Western medicine is extremely necessary and saves many lives every day. That being said, doctors are busy people, so it’s not often we get the time we deserve with our doctors to get a full health assessment. Wouldn’t it be nice not to feel pressured by the doctor’s time constraint so that we could address everything that may play a factor in our health and wellbeing? Think about the times you or someone you know was prescribed a pharmaceutical drug. Did the doctor ever take the time to go over nutrition, lifestyle, and the role stress plays in our health before prescribing that little pill? Does that pill even get to the root of the problem, or does it simply act as a Bandaid, a temporary solution, for your problem?
John Oliver talks about the relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies the other night…
Over the years, I have had several instances with doctors where I was diagnosed for something or prescribed something without receiving proper education or a full health check, like what was going on in my life at the time or what my diet consisted of. Here are some experiences I’d like to share with you:
I think there have been at least three occasions in my life when I was prescribed antibiotics, each time by a different doctor. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but in the process also clean out the healthful bacteria inside our intestines that we need, often causing leaky gut syndrome. Probiotics is a term I never ever heard until just a few years ago through my own research, but is absolutely something I should have been educated about by my physician. Whenever taking antibiotics, probiotics are essential, as they add back healthy bacteria to our guts. Definitely if you suffer from any type of digestive disorder, if you’ve ever been treated with antibiotics, or if you just want to do something amazing for your body for the hell of it, try taking probiotics. For a list of probiotics, visit my article here.
Ladies, some of you may be able to relate to this one. For many years I suffered from debilitating cramps, depression, and unhealthy food cravings the week before my period and during my period. None of my doctors ever talked to me about the importance of eating well, especially around the time of my period. I knew that my hormones were out of whack, but I never knew the science behind what was happening with my hormones. Estrogen levels rise as do our food cravings. I would crave and indulge in greasy foods, and would get awful cramps and hate the way I felt as a result, because my serotonin levels were suddenly dropping after the moments of pleasure while eating all that food. I felt more sad after indulging, and didn’t understand my body really didn’t want those onion rings, and that eating those foods would only increase feelings of depression. Not to mention I possibly had leaky gut syndrome as a result from my antibiotics and some undiagnosed food allergies. Once I learned to eat better, hydrate, and get light exercise instead of pigging out and feeling sorry for myself, I no longer get symptoms of PMS. Food, herbs, essential oils, and taking care of myself have become my monthly medicine. Here’s what someone should have told me to eat:
In high school I was tested, diagnosed, and medicated for ADHD. My mom was anti-drugs and I was all gung-ho about them at the time. After all, high school was tough, college was near, and I was only a B-average student. Not good enough in my mind. I remember telling my physician I wanted the ADHD medicine, Adderall. His response, was “Sure, you want Adderall? Then let me just write you up a prescription, no problem,” about as casual as if I had asked him to borrow a pen.
I grew dependent on my medication, taking unnecessarily large amounts of the drugs every day and paying the price in happiness and in health along the way. I became secluded and distanced myself from friends, stopped eating, developed insomnia, and was unhappy unless I was cracked out doing work. Nobody ever thought to discuss the bigger picture with me when deciding whether to write me a prescription. My diet was crap, I wasn’t properly hydrated, I had just stopped playing sports after being super active my whole life, and I was stressed from social and parental pressure to do well at school and get into college. Nobody told me that changing the way I eat and drinking lots of water could improve my attentiveness. I never heard of any natural forms of healing like essential oils, which can kick ass at assisting in maintaining focus. I didn’t realize that my sudden lack of activity was making me restless and contributing to my lack of energy. When I finally decided to stop my medication midway through college, I couldn’t believe how well I could focus on my own if I put my mind to it and used other techniques to maintain mental clarity.
When I was about 10-years-old I fainted during class. My mom took me to see my physician who diagnosed me with hypoglycemia. I learned that hypoglycemia means your body is in insulin shock, which depletes blood sugar to abnormally low levels. The doctor instructed me to drink some soda or have some candy when I was feeling faint, and especially in the afternoons around crash time toward the end of the school day. What the doctor didn’t mention, however, was that this didn’t mean I could eat as much sugar as I wanted. I learned to make sweets an excuse for eating whatever and whenever I wanted, which created unhealthy habits with food. Another thing my physician didn’t discuss was why I was suddenly hypoglycemic. It was probably important to know that I wasn’t eating enough at or before school, and the foods I ate weren’t the most satiating forms of energy. My diet mainly consisted of cereal, bread, cookies, and soda, when I should have been eating whole grains, healthy fats, protein, and vegetables.
This part is my mom’s story. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (luckily, very early on) in 2008. She kicked cancer’s ass, but had to continue taking about 10 different types of pills daily, up until about two months ago. After seven years of taking these pills, which of course created other health problems like arthritis, bone density loss, and muscle and joint problems, and depletion of her normal hormone levels, my mom was fed up with taking them and finally asked her doctor why she had never spoken to her about her diet and lifestyle. The doctor’s response was, “Oh sure, nutrition can help,” but offered no prescription of leafy greens, antioxidants, or yoga.
Food and living well can absolutely be your medicine, although as stated before, Western medicine certainly has its place.
If you have a personal story please feel free to share in the comments below. Most of us have experienced something similar to what I’ve described, even if you’re just realizing it now as you’re reading this article. I know I could go on and on about friends’ personal stories of being misdiagnosed or treated for something with a pill that created a whole list of awful side effects.
I understand the impact stress has on our physical and mental wellbeing. As a health coach, I give my clients the time they deserve to talk freely about their health and the areas of their lives that affect happiness and health: relationships, career, spirituality, and physical exercise. Satisfaction in these four areas, along with proper nutrition, is the key to lifelong happiness and health, not a little pharmaceutical pill. Consider all the money you can save on doctor visits and bills by taking control of your diet and lifestyle today. So, next time you need to pay a visit to the doctor, discuss the bigger picture with your physician, and remember that food, rest, and balance are often the answers to healing.
If you have any questions about any of the above topics, essential oils, or health coaching, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owner of Jessica Kleid Health Coaching