My mother texted me. 

“ FYI. I was rankled by your Facebook photo. The one with all of those pills, or supplements, you are taking for the cleanse. In my mind it goes against all you stand for. Eating healthy does not pair with the photo and promotes an unnatural, unhealthy dependence on pills.” 

Hmm..I thought, interesting. Context is everything.

I replied, “Those were not for the cleanse. Those were additional supplements for my gut, fish oil, probiotics, vitamin C, enzymes, MSM, coQ10, and anti-inflammatories for my joints. I don’t think you know how sick I was. That’s good stuff. I would be more offended by diet coke, pepsi, ibuprofen, Tylenol PM, Benadryl, and cookies. My regime is smart, heals my gut, and keeps me off steroids and ibuprofen.”

I had to wonder, does ALL of Facebook think this cleanse has me taking that many supplements? (grandiose humor) Ooops!       Nooooo!       The cleanse protocol is 2 supplements per shake, 1-4X/day.

For those of you who did think it IS a big pile…let me offer a different perspective. 

  1. Context. I absolutely advocate for a healthy lifestyle. People are in varying states of health. Some folks are in optimal health with vitality and others are in a stage of disease. Most, are in between stages of health. They are either repairing and gaining on their health or moving closer to symptoms of disease. We are either in the process of degenerating or regenerating. Anabolism or catabolism. Health is not static, so where you are on the health spectrum dictates your requirements for exercise, nutrients, sleep and maybe even supplementation or medication.
  2. Wellness. I have studied and trained how to use and evaluate a person from the standpoint of functional medicine. The goal is to discover what symptoms are present before a whole system fails and you become clinically sick. Or, to help someone regain their health after they have been sick. Ultimately, a plan for long term health maintenance which may or may not include supplementation or medication. This is the context or lens that I look through. Treating function not just disease.

It surprised me that my pile of supplements was so concerning, almost offensive. I have many patients who come in on 3, 4, up 15 different medications. They bring lists. Patients admit to taking a fair amount or excesses of ibuprofen, aspirin, Benadryl, Tylenol PM, sleep aids, and the gamete for over the counter medications. Furthermore, as a population, we consume diet soda, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, junk food, processed meats, non-organic foods, frozen dinners, as if these are not offensive lifestyle choices. There are the legal over the counter medications, not to mention, the illegal things people use to self-medicate. But legal or illegal, doesn’t mean, good FOR you. 

On this cleanse I am eating organic foods, fresh fish, no sugar, no alcohol, limited carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is a 10 day re-set, a reminder of healthy eating and an elimination of inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, red meats, processed foods and alcohol and many of the allergic foods like wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, bananas, nuts and more. 

You don’t have to be a chef to eat healthy food, but you do have to make an effort to learn about what food is healthy and how to prepare it. A grilled piece of fish, roasted cauliflower and sautéed kale is nutritious, filling, and easy to prepare. The booklet contains plenty of recipes. I love to cook, ask me for recipes suggestions.

Mom, I hope this helps your concern about my big pile of supplements. My desire is to be an advocate for healthy eating, responsible and informed supplementation and being realistic about the state of your health in order to feel better longer. By taking a stand for this, I hope to continue to bring awareness to people about healthy, holistic lifestyle options. At best, I want people to get to a place where they need only essential supplements. Things missing from their diets because of soils depleted of minerals or not enough sunshine in the winter to synthesize vitamin D or lack of oil in our diets because we don’t live at the coast eating fish regularly. Some dependencies are healthy, informed choices. Likewise, I am all for getting dependent on exercise, movement, yoga and crazy good health foods and meditation and happy thoughts.

Healing and prevention are two perspectives, two approaches. In my case, a maximized mix of both. I appreciate your question and your understanding that I stand for health. Thank you. (EAT some kale! Love you!)

The Bend
Dr. Erika Putnam
Dr. Erika Putnam, chiropractic physician, is the owner of The Bend in Whitefish, Montana. She uses a broad and holistic approach to treat spinal and extremity conditions and other health problems with a variety of chiropractic techniques, rehabilitation, nutrition, lifestyle and functional medicine. She has over 20 years of experience in the chiropractic field and holds a 500 hour yoga instructor certification. The Bend has a private yoga studio where Dr. Putnam helps chiropractic patients recover by engaging them in yoga or exercise instruction to prevent injuries from reoccurring and to improve overall strength and flexibility. She advocates for healing in a pro-active environment that includes physical, emotional and energetic wellbeing.

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