There is no fast track to good health, doctor says
There is no secret key that suddenly unlocks the pathway to a healthy life, according to Dr. Scott Rollins, a Grand Junction doctor who specializes in anti-aging and regenerative medicine.
“We can’t have instant success, instant loyalty or trust, instant weight loss, or instant health,” Rollins said. “Success starts with a desire, a vision, and a plan.”
The medical doctor, who is certified by the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, explained his views after a lecture at a local radio station last week.
Rollins is founder and medical director of Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado, 2470 Patterson Road.
The board-certified physician and his associates practice conventional medicine along with complementary and alternative medical therapies.
For example, the practice uses “state-of-the-art” medical treatments and diagnostics along with traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, among other ancient healing arts, Rollins said.
The whole-health approach of the practice and its incorporation of what is known as “complementary health care” is consistent with a growing trend among Colorado physicians who more and more are affiliating with alternative medicine practitioners, according to an independent study of integrative medicine by the Bravewell Collaborative reported in 2012. The survey included health care facilities located in Colorado.
The trend in integrative practice
The trend in combined medical and complementary health care practices is driven by patient demand, the study showed.
For example, the University of Colorado’s Center for Integrative Medicine reported in 2012 that increasing numbers of patients were being referred for treatment of fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses.
The CU center uses acupuncture, chiropractic massage, mind-body approaches, supplements and medications in tandem to address all aspects of a patient’s health care needs.
“These therapies are much more effective in conjunction with (healing associated with) lifestyle changes,” CU reported in 2012.
The top five conditions for which people saw complementary health care practitioners were chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, depression and anxiety, cancer, and stress, the study said.
At 15 of the centers, nearly all of the complaints were successfully treated with nutritional changes, nutritional supplements, traditional medications, yoga, relaxation, herbal and botanical remedies and breathing exercises, or some combination thereof, according to the survey.
“Great health starts with having the right attitude to make the right choices,” Rollins said.
Attitude means making the easy decisions every day that add up to good health. It is just as easy to do the right things as it is to do the wrong ones, Rollins said. “Eating that greasy cheeseburger and fries with a super-size soda is an easy choice — one that is not likely to kill you today, but compounded over time it will,” he said.
A balance of food groups is best, Rollins said.
He tells his patients to practice “mindful eating” by taking time to stop, savor and enjoy the food being consumed.
“Use a small plate to help with portion control,” he said. “And stop eating before you are stuffed. It takes about 20 minutes for the mind to catch up with the stomach and we usually eat way more than necessary to be satisfied.”
Much of the medical advice Rollins gives sounds like common sense, but common sense is not as common as it once was, he said.
Common sense or not, the whole-health approach Rollins takes sets him apart from many physicians who focus exclusively on Western medical traditions.
Prescription for eating
“Nutrition is our first medicine,” Rollins said. “Avoid sugar, high-glycemic carbs, inflammatory transfats and hydrogenated oils. Stay away from overly processed, calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods.”
Rollins tells his patient to be suspicious if food comes in a bag, box, can or jar. Avoid fried or charred foods and unfermented soy, and limit caffeine and alcohol.
“Eat at least six to eight servings per day of raw, preferably organic fruits and vegetables (a day),” he said. “Include one green salad entrée daily with many colored vegetables. Berries are the best fruits.”
Protein from lean sources such as fish, venison, grass-fed meats and poultry are best because all contain more of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat. Seeds and nuts are also a good source of healthy oils and protein.
“Drink plenty of water and remember green tea is an elixir of health,” Rollins said.
Prescription for exercise
“We are designed to exercise, period,” he said. “Many hormones and enzymes in the body only work when stimulated by exercise.”
Some exercise is better than none, but people should strive to exercise every day, Rollins said.
“Ideally we should divide our efforts equally into working on flexibility, aerobic conditioning and strength training,” he said.
Sleep is essential
Sleep is a very active process and is essential for great health, Rollins said.
“During deep sleep, our physical body rests and repairs, producing hormones such as growth hormone, sex hormones, and thyroid,” he said. “During REM sleep, our mental body awakens, refreshes and reorganizes for another day.”
On the flip side, chronic stress is a killer, Rollins said.
“It fuels the stress hormone cortisol, which leads both directly and indirectly to consequences that promote disease,” he said. “We can avoid some stressors, such as situations or people, but ultimately we have to learn to manage the unavoidable stressors in life.”
This means taking time every day to break the stress cycle, something that can be accomplished with a few minutes of deep breathing or similar grounding activities like meditation or yoga, he said.
“Simply taking a casual stroll will lower cortisol levels,” Rollin said. “Good nutrition, exercise and sleep really help with stress control.”
Nutritional supplements can also aid in promoting good health, especially as people grow older, he said. As a medical doctor, Rollins said he can helps his patients find bona fide, top quality products and avoid the “snake oil.”
Hormone balance and replacement is another treatment available at Rollins’ practice. “The body is designed to run optimally when our hormone systems oversee every step,” he said. “A predictable decline in hormone levels occur with aging and replacing them to youthful levels … will help … maintain quality of health.”
Rollins specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and other complex medical conditions, according to his website.
Call 245-6911 for more information.