Last week I got to attend a lecture and book signing by Dr. Andrew Weil, the famed integrative health practitioner. Integrative medicine is a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Weil’s mission is to merge natural healing methods with Western medicine.
Some interesting tidbits from the seminar:
– When Dr. Weil went through Harvard Medical School, he received all of 30 minutes of training on nutrition.
– The 35-page cardiovascular residency curriculum for a major medical center does not contain a single mention of nutrition or diet.
– Dr. Weil believes that direct advertising to consumers by pharmaceutical companies is having a widespread, detrimental effect on this country.
– When asked what two foods everyone should stop eating to be healthier, Dr. Weil responded: flour and fruit juices. Flour because it has been so highly processed that it no longer functions as a whole grain in the body, and juice because when you remove the fiber from fruit you basically mainline fructose.
– 1 in 9 Americans are on antidepressents. This amount of depression in a population has never been seen in history. While antidepressent medications may work in the short term, long-term use of antidepressents cause “tardive dysphoria,” when the body stops producing its own seratonin and greater and greater amounts of drugs are needed.
– One of the most interesting concepts Dr. Weil introduced to me was the cytokine theory of depression. In the 1990s doctors came up with the theory that depression was due to a lack of uptake of seratonin in the brain. The cytokine theory posits that maybe depression is due to cytokines, or inflammation, in the brain, and the reason we are seeing so much depression is one more result of the systemic inflammation in our bodies caused by our modern diet and food supply.