Independent Advocate

Posted on July 7, 2013 by


peggi bw 2 editedAs I reflected on this month’s newsletter theme, Independence, and how it fits into a topic for RN Advice, I recalled 2 routine visits I had this past month with 2 of my own doctors and how extremely different they were.  One physician was focused on MY health and not fitting me into the standard of practice whereas the other one had no clue that sugar was an inflammatory food and could not understand that I would insist on not ‘allowing it for just one day’ while I prepped for a procedure.  Wow what a contrast in beliefs.

I talked to some of the other coaches and got similar stories.  Cardiologists who did not believe that sugar caused heart disease.  It was ‘ok’ if the patient wanted to lose weight but should not spend a lot of money on another ‘fad diet’.  Their cholesterol pill would do the trick.  An endocrinologist managing a diabetic patient said that sugar is a sugar, doesn’t matter if it is a cookie or fruit.  Bread and pasta should be incorporated into the diet daily.

And yet there were also stories of the rheumatologist who suggested a patient cut out sugar and gluten for a month and ‘see what happens’ with your arthritic pain.  Also, an infectious disease doctor who prescribed a detoxing diet to rid the patient of lyme disease.

As a nurse, I find these polarizations to be quite scary.  It seems that finding a physician who correlates food with health is not easy to find.  While I don’t mind seeing a physician who does not ‘get it’, I know I can collaborate with him/her on my health care and still maintain my clean diet and values.  But what if I didn’t have a medical background?  Would I still feel confident enough to discuss my care with my physician?  Would I think he must know better and do whatever he said?

Since most conventional medical treatment does not incorporate what we know about food into the equation we must be our own advocate and open that conversation with our physician to discuss what has been working for us.  If this approach does not give us satisfaction, we may need to look for a physician who is willing to collaborate with us in our health.  As patients, healthcare consumer and Americans, we have the INDEPENDENCE to make CHOICES of what physicians we see and be an integral DECISION MAKER in our HEALTH CARE.

If there are specific topics you would like to see addressed in this column, please email me

Coach Peggi Ingram RN BSN, CPT
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