The Dilemma of Doctors

A Short Excerpt from a Work in Progress

[In previous posts I’ve alluded to a bigger project that’s keeping me from spending much time on this blog. In truth, there are several. But the one I was referring to is a book. Breakfast Like an Emperor is coming. It’s an illustrated, interactive iBook which will be available in the the iTunes bookstore, and can be enjoyed on your high resolution iPad.

While editing a chapter on the gluten phenomenon, entitled “Toast and Circus”, I decided to share a portion which is actually a brief, but important intermission in the chapter as we explore the myriad, sometimes contradictory, often confusing facets of gluten consumption, its effects, and its implications on health in twenty-first century America.

The excerpt, itself, has only peripheral relevance to gluten. Sorry, you’ll have to wait.]

When a doctor of conventional medicine leaves school, she is confronted with…

  • How to make enough money to pay off her enormous debt.
  • How to make enough money to put the kids through college.
  • How to make enough money to support a lifestyle she imagines appropriate to being a doctor.
  • And figuring out, what is it that somehow went wrong somewhere along the line?
  • Not to mention managing the huge dent medical school has made in her pre-natal qi!

There are a remarkable number of young doctors who entered their profession with genuinely altruistic intentions. No small number of those now begin to suspect that they lack an important skill set — the one needed to resolve the issues clients (or in their vernacular, patients) are bringing them. They are discovering as well that the institutional forces of contemporary medicine seem to be directly at odds with the very goals which originally motivated them.

In short, many of the sharp ones are disillusioned with where they find themselves. I’ve had talented young physicians tell me point blank, “I’m going to make as much money as possible, as fast as possible, and get out.”

Conventional medicine, which is sorely lacking in its knowledge and response to functional health issues, is essentially lost when it comes to dealing with phenomena like gluten sensitivity — not to mention sugar metabolism.

The average doctor simply does not have the training to recognize functional imbalances in the clinical setting, much less have the tools to treat them in any kind of meaningful fashion. Nor do ‘standard of care’ lab tests provide the information necessary to make intelligent determinations on a client’s behalf. Can you imagine being a young medical professional staring down the barrel of life and one’s chosen profession in such a predicament? Are depression and cynicism an unrealistic response?

Yet rare is the MD who has the motivation or resources to seek out the knowledge required to fill the gaps in their wooden education. More rare still is that tiny handful who have the humility to seek answers in a bona fide education in Oriental medicine — a commitment which requires forgetting nearly everything one has learned about medicine and starting over from scratch. Oh, we can eventually tie pieces together and begin to see surprising parallels, but, frankly, that takes quite a few years of truly coming to grasp a paradigm so unlike our own — not to mention actually practicing it. The process is not unlike the unfolding of consciousness: it is not until the student has walked off the battlefield with his own head in his hands that we may claim to even know who we are.

Meanwhile, the din of big pharma’s voice in a physician’s ear offers quick and easy (as well as harmful — yet quite profitable) responses to those annoying clients who persist in showing up with puzzling complaints.

This leaves the public dependent on a medical system that can’t help them. Yes, there are doctors like Philpott, who have essentially had to reinvent the wheel in order to get results, and there are others, of course, but they are as rare as Dorking’s teeth. And those physicians who are fluent in a comprehensive system of medicine — a complete and all-inclusive paradigm, adept at preventing and correcting the dominant health issues that surround us — are scarce enough as to be essentially non-existent.

If this is the condition of our medical establishment (and it is), then where does that leave our beloved media? What does it say about the general populace?


Epilogue to the Excerpt…

[Breakfast Like an Emperor, is a thorough examination of the most abused and neglected, misunderstood meal in America’s day. It has recipes, but it’s not a cookbook. The book is chock-full of the understanding required to get the most out of your day and your life, how that happens, and why it’s an integral part of the most enduring medical paradigm on the planet.

The luxury of an electronic book is the inclusion of animations, illustrations, and interactive applets and glossary that make little known concepts easy to understand and integrate into our life toolkit — not to mention that it’s more fun!

The flip side is that it’s five times more work for the author.

I’ll let you know when it’s available.]