A Difference Between “Health Care” and “Wellness”

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with hospitals lately (some joyous, some less-so) and as a result was reminded that hospital food is, in a word, bad.  Bad for your taste buds, bad for your body.

The food patients are served tastes bad and so does the cafeteria food.  If it just tasted bad, I suppose I could forgive it – after all, they’re running hospitals, not resorts.  But I cannot forgive the simple truth that they serve food that just isn’t good for humans.  Biscuits and gravy?  Sausage patties?  Copious amounts of bacon?  Beef stew with white rice?  White bread?  Really?

Case in point:  The morning after my newest daughter was born I went down to the cafeteria, certain they would at least have some nice whole-grain cereal I could nosh, if not my beloved frozen blueberries.  No luck.  The best I could find was a variety of raisin bran sweetened with, you guessed it, high-fructose corn syrup.  No thanks.  I ended up with some of the nastiest scrambled eggs I’ve eaten in a looong time.  And some bacon.  There were probably forty options I could have picked, but the tasteless eggs were about the only healthy option.

And if you’re on some sort of calorie-restricted diet, God help you, because that just means they’re going to serve you fake food.  Fake sugar, fake “light” mayo, etc. Things that everyday observation is proving are simply not good for you to eat.

You know, hospitals don’t want to be called “hospitals” anymore.  They want to be “health-care systems” and that sort of thing.  But what kind of “health care” is it to feed you things that will, if you eat enough of them, make you sick?  It makes me wonder why they present this sort of thing.  I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s purely a cost-saving issue:  They contract with food service companies for the cheapest possible fare, and this is what that is.

My fear, however, is that it is a financial issue, but not one of savings, rather one of earnings:  If the “health-care” company is more concerned about its own fiscal wellness than the physical wellness of its patients, it might be tempted to look the other way when somebody says, “Shouldn’t we offer fresh fruit instead of biscuits and gravy with a side of aspartame?”

Here’s what I’m doing about it:  I’m going to start talking about it to every physician I know.  I encourage you to do the same.  It’s way past time to just accept that hospital food is bad for you.


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