Monday, March 20, 2017

Your Unsolicited Medical Advice Made Me Worse


Today's population is undoubtedly unhealthy. Society's heath obsession is rising with the growing number of medical appointments. Supplements are advertised on the television screen. Gluten free articles are plastered on the cover of your favorite magazine. Biased health advice spews from the mouths demanding to "practice yoga" and "eat clean." We live in a culture where the suggesting of both conventional and unconventional unsolicited medical advice is the norm. And, when it does not work, it is always the fault of the patient.

These alternative treatments draw appeal. I have participated in my fair share of random diets, exercise regimes, and miscellaneous supplements promising health. A couple of said treatments were personal findings out of sheer desperation and some were outside suggestions. The outcome, good or bad, was only at my expense.


So, it was the year of 2014 when I thrust myself into the world of veganism. The influx of information was overwhelming. What category would I fall under? Research informed me there was such a thing as junk food vegans, ethical vegans, raw vegans, high carb vegans, and plain ol' vegan vegans. Regardless, a life of health and vitality was almost always guaranteed.

Health and vitality are exactly what I received. I went from feeding tube and TPN dependent to consuming 2,500+ calories orally. I actually had energy. I did not crash before noon like before. No longer did I get nauseated. The motility of my gastrointestinal organs resolved. My blood sugar problems were gone. Chronic pain ceased to exist. The colitis dissipated. Blackouts and fainting were a rare occurrence and they definitely were not daily anymore. Anaphylaxis was not in the forefront of my mind. The majority of my symptoms disappeared, providing I abided by strict dietary guidelines. The recovery on a mostly raw, organic, low fat, vegan diet was miraculous.

Heath was obviously my main motivator. Vegan ethics followed suit in time. I recount this attempt, while neglecting the others, because of its initial success. I often question where I went wrong.

Recent social media encounters blaming my genetic condition on diet cause these doubts to resurface.  The accusations turn to protein levels, iron, and supplementing (or lack thereof). The blame is placed on macros or consuming excessive amounts of cooked foods. Why were the benefits short-lived? It works for other people, so I must have been living wrong.

Diet and lifestyle are significant. Unfortunately, genetics are too. While it is sensible to make healthy choices, no length of time on a fancy diet, practicing yoga, or popping supplements like candy will completely rid of an illness that is genetic in origin.

Perhaps your situation is similar. That special diet that helped a friend did not work for you, and neither did those supplements. Maybe your health started improving, then suddenly regressed. You did nothing wrong though. No response is identical. Your body is your body and how it responds is not your fault.

Entertaining unconventional medical advice and supposed "miracle cures" can do damage. I totally get it. When a treatment or lifestyle change helps, you want feel the benefits. I was guilty of this myself, especially when raw veganism diminished my symptoms. It is important to share experiences; however, leave it up to discretion.

If implementing unsolicited advice works, great. If it doesn't, then it is not your fault. It is not mine either. The fact that what improves one condition is not necessarily universal is a tougher pill to swallow than that multivitamin at the health store.