Prescription for Lifestyle Change


When I took a psychology class back in the day, my professor said that there were oftentimes many ways to cure an ailment, but that Americans generally wanted only the one that was in pill form. So, if someone was given the choice to either do specific daily exercises or take a daily prescription drug, most people would elect to take the drug.
I have a tendency to avoid drugs unless it’s a really irritating illness that I want to go away quickly and the drug is better at causing that effect.
The doctor told me that Caleb needed to take a Vitamin D supplement because I was breastfeeding. I asked her how long I would need to take him outside in the sunshine each day in order to meet the Vitamin D requirement. She said 2-5 minutes. I told her that he probably didn’t need a supplement then because we take a 1-2 hour walk daily without fail (unless there’s a horrible rainstorm or something). She looked at me and seemed shocked that I would actually prefer to commit to taking my child outside than give him the vitamin supplement.
Similarly, my doctor told me that I should take a calcium supplement because I am breastfeeding and it would help to keep my bones strong. I told her that I drink about 6-8 large glasses of milk a day, not to mention my cheese & yogurt servings (hey, I’m from Minnesota!). I told her that it would probably more than meet my calcium needs. She said, “Yeah, but you probably don’t actually drink that much every day.” Josh was with me and said, “No, she drinks milk like most people drink water. I know, I’ve been paying for it.” Before I eat a meal, I’ll usually drink a whole glass and refill it before taking a bite of the food. She seemed hesitant, then suggested that I take the supplement anyway. So, I did, and had stomach pains the entire time I was taking it, so I stopped. Diagnosis? Calcium overdose. The doctor told me to stop taking it.
It got me thinking about other prescriptions that we take and why doctors are so quick to prescribe them over more natural methods that work just as well or better. I mean, if I need a vitamin, shouldn’t I just adjust my diet? If I am having pains, aren’t there exercises I can do or bath soaks or something? Why just a pill? I’m sure there’s a money trail behind it, perhaps some laziness on part of the patient and/or doctor, and probably a greater probability that the patient will follow through with an easier treatment (such as “swallow one a day with water”).
I think part of the reason I would rather have more natural treatments when possible is that I freak out whenever I hear the lists of side effects that are quickly whispered at the end of drug commercials. Some of those potential side effects sound horrid and are really not worth the risk to me in many cases. Of course, if I needed to take a prescription I would. But, I’d rather just make an adjustment to my lifestyle to stay healthier in general by eating more nutritiously, exercising regularly, and engaging in healthful activities.