Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Read: The Asain Diet- M.D. Perspective

Dear friends,
This is the most interesting post yet! A wonderful (MD) friend of mine has agreed to read the Asian diet and review it. We are inundated with ideas and tips on how to "live better, eat better, and be better"- it is also the new trend to be healthy and eat organically and read books like, The Asian Diet, however we must hear what other health professionals are saying. We must also bridge the gap and stop thinking there are two distinct sides or ways of thinking, life/health is not is not a competition between the East and the West. Lets be critical thinkers and really know how to think and talk about health!

Review: The Asian Diet

Perspectives from a skeptical but open-minded M.D. (with a specialty that is not directly related to this stuff by the way)

Chapter One

Balance as a philosophy of life? I like it. The idea that most Westerners are hopelessly out of balance in terms of their diet, lifestyle, and attitudes? I get that. So, that's a good start. In this chapter Bussell is just laying some ground work and I agree with most of what he's saying. There isn't too much controversy yet. I appreciate his take on the fact that there is no magic bullet; no particular food that most be consumed or ignored in order for us to be healthy but, instead, it is the combination and moderation of foods that can keep us in balance. Also, extreme diets that exclude or promote all carbs or protein, severe calorie restrictions, detox diets, and forgodssake colon cleansing... all of these can be abandoned as legitimate health regimens.

One thing that was barely mentioned but always touches a nerve with me is the idea that traditional medicine has a "conflict of interest" in that the food industry has it's talons in the training of physicians and educators. I don't deny that this is the case but it is implied here that Oriental Medicine lacks this conflict of interest.

On the contrary, the Alternative Medicine movement, at least in it's current form is grossly contaminated with the pursuit of profit. It is in the best interests of alternative medicine providers to stay just far enough outside the mainstream so that: #1 Profits soar as they convince people to pay cash for their services and not have to settle for the ridiculously unfair system of insurance & government reimbursement, and #2 So that they can take money from patients whose ailments are either psychological and/or unfixable but cannot accept that reality.

I think as a society we are uncomfortable with there being no answer, no pill, no quick fix for our troubles. Sometimes, when traditional medicine tries to tell us the truth (that we don't know everything and not every problem has a cure), it is unacceptable to us and we flock to alternative medicine with wallet in hand for the "treatment" that must exist somewhere.

It is the fact that the alternative medicine industry has painted itself as the patient's advocate while they disparage traditional medicine and rake in huge unregulated profits that makes me and others suspicious at the outset. That said, I've had accupuncture, I'm in favor of embracing thousands of years of Chinese knowledge, I'm cool with alternatives...

It will be an interesting book. On to chapter 2.

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