Monday, 19 June 2017

What are Our Goals Regarding Diet or Nutrition?

Have you ever spent much time reading articles or books on how to be healthy or how to live a healthy lifestyle? If you have, have you noticed that there are 3 main ingredients to this recipe of health. Yes, a few others too but 3 main ones.
  1. Healthy, balanced diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Balanced lifestyle
I could go into details but there is something that bothers me with the first one. If we need healthy food in order to be healthy, why is there such a push towards white flour and lots of sugar with plenty of additives.  And while we are at it, why are the meals in hospitals so wrong for patients.

What is our goal here? Is our goal health or keeping patients ill?

Recently I spent some time at a hospital with a relative of mine. There was hardly any food served over a 12 hour period. Fluids were even less.

When food was offered, the first option was a roll made of white flour with tuna and egg on it. Um, "this patient has a severe allergy to egg!" Answer given: "if you want food, eat it, if not not, that is all we have to offer?"

Great, there the patient is in ER and they are offering a food item the person is severely allergic to. How about having a question on the intake form of what food allergies the patient might have.

As to the white bread, well, all the articles, websites, magazines, books on healthy eating advocate whole grain or even another grain such as spelt, rye, oats. Why do we serve ill people food items that will make them more ill?

I posed the question in a group about food. Sadly many had dreadful experiences to share.
A dietician mentioned that when she was hospitalized the food she was given was all full of sugar and too much salt. They did not bother to find out that she is diabetic with blood pressure problems. Oh dear, that is potentially very dangerous! Very dangerous.

Again I find myself asking what is the goal? If it is health, then hospitals need to make sure that people with diabetes or allergies to food items are served food that is safe for them. Unless of course they are wanting to create a ward for patients suffering from reactions to problem food.

Someone else mentioned that when she was in hospital the salad was wilted and stale, the vegetables were over cooked and the rest of the list continues in a similar vein. OY. What is the goal here? Vegetables are healthy, but need to be cooked or served correctly. Do we really want health?

Someone commented that wanting healthy meals in hospitals is too much to ask for. In her words, "hospital food is the worst" and Heaven "help if you have any special dietary needs."

I could continue quoting horror stories and I could continue sharing peoples amazement that I would expect health and nutrition to be part of the diet served in hospitals.

Yes, healthy, nutritious food is what helps people to be healthy. If our goal is health the supermarkets needs to sell food that is healthy. Why is white flour that has been processed and refined more expensive than wholegrain, healthy flour? Why does so much have sugar in it? Where are our goals? Do we really want health?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

What about the food in hospitals? Some complained that the expense of healthy flour is higher than white flour and hospitals have a budget. Well, what about reducing readmission? Readmitting a patient costs too. Another complaint was the work involved in finding out dietary needs and meeting those diets. Oh dear, do hospitals really want to have diabetic comas on their hands or other side effects of diabetes or high sodium by giving the wrong foods? Do they really want patients to have a severe allergic reaction to a meal that contains food they are allergic to?

Treating the effects of reactions to problematic diets has to be considered. Why not start in the hospitals. If our goal is health and a healthy diet is top of the list of how to be healthy, then why not have healthy, nutritious food in hospitals?

This post is prepared for you by
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer, author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story" and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom".

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