Take care of yourself

Take care of yourself

__”The first wealth is health”.*
A few weeks ago I went to the doctor. I will tell you what he said about my health at the end, but first read this: Twenty years ago, I arranged to meet a well-known British international businessman who invested a lot in Africa at the time. We agreed to meet for dinner at a leading hotel in London.
After a good meeting, we started to walk out of the restaurant when he suddenly collapsed in the lobby. There was total pandemonium as they rushed to get medical assistance. Being London, an ambulance arrived in minutes. I jumped in the back with him as paramedics wrestled to keep him alive.
He had had a heart attack and had to have triple bypass heart surgery. Sadly he died a few weeks later. He hadn’t been sick and his sudden death surprised everyone. And yet as I reflected on it, and later discussed it with a doctor friend who knew him, I realized he was very laid back about his health despite having a hectic business life.
Even during our dinner, he had quipped that he was too busy to exercise and was determined to eat what he liked as he consumed huge volumes of ice cream and other truly unhealthy foods.
His [eventually fatal] heart attack as we walked away from that enjoyable dinner meeting was a real wake-up call for me. You donโ€™t forget something like that! It was not that I was scared or anything, but I realised that you can easily put your health at risk. You are never too young to die suddenly like he did. I have known many others in my long life. I am sure you have, too.
I decided then that I was going to look after my health as best as I could. Together with my wife, we decided to consult doctors and nutritionists for wise guidance. And of course, we read a lot of books [good books, not what quacks write. Beware!]
We then took sensible steps. We changed our diets to include lots of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. I cut out 90% of carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, and bread. Some of these things I have not eaten in two decades. I donโ€™t touch potatoes or eat anything deep-fried. I never eat bacon and eggs! [Note – Eggs are generally very good for you as a complete protein, but in moderation].
I eat beef about once a month and focus on fish and chicken. Only olive oil is used in my food. [Study the difference in cooking oils, it’s very important!] If I go to an event, I do not eat snacks, or ever take food from a buffet. I eat my last meal early in the evening.
I donโ€™t exercise to look like an athlete but I exercise every single day. My favourite machine is the Peloton bike and the rower for my knees. My body weight is slightly above my college weight. I check my blood pressure daily. I have my own exercise machines at home, and in hotels I go to the gym every single day. Itโ€™s a habit next to my prayer and Bible study. Even when I had Covid, I crawled out of bed and walked around!
We fast at least one day each week for spiritual reasons. Fasting is also considered to be one of the most powerful tools in physical health. It also helps to kill unnecessary and compulsive cravings for food. I drink lots of water [and so should all of us]. I do not drink sugary drinks under any circumstances and you know I donโ€™t drink alcohol.
I donโ€™t wear an expensive watch as I prefer a simple digital watch that allows me to track things like steps and sleeping. My mind feels as sharp as a needle in terms of alertness. I can read for hours, and travel for days.
Which brings me to why I went to see the doctor: It was for my bi-annual check-up.
I believe โ€œmaintenance is better than repairโ€, so I prefer to see doctors when Iโ€™m well, not when Iโ€™m sick! As busy as my schedule is, twice a year I set aside time for doctor appointments. Remember Iโ€™m over sixty but for younger folks like most of you guys, once a year is enough. Even if you are twenty, try to start your habit early.
Now I know there are many challenges in our health care systems. This is something we really really have to work on to help keep our people healthy, including education about health and nutrition very young. For some of you who are health entrepreneurs, there is just so much that needs to be done, so many challenges seeking #Solutions… public and private sector ones.
Now when I say checkups let me be clear: for men, this also includes checks for cancers that men get like prostate cancer. For women, it means checkups periodically for cervical, ovarian, and breast cancer. Years ago I was actually asked to be an international Ambassador to raise awareness about the importance of cervical cancer testing for women. It’s important! Please make sure the women in your family know about it.
And everyone needs to keep an eye on their skin, especially if you have been in the sun a lot over the years… People of all colours can get skin cancer!
__Doctors tell me that you can treat 90% of diseases if you catch them early enough. The tragic fact is, a lot of people in Africa die because they nurse pain and sickness until it is too late. There is nothing strong about allowing pain in your body to go unchecked; it’s foolishness.
If you think itโ€™s too expensive to go to the doctor when you are not sick, try the cost of being sick suddenly… Please take care of yourselves.
If I ask you any one of these questions, can you answer without hesitation:
# Who is your family doctor?
# Who is your lawyer?
# Who is your accountant?
Answering these three questions tells me your level as an entrepreneur.
Be wise!
Doctorโ€™s Verdict: I was blessed to hear I’m in great shape. He even asked me how it is that Iโ€™m so stress-free. I laughed and told him, it was my secret.
One more thing: If you love your parents, as I know you do, itโ€™s important that you invest money to make sure they are checked at least twice a year. Including the dentist.
Let those who have ears hear, hear what the Spirit is telling us. Go get checked.
Image caption: It’s amazing what our children pick up from what they see us do. Be a role model for healthy habits, starting with healthy food. It matters. *Title quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Strive Masiyiwa
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