Healthy Foods in Hospitals
Has it ever struck you as incongruous that food in hospitals is often bland, highly processed, and not usually appealing, tasty, or nutritious? In a recent L.A. Times article, Elena Conis writes that the "days of bland chicken, reconstituted potatoes, frozen peas, and a side of syrupy, canned peaches appear to be coming to a close at a growing number of hospitals across the U.S."
She goes on to describe strides that hospitals are making by serving their patients fresh, organic, and local produce alongside meats and dairy foods that are hormone- and antibiotic-free, as well as minimally processed. This is very important not only for patients and their families, but also for the millions of employees that work in healthcare facilities. Serving healthy food is part of what I consider an optimal healing environment!
Food as medicine is a topic that we discuss on this website, and it is a topic that requires us to really take a system view. Our food isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. Nutrients in the soil have been depleted, so consequently, food grown in that soil has fewer nutrients. Chemicals are increasingly used in raising both plants and animals, particularly on huge industrial farms that specialize in a few products.
It is easy to fall into the pattern of eating fast, convenient, prepared food, especially in our often frenetic lives. But we are not nurturing ourselves by doing so. Our Standard American Diet (characterized by high intakes of red meat, high-sugar desserts and beverages, high fat, and refined grains) lacks many nutrients and relies heavily on processed foods that include artificial color, additives, flavorings, and chemically-altered fats and sweeteners. Our fast foods also remove us from the pleasures of creating and savoring a wonderful meal, and our fast pace often prevents us from connecting over a healthy meal. We tend to eat for convenience and speed, not health and pleasure.
So, there are many reasons why we might want to pay attention to what we eat. We especially need to pay attention when we are sick so we can help our bodies get the nutrients necessary for healing.
What are you serving in your homes, healthcare organizations, and workplaces?
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, click on the links below: