I had conventional medical training, attending Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, traditional osteopathic internship in Cleveland, Ohio, and internal medicine residency in Knoxville, Tennessee. After completing residency, I joined the United States Air Force as an internist and then a flight surgeon. During that time, I actually had the audacity to tell my diabetic patients not to eat “too much” fruit for fear their blood sugars would increase. Thankfully none ever asked how much “too much” was, as I was simply parroting what I’d been taught, and had no idea! Flash forward 7 years of fast-paced living, and some pesky balance symptoms turned out to be cancer. I spent about 18 months recovering, and during that time, an important change in my career trajectory occurred. Several physician friends and I all stumbled on what turned out to be the field of lifestyle medicine at roughly the same time, exchanging information and tips we’d found, food hacks, ways to improve sleep, books to read, documentaries to watch. It was exhilarating – how did not a single one of us learn about this in medical school? We could finally advise our patients on how to stop or even reverse things we thought were incurable and irreversible, like diabetes and heart disease! It was unbelievably refreshing to treat the root causes of disease (hint: it’s not a deficiency of medications!) rather than mopping up its aftereffects. Lifestyle medicine is not for everyone. Change is hard. But if you want to break free from the medical mill and avoid the prescribing cascade, lifestyle medicine might just be for you too! And I promise, I will never tell you to eat less fruit now!
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