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Monday, April 21, 2014

Eating well in a hospital - You are the only patient advocate you have.

I find it utterly terrifying that the nutritional knowledge and rules in state of the art hospitals make it IMPOSSIBLE to eat well.  Much less right.

As many of you know I am currently working on changing my life and have started eating in a more traditional/paleo type of diet.  I call it a nutrition plan because I don't feel like denial is my only option.

On a Monday Morning I woke up at 2:45 with a low grade fever.  By 5:30 AM it was 103.8.  The Emergency Room (ER) seemed like a good idea.  Using IV antibiotics, Tylenol and Ice packs My fever was finally reduced to something resembling "normal" By Wednesday.  I'm really convinced my diet helped in this.  You see Monday and Tuesday I was eating what ever was put in front of me.  I was exhausted and hungry  so I really didn't care.  Then Breakfast came on Tuesday and I was aware enough to look at the almost 200 grams of carbs on my plate.  I've doing a Atkins/Paleo low carb diet for 4 months (Abstinence date 10/22/2013) very successfully, at this point. Note: I did not consider this a break in abstinence because I needed food, and I don't have a no eat "red" list.  I focus on what I can eat not on what I can't.  It makes meal planning a lot more fun.

At this point I still had a high fever.  But it was down to about 102 or so.  I felt cognisent enough to talk to the doctor. I told her that the food was absolutely wrong for my health and I needed some more leeway.  Since I'had lost about 80 pounds and was in excellent health except for my cellulitus she arranged for the dietician, I discussed my plan and I got to start eating as close to paleo again as is possible in a modern hospital.

A quick note here, hospital food is not organic, eating low fat is a good idea, but supplement your hospital fair with some saturated fats, coconut oil, canned wild caught fish etc.   As soon as I started doing this my fever pretty much broke after 24 hours of eating a real healthy diet.

If you are being checked in to a hospital for an expected procedure I suggest the following regarding food:

1 Talk with your doctor about what you can eat before and after the procedure.  If there are no dietary restrictions because of what you are doing, have your doctor submit your preferred diet when he checks you in to the hospital. 

2 Have some personal backup food.  Coconut oil, canned deep water fish: Tuna, Salmon herring etc ALWAYS wild caught. 70%+ dark chocolate (yes really). Chocolate is natures Wellbutrin without the side effects.  Unless you are having medication/Procedures or an allergy that would preclude it, a half serving of 70%+ Cocoa Chocolate one time a day is not a desert it is a supplement like Cod Liver Oil. Oh yes and Cod Liver Oil, preferably fermented. It is more bio available that way.

The same list applies to emergency situations where the ER is your first destination.  Talk to your admitting doctor, get the dietary requirements added to your case notes. Check everything with the doctor before you bring in outside food and notify the staff of any supplements, especially herbal.  With today's meds some herbal supplements can cause issues with modern medication.

Remember you are in charge of your own care. You have the right to refuse and request treatment. In some cases what you request may not be the best option so balance your limited knowledge with your level of confidence in your doctor.   If you have no confidence in any staff member, doctor or otherwise request another!

Even the best doctor is not able to keep up with the latest actual research.  Most medical personal are educated the same way we are.  So all most know is low fat, low calorie "Nutrition." So that will always be the default.  You may have to be ready to say no, and educate your doctor about what real nutrition is. Be gentle, they are not stupid, just mis-educated.

Gregor - Sharing learning and loving.