William Davis is a cardiologist and author of the Wheat Belly books. In his latest book, Undoctored, Davis takes the bold position that anyone can take control over their own health and go beyond the knowledge of most physicians. Medical care will still be necessary for accidents, major infections or other life-threatening events. When it comes to prevention and managing chronic health problems, people will be better off with self-management and tapping into the wisdom of others.
Becoming “undoctored” is a three-dimensional effort. The first is to use the latest information on healthy nutrition to achieve an optimally functioning body and mind. This means a diet free of grains and sweets that drive up blood sugar and cause inflammation. Dr. Davis goes into detail as to what foods and supplements a person should consume. Limited coverage is given to other elements of a healthy lifestyle such as physical activity, stress management, restful sleep, social connectedness and a purposeful life. Davis points out that all these are aided by healthy nutrition.
The second dimension to becoming undoctored is to use the nternet to become highly knowledgeable in health and any problems you might have. With the nternet, any person can become an expert in what applies to them. The modern care model includes the responsibility to become an expert in you. Davis also sees the widespread use of health-related apps by patients for health care monitoring and treatments.
The third dimension to becoming undoctored is to harness the “wisdom of crowds” as described by James Surowiecki in his book by that name (Knopf Doubleday, 2004). Using websites such as PatientsLikeMe, people can use the knowledge of many in similar circumstances and gain wisdom that will exceed even an expert in a medical condition.
As a family physician, I am not threatened by Undoctored. On the contrary, I support the notion that people take responsibility and even control over their own health. However, people need people to gain perspective and to act wisely. In the Internet age, your physician becomes a coach and advisor rather than the person who is supposed to know everything. If your doctor is humble, always open to learning, and genuinely cares about you, your doctor is a valuable resource. There is an old expression in medicine about doctors who try to treat themselves having a fool for a patient. It is hard to be objective with information when it comes to your own health.
I have the good fortune to know William Davis personally and become his friend. He is rightfully angry with traditional medicine in America that remains largely ignorant about healthy nutrition. Too often doctors are quick to prescribe drugs or procedures when a change in diet or other lifestyle is all that is needed. People can avoid such unnecessary and even harmful inventions by following the undoctored approach to their health. Do what William Davis prescribes and you may be fortunate to live a long and healthy life with very few medical needs.
Dr. Scherger is Vice President of Primary Care at Eisenhower Medical Center. He is also the Marie E. Pinizzotto, MD, Chair of Academic Affairs, and the Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at both the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.