Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to ask questions, do research, and become a conscious health consumer.
Like it or not (and I do not!), medicine and healthcare have become big business. The days of serving patients first and foremost are over. The billboards on our highways for various hospitals and care systems prove that more conclusively than anything else. The fact that insurance companies are creating policies that impact the way independent doctor’s offices do business is just another stone in the yellow brick road to the weird world of consumerist healthcare.
Government is highly involved in the healthcare system (not necessarily a negative but another factor to consider), and from medical school onward, physicians’ information is often filtered through the pharmaceutical industry and other special interest groups with money.
Medical research is often funded by pharmaceutical companies as well, and why not? They have the money to spend and the financial motivation to do it. But that also means that healing interventions that don’t have a big price tag attached are sorely short on research, which, to me, means we’re likely not getting the whole story when we receive a diagnosis and prescription.
Gone are the days that the average American should just do what the doctor orders. Obedience is out of style, anyway.
RELATED: Teach Your Kid to be a Conscious Consumer
Should Doctors Wash Their Hands?
But really – back in the time of leeches and blood-letting, patients probably shouldn’t have done everything their doctor ordered either! It’s only in the last century or so that doctors washed their hands between dead, diseased corpses and delivering babies.
Who are we to think that we suddenly, miraculously, know everything there is about the human body and how it works just because it’s the 21st century?
A good doctor admits that there is much he or she doesn’t understand about the incredibly complex human body, its systems and interactivity, and even its dependence on the microbiome, which research is just beginning to explore.
Good doctors embrace that they simply don’t know what they don’t know.
I hope you all have good doctors.
I’m currently on the hunt, honestly, for a family doctor for myself and a pediatrician for my kids. I hope to find a doctor willing to ask more questions than he answers, willing to listen to what I already know rather than treat me like a blank whiteboard to be filled with a generic prescription.
No matter what, I’m going to be a conscious and informed health consumer.
RELATED: Samaritan Ministries Insurance
A Degree from the University of the Internet
Do I think the information I can find on the web, with all its vastness, anonymity, and controversy, is always correct?
Of course not.
That would be blindly following in the same way that many think to do of their doctors.
But I do think the Internet has a wealth of information about health. I think there are many stories of people in situations that I might find myself or my family in from which I can benefit. I think there are a lot of people who really care about sharing what they’ve learned on their own (usually treacherous) health journeys.
Rude comments on Facebook and my blog often take jabs at this “Internet degree in medicine.” It gets under my skin a little, because I’m certainly not putting myself out there as an expert. (I’m not one!) I’m certainly not trying to tell people what they must do. (They shouldn’t listen to just me anyway!)
I am just telling my story. Sharing what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned, just like I would in a backyard fence conversation in the 1950s or with a group of young moms trying to find their way in the 1990s.
People learn from others in the same situation.
That’s the way it’s always been and the way it should be.
We just happen to have millions and billions of next-door neighbors nowadays thanks to the connectivity of the Internet.
I’m smart enough to be wary and not believe everything I read, but I’m also wise enough to embrace the wealth of information available to me.
Today’s mission is simply to encourage you to do the same.
The Rabbit Hole of Health Research
I don’t know much. I don’t have a medical degree. But I do know how to read, how to do research, and how to question “the norm.” I don’t think the medical community is right about everything, and that must be the foundation from which I approach common medical treatments and recommendations.
I also don’t believe “the Internet” or any particular source is right about everything…which is exhausting, because it means that research on your question or condition never really ends. But if you or your family member finds relief from a physical condition because of hours of research, especially if the power of modern medicine already failed you, well, then – it’s well worth it.
There’s always more to read and discover. And it really is hard to know who to believe.
Sometimes, it has to come down to faith. You end up looking at all the opposing viewpoints, reading as much as you can, bouncing ideas off others you know and trust…and then you just have to try something, to go with your gut, to believe that something may work because it feels right to you.
Not a very academic approach, I know. It may sound like I’m playing with fire. But in the end, it’s the only choice, unless you want to just do what the doctor ordered and call it good enough.
You Don’t Need to Drown
If you feel a little exhausted or overwhelmed by research you’ve been doing, or just by the idea of delving into the depths of the web, I hear you.
I’m right there with you.
There are times when I sit down to work on the computer with five high priority items to do, things I really want to get done asap and am behind on already. I’ll come across a comment or a question on Facebook or start doing some research for a post I thought would be a cinch, and suddenly – there it is. Controversy. Opposing viewpoints. Two seemingly reliable sources that say the exact opposite, and depending on which one is right, I could either heal or hurt my family by using a certain product or dealing with some issue in a certain way.
It’s terrifying. Exhausting. And sometimes, an hour later when I’ve checked nothing off my list and am trying to climb out of the rabbit hole of information and sort it out to make an actual decision, it does feel like I’m drowning.
I can’t just blindly “do what the doctor orders.”
If we had followed orders, my husband probably wouldn’t have found relief from Crohn’s Disease and would still suffer from wildly high triglycerides. Honestly, he could have already had a massive heart attack and left me a widow if we hadn’t made out-of-the-mainstream choices simply because of reading what worked for others, doing a bit of academic research, and trying something that resonated with us on the inside. That felt right.
When have you had to question the conventional medical practice?
Disclosure: There may be affiliate links in this post from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.
6 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Be a Conscious Health Consumer”
Recently I have been dealing with 2 different health issues: higher than normal levels of Uric Acid which causes gout flare-ups. I have pin-pointed the food triggers that bring on the gout and, therefore, avoid these substances. However, the Uric Acid levels are still remaining higher than normal for my age (73) according to my doctor. He wants to put me on a daily dose of 100 mg Allopurinol which I would rather avoid having to do if at all possible. Would much rather find out the reason my body is continuing to produce the higher levels of Uric Acid and eliminate the cause.
The other issue is the recent diagnosis of REM Disorder Behavior ( acting out ones dreams when in REM sleep). Recommended treatment for this is common sense steps such as installing a bed rail so I don’t fall out of the bed ( have done this twice in the last 2 months) and moving breakables and nightstand away from the bed. I don’t have a bed partner so there’s no worry about injuring another person, only myself. However, the sleep specialist prescribed the generic form of KlonopPIN 1 mg to take each evening before retiring for the night. I am very hesitant to begin this drug after reading the pros and cons, especially that it is an addictive medicine. I definitely would like to hear from anyone who has had either or both of these issues. I am very active in my daily life, enjoy activities with friends and relatives. I try to eat healthy meals and enjoy cooking. I am also an artist and very involved in several guilds. So, I want to continue on this course if at all possible instead of taking drugs that will keep my brain in a foggy state!
I, too, had to take my health into my own hands after listening to my doctor for years tell me to manage my pre-diabetes, cholesterol, high triglycerides, etc. with “diet and exercise” and then onto a plethora of medications. After years of this, I asked myself why, if I’m on all of this to make my body function properly, do I feel like I’m dying? I began the same kind of mind-boggling research and over the course of a year and a half am down 30 pounds and off all but one medication. I found a functional medicine doctor, and I balance my research between functional medicine doctors, like Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Mercola, and these blogs of people who were like me and reclaimed their health. I take what I need, what makes sense to me, and leave the rest. It’s working so far!!
I, too, am highly irritated at the disparaging remarks about “Google MDs.” The implication is that none of the rest of us are intelligent or competent enough to read research and discern its meaning.
The fact is, much of the research on which docs rely is highly biased. The book “Overdosed America” was written by a MD with an undergrad degree in statistics. He actually looked at the research and compared it to the info bites given docs. They do NOT add up. But this is the info on which they rely and it is not as accurate as what some of us can find via internet. I have MUCH to say on this, having been greatly damaged by trusting MDs, but I will stop.
Thanks for the information! I’m really enjoying the talks!
One piece of advice when sorting through the internet. Educate yourself on research itself. Different types of studies, how to interpret results. Then you can read the actual studies and not the hundreds of articles & blog posts they spawn. Knowing research basics can help you spot flaws and fallacies.
GOOD FOR YOU! Taking responsibility for your families health care is daunting. I believe too many ppl want the current medical system (the school system, the media, the government) to take responsibility for their health decisions (education, opinions, care and protection). My fear is that we won’t be able to make our own choices for much longer.
My husband is self employed and we have always spent our money on organic food, alternative health care, supplements etc. NOW we spend 30% in taxes, 30% in health insurance (and YES we have explored this thoughly) and the money that’s left no longer allows us many choices.
Thank you for sharing your life style on your blog so we can feel a sense of connection to other families willing to take responsibility back!