As a postbac premed student, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the kind of medicine I’d one day like to practice. Nutrition and Alternative Medicine are what originally drew me to make a change in my career path, but I’ve quickly realized the challenges faced by those interested in studying the less popular science of Integrative Medicine (a combination of conventional and alternative techniques).
Reading stories like this one, from the NYTimes, reminds me of where I’d like to focus my education. It should be no surprise that a change in diet may be more effective than drugs; after all, we literally are what we eat and what we put into our bodies directly affects our health. Hippocrates said it long ago: “Let food be thy medicine.” When did this sentiment become a thought of a past?
In this article, a 3 year old boy is diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and he’s prescribed a drug sometimes used for chemotherapy by a top NYC doctor (a doctor in the same hospital where I intern). The drug has some serious side effects and is not a cure - the boy would have needed to take the drug for the rest of his life. When the boy’s mom suggests alternative medicine and the possibility of treating him via a gluten/diary-free diet and with probiotics, the doctor scoffs. The mother is made to feel embarrassed.
I do not fault this doctor for prescribing a medication that she has likely seen work effectively in dozens of her patients. It does bother me though, that a doctor would not only not be open to alternative treatments, but that they are not even knowledgeable about these methods. Shouldn’t a doctor specializing in one specific category of disease be aware of both the pharmacological and natural treatment plans?
Unfortunately, it is the drug companies who rule our health care system, and grant money to study alternative methods is teeny tiny. I hope this will not be a deterrence for me or others interested in following an unpopular path in medicine, as an alternate route may become all the more necessary in this age of quick-fixes and little blue pills.
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Welcome to my blog! I’m Michelle, a 27 year old vegetarian, runner, future doctor, and healthy-living enthusiast. My life revolves around food. Cooking food, eating food, discussing the politics of food. We’re surrounded by so many false advertisements and misconceptions about nutrition, its difficult to know where the truth lies. This is my attempt to make everything a bit clearer.
Follow me while I eat delicious food, cook healthy meals, run races, and strive to separate the food truths from lies, while attempting to survive the premed lifestyle in NYC.
Questions/Comments? Send me an email! Michelle@thehonestpalate.com