This week I had the privilege of meeting a world-renowned doctor and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Michael Greger. On the return trip home I spent a lot of time thinking about how my view and perspective of doctors had changed over the past couple years. Before I even start writing this post let me be very clear about something. I have no problems with doctors and that’s not what this post is about. In fact, I have the utmost respect for my doctor, he is a very kind and compassionate man and it’s obvious by his actions he cares deeply for each and every one of his patients. The truth is up until a couple years ago I would have never dreamed about following a doctor on social media but the reality is doctors like John McDougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Colin Campbell, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Michael Greger, and T. Colin Campbell are literally saving lives by the thousands every day because of their message and I have the upmost respect for these men and many others like them. See, the problem for me was never really my doctor, although I probably had that thought in the back of my head. The problem was my perception and expectations of what role doctors and specialists played for my health and well-being. Let me explain:
I have seen thousands of posts all over the internet that vilify doctors and the medical community. To be very honest, I hopped on that train early in my journey but I jumped off as soon as I realized what was really happening. As information started pouring into my brain and I became more and more aware of the importance of whole food and how it effects the body. As I learned I would implement the knowledge into daily practice and as a result my health benefited in epic ways. So …………………. Why hadn’t my doctor told me about a plant-based diet? Why didn’t he tell me that a handful of cherries and almonds has more anti-inflammatory properties than ibuprofen? Why didn’t he tell me about kale? The question is not WHY my doctor didn’t tell me about what I had been learning, the question is really WHEN would he tell me?
Shannon Brownlee wrote an article for Newsweek, its over 4 years old and things have only gotten worse. This is what a doctor was saying then,
“When you have only 15 minutes per patient, then there are home visits and hospital visits, you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel,” says Bodenheimer. “I was a full-time primary-care doctor for more than 30 years. It almost killed me.”
She goes on to say that one study showed that, “doctors spent on average 1.3 minutes conveying crucial information about the patient’s condition and treatment, and most of the information they provided was far too technical for the average patient to grasp;” If you think this is your doctor’s fault, ask them how they feel, I dare you. Doctors and most other people in the medical profession are slammed with so many patients, paperwork, lawsuits, and administration that they barely have time for the job that they signed up for, that is, seeing patients. By in large, people realize that it is not that the doctors don’t care, it’s that they just plain don’t have the time to spend with the patients in a one on one setting. And I guarantee that if you ask any doctor they will tell you they wish they had more time to talk and relay information. The real problem is with the system and as for right now, on a personal level there is not much we can do about it.
Phew, now that that’s out of the way here’s what I caught myself doing: Let’s say I go to my primary doctor once every six months. Let’s say he spends a good quality 13 minutes with me. (10 times the average, because he is that good) There are 525600 minutes in a year and I spent 26 of those minutes with my doctor. Rather than telling you that is .004%, it’s probably easier to say that comes out to around 1 second of quality healthcare advice from my primary care physician per day and that’s 10 times the average! I think I understood this concept and was fully aware the minuscule time that I spent with my doctor but for some reason I place all the responsibility of my health and well-being on his shoulders. Every single bit. After all, HE was the doctor not me. I mean, he had spent years in school learning all the terminology and I knew nothing about medicine. Looking back it is a great excuse, whatever is wrong with me, whatever condition I was struggling with, or whatever changes I needed to make, should come from a qualified medical professional that I saw ………..26 minutes a year!?!?!?! Does that make sense? Obviously it just another excuse from an addict and yet another way to not accept responsibility for what I had been doing to my health. The reality is that not only had I used my good doctor for an excuse I had also learned to manipulate the system to turn the entire system into a giant drug dealer which preyed on his compassionate and caring personality. Just to be clear, I was in severe chronic pain and it was effecting my daily life and health but sometimes I wonder if remedy was worse than the disease. (for another post) The fact is, even if he had spent two hours a day with me teaching me about nutrition it wouldn’t have mattered because sadly, the truth is I was there for one purpose, his prescription pad. Alright, so I’m going to assume that most people are not just going to their doctor for opiates (although I bet there’s more than most people think) but there are some really good “take aways” in here that helped me a ton, here we go:
- If you’re stupid it’s your own fault. Yikes. The information and data is out there and it is widely available. Everything from Harvard studies to personal testimonials is literally at your fingertips. It is not an exaggeration to say that you can be more educated and better informed than a college professor that teaches medicine. If you don’t know how to do research you are just lying to yourself because something as simple as looking up the times and reviews of the latest movie is research. For me, the problem was not that I could not find information, it was that I didn’t care about it and it was easier to leave it up to the professionals. Be a passionate learner about health and how the body works. Shut Netflix off and find out what is happening in the medical field. I swear I was eating a potato one time and a type 2 diabetic said that they wished they could have a potato but they couldn’t with their condition. They were explaining this to me as they were downing a packaged pastry, I kid you not. Why? They don’t understand the complexity of a carbohydrate. (pun totally intended) Many of the things we believe about food, especially macros are just things we have heard our entire lives and just thought to be true. Read. Read Everyone knows how important our health is but no one studies it. Everyone knows that a sports team has little effect on our daily life but they sure know their team’s stats. Don’t be stupid.
- Stop dumping your health on your doctor. Your health is YOUR responsibility. I trust my doctor, in fact, I love my doctor, but I will never consider him to be responsible for my health again. If I get hurt, involved with a trauma, or need a checkup I go see him, as far as chronic medical conditions, I realize now that almost every single one of those are voluntary, that’s right voluntary. Now why would I waste my doctor’s valuable time with a disease that is food induced and voluntary? What if instead of looking for a beta blocker people started going for a brisk walk? What if instead of a statin people stopped consuming high fat foods? What if people with type 2 ditched the processed crap and ate whole food? Maybe that would free doctors up so they could work on diseases that are not voluntary. Man up and take responsibility for your own health.
- Share the knowledge. Look, no one is ever going to see this stuff on TV. The fact is that big Pharma is a 980 billion dollar business they have plenty of fund to advertise. One single company spent over 150 million on direct consumer ads for ONE little blue pill. Then you have Sam’s organic carrot farm whose advertising budget is, ok there’s no advertising budget. There is no money to be made in advertising carrots but they are more effective than many drugs. If companies can’t advertise farm produce it is left up to us. You are not going to stop the giant drug machine and you can’t pay for advertising for your local veggie farmer but you can take a couple cucumbers to your neighbors. You can figure out how to buy produce in quantities and split them with friends and family. You can support your local farmer’s markets and thank them for their hard work. So go spread the veggie message. (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice) Go Now!
I probably should do the whole disclaimer thing here. click here
Hey, I put quite a bit of time into these posts and if they help even one person then I have accomplished my mission. Obviously the more people that can hear the message that change is only a decision away the better. If you could be so kind as to share this video with friends and family it would be fantastic. This project is only going to happen if people like you spread the word that it is out there. Thank you so much for doing that! It may save someone’s life.
Also here is a 40 minute interview I did for the project. Podcast is also available.
Hey, check my Facebook page and connect with me on fatmanrants.com (click here)
“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,