I’ve said it myself on my blogs – disclaimers of seeking advice from professionals and not taking my blog words as the gospel – and so does just about everyone else, but I want to say something here. We, meaning the collective blogging public, put up these type of disclaimers claiming no responsibility for other people’s actions and to consult professionals for mostly legal reasons. It would be irresponsible not to. I’m not disagreeing with putting up disclaimers. In our litigious society you should continue to put up disclaimers.
Yet, I’d like to point out that everyone is of their own free will. We should be educating people so that they realize that every action they choose or don’t choose in life is a risk that they take for their life and their life alone. This cannot be blamed on others. Yet, we all put up this notices that we are not responsible and please consult your professional of choice, most often physicians (at least when we’re talking about health and food).
Physicians have gone to lots and lots of school, carry malpractice insurances that cost more than your house does (this is part jest and part true), and the buck stops with them with just about everything. Your child isn’t doing well in school? Off to the doctor for an ADHD evaluation and maybe some medication. Your nose is running and your eyes itch, off to the doctor again for some allergy medicine. You need a physical to be cleared to attend work or school or you need a note to be absent? Again, off to the doctor. So yes, your doctor is the gatekeeper, the buck stops here, the fountain of knowledge, the healer, the medicine prescriber.
However, I’d like to point something out here. What if you want to eat primal or paleo and you do the “responsible” thing and consult your physician. You make that dreaded doctor’s appointment, sit on crinkly paper in an ugly gown, and talk to your doctor about this new “diet” that you want to try. In the 10 minutes that the doctor has allotted for his/her visit with you, s/he checkes your heart and lungs, ear, nose, and throat, and pushes on your stomach. Then s/he orders some blood work and when you bring up this “paleo diet,” the doctor either tells you to follow the dietary guidelines set out by the government, tries to nonchalantly disregard your questions, or if you’re lucky, will actually ask you some questions about this eating that you want to embark on.
I have heard that there are physicians out there who are hip to paleo and primal eating habits. Some even eat that way themselves. However, most physicians will have no clue about primal or paleo eating habits. So, should you consult your physician and follow his/her advice if they tell you not to eat paleo or they tell you to follow the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines?
Maybe, the disclaimer/advice to consult your physician is actually a bit misled. I think it is. It is your life and I encourage you to think carefully about the choices that you make. You have to fight for yourself. Sometimes it’s tiring work. I think it’s tiring to find physicians who are willing to admit that they don’t know something or who are willing to be challenged by their patients. Healthcare professionals are more apt to think of patients who don’t follow advice or the norm as weird than they are to take a close look at something that they just don’t have awareness of.
So what I’m telling you in this rambling post is that physicians don’t always know best. Most of the time they probably do. They went to a lot of school and training to do what they do. However, when it comes to being healthy, I would wager to guess that they spent less time learning about maintaining health than they did about what drugs treat what illnesses. If you ask your doctor about food and food quality, they can probably tell you that fruits and vegetables are good for you, that fish has omega-3 fatty acids, and that saturated fats are bad for you (I’ll tell you a story about this last part in another post.). Beyond that, most physicians I know are clueless.
Most healthcare professionals that I know and have interacted with eat copious amounts of sugar laden foods, a lot of wheat products, and low fat food products. They often eat out and most are in the process of trying to lose weight. Are these people healthy? Not even close. Not only is their diet terrible, but their sleep is terrible and their stress levels are through the roof. Are you going to take their advice about eating? Or even leading a healthy life?
I’m not saying to argue or even fire your doctor, but I’m asking you to consider the advice that you’re being given and whether it’s wise to just follow advice just because a person has some letters after their name and are called “doctor.” Your physician is going to know more about things like drugs and diseases than you are. It’s their job to. They will have access to and read more technical and scientific literature than you will. Those are the facts. However, they will not know everything. So, please do consult your physician, but in some matters, you might want to take his/her advice with a grain of salt.