Karen is an Eating Psychology Coach. She is the creator of the Conscious Eating Programme: Changing your thoughts about food to transform your body and your life.
Find out more about Karen's work here.
I was intrigued to watch a documentary on BBC1 last week called The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs. Dr. Chris van Tulleken, an Infection Control and Scientist specialising in antibiotic resistant drugs sat in on a GP’s surgery in an attempt to persuade both GP and patients not to have any prescription drugs.
He was in for a hard time because almost every patient wanted some sort of prescription. The whole point of Dr. Tulleken’s approach is that his research shows that by 2050 10 million people every year will die because we have become resistant to antibiotic drugs due to overuse. Not only is this a problem but also the extensive side effects of prescription drugs which contribute to illness and sometimes death. In the medical profession, this is known as iatrogenesis.
One male patient complained of a sore throat and requested antibiotics. Luckily he was persuaded to leave without a prescription and told that his body would heal itself over time. Another female patient took up his challenge to give up her numerous pain killers she was taking for her shoulder pain. It transpired that she had not done any of the recommended exercises.
Later in the programme we see the same woman shocked to find that Dr. Tulleken had given her placebo painkillers, which led to her deciding to come off the drugs herself. We also see her doing regular strength exercises on her shoulder which led to more fluid movements and less pain.
Antidepressant drugs were also another problem highlighted as they are taken by over 5 million people in the UK annually. One young lady in the programme reported that she’d been diagnosed with depression when she was 16 and had been on these drugs ever since. Now, at the age of 24 she wants to give them up because she feels they just mask her symptoms and are not getting to the root of her problems.
The programme advised us that between 2006 and 2012, the prescribing of antidepressants to young people had gone up more than 50% which Dr. Tulleken found quite alarming. Antidepressants work on the neurotransmitters in the brain which affect mood. In the programme, by means of an alternative to the drugs, he got her to swim in cold water which scientists have found stimulates the stress response to provide an euphoric, positive mood. I’m not sure I would want to swim in cold water just to stimulate my mood! As a regular walker, I think a far easier way is to go walking in nature.
The Chief Medical Officer in the UK recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week and many scientific studies have been carried out comparing the benefits of outdoors activity as opposed to indoors. They show that walking in nature gives far more benefits, both physiologically and psychologically. Psychologically, there is increased vitalisation, improved mental clarity, improved mood, increased self-concept, improved sleep and reduction in stress levels. And it’s all free with no side effects!
One GP in the programme highlighted the fact that 99.9% doctors prescribe drugs because they are “appropriate” prescriptions for the conditions and that doctors feel under pressure to prescribe these pills. I would argue that doctors feel that each and every one of their prescriptions are “appropriate” because they are not trained to prescribe any alternative. They have little or no training in nutrition or nutritional medicine, little to no training in exercise physiology, and no training in complementary therapies, such as massage.
The medical profession has a tight grip on our health but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of handing over our minds and bodies to them, there’s a lot we can do for ourselves. I have spent many years working with people who need to exercise on GP referral exercise schemes and I recommend taking regular exercise, eating real food and meditating daily to keep yourself in optimum health.
For further information please contact Karen, The Conscious Eater on 07804 529371.