By Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
The patient is responsible for the condition they’re in. If you’ve ever done a diet diary with a patient, which we do with every patient for every visit until they’re well on track, you may have read one of these diaries and started circling all the things they’re doing that are contra-survival. And if you’ve ever had the experience of circling everything…I’ve done that a few times.
I’d say, “Well, I’m just going to circle the things that are contributing to your current lack of health.” The patient would say, “Wow, that’s everything I eat.” And I’d say, “I hope you realized the truth of what you just said.”
How you bring that change about is not by simply giving them the canned perfect diet, because they’ll never go on that diet. The way you do it is find the worst thing they’re doing and changing that, giving them a gradual win. This is one of the reasons we do not do long visits.
I’ve had many practitioners get involved in long visits because they try to educate the patient on the whole thing during that visit. And they spend a lot of time explaining it. The truth of the matter is that the patient has to get one thing and do it. Then you verify that they’re doing it on the next visit. And most of the time they don’t, so you have to make sure they get that one thing. It’s a matter of gradual change. It’s much better to have a lower fee for a shorter visit and see them more often. You’ll get a lot more done with more frequent short visits than spaced out long visits.
I have seen this: there was a girl in Northern CA who was a naturopath. She was French-trained, very sophisticated. She spent an hour to an hour-and-a-half with each patient and charged a nice hefty fee for that hour. But she always wondered why her practice never took off or gave her the energy that she felt it should be giving her – because she was a naturopathic healer.
When we examined her practice and compared it to the ideal scene of my model, she said, “My God, how could I ever see a patient in ten minutes?” And we immediately got her down to a forty-five minute visit and had her cut her fee in half. It was a forty-five minute visit and she would see them twice as often. And that started to show some improvement in her results. Patients started getting better faster.
I’m telling you, you can’t give a patient everything they need to know in one visit and tell them to come back in a month. It’s very rare that you can get someone to stick with the actual program you gave them. My experience is that people need to be seen often, in short visits, and given one thing to do that will change their life for the better, just one thing. And make sure that they get that and stick with that one thing until they have it and then move to the next thing, and you’ll see that they gradually improve their health.
People always ask me, “What do you eat, Doctor Ulan?” I never tell them. They would just die. They would know that they could never possibly achieve health. But my diet didn’t evolve overnight. It took me years to realize what I was doing that was killing me. I literally tried to change my diet overnight and it never worked. Finally, I just did what I’m telling you that I found that is workable for the patient – and that is a gradual change. Today I eat (as long as I’m a short distance away from a health food store), an organic, raw diet. About ninety percent of it is raw; I still need some animal protein for this body.
Many people would like to be vegetarians, and they get sick because their body can’t convert vegetable protein or vegetable amino acids into the proteins that they need. They just don’t have the metabolic capability any longer. Whether they ever had it, I don’t know. But I do know that some of my sickest patients are the ones that want to be pure organic raw vegetarians. These people for sure need really good supplementation. (You know, the joke is that any of the animal products we give them – all of those animals are vegetarian anyway, so it’s really not a problem.) So, we need to get these people eating properly.
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