What You Can Learn From House, MD

I like the show House. Despite the fact that Dr. Gregory House is an abrasive, abusive, pompous ass, the medical geek in me just loves the tests and fancy diagnostic talk.

Dr. House is, at times, about as far from a naturopathic doctor as you can get. He dodges informed consent. He treats patients as fools and liars. Yet at other times, he’s a naturopathic genius of sorts, driving to find the root cause of a problem.

In the end, of course, he’s just Hugh Laurie, an actor. But the more I watch the show, the more I come to believe that there’s something be learned here, not so much by doctors, but by patients.

This little item showed up in the news last week, and has gotten quite a lot of chatter in social media. A woman believed she was having a stroke, but doctors didn’t believe her. Eventually, she recorded a video of her symptoms to help make the case.

The story here, though, isn’t that the doctors made a mistake—that happens all the time. The real story has two important lessons.

1. You Are The Resident Expert in YOU
The first takeaway is that in this case, the patient knew her condition better than her doctors. She was the expert.This is something we encounter regularly now. With a good internet connection, patients often know more about what is going on with them then their doctors do, and that’s something conventional medicine is still learning to embrace. Twenty years ago, there’s an excellent chance the patient would have had NO idea what the symptoms of a stroke even were. Thanks to the internet, and mainstream content like this TED talk, for example, some aspects of medicine are moving from rocket science to common knowledge.

Never forget that YOU are the authority in the symptoms you feel, and that what you learn about your body and health care has value.

2. You Need to Advocate for Yourself
More important than the fact that the woman in the video was able to accurately diagnose her own problem is the fact that she was able to advocate for her own health care.

Had she settled for the first opinion, and not continued to fight for what she believed, the story might have had a quite a different ending. Remember that you have the right to speak your opinion, to fight for care, and to be properly informed.

A Little More House at Home

ND’s have been celebrating the internet and its ability to engage and empower people from the beginning. The more a patient knows about themselves and their health challenges, the better. Much of medicine really isn’t rocket science. Unlike the very rare and unusual cases on TV, most things are pretty easy to figure out given some information and basic problem-solving.

To solve those rare and unusual health problems, we may need doctors to be more like House.

But for most health complaints? What we really need is for patients to be more like House. To be stubborn, confident, and committed to advocating for what they know best: themselves.

Lunch & Learn: Free Talks for Your Business, Club or Workplace

Did you know that the naturopathic doctors at StoneTree Clinic do free lectures at workplaces, clubs and organizations across Collingwood and the surrounding area?

It’s an easy, cost-free way to:

  • Empower your staff or team to improve their health
  • Reduce sick days and increase productivity
  • Reduce seasonal flus and colds
  • Liven up your lunch hour

Give us your lunch hour (or other time), and we’ll give you an engaging and interactive 45-minute talk on the topic of your choice. It all happens at your location, and at not charge.

Our current topics include:

  1. Bulletproof: How to Avoid Illness, Recover Faster, and Build an Amazing Immune System
  2. Crystal Clear Body: The Hows and Whys of Detoxifying for Better Health and Higher Energy
  3. Workplace Buddha: How to Manage Stress, Clear Your Mind, and Perform at Your Best
  4. Food 101: Nutrition and Healthy Eating Made Ridiculously Simple

You can find a full description of each talk here. To book, just contact us anytime at 705-444-5331, or feelbetter@stonetreeclinic.com. It’s that easy!

But What Should I Eat?

This is something our patients lament all the time. Should I be gluten-free, sugar-free, salt-free? Paleo, no GMO? Low-carb or low-fat?  What about organic vs non-organic? Shouldn’t we just eat local? What about the new superfood from Peru that cures everything from rickets to cancer?

Nutrition can be a crazy and confusing world.

We hear mixed messages every day about almost every food we put into our bodies and it feels like no matter how hard we try it is impossible to get it right.  Part of our job at StoneTree is to make it easy for you. Here are some simple tips.

Eat Real Food
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Eat food that nature makes. If nature grew it, eat it. If Kraft or Nestle put it together in one of their food product manufacturing facilities, then don’t. This is the one essential rule you need to eat well. Everything that follows builds on that.

Choosing Organic vs Non-Organic
Here’s how we triage when it comes to choosing organics: If it’s local and organic, it’s a winner. Organic means no chemicals and local means very little carbon foot print to deliver it to you. Not to mention the food is picked riper and has more nutrition, not losing any vitamins on it’s long trip from California, Mexico or Florida.

But what about if it’s local and not organic? If it’s not on the dirty dozen list eat local when possible. That supports local farmers and decreases the carbon footprint. And don’t forget to ask your local farmers when they will have an organic option—they need to know it’s important.

The bottom line? If it’s on the dirty dozen list, or it’s dairy, go organic if you possibly can.

Avoid GMO
GMO stands for genetically modified organism–an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering, and used to create genetically modified foods. Those foods are the subject of a lot of controversy.

Why avoid them? To make a food genetically modified, food scientists use a virus to put a desirable gene from another species into the one they are modifying. Don’t want cabbage to freeze? Insert a gene from arctic fish so you don’t have to worry about early low temperatures. Unfortunately, we know very little about what that does to that food, and more importantly what it does to us when we eat it. It’s a big experiment…with viruses. With that in mind, our advice is that avoiding those foods is a wise choice.

Sadly, in Canada GMO is not labeled. However, if a product is certified organic, then one of the criteria for certification is it cannot be GMO. So organic is always the way to go to avoid these foods. The biggest GMO foods are soy, corn and canola.

Finding Local Food
Fortunately, with summer arriving, our local farmers’ markets are open and ready for business. Visit Collingwood and Creemore markets on Saturday mornings, and Stayner on Thursday evening.  Wasaga Beach farmers’ market will start July 2 and will be on Tuesdsay evenings, and Meaford Farmers’ market is Friday evenings. And don’t forget all our wonderful local farm stands!