10

votes

Should I keep my doctor or just move on? (Update)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I like my doctor as a person. With non-dietary issues, she does pretty well; I've had her for twelve years, and she's always been a good listener, and diligent. She's also a pretty popular doctor, so her advice influences a lot of people.

The dietary issue, however, has been a source of struggle between us for a long time, starting from the first time I did Atkins years ago and she talked me out of it (sigh). She's a pescatarian, deeply committed to the low-fat, whole-grain paradigm, and I am more than ready to interview a couple of other doctors in my area who are reputed to be paleo/lc friendly.

But I did go see her yesterday -- one last time, I said to myself -- to have a regular checkup, and to get blood work done to satisfy my own curiosity, without having to go through finding a new doctor for just that. I hadn't seen her in over three years, and I weigh a good 70 pounds less now. Moreover, my labs are stellar (as I suspected they would be, based just on how good I feel). I don't think they've ever been this "perfect," for whatever that's worth, in my entire adult life.

She spent about an hour with me, which I'm sure is some kind of record, and it was mostly because my way of eating appalled her. Despite the stunning improvements (without going into my health history, I was getting nothing but sicker in the last fifteen years or so) in my health, energy, appearance, and yes, the freakin' numbers, she is horrified, and begged me to stop this crazy nonsense. My repeated attempts to -- calmly, with good humor -- relate my history with various diets, and to point out my improved health, were met with rapid, almost panicked talking, all of it variations on the red meat = death mantra. (Well, there was a little bit of vegetables = holiness mantra, too, lol.)

I know it seems like a no-brainer to just move on, especially since the visit itself stressed me out a bit, but I also found myself hoping that I might have an opportunity to be an example of a patient who does well on not just a meat-based diet, but an all-meat diet (quelle horreur!). I'm plenty calloused enough that I won't be swayed by her mantra recitations, and I'm just twisted enough to enjoy messing with her complacency about red meat.

Plus, I live in a crunchy town, with many awful-looking vegetarians (even she looks pasty and squishy, despite being thin) and junk-foodarians, and her waiting room was full of overweight, pale, unhealthy-looking folks. Folks who looked a lot like I used to, as a matter of fact.

So I wonder: Am I just creating unnecessary stress for myself? Should I get over trying to be Crusader Rabbit?

On the other hand: Do any of you have any cool "doctor conversion" stories? Are you yourself perhaps a converted doctor? What do you think, and what would you do?

Update: I just "interviewed" a new doctor today, and she's wonderful. She listened to me respectfully, said intelligent things, and asked smart questions. Despite being another vegetarian (lol; Eugene's full of them), she was quite supportive of my way of eating based on the results I've had, rather than hitting the panic button like my former doc. And -- bonus points -- she's independent, and has no corporate lawyers or glorified insurance agents telling her how to practice.

Long story short: I hadn't realized how much stress I was creating for myself by keeping a doctor who was inattentive, disrespectful, and ideologically blinkered. I recommend that anyone who's unhappy with their current medical team shop around as much as possible.

And thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. I really wrestled with this issue, and your insights helped me make the move.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:35 AM

That's awesome, Tikita. I'll be interested in how things go for you healthwise, if you're planning to continue to post here at PH.

077e2955bdba2cc5dc504ee005006c23

(20)

on September 30, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Thanks so much!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Tikita, her name is Dr. Theresa House at the Santa Clara Medical Clinic. Good luck!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 29, 2011
at 06:37 PM

When I told my doctor I ate 300g of beef a day, he almost felt from his chair. He said "fish is unlimited but cut out as much of the red meat". I said "okay" while thinking about the tasty hamburger I was gonna eat for dinner that day. Since then it hasn't been necessary to see a doctor yet, but I'll never talk about diet with him again.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 21, 2011
at 01:28 PM

Thanks, y'all. I'm pretty happy with her.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 21, 2011
at 07:14 AM

Way to go finding a new Doc!

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 08, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'll keep that in mind. Where's his office?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 08, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yes; that's the response my ex-doc should have had -- if it ain't broken, don't "fix" it. But sadly, my actual health status never entered into the discussion. Thanks for your reply.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 08, 2011
at 01:34 PM

Those are some impressive numbers, Aegix! Great story.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 08, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Great update; glad you found your doc!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 08, 2011
at 08:49 AM

You're in Boulder, right? My doctor, Paul Berger, supports paleo, if you're still looking.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 08, 2011
at 08:46 AM

Yay on the update! What a relief!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 16, 2011
at 05:27 AM

Thanks, Dexter. I did look at those. And my insurance company's given me two names of Eugene doctors who are supposedly lc/paleo friendly, so I'll be calling them.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 16, 2011
at 05:26 AM

It's true that doctors don't learn much nutrition in med school, although I'm not sure it would be much better if they did, considering what passes for "nutritional science," lol. But yeah, I think the main issue is potential conversion vs. not being listened to.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 11:39 PM

@Thomas, that would be delightful. We could plot some pot-stirrin' and paradigm-disturbin'.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Yes, the more time goes by since the appointment, the more I see how unrealistic my little fantasy is, lol.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 15, 2011
at 05:03 AM

Thanks Rose! Best Wishes - Eric

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:54 AM

I've got two names, and I'll be interviewing them soon, I think. I'm glad you found a good doc, Eric.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:54 AM

Love the Minor Deity paradigm; it really fits.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:53 AM

Good point, Vrimj; she was definitely unarmed, which isn't really how you want your doctor to be.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:41 AM

Wow. Excellent observation about keeping up with research, and good story about the gene test.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:40 AM

I think this is very true, and I think being human, they must tend to justify those prescriptions with a heavy dose of rationalization.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:51 AM

Sounds like my doctor, except she doesn't keep pushing if I flatly say no.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:49 AM

Right, I meant Eugene! I'm going to come up there one of these days and see you.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:28 AM

Rhubarb, I don't have any experience with Chinese medicine (although my husband swears by acupuncture), but it must be great to have a real conversation with a doctor, regardless of their paradigm.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:26 AM

That sounds lovely, instead of fighting. It's true that I rarely trust my doctor's advice; I do more or less as Thomas and miked said, and go to her for meds and minor procedures (and far fewer meds these days, hallelujah). I can see the appeal of actually discussing your health, rather than getting lectured about it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:24 AM

Thomas, I'm in Eugene, which may be worse. I like your attitude, though. Clearly, we're both, erm, *paradigm* disturbers. :)

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 15, 2011
at 12:21 AM

I have a WAP family doctor and I love him. It really makes a tremendous difference to have a doctor who is on board with what works for you. I love being able to really discuss my diet and troubleshoot with someone who isn't going to robot-regurgitate all of the same old dogma. We actually get things done and I trust his advice, god forbid.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Besides what other options do you have in Ashland, Oregon. There's you, Ray Peat and everybody else is a granolarian, right? :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Depends on what you use your Doctor for. Is it just to get periodic blood tests? In that case, stick with her if she gets the tests that you are interested in. Don't get stressed out. Have fun dicking with her paradigm. Next time you visit with her, I advise you tote in a bottle of coconut oil (or grass fed butter....can't remember if you are using either) and be eating from it with a spoon. Explain to her that you missed breakfast and are having a little snack to tide you over.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:11 PM

Good for you for standing up to your (ex) doc. I guess what got me hoping in her office (beyond what I admit was a slight "nyah-nyah" impulse) was that she kept saying, "Well, everyone's different..." with a sort of stunned look, like she was actually *thinking* about why my results might be so counter-intuitive (to her). But the Zen counsel, I think, would be to release my attachment to any outcome. So, good call.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:08 PM

Thanks, Abbie, for your story. It's possible my question rambled on too long before getting to the point, lol, which is: Should I try to convert my doctor, or is that a fool's errand? I do have other options, but I have this silly hope that I can be at least one data point assaulting her cognitive dissonance, ya know?

  • 3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

    asked by

    (11996)
  • Views
    2.6K
  • Last Activity
    1283D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

16 Answers

best answer

8
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on June 14, 2011
at 10:22 PM

First, you're not going to get a doctor conversion.

I posted something similar this afternoon on the pediatrician thread. Don't worry about switching unless you don't like the person and they don't listen to you. I'd say treat your doctor like you treat your car mechanic. Use them for acute problems, that's what they're good for. If they order the tests you ask for or give you the prescriptions you need, great. I don't even tell my doc how I eat anymore. I went in for something right after I lost 30 pounds on paleo and he noticed how good I looked and asked how I did it. I just said "eating right and exercising". It made him happy, didn't get into any fights, and there's no reason for him to be concerned.

The reason my wife and I just switched was that they wouldn't take "no" for an answer on the OGTT and I wasn't going to allow it. The doc played the "you don't love your baby" card and everything, so we just left and switched that day.

As you know, since you're a paleohacker, doctors don't know everything, they aren't magically super educated and have the answer to everything. Only you can take responsibly for your life, not a doctor. They have their place, but they're not as important as most people think. So as long as they're not getting in the way of your life, don't worry about switching, but as soon as they're causing more problems for you than they're solving, switch.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:11 PM

Good for you for standing up to your (ex) doc. I guess what got me hoping in her office (beyond what I admit was a slight "nyah-nyah" impulse) was that she kept saying, "Well, everyone's different..." with a sort of stunned look, like she was actually *thinking* about why my results might be so counter-intuitive (to her). But the Zen counsel, I think, would be to release my attachment to any outcome. So, good call.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 08, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'll keep that in mind. Where's his office?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 08, 2011
at 08:49 AM

You're in Boulder, right? My doctor, Paul Berger, supports paleo, if you're still looking.

6
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:37 PM

I would change. Not because of the dietary mismatch, but because of her lack of respect for your authority as the final arbitrator of your own health care.

Someone who fought that hard without facts is not someone I would be willing to continue to put in a position of authority over my care.

I simply wouldn't trust her to not just decide what was best rather them ask me when and if choices in treatment were available

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:53 AM

Good point, Vrimj; she was definitely unarmed, which isn't really how you want your doctor to be.

4
Medium avatar

on June 15, 2011
at 02:04 AM

Why stay with someone, and pay them and pay into their ego, who clearly doesn't listen to you? You healed yourself. There's got to be someone else out there who can teach you something so they actually earn their high salary. Someone above wrote something about her not having respect for you as the final say in your health and I agree. I have been in your shoes thinking I am going to influence a M.D. but whatever influence you are going to have has been achieved already. It requires a layering effect with them and a lot of mainstream press. They are very close-minded, especially the popular ones. In a doctor patient relationship, what is appropriate is them getting paid for helping you achieve good health, not the patient comes in and teaches the doctor and the doctor gets paid! How exhausting. Think of yourself first, they will learn when all their patients leave them, that's the best way to teach them. The truth carries it's own weight, the MD (minor deity) paradigm should go the way of the dodo bird, where they are worshiped by everyone. Even people who don't know about nutrition are starting to hate their doctors b/c they don't get anyone better, they just make you worse!!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:54 AM

Love the Minor Deity paradigm; it really fits.

4
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on June 15, 2011
at 12:38 AM

I've found an excellent practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncture and physiotherapist all wrapped into one. I've started seeing him for the minor ailments I might see a GP for (or more likely just don't worry about because of the stress in seeing a GP).

The experience is night and day, compared to the 5-7min consultation I might have with a GP where they quickly as possible prescribe something to help the symptoms, my Chinese Med guy spends 30 - 60min with me and the focus is on finding the cause of the issue and fixing that with a holistic approach.

I won't be going back to see a GP unless I have a very serious issue.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:28 AM

Rhubarb, I don't have any experience with Chinese medicine (although my husband swears by acupuncture), but it must be great to have a real conversation with a doctor, regardless of their paradigm.

3
254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407

(822)

on July 08, 2011
at 12:22 PM

I had a doc that seemed to be going through the motions in one of my first annual checkups with him. It wasn't until I (politely) argued with him his BMI chart - and more importantly, his reliance on it as a health indicator, was BS (I'm 250-255-lbs at 11-12% BF). It wasn't until I showed him that "big science-y words no scare Aegix" that he seemed to take me seriously and dropped the robot routine. YMMV.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 08, 2011
at 01:34 PM

Those are some impressive numbers, Aegix! Great story.

3
612c09622d41fa959953aae0c8ee86c8

(90)

on June 14, 2011
at 10:39 PM

I switched from regular family practice MD where I never saw the Doc for more than 10 minutes, to a nautropath who diagnosed me with gluten intolerance and suggested WAP diet on my first visit. After years with multiple, progressive health problems, I know have been gluten free for 3 months and paelo/WAP for the last month, doing great. I'd recommend finding a naturopath. You will get more one on one time and their philosophy is to assist the body in healing itself, with nutrition as a primary means. They can also prescribe any pharmaceuticals when needed, so there would be no reason to stay with current doc who's philosophy you disagree with.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 15, 2011
at 12:21 AM

I have a WAP family doctor and I love him. It really makes a tremendous difference to have a doctor who is on board with what works for you. I love being able to really discuss my diet and troubleshoot with someone who isn't going to robot-regurgitate all of the same old dogma. We actually get things done and I trust his advice, god forbid.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 14, 2011
at 11:08 PM

Thanks, Abbie, for your story. It's possible my question rambled on too long before getting to the point, lol, which is: Should I try to convert my doctor, or is that a fool's errand? I do have other options, but I have this silly hope that I can be at least one data point assaulting her cognitive dissonance, ya know?

2
E532db32a9aa9c1b37fda35d1c72c074

(220)

on June 15, 2011
at 12:13 PM

I wouldn't blame the doctor for her lack of nutrition knowledge--it is not something that is generally taught extensively in medical school. She is probably more focused on keeping up with research on other clinical issues, and much of her nutrition knowledge probably comes from her own personal experience.

I think the issue here is that she is not open-minded and seems unwilling to listen. On any front, you want your physician to hear what you are saying and respond thoughtfully. That would concern me more than her stance on this one issue.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 16, 2011
at 05:26 AM

It's true that doctors don't learn much nutrition in med school, although I'm not sure it would be much better if they did, considering what passes for "nutritional science," lol. But yeah, I think the main issue is potential conversion vs. not being listened to.

2
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:08 AM

Personally? I wouldn't bother being crusader rabbit. It's not so much as the disagreeing with paleo, per se; rather, it's not keeping up with the research. If she's that far behind on this one issue--and there's plenty in mainstream medical literature--is she also behind on other stuff?

To relate a personal story, I have vitiligo, which has been getting worse since I've been paleo, and some other stuff going on as well, which also started around the same time. My naturoapth decided to run the MTHFR gene test. Totally new, totally on the cutting edge. And guess what? I have a polymorphism, which means I don't methylate folate. Which means I have elevated levels of homocysteine. Which explains why stuff has been getting worse on paleo, because I'm eating more protein than ever. And it means that I can take a methylfolate capsule and (keep your fingers crossed for me) address all my issues. How many doctors would put the dots together? Probably not that many. Would yours have? If so, keep her. If not ...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:41 AM

Wow. Excellent observation about keeping up with research, and good story about the gene test.

2
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on June 15, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Move on.

I have a WAP family doctor and I love him. It really makes a tremendous difference to have a doctor who is on board with what works for you. I love being able to really discuss my diet and troubleshoot with someone who isn't going to robot-regurgitate all of the same old dogma. We actually get things done and I trust his advice, god forbid.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:26 AM

That sounds lovely, instead of fighting. It's true that I rarely trust my doctor's advice; I do more or less as Thomas and miked said, and go to her for meds and minor procedures (and far fewer meds these days, hallelujah). I can see the appeal of actually discussing your health, rather than getting lectured about it.

1
077e2955bdba2cc5dc504ee005006c23

on October 14, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Rose,

I cannot thank you enough for your referral to Dr. House. I had an appt. today and I've never been to a doctor who listened and wanted to work with me. She ordered all the tests I asked for, looked over the one I'd already done on my own and agreed with my thoughts on that test and ordered the one I need next. I'm so excited and relieved that I've got someone who's now on my side and wants me to get healthy!

Thanks again,

Tikita

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:35 AM

That's awesome, Tikita. I'll be interested in how things go for you healthwise, if you're planning to continue to post here at PH.

1
077e2955bdba2cc5dc504ee005006c23

on September 27, 2011
at 10:49 PM

Please, please consider letting me know which doctor you interviewed with and whether you're happy with her now. I'm in Eugene too and MUST change doctors. My current doctor has basically told me that I'm ridiculous for not taking statins and that I'm going to drop dead soon because I won't follow her advice on diet or take drugs for diabetes. Thanks in advance.

Tiki

077e2955bdba2cc5dc504ee005006c23

(20)

on September 30, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Thanks so much!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Tikita, her name is Dr. Theresa House at the Santa Clara Medical Clinic. Good luck!

1
E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 08, 2011
at 01:51 PM

This is your key statement -

"I hadn't realized how much stress I was creating for myself by keeping a doctor who was ... DISRESPECTFUL ... "

It's not your job to convert her. It IS hers to provide opinions and then guide you based on your actual health status. My doc doesn't understand me either, but even though my TC is over 280 right now, my trigs are 45 and my HDL is 99, so he just says, "Hey, it works for you, see you in 6 months."

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on July 08, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yes; that's the response my ex-doc should have had -- if it ain't broken, don't "fix" it. But sadly, my actual health status never entered into the discussion. Thanks for your reply.

1
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on June 16, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Check out Jimmy Moore's low carb friendly docs. There is one in Salem.

http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com/

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 16, 2011
at 05:27 AM

Thanks, Dexter. I did look at those. And my insurance company's given me two names of Eugene doctors who are supposedly lc/paleo friendly, so I'll be calling them.

1
Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on June 15, 2011
at 08:14 PM

Get a new doc. Seriously, it's one thing to have a debate with your doctor, but to be actively shamed is NOT COOL on any spectrum! No matter what you're eating or doing to yourself, outright shaming is not a good response.

Frankly, being a type 1 diabetic, I wound up with a passel of doctors. My endo doesn't really care what I eat, so long as my labs improve, and my regular physician (who I see for antibiotics when I need them) doesn't even ask.

You WILL NOT convert her. You'll just stress each other out.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Yes, the more time goes by since the appointment, the more I see how unrealistic my little fantasy is, lol.

1
Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:04 AM

Unfortunately, MDs are under heavy pressure to prescribe conventional meds.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:40 AM

I think this is very true, and I think being human, they must tend to justify those prescriptions with a heavy dose of rationalization.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:35 AM

Move on however find a better doctor first :-)

I selected my doc by finding the best hospital in the area and then finding a doc that admitted patients to that hospital. I also looked for one specializing in Internal Medicine.

My doctor has helped me a lot with a heart condition (Afib) and with non-alcoholic fatty liver. I had no idea I had fatty liver.

However exercise and diet solved the liver issue and is helping with the AFIB.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 15, 2011
at 05:03 AM

Thanks Rose! Best Wishes - Eric

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 15, 2011
at 04:54 AM

I've got two names, and I'll be interviewing them soon, I think. I'm glad you found a good doc, Eric.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!