I had conventional medical training, attending Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, doing my traditional osteopathic internship in Cleveland, Ohio, and an internal medicine residency at UT Knoxville. At the end of residency, I entered the United States Air Force as an internist and then a flight surgeon. During that time, I had the audacity to tell my diabetic patients not to eat “too much” fruit out of fear their blood sugars would increase. Thankfully none ever asked how much “too much” was, as I had no idea but was simply parroting what I'd been taught! A very apt portrayal of modern medicine is that physicians only learn about the paper towels Big Pharma is willing to sell, while everyone ignores the fact that the faucet remains on. We physicians realize that the root cause of disease is not a paucity of medications, however very few of us are trained on how to address medical issues with anything other than prescription medications or surgery.
Flash forward 7 years of on-the-move living, and I was all set to do a second residency in dermatology. Some pesky balance problems turned out to be a tumor, which was treated, but during that time an important change in my career trajectory occurred. Several physician friends and I all happened on what turned out to be lifestyle medicine at roughly the same time, exchanging information and tips we’d found – food hacks, ways to improve sleep quality, books to read, etc. This resulted in a career pivot from an expected life in medical dermatology to a board certification in lifestyle medicine and starting Birmingham's first and only American College of Lifestyle Med (ACLM)-based lifestyle medicine practice, addressing the root causes of ill health, rather than treating medical conditions with ever-increasing dosages and types of medications.
Lifestyle medicine is not for everyone. Changes are sometimes hard. But if you are open to even considering that there might a better way of living, and less of your time at medical appointments, lifestyle medicine might just be for you.
And I promise, I will NEVER tell you to eat less fruit now!