Japanese Doctor Sees my Cholesterol Readings, Gets Boner

Finding a primal-friendly doctor outside of Japan still isn’t an easy task but here it’s nigh impossible. Truth be told, I still haven’t found someone I’m happy with so if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

Annual health checks for a moderately-healthy non-primal foreigner are usually pretty much the same – everything is fine but your cholesterol seems to sit slightly above what Japanese doctors consider “healthy.” The consultation session afterwards usually leaves you promising to drink a little less alcohol, eat a few more vegetables, and substitute fish for red meat from time to time.

However since I switched to a primal way of living these annual health checks have become insane. The reason is simple: while most of my results come back somewhere between “good” and “awesome,” my cholesterol readings are right on “ZOMG YOU’RE GONNA DIE!!!1”

The first time I had to sit down and explain my >239 total cholesterol reading the doctor was a young kid still in medical school. Going in I knew my result already and expected to be asked a couple of questions, but I remember foolishly thinking “he’s young, he might be open-minded.”

“Ok, everything looks good, but… holy crap man what the hell is going on with your cholesterol here?! I’ve rarely seen cholesterol readings this high before.”

Poor buddy was freaking out, but I calmed him down by promising to take drastic measures and get my cholesterol down.

Twelve months later and a different clinic my results came back: again everything awesome except cholesterol, which was significantly higher than before. Here we go again. First the nurse to give me nutritional advice:

“Do you eat a lot of fried foods?”

“No.”

“How about fat?”

“Yes, more than I used to. But they’re good oils.”

“I see, you mean like polyunsaturated oils, salad oils, soybean oil, olive oil, right?”

“Yes, plenty of olive oil. Also other natural oils like macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, butter, lard,…”

“Lard?? Oh my…”

“Yes lard! Can’t think of anything more natural. Oh, except maybe for tallow, which I render myself…”

I could see she was on the verge of having a heart attack herself so I bit my tongue, smiled for 20 minutes while listening to her advice, and promised to cut back on the animal fats.

Next up was the meeting with the doctor. He was visibly excited at the prospect of a new, young Lipitor patient that would continue to pay him dividends well into retirement. However he was also somewhat baffled at the rest of my file, as I didn’t fit the profile of a regular high-cholesterol patient.

Nevertheless he was determined to get me onto the statins. He pinched my knuckles, took an x-ray of my ankles and asked a couple more quack questions to justify the decision he had made before I even walked into the room. He was excited but his data just wasn’t getting him over the line so eventually he sent me home with a warning and told me to come back in a month, and that if my numbers hadn’t improved by then quack quack quack quack.* Never went back, of course.

Now, for someone who doesn’t believe the “high cholesterol = bad” mantra and is comfortable with their elevated numbers, stories like this are fun and humourous but unfortunately it still doesn’t answer the question: who are the paleo-friendly doctors in Tokyo? Doctors who will administer the tests you are interested in, and not freak out when your cholesterol readings are slightly elevated. Where are you?

 

* He may not have actually said this, I kinda zoned out toward the end.

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Posted in Medical

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