My Journey from Sickness to Health: The Perils of “Modern” Medicine
As the founder and CEO of Healing Gourmet, I’ve become recognized as an authority on health and therapeutic nutrition. But I didn’t start out to become an expert in natural health.
In fact, I was going to be a medical doctor. But when faced with my own personal health crisis, my faith in “modern” medicine was shaken and the path of my life was changed forever.
This is my story…
A Five Year Old Doctor… and a Very Disillusioned Pre-Med Student
My interest in “healing” goes back to the day I got a Fisher Price Doctor’s kit from the toy store. Right away, I began to check my parent’s temperature… monitor my sister’s vital signs… and diagnose their various “ailments.”
From that day on, my goal was to become a doctor. At least, that’s what I told anyone who asked. And with my usual tenacity, I didn’t let go of that dream. Fourteen years later, I was enrolled in the pre-medical program at Florida State University – majoring in biology and chemistry.
But it wasn’t long before I realized that there was a dark side to medicine…
For most of my young life, I rarely thought about my personal health. I never had more than an occasional cold and always had a high level of energy. I practiced dance almost daily as a teenager, competing in dozens of competitions. I was a varsity cheerleader and gymnast.
But toward the end of my freshman year in college, everything changed…
A dismal, unrelenting cloud of sickness came over me. I was constantly fatigued and became so weak that I could hardly lift my body out of bed. At first, I thought my exhaustion was due to the stress and lack of sleep that went along with the rigorous pre-med program.
But then the symptoms became physical…
What began as a sore throat, progressed to open sores trailing down my esophagus. I had to use a toxic numbing spray just to eat without tears. My digestive system was constantly in distress. And to one degree or another, this went on for months.
I wondered on a daily basis when the nightmare would end – or if it would end me.
At that time, I wanted to be a doctor. So “doctors” were the first place I turned…
A Pill for Every Ill… and Not a Cure in Sight
I began by visiting the university health clinic. Time after time they sent me away with a different diagnosis, another recommendation to see a specialist, and another prescription to fill.
I was put on antivirals, antibiotics and then corticosteroids. I was diagnosed with everything from strep throat to hay fever to chronic fatigue syndrome (which really means that the doctor has no idea what’s wrong with you, but puts a label on it anyway).
One doctor suggested that I might have AIDS (even though I never did anything to put myself in that risk category). Imagine how I felt after that visit!
Another suggested that I was simply depressed. Apparently, he believed that “depression” causes open sores in your throat! Of course he wanted to put me on psychiatric medications. Thankfully, I said no and excused myself from his office.
But you know the one thing that NOT ONE DOCTOR out of more than a dozen ever asked?
Not a single doctor asked me about my diet. They didn’t ask me what kind of fuel I was putting into my body. They didn’t test me for food allergies or intolerances. They didn’t seem to care what I was eating… or if anything had changed in my diet or lifestyle.
Looking back, I understand why…
Most doctors aren’t trained to look for the cause of your health problems – they’re trained to deal with the symptoms. Nor do most doctors have anything but the most basic education in nutrition and the connections between diet and disease.
After exhausting my options, I realized that I had no one but myself to count on. I knew that I had to take a much deeper look at my health and my diet.
Like any scientist, I began to isolate the variables…
What Had Changed?
I certainly missed my Mom’s home-cooked meals. And while I had always loved to cook and create recipes, I was cutting corners with my diet to get through those busy days. I was relying on processed foods at home and vending machine snacks at school. And while I was in the library most weeknights, I was drinking beer on the weekends.
This was before the proliferation of health information online. But I intuitively knew that my diet was not supporting my health. So, I cut out the processed foods, snacks and bread and I quit drinking beer.
Within days the sores in my throat began to heal. I soon regained my energy. It wasn’t long before I had charted a course back to wellness. And all it took was a few simple changes to my diet!
Years later, a nutritionally- oriented physician ordered several tests to determine what (if any) allergies or food intolerances I might have. It turns out that I am quite sensitive to a number of things that were prevalent in my diet back then, including gluten, yeast, chemical preservatives and malt (found in beer).
To this day, if I drink more than a few sips of beer, I get sores in my throat!
The more I thought about my needless suffering and all those wasted doctor bills, I got angry. I didn’t expect the doctors that I visited to have all the answers. But it seemed as if they hardly cared to look. They just wanted to write a quick prescription and send me on my way.
I still graduated with that degree in biology and chemistry, but I no longer had an interest in becoming a medical doctor, chasing symptoms and putting people on one toxic drug after another.
I wanted to help people understand their health… so they would never NEED a doctor. I wanted to help people feel better and have more energy, so they could truly enjoy life. I wanted to help prevent the devastating illnesses that are so closely associated with the foods we eat (or those we don’t).
The Biggest “Aha!” Moment of My Life
Just as I was wrapping up my degrees, the “New Nutritional Frontier” had begun to dawn…
Technology (like high performance liquid chromatography) was finally giving scientists the tools they needed to look beyond mere vitamins and minerals and begin to understand that there are thousands of bio-active compounds in food.
Like never before, we could actually identify these compounds, study their mechanism of action and prove their ability to nourish and heal the body.
Stumbling across this new world of nutritional science was the biggest “aha!” moment of my life. For the first time, I saw that there was an opportunity to combine my love of science… with my lifelong passion for cooking.
I had found my life’s purpose. More importantly, I knew that I could help thousands of people to enjoy optimal health and prevent disease for life!
Healing Gourmet was founded in the summer of 2000 with the goal of combining the latest research in nutritional biochemistry with a touch of culinary finesse to create recipes, meal plans and learning programs that educate on how foods work in your body to harm… and to heal.
A Few Final Words on “Modern” Medicine…
Most doctors are very good people. And the vast majority of them entered the medical profession for the right reasons – they wanted to cure people. Unfortunately, the only tools they are provided in medical school are drugs and surgery.
Unbelievably, most doctors still only receive about 20 hours worth of formal education on nutrition and the prevention of disease.
It’s no wonder why so many are frustrated…
Doctors have become glorified drug pushers – just another cog in the marketing machinery that has made Big Pharma the most profitable industry in the world. Of course, the research shows that most of those drugs are completely useless at best… and potentially fatal, at worst.
Thankfully, greater numbers of doctors than ever before are waking up to this reality. They are stepping outside the mainstream medical paradigm and shifting their practices to a model of prevention, nutrition, natural medicine… and true healing.
They don’t have a choice. Their patients are also waking up… and walking away in droves. Growing numbers of people are beginning to understand that true healing will never be found in most doctors’ offices and certainly not at the bottom of a pill bottle.
If I can leave you with just one idea it is to take full responsibility for your own health.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say, “My doctor won’t let me…” Or, “I didn’t want to, but my doctor said I have to…” Or, “I asked my doctor if I could…”
Doctors are not high priests dressed in white robes issuing dictates from above.
They are consultants and they work for you!
Realize that the cause – and the cure – for most disease are in your hands. They can be found in the decisions you make about what you put in your mouth and how you live your life. Of course, I am not suggesting that if you have a serious medical condition that you should treat yourself.
I am suggesting that you question everything… take responsibility for your health… seek your own answers… do your own research… and demand the healing paradigm that serves YOU the best!