Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hospital Food - Ugh

Oxymoron at best that. The stuff they give you to eat, to sustain you and heal you, in your average hospital is not fit for beasts. My experience of it so far is that it usually falls into one of two colour ranges: white and brown (chocolate pudding, coffee, mashed potatoes, gravy, some meat resembling thing,etc). Ok, when all the books seem to agree and all the recent studies are talking about the more colour and the richer the colour of a food (for example – blueberries) the better it is for our bodies, then why oh why, dear God, are they serving “hospital food” that is colour less (essentially).

Well the truth is we know why. To save money. That is also why they ship it in from foreign cities (my aunt who will be having surgery in Kingston tomorrow, please send her powerful healing thoughts, will be getting her food from Ottawa, from what I am told), which inherently suggests that it is not fresh food. It is not even freshly prepared food, perhaps just reheated. Egads! Gadzooks! Why are we trying to kill their patients? Oh right, we already covered that ground. To save money. But how do we save money if all these people can’t recover well and have to stay in hospitals longer, or if they have recurrences or relapses, or we are killing off another part of them that is affected by the poor diet. Oh, it could drive me to… eat chocolate pudding. It all seems so fruitless (literally), so counter intuitive, so illogical.

My extreme self-care solution was to ask friends and family to bring me REAL food while I was in the hospital. And I am sure it made all the difference (well, maybe not ALL the difference, those prayers and good thoughts might have helped a wee bit too) in my speedy recovery. But that probably isn’t viable for everyone. So what do we do as a system at large in an effort to make this work better? I know there is some experimentation at Mount St. Joseph’s here in Vancouver, where they are making good fresh food with good fresh ingredients. Is it working? How do they measure that? And how can other folks learn from it? Because I will tell you this, we are killing our people with what we are feeding them in the hospitals.

I recall once taking a class with a herbalist and she jokingly said that often people walk past the very herbs that they need to help the on their way to the pharmacy. A year or two after that class I was walking past the emergency entrance at VGH and noticed that there were these hyper, overgrown, massive dandelions just outside the door. “Whoa” I thought, “clearly we are a society in need of liver detox.” Well while I know it is not the answer, I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be better off making a nice, big salad with all those healthy greens (not that these ones would have been, sucking in all that exhaust from the ambulances) and letting it go at that. Never mind. Back to what are some other solutions? Any suggestions are good suggestions! Bring it on!


At 9:29 PM PDT, Blogger Darran Frisby said...

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At 10:26 PM PDT, Blogger Darran Frisby said...

Glad you made it home safe and sound, although to bad food it would seem?!?!
My thoughts and energy are with you, if you need anything Toronto has to offer baby, just say the word and it's on its way~ Great writing by the way!

At 2:07 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

During my first hospital stay in my little town, I was actually asking for recipes! They had great food for diabetics! People should just mark DIABETIC on their menu card!


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