It isn’t often that I run across another website or blog that shares my philosophy on health and eating. When I first discovered Pursue A Healthy You I read one page after another trying to find something I didn’t agree with but I never could. It was a welcomed relief. It is now my pleasure to present this guest post from Dustin Rudolph, Pharm.D.
A Pharmacist’s Prescription For Optimal Health
It was the year 1987, I had just made the life-changing career decision of wanting to become a pharmacist. The world was a spectacular place to be in! The average cost of a new house was only $92,000, gas was a whopping 89 cents per gallon, The Simpsons had just made their TV debut, and U2’s newly released album The Joshua Tree was topping the charts. It was also a big year for the pharmaceutical industry. Prozac, one of the biggest blockbuster drugs ever, had just been released into the U.S. market. As for me personally, I found myself spending my days amongst a bunch of 4th graders, not because I was teaching them, but because I was one of them. You’re probably thinking “Fourth grader? Career decision making? Pharmacist? Right!” It may sound crazy for such a young man to make such a big life decision, but that was me. I’ve always been a highly motivated individual, persistent about planning life’s journey with every step I take. I’m still that way today, to a fault some would even say.
Anyway, back when I was ten years old I had wanted to become a pharmacist for three main reasons…
A) I wanted to help people.
B) It was a good paying job with a bright future.
C) I liked science and math.
Not a bad combination for the aspiring dreams of a small town, All-American boy with the prospect of success gleaming in his eyes. My parents were very supportive. I’m sure they were a bit surprised, however. Not every 10 year old comes up with such grand ideas at that stage in life. Most young boys are busy playing little league or off riding their dirt bike, complaining about doing chores because ‘work’ isn’t in their vocabulary yet. But I was focused on the future for some odd reason, and my focus only grew stronger as I made my way through middle and high school. I was determined to be a pharmacist one day and nothing was going to stop me.
In pharmacy school I learned everything you would ever want to know about medications. I learned about over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and even natural and herbal medications. There was a pill for everything. I was going to be the person to pass them out. I couldn’t wait for the day of being able to “dispense miracles” with each prescription as it passed through my careful and calculated inspection.
After graduating, my energy and enthusiasm carried me through to my first job behind the counter of a retail pharmacy. I was fired up and ready to go. I wanted nothing more than to get out there and “hit the ground running” as they say. It was the beginning of the 21st century and there were sick people, lots of sick people, that needed my help. As the years passed (currently 11 and counting), I’ve had the pleasure of working in many different pharmacy settings—big box retailers, small and medium size hospitals, and even a busy grocery store setting. I’ve learned a lot, seen a lot, and even met some pretty interesting people over the years. I’d never thought you’d actually have to explain to a patient to take the wrapper off before inserting a suppository. Oh, what world we live in! Most of what I’ve learned as a pharmacist, however, is how I fit into this gigantic web of a healthcare system we have. I started out thinking I’d be the miracle healer, but have since realized this isn’t the case in most circumstances, unfortunately.
So, how did I come to this conclusion and what changed my mind since getting out of pharmacy school? It goes a little like this…
A little over four years ago my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I learned what it really meant to bring others back to an optimal state of health. Not just temporary health, but long term health, where individuals thrive as the years and decades go by. This new world was opened to me when I became aware of the healing powers of a whole foods, plant-based diet. I had read The China Study by the highly respected Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University. As it turned out, food is the best medicine you can give a human being when facing a chronic illness. I was shocked to learn of this approach provided by Dr. Campbell in his book. No one had ever mentioned this during pharmacy school. Yet, I believe now that it should be the first thing taught to all aspiring healthcare practitioners and the primary point emphasized in the treatment of chronic diseases. Food is why we are in this healthcare crisis, and food is also the way out of it. When I finally grasped this concept, my life (and my professional career) forever changed. The idea of food as medicine now serves as the basis of my message to others in their quest for optimal health.
“Fixing” the American healthcare crisis starts with addressing the root cause of chronic diseases. I can tell you firsthand from seeing thousands of patients over many years that more pills do not equal more health. Don’t get me wrong, I have helped many patients get back on track by offering them a pill, but this approach typically only provides temporary relief and is not a long term solution. The reason is because medications target the symptoms of disease and not the cause in most cases. The true solution to our healthcare woes are found in a healthy diet, regular exercise, and positive lifestyle choices which aim to target the root cause of these chronic illnesses. This is the message I hope will be carried forward as we enter into the coming years with our current healthcare crisis.
I feel very blessed to have had, and to continue to have, the opportunity to serve others in their time of need when it comes to their health. I’ve accomplished exactly what I set out to do in 4th grade… A) I’ve helped people, B) I’ve made a lot of money, and C) I’ve used science and math to accomplish both. What I didn’t realize when I was only ten years old was that…
A) Helping others is one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences in life. The bigger the positive impact you have on others the more joy it will bring to you.
B) The accumulation of money means so little in the grand scheme of things. Life is about giving unto others, spreading love and happiness in all that we aim to do.
C) Science and math, when used in it’s simplest forms (i.e. plant-based nutrition), can transform the health and lives of others like nothing else, especially where medicine falls short of this.
Adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. It will bring about vibrant health, lessen the carbon footprint on the world we live in, and increase the welfare of all living creatures living on this planet. It is truly a win-win-win situation. With that being said, I’m going to ask of you something that no pharmacist has ever asked of you before – please put me out of business by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. You will eliminate and/or reduce the need for medications and live a disease free life in the process. Nothing would give this pharmacist more pleasure than to hear that story from you, if or when you decide to make it happen.
Dustin Rudolph, Pharm.D. (aka The Plant-Based Pharmacist) currently practices as a clinical hospital pharmacist. He spends much of his spare time educating others on the benefits of adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle in order to end the chronic disease epidemic. For more information check out his website at www.PursueAHealthyYou.com or his blog at http://pursueahealthyyou.blogspot.com.