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As many of you readers may cross-read alternative medicine and diet books like I do, I'm sure you may have come across Jordan Rubin's book, "The Maker's Diet." In a lot of ways, I really do like his book until he begins to criticize other diets (including the BTD). The purpose of healing is to integrate, not compete, in my opinion. But his book does have some very valid points that I believe allopathic (as well as other naturopathic) docs should consider.
Another one of my favorite "competition-based" alternative medicine conversations I have encountered was just a few days ago. There is this Ayurvedic spa I've been eyeing for a couple of years; it seems very comprehensive but it's very expensive. I finally got the balls to call/email about a reservation. I have had six days off work so I figured, why the heck not? Well, this place was booked this week but the person who explained the vague use of Ayurveda to me was very defensive when I explained that I used the BTD as my "base diet and health philosophy" and then work other concepts around it, including Ayurved. I explained that I am a pharmacist hoping to reach out further into the field of naturopathic medicine and hope to go back to school one day in hopes of entering the ND field. As I was barely able to get a word in edgewise, she barely let me tell her that I do know quite a bit about the doshas and find Ayurvedic philosophy valuable based on what I've read (which is why I decided to make a reservation in the first place!!!). Her reaction to my following the BTD was all about how their treatment is more "whole" than other treatments and because it's so ancient, its wisdom is superior to anything else out there.
OK, this made me roll my eyes a bit (too bad this person could not see past the phone, haha) because I think that diet and medicine are like religion. Not only are they like religion, they are part of religion the way religion is part of diet. You see, where you come from on this globe, whether you are Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist has a lot to do with the reality of your culture. In order to feel grounded in society, most people need a base. Christianity is my base. But to exclude the wisdom of other religious sects is ignorant. If Christians and any other group of religious groups were to take every word written as exclusive truth (and unfortunately, many do), it would be a much more violent world than it already is.
And, OK, while this Ayurvedic philosophy is ancient and valuable, what is more ancient than BLOOD? Very few mutations have come about to change blood. While it's not the only factor in health, it's a very big one. It keeps us alive.
Anyway, off my soapbox and back to this Maker's Diet book. One of the most profound thoughts in the book is that foreign objects should not be placed in the body, including contacts in the eye. This is an interesting concept to me because I wear contacts most of the time. I didn't usually wear them much to work, but then Dr. Toomey hooked me up with a pair of CIBA Vision Day and Night contacts. They are silicone-based so they don't dry out as quickly as other materials and allow more oxygen into the eye so you can sleep with them at night. Because I'm very, very near-sighted, it's been a little weird waking up to clear vision. In fact, at first it was actually hard to sleep simply because my brain, over the years, has sub-consciously associated *clear vision* with *wakefulness* and *blurry vision* with *somnolence.* Also, I think deep down the concept of putting something in the eyes IS not innate for people. At first, it's very uncomfortable and scary, then it becomes routine.
I suffered the most horrible corneal abrasion in 1999 due to a combination of factors: staying up too late with contacts in the night before, then flying (dryness) to Texas for a pharmacy conference, then being very tired, fell asleep in the middle of a movie wearing these contacts. This was probably the worst pain I've ever experienced. Well, there have been other bad pains, dental surgery, high school dysmenorrhea, and other moments, but I think this one sort of takes the cake.
My point is, like some sort of half-Buddhist, half-Monotheistic philosophy of "desire leads to suffering," my desire to look "pretty" without glasses led to this corneal abrasion.
My eyes are much healthier now. The technology of contacts, of course, is better today than it was back then, but the other wonderful thing I discovered was the AOSept line of contact solutions. An optometrist in Uptown Minneapolis that I used to see before my HMO changed and I had to switch docs told me that it doesn't make sense to put all these chemicals (enzymes, cleaners, disinfectants, etc.) directly into the eye and most of the "no rub/3-in-1" products on the market today do just that but claim they are safe. Ever since I turned away from these products and let the hydrogen peroxide process clean my contacts and leave them ready to wear the next morning with saline freshness, also using pressurized preservative-free saline solution for rinsing, my eyes feel much better today.
Still, I'm apprehensive about screwing with nature too much. Is it really a good idea to wear contacts for 30 days straight without taking them out to let the eye breathe?
Another "don't mess with nature" concept near and dear to my heart as a pharmacist is that of the birth control methods that allow you to skip periods. In college, I tried this. But: my body WOULD NOT LET ME go more than 5 weeks without spotting despite the hormonal control. It was telling me, to "PLEASE cleanse out your old tissue, please have your period!" Now, it's one thing if someone has a medical condition that requires one to go that long without menstruating (endometriosis, cysts, fibroids, etc.) or perhaps it's a once in a while occurence due to vacations, wedding, etc. But doing this to the body on a regular basis is very out of touch with nature. The moon is there to guide the cycle and many women have "lost the moon." I'm happy and lucky to say that I've found it again.
Well, besides eating yummy pineapple while typing and having enjoyed the benefits of my peanut butter and raspberry jam "fat flush tortilla sandwich" this morning....I have not much more to report in the food realm. Teas (infusions) with added herbal elixirs as well as flower essences have been my thing lately and most likely will continue to be. I'm downing the Black Elderberry from Herbpharm like crazy this season to stay healthy around all these sick people. I'm also really getting back into taking vitamins from the Type A combo pack. I love how radioactively yellow my pee turns after taking the Polyvite formula for As. You know those B vitamins are abundant! Food, of course, is my overall passion...all these things, despite having medicinal properties, are in essense, foods. We ingest them, hopefully with joy and thanks.
Sorry for all the back-tracking in these recent blogs. I keep talking about the past so much, but it sort of feels good to express it and release it, learn from it, and then hopefully, HOPEFULLY, move on.