In his New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis changed the lives of millions of people by teaching them to remove grains from their diets to reverse years of chronic health damage. In Undoctored, he goes beyond cutting grains to help you take charge of your own health. This groundbreaking exposé reveals how millions of people are given dietary recommendations crafted by big business, are prescribed unnecessary medications, and undergo unwarranted procedures to feed revenue-hungry healthcare systems.
With Undoctored, the code to health care has been cracked—Dr. Davis will help you create a comprehensive program to reduce, reverse, and cure hundreds of common health conditions and break your dependence on prescription drugs. By applying simple strategies while harnessing the collective wisdom of new online technologies, you can break free of a healthcare industry that puts profits over health.
Undoctored is the spark of a new movement in health that places the individual, not the doctor, at the center. His plan contains features like:
• A step-by-step guide to eliminating prescription medications
• Tips on how to distinguish good medical advice from bad
• 42 recipes to guide you through the revolutionary 6-week program
Undoctored gives you all the tools you need to manage your own health and sidestep the misguided motives of a profit-driven medical system.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning. —Steve Jobs
Who doesn’t love a gripping medical drama? Remember the George Clooney character on the TV series ER, pediatrician, womanizer, rebelwith-a-heart Dr. Doug Ross? Add characters like the cane-wielding Dr. Kerry Weaver and lovable nurse Abby Lockhart, and you’ve got the formula for a medical drama that addicted a generation of viewers, portraying health care as fast-paced and thrilling, flawed but well intentioned, and thoroughly human.
But that’s TV—dramatized, idealized, sanitized. The private side of real health care is something altogether different. The bulk of what goes on in health care every day involves no drama, no urgency, no critical life or death decisions, no George Clooney winning smile, no surreptitious kisses in corners of the supply room. Having practiced medicine for over 25 years, I can tell you from personal experience that most health care involves routine, humdrum issues like blood pressure and bloating, bedsores and bladder infections, cost and copay and does not invite good-looking actors to play out drama as gripping as a case of itchy hemorrhoids.
Though as dull as dishwater, health care is big money. In 2014, we spent a total of $3 trillion nationally on health care ($9,523 per person), accounting for 17.5 percent of gross domestic product, compared to the 10 to 12 percent other developed countries spend with healthcare systems that match or exceed the United States in quality. Despite the dominance of glistening medical center images in the popular perception of health care, less than one-third of that total was spent in hospitals. The other two-thirds was spent on such uninspiring expenses as outpatient doctor visits, urinary catheters, and drugs for acid reflux.1
Many modern doctors hold themselves up as all-knowing, capable of managing every aspect of health, from delivery to death, from vaccination to senility. I know because I was guilty of this. The “I’m-the-doctor, you’re-thepatient relationship” has been frozen in time since the days of Hippocrates. Despite the high-tech image, old-fashioned methods are still used to maintain paternalistic authority. Doctoring means wearing a white coat to impress ignorant, helpless patients, the appearance of authority designed to exploit the power of the placebo, long waiting room stays erected as barriers to the privilege of gaining the wisdom of presumed experts, while the monolithic world of medical billing remains impenetrable. All of it seems positively fossilized in an age of immediate information access, on-demand videos, drone deliveries, and the democratization of discussion via social media. Doctors hold themselves up as the gatekeepers of health information and regard the average person as ill-informed and inexperienced, a health simpleton who is powerless in administering any aspect of health. In what other industry can the provider of a service operate with such disregard for customer satisfaction? Imagine buying a car from a salesperson who used intimidation to raise prices, refused to answer questions, and brushed off your concerns as those of a naive automotive nonexpert; I doubt you’d drive off happily in a new hybrid convertible.
The information tide has shifted. Public ignorance in health may have been the rule in 1950, but rapid dissemination of information in our age has usurped this lopsided relationship, making the paternalistic doctor-patient relationship of the past as relevant as trepanation (drilling holes in the skull—yes, a real practice) to treat migraines. You have access to the same information as your doctor. And it doesn’t involve leafing through dozens of thick volumes of the Index Medicus and then having to retrieve a study from dusty stacks of medical journals, like I did during my medical training. The newly leveled playing field of immediately accessible information means that a new clinical study read by your neurologist or gynecologist is available to you with a few mouse clicks. The cultlike, guarded monopoly over health information is long gone, replaced by immediate, widespread information readily accessible to everyone. The resources available to us have exploded. And they continue to increase at an exponential rate.
The growth in medical information means that the education your doctor received during medical school and training is dusty, moth-ridden, and obsolete. Information doubled every 50 years in 1950, every 7 years in 1980, and every 3.5 years in 2010. If current trends continue, it will double every 73 days by 2020.2 And information growth is not just within medicine but also in other areas that impact human health, such as toxicology, due to the proliferation of industrial toxins in the environment that disrupt endocrine health and increase risk for cancer, or environmental science and urban planning, since city noise, smog, congestion, and stress all affect various aspects of health. No living human can keep up with the information load and hope to provide up-to-date health care, no matter how smart, how hardworking, how fancy their equipment, or how many operating rooms they have. Dealing with this boom in health information requires new tools to organize it all, put it to practical use, and extract maximum health benefit.
What if we combined the newly found informational freedom provided by Internet search capabilities with the human feedback tool of social media and the rise in direct-to-consumer testing that circumvents the doctor, then threw in a little benign guidance from sources that do not seek to profit from providing it? You might just be on your way to wielding considerable authority over your own health. When you apply the methods unique to the Information Age, unconcerned with ritual, intimidation, and profit, to your health, some pretty darned incredible things can happen: Weight melts away effortlessly, joint pain and skin rashes recede, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms reverse within days, fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis begin a powerful retreat, prescription medications become superfluous—all by sharing in a growing collective information exchange.
The healthcare system is marvelous for developing the newest implantable defibrillator at a price tag of $36,000, even though a substantial portion of the people receiving such devices do not need them. But the system is miserable at delivering simple, self-managed nutritional solutions for heart disease.3 The system is ready and willing to commit you to a life of taking drugs and injectable insulin for diabetes, dealing with the eventual heart disease, kidney failure, and peripheral neuropathy with more drugs and procedures, providing “education” designed by people who put commercial interests first, while no one provides the handful of inexpensive health strategies that have been shown to reduce, even fully reverse, type 2 diabetes. You can schedule a double mastectomy next week to avert breast cancer but spend years searching for credible advice on how to minimize exposure to xenoestrogens and organochlorine compounds and reduce inflammatory visceral fat, all of which cultivate cancer. If you are a middle-aged woman, a doctor has likely advised you to start a drug to treat osteoporosis and take it for life, but she likely never mentioned the proven-to-be-effective and inexpensive natural methods that can reverse bone thinning back to normal. In health care, success is measured by the number of surgeries performed and drugs prescribed and lives saved once disease shows itself, but it is almost never measured by the number of times the disease is prevented in the first place.
Unquestionably, there are situations in which doctoring and the healthcare system are needed. If you are bleeding, injured, or struggling to breathe with pneumonia, some old-fashioned suturing, bone setting, or antibiotics can still do the trick. Nobody around here is going to try to replace their own hip joint or treat a urinary tract infection with salves and tonics. There are also situations that are beyond our reach, such as childhood cancer, congenital defects, and lung disease from smoking cigarettes. There are even occasional healthcare professionals who, despite the biases of their education, understand their role as healers, not as cogs in this flawed, profit-seeking wheel. But I’m not talking about those situations. I’m talking about more common and costly (in total) health issues that plague modern humans, from constipation to migraine headaches, from eczema to erectile dysfunction, from acid reflux to plantar fasciitis, from acne to attention-deficit disorder. These are the problems that bore most doctors silly and are certainly never portrayed on TV medical dramas. Doctors are more eager to see exciting, better-paying problems like heart attacks, colon cancer, brain tumors, and kids swallowing peculiar objects. After all, in most hospital healthcare systems of the 21st century, physician pay is tied to hospital revenues, with a bigger end-of-quarter bonus, for example, for generating more MRI scans, surgical consults, organ transplants, and other big-ticket services—regardless of whether they are truly needed or not. (The Institute of Medicine reported that, in 2009 alone, $209 billion was spent on unnecessary medical services and $75 billion was lost to fraud, with many more hundreds of billions lost to inefficiencies, inflated pricing, and excessive administrative costs. The dollars spent on the unnecessary and the dishonest in health care nearly match the total dollars spent by the US military every year.)
But it’s these less-than-interesting health issues for your doctor that are wonderfully and safely reduced, reversed, and—dare I say it—cured by a handful of simple strategies that you can implement on your own. You’ll be spared the annoyances and dangers of the healthcare system, and because you are obviously not trying to profit financially, you will remove layers of unnecessary costs. You will also find personal health challenges far more fascinating to deal with since they involve you.
I got my first taste of the power of individually determined health 25 years ago when, despite being a faculty member at a teaching hospital and having been board certified in internal medicine and cardiology, I inadvertently gave myself type 2 diabetes with severe distortions of cholesterol values and triglycerides when I embraced a strict low-fat, vegetarian lifestyle dominated by vegetables and “healthy whole grains.” I have since reversed all of these dietary disasters by following a few basic health strategies, not a single prescription drug involved. And it was easy.
Let’s be absolutely clear: I propose that people can manage their own health safely and responsibly and attain results superior to those achieved through conventional health care—not less than, not on par with, but superior. Although you may find this proposal brash, if my experiences with thousands of people over the last decade are any indication, most people who adopt a handful of simple strategies gain health that is vastly superior to that obtained through conventional means with drugs and procedures, not to mention the awful message that passes for modern dietary advice. You will learn that the code has been cracked for an astounding and long list of health conditions. I propose that everyday people can achieve startling results without prescription drugs, without hospitals, without medical procedures by largely sidestepping the doctor, using tools that inform, measure, and support self-directed efforts. And it’s relatively easy, inexpensive, safe, and even fun.
This is something that was never before achievable and is part of the rapidly changing landscape of technology. Such an idea would have been impossible, or at least hazardous, just 10 years ago. Only now is it becoming a reality. Empowerment of the individual in health is really just one aspect of broader waves of change that include self-driving cars and the celebration of noncelebrities through reality TV and YouTube (surely you’ve seen “Evolution of Dance” and “Chewbacca Mom”). Computerized autopilot systems have been used to fly and land jetliners for years, technology has powered innovations in health care such as 3-D modeling of drugs and remotely operated robotic surgery, virtual nobodies show off impressive talents for national TV audiences, but modern innovations have not yet been fully exploited to empower the individual in health. Well, the time has come: The tools of technology, coupled with a critical mass of new information and crowd interactive potential, have reached levels that now allow the everyday person to take back personal control over health.
You may find the first four chapters of this book disturbing, even shocking, because that is where I dissect what modern health care has become, viewed over many years from the perspective of an insider. I don’t do this just to point fingers or make you angry. I do this to reveal that what you thought was health care all along was really something different, a mere shadow of what health care should have been, built on outdated practices, cultlike adherence to rules, sometimes the pathological need to control people’s lives, and profit. Only after I raise serious questions about modern health care do we dive into the much more interesting and engaging part of the conversation: how to begin living a life Undoctored. In the how-to part of the book, I share with you my 6-week program, complete with starting recipes, to get you confidently on your way to an Undoctored life, and I include steps to take to reduce or eliminate prescription medications.
Let me also be clear on what this book is not: It will not be a guidebook on how to self-diagnose various diseases, nor will it be a pharmacopoeia of over-the-counter treatments. You will see that the Undoctored process turns the health equation around 180 degrees by providing an approach that first restores head-to-toe health in unexpected ways, reversing numerous health distortions, many of which you are likely unaware that you had, as well as many overt health conditions. Only after this initial process do we veer off in directions that can involve exploring diagnoses and treatments. I will discuss how to distinguish good information from bad, biased advice designed to squeeze more money out of you from safe and unbiased guidance, and I will show you how adhering to a handful of basic ground rules can keep you on course.
Although the healthcare system is typically indifferent to real health outside of revenue-generating activities, never before has the volume of information and tools that could potentially be applied to health been greater. But the system is not equipped to provide such information—nor does it care to—and deliver it to you and your family. These are the roles that I want Undoctored to serve—a catalyst for change, a liberator from the bonds of helpless ignorance that allows conventional health care to thrive, a manifesto and map of the path to achieving something a lot better in health, as much of it as possible without a doctor.
Just as smartphones have transformed human communication—no one sent “selfies” back when Madonna sang “Vogue” or swiped through eligible men or ladies on Tinder—the information and tools of Undoctored, selfdirected health will change the way we think about ourselves, how we achieve health, and our relationship to the healthcare system. They will release you from the stranglehold—yes, stranglehold—that conventional health care has had on people and replace it with health you create on your own, freeing you from the appointments, impersonality, neglect, and expense of what is presently passed off as health care. You haven’t had leeches applied to your arms and legs to bleed you, but you have had to endure something only a bit better to the tune of nearly $10,000 per year, per person. Those days are now over if you simply follow along.
In the subsequent pages of this book, I will discuss why and how such wonderful self-directed strategies are not only possible but essential for you to succeed in health; leave your health up to the doctor and the healthcare system while you submit to their “care,” and you are doomed to a life of following their rules for their gain. The power you hold reaches far and wide into multiple aspects of your and your family’s health: Cholesterol can be reduced without medication, blood pressure controlled, prediabetic blood sugars squelched, just as I and thousands of others have. You can shed 30 pounds in a few weeks (since excess weight is a reflection of distorted health, not just a cosmetic issue), identify and correct thyroid problems, craft a program to prevent or reverse osteoporosis, and amplify energy—all using self-directed resources that are within your reach, many of which you already have. You can share your experiences with others, review the experiences of other likeminded people, and find new solutions to previously unsolvable problems, all without a doctor. And, as the tools and revelations of this new age unfold, that is just the start. Life and health by the end of your 6-week Undoctored program will be unrecognizably transformed, even to the point of drawing startled gasps from people around you.
Spiraling healthcare costs also make self-directed health not just the fascination of early adopters but a necessity, as the increasing costs of the healthcare status quo look like a bubble (and bubbles burst). Should the healthcare system collapse under the weight of its own unsustainable costs, the self-directed health movement will be catalyzed as individuals are forced to bear more costs through larger insurance deductibles, flex-spending, and medical savings accounts. As control over more of the healthcare dollar is returned to consumers, they will seek to spend more wisely and look for solutions that don’t involve costly medical services. Cost savings will be realized as consumers take on more healthcare responsibility and avoid expensive doctors, prescriptions, and hospital services made unnecessary and counterproductive by our efforts.
As economically disastrous as spiraling healthcare costs are, you should also recognize that increasing costs are quietly celebrated by the healthcare industry, as they pocket the increased revenue. They have little incentive to fix this flawed healthcare system because your losses are their gains. Drug companies, medical device companies, doctors, hospital systems, health insurers— they all take their piece of this expanding pie, the pie that you and your family sacrifice to provide. Solutions to all the problems—cost, access, providing only as much care as is beneficial—are unlikely to come from within, so we provide the solutions that allow us to view health care as largely an option, not a necessity for the majority of health issues.
I predict that your Undoctored efforts will dramatically reduce your need for health care while helping you to feel better (and even look better) and sparing you from hundreds of health issues. They will, in effect, allow you to opt out of most aspects of health care. If you can’t beat them—don’t play the game, and win the game by playing by your own rules.
The ultimate cost savings emerge when you don’t develop a disease in the first place or succeed in reversing chronic issues like acid reflux or high blood pressure on your own. The first year of not having acid reflux, for example, can save $2,000 in healthcare costs that year alone because you did not undergo the obligatory (and often unnecessary) endoscopy and were not prescribed the stomach acid–blocking medications that would have led to distortions of bowel flora and the associated bloating, constipation, intermittent bowel urgency, and inflammation, as well as loss of bone density and nutrient deficiencies, downstream health problems resulting from what is often regarded as a “benign” drug treatment. Instead, you institute simple measures that not only address the cause of the problem but also bring about other health benefits without causing unwanted side effects. And your approach costs, at most, a few dollars, or even results in saving money.
You are, in effect, failing to contribute to the physicians, nurses, dietitians, technicians, hospital executives, pharmacies, prescription management services, armies of salespeople, pharmaceutical executives, and medical device manufacturers that would have otherwise pocketed the money you would have been forced to spend. Multiply this cost savings by thousands, then millions, of people for just this one condition and you get a sense of what we could achieve if we persuaded the population to follow us and cut a path of health across hundreds of health conditions.
And we would also create a nation of healthy, slender, vibrant people who rely less on a bloated, profit-seeking healthcare system that costs more than any other system in the world. We would all come to view the healthcare system as nothing more than an acute and catastrophic service available when its services are needed—while we manage our own health safely, effectively, and inexpensively, doing it better than a system that places profit ahead of results.
I will explain how and why I chose to cultivate this daring path. In truth, I did not set out to develop a program that seized control over health or saved money. As with many things, it all happened through a series of fortuitous accidents, coupled with a desire for better answers, all unfolding on the cusp of an exciting and empowered Information Age. But, lo and behold, we (my development team and I) inadvertently created a system for dealing with a huge swath of health issues on our own—the first time in thousands of years that the traditional notion of doctor-patient relationship has been completely overhauled. And I think that Hippocrates would approve.
Along the way, I’ll share some of the stories of people who have engaged in such an Undoctored process and achieved results that, just 20 years ago, would have been impossible, examples of people who seized the reins of health on their own and succeeded in some pretty big ways.
I will describe the basic requirements that virtually everyone should follow, practices that apply to everyone regardless of age: males; females; Democrats; Republicans; people who are tall, short, skinny, or overweight; those with gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune conditions, type 2 diabetes, or other diseases; and people who want to avoid such conditions in their lifetimes and just be healthy and function at their highest level. We will have to discuss the boundaries, where your Undoctored health efforts end and conventional health care picks up, including the role of your doctor in this new world.
I present the Undoctored discussion in three parts. In Part I, I go into detail on how and why the healthcare system, from doctors to agencies that pose as health advocates, fails in providing health or reliable health information. Recognizing unreliable or misleading health information is the first step in declaring yourself Undoctored. In Part II, I will take you full steam ahead into the world of Undoctoring, revealing the rationale and the essential tools needed to adopt this exciting life approach. In Part III, I discuss the foods, nutritional supplements, and other strategies of the Undoctored way of living in detail, laid out for you as a 6-week program, the amount of time required to have health and life transformed and be well on your way to freeing yourself from the bonds of the healthcare system.
Turn on the reading light, get cozy in your chair, grab the remote to switch off the medical drama airing on TV, and prepare to be enlightened and know that your future will be brighter and healthier, all because you decided that you’ve had enough of being a source of profit for the healthcare system while never really receiving health in return and that you are going to take back control over your health and fate, all Undoctored.
Excerpted from "Undoctored"
Copyright © 2017 William Davis.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Chimpanzees, Parasites, Travel Agents, and Stockbrokers 3
Chapter 2 Who Took The "Health" Out of Health Care? 26
Chapter 3 With Friends Like These… 45
Chapter 4 Any Doctors in Undoctored? 67
Chapter 5 You've Got Company: Information, Community, and Collaboration 85
Chapter 6 A Return to Our Grain Less Roots 101
Chapter 7 Meat, Fire, Fat, and Other Essentials 124
Chapter 8 From Herbs, Enema Bags, and Pliers to Apps, Smartwatches, and Diy Genetics 160
Chapter 9 Eating While Wild, Naked, and Unwashed 181
Chapter 10 Wild, Naked, and Unwashed: 6 Weeks of Recipes 204
Chapter 11 Wild, Naked, and Unwashed: Cultivate Your Bowel Flora Garden 248
Chapter 12 Wild, Naked and Unwashed: Nutritional Supplements to Correct Deficiencies 269
Chapter 13 A Final Health Hodgepodge: Sleep, Exercise, Toxin Avoidance, and Breaking Weight Plateaus 303
Chapter 14 Breathe, Drink Water, and Be Undoctored 323
Appendix A Undoctored Protocols: Additional Steps to Take in Specific Health Situations 333
Appendix B Hidden Sources of Grains and Safe Sweeteners 346
Appendix C Additional Recipes: Magnesium Water and Fermenting Vegetables 351
Appendix D Additional Resources 354