Monday, January 28, 2008

Hospitals and Jell-O

Beware of eating hospital food. I have witnessed first-hand the serving of green jell-O to all in-patients who were recovering on the fifth floor of the hospital. There was not a specific menu for each person. Everyone got green jell-O! Since when have doctors promoted sugar?

I have had a little box of jell-O in my cupboard for years. I was going to use it once to make a recipe that I never made. I am looking at the ingredients and the nutrition facts, and it is worse than I could have guessed. The first ingredient is sugar, which is obvious, and then there is a list of ingredients that I can't pronounce (a really bad sign!), and then I counted 4 different food dyes. Under the nutrition facts there is no nutrition. Just a ton of sugar and some sodium. This is what Kaiser serves its patients. Ironically, in my neighborhood, there is a Kaiser billboard that shows a picture of fresh blueberries with the slogan, "Thrive." This deserves a letter to the board of directors at the hospital. Why would they promote fresh fruit while serving their patients jell-O?

Yesterday I called the San Diego hospital where my mom had been recovering for 8 days from surgery. Her recovery was estimated to be quicker than that, but she was not able to keep her jell-O down. I asked to speak to a dietitian. First, I spoke with a "nutrition clerk". I asked about the foods that the hospital was serving, and their nutritional value. I asked why my mom wasn't getting appropriate nutrition. I didn't get an answer but was told the dietitian would call me. I got a voice mail from the dietitian soon after my phone call. She didn't answer my questions, but she did call me back. Two hours after I called the hospital, my mom was discharged from the hospital.


princess rose said...

I stumbled across your blog and am working through reading it from the beginning. My husband was at Sharp in SD last year and I was also appalled at the jello and other nonhealthy crap they tried to serve him. I wrote a letter to the cafeteria manager/dietitian, but I'm sure they are still serving unhealthy food to their patients every day.
I think it is some type of weird conspiracy that hospitals serve unhealthy white flour, white sugar type foods to their patients. The most we can do is be prepared! =)

Kate said...

I think this is related to some kind of thinking deeply ingrained in the psyche of our culture, perhaps having to do with comfort food? When I got sick as a kid, my mother would feed me jello, 7-up and saltines. Tons of sugar and salt and additives in all three, but to this day, these are the foods I turn to when I am feeling ill. It has been a few years since I really got sick, as I eat pretty healthy these days but still, the healthy foods just don't seem appealing to me when I am not feeling so hot.

My Year Without said...

Kate-Funny-My mom also gave me 7-up and saltines! I never liked the soda because I didn't (and still don't) like soda to begin with and I remember it being much too sweet to "drink".... Jell-O was just part of dinner occasionally. An interesting book I read recently is "The End of Overeating" which talks about comfort foods among other very interesting psychological reasons for our cravings and eating habits.