Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Food

Today my family went to Church for Easter. It was both an uplifting and a heartbreaking experience.

We had been looking for a welcoming church for a while, and I think we have found one! The pastor seemed like a very genuine, warm, humble and open man, and everybody greeted us favorably. This means a lot to us given our previous experiences, enough that I think we will be going back again.

So what was so heartbreaking? The "joys, concerns and prayers" section, where members of the congregation offer up the good and the bad in their lives for prayer and celebration. Why? Over 50% of the congregation personally knew somebody who had cancer.

This is a huge number, considering that an estimated 35% to 60% of cancer can be prevented through diet alone. It is especially sad when these are people that believe God gave them this planet to nourish and be nourished from.

Later on, we went to visit my husband's Grandma in the care section of our hospital. She recently had surgery to remove a blockage and re-straighten her bowels, and while she is doing extremely well, she did just have major surgery in old age, and they want to take good care of her before she goes home. But they are not taking good care of her. Sure, the nurses are helpful, friendly and cheerful and the place is clean and bright, but she just had surgery due to digestive issues, and they are feeding her junk.

Let's take a look at her meal, shall we?
  • grilled cheese sandwich - white bread with "American" pasteurized processed cheese product
  • canned peaches - by the way the liquid they were in behaved, they were either full of high fructose corn syrup or some artificial sweetener like aspartame
  • "fruit" salad - Jello and Cool Whip with a few grapes and peeled apples thrown in
  • pancake - refined white flour
  • 2% milk - pasteurized and homogenized
  • jelly beans
Why is this a problem? Aside from the fact that these pseudo foods are not good for anybody, she is supposed to be healing from major surgery. This foodstuff will not only not help her do that, they will hinder it. First, a lot of these foods are high in fat, which can be difficult to digest. Normally I'm a pretty big advocate for including more fat in our diets, as I think most people eating industrial food don't get enough of it, but her intestines just got sliced open, they have enough to deal with already. Second, it is full of refined white flour and sugar which cause inflammation and suppress the immune system, as well as a host of any number of chemicals that seriously tax major organs. Does her body really need to be dealing with this right now? Don't her doctors know better?

Apparently not. The dietary guidelines they gave her? Eat soft food, but no fruit with small seeds. (like strawberries, raspberries etc.) That was basically it. Nothing about quality protein for essential amino acids needed for healing. Nothing about fiber for easy bowel movements and proper bowel function! At first I thought they might have omitted this very basic piece of information thinking everyone knows it already, but having seen the meal she was served, I cannot believe that.

My husband and I didn't know what to say, or how to get her the food she needs without upsetting her, so we didn't say anything. How do you take care of someone physically and emotionally in today's world?

My husband's Grandma should not have to be worrying that she is not being treated well by the very people that are supposed to be helping her, but if we brought her alternative meals she would want to know why. That is of course if the nursing staff would even let us; they keep a close eye on how much their patients are eating, for good reason.

It is a horrible situation to be in for everybody. Has anybody successfully managed to do both? How did you do it?


  1. I completely agree with you here! I just had small intestine surgery after my bowels were tied up within scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries. While I was recovering I was banned from eating for 3 days, only being given a potassium drip through i.v., all the while, being expected to get up and walk the hallway, with no energy at all. I had nothing to give my body the energy to move, all of the energy my body could muster up was being used to recover. Anyway, by the 4th day when I was allowed to eat, I was given a small cup of full fat vanilla ice cream, and then a processed turkey and american cheese sandwich, on white bread, with shortbread cookies and fruit cocktail (in a can), seriously? I was not surprised though, because I've been in and out of the hospitals having surgeries to save my life for 10 years now, i've come to expect that they are not really worried about my nutrition, even though it really does help recovery!

    1. I am sorry that they did not treat you better. Knowing it is the standard of "care" doesn't make it any better. I hope that you are doing well and on the way to recovery now though!

      Regarding nutrition, it is hard sometimes to remember that they really do have your best interest at heart, they just don't know any better. It is a tricky situation.

      How do you handle the food offered to you? Do you ever get something brought in for you?


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