Who needs a guru when you can sit at the feet of the sea? Last week’s precious beach time was a good reminder to slow down and listen to my higher self.
The field of medicine is like an oil tanker – slow to move forward and even slower to change direction.
Which means while your doctor may be brilliant, passionate, and even in the best cases, up to speed with the latest science, he or she is probably doing things by the book, and the book is not just out of date, it’s missing a few chapters when it comes to health in the 21st century.
The notion of what it means to be “healthy” is changing for most of us. It’s no longer just about not being sick, or not having a disease with a name, like cancer or diabetes or high blood pressure.
Today, health is more than that. “Healthy” is vitality, energy, a sense of calm, and a body that doesn’t hold you back. A body that isyour vehicle in life – firing on all cylinders and ready to take you where you want to go. It’s not about looking perfect. It’s about feeling supple, strong, and light on your feet, whatever your weight happens to be.
On the flip side, the definition of “unhealthy” is changing too. The bulk of the disease burden in the United States is now chronic disease, meaning disease that is driven by and modifiable with lifestyle choices, and that spans a continuum and progresses with time, rather than having a definitive on or off.
Naturopaths, Functional Medicine doctors, and many others who practice from a holistic point of view get this. But most mainstream doctors aren’t educated to see things this way. Which is why they need your help.
If you go to a traditional “western,” or allopathic, doctor, here are five things to ask him or her at your next visit that have the power to start a revolution in medicine.
1. How do you think my job affects my health?
2. What do you know about the human microbiome? Are the prescriptions you’re giving me possibly impacting my microbiome in a negative way?
3. What is a good resource to know if herbal medications are safe, or might have interactions with my prescription medications?
4. How does food contribute to systemic inflammation? Which foods should I be eating to decrease inflammation and which foods increase it?
5. How does stress affect my overall health and what are some concrete ways of decreasing the impact of stress in my life?
The response you get to these questions will give you a sense of how much your doctor understands – or is open to learning – about the most important concepts in holistic medicine: the context of your life and how you live it; the essential role played by the bacteria that live in and on us; the potential for herbs and other non-pharmaceuticals to support health; the power of food as medicine; and the power of mental and emotional stress to both cause and affect disease.
If you doctor can’t answer most of these questions, you know that they are not practicing from a holistic perspective. If your doctor can’t answer but is open and curious to find out more, and has answers for you at your next visit, they are making progress.
If your doctor is dismissive of you, maybe find another doctor, but asking wasn’t a waste. It gave you some important information about them, and, you might have just planted a seed that could one day grow so big it changes the way they practice.
It’s fair to ask most doctors these questions, including general practitioners, pediatricians, OBGYNs, specialists like cardiologists, gastroenterologists and rheumatologists, and even surgeons.
Demand more from medicine. More from your doctors. More from health care.
We are in a time of huge disruption in health. If everyone starts asking for change we will get it sooner than we could ever imagine.
Soda is the most devastating thing you can put into your body. Soda contains phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid leaches calcium out of your body, which means weak bones. The pH of a dark colored soda is 2.5. The acid attacks your teeth and the lining of your mouth and throat. A can of soda has 39g of sugar. Sugar is inflammatory. It leads to metabolic disarray and immune dysfunction. It makes pain sensitivity worse, so if you have pain and you eat sugar, you will hurt more. One soda is more dangerous than one cigarette. – Dr. Hal Blatman #IHS13 #healthnerd ihsymposium.com
Great question! because it isn’t door to door. you have to walk stairs to take the subway, walk to the train or bus. move about. it keeps you on your feet. (it’s also better for the planet – as we’ve seen with Sandy, resources are not unlimited!)
What do you think? Would love your thoughts too!
On wednesday – day two of the Sandy Black out – I walked from my apartment at 9th and Broadway up to 44th and 6th to find an open Radio Shack, in order to bring my 80-something year old neighbor back an FM/AM tape-deck and headphones. Mrs. H hadn’t had any way to contact the outside world since Monday night and cannot walk down six flights of stairs with her walker.
Our doormen had been checking in on her daily, which is lucky, but they couldn’t leave their post to get her things. That morning when we knocked and asked if she needed anything she said if we came across a radio she would be so grateful -she felt like she was losing her mind trapped in her apartment without any news or contact. We only knew she was there because we asked the doorman if there were elderly on our floor. I had never met her before.
This storm should be a reminder to all of us. Don’t get complacent. Don’t take your ability to walk far and sweat for granted.
You think life will always come with a hot shower and a ride but now we know there WILL be times when it won’t. It’s hard to combat the way that our jobs and lifestyles literally force us to be sedentary and constantly make it easy to eat more than we need.
You actually have to fight back. Not just hope you’ll be healthy by having a salad now and then, but work on it. Demand that your body be useful to you. Put it under some pressure sometimes.
I recommend the following.
1. Always take the stairs if it’s 5 flights or less.
2. Use a standing desk.
3. Use public transportation even if you have a car.
4. Leave your office at least once per day for a walk even if you bring lunch, even if it’s cold out.
5. Dedicate at minimum five full hours to vigorous exercise per week, spread out however you like. Vigorous means actually sweating.