A daunting task in a system based on treating symptoms; not causes
Updated 2-19-13. We now have an MD Help page on this site. It is listed in the banner atop every page of the site.
I often hear from people who find it frustrating to deal with physicians who are uninformed when it comes to promoting health with plant-based nutrition. Just this week, I received this note:
Hello Mr. Hicks, I was wondering where I could find a whole foods, plant-based-diet-prescribing doctor like in the movie Forks over Knives.
I have never I have never liked taking medicine and I have never liked the idea of only treating the symptoms. I also have never been interested in eating meat. I just stopped drinking milk in the past two weeks. I have been told I am in excellent health but I don’t feel like I am. I would appreciate any information you could share with me and look forward to your e-mail.
My response. Dear Friend, I understand your frustration and want you to know that you’re not alone. With more people switching to plant-based eating, there will be more physicians in the future to help guide us. But for now, we must seek them out on our own.
As a member of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation board of directors, I want to tell you about our free “practitioner locator” service on the foundation website. You can find it under the “Practitioners” tab. Right now, there are a total of 110 professionals in the database and 33 of them are medical doctors. Other categories include naturopath, osteopath, and registered dietitian.
At this time, our foundation does not screen these practitioners, verify their services or endorse them specifically. In the future, we plan to provide a list of practitioners who have completed our certificate course in plant-based nutrition. So far, over 2000 people have taken the course and several hundred are medical doctors. This number is growing rapidly as our course is now approved for continuing medical education credits (CMEs). We’re not yet sure which of these physicians have incorporated plant-based nutrition as a service to their patients.
In the meantime, there are four medical doctors listed in the left column of the “Practitioner” page. The foundation knows these four individuals and strongly endorses all of them: Klaper, McDougall, Montgomery and O’shae. Click here to view the “Practitioners Page.
My recommendation is that you contact Dr. Michael Klaper. He offers phone consultations and may be able to refer you to doctors in your area. He may also be able to coach you on what questions you should ask when screening a local practitioner that you may have found through an internet search. Note that he is located in Santa Rosa, CA.
So why aren’t more doctors knowledgeable about promoting health? The root problem is the way our overall medical “system” operates. MDs are taught to diagnose problems, conduct procedures and prescribe drugs. But things are changing. If you’ve read our book, you know that we featured five medical doctors who learned about health-promoting plant-based nutrition on their own—long after medical school.
One of those doctors, John McDougall, operates a health clinic in Santa Rosa, CA. I recently featured him in a blog. Promoting health and saving money at Whole Foods Market Notice that Dr. McDougall is on the list of the four physicians who are endorsed by the foundation.
Another writer asks about fish oil for dry eye:
Dear Mr. Hicks, I have been on a plant based diet for 3 1/2 months now. I took your survey and came out on top. YEA! The main reason I switched was to improve my cardiovascular system and thus hopefully prevent diabetes and Alzheimers. Since the switch I have continued to learn about so many other benefits for myself and the world.
However, after a recent visit to my eye doctor, he recommended that I take fish oil for dry eye prevention. I told him that I was following a plant based diet so he consulted a fellow eye professional’s advice that is also a nutritionist. I also asked if hemp oil would achieve the same result.
Their conclusion was that a high grade fish oil would be the best choice. Not cod fish oil, but one with a 6/1 ratio of EPA/DHA. They stated that consistent high grade hemp oil was hard to find, so that would not be recommended. I have been taking Minami Nutrition MOREPA supercritical omega-3 fish oil 800 mg once a day.
Do you have any additional information on dry eye prevention? Thanks, Kathy
My response. Dear Kathy, Once again, as mentioned to the other reader above, I would start by calling Dr. Klaper’s office. His bio and contact information can be located on the Foundation website. My guess is that Dr. Klaper will caution you against the fish oil and may offer some other suggestions for you to try.
Three Dr. Klaper videos. Click here to view a post that contains videos of 5, 9 and 82 minutes. You may want to meet Dr. Klaper via video before placing your call.
MD Help. Since this blog was first published, I added an MD Help tab (where you can schedule telephone consultations with a “plant-savvy” medical doctor). That tab appears under the top banner on every page of this site.
One final idea. You might try submitting a “question” to Dr. Michael Greger on his website at nutritionfacts.org. Just now, I searched for information on fish oil and dry eye on his site but found none at the present. But if you send in a question, there is a good chance he’ll get to it eventually. He is a wealth of information. I hope this helps. Best, J. Morris Hicks
Closing personal story. The longer we eat a near optimal diet, the less frequent are our visits to primary care physicians. That’s because “vibrant health” doesn’t need much supervision.
Recently my son (38) visited a dermatologist for a little something on his face and went through the routine checklist with the receptionist before seeing the doctor. She asked if he still had the same primary care physician, Dr. Meade. He replied “yes.” She then said, “No you don’t—because he retired two years ago.”
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation