I recently heard a very successful ND, Dr. Jason Lee, give a talk about his time at CCNM, his practice, and his passion for this field of medicine. I desperately wish I had had a way to record this talk so that I could have shared it with all of you as Dr. Lee did an excellent job of reassuring the audience how important naturopathic medicine and doctors are to the seriously flawed health care system in Canada. I also wish I had a copy of his talk so that if I ever question my decision to enter this profession, I could listen to him speak and feel inspired and motivated all over again. :)
Alas, there are no copies of his talk (but there will be one in the future as Dr. Lee is talking at an upcoming TED talk! www.ted.com). In the meantime, here are some interesting things from his talk...
- The word doctor actually means "teacher". Dr. Lee explained that is the duty of NDs to educate their patients about their health. Doctors, contrary to popular belief, doctors are not healers. It is the human body that does the healing. Naturopathic doctors are simply around to teach their patients how to treat their body so that it heals itself.
- Dr. Lee thinks we need to do away with "kid" food. Who decided that kids should be fed Frosted Flakes, Fruit Roll-ups, and Alphagetti? Why is it that so many junky foods are designed for children? When children go from breast milk, to formula, to packaged baby food, to sugary "kid" food, to fast food, it is NO WONDER that they have trouble liking asparagus, whole-grain breads, and papayas. When you've eaten "dessert" for the majority of your life, it must be hard to start eating "adult" foods. Dr. Lee thinks that healthy "adult" foods should be given to kids as soon as they can chew. I personally think it is unfortunate that so many people think they have a free-ride when they are young because they have a good metabolism and can thus eat anything without gaining weight. All I can say is that eating-well is not just about weight (I have heard about very skinny people with high cholesterol and inactive gallbladders because of their poor diets) and that research has shown that heart attacks in people in their forties and fifties were the result of a lifetime of damage being done to their arteries (with damage starting as early as their teen years!).
- Dr. Lee said that getting people to stop smoking is very tricky. For one, you can't scare smokers into thinking that they will die if they keep smoking (there are already death warnings on cigarette boxes that obviously don't work!). He said that it is important to realize that smoking is not a disease, but is a SYMPTOM of something else. Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the disease/root-of-the-problem and not just fixing the symptoms/discomforts. When treating a smoker, the doctor has to find out what is the bigger problem; what is causing the smoker to smoke. It is the stress, depression, pain, anxiety, trauma, frustration, that needs to be treated, and once the main issue is addressed, the smoking won't be needed as a coping mechanism.
- Dr. Lee talked said that he is very intense with patients. He is very honest with them about what they are doing wrong and what NEEDS to be done to improve their health. Sometimes he said patients come back to him without any improvements to their health because they didn't follow any of his recommendations (for example, when told to give up dairy, a patient may have said "but it is just too hard to give up cheese"). His response to these patients: "Life isn't easy!". My interpretation of his brutally honest remark is that yes, good health isn't handed to us on a silver platter; you have to work to be healthy.
I have never felt so reassured that I am the right profession. THANK YOU, Dr. Lee!