Philosophically, I love the concept of a holistic doctor. As human beings are complex systems of interrelated parts, it makes sense to treat the whole person. We specifically chose our doctor because of her homeopathic, holistic bend. However, I am not sure we really belong with this type of doctor. It’s kind of like Mac computers. We like the image associated with the product more than actually using the product itself.
Our doctor believes in half hour, hands-on office sessions. There is no nurse who ushers you into a room and takes your vitals. She does everything herself. Like my doctor, I believe that diet and exercise are the best medicine. The exception, of course, is when I am sick. Then I want a clear diagnosis and course of action.
Today I went in due to hernia-like symptoms and additional digestive problems, which I thought could be related. While she listened sympathetically, she also listened with an agenda, which is to promote a gluten-free lifestyle. Over the past two years, she has tried to convince me that my health could be vastly improved by cutting out gluten. It would help with my digestive issues, regulate my moods, and help me think more clearly. She even went as far as ordering an expensive blood test to determine whether or not I had gluten sensitivity. The test showed that gluten and I are very compatible. Still, I did try to go gluten-free for about a week. I gained two pounds and quit out of frustration.
Just because cutting out gluten helped the doctor and some of her patients, it does not mean it will help out everyone. She does have some good research to support her, such as Wheat Belly and Grain Brain. However, not everyone agrees that going gluten-free is beneficial. The New Yorker has a fascinating article on the gluten-free trend. The most compelling piece of evidence given is a study that showed that a gluten-free diet eliminated symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome.
I do not believe cutting gluten will be a cure-all. However, I cannot say for sure unless I try it for thirty days. According to my doctor, it has to be cold turkey. Even one bite of gluten and I will have to start over. I will only be able to say with certainty that I have an issue with gluten if I abstain totally for 30 days. If I do this and feel no health improvements, I will be finding a new doctor.