Sadly, what I'm going to show you today about food in hospitals is not unique to this hospital, so I'm not picking on them specifically. What is so shockingly sickening, literally, is that this is the norm.
Last week I got an email from a Northern Michigan reader friend who was at the Children's Hospital here in Grand Rapids with her very ill 3 year old. She was wondering where to find Real Food around here, so I gave her the name of my favorite local places, Nourish Organic Market and Harvest Health Foods, where she bought some sauerkraut and fermented pickles. And then I did what any Weston A. Price groupy would do, I brought them some nourishing bone broth and probiotic-rich homemade kefir soda pop. (Which exploded all over her after I left and she had to get a shower — I'd forgotten to let her know it can do that… I'm pretty helpful, huh?)
So that's where this story begins…
But first, a disclaimer…
Even though there are some specific people at this hospital who I think have made some bad decisions in the past (see the Jacob Stieler story— at that link, click on the post at the bottom to start at the beginning), I've no doubt in my mind that most people there are truly good hearted and only want to see their patients get better.
Besides the food issue, this hospital is a neat place!
They totally went the extra mile when building it to make it a less scary, more “fun” place for kids who have to come here. It's been finished about a year now, and to give you an idea of how much it cost to build it, I heard that the project came in at 100 MILLION over budget – ouch! Everywhere you look is another amazing, colorful, visually appealing, amazingly designed new feature to marvel at.
Even walking over on the parking ramp is an experience:
And here are a couple pictures of the lobby; it also has a coffee shop, an ice cream shop, a toy/gift store and other fun stuff that I probably didn't even see.
This next picture shows an award-winning piece of art that local children helped to create, isn't it cool?
Finally, to get to the point of this post…
I'll show you the shocking pictures I took while visiting my friend there. After we chatted for a while she said, “Check this out, you'll appreciate this. I won't even have to say anything, I'll just open the cabinet doors…”
I'm pretty sure I won't have to say anything to all of you to set this up, either. Just remember as you look at the foods in the “nourishment room” that it's at a hospital full of sick kids who need, probably more than anything else, real nourishment in order to HEAL…
Well… I can't wait to hear what you all think of this?
More shocking stories:
- Nursing home food should be illegal!
- Corn pops for Diabetics? Read about when my Mom was in the hospital
- My other post on this topic: Not-so-Healthy Hospital Recipe Substitutions
- Read more about Breakfast Cereals and why to avoid them!
- 10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas
- 10 Steps to better health
Heather :) :) :) says
My dad was in the hospital last January with an arrythmia fibrillation of the heart. He survived and it was miracle…but I was horrified by the food they were giving him at the hospital. Some of it was so artificial. Dad would literally only take two or three bites of the meal and then refuse to eat the rest because it tasted so bad. So finally I started buying him food at Whole Foods, and he started eating all his food. The cashier at Whole Foods said that a lot of people do that who have loved ones at this samehospital. They were also giving him certain medications that he didn’t even need, simply because it was their “standard” practice. So we consulted with our naturopathic physician and learned that we have the right to refuse any and all medications givein. He refused two of them and actually improved once he started taking more action over his own health. Oh, this article really hits home with me. Thank you 🙂 🙂
Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Hugs backatcha Heather!
I’m so thankful your Dad is doing better!
sarah in the woods says
My daughter had to go to the children’s hospital a couple years ago for a head injury. She remembers the experience as a good one because she pretty much ate ice cream and watched movies the whole time. For breakfast, the nurse asked what she wanted and my daughter asked for raisins. The nurse was impressed that she wanted something healthy and gave her a box of raisin bran cereal to pick the sugared raisins out of. At one point, I went to find something to eat for myself in the cafeteria and was just shocked. I couldn’t find any real food. I don’t remember what I had to eat, but I can assure you it was not real food. It made no sense to me at all.
My mom works as a nurse in a hospital. She’s sure some of the people would get better if they could just go home.
Our hospital isn’t so bad if you are admitted, but the snack drawer in your picture looked like the snack basket in the infusion room when I was getting IV iron for my severe anemia (obviously in need of all the nourishment I could get). I could also have water, juice/drink, soda or coffee. What I wanted was an egg sandwich or some roast beef. Now I’m working on staying out of the anemia zone so I don’t have to go through that again.
Those slushies look horrible, and as a retired pediatric nurse, they look even worse when the kids bring them back up. Good thing you were looking out for your friend.
I live in the same urban area as Kelly, and I haven’t actually seen all the “goodies” that are available at the children’s hospital she mentions. I can, however, comment on ANOTHER hospital in the same area, same town, with a pretty amazing assortment. My mom had surgery recently, and the food service department is run like a restaraunt (you call whenever you want to and order whatever you want to). She had really GOOD food for one of her meals–salmon and vegetables–pretty good looking for institutional food. I realize this isn’t the same thing as the nourishment room, but the choices she had for a regular meal looked excellent to me. Not perfect, but not all white bread, either. I don’t wish a hospital visit on anyone, but if you had to, and you had to eat there, you would want to choose this place. JMO!
Debra Tate says
The food is horrible without saying. What I would like to comment on is the millions that is spent on hospital buildings. Another reason why staying at a hospital is sooooooo costly. I would rather see buildings that have been built with cost saving in mind. We are in a hospital because we are sick not to be entertained. I understand children’s needs and it is not for more multi million dollar junk. It makes me sick at all the money that is wasted when we all know the state of our country. Spend spend spend
I work at a hospital and bring my lunch with me everyday…I tried to eat the hospital food a few times in the beginning and always had headaches/stomachaches afterwards, so stopped doing that! There is only a microwave to heat things up, so I usually bring in leftovers from our dinners the night before or stick to soups/stews. The nourishing bone broths really help me stay alert during the day and I feel OK using the microwave because I have glass food containers to heat them up in. If you have a loved one in the hospital I would suggest sticking to soups and stews, make a few favorite kinds and rotate between the two each day, heat them up in the microwave and also bring some sprouted grain rolls and real butter. I know I am not the biggest fan of soups in the summer, but I am always freezing at my desk in the hospital (they love the A/C) so it might work 🙂 Hope this helps.
I just visited a friend in the hospital yesterday after surgery and she said the food was good! She’s pretty picky, too. She got good veggies, and said it was all real stuff.
J in VA says
I am aquainted with someone whose one year old had a malignant brain tumor. For months, all he was rumored to eat was Vitamin Water (colored sugar water) and cheetos (chemical filled non-food). Once a huge ta-do was made about him eating pancakes in the hospital cafeteria. I don’t think it is a coincidence that he did not survive his tumor.
I appreciate chemo induced nausea/vomiting but a one year old needs his parents to help him know what to eat.
I’m sorry, but you have NO idea what the situation even was! Is it possible he was given a terminal diagnosis at the beginning and the parents decided it was better to just enjoy him instead of stressing about food? Is it possible he was actually tube fed the majority of his food and would only take those few things by mouth? My daughter is tube fed, but if she’s willing to put something in her mouth, I let her go to town! If they had fed their child all whole foods and the child still died, what would you have said then? Real food is wonderful, but it is NOT a cure all. Not by a long shot.
Meg Logan says
I think we need to be careful judging other parent’s choices. We don’t know the full situation and many parents are ignorant of health foods, because of the society they live in, can you blame them for trusting the Doctor?
Besides that, Real Whole Food is not a cure all. It can’t sustain your life indefinitely, and it doesn’t always cure sicknesses. Lets not lay any guilt at the feet of parents who have lost their child. They are already dealing with the hardest thing in life… the death of a child.
Cathy F. says
Until I started learning about food, I would have thought… so what’s the big deal? However, hospitals should know better! Don’t they have nutritionists on staff? The plain truth is, modern medicine knows NOTHING about nutrition, nor do they care. It’s all about drugs, procedures, and surgeries…without which none of them would have a job. (Sorry for the jaded attitude.) I’ve only started learning about the miracle of good nutrition over the past year. The information is out there. That’s why I repeat… doctors, nurses, and nutritionists have NO EXCUSE! Shame on them. They should know better.
This is evil. The food manufacturers and hospitals are a team …its a revolving door and keeps the money flowing..im so glad more and more people are becoming aware of the plight of the evildoers….Kellogs, General Mills, Quaker, pesticide using farmers, poisoning our children …may Allah destroy your business…. Just how do you sleep at night???
my sentiments exactly. Thank you for being so succinct!!!
Donna Bauman says
I know this things make me so SADDD… we were in a hotel today with a “free” breakfast full of fake food. You get what you pay for. Why is it that so few people actually get this??? I am glad to know some people who do get it so as not to lose all hope that things can ever change.
I think those foods are intended to comfort rather than nourish. You know, “they are sick/in pain… let them enjoy something fun.”
Our society has turned food into an emotional hunt for pleasure rather than fuel for our functioning. Sad. I totally agree with your assessment. I strongly believe that it is those very heavily processed foods that puts a lot of kids (and adults) in the hospital. WHAT are we DOING to ourselves? Will no one speak up for common sense WHOLE foods?
When my father went into the hospital for 6 weeks for his chemo treatment, my only question to the doctors was, “can I bring in a hot plate?” I brought him homemade bone broths and other home-cooked meals that he could eat after heating gently in the stainless-steel pan (fortunately, they gave us room in the fridge and freezer so he could have choices). I have this same hot plate at work, now that he is out of the hospital (and doing so well that he is on vacation in Japan as I write this!), and always bring my lunches in glass or stoneware dishes. I really like to add 1 inch of water to the bottom and a metal spoon or fork under the dish(the spoon keeps the dish from rattling too much), then “steam-heat” the leftovers–it only takes about 20 minutes, and I don’t “forget” that I left it in the microwave, because the wonderful aromas are coming up at me from under my desk!
The food has improved in the hospitals here (Denver suburbs). When my husband was in for appendicitis in 2006, he was able to order meals like room service and specify what he wanted, and they had gluten-free and dairy-free options, so he could avoid not only what he was allergic to but most unhealthy foods (we don’t eat wheat, corn, soy or dairy, except goat dairy). When my father was in for back surgery a couple of years later (in suburban Detroit), there wasn’t quite as much flexibility in what food you got but it was still quite good compared to how hospital food used to be. Also, this is not food-related, but the hospital my husband was in let me bring in our dog to visit him (we don’t have children). I couldn’t believe that–times sure have changed!
My daughter was a patient at St Jude Children’s Hospital. Beautiful facility and friendly nurses and doctors, but I was shocked at the lack of connection between what children eat and their health. Your talking about children with serious illnesses and all doctors can recommend is medicine. I was concerned that my daughter wasn’t getting enough nutrition so I talked to their nutritionist. All she told me was that my daughter (who had lost almost 10 pounds at the time) was still not thin enough to cause concern but if I wanted to I could give her Pediasure. Are you kidding me?! Have you looked at the ingredients of that stuff? Nothing but poison. Also, the doctors would tell me to let my daughter eat whatever she wanted weather it be cookies or chips as long as she was eating something. It also seemed like candy was constantly available. I know people just want to cheer up miserable children but they have no idea that all that junk is just making it worse! I had only begun my journey into real foods when my daughter was diagnosed so, unfortunately, I followed the chemo treatment that the doctors recommended for about 3 months. After she had lost so much weight, wasn’t interested in doing anything but sleeping, and landed back in the hospital because of low blood counts, we pulled the plug and decided to concentrate on her health. Now, 15 months after diagnosis, she is pretty much back to normal and scans are showing that her tumor is dead! Originally, the doctors had given her a 1% chance of surviving 9-12 months. Real food works!
WOW! Sounds like there’s a great story there, if you’d ever like to share it with us, I’d love a guest post. 🙂
Thank God for your daughter’s healing!
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Kelly S. says
This looks just like the food area where my mother had her cancer treatments. :o(
Kelly S. says
That was supposed to be a :(.
Wow, that is scary! I just had a baby 13 days ago and I made sure to pack my own food. Coconut water, properly prepared nuts, avocados, and fresh fruit/veggies. However we were surprised to find out that the cafeteria offered organic fruit/veggies and had an amazing salad bar! That is a benefit of living in Seattle!
Joy at The Liberated Kitchen says
It’s the same story at our local hospital. Last year we spent 4 days there with our son. While the restaurant actually had some half-way decent options to send up, they were not organic, pastured, grain-free, sugar free, etc. Homemade is so much better, and as soon as we could, we brought our own. This was before we changed our diet… actually, it was the precipitating event!
Last week I took my daughter in for an extensive blood test that required us to spend most of the day at the hospital. The nurses were lovely people, and they provided excellent care.
But they didn’t know the first thing about traditional food preparation, food allergies or gluten intolerance! They also were pretty far from real food… talking about how the packaged cookies they were snacking on were healthy because they were fortified!
They were interested to hear about how our son’s health had improved so dramatically. They said they see a lot of kids with arthritis, and had never heard that food could play a role. Maybe they’ll pass our story on and save another family from ongoing pain!
They do have a lovely chapel, and no one is forcing you to eat their food. There is a very nice bistro in the lobby with organic and vegan offerings if you are interested. After kids have their tonsils removed, appendix out, etc and cant eat right away a sluhie is a great soothing relief to them. Anyways, are u just complaining about it or are you taking any action? If you don’t like hospitals so much you are free to live with your ailments and stay away from them.
while the hospital is lovely, $100 mil over budget is absolutely ludicrous. nutrition, i’m sure, is only one of probably dozens of services that will be severely hampered due to overspending. it looks like a mall more than anything else. i would hope to God that they bothered to put in a chapel as beautifully adorned as every other space there!
I gave birth a year ago to our youngest son in the hospital. I was still relatively new to whole foods then, but I was determined not to eat hospital junk. I pre-prepared some soups, crispy nuts, dried fruit, meals etcetera and had my parents (who were staying with our oldest kids) just warm up the food and bring it to us when they had a chance. It gave them an excuse to come see that baby too! We only live 10 minutes from the hospital, so that helped a lot, but knowing what I know now, you could also just try to keep cold staples on hand (homemade chicken salad, sourdough bread, soaked muffins etcetera) and grab those on your way out the door to the hospital. Dont forget the cod liver oil! Husbands can help grab that stuff out of the fridge and bring it post-partum as well. I recovered so much faster with my son than my two older kids and I think a lot had to do with the nourishing foods I ate during pregnancy and after birth. I also highly recommend spending the last month of pregnancy making freezer meals so that when you come home from the hospital, there are nourishing foods readily available. Just some suggestions to survive post-partum hospital time.
Reminds me of the food in the hospital when I had my little girl. Less than an hour after having her, they brought me “lunch” which was I think some sort of beef and gravy with mashed potatoes. That was left un-touched. My husband, thank God for him, had packed up our cooler with food while I was laboring at home and presented me with a slice of cold watermelon which after labor was so WONDERFUL. I still wax nostalgic about that watermelon.
I was so glad he had packed food in advance, there wasn’t anything I could eat at the hospital since not only does my family eat organic, but we also keep Kosher. Boy were they confused!
What a great hubs!! 🙂
This is disgusting!
I keep a container with a variety of crisped nuts, with a very small amount of dried fruit (unsweetened organic cherries, usually) with me for when I’m away from home and hungry . . . just to avoid “having” to eat out. It usually tides me over, even if I’ve missed a meal, until I get home.
For longer periods (having a baby at the hospital), you could have do something like that, plus have your husband bring broth and/or raw milk, boiled eggs . . . or you could consider having your baby at home or in a birthing center where it wouldn’t be an issue. If that’s not possible, get discharged as soon as you can!! 🙂
It’s funny, I am certainly not as far along in my real food journey as the rest of you, but I can no longer eat certain things out (mostly fried things) without feeling absolutely sick a little while later. It has been a gradual process, and a bit difficult with many teenagers in the house (who lament the loss of breakfast cereal for 2.5 yrs now) but I’m hoping to give my younger kids a better start and understanding of nutrition.
I guess I also have a question. . . how do you approach a friend who has a child who is diabetic (for 3 yrs now) and gently suggest dietary changes? And which changes would you suggest first, as having the greatest impact for someone with childhood onset diabetes (can never remember which “type” that is)? The GAPS diet is so overwhelming, and making lots of changes any time (particularly with food is difficult) . . . plus she has a large family and the sheer amount of time involved in preparing so many of the things (fermented things, etc) . . . anyone had any success this way? Either helping control the diabetes better, or talking to a friend and suggesting changes?
Krissy King says
I don’t know what sorts of foods your friend is feeding her child with type 1 diabetes… But, here is a list of a few low-glycemic index foods (glycemic index is a rating given to foods to determine how fast the body breaks down the molecules and turns them into blood sugar–or glucose–)
Stone fruits (such as cherries, plums, apricots, etc…)
…Eating these foods (organic of course) with each meal helps balance the high glycemic index foods.
Eating lots of fiber and putting lemon juice in water and tea helps too.
And of course minimizing the amount of processed foods the child is consuming should help tremendously as well. There is even some validity in cutting out too much Dairy–as it contains a lot of sugar (lactose). Avoiding high fructose corn syrup is good, along with white fluffy breads, overlooked pasta, large white starchy potatoes, and sticky white rice.
Also, eating a spoonful of peanut or almond butter is a great high protein snack that can help balance and regulate blood sugar. Eating a diet highly comprised of veggies/fruits helps the body’s internal healing mechanism and promotes internal balance.
Hope this helps!
Amy B. says
For a Type-1 diabetic, I’d go easy on the fruit. (And the grains, for that matter.)
How about sticking to meats, fish, poultry, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds? And some occasional pieces of whole fruit (not juice) as a treat or even as a regular dessert. You want to stick to foods that don’t cause wild ups and downs in blood sugar, because a T-1 diabetic produces little to no insulin. Take insulin out of the equation by not forcing the body to deal with huge swings in blood glucose levels. Yes, the T-1 diabetic will still need to take some insulin, but not as much as if he/she is constantly fueling his/her body with carbohydrate — refined OR whole. Just because whole grains are * a little* easier on blood sugar than refined doesn’t make them a health food. (Kind of like how filtered cigarettes are “less bad” than unfiltered, but that sure doesn’t mean they’re good for you!)
I don’t think the GAPS diet and a full-on, wholesale change in the family’s diet is necessary. But they should certainly limit “carbage” as much as possible. You can get plenty of good carbohydrates from sweet potatoes, beets and other starchier vegetables that will come packed with far more nutrients and phytochemicals than something like, say, whole grain pasta. (Going “low carb” isn’t completely necessary, especially for a child who I’m assuming is pretty physically active. But I would try to make sure the carbs from sources that have lots of nutrients besides just straight up calories from carbohydrate.
My son was in a children s hospital overnight with asthma last fall and it was exactly the same thing. A balanced meal always had desert and all the snacks were processed food and often sugary. I was in a huge rush to get him out of there but they didn’t discharged him until well after he was ready to go because we had insurance and they wanted to get as much money as possible out of us. I tried to think that wasn’t why but I have talked to those who don’t have insurance and they are always discharged as soon as possible. In any case I am trying to treat his asthma more naturally but he still has to use an inhaler every time h gets a cold. Sugar is definitely something that aggravates it and I try very hard to keep even honey and sucanat to a minimum in our diet. Yet they tried to fill him with sugar (not to mention overdoing the drugs) at the hospital! Appalling.
Charity, I don’t know if it would work for your son, but my husband uses Enzymatic Therapy Air-Power. It really cuts down on his needing to use his inhaler. We can buy it our local health food store, at GNC or from http://www.vitacost.com. The main ingredient is a drug however as I just found out by google. I’d rather he use that though than a prescription inhaler now that OT ones aren’t available.
Krissy King says
So sad 🙁 When my Grandpa was in the hospital with colon cancer–they gave him ice cream and jello and other things like that. All I could think of was what Charlotte and Dr. Max Gerson have suggested for their patients… And for the first time I was so saddened about our “medicine” and how it is practiced here in the US. In many other countries, patients like these sick children and like my Grandpa could legally go stay in a hospital that takes care of the whole person–maybe even focusing on diet… My Grandpa has since passed away… I am currently studying to get a bachelor of science degree in Holistic Health–and I vow to spread the word and help educate people about the dangers of our Western Diet… And how our food could actually be our medicine instead.
Susan T says
It’s sad that we have even arrived at this place in time where this crap food is the norm. It’s so sad. School lunchrooms, hospitals and elderly care have the WORST food provided to them. How does this happen. Common sense isn’t so common anymore.
The sheep are being herded by big corporations.
I just have to post a sign of hope…. I was in Vanderbilt University Hospital to deliver our (now 5mo) son, and they were test-driving a new food service on the maternity ward. First, I could order a meal (3/day, + 1 snack) whenever I wanted, a la room service, giving them about an hour to get it to me (“Call right when you start getting hungry,” I was told). Dinner of roast beef and broccoli, breakfast of a veggie-mushroom omelet, sausage, & a banana – I could tell I was eating *real* food (no MSG, no powdered eggs) – and a nurse confirmed that, and it was all cooked perfectly. No butter offered – but no butter substitute, either. I’d really not been looking forward to the hospital food, but I was very, very pleasantly surprised. I really hope the program is a success & that it expands not only to the rest of the hospital (which was the hope), but that Vanderbilt is a model for other hospitals!
That’s awesome! People can easily bring in their own butter, but bringing in *everything* isn’t easy, especially when you’re dealing with someone sick in the family!
Registered dieticians seem to be plainly STUPID. How did they allow that junk food into the hospital? Around here, the “health” section of the newspaper is always giving out Low Fat recipes. They ought to required to read Gary Taubes and all the Weston A. Price web pages before they graduate.
Looks like what they have in the postpartum refrigerators at the hospital. I had the toughest time trying to figure out what I could eat. Now that I know I’m allergic to all grains and I don’t eat soy I don’t know what I’ll have other than the orange juice.
Meg Logan says
When I had my last baby, the first meal they brought me was a breakfast. It was a white bagel, a bowl of sugared cereal, skim milk, and a banana. I complained I said “If I eat this I am going to be sick. Look at all the sugar and refined white flour, and NO PROTEIN… I’m really going to be ill. I need something else.” FOUR HOURS later they finally sent up a “nutritionist” who actually knew that i’d be sick from eating that… wow… but no new food ever arrived. I was ravenous…
I am trying to figure out what to set up for myself for when I have my next baby. Stuff that can be easily transported, and kept without refrigeration, and heated in a microwave (no oven).
I would love to see a post on ideas. Thanks.
Have you thought about having your baby at home? Then you wouldn’t have to worry about eating hospital food. I’m not sure where you are, but there are great midwives in the GR area, if that’s where you’re located.
Meg Logan says
We can’t do that really, all of our babies have come with a risk, and my husband and I feel it is better to be in the hospital where they can handle it immediately. But perhaps one day!
katie at kitchen stewardship did a post on this: https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/09/08/whole-foods-in-thehospital/
Meg Logan says
Thanks Sa’ada! Great read.
Have a friend in charge of bringing snacks. Cut up cheese to make your own sticks, hard-boiled eggs, a thermos of bone broth, tea bags, meatloaf slices, homemade sandwiches, homemade muffins or tea bread with part white bean flour to add protein and fiber. (More here: https://davettebrown.com/products/goodfood )
Pack a small insulated cooler. Fortunately (or not) they don’t keep you in the hospital very long, so you won’t have to do this for long. Have a feast for your return.
Try pemmican! I order ours from US Wellness and keep it in the freezer, then take a few bars with me when I need them. When I had my last baby (unfortunately in the hospital for a VBAC), I brought the pemmican and it sustained me well for the 36 hours or so that I was there.
Debbie H. says
A year ago I had oral cancer surgery (and I’m cancer-free now – HOORAY). My liquid diet in the hospital consisted of canned chicken broth, canned beef broth, highly-sugared sherbet, and ginger ale. I couldn’t wait to get home to my home-made chicken broth and egg custard!!!
Ditto your “HOORAH!” 🙂
Oh, how I can relate to all of this. My husband has been in the hospital 3 times in the past 3 years……Hip replacement, fell and shattered his femur around the replacement the next year and open heart surgery the third year. Each time the food was appalling. We would look in shock at the tray that was set before him after we controlled our queasiness from the smell of the congealed fake fats on the tepid food that they delivered.
The best part was, their shocked faces when the tray was left untouched. I brought him all of his food and he ate that so they didn’t keep him in longer because he was not eating.
I too had to have a hip replacement this past fall but I went to a different doctor and hospital. That was definitely a step up as they actually had a menu and there were some real food choices on it…. like salads of fresh veggies and main course salads…. and fresh, not canned fruit.
The best thing is to just plain avoid hospitals if at all possible. They are a breeding ground for all kinds of things. Perhaps if we continue to complain when we or a loved one has to go there, there might be at least SOME real food offered. Since the old adage of “follow the money” is all too true, they will never really “see the light” but at least if there were some decent food offered, that would be a big step up.
When my daughter spent 2 months in the NICU, they had free meals for nursing mothers (which I think is great!) but the food was so bad, I typically just had one meal there. I wouldn’t have eaten there at all, but was just too exhausted for anything else. She will have a lot of hospital time in the next couple years and I’m trying to gather up ideas on meals I can do myself. Maybe you can do a post on single serve meals that can be prepared ahead of time and heated in the microwave (yes, I know, but try finding a hospital that has a stove/oven for families).
Heather M says
My Dad was in the hospital for several months and he was on some kind of food drip. I looked at it one day and, of course, it was nothing but chemicals. So I made the comment, out loud, that, “this is not food”. Everyone looked at me like I was a two-headed monster
I think a big factor is that processed foods are cheaper to buy and less expensive to prepare because they don’t require the time that real food (made from scratch) takes. This would allow hospitals to employ fewer people in the cafeteria. In a drug-based medical paradigm, nutrition is an after thought, and even when it is thought about, it is through the lens of the USDA, which we all know is about promoting commodities, not health.
It’s up to us to educate ourselves and, as Kelly said, bring our own food if possible. If I knew ahead of time that I would have a stay in a hospital, I might have make ahead meals ready in the freezer so that it would be easy for my family to heat and bring to me.
Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama says
I am not the least bit surprised, but of course it’s awful. The mainstream is so used to this being “food” that they don’t even see a problem with it. That’s what kids eat…right? Sadly, yes.
I’d have to bring our food too if we ever had to go to the hospital (something we’d avoid if at all possible). My kids don’t eat that crap normally; I can’t imagine how it would go over if they were sick! They know better than to eat that (I’ve been known to leisurely shop the grocery store and point out things we don’t eat, even reading labels to ask them if it sounds like food — they always sound surprised as they say “No!”)
We’ve got to teach people better…sigh.
My father in law recently had to have open heart surgery to fix a defect. He is a diabetic who takes very good care of himself. He manages his diabetes through diet & exercise & has never had to take insulin. While in the hospital they fed him pancakes, jello, turkey with mashed potatoes & other high glycemic refined foods. His sugar shot up & they had a hard time controlling it & had to put him on insulin for the first time in his life. They couldn’t get it regulated & it kept crashing. He went in for major heart surgery & came through with flying colors & his sugar levels are what knocked him off his feet & kept him from going home earlier! Once he got home & back to eating a nutritious diet he came off the insulin & is doing quite well.
Wow, thank God he knows what he’s doing and got out of there before they messed him up good.
I’m not sure what is more sad, that the hospital has the opportunity to make healthy food fun for their pediatric patients and didn’t or that most of that food was likely selected because it was the most recognized and accepted by the kids.
Oh My Goodness, Kelly,
I knew the food was bad, but in this day and age, I see via your article that we have “permitted” snacks, so we can GRAZE all day on processed foods!! I can’t believe all the fake foods?? What are these chaps thinking??
I remember when I “bought into” the grazing concept. What they didn’t tell you is that it is best left to the “Lance Armstrongs'” while riding a Tour De France! Even then, those chefs don’t dump processed carbs on atheletes! On top of which, your fotos speak volumes: look at all of those processed CARBS in cereals, juices and slushy drinks. ugh. My teeth cringe.
I remember thinking, while looking at a Wendy’s, how are they going to increase their profits? I turned to my husband in the car and said, “Wendy’s will increase their profits by staying open 24 hours, real soon.” BINGO!! 8 months later, the Wendy’s a mile away from our home, was open with a drive-through, 24 hours a day. That was over 8 years ago and it still makes me cringe.
My colleagues are just as guilty as those nutritionists in the hospital. The teachers who teach Nutrition in Nursing school are too lazy to research and stay current. My colleagues, Health Educators, are often too politically compromised [read: dependent on the paycheck etc] to speak up and tell the truth, do the research, change the curriculum if they teach, and inform their clients.
If I can be ‘duped.’ into vegetarianism, veganism and raw foodism, anyone can! Staying duped is another whole matter: I researched and found what would work for me. And, thank God I did: my brain was suffering under the lack of nutritious fats and fermented foods, I was starving at 257 pounds [to understand this concept read Gary Taubes], ingesting healthfood olive oil in attempts to feel satiety, and nothing was working, including my brain.
I thank God every day that Sally Fallon talked to me at the seminar in Vancouver over 8 years ago. [It took me another 3 years to change my diet, slowly, way too slowly!] I am also grateful that I cancelled my “advanced” seminar with John McDougall, MD. IT took everything I had to take this leap of faith and not think “I’m going to get even more fat!” That didn’t happen.
I lost a lot of weight. But just as important, I got my thinking ability back, depression lifted, and I started living again. I bless my food and eat it, thanking all those involved in its presentation.
Thank you, kelly, for bringing me up to date. I appreciate your sleuthing abilities, your magnanimous nature in giving those involved a “break,” and your continued prodding of your readers to wake up, get conscious and take our health into our own hands! Bravo.
Karen in CA.
Naomi Williams says
I thought you were going to show us pictures of pureed carrots, pureed liver, pureed potatoes, etc. No such luck; that would have been a big step up. Appalling.
Musings of a Housewife says
Sadly, I’m not surprised. What is WRONG with people? I don’t get it.
Heather (not the same Heather!) says
Hubs was in the hospital a few years ago–at the very famous university hospital here. The food was so awful that I was sure that BURGER KING