Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Un-naturopathic naturopathic doctor?

When the topic arises, a patient will always ask me, "Do you drink coffee?" And I want to answer truthfully, but at the same time I want to set a good example. I think there comes a time when you just have to be honest and hope that your patients realize that you're not perfect.

But I've heard this before... you go to your family doctor who is a smoker, or who is overweight, and you think "This guy is suppose to be my doctor and help me be healthy, and yet, he/she is not healthy him/herself? What a hypocrite!" Seeing as how one of the naturopathic principles is "Doctor as Teacher," I don't want to be a hypocrite. So where do we draw that line?

Yes, okay, I love my coffee in the morning. I don't drink pots of it, but my one mug in the morning is what gets me going first thing. It also helps with those morning workouts. I don't fill it with garbage sweeteners and milk... I have my almond milk and 1/2 tsp honey - but here I go again trying to justify it to myself. And really I should be admitting to that occasional extra mug that I'll drink in the afternoon if I'm having a super rotten day...

A naturopathic doctor once told me that "One cup of coffee is a tonic, and more than that is toxic." I try to keep this in mind, but really, we're human, and coffee is addictive. So I think my internal struggle is, (and I wonder if we all feel this way) how do I tell my patients to do something if I don't follow it myself?

Maybe that's why I work so hard at keeping in shape, eating healthy and trying to maintain a healthy mental status - which is a whole other struggle!

This program is so un-naturopathic. The hours are irregular and varied, we're stressed all the time with our workload, we're given group assignments at the most inconvenient times (well, in my opinion), we're all sleep deprived, and trying to cram in as much information as we can without our brains exploding. Meditation? I can't get my brain to stop thinking! Yoga? Haven't been to a class in weeks (probably more like months). Home-cooked meal every night? Who has the time to go grocery shopping all the time?! Maybe that's why I'm so in love with my slow cooker... because finding time to cook dinner is like trying to find an extra hour in a 24-hour day... and truly that only happens once a year for daylight savings time.

The one thing we have going for us is knowing how to take care of ourselves when things go wrong. I wonder how many of us CCNM students are on an adaptogen right now? How many supplement with more than the recommended dose of vitamin D per day? How many of us use homeopathic remedies when we're ridden with stress? And don't forget about those cold socks and steam inhalation when we're sick. We do a lot for ourselves, but how much of that is caused by this program in the first place?

When does trying so hard to be healthy become unhealthy?

My hope is that a patient will respect me more for being honest with them, but I guess only time (and experience) will tell.