Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Rant: The Case Against Pediatricians

Why do pediatricians (MOST OF THEM) not know anything about nutrition?!  Some of you may claim you looooove your pediatrician, but what do they *really* do to support you, in the 10 minutes you have them in the exam room?  My docs always had their hands on the doorknob, until we found our current family care doc (she's a DO, an extraordinary listener and holistically minded doctor), and our progressive health care practitioners and naturopathic docs.  If your pediatrician sends up red flags constantly about where your child is on a growth chart, but suggests feeding them processed crap for food, they are ignoring all other landmarks of health for your child.  In the last 6 months, so this is RECENTLY, we have had pediatricians suggest the following foods to people we know for gaining weight:  cold cuts, Pediasure, pizza crusts, pasta, hot dogs...WHAT?!  All of those have inflammatory components, excess sodium, sugar, nitrates...etc, etc.  Why not some good, healthy fats or oils, like in avocado or flax? 

Now, I KNOW that there are exceptions to the rule, but my bet is over 90% of pediatricians are completely ignorant to what to suggest to parents to feed their children for optimum health, or to a breastfeeding mother to support lactation and healthy growth in a child.  It is OUR job as parents to NOT ACCEPT mediocre care from mediocre care providers.  Until we put our money where our mouth is, and start demanding that our doctors get education in nutrition, they will continue to only be required to take one class-or LESS- of nutrition in their education.  I can stand in front of you right now and tell you that I know more about nutrition than most pediatricians out there.  WHY?  Because I've taken the initiative to read nutrition books, information on cellular nutrition and observe my family when eating certain foods.  Do not trust your doctor implicitly.  You have HIRED them to provide a service.  They may know more about the general pathology of disease in the body, but when it comes to ANY chronic issue, they are stumped with what to suggest other than what the prescription company (who brought the office lunch this week) has told them THEIR
drugs will do.  If you question what I'm saying, do your own research.  I DARE you to do your own research and find otherwise.

In relation to food allergies:
Pediatricians supposedly specialize in the HEALTH of our children.  They ignore cradle cap, dark circles under a child's eyes, dry patches and eczema on their skin,  and diagnose reflux, prescribe medications, instead of going into details about mom's nutrition, if they are breastfeeding...OR they suggest mom STOP breastfeeding if the child has reflux because they are not reacting well to mom's milk?  WHAT?!  That is malpractice as far as I'm concerned.  When our little guy had reflux, I recognized my nutrition may be the issue, after doing some research and consulting our naturopathic doctor.  We cut out dairy and soy, and his vomiting reduced by 90%...I'm not kidding.  It was profound.  If we had been advised to STOP breastfeeding, do you understand that the options for feeding him would have been extraordinarily expensive, and would have even been HARMFUL to his health?  The fact that I could eliminate the two primary ingredients of most formulas out of my diet, and continue to feed him healthfully should trigger some ideas for people.  Soy is second only to dairy as a primary allergen...what are the two ingredients in all major formulas?  You got it, soy and dairy.  How can pediatricians claim to be supporters of our families and their health when they know NOTHING about nutrition?  I can soften this by saying it's not their's not required in their education...but it's not changing and we have numerous health issue in our country that are CAUSED BY NUTRITION.  When our daughter, now 6, was 6 weeks old, I asked my pediatrician what I should be consuming to ensure she was getting what she needed, and support my health as well.  His answer, "Drink a lot of fluids."  I said, "Really, that's all?"  He said, "That's it."  I went home and did some research...his answer should have been, "Drink a lot of water, be sure you are getting high quality foods especially protien, eat organic if you can, and be sure you are getting some extra fish oils or other Omega 3s in your diet."  Ok...that's simplistic, but my answer is better than his (obviously not medical advice, since I'm not a trained to be a doctor, but I would recommend getting nutrition advice from someone trained in nutrition, not just someone who has gone through a program to become an MD).  The truth is that we need to start demanding better care for our families.  AND we MUST start making better choices in nutrition for our family's health, even if it is less convenient at times.  Personally, we have paid out of pocket for a large portion of our health care, and continue to do so, because our insurance covers disease managers, not health care providers. 

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