In my last post I quoted the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates:
“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in it´s work. The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
If we accept that statement, which I do, as a key to improving our health, then the next question I ask is “how can I find a doctor or health care provider that supports that? What Hippocrates is actually saying is that my body´s defenses can pretty much deal with my health problems…if I give it the necessary support. I remember many years ago, my doctor told me that, generally speaking, of all the patients that come to see him, 90% of what ails them can be cured by their own body´s defenses. 90% of the remaining 10%, I can help them with. Unfortunately, nothing can be done for the remaining 1%.
How easy is it to find a supporting and caring doctor? In my experience…not easy at all. I´ve been living in Mexico for more than 40 years and although I´ve been searching and asking around, I haven´t even found one (maybe I´m too picky). It´s not completely a doctor´s fault because he or she is not really prepared to look at a person´s health from a different perspective than from what they´ve learned. They are just not given the tools (i.e., nutrition classes, lifestyle changes) to support people who wish to prevent illness and disease…as the first line of offense, instead of just treating the symptoms. Instead, they are provided the tools (i.e., drugs and invasive procedures) for treating people when they are already sick. Unfortunately, and as you can imagine, the pharmaceutical industry has a big stake in the preparation of doctors. It is the main sponsor of medical schools in the U.S. and ,as a result, has a lot to say with regards to what a doctor studies. No wonder why our doctors prescribe drugs for pretty much everything…of course, with all of the accompanying side effects.
So… what can we do?
Well, on the one hand, we can wait for the day when doctor´s become educated and well informed on the subject of nutrition and it´s relation to illness and disease, or we can search for “wise” doctors who can help us in our quest for disease prevention.
One of the definitions of wisdom I found is: “Knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life and the ability to understand things that most other people can´t.”
HOW CAN WE DETERMINE IF A DOCTOR IS WISE?
Well, one way would be for the doctor to have once been a part of the medical establishment, only to become aware and convinced over time that the “accepted” treatments and cures, for most chronic diseases, were either not working or were counterproductive. As a result, said doctor would then distance him or herself from the traditional approach by becoming committed to finding alternative options that worked. They then could share with us what they´ve learned from their experiences.
Taking the above into consideration, as well as my own experience with nutrition during the past 7 years, for me the following doctors are among those that meet the criteria as being “wise”.
1) Michael Greger, MD
Author of the NY Times best seller, “How Not to Die” and the founder of the extremely popular and informative http://www.nutritionfacts.org. All the proceeds from his books, website and speaking engagements are donated to charity.
Dr. Greger is a physician, and an internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Greger is licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition. Currently he proudly serves as the public health director at the Humane Society of the United States. He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine.
As a doctor he became aware of the growing evidence, published in some of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, that diet and lifestyle changes can indeed prevent and even reverse heart disease.
And, in his own words:
“Yet medical practice hardly changed. Why? Why were doctors still prescribing drugs and using Roto-Rooter-type procedures to just treat the symptoms of heart disease and to try to forestall what they chose to believe was inevitable – an early death?
This was my wake-up call. I opened my eyes to the depressing fact that there are other forces at work in medicine besides science. The U.S. health care system runs on a fee for service model in which doctors get paid for the pills and procedures they prescribe, rewarding quantity over quality. We (doctors) don´t get reimbursed for time spent counseling our patients about the benefits of healthy eating. If doctors were instead paid for performance, there would be a financial incentive to treat the lifestyle causes of disease. Until the model of reimbursement changes, I don´t expect great changes in medical care or medical education.”
To be continued…