The following is a glimpse into my mind almost six years ago.
April 13, 2009
Normies panic when I mention that it might be possible to live healthy, drug-free lives without Big Medicine. They brace themselves as if I am a terrorist plotting to disrupt their smooth flowing American life. Maybe we can live into our 80s without popping a cocktail of drugs morning, noon and night. And maybe we could have fewer gray hairs and wrinkles and be cognizant after 3pm.
But I see it in their eyes –that twinkle of suspicion when I reject conventional medicine. I thought it was common knowledge that doctors are in bed with pharmaceutical companies, in cahoots with dairy and poultry farmers and that maybe humans weren’t intended to eat or drink from a cow. Apparently it is taboo to suggest to the layman that fruits and veggies might actually heal our ailments. And I look back at their skeptical eyes tentatively, like they are the ones conspiring against me.
Granted, the only people I’ve bounced these notions off of are Raw Vegans and their Fruitarian counterparts. These Foodians speak another language; one that I understand, but have trouble translating back into Normie.
Is this hogwash, it is all psychological?
The doctor I saw today confirmed all of my nagging reservations. It wasn’t the fact that I sat for 20 minutes, swinging my feet from the high bed waiting for him to see me. Or the fact that he failed to apologize for keeping me waiting. Or even his “Just eat everything in moderation” comment –although I did want to fire back with, “Great, so high fructose corn syrup can moderately eat away at my essential organs. No thank you.” It was his pious tone, the way he held his chin up a little too high that made me want to scream. He was the answer man. And, to him, all I could possibly have are questions.
With a puffed up chest, he proceeded to tell me a story he’d heard on Paul Harvey: “There was this little town in South Carolina where this group of people had discovered what they thought was the fountain of youth. They were all healthier than the rest of the town, woke up early each morning and walked a mile to and from the well that held the source of their good health. Medical tests showed that they were indeed healthier than the rest of the town,” he said, throwing up a hesitant finger. “But if you think about it, that test failed to bring a few things into consideration.”
Had my mother not taught me manners, I would have plugged my fingers in my ears. I knew where he was going with this.
“This was a group of people who were walking two extra miles each day” he said counting his first point on his finger, “they were motivated to seek good health and feeling good about what they were doing, which is a psychological nourishing of sorts.”
“Uh-huh.” I nodded in agreement, so he would hurry up and finish.
“When the scientists finally studied the water, they found it to be no different than average creek water. No fountain of youth. It was all in their minds.”
Is it all in my mind that my health is directly linked to how I eat? Regardless, I was appalled that I blew a $15 co-pay on a five minute Paul Harvey recap.
As my six minutes drew to a close, he continues dispelling my myths about healthy eating.
“We can tell you how to eat all day, but nobody listens to us anyway,” he said, filling out my prescription. “Besides, we’re learning that there is no scientific research that supports healthy eating.” He tore off my drug ticket and handed over floppy piece of paper with a conclusive smile.
I walked out of his office like the rest of his patients, sent straight into a life of drug dependence. And somehow my objections make me the nude hitchhiker disrupting the peace – as if the dirty exchange of sick, Twinkie-ingesting patients from doc in the boxes to the Walgreens on every other corner creates any more peace.
I want my missing peace back. No more pills, I want answers. I want to be spoken to in two-syllable words that I can understand. I want practical measures, not procedures that cost me thousands of dollars only to tell me that I need another one or a pricey bottle of pills. That doesn’t come in generic yet. That I will have to take until I die.
I want a doctor who will tell me the truth. Someone please tell me the truth! Tell me that you only took one semester of nutrition during medical school and then send me to someone who knows what they are talking about. Meanwhile, do some of your own research –maybe you’ll remember why you got into medicine in the first place, surely that you didn’t hang up your hat when you finally pulled that Mercedes into the driveway.
Then again, maybe I am a fool. Maybe it’s foolish to make waves these days, not just follow doctor’s orders like an ignorant sheep. But I refuse to be another piece of plastic on an assembly line, another contributor to their monetary empire. I won’t contribute to it, even if it contributes to a few odd looks into the world from others along the way.
Fast forward through two natural childbirths (in a hospital setting) and some other untraditional parental decisions and here we are. Downstairs, our fridge is filled with beautiful fruits and veggies, Ben & Jerry’s and leftover Pizza Hut. I had a spinach smoothie with flax milk and chia seeds along with my buttermilk waffles for breakfast and not one vegetable with my chicken nuggets for lunch. Fish tacos are on the menu for dinner. And I love a Snak Pak pudding around 8pm.
My kids are vaccinated (we skipped Hep B and erythromycin at birth and have a delayed schedule) and my kids eat string cheese. From a cow. That was probably not raised at a 5 Star farm.
I guess what I’m saying is that while we appear to be uninformed, the opposite is actually true. It’s not that I don’t know about The Weston A. Price Foundation (was formerly obsessed), it’s just that we have chosen a different life. I don’t believe kale, French fries or vaccines are redeeming or damning. They just are. And because we have access to all three, I’m choosing to partake in all three.
People change and I will readily admit that I am much happier and healthier (both physically and emotionally) living a moderate life.