I went to my first naturopath this month. I want to encourage you to consider going too, even though Wikipedia is very skeptical of the benefits.

My father was a chiropractor who was only sick four times in most of his adult life. In those long-ago days, when I was growing up at home, he and his colleagues were called quacks, ridiculed by most medical doctors, and even regarded as fakes. But I often heard at dinner how he was healing people who had come to him as a last resort after nothing else worked. So I have always been open to alternative health practices, including acupuncture and Asian healing methods.

Dad told me that “you are what you eat.” And he taught me to take vitamins every day, avoid excessive alcohol, drugs and cigarettes (although he drank and smoked himself). He also encouraged me to exercise and set a good example here, as he would walk on the golf course, rather than rent an electric cart. By following that advice and being gifted with great genes (parents died at 88 and 94), I have arrived at 75 with good health and the ability to play tennis three or four times a week, while many of my classmates are either dead, using walkers and canes, seeing doctors frequently, recuperating from surgeries and procedures.

So imagine my shock to discover that I have minor problems I never knew about until today. Just heard them after the most thorough analysis of my blood ever. Way beyond what I learn from my annual physical. EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS!

For example, my lead and mercury levels are so HIGH (95th percentile) that I MUST give up tuna and swordfish for at least a year. Those top of the food chain predator fish are full of the stuff. Drat. I just had delicious tuna sushi last week. Who knew that it was my final morsel. And next I will have my well water tested for lead. Flint, Michigan seemed so far far away…

In spite of taking vitamin B-complex, my B-12 levels are so low that he gave me the first of three injections and then supplements to follow. I should be in the upper areas of a 200-1100 range: but I am only at 283. This huge deficiency might affect memory, balance, energy and make my nervous system so “restless” (rather than calm), that it shakes.

My kidneys need more water, and just like one tennis coach warned me, kidneys are hurt by too much Motrin, which I have been taking for months every time I play tennis to mask the discomfort from my tennis elbow. Now I should only take Motrin AFTER I play if it hurts…not before.

My magnesium level was only 4.5, instead of closer to 6.4. My thyroid is low, which can cause reduced cognition, sluggishness and digestive tract problems.

My Vitamin D level was only 33, instead of 45-plus, which is better for cardiovascular functions and reduced cancer risk. My selenium was also low, only 175, instead of closer to 350.

Now there was lots of good, even great news: no scarring of my liver after the hepatitis and jaundice I contracted in Korea, when I was 22. No Lyme disease, even though I had that in the last 20 years as well. No anti-immune problems, no lupus.

My cholesterol at 172 is ideal (thanks partly to the statin I started seven months ago, and I will begin taking a supplement to eliminate the tightness in my calves and back that is a common side-effect from the statin). I should be eating more plant oils, avocado, coconut, fish oil, shrimp, sardines with oil. These will all stabilize my nervous system.

So a new phase begins. It’s almost a decade since my annual blood test disclosed that my cholesterol at 239 was just touching heart attack range. I had to learn all about cholesterol and what foods cause the high levels. I gave up frequent–sometimes daily–pleasures, like butter and cheeses and ice cream and tasty, crispy, flavored chicken skin. I have survived well. Now it’s time to make some more changes. All a process.

But the results can be worth it…at least they are to me. Now if I can only improve my serve…