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Christine Brock Bloch

Unsupportive Doctors??

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I am new to the area and right after I moved, I began my whole30. I found a GP, an allergist and a chiropractor for my medical needs. When I had my physical, my GP was not supportive of me stating that I limit dairy to special occasions and I just went 30 days without any. My allergist argued with me when I said that I limit grains. She questioned what I had for meal 1,2 and 3 for the entire week and it did not include grains. I explained that whole30 made me realize what I need and don't need. I will have pasta on occassion or some blue cheese in my salad.. but those add up to about 2 or 3 times a month rather than everyday. She told me that was unhealthy and I should be having grains on a daily basis and dairy at least 2x a week.

My chiropractor, however, cheered me on. He was very supportive of no diary (in fact he just challenged his patients to go 2 weeks without dairy and report back) and was happy that I did the whole30 and found what my body needs.

Is this normal for the medical profession to not be supportive? Are alternative medicine (chiropractor) more open to this idea of whole eating? I am fine defending my decisions to friends and family, but when I see a medical difference in my life and I have to defend it to my doctor I just feel frustrated.

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I think the training they receive, based on antiquated beliefs and false information, is what makes some of them unsupportive.

If you stated that you eat a diet rich in healthy proteins, lots of veggies and some fruits, and healthy fats, without stating what you are not eating, they may react differently. Why we MUST eat grains is simply beyond my comprehension!

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Finding a doctor who appreciates the powerful role of real, whole foods in health is rare. Medical schools spend maybe an hour or two teaching macronutrient needs with no discussion of real foods. Like most people in our society, doctors tend to get their opinions about healthy eating from TV and magazine advertising and the lobbyist purchased recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration. Many of my friends in an earlier phase of my life were physicians and I even had a small part in medical education once upon a time, so I am speaking from some experience. And there is something about medical education that encourages a narrowing of attention so that doctors generally pay attention to a limited few sources of education and ignore every other source, no matter how compelling the information it provides might be. The problem is not limited to food and the issue is not limited to doctors, but that's another story.

You are not likely to be able to find a doctor who is enthusiastic about the Whole30 approach to eating. They certainly exist because quotes from a handful of them are included in the front of It Starts With Food. I found a new doctor this past year who is generally supportive of how I eat, but he is not fully on board. For example, he acknowledges that dietary cholesterol is not a meaningful contributor to blood levels of cholesterol in the body, but still encouraged me to limit how many eggs I ate. And he was eating a box of cheap cookies in the lab of his office in place of a proper lunch the first time I met him. At least he was a little embarrassed about what he was doing.

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Doctors are weird.

I told my doctor that I'd completely gone off the daily asthma medication that she'd put me on (which I think was messing up my entire life -- mood/hormones/energy level/etc) and that I had done it by eliminating grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and processed foods from my diet.

She basically said "Huh. Well, you have lost 11 pounds since last time." Totally incurious, like making a dietary change that major was no big thing.

My previous GP, who I liked much better, took a much more holistic approach and really wanted to know if I was feeling well, not just getting by. Fortunately she's come back to the practice and I hope to be able to switch back.

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Doctors drive me nuts.

For several years I've had lots of vague symptoms suggesting thyroid and/or autoimmune issues. About two years ago I decided I was going to get some answers, so I made an appointment with my GP. My GP was completely uninterested in how well or crappy I was feeling, just gave me a blank look as I spoke then started rattling off specialists to send me to.

Went to the specialists - an allergist/immunologist (for my generalized itching and flushing), a dermatologist (for thin hair and bad dandruff), an endocrinologist (for suspected thyroid issues), and a GI doctor (for stomach and intestinal pain i was experiencing). Very long story short - not a single one of these doctors came up with any productive solution and discussion on food was limited to the GI doctor testing me for celiac (negative) and the allergist testing for allergies (also negative).

Last year I switched health plans so I could get a new doctor, and this one prescribed me the thyroid medication I so badly needed, based on my symptoms instead of inconclusive lab work. Still, no mention of food as it related to the remaining symptoms that were unresolved, and by that time I had developed asthma, occasional inflamed joints and very dry eyes. The next doctor visit was to the rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Sjogren's, and recommended I see an opthamologist for the dry eyes. Still no mention of food!!!

I found Whole30 on my own after the opthamologist told me I need to start putting gel in my eyes every night - I wasn't willing to accept treating the symptom, I wanted to address the underlying cause. Now I've been paleo for only four short months and it's resolved 90% of my symptoms. Now I just switched to my husband's insurance (Kaiser) so I have to find a new doctor yet again. I only hope I can find one with somewhat of a holistic mindset. Based on prior experience I'm not optimisitc, but having solved so many of my own problems with zero help from doctors is a good reminder that no doctor can influence my health like I can.

I do know one thing - I will make sure my doctor hears about my newfound paleo lifestyle and how much it helps me. I can only hope that even if there is no apparent interest in the moment that it helps plant a seed. People can change, right?

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If I were looking for a new doctor, I would search the database of the Institute for Functional Medicine... https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117. I was surprised at the number of doctors that came up when I searched for providers in my area. Of course, I live in metropolitan Atlanta, so I am probably relatively spoiled for choice.

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I take a little different approach, though I understand the point of educating doctors about food. I just sat in my doctor's office and she noted the 40 point drop in my blood pressure and I told her I had changed my diet (I do also continue on blood pressure medication, which helps but does not totally resolve the issue). That said, my doctor did encourage me to change my diet, but didn't specify how, so I didn't specify how I had changed it.

I don't really think of doctors as people with whom I would discuss food. I may rethink that as I get farther along in this Whole30 process though.

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I've been to about 20 doctors/alternative practitioners in the past 4 years. My current doctor (functional doc, independent clinic) is totally on board with my diet changes and always asks what I'm tweaking. She understands how diet affects how I feel overall. Other doctors, though, think diet and my issues are totally independent of one another, and though I've been lactose intolerant since I was 14, still encourage me to drink milk, among other awful suggestions...

In my experience, if a doctor doesn't support my diet, they likely won't support my desire to heal my body in lieu of just masking my symptoms. And I have every intention of healing. Every single doctor that scoffed at my diet or told me to add in x, y, or z was also quick to write a prescription to 'treat' my ailments, even though when I would go off that prescription, the issue would still remain. I second Tom's suggestion to find a functional medicine doc - mine's on the list, and she gets it. I've also heard some DOs get it, too - they have the same training as an MD, but also have additional training on understanding that the body is a whole and one thing can affect the other.

If you absolutely have to stick with a doctor that doesn't support your diet changes, then be clear that you eat what makes you feel well, and if he still challenges you, challenge him right back. Ask him what nutrients you're missing. But, if you're in the market for someone new, take the time to find one that will support how you nurture your body, because that kind of doctor will likely be much more open to helping your body work optimally as well.

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Last June, the blood work from my physical showed elevated glucose levels. The email I received from my GP told me, and I am quoting here, "Eat like a diabetic." We had already noted a 10 pound weight gain in the last two years. I thought I was eating healthy, and was convinced I had a thyroid condition. Through a series of wonderful events, I found my way to whole30 in September. By October, when I had my glucose levels retested, they were normal. The 10 pounds were gone too.

Wouldn't it have been nice if she had the knowledge to point me in the right direction. First, assessing what I was eating (and drinking) and then suggesting appropriate ways to change. Sure, I was willing to change, darned immediately, after reading It Starts with Food because I thought "That is ME!" I did not drink soda, but I did eat a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, fruits (lots), grains, legumes, and dairy and only egg whites and occasional dinners that included protein. Had I had a GP that GOT IT, I might have been on this road sooner than later, but I also might have been resistant had I not discovered it myself.

All of this rambling is just my way of saying "I feel your pain." Change has to start somewhere, and all of us making these changes and being living proof for our doctors is a great place to start. You can bet that I will tell my doctor exactly how I made myself healthy again.

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Thanks for the tips. I should start with what I do eat rather than what I don't eat. Since whole30 I have not lost a pound, however I have lost inches and gone down a size. I just feel better and get so frustrated.. I left a copy of It Starts With Food in the room last time I went. I will also check out that website Tom to see if I can change doctors!

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I was just at my cardiologist for a follow up.... Even though my BP has gone from 150/100 to ( I take it daily at my gym and average it) 100/60... He still doesn't want me to go off my BP meds....

I told him months ago when I started paleo/ W30 and he thought it was great... This last visit he asked me about it again ( I've dropped 14 lbs in 2 months by his scale). And he tells me that's the way he eats except grains and soy and, no animal products as all the research shows eating animal products cause a lot of cancers and illness. I gave him the name of the book ISWF AND I SAID TO HIM " you didn't read it did you?"

So instead of looking at the proof in front of him and my remarkable health I am in, he starts to push his Vegan agenda on me....

Now he's a great MD and I know he is truly concerned, I will concead to taking the BP meds for a few more months to prove that it is low and under control so I can go off.... But as far as the eating is concerned....he drunk the Vegan coolade and no one is going to change his mind.....

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I am my primary health provider with a Physicians Assistant (PA) who supports me and a chiro who rocks. My college roommate is a Family Practitioner so I can run some stuff by her. Nutritionally, she fails though as do most MDs as Tom pointed out- nutrition is a short course-almost a blink of an eye for medical schooling. She comes to me for her peronsal nutritional support.

Many MDs only want to treat the symptoms, and then a cascade of side effects with greater Rxs to cover those. I have several friends who want the "pills" to fix them, and the number of meds grows and grows. They NEVER get better, only worse. I want to scream sometimes, "look what THEY'VE done to you!!!!" as they swell and suffer, hoping the next pill will fix them. It breaks my heart.

I loved the title ISWF. I've been putting some pieces back together after an autimmune thyroid attack plus estrogen dominance, and getting tons better, but I needed a solid food foundation to take my health up to the next level. Food was a missing component for me although I probably ate better than 99% of Americans.

My PA is totally on board with Whole30. I saw her a few days before beginning :)

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Here in the UK doctors can be very resistant to diet based approaches to treating illness. I have Crohns disease, and had been told that diet has no effect, that the only thing that can be done is a cocktail immunosuppressant medications, steroids, anti inflammatories, painkillers and eventually surgery, when all that fails. Why on earth they won't support a patient at least trying to take care of their own health and ensure they don't end up having a lot of expensive treatment on the NHS I have no idea - it baffles me. The main thing they got on at me about was not eating grains, they always quote this study that found that wholegrains have a more protective effect against bowel cancer than fruit and veg. But then, I could quote them a heap of studies that showed improvement or remission of Crohns disease on a grain free, carbohydrate restricted diet (basically no grains, legumes, white potatoes or refined sugar).

These were the same doctors that refused to accept that I had coeliac disease unless I went on a "gluten challenge" to prove it by biopsy (bloodwork already positive 3x) and it made me dangerously ill, so I decided they were not worth listening to.

I have a better GP now who is more supportive, but the hospital specialists remain unenlightened.

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I have several friends who want the "pills" to fix them, and the number of meds grows and grows. They NEVER get better, only worse. I want to scream sometimes, "look what THEY'VE done to you!!!!" as they swell and suffer, hoping the next pill will fix them. It breaks my heart.

^^^^This is SO TRUE! My friends and family... it makes me very sad when I sometimes consider how they might feel if they ate differently.

I don't have much to add to this thread, but thank you all for the companionship in dealing with doctors... a pediatrician recently told me "it is clear your children aren't getting enough calcium since they report they don't drink milk or eat cheese." I've since switched doctors but am not especially happy with the new one either. TOM! Thanks for that link about Functional Medicine! Something good and new for me to research and there were lots of names that came up in the Boulder, CO area (anyone want to recommend one in particular?)

Hugs to all. Someday I hope that doctors will get it.

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Here in the UK doctors can be very resistant to diet based approaches to treating illness. I have Crohns disease, and had been told that diet has no effect, that the only thing that can be done is a cocktail immunosuppressant medications, steroids, anti inflammatories, painkillers and eventually surgery, when all that fails. Why on earth they won't support a patient at least trying to take care of their own health and ensure they don't end up having a lot of expensive treatment on the NHS I have no idea - it baffles me. The main thing they got on at me about was not eating grains, they always quote this study that found that wholegrains have a more protective effect against bowel cancer than fruit and veg. But then, I could quote them a heap of studies that showed improvement or remission of Crohns disease on a grain free, carbohydrate restricted diet (basically no grains, legumes, white potatoes or refined sugar).

These were the same doctors that refused to accept that I had coeliac disease unless I went on a "gluten challenge" to prove it by biopsy (bloodwork already positive 3x) and it made me dangerously ill, so I decided they were not worth listening to.

I have a better GP now who is more supportive, but the hospital specialists remain unenlightened.

panda - I'm so glad you made your way here! I "have" Crohn's as well, though I've been asymptomatic for almost 2 years now (since my last off-road with "real" cupcakes). Diet is THE medication for me and thankfully I had a GI physician who (at least, the last time I saw him 3 years ago) was content to let me eat what made me feel good (oddly, veggies and meat!). With some time and patience (and well-cooked veg) this way of eating, I am confident, will make all the difference for you too!

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I have been actively seeking a GP who will support my paleo diet, but it's hard because I pretty much rely on recommendations and here in Wellington New Zealand there are no doctors listed on the normal websites like the paleo physicians network, etc (http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/).

My current doctor is a lovely lady who is very sweet and really spends the time to give me the attention I need. I never feel rushed, and sometimes even feel the appointments drag on. But I think this is a good thing because she is really taking the time to help me with every issue I have. The down side is that she gives me brochures on eating grains and told me that she doesn't believe there is any risk with birth control (she thinks that the only reason to come off of it is if I want babies; we are not trying yet but have just come off of it. I do not agree with her perspective) it is clear to me that we will not be on the same page with the food topic. I haven't even brought it up. But I would like to be as open as possible, because what is the point in having a doctor you can't be honest with? I feel that they should support my decisions.

There is one doctor here in Wellington who is constantly recommended to me because she is "the holistic doctor" but I have heard some bad things about her, and have been told to avoid her like the plague by 2 friends in the medical industry. So I'm listening to them, but still they don't have anyone else they would recommend. Wellington is a fairly small city.

That's not true. There is one doctor I would love to go to in a neighbourhood just next to mine, but they are so popular they only take people from that neighbourhood. Darn!

I imagine that eventually the medical world will be supportive of our choices here, but it will take time.

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In defense of our general practitioners, they are going with what the established rules have been for a long, long time. It takes a long time for science to embrace new data, as it should. Think of the people that come in to the doctor after reading things on the internet and are convinced they've "figured it out." There are vegans, the blood type diet, Atkins, the list is nearly endless. It is our doctors' role to be skeptical. I gave up trying to look smart in front of my doctor. If he asks me why I don't eat grains, I try to give him the best answer possible. It leads to a really valuable discussion during which I probably sound like an idiot to him, but then I go away and research why he thinks I need oatmeal in my life. I tell him I get plenty of vitamin B from my food, and then I go home and make sure that I am. :) If they are being dismissive, it's usually because they don't want us hurting ourselves.

Also, during a W30, we learn new things about our bodies. I was in complete denial of my digestive symptoms for years because I thought I was just overeating. Turns out I have IBS and there are foods I just shouldn't eat if I want to feel my best. Once I know more about myself, I can share it with my doctor and we can get to the bottom of things together. If you don't feel that way about your doc, fall in love with a new one! :wub:

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Perhaps a skeptics view on things, but what's in it for the doctors if they "heal" us instead of just prescribing Rx that will treat the symptoms. If we're all healthy, they only see us once a year for a checkup right? I mean.. they still have a business to maintain and people who don't come visit them aren't paying their bills. :D

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Perhaps a skeptics view on things, but what's in it for the doctors if they "heal" us instead of just prescribing Rx that will treat the symptoms. If we're all healthy, they only see us once a year for a checkup right? I mean.. they still have a business to maintain and people who don't come visit them aren't paying their bills. :D

That's what I like about the system over here, they get paid per patient that's registered with them whether they see that patient once a week or once a year, so it's in their interest to try to keep you healthy and out their hair :). However they still don't know a lot about nutrition and have to stick to the guidlines laid down. I never argue about nutrition with them, I just explain I eat the foods that make me feel good and avoid those that upset me. When they realise the amount of veg I eat, that usually pleases them no end :)

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Perhaps a skeptics view on things, but what's in it for the doctors if they "heal" us instead of just prescribing Rx that will treat the symptoms. If we're all healthy, they only see us once a year for a checkup right? I mean.. they still have a business to maintain and people who don't come visit them aren't paying their bills. :D

We're handing out tinfoil hats just over there ------>, jaym

They're pretty stylish. I love mine

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I am not sure where the OP lives, but I'm in Atlanta and lucked into the BEST internist. She is a board certified internist AND is certified in integrative and alternative medicine. She believes that food is medicine. I have had a lot of health issues stemming from systemic inflammation, and thanks to my wonderful doctor I have overcome nearly all of it. She is the one who put me on my first Whole30! She insists on seeing me every 6 weeks or so to hold me accountable to my food choices, but is wonderfully kind about the times when I "fall into a ditch" with my food (her words). A big part of what drove me to her and away from other doctors was my insistence to be heard. I have health anxiety that was magnified by real health scares that were triggered by my pregnancy with my youngest son. He's 5 now and over the course of the past four years I have had some scary indicators from my body that things weren't right.

I felt like my conventional doctors were dismissive of my fears - they just wanted to write me a perscription for anti-anxiety meds or whatever. What I love about my current doctor is that she won't shy away from traditional medicine practices - if I need a prescription she writes one and if I need a test done she orders it. But she always starts with food and it has been life-changing for me.

I wonder if there are resources at integrative medicine websites? I am personal proof that these doctors exist and I know their numbers are growing. Good luck!

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I started the Autoimmune Protocol for Paleo 6 months ago. About 4 months ago I went to my Rheumatologist because I'd had a bad flare before that and had been on meds and out of remission... Anyway, by that time, 2 months into AI Paleo, I'd lost 16 pounds and had gone off the meds he prescribed as I no longer needed them. I felt great - pain, headaches, illnesses and insomnia brought on by battling RA, Sjogrens, Hashimotos, parasthesis, etc. etc. was gone!

My doctor's response was an eyeroll, note to me that it was a fad diet and coincidence. Worse, he didn't care that I felt better and told me to go back on my meds or I'd "be sorry." I told him I would not and left...

Fortunately, I found a Functional Medicine doc who is totally board.

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I'm very fortunate that my doctor is not only open minded, but extremely wise as well as a proponent of patient autonomy. If I didn't have a myriad of health issues when I found her, I probably wouldn't have discussed my diet with her. But since I have asthma and allergies - both disappeared with the removal of grains and pasteurized dairy - as well as fibromyalgia - my diet is a significant component of my overall health.

I went through at least a dozen physicians before I found one that I felt worked with me as a partner.

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Perhaps a skeptics view on things, but what's in it for the doctors if they "heal" us instead of just prescribing Rx that will treat the symptoms. If we're all healthy, they only see us once a year for a checkup right? I mean.. they still have a business to maintain and people who don't come visit them aren't paying their bills. :D

I may very well be naive, but coming from a doctoring family and working in healthcare, I really do believe many doctors *want* to help people, not necessarily to keep them coming back for more scripts. Sure there are the ones who got into the wrong field or who are in it simply for money, but I don't think that is the majority.

I also think docs likely reach a place where they get over-satiated with information and just want to go home and think about something other than health... mtn biking or poetry or dogs. GPs do a ton, from rashes and foot pain to immunizations to blood tests to social issues. I don't think they are perfect, but I think they are human.

I realize this might sound like it is contradicting my previous post. I have had very frustrating experiences with doctors and it took me a long time to find one who I was comfortable with. There are many, many, MANY things that could/should/maybe-someday-will-be-different about healthcare.

It's complex. We're all complex, including the human being who work as doctors.

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You bet. This is normal. This is how they were trained. Just tell them that for YOU, this works. Your blood test results will confirm that what you are doing is right for you. Mine did.

Anyways, doctors treat symptoms not causes. They use "evidence-based" medicine, which means if you have a, b, and c symptoms, then the answer must be "G". Never mind they may be barking up the wrong tree.

Just remember, doctors have practices. They "practice" medicine. When they start getting it right, and the world lightens up, I'll start listening to them. For now, I'll practice on myself - be my own guinea pig - and leave the results to the lab tests!

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