When In Hospital, Advocate For The Way Of Eating Your Health Requires

There are many like myself whose daily functioning depends on sticking to a specific WFPB way of eating. In my case I have a combination of disorders that not eating in my prescribed manner can instantly mean: gaining 4-12 lymphatic weight pounds in a day, escalating blood sugars, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, lymphatic weight gain of several pounds, increased pain from rare disorder, brain fog, and my chin so large it hits my chest plus clothing suddenly not fitting. That is no exaggeration. (look up Dercum’s disease, lipedema, lymphedema )

Obviously it’s not out of pickiness that I eat what I eat. It’s the only way I have to be as comfortable as possible. No pills do what this way of eating does for me. I just posted how I handled my recent hospital stay but felt an additional write up was warranted on how I handled sticking to my Whole Food Plant Based No processed foods, no animal products, no oils or added sugar way of eating. Whether it’s in restaurants, hospitals, people’s homes, and so on, there are ways to make to make it work.

So when I had a run of the mill hysterectomy on the horizon, I knew I would have to maintain this way of eating going into the surgery as well as after, and especially in the hospital itself. I couldn’t imagine the initial swelling and pain from the surgery with the unnecessary other possible issues that wrong eating can cause me.

So I reached out to the hospital’s dietician’s office and spoke to their supervisor.  You can employ the same idea when working with nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, eating establishments hotels and possibly when staying in people’s homes as a guest for a meal or more.

At all times you need to remember that you are a guest in someone’s home or establishment. They may not fully understand or grasp the severity of your nutritional needs. Insisting and demanding isn’t going to help them understand. So your choice of words, your tone, and keeping your explanation simple can go a long way in both them being treating with the respect they deserve and you getting the consideration you deserve.

  1. There is more than one way to address each dilemma. So don’t get discouraged as you identify the issues to be resolved.
  2. What is the reason for the occasion the overall goal through their eyes verses your eyes. In a hospital it would be the health and nutrition of each and every patient. Your own goal would be the same but for  yourself. There is  an important difference, they have an enormous responsibility that you have to respect.  They are there for everyone not just you. So as you discuss options you must respect that.
  3. Pay close attention to their meal, snack and drink options. Do you see any options/ingredients you can root your own meal through?  Here is an example of what I saw on the menu of the hospital’s listings that gave me hope.. In the end with some modifications and some items from home, I made entire meals from the following:

 

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4)  Express appreciation for their offerings and ask if the following is possible:

  • Can the chef prepare yours without oil?
  • Can you ask for things you can’t eat to be left off?
  • Is it ok to bring things they don’t offer along with you so you can stick with your meal plan?
  • If they seem hesitant: Explain what your immediate risk would be if you eat what you are not suppose to eat.

Here are some of the items I was allowed to bring with me. Note it was all prepackaged and sealed, shelf stable. Nothing cooked from home.

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From Target: Beluga mini black lentils and a can of easy open chickpeas. From Trader Joes, Fortified Nutritional yeast, from Walmart WASA crackers and from Aldi, ready to serve brown rice.

 

So in the end if you added together the modified versions of what the hospital offered on their menu, and what was brought from home I was able to eat like this:

Hospital dinner
Along with some strawberries, this has fresh green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, a half cup of black beluga lentils, and B-12 fortified nutritional yeast. For whole grains, there is a 100% whole grain WASA cracker. This dish contained tons of protein, iron, fiber vitamins A, B vitamins  and C, Vitamin D. 

When you are staying in someone else’s home of course, it is different. You just have to level with them and explain that you are willing to take responsibility for purchasing and preparing your own foods. If you are open and honest with them ahead of time and explain they risk having a very ill houseguest otherwise, then you should be fine.

Restaurants, you need to call them in advance and see how flexible they will be.

Airlines: Don’t even count on them accommodating you. All their meals are prepared and wrapped up in advance. Find out what is currently allowed and not permitted to be brought through security and onto the plane. Take into account  the number of hours without access to a refrigerator and remember ice packs likely not permitted on the plane.

Just size up your situation, your options, and figure out how to make it work for you while being a team player with the others directly involved in the situation.

Always remember to be gracious, flexible and if there is something they can’t do for you, remember likely there is more going on than just your own needs.

 

 

 

 

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