life, busy for my age I might add. Although I say it myself I think I do well and as long as my customers are happy then I am too. I had an appointment at the local clinic on Friday morning. They were to take a blood sample for routine cholesterol checks, actually lipid levels to do with the liver which I am supposed to have at least once a year. My last appointment was in June 2014 so I was four months overdue. I sometimes wonder if I am being monitored as perhaps I should be. On my last visit to the doctor’s surgery which was on Tuesday I was told my blood pressure was a little high but I guess it wasn’t something to be worried about else I’d have been told. I can only carry on as I am doing and hope that all will be better next time. In recent weeks I have been changing my eating habits and my diet has changed too. Because of the medication I have been receiving over the last thirteen years my diet had to change in order to keep my cholesterol levels down more than I suppose it would otherwise have had to. Nowadays we are all encouraged to keep our cholesterol levels down whether we are on medication or not. I am therefore trying to cut out more on those foods which can so easily raise cholesterol levels. When people ask me what kind of diet I am on now I tell them the ‘Daniel Diet’. They look at me confused until I explain………….
Daniel’s Training in Babylon
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakimking of Judah, Nebuchadnezzarking of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel,10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
So there you are, Scripture points the way to more things than you might expect. I know the diet works for people tell me I look younger than my age and I have a wonderful complexion. I also feel better too. At the time of writing I am hoping for a three-day break from work but wonder if it will happen.
When I paid a visit to see the doctor last week for an unrelated problem she reminded me that I should be having another blood test as a routine procedure to monitor my cholesterol levels. This particular test requires that I give a blood sample of course and it also requires that I don’t eat anything for the preceding twelve hours. That is the hard bit! Although I can fast and have done on occasion in the past, often for a whole day or even two and don’t find it difficult I do find the first few hours the hardest. So I had a late evening meal on Monday before 8 o’clock and my appointment was at 9.20 the following day. I had to have a round of toast on my return home at 10 o’clock, enough to curb my appetite for a few hours until we dined out in the afternoon.
I won’t know the results from my test for a week or so and if they are positive, that is low in cholesterol levels I probably won’t find out at all unless I ask my doctor. If however the levels are too high my doctor will probably call me in to discuss what I need to do about it. That I already know, eat less dairy produce and red meat, eat more fruit and vegetables and foods which naturally reduce levels such as both of which I do now. In fact I don’t think it is possible for me to eat any more fruit and vegetables daily as I am doing at the moment! My daily intake in that department is usually something more than eight of the five recommended portions. As long as the cholesterol levels are reasonably low I shan’t worry about it.
Being as I am under medication I must have my health or status of my health checked every so often. The medication I refer to is not for any ailment I have I hasten to add but it is for my well-being nevertheless, they are simply the female hormones I have to take now I have transitioned. I have been taking the prescribed dosage now for 11 years and will need to carry on taking them for the remainder of my life. It’s all part of the transitioning process of course and quite normal in this respect. I have to take the hormones because my own body does not make its own. Unfortunately and for some reason I cannot remember just now, taking hormones has an effect on the body’s cholesterol levels. Just how they do that I have no idea and to be honest I am not interested, it is sufficient to know they do so I can keep my cholesterol levels in check. Now this is the crunch, I have to carefully watch what I am supposed to be eating and by and large I do that (see my page on healthy foods above) but occasionally I have lapses and let my diet go astray. This means I have had a little difficulty in lowering my cholesterol levels. I am within acceptable limits and they have remained constant but it would be better if those levels were a little lower. I can achieve that by eating the right foods and avoiding the not so beneficial and of course by increasing my exercise regime, which I have been doing recently. If you remember I had an accident in September causing an injury to my head which needed stitching and which prevented me from doing any strenuous exercise for over four months. That resulted in my having to lead a more sedentary life for a while, not a good thing if one wishes to remain fit. Resuming my exercise regime a few weeks ago was a blessing but it has taken me a while to get back into my stride and I am not fully there yet. So, lack of exercise, sitting down too much and letting my eating habits go astray all contributed to my not being able to reduce my cholesterol levels. As I said they didn’t go higher but they didn’t go lower either! On Friday I had an appointment with the doctor to have my blood pressure checked and to discuss the results of my recent blood tests. All was well but it was agreed that I should make more of an effort with my eating habits and my exercise regime, the very things I am in the process of doing.
When I was younger I didn’t much consider the consequences of eating the wrong kind of food and as far as watching my weight was concerned that wasn’t a problem. Being in such an active occupation I never gained weight and was always slim. Gradually over the years I gained weight but was never overweight at any time. As I grow older and less active I have to keep check on my eating habits but not only for keeping my weight down. Since my transition I have had to maintain a healthier attitude to what foods I put in my mouth for other reasons. It’s all about cholesterol levels and looking after my liver which now has a greater task to perform daily, the processing, the metabolizing of the hormone tablets I have to take put extra pressure on that organ. Not only that but it has to deal with the alcohol I drink too! That is one of the reasons I limit the frequency of my alcohol intake. Of course eating all the wrong food doesn’t help in keeping both my weight down and my body healthy so I make sure that I have the right kind of food in my meals. In my page above I list many of the foodstuffs I like to eat (see Healthier recipes for you). I am a little more relaxed these days when it comes to food and what I eat, not denying myself the occasional treat. When I was told that I had to only eat certain foods and cut down or eliminate many of the things I’d previously enjoyed, I took it all to heart and was for a few years very strict with my eating habits. I have stopped being so strict with myself and now I enjoy the occasional treat. I still have cut down on many things and some things I will no longer eat at all. Basically foods high in unsaturated fats and sugar I try to avoid completely. I prefer savoury food to the sweeter variety but I do eat plenty of fruit. The government health authorities encourage us all to eat our ‘five a day‘, that is fruit and/or vegetables and I often go far beyond that recommended amount sometimes reaching twice as much. So most of the time I eat good healthy food but occasionally I give myself a treat. I do exercise regularly too.