Dr. Deborah Charfoos of Bloomfield Hills spreads the word on clean eating and how it helped alleviate her arthritis, diabetes and more.
By Ed Nakfoor
What a difference a year makes. So says Dr. Deborah Charfoos of Bloomfield Hills.
The OB/GYN and partner in Michigan Women’s Health clinics in Farmington Hills and Clawson suffered from arthritis, was pre-diabetic and generally felt lousy.
“I had to give up delivering babies a year and a half ago because of arthritis,” Charfoos said.
Today, she’s off her diabetes medicine; her joints don’t ache; her ulcerative colitis is cleared up and so, too, has her skin.
“I started to cut out all sugar and carbs from my diet … even fruit to bring down my sugar,” she explained, “I did extensive research, learning more about chemicals and pesticides in the personal care products we use and the food we eat and how that gives us such bad inflammation,” among other ailments.
Charfoos said many of her patients began to notice a change about a year ago. “They would comment, ‘You look good … your skin is clearer … you’re losing weight, what are you doing?’”
What she was doing was, in fact, working. So, she began to share.
However, Charfoos doesn’t preach. Rather, “if [my patients] ask, it starts a conversation,” she said.
Also about a year ago, Charfoos began reaching a wider audience with her Dr. Debbie’s Wellness social media platform, where she offers advice about clean eating and eliminating chemicals and additives found in many foods, and household and personal care products found in our kitchens and bathrooms.
Charfoos’ mission isn’t limited to her office hours or her Facebook page. You’ll find her living well and sharing advice about wellness throughout Metro Detroit, mostly through the Detroit to Nepal Foundation (D2N), whose mission is to improve the health and educational opportunities for children in some of Detroit’s most devastated neighborhoods, as well as those living in remote Himalayan villages in Nepal.
Specifically, D2N’s Detroit initiative is referred to as EVO Detroit with EVO standing for empowerment, vestment and ownership. It achieves its mission through several programs that Charfoos supports with her time and expertise.
First, there’s the community radio station on which she hosts a live, biweekly show on Monday evenings where she interviews and debates doctors and other healthcare professionals. The station, WNCU 96.7 FM, broadcasts in north Detroit, an area with low internet access.
“Community radio is a powerful tool to disseminate education for the surrounding community, and it is an effective platform for advocacy,” she said.
She also lets listeners know that women can receive free medical care at the nearby Say Detroit family health clinic. The clinic, located in Highland Park, is the second D2N program she supports, working there once a month.
The third D2N program in which she participates is its Buckets of Rain Gardens, also in Highland Park (across the street from the Say clinic). Those same patients are able to take advantage of all that the garden offers. Charfoos said all doctors at the clinic “write ‘prescriptions’ for vegetables available at the garden for these women. When their refills are out, they come back to the clinic for another free checkup and another free prescription.”
Charfoos’ family also benefits from her devotion to wellness. She and her husband have three sons: one is a dentist, the second is director of programming for a Detroit animal shelter and the youngest is a junior at University of Michigan’s School of Engineering. “They all eat better now … they exercise more. It’s a family affair,” she said.
Next up for Charfoos will be podcasts and blogging about wellness and her garden. Expect the harvest to get big play in the recipes she features on Facebook.