I have an NHS GP, do I need to come to you?
NHS GPs are amazing; I work as one in various NHS Urgent Care Centres. As generalists we know a lot about the body and we’re incredibly efficient in reaching a solution in 10 minutes. The problem is; that 10 minutes may be adequate to offer a temporary solution to your symptoms but not enough time to really find out what is going on inside your body and why these health problems inflicted you. At The Bespoke Doctor, no two people are the same, we will always come up with a why (though it may take longer) and the treatment is not just about symptom suppression, but a lifelong solution. Another big reason is time and convenience; I can see you in a venue and time that suits you. Our consults are a minimum of 20 minutes and up to two hours so over the course of a few months, I will really get to know you as an individual.
Why hasn’t my own GP told me to do this?
Unfortunately, doctors get taught very little nutrition or lifestyle modification at medical school, so unless you train in this specifically like myself, or are extremely passionate about it, chances are most of the advice dispensed follows on from the (unchanged in 40 years) government guidelines. Lifestyle wise, smoking, alcohol and exercise have all been correctly targeted, but issues like stress reduction, toxin removal, gut microbiome and improved sleep are rarely discussed. Whether this is because there is not enough evidence, or whether there is no time to discuss these in consults remains a mystery to me.
Do you accept health insurance?
Unfortunately, at this moment, Functional Medicine is not recognised by private health care providers. I do offer Conventional Medicine GP appointments; so get in touch with your provider to see if they cover GP appointments. I offer discounted rates for the elderly and children
I can’t come and see you right now: any general advice?
Absolutely. Most importantly become better informed; there is a lot of conflicting information out there, which leads to heaps of confusion. Become your own health advocate as no one cares more about your health and wellbeing than you. Saying that I do have some generic advice. Firstly, learn to cook and eat less processed foods and takeaways. Second, dramatically reduce sugar in all forms, whether table sugar or sugary foods. Third, eat more wholesome varieties of food and more variations, for example vary up the grains/ meat/ veg that you have been consuming regularly. Fourth, ensure your meals are balanced with proteins and healthy fats (most meals are carbohydrate heavy). Fifth, do some movement and exercise most days. And lastly sort out stress. Excessive stress in my opinion is one of the most harmful things in this modern world and contributes to most chronic diseases.
Have you heard of clean eating, are you an advocate?
Well firstly I hate labels. It seems everyone has his or her own idea of what clean eating is, so it’s hard to say if I am an advocate. My main philosophies or ‘ways to eat clean’ are; eat minimally processed and packaged food with few ingredients. Make healthier choices in restaurants, but try and radically reduce how much you eat out. Buy from local sources, avoiding excessive air miles and eat in season. Cook regularly and aim for lots of variety. Don’t graze and ensure your meals are balanced. Get deeply in touch with your body and see which foods make you feel brilliant and which ones don’t.
I’ve heard a lot about low carb, what are your thoughts?
We can all agree that there are healthy carbs that we should eat more of (for e.g. veg, nuts, seeds, quinoa etc) and down right nasty carbs (for e.g. pizza, fizzy drinks, sweets, refined grains etc.) that we should eat a lot less of. My opinion though is that we all need to cut down on the total amount of carbohydrates we are eating per day, unless you are for example, a professional athlete, a young child or pregnant. With the average person consuming between 150-300g a day, where we used to consume about 50g per day, this increase is too dramatic and is a major contributor to the explosion of chronic disease we see nowadays. Food trends over the past five decades have shown a decrease in overall calories, a decrease in red meat, eggs and dairy, decrease in smoking and an increase in exercise and yet: we are in a health crisis in the Western World. We are just eating too much sugar. Sorry to carboholics, but all carbs are created equally in that they break down into a variety of sugar molecules but of course, some have more fibre, more minerals and vitamins, lower GI index etc, so those are the ones that you should chose. So, we don’t all need to go low carb/ keto but we do all need to cut back at least a bit. Our meals nowadays are hardly anything but balanced, with protein and good fats often getting neglected in favour of carbs.
But we need carbs for energy, vitamins and fibre don’t we?
Yes we do (kind of, many systems in the body prefer fat as a fuel), but just not as much as we consume in modern day. It certainly is a quick fuel to give you a momentary boost but to keep your hormones (insulin) at an even keel all day, it is better to consume less carbs and more protein and fat or consume carbs with protein and fat. As for fibre and vitamins, it boils down to nutrient density. Why have wholegrain rice (which of course may provide you with some nutrition, but not without negative effects) when you can have broccoli and kale (with less negatives) more fibre and lots of minerals and vitamins?
How about we just eat everything in moderation?
Of course you can carry on this status quo, but chances are if you are on this website, you have been ‘eating in moderation’ for years, yet you are not content with your health. Though I like the philosophy of balance, what I witness around me each and every day is hardly balance. A breakfast of cereal, low fat milk and juice for example, misses fat, protein and many vitamins, so hardly a balanced breakfast. A lunch of whole-wheat tuna sandwich, a piece of fruit and a low fat cereal bar, again is carb heavy but good fat and protein low. So, really if you look at your meals, I can guarantee that unless you’ve really sat there and asked yourself; is there a healthy complete protein source in here, is there adequate omega 3 and other healthy fats, are there vegetables on my plate (the healthiest carbs in my opinion), then that meal is not balanced. It takes work and effort to do this. Lastly, there are some foods that I want to be consumed very little, for example refined sugar, and there are some that I feel need to be consumed a lot more such as leafy greens and oily fish, so in summary, unless your moderation is also very balanced, then NO, we can’t just eat everything in moderation.