"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, March 19, 2010

9 days

It's been 9 days since Mom came home from the hospital from her 2nd surgery. Life is very frustrating as she copes with the discomfort, weight loss and figuring out what foods to eat or what foods to avoid. She's supposed to be using Jevity through a feeding tube for extra nutrition and fluids during sleep but has a horrible time with it. There isn't much information out there for people without a stomach, preparing for more chemotherapy and trying to regain the weight lost. Of course we're keeping positive and Mom is very determined to recover as quickly as she can. In reality she really is doing great considering what she's been through.

If anyone knows of healthy alternatives to Jevity tube feeding or any helpful nutritional information related to Mom's situation please let us know. Until then we're researching and experimenting as we go along.

Information about Tube Feeding nutrition from Eco Nutirtion Revolution Blog

Tube Feeding
Tube feeding is not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to study nutrition, but here I am calculating tube feeding protocols for the critically ill. Don't get me wrong, I see the need for tube feeding and give much gratitude to the compassionate and dedicated dieticians who work in inpatient settings. I just recognize that this is not my passion because it seems so far removed from my philosophy of whole foods.

It's disheartening, and unfortunately not at all surprising, that hospitals--like other institutions--are feeding the crappiest food to the populations who need the most nourishing nutritional environments. The Nestle Corporation holds a monopoly on the enteral nutrition (tube feeding) formulas. These formulas contain such ingredients as corn syrup and hydrolyzed corn starch as carbohydrate sources; soy protein isolate as a protein source; and refined vegetable and seed oils for the necessary fat component. Undoubtedly these ingredients are products of our industrialized, subsidized and unsustainable food system and are most certainly coming from genetically modified plants. These are ingredients that I avoid when I am well; I can't imagine that this is the only option for calories when someone is so sick that they cannot eat.

A friend, who recently had her appendix removed, commented that hospitals are not a place for well people. She couldn't wait to get home so she could eat healthy again. Wouldn't it be nice if our hospitals were places dedicated to healing instead of the economic agenda of multinational corporations?

There are some strides being made within the local food movement as far as getting locally grown produce and organic meat into hospital cafeterias. These farm-to-hospital programs are starting to pop up across the country, with 227 hospitals signing the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. Eight hospitals in Seattle have signed the pledge and have already started by hosting farmers markets and including local and organic options on cafeteria menus.

I'm not sure what it would take to get local food into the tube food itself, but this shift in food economy to favor local producers who care for the land has to start somewhere. I think being able to order organic green beans from a hospital bed is a good start.



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