I want to tell you a little about my journey and how I came to treasure the four key elements I emphasize in my private practice, my personal life, and on the website.
- Eat real food
- Engage in an active lifestyle
- Choose organic and sustainable
- Supplement and integrate your care wisely
Eat Real Food
My interest in health started with an interest in nutrition during college, when I enthusiastically switched from the packaged foods I was raised on to vegetables that needed to be cleaned and chopped, herbs and spices that were individually selected, and whole grain products rather than white bread. It was as if I had been gifted a sixth sense: my family had cooked nutritious and tasty meals, but fresh food opened my eyes to a new world of culinary delights and skills, as well as the fledgling health food movement following the work of Adele Davis.
With a degree in English Literature from UC Berkeley, I moved to rural Northern California, where after some time as a nurse's aide at the local hospital, I left my
I actually liked medical school. My fellow classmates and a great majority of my professors were inspirational in their degree of caring and commitment to the profession and to the patients. I swear I remember my Pharmacology professor telling us that all drugs have side effects and should be used as a last rather than a first resort. The one obvious educational weakness was our lectures (three?) on nutrition, which we knew to be deficient, but had no clue just how deficient they truly were. Current thinking in the late 1970's saw no difference between the sugars in broccoli and the sugars in soft drinks, and our professional fat phobia was just beginning.
Engage in an Active Lifestyle
At that time, lifestyle medicine and health promotion were not well understood, not well studied, and frankly - not that necessary. Our medical school class went jogging at lunchtime, and we cared passionately about how we would practice medicine. Both endeavors - physical exercise and following one's passions - can enhance the quality of our lives both physically and emotionally, but we didn't carry that knowledge over into our clinical rounds.
In medical school and in my Family Practice residency training, we strayed nowhere near disease prevention, health promotion, or drug-free therapies. Yet after only a very short time in private practice, I learned that many of my patients were interested in the same questions I posed. How can I be healthy? Is there a gentler alternative to prescriptions for medical problems?
All of my continuing medical education has been devoted to answering those questions. It is an accepted estimate that 80-85% of all chronic disease is caused by lifestyle choices and in many cases can be reversed by different lifestyle choices. In the 1970's the state of science taught that there was no proven benefit to exercise! Exercise is just one of the choices we make each day as we direct our health in the direction of better or worse.
Choose Organic and Sustainable
The gentler alternatives are abundant, starting with lifestyle choices, primarily food preferences. We are learning just how closely the health of our planet can relate to our individual health. When we buy organically raised food, the quality is higher, the farm's workers are safer, and the land is rejuvenated rather than depleted. Even grazing animals, once thought to be erosive, can be managed and rotated so that they restore healthier pastures and provide healthier meat, all at the same time. Everything we put into our bodies has an effect: the water we drink and all the foods we choose. In some cases, quality food is more expensive, but with a home garden, farmers' markets, emerging
Supplement and Integrate Your Care Wisely
As my practice shifted, I quickly became aware of the many gentle options available for healing. In my own
At DrDeborahMD.com, I invite you to stroll through an online version of my practice and a sensible, gentler form of medicine than you might otherwise know. I will share with you what I know and what I learn about the choices we each can make - choices that help determine how healthy we each can be. I offer education about treatment options, because despite the wisest choices and the best preventive medicine, sometimes you need treatment, not just prevention. Many treatment options are those you can learn about and apply for yourself. Others might involve professional consultation.
On a personal level, when I'm away from my desk, I probably over-do my own advice about living an active and engaged life! I help direct the Siskiyou Challenge - a local sports event that annually raises money to educate children about life on the farm - and raise chickens and vegetables in my own backyard. Early mornings you'll see me rowing and bird-watching on Ashland's Emigrant Lake with the local rowing club's racing team. I am an insatiable reader, scrabble player, and when I can find the time, like to pick up a paintbrush and bring a canvas to life!