By Dietitian Jill Place
I’m MAD at some of my colleagues! Because I get at least 25 emails a day (I just counted yesterday) hawking “add this”, “drink this” or “take this” and you’ll have “optimum health”!There IS no magic pill, potion, or powder to take away all your ills.Click To Tweet
I can’t blame them. They have businesses that sell product. And LARGE visual footprints in the alternative/functional health community. But COOMMME ON …
Read their whole email and a lot of times they’ll say “lifestyle change is hard work”. But mostly it’s “this thing (insert name of product)” will help you (then a long list that includes) “repair leaky gut, lose weight, support your immune system, beautify you … yadda, yadda”.
COOMMME ON … this kind of hard-sell is slightly south of a snake oil salesman spiel. Someone who sells fraudulent potions for profit.
You may say that it’s just good marketing. And they never say “cure” or anything.
But these are the same people who also hawk “root cause” and “functional medicine” principals at summits. And sending these things just gives our growing alternative influence a bad name.
What This Kind of Marketing Does …
The first thing that came to mind when I wrote the sentence above is that it hooks people totally back into the medical mindset. The whole idea that … if we just took a pill … everything will be aaaallll better.
Look … I know that many of us hope to go to sleep one night and magically wake up 20 pounds thinner. You know it won’t happen. But you can dream …
So when you get an email that says ONE 30-second “trick” in the morning will make you aaaallll better? It just feeds into that dream … And keeps you stuck in a system that just doesn’t work.
For you or anyone. Many of these emails lead you eventually to a product (although it doesn’t seem that way at first). A product that you must have because it does something profound … more profound than a similar product.
So if you just buy this (the email doesn’t even tell you to take it), you’ll be able to have “optimum health” and “control your genetic destiny”(actual phrases I pulled from actual emails). COOMMME ON …
Regular medication doesn’t even promise that. Although the depression ads are similarly compelling. Maybe … like the ads … we should all carry around a happy-face mask to show you how well the pill works. When you think about it … how fake is that?
The bottom line … these kinds of notices are almost worse than those medicine ads. Because they focus on one specific treatment to the exclusion of all others.
And are perpetrated by people I respect and have followed for years. When it comes to real alternative healing, that kind of treatment rarely works.
Real Treatment …
I just finished with a FOODStrong™ for food sensitivities client I’ll call Nora (not her real name). FOODStrong™ is my take on a food sensitivity program using Mediator Release Testing …which tests 170 different foods for IgE and non-IgE-mediated immunity.
And LEAP … which is an elimination diet plan based upon the results of that test. Want to know more? Read my article, In Defense of Food Sensitivity Testing.
Anyway … she came to me with a boatload of problems including insomnia, sinus, joint pain, mood swings, rashes/hives, heartburn, constipation, and dental problems. And some more serious ones including high cholesterol, hypertension, and hypothyroid. Oh … and she was worried about her weight … which she originally clocked in at 135.
One month later … none of the boatload.We do a symptom survey before and after. Hers went FROM 109 TO 28. IN A MONTH!
Still some constipation but she’s treating it naturally. Blood pressure has gone down from 130/80 … which I considered borderline anyway … to 120/70. The verdict’s still out on the cholesterol and the hypothyroid.
But her weight is now 120 POUNDS! We both figured that she didn’t start this journey at 135 … but she may have weighed that much at one time in the near past due to water retention. Hence the slightly elevated blood pressure.
She’s now interested in why her candida was so high on the test. MRT doesn’t definitively test candida. But others do.
So we discussed further procedures and treatments for candida. Which she will do in a little bit. We also considered supplements for more support.
I do a whole-life timeline of triggers for illness for each person who works with me. It’s a functional medicine tool that sheds a ton of light on why people end up with problems in the first place.
Nora didn’t have much … some stress, bottle feeding, sugar intake … but no huge a-ah illness moments. So I was puzzled why she ended up with all these problems.
But … in our final exchange when I asked her why she thought she did. I wasn’t surprised at the answer. Steroids and antibiotics “ruined my gut”, she said.
There’s that pesky leaky gut again … I ain’t The Good Gut Queen for nothing …
What Real Treatment is All About …
What did Nora do? Well … first she committed to doing a possible major change in her diet. And walked into a situation where she paid money out-of-pocket for a solution that might not have worked.
That took guts! And trust in me. I spend a lot of time with my prospective clients on the phone first. Because I want them to make sure that this is what they want to do for themselves.
Stepping into the unknown is scary. But most of the people I see are at the end of options for what’s ailing them. And are starting to not trust the medical model to find the answers for them.
Not only that … this is NOT an easy fix with one supplement that will give you “optimum health”. Instead, it’s often a total change in lifestyle.
A change that entails a total one-eighty in diet. At least for three to six months (the time it takes to heal the gut so that it can possibly tolerate reactive foods).
Not to mention functional testing. Because it’s terribly difficult to know what’s really going on without it.
And … once you test … changes that may entail nutritional supplements. Possibly long healing periods.
And … lately … since functional medicine treatment involves the mind and spirit (however you define that) as well … I’ve been doing tons of mindfulness work with clients.
There IS No Magic Pill, Potion, or Powder …
If there was, I’d be on it in a heartbeat. But there ARE valid treatments. Treatments that really jive with our physiology.
We’re not meant to change too fast. You know that instantly if you’ve ever tried to lose weight. Or get physically fit.
The same goes for lifestyle change. I have to be very careful with recommending supplements as some people are so sick that they have to begin with gently switching to a Gluten Free diet. And balancing pH.
If you go too fast … which many of us are prone to do (me included) … your body will tell you “NO!” in many ways (going on a huge hike caused me to have sore calves and quads for a week). With many of my clients, going too fast means that you will get sicker than you are now.
All of this takes patience, courage, and missteps. And working with someone who knows how to treat you.
That’s why I like food sensitivity testing. Because it reduces inflammation so that the body can begin to heal.
I work very intensely with people. Because, even though the results are unanimously positive, the journey may be very different for each person.
But … I’M not going to lie to you … there IS no magic pill, potion, or powder … Rather there are different lifestyle changes tailor-made to each individual.
Reducing stress is a key element. And changing what you eat another. And feeling better about yourself and your situation yet another.
The bottom line … we all need to take control of our own health. And go on an individual hero’s or heroine’s journey that takes us there.