It’s Midnight in Health Care Land — Do You Know Where Your Nutritionist Is?
Over the years, I’ve suggested to countless people — family, friends, total strangers on airplanes — that they add a nutritionist to their health team. A personal masseuse is good, too, but a wise nutritionist is worth her weight in avocados.
Here’s why it’s so crucial: Your body chemistry — the building blocks of your health and well-being — is uniquely your own. Yes! Just like your fingerprints, only different, because your fingerprints stay the same, but your nutritional profile is something you can transform in weeks. If you really want to.
But you can’t do it blindly, seduced by the paid celebrities pushing pills on TV, in magazines, online. Take this multivitamin! Chew this calcium! Drink this iron! Maybe you need it, maybe you don’t. Not even Dr. Oz can tell you what nutrients to add or subtract until you discover what your own levels are right now. High in cholesterol? Low in vitamin B12? Simple blood and urine tests will tell the tale. Eureka! Then what?
Most of us — especially the graduates of America’s medical schools — don’t know beans about nutrition. And yet, if you don’t feed your body what it needs –the proper mix, from antioxidants-to-zinc — it will, over time, underperform, get sick and fall apart. It’s that simple. But figuring out how to get the nutrients we need to digest our food, support our hearts, nourish our brains, resist disease and inflammation, and promote good health and energy has become incredibly confusing.
Why is olive oil good and canola oil bad? Why is it so important to eat protein at breakfast? How can you fine-tune your own body chemistry, using real food and drink instead of exotic fasts, cleanses and unnecessary supplements?
That’s why a consultation and continuing relationship with a nutritionist is such a delicious experience. The good ones know which foods help us heal and which make us sick. They also can tell you if you have any imbalances — too acid or too alkaline, too much iron or too little — and customize an eating plan that moves you toward better memory, mightier metabolism, fewer burps and belches.
So why isn’t this kind of vital-to-the-core nutritional counseling covered by our medical insurance? It’s crazy! It’s also an indication of how sick our drug-centered health care system is. The Affordable Care Act looks more kindly on wellness and prevention and in the best of all worlds will actively promote nutritional counseling. Am I dreaming?
Whatever … this is your wake-up call. You really (SET ITAL) are (END ITAL) what you eat. Sit down with an experienced, client-friendly nutritionist and review your body chemistry, one on one, vitamin by mineral, protein by fat. Together, discuss and understand what your body needs to heal and thrive, and how you can use food first, supplements second, to be healthier, happier, less likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, cancer and other forms of nutritional neglect.
Do not, I warn you, try this with your family doctor. Chances are he learned more in medical school about setting up his Roth IRA than about the all-important link between food and health and healing.
I know that’s changing a tiny bit, but still, the vast majority of our docs still treat all illness with drugs. It’s hard to blame them, because that (SET ITAL) is (END ITAL) what’s taught in medical school. It’s what drug companies prefer, too, but don’t get me started on that, or I’ll never get back to the subject, which is — I know I’m repeating, but it may take five encounters with bok choy to develop a yen for it — get thee to a nutritionist.
That said, I must now confess: Before last week, I’d never been to one myself. I’ve interviewed them, read their books, praised the role they play in wellness and weight control, but I’d never actually consulted with one — my body chemistry, her big brain — before.
And then I met professor Carmen Fusco, clinical nutritionist and research scientist, who has a remarkable understanding of the healing power of food. I nearly cried after my first two-hour session with her, and not just because I had to pay out-of-pocket. She’s a genius! And I want everyone I know to meet her. And you will … next week.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! THIS IS NO YOLK
“Marilynn! Look at your white cell count. You’re fighting a virus! I want you adding turmeric to your eggs!” — Carmen Fusco, M.S. C.D.N. C.N.S.