Fiber Menace: Conclusion
In Health We Trust!
I never wanted to be a doctor because I’m too squeamish, too impressionable, and too fastidious—not exactly the qualities called for to examine and care for sick people. Nonetheless, I went to medical school to yield to my mother wishes, chose the pharmaceutical track to make this experience as short and sterile as possible, and left the field for greener pastures (computer science, investment banking, business management) as soon as I graduated.
Despite my enormous curiosity about the workings of the human body, medical school didn’t teach me anything truly useful about preserving health and vitality. That wasn’t the goal of my curriculum: doctors and pharmacists are trained to take care of the sick, not the healthy.
And that’s one of life’s strange ironies—throughout the formative years we study many complicated subjects that rarely become useful in adulthood, but not simple and indispensable matters such as health, manners, or relationships. These life- and career-defining skills are primarily implanted by our parents and peers and to a lesser extent by pop culture (movies, television, books, periodicals, and, nowadays, the Internet).
The parental influence is by far the strongest influence simply because of a parent’s lengthy “ownership” of our young, imprintable minds, and their control over what gets inside our stomachs. If your parents are healthy, you’re lucky. If not, you’re likely to carbon copy most of your parents’ bad habits and related ills.
That’s why I often chuckle while reading studies that blame lifestyle diseases on genetics, forgetting (or ignoring) the fact that 18–20 years of sharing the same dinner table with a constipated mom or diabetic dad has nothing to do with genetics, but everything with what was on that table. Not that genetics aren’t important, but food choices originate in the supermarket aisles, not in the genes.
In any event, by the time you begin reading this kind of book, you must have already been making your own dinner for some time, and it’s already too late to change your parents or improve your genes. But it’s never too late to drop excess carbs and fiber from your diet.
Nothing discredits fiber better and faster than the people who recover by dropping it from their diets. We survived millions of years of merciless evolution despite fiber, not because of it. It’s no accident that the American frontier culture, with its reliance on ranching, and not fiber-rich crops, went on to build a great nation.
Finally, please realize that I am not a doctor, nor am I playing one on these pages. This book distills generally available information about fiber-related disorders. It doesn’t, however, provide medical advice on how to diagnose and treat diseases. For that, you need a caring, open-minded, and competent doctor. Once you find one, just follow these simple rules:
- Be an equal. The more you know about your body and your health, the more attention, respect, and care you’ll get back from your doctors. And if you don’t get respect and attention from any particular one, just choose another. A doctor who doesn’t respect your grasp of his field is even less likely to respect your body, your health, and your wallet.
- Don’t expect specialists to be know-it-alls. A top-flight gastroenterologist knows as much about forensic nutrition (my field of expertise) as I know about anorectal surgery (not much). This isn’t his or her chosen specialty, area of primary interest, or the subject of vigorous study spanning many years. You wouldn’t ask an eye doctor to examine your anus, would you?
- Don’t seek diet advice from a board certified gastroenterologist. At a huge expense of time, money, and resources, he or she has been trained to operate on you, not teach you how and what to eat. You wouldn’t ask Mario Andretti to teach you drive around town, would you?
- Don’t stick this book in front of your doctors. Professionals don’t study medicine from popular books no matter how relevant or well written they may be. Appeal to basic facts. No one will argue with you that the anal canal is too small and too tight to effortlessly pass large stools, period.
Of course, not ever needing a doctor is best. For that, be proactive. Drop the fiber. Reduce the carbs. Don’t drink more water than your body needs. Don’t take lifestyle drugs, change the lifestyle. Take quality supplements. Enjoy a daily walk. Don’t eat anything that your great-great-great-grandparent wouldn’t have eaten. Pray to God to give you health while you have it, and not when it’s gone.