Do You Have Some Medical Misconceptions?

Four years ago I stepped into a new medical realm to fix some GI problems. I bought lots of books, joined some internet forums, and read like the dickens. I can distinctly remember the feeling of smugness when I first started reading forums, as the members talked about so many things I thought I had the best information on. Some fallacies I started with include:

  1. Leaky gut is not real.
  2. Folic acid is just as good as natural folate.
  3. We get enough iodine.
  4. Cholesterol is bad for you.
  5. Fat is bad for you.
  6. Saturated fat is really bad for you.
  7. Vegetable oil is better for you.
  8. Diets should be rich in whole grains and fat-free dairy products.
  9. The American Diabetes Association and nutritionists had the best diet figured out for diabetic patients.
  10. The American Heart Association had the best diet figured out for heart patients.
  11. Not much crosses the blood brain barrier, thereby making the brain an island unto itself.
  12. Gluten-free, dairy-free diets are foolish fads.

So many misconceptions! How did I learn those things? Well, let me tell you. The pace of medical school and residency is breakneck. My professors and staff doctors verbally handed me the information that they thought I needed. Some of them were bigwigs on boards and in associations. They helped make guidelines. They wrote textbooks. They taught medical continuing education.

I took notes. I filed away what they said. I did a good job.

And I kept right on passing that information along.

It’s not right, folks.

  1. The best thing you can do for your health is inspect what you eat. If you pop or smear any medicine at all (for allergies, headaches, coughing, heartburn, skin rashes), you need to take it down to 100% whole food as a bare minimum place to start. 100%.
  2. Then, you need to look at the known allergenic foods (often called the Top 8: dairy, eggs, peanuts, nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish—I’d personally also throw corn in there from talking to a lot of moms) and think hard about trying an elimination diet to take those out for a time, slowly reintroducing them back in one food at a time. Talk to your healthcare provider about this.
  3. You need to find some real vegetables and real starches you can ingest and feel good on. Great vegetables are broccoli, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, Brussels, asparagus, spinach, kale, endive, radishes, cucumbers. Great real starches are potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, parsnips, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, cassava root.
  4. Get good sleep.
  5. Move.
  6. Get outdoors.
  7. Use your brain to think more and solve more problems. (Not necessarily the world’s problems, probably best to start with your own. I suppose if you don’t have any, then it’s okay to proceed to the world’s at your own risk.)
  8.  Tackle your misconceptions about yourself, your friends, your spouse, your family your enemies. Then, get right with yourself, your friends, your spouse, your family, your enemies. See another viewpoint.
  9. Modern medicine tries to separate “us” from the body. I think that’s a huge misconception and would like to suggest something. Pray every single day for yourself for five minutes consecutively to Someone Out There. (Any health hacker up to the challenge?)  I’m Christian. I don’t know or even really care what you are. But over the last year, I’ve tried something a little foreign to me. I’ve taken to praying for myself. I used to think it was selfish to pray for myself. So many other people had big, bad, scary problems; I needed to pray for them first! And by the time I got through them, I had fallen asleep already. Oops.But over the last year, I’ve taken to praying for myself first. Hardest. Most. One month, in fact, I only allowed myself to pray for myself. (Heavens, of course I cheated.) And that has been life-changing for me. Looking at it now, I feel so “duh.” Of course I needed my own prayer the most! We all do! Well, anyhow. Science is showing that meditation, yoga, mindfulness, whatever, that these things affect our health. So try it. Pray to Someone Out There. Pour out your fears, your challenges, the people who get under your skin, your petty grievances, your body aches, your anger, your hurt, your desires–pour it all out to this Someone Out There. I dare you to try it every single day, on your knees or back or toilet even (so sorry), for five minutes a day for 30 whole days in a row. Just try it. No one else allowed in your prayers except you and The Someone Out There; you can pray for other people later.

Well, I’ve digressed. I wish you the best success in feeling good with life and fixing your own misconceptions. What I learned in med school was great. I’m glad I did it. Modern medicine is amazing. Just this month it saved my little girls’ life. 100 years ago, she may have died or been permanently affected. We need modern medicine. But we also need to do the other things.

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll get back to writing more regular. I’m so excited to be reading about the blood brain barrier, microglial cells, and brain fog. I don’t know how it will all come together, but I can’t wait to summarize it all up and share.




18 thoughts on “Do You Have Some Medical Misconceptions?

  1. mommytrainingwheels

    Yep, modern medicine is great, but why pop pills if you can eat, move and sleep yourself healthy?

    I liked this post, there are so many misconceptions about so many things. It’s easy to just go through life and accept the knowledge that has been handed to you. But, it’s better to question the knowledge, challenge it (so long as you’re not putting your life in danger, that is hehehe) and listen to your body. I think this is something we don’t do often enough in the hectic world we revolve in. We speed through the daily routine and don’t take the time to listen to our bodies. I’m sure if we did, there would be less need for medications.

  2. gabriella kadar

    ‘Use your brain to think more and solve more problems. (Not necessarily the world’s problems, probably best to start with your own. I suppose if you don’t have any, then it’s okay to proceed to the world’s at your own risk.)’

    I listen to the radio, mostly, and the rather alarming use of the word ‘worry’ annoys the heck out of me. Interviewers are forever using this word and it legitimizes something that is a pointless mental activity. Hence synonyms being: fret, be concerned, be anxious, agonize, overthink, brood, panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get stressed, get in a state, stew, torment oneself.

    This is like encouraging people to mull about things they have no control over or can do nothing about.

    As you write so succinctly and correctly, deal with the tangibles. BE WHERE YOU ARE. I find, based on what I see at work, that an awful lot of people are someplace else than where they are. They are not grounded. Their bodies are at work but their minds and attention frequently are not. I see the same thing going on all over the place. Mothers walking their children home from school but talking on the cellphones the entire time. WTF?

    I don’t own a cellphone so don’t know too much about these objects. However, how difficult is it to turn these things off? Is it really necessary in the middle of a dental appointment that lasts less than 1 hour to have the patient’s cellphone ringing from her purse several times during an appointment even if the patient has no intention to answer it? I don’t think it ever occurs to these people that the sudden noise is disruptive.

    Now my biggest problem is how to overwinter the roots of my 6 artichoke plants. I’ve contacted an organic farmer near Ottawa who says he gave up and vernalizes new hybrd plantlets every spring. Hm. I’ve also read gardening forums where people have had various success and failure keeping the roots in the ground and heavy duty mulching over them. (voles ate them (I have voles), they rotted…etc.) I am going to dig mine up (there’s ONLY 6 so it’s not like this is a major agricultural operation), put them in a bag of potting soil which will be buried in a very large black plastic barrel filled with leaves that is on my balcony. The bag o’ leaves were in a wagon in my livingroom for three days and when I transfered them to the barrel, the leaves were getting hot. I figure outdoors over the winter they will ‘ferment’ slowly, prevent freezing but not bake my roots. Vernalization ought to happen. Anyone have any suggestions that this plan of action may not work? In May 2017 I plan to replant them.

    The weather has been so warm, the red chards have grown back after I cut them down. The celery and parsley are shooting up as well. (Yes, I leave them in the ground after cutting off the top parts.) This week-end, allegedly, we’ll have minus Celsius temps at night so maybe the artichoke leaves will finally wilt down and make root removal possible. They are, most of them, ginormous monsters.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      The phone. The phone. I know. I’m acutely aware of the phone. I’m impressed you don’t have one. I’m sorry people leave them on in the office to break your concentration. You are dead spot on. Parents today (myself included) need to work very hard to minimize our phone use, especially in the presence of our children. If the kids are with you, work hard to shut it down. Sometimes it’s hard, because it actually is a way to “check-out” mentally without physically checking out.

      OOOOH! A challenge! A challenge! I’m trying to winter over some arugula in the garage that decided to thrive right here before today’s blizzard prediction. I sure do hope your artichoke plants make it! I’ve never grown artichokes so I’m completely clueless! Anyone? Anyone? Thoughts?

      I’m very sad about the upcoming demise of my garden. I had celery, arugula, collards, broccoli, chard, and kale still coming on strong. I’m trying to decide if I could work hard enough to save them another week or two, despite the snow prediction tonight. It has been so warm, the ground will take some time to freeze.

      Well, take care. Thanks for chiming in. You used the word grounded/grounding. That’s a word that’s been playing in my head the last year for many reasons and in many ways.

      1. gabriella kadar

        My garden neighbours put up thin fabric covered hoop things. They told me today that if the days are warm but nights get cold, this keeps the plants going fine. …. next year. They’ve got lots of spinach growing right now. But you got a blizzard! YIKES!

        My kids couldn’t wait to get their own cellphones. I told them ‘when you can pay for it yourselves, go for it.’ As predicted, one of them routinely busted hers on a semi-annual basis. Not my problem. But now they are in their 30s and independent, so they do whatever makes sense for them.

        I’m cellphone resistant. Like a social variant of Clostridium difficile… emphasis on the difficile part. My kids say ‘Ma, you need a cellphone. What if something happens?’ ‘Then other people will use their cellphones or I’ll borrow one.’. This exactly came up because my older daughter’s partner was heavy duty rear ended at an intersection. Guess what? Her phone (and everything else) flew to the back of the vehicle so she could not reach it. Other drivers phoned 911. There you have it. Yes there are alternatives to her particular situation. I’d like to say that the only situation where a cellphone would come in handy is if I drive off the road somewhere in the bush, except there’s no cellphone transmission in those areas. I generally prefer to rely on my own problem solving skills and reading maps as opposed to having a GPS in the car. Call me old fashioned but I think I know better where I’m going than those who rely on an on board computer giving them instructions. That’s like braindead, man! Driverless cars will make this all even more interesting. I hear cars will have GPS inside so if anyone wants to know where you car is, they can find out. Getting creepier and creepier……

        Generally I entirely dislike having to answer the telephone at home. Yeah, landline, no frills, like the 1970s. No answering machine or service. The phone number is registered in the name of my oldest cat. It’s a great call screening tool when someone calls to speak to my cat. At first my colleagues told me ‘you are crazy’ and now they say ‘you are crazy like a fox’. So there you have it; aside from participating on the internet, I prefer a quiet life. I give people and patients my email address and they can send me an email. Makes more sense.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I got my kale, celery, arugula potted in the garage. They’ll keep for me for a little bit longer. 🙂

        Yes, I see your points, but do you know how nice it is to look up a quick fact, a quick recipe at the grocery store on that little device? Heavenly for curious, impatient minds. You might surprise yourself and like one… (insert another 🙂 )

  3. Lesq

    Reading this post and being a blog friend( for lack of another way to express it in words) is a pure honor. This couldn’t be truer or more honestly said. I had someone today call me a kid in a nice complimentary way because I was wearing a hat and she only saw my body and long hair and I took off my hat and she said I thought you were 20. She said you are so youthful looking and I tell you this because I have lived my entire life with a youth and free spirit in my heart and soul. Some have tried to squash it due to their own unhappiness, but my spark is to strong. Taking care of ourselves and setting good role models for our children is the toughest job, but taking care of ourselves is even harder as they come first. However, I have learned that peace, serenity and pure joy come naturally when allowed to enter us. Yoga has helped for me to get there and boy life is good as a result. Thank for this blog. You add so much depth and intellectual contemplation to my day when you post. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. You really are a gem.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Aw, Lesq, THANK YOU! I’m glad you take time to comment and correspond with me. I like sharing posts a lot, but each time I post, I realize how much easier it is with a live person than with “the internet” unknown. It’s a lot vulnerable. So I appreciate comments. Have you read any Brene Brown? She puts some science behind vulnerability. Here’s one of her TED talks:

      When you mentioned how you kept your spark strong despite others, that reminded me a little bit of her books.

      And speaking of kids, two of mine came up just now to stand behind me, so signing off.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too! Enjoy every rockin’ moment up to it, after it, and through New Years!—-Terri

  4. Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures

    Nicely written. Not only does modern medicine separate us from our bodies, but our body systems are all separate as well. The cardiologist and the neurologist and the hematologist don’t have anything to work together with. Each must only handle his or her own area. My body systems are all connected-at least I am pretty sure they are. 😉
    The cell phones-yes, I think that they add to our stress, our need to multi task, our need for instant gratification. I want lazy Sundays back! Then we would get good food, rest, time to meditate or pray, time to chat, and so much more.
    I love these holidays coming up. I get to justify our “crazy” lifestyle of simple, whole foods; simple living, and homeschooling. We are freaks! (Or we should have been alive about a hundred years ago instead).

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      re: “We are freaks!”
      Freak–who you calling freaks? Is it okay to call anyone a freak? (I’m totally joshing.) I love these holidays coming up too.

      re: “Not only does modern medicine separate us from our bodies, but our body systems are all separate as well. ”
      I know! How did it get that way? Right now as I read about the brain, it’s just so fascinating to see that the gut integrity plays such a role in the brain. And the immune system plays such a role in the brain. For so long we’ve treated that brain as its own entity, and yet the research is there showing it isn’t—that the gut and the immune system have such a strong role in its function.

      re: cell phones
      I like to forget mine, but my husband is huffy: “You never answer your phone.” What did he do without it ten or 20 years ago? 🙂

      Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!!!!

  5. Lindsay

    You know I did the exact same time thing as a clinical pharmacist. And most of my colleagues do the same. I asked a friend of mine at work who is a DM educator why he promotes a low fat diet and if that was truly an evidence-based recommendation… He gave me a funny look and said he didn’t know but that he’d look into it. Baby steps!

    The things that always kill me are the “common knowledge” things that people will defend to the end while still staunchly insisting that they are practicing EBM. And knowing that I was once like that, too. Ouch.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      LOL! “Is that truly an evidence-based recommendation?” That is a LINE! Can you imagine asking that as a student to a staff doctor/professor? You’d be fried. Or assigned so much extra work you’d decide keeping your mouth shut was way better. Oh, the culling process.

  6. Christine

    Re prayer .. as you well know, I think about that a lot. It struck me long ago that praying for others is sort of, well, presumptuous. What I mean is, God is going to do what God is going to do. My suggestions/prayers for others are based on *my* opinion of what ‘should’ happen. Do I know what is truly needed better than those others I pray for? Do I know better than God?? I think not.

    But when we pray for ourselves, what we’re really doing is opening ourselves up so He can see inside. He can anyway of course, but this is the moment He’s looking for, our willingness to face Him, our raw honesty. As we tell Him our troubles, our dreams, our desires, we come to understand ourselves better. It can be pretty humbling, but that’s okay. Honest prayer clarifies for us who we are in our own eyes, and maybe we can see ourselves a little bit as He sees us too. >shrug< Who knows.

    Of course, if someone *asks* for our prayers, I believe we should pray for them. After all "whenever two or three are gathered in my name .." doesn't mean people have to be together physically, but in spirit.

    I'm glad to hear your little one got the medical care she needed. I don't know the circumstances but it must have been a scare. My littlest grandbaby is on antibiotics for strep right now, not what we might have wanted but hey, strep is nasty. Even I appreciate some aspects of modern medicine!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      You rarely gloss over the elephant, do you!? 🙂 I don’t think anyone else commented specifically on that paragraph that put my vulnerability meter shooting off to Jupiter.

      On prayer, not “who knows!” That’s it almost exactly, I think! At least how I came to think of it too. (And I surround myself with perfect people like myself, LOL, so if they agree and come to the same conclusions I do, then we must be right… right?) (I’m totally teasing—not about that I agree with you because I do for sure—–but teasing with that new line about friendship and perfection that a friend shared with me, and I took to it. Ha!)

      My daughter is fine now, but we need to get “a picture” next week now to make sure that the infection is behind us. My doctor head knows the statistics say it’s a nothing. But my mom-doctor head says what if there’s a mass in there… But, my doctor head is winning, and I know it will be fine. Thanks for caring.


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