It has been busy around here and life is not always as you plan it or want it to be …..
I had just accompanied my beautiful daughter to her new home. Helped her as she settled and got ready to start a new life at university. We had some amazing days together and my heart was filled with of love, tenderness and tears, as Ihugged her goodbye and headed to the airport to fly home, without her.
Back home again, I was busy giving workshops and it was fun, I love it, I was busy preparing for another 4 workshops that were already booked. I was running my beautiful 10 morning k’s every other day.
And then one day just after I had been out swimming in the lake, enjoying maybe the last swim this year — I got sick — really sick! And ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance! That, definitely, was NOT supposed to be!
I spent 4 intense days in the hospital, and gratefully I am now home recovering and feeling the strength and energy coming back. Wonderful!
But it definitely was not the food that healed me………..I know that for a fact. The doctors and nurses were absolutely incredible, they went out of their way to help me heal and feel comfortable. Amazing competent, warm and wonderful people!!
But the food……… that’s another very sad story!
During the 4 days, I was served 12 trays of food, each of them impossible to eat. I know I should be happy and grateful that I was served food at all ……. but honestly, it was the most unappetizing sad “food” I have ever seen in my life – I was chocked!
As a chef and a person who has been healed through food and lifestyle changes – I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking – why?
Food is so important for so many reasons!
Surely this can be done better!
Over and over again I was thinking how absurd it was that I was in hospital, a place of healing and there was no interest about the food. Fresh nourishing food is such a vital part in healing!
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates (year 431 BC!)
In those 4 days I did not see a single fruit or vegetable, never mind the fresh anything at all – no fresh fruit nor fresh vegetables – no – ZERO – none at all!
The food on the trays had perhaps never been fresh! Everything was processed and as far as I could judge, had nothing to do even with nourishment! And served in dull plastic containers on a dull plastic tray.
With a rumbling tummy and food fantasies on my mind, I talked to the nurse about the food – they said that over 70% !!! of all trays go back untouched!
70% -What a waste!!! What a shame, how sad, what a total missed opportunity!
We know that healthy food helps us heal faster, we know that healthy food has the potential to prevent disease. We know that sick people more than anybody needs nourishment.
We also know that a vast majority of diseases are caused and directly linked to unhealthy lifestyle and eating the wrong diet……..so why don’t the hospitals grab the chance and serve sick patients enjoyable, nutritious fresh food. Grab the chance to feed and inspire healthy living – and help the patients to heal themselves.
So why? …….. The argument is “It’s too expensive!”
But is it, really?
In Denmark, at one point in time, they went through the same gloomy experience! 40 tons of hospital food was chucked away every day, because it was so grim, no one wanted to eat it.
To change that, they employed professional chefs along with dieticians and they designed menus for people to enjoy, to look forward to every day and to help them heal faster!
Serving meals, 3 times a day became a thing of the past — because when you are sick you are not necessarily hungry on the dot. Instead every patient has a menu and a telephone. And when hungry, they simply take the menu, pick their fancy and call the chefs in the kitchen. The meal is then prepared, cooked from fresh natural ingredients and brought up to the patient. Nutritious, fresh, delicious — real food from real people – who care and love cooking!
What they found was, not surprisingly, that there was hardly any food waste, patients got well, out of bed and home faster, too.
And, it was not more expensive!
But unfortunately, it is in general the same story – no matter where you are in the world – hospital food has a bad reputation.
Hospitals around the world are missing a huge opportunity. Hospitals, our health care system, could be the greatest example of health! Show us how to enjoy food, teach us what to eat to stay healthy and nourished, the best food for our bodies – to assist us heal, to help fight disease and prevent it.
Great food in hospitals would not only help us heal, but it would also inspire us all to practice more healthy living when we got back home.
Imagine how we could assist the body in healing if we were served something like this:
Instead of this –
On the fourth day I cried…….
If we have to spend money – why not spend it well?
I know there are other places that have changed the concept of tasteless grey hospital food – and with great success – that’s here in Canada.
Listen to this inspiring talk by Joshna Maharaj – an amazing passionate woman who helped change the hospital food in Toronto.
Hurraaa for people like Joshna!