When I first started this business, my model was designed around going to doctors’ offices to provide them samples of our meals and load them up with information about how are meals are diabetic-friendly, heart-healthy, and the like. It seemed a natural fit since many patients who discover they’re pre-diabetic or exhibiting a trend toward hypertension and are told by the doctor to change eating habits don’t know exactly what to do in order to meet their new requirements. With the doctor handing them one of our business cards, the patient places one phone call to us and voilá: problem solved. Even if just at the onset of this dietary change, as they accustom themselves to low sodium and whole grain carbohydrates, Eat Well Foods was an obvious remedy.
So I contacted scores of doctors’ offices and prepared dozens upon dozens of in-services for doctors and their staff, giving away hundreds – if not thousands – of lunches for the opportunity to get the word out that we exist. The response from the staff and medical personnel was nothing short of electrifying. Great concept, wonderful execution, yep… absolutely, we’re going to tell ALL our patients about you! Well, one year later, and after exactly ZERO referrals from doctors for all my efforts, I stopped, stumped. Now stumped is not a word that sits well with me, particularly where it concerns my livelihood. So, I invited one of the cardiologists over to my house for dinner, and queried why she wasn’t referring my service, why not one of her twelve associates with whom she shared her practice was referring me either. She answered with great calm, “Because people don’t come to me for dietary solutions, they come to me for medical solutions. Were I to recommend your food, I would be assuming a shared liability were something to happen to one of my patients owing to your meals, and my malpractice insurance is already astronomically high, thank you very much.”
Not so easily dismissed, I pressed on. “But then why do you tell them that they need to change their diet in the first place?”
“Because they do.” “Yes, but then you’re not willing to tell them what to do, to offer them a simple solution.” “That’s right; I’m not. If they want dietary advice, they should consult a dietitian or nutritionist. I do tell them that much.”
“So I should be talking to dietitians and not to cardiologists, huh?”
“You catch on quick…”
I was floored by her answer; it was unbelievable! No… really, her answer was unbelievable because in truth, her answer was a lie. Oh sure, she would be assuming a liability by recommending Eat Well Foods, but no more so than when she and her associates allowed Eat Well to serve every single person in their shared office lunch on three different occasions. Imagine the ramifications of some pathogen finding its way into the food and sickening or even killing a percentage of the personnel working in her office. (It sends shudders of fear up my spine to even contemplate such an event.) Is her concern for herself and her staff less important than her concern for her patients? I think not.
While it is true that people do indeed go to doctors for medical solutions to their problems, it’s also true that doctors thrive on giving people medications that treat or abate the manifestations of the illness, but nothing that cures it. A Type 2 pre-diabetic patient is typically an overweight middle-aged person who can eradicate the onset of diabetes with nothing but a change in diet: portion control, fiber-rich carbohydrates, larger vegetable servings, elimination of fried foods, low sodium. Those five elements will result in weight loss which will dramatically reduce cellular insulin resistance, which will allow the glucose to be absorbed by the cells, which is perfectly normal metabolic function, no diabetes to be seen for miles on any horizon. Throw in a daily dose of light to moderate exercise, and diabetes will remain something to be spoken about but never experienced.
Of course, this is not to say that diabetics who are currently being treated for their disease should just adapt this healthy lifestyle and throw away all their medicines in one fell swoop. Au contraire, the incorporation of this lifestyle should be done with careful monitoring and adjustments to insulin intake as daily glucose levels indicate. Lessening of insulin intake for Type-2 diabetes is generally associated with weight loss and healthy, sustainable weight loss occurs at a rate of 1 – 2 pounds per week, so the reduction of insulin dosages will be very gradual.
Every doctor in the world knows that diet is an effective means of reining in the prevalence of diabetes, but they’re not interested in curtailing it. Stunning news! Doctors Don’t Really Give A Damn About Your Health; their main concern is their own. Okay, on some level they do, obviously; they didn’t become engineers or lawyers, two professions that require much less study than medicine. But then the reality set in as they began their practice, and they realized that they didn’t go to medical school to tell you how to cure your diabetes; they went there so they could write prescriptions for Metformin, insulin, and the like. Recent estimates provided by the American Diabetes Association place the cost of treating diabetes at two hundred and forty-five BILLION dollars per year ($245,000,000,000.00)! And that’s just for medicine, syringes, test strips, and monitors. Were we to curb the incidence of Type-2 diabetes with something as simple as diet, begin reversing the trend of this chronic self-induced disease, over twenty-five percent of hospitals in the United States would close due to lack of business. Diabetes is a leading cause of macular degeneration and blindness, heart disease, limb amputation, and renal disease. Hospital beds are filled with patients suffering from diseases wrought by diabetes, and those associated costs aren’t figured into the $245,000,000,00.00. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to ascertain those costs, but they fall comfortably into the trillions of dollars!
We’re facing an epidemic spawned by the processed food industry and championed by the unfaltering support of the pharmaceutical companies and their cohorts, the doctors. Misinformation abounds about the dreadful diet to which one needs to adhere in order to rid him- or herself of diabetes, when in truth no such horror exists. It’s a matter of exchanging the Big Macs and French fries for consciously prepared Beef Bourguignon with baked sweet potatoes; the latter winning a taste comparison hands-down every time!
It’s always challenging to change habits, even deleterious ones. Fear of change is the strongest emotion to overcome, one that stops people from initiating a transformation. Yet the best kept secret of more wholesome dietary choices and losing that unwanted weight is how much better one feels, how much happier one is now that his/her life doesn’t seem to be spinning out of control. How uplifting for a man to see that he’s finally losing that belly fat, for a woman that excess fat of the buttocks and thighs, not to mention the satisfaction one receives when hearing, “Wow, you really look so good! You’ve lost some weight, haven’t you?” If further inspiration is needed, keep in mind that no matter how difficult you imagine the change to healthy to be, it’s not nearly so difficult as facing a future where every step one takes is excruciatingly painful due to neuropathy of the feet brought on by diabetes.
The debate has been fast and furious concerning national health care and its effect on the quality of medical care available now and into the future. The argument though would be much quieter if healthy diet were mandated to the citizenry because it would cost significant trillions of dollars less per year with the elimination diabetes and its corollaries. The debate would likely turn into one about the right of government to wield such power as to infringe upon our right to choose what we eat and when we eat it. Still, it paints an interesting picture of the future if unhealthy food were taxed on a level similar to tobacco because of its harmful effect on the physiology of the nation, as the populace in general pays less for health care, while the offenders bear the brunt of their decisions. Soon, only the really wealthy would be able to afford fast food. How quaint.
Still, the unmitigated truth is that if people care so little about the state of their health that they’re willing to eat at their nearest fast-food restaurant, knowing full well how harmful consumption of this food is, willing to inject themselves with insulin multiple times a day just so they can continue to eat deep fried foods and consume upwards of 3,000 calories per day, willfully destroy the perfection that is their bodies by ingesting toxins disguised as food, then really, why should the doctors care? Blaming the doctors for the obesity epidemic is like blaming the teachers for the unruliness of the children who are not taught proper behaviour at home.