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Difficulties & Disappointments
There are many opportunities to become disoriented and confused when you seek information and direction in solving a health problem. The human world is a competitive, noisy place. Wrong ideas proliferate like weeds. Orthodox opinions are often stern, repressive and out-of-date. There is a middle ground that lies between orthodox authority and the wild chaos of commercial claims, hyperbole and the incessant chatter of popular media. I am trying to locate the middle ground of reasonable policy, good science and common sense.
Obviously, we all like the idea of a quick fix and are constantly tempted by promises that a quick fix is available. The problem is that everyone wants to sell you something so that you do not have to be responsible for yourself. All claims of quick fixes are false claims. This is a law of the universe. Magazine articles and short television documentaries tend to recycle old and bad ideas, often with the label “new discovery.” In the best case, they provide some information but dramatize and simplify complex issues. Nutritional information is presented out of context. We call all of this journalistic and promotional activity “pseudo-knowledge” and treat it as one obstacle to effective self-management. A reasonable policy is to stop reading the free “health” publications paid for by product manufacturers and distributed in health food stores. Avoid infomercials on cable television that promote health products. There are at least 500 “health” products available in stores in your community that you do not need and should not buy. Even if you learn something useful from a magazine article or a TV show, the whole experience may distract or mislead you. You cannot solve a complex puzzle with the random assortment of facts, speculations and clues that the media tosses out every day.
Food-related illnesses are often difficult to diagnose and treat. Even well-intentioned efforts to diagnose and treat food problems are often based on faulty premises and fail to deliver proper results. The idea of a simple office "test" for any food -related illness should seem unlikely if you understand the complexity and variability of food-body interactions. The desire for simple, definitive tests for food allergy, for example, is easy to understand, but difficult to fulfill. Disagreements within the allergy community have left many patients suffering, frustrated and confused. At the same time that physicians default in the diagnosis and treatment of food-related illnesses, many non-medical practitioners have launched careers in the food and chemical "sensitivity" business, using diverse, sometimes curious and bizarre methods, dubious tests and questionable treatments.
You need to focus on important, immediate experiences that are uniquely yours. You need to concentrate on what is happening right now to you. The trick to finding a real and lasting solution to health problems is to take back your own power and make decisions for yourself. Accept that no one else can rescue you if you cannot help yourself.