Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hospital Food

To all of my dear readers, I am sorry I have not been able to post all week. We had a family emergency and I've been spending most of my time at the hospital. My hubby has been in there with atrial fibrillation, trying various meds to get his heart back into proper rhythm and speed.

I found it shocking that in the heart ward on the "cardiac diet", he gets served a nutrient deficient, disease causing diet. The heart association as well as the hospital itself recommend at least 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Yet patients are never served this. They are not educated about the importance of diet. Instead they are served things like jello, which has zero nutrition; it is a dish of chemically colored and flavored sugar. Unless you live under a rock, you know that meat is strongly linked to heart disease. Yet numerous servings of meat and highly processed foods make up most of the remainder of the diet. People do not like to change their habits. Patients prefer to think they are eating healthy because the hospital is serving them this food.

Breakfast one day was a box of rice krispies cereal and milk, a banana, a slice of french toast made from white bread, a packet of chemical pancake syrup, and diet lemon-lime soda.
Lunch was beef and white-noodle soup, beef tips over white pasta, about 4 mushy looking green beans on the side, jello, a white roll, and diet lemon-lime soda.
Dinner was a cheeseburger on a white bun, about 1/2 c. of lettuce salad, chicken soup(again with white noodles), more jello, lemon pudding, and diet lemon-lime soda.
My hubby is underweight, so I asked why the diet soda, and was told it was because it did not contain caffeine. Caffeine is not allowed on the cardiac diet.
He was still hungry, so for a snack they brought him a roast beef sandwich and additive-laden ice cream.

One of the saddest things about this is that a dietitian oversees the "cardiac diet". Our professionals think this is healthy. So the patients have no incentive to change. We need health care reform in this country, and it needs to begin with education and with people taking responsibility for their own health.

I hope I never have to spend time in the hospital, because I would starve to death. They offer next to nothing that I would eat. Patients that are trying to heal need nutrient-dense foods.

My hubby should be coming home early in the week, and hopefully things will get back to normal. Then I can resume posting regularly. Thanks for bearing with me.


Wendy July 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

I could not agree with you more! Health care reform needs to start with "education" on the direct link between diet and health. And on "personal responsibility" for our own health.

Thanks for this great post. I can not believe the crap they fed your poor husband in the hospital. You'd think that of all places, they'd know better than to serve "diet" soda! Good grief. Lemon water sweetened with a bit of honey (or even a teaspoon of processed white sugar is a better choice than diet soda!)would have been a better choice.

DAVID July 27, 2009 at 8:31 PM  

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I'm glad to hear, though, that he'll be able to return home soon. I'll be praying for his return to normal health. I'll also be eagerly awaiting new posts from you - I really do enjoy your blog! Take care. David

C.S. July 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM  

I just started following your blog, since I'm a vegetarian of one year now, always looking for nutritious recipes.

I hate to see that hospital food hasn't improved since my late husband had a heart attack back in 2005. I'll never forget the horrible diet they fed him, and then the outrage I felt as I tried to get healthy meal in the cafeteria -- or those exorbitant prices. The next year my late husband was diagnosed with acute leukemia (and I still suspect the huge dosages of plavix/statin drugs played a part in that)...and facing weeks of trying to eat the gak in that cafeteria was something I dreaded. Unfortunately my husband died a week later, after his first chemo treatment.

With all the media attention lately about obesity, unhealthy eating costing billions in health care, you'd think hospitals would be the FIRST place to implement healthy eating. Sad.

I hope your husband makes a full recovery, and I look forward to reading your blog and trying some of your recipes.

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