Something that I love about the paleo community is that it’s a group of people who are truly invested in their health.
They’re willing to put in the time to learn about how nutrition and lifestyle modifications can help them take charge of their own well-being and put forth the energy into making those things happen. In a world of “I want a magic pill that cures all ailments without me doing anything,” it’s truly refreshing.
I also love that the paleo community focuses on herbal and natural remedies. There’s such a wealth of knowledge in the approaches that preceded our western medicine world and I think it’s amazing that we are able to have these remedies at our disposal.
There is, however, one thing that I often find troublesome: it is when people in the community go so far as to dismiss the western medical establishment and prescribed medication at large.“No doctors really care about my health.” “Physicians can’t actually fix anything.” “Prescription meds are bad for you.” “All western medicine thinks about is money.”
Now I’m sure that what most people think about when I say this is that I clearly have never struggled with modern medicine. Or that maybe I just can’t see it for what it is because I’m part of it.
The truth, in reality, is quite the opposite.
The main reason I decided to go to medical school is because of my struggles with the western medicine approach. I have gone to countless different doctors and other health providers in search for the answers to my chronic pain and hormonal problems over the past 10 years. (For the full story, I’ve written about it here.) I have cried bitterly over their indifference towards what I was going through and their hurried, unhelpful appointments. I have put myself through painful procedures and expensive tests in search of answers. I’ve been there. So please believe me when I understand that struggle.
However, what I don’t believe is that shunning the entire western medical community is the real answer to this problem.
I think that what everyone wants is to find the most effective treatment with the least amount of negative side effects.
Therefore, I believe that an integration of the ancestral, traditional approach and the modern, western one is the way to go. What better way to find the perfect approach for each individual person than to look at absolutely all the available options?
It pains me to see people attempting to quit medications they really need at the time. I’ve seen too many folks with thyroid issues backslide into misery by stopping their medicine abruptly. I’ve also seen autoimmune patients go through awful flares by attempting to control their symptoms without any help.
(Heck, I’ve tried it! At one point, I stopped all my hormone prescriptions abruptly in the name of “being healthy” and spent several painful and stressful months dealing with mood, weight, sleep, and digestive problems.)
I’m not saying getting off prescription medication through a healthy lifestyle can’t be done.
In fact, I do think that’s the ultimate goal. But doing it just to be dogmatic seems to me to be a poor approach to health. And I believe it can cause more harm than people realize.
I’m also not making to the case for taking prescription meds.
What I’m saying is that people should think about what their health needs right now…and should weigh all options with unbiased reasoning. That way, if the prescription medicine your doctor is recommending doesn’t seem right for you, you can feel settled in bringing up your concerns. If you’re curious about trying it out, then you’ll feel good about that too!
We have so many choices…and the privilege of choose the one that works best for us.