CARDIOLOGY, PRIMARY CARE AND NUTRITION

Blogpost: We Physicians need to Teach more and Tell Less

What is the role of a physician? We undergo the most extensive training in the sciences of the human body and are in training a minimum of seven years after college, with some fellowships extending that by another four years. We are taught to diagnose, educate, and treat the sick. However, if we know the etiology of the disease should we also not play an important role in prevention? Healthcare today is in a massive state of confusion. Who is steering the ship? What are our goals? In a good organization there are defined roles and responsibilities. As physicians, have we lost “the aim” of our purpose and goals? Do no harm. Decrease pain and suffering. “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure”..Hippocrates.
I have attended two International Nutrition Conferences this summer. The evidence is clear that a whole foods plant based diet can prevent and reverse many lifestyle diseases. I have heard theatrical presentations and testimonials that motivate and move, yet I have not seen those words put into action in the general medical practices. It appears that these pearls of wisdom are for the most part sitting on the bookshelves, and confined to the lecture halls of plant based physicians. The day to day message is still very similar. Instead of eat right and exercise it is eat plant based and exercise. Is that it?
We all know that does not work, so most are still left to retreat to the medicine cabinet to patch the broken patient. We know the the current medicines are not going to reverse disease but we keep doing the same thing hoping for a different outcome.
So how does this important message of reversing and preventing lifestyle diseases get out? Is there still just a little bit of fear that if this message does get out, physicians will not longer be needed? Would it not be great just to treat injuries and the rare infection? All other diseases banished? We could declare victory against fast foods and chemical laden food companies. Running shoe and bicycle sales would sore as people flocked to get outside and enjoy their health and wellness instead of reading People Magazine for hours as they await their doctor’s appointment to get prescription refills. As people were on the trails hiking and running they would reminisce about when people had heart disease.
As the members in our practice know we have found a better way. I believe as physicians we need to stop barking orders and start teaching and sharing our knowledge of the truth. The majority of our chronic diseases can be prevented and reversed through plant based nutrition. Fruits and vegetables in their original form and not powdered, blended, extracted, or creamed. We need to focus our resources on producing organically raised vegetables and fruits with distribution available to all instead of worrying prescription sales. We as physicians need to lead by example and actually eat this way. Education on how to implement these changes in our practices and our patients lives is of prime importance. We have had more success in the last year eliminating the need for medications and reversing lifestyle diseases by three nutrition classes available each week than I have ever seen with traditional office medicine. We cook together in class, and members get to taste the food. We go shopping together. We support each other. We discuss recipes.
Should I be embarrassed by doing that as a cardiologist and internist? My peers may say yes for now, but I believe it is a life changing secret that I cannot keep to myself.
It has been the best thing that I have ever done. There are no side effects of plant based nutrition, unless getting back to a lean body mass is something you fear. But changing a persons nutritional beliefs and practices does not occur with a pamphlet or ten minute office visit. There are many obstacles that are different for different people. Implementing plant based nutrition is not a lot different from tailoring a medication plan for a patient. We need to understand where someone is now nutritionally, physically, and emotionally before we can successfully help them to change. A medication requires swallowing a pill for the most part and forgetting about the illness. Changing one’s nutrition often changes one’s whole schedule of eating and food preparation as well as the social aspects. It is not the twenty-eight day diet plan and then back to drive through as usual dining. But we know as physicians for a very long time that it is the food that can heal, and the food that can cause disease so we must take the lead.
If you would like to discuss our practice and how you might join us, feel free to email me at jami@doctordulaney.com to set up a free consultation to learn more about how this practice might help you reach your health and wellness goals.

7 Comments
  1. Reply
    Donna

    Powerful blog putting yourself out there, AGAIN! WFPB doctors will be our super heroes fighting off diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer WITHOUT prescriptions. These doctors will not wear capes but instead will wear gym shoes, have kitchens in their office and save people with their hidden power (that everyone can have if they were just shown the way) that fruits and vegetables will save you from the evils of most diseases. These doctors will lead by example, motivate and empower us to take charge of our own health——–OH WAIT that is YOU!!!!
    Keep fighting the good fight. You are making a difference and people are starting to pay attention.

    • Reply
      Dr. Dulaney

      Thank you!

  2. Reply
    jmcrossfl@gmail.com

    Another great article! Thank you Dr. Dulaney.

    • Reply
      Dr. Dulaney

      Thank you

  3. Reply
    Tina Johnson

    Thank you Dr. Dulaney. You have encouraged me through your podcasts to stay on track and stop the excuses and small exceptions to my plant based diet. After three years eating vegetarian then changing to plant based 2 years, I have a cholesterol report under 200! Stopped allowing exceptions around family gatherings and went from 303 to 171, got rid of 15 pounds of excess fat and feel great.
    Look forward to each podcast you record and can’t wait to hear of your latest ultra triathlon in Tennessee. I appreciate your no excuses plan and follow through with plant based recipes and group training. I have decided to check my cholesterol more often to stay on track. When I hear of another young 45 year old heart surgery patient I know my change in diet is easy compared to recovery and ultimate repeat surgery if diet and change is not considered. Thank you again for teaching, listening, learning and encouraging us to see a change that does work! Appreciate your garden updates too! Tina

    • Reply
      Dr. Dulaney

      Thank you. Nice work!

    • Reply
      Dr. Dulaney

      Thank you

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