Primalgirl Goes to the Hospital Part II: Meal Time

I can be an obstinate bitch. It has served me well over the years, as I also know how to temper that trait in certain situations and am most willing to relax my views if loved ones or friends are concerned. However, take me, add pain and a healthy dollop of morphine, stir in a little fright at major abdominal surgery, add a dozen doctors who all have their heads up their asses, and you’re just going to get the obstinate bitch. For the full story, check out yesterday’s post. For those of you that aren’t interested in hearing the full rant of how I stayed Paleo in the hospital, there’s a checklist at the bottom of the post, most of which you can also apply when you are eating out at a restaurant.

First off, let me say I was in a military hospital. The military must follow strict USDA guidelines when it comes to food, so according to them I was offered nothing but top-notch quality nutrition during my stay.

Ha ha ha ha hah ah ahaha hah ahahahahaha ha. ah. *wheeze*

Now that THAT’S out of the way, let’s move on to business.

I think hospital food has a worse reputation than airplane fare for a reason: it’s fucking horrible. And when I say horrible, I mean, I wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor’s pets consume this shit. For the first three days, they tried to keep me on a clear liquid diet. This consisted of: chicken broth (from a package. There was no actual chicken in it, but there was, however, MSG and soy) and red Jell-O, complete with both 30 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup and Red Dye No. 40. There was “lemonade,” which also had soy in it and surprisingly no lemon, and two pints of apple juice flown all the way from CHINA, so I’m sure there was lead in there. Needless to say, I was not starved enough to consider any of this “food” so I opted for water.

First off, if you’re in the hospital, chances are you’re weak. Hopefully you have an I/V pumping you full of liquids. Keep in mind that if this is the case, you don’t actually need to eat for a while. The I/V liquids will keep you alive long enough for your friends or family to bring you things. If you don’t have anyone to bring you food, then there are clever ways to trick the hospital staff into helping you stay Paleo.

The first thing I did was tell them I was ALLERGIC to the following items: wheat, corn, soy, dairy. If I had told them I don’t eat soy due to personal choice, or that dairy gives me zits, they wouldn’t have taken me seriously. However, when I claim a food ALLERGY, they have to take me seriously. I suggest you do this. Those of you that don’t like to lie, get over it. I lie every time I go to a restaurant. The fear of being sued is the only way I can make sure I don’t get sick. It’s sad, but true. You also have to be prepared to fast. This also holds true in a restaurant. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have asked for a gluten-free item and when it cannot be provided, I have stood up and left, or have sat there glaring at the manager with an empty plate in front of me. It takes balls and determination, but they will usually try to accommodate you if you look hungry enough.

The second thing I did was ask for lemon juice and packets of salt. They were able to provide both. Was it the high quality iodized sea salt or organic lemon juice I have at home? No, it wasn’t. But you know what, when you’re in a foreign environment, you hunt and gather what you can and make the best of it. Equipped with my lemon juice and salt, I made my sugar-free sports drink. When the doctors asked what I was doing, they were actually fairly impressed. This drink held me over until the real food arrived. If I had eaten their miserable offerings, I actually would have been worse off as it would have led to blood-sugar crashes.

By the end of the second day in the hospital, I had already decided that there was no way in hell these quacks were operating on me so I said “screw your liquid diet, I’m eating.” Luckily, my husband had a text message with instructions on what to bring. The first wave of food included:

  • scrambled eggs
  • avocados
  • organic lime juice
  • Vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics

I already had my stevia in my purse. I also asked him to bring my copy of Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. I didn’t actually read it while I was there, but I had it predominantly displayed on my table like the obnoxious little brat I am.

I couldn’t eat a lot of the scrambled eggs because my stomach had shrunk so much, but I ate some and they made me feel better, stronger, almost immediately. The next morning, the hospital decided I could eat solid foods (since I was already eating them, ha ha ha) so they offered me the following: toast, muffin, bagel and cream cheese, eggs, fruit and coffee. Wait! Eggs, fruit and coffee? Bring it on.

The coffee was hospital coffee. It was terrible, but it was enough to get rid of my caffeine headache. I immediately texted my husband with an order for more. The fruit was a banana and an apple. Normally, I would not have eaten either but I wasn’t in a normal situation. I needed some calories. I opened up the styrofoam container of eggs and smelled them. They smelled…funny. Off. Not natural. I took the smallest bite and had my suspicions confirmed. They were, indeed, powdered eggs. Now, if I hadn’t eaten in weeks and didn’t know where my next source of protein was coming from, I would have eaten them. In fact, just three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. My refined palate now balked at the prospect sitting in front of me, however, and I wondered what decade the chickens who had originally birthed these “eggs” had lived in. I couldn’t eat them. Thankfully, I had some eggs from home left over from the night before, so I ate those. Otherwise, I would have eaten the banana and apple and called it good.

Lunch was the saddest chicken breast you’ve ever seen, served with decimated carrots and rice. Everything had this weird seasoning on it. I smelled it closely and the childhood memories of Shake ‘N’ Bake came rushing back. This smell, along with the package of saltine crackers on the side, was enough to make alarm bells go off. Oh, and the state of the chicken breast. I mean, COME ON. Did they leave it by the side of the road to dry out before serving it? I wish I’d taken a picture but I was too sick. This was supposed to be a gluten-free meal, but obviously someone didn’t get the memo. Or, more correctly, they had no fucking idea what gluten was. There was a sad little salad that I just picked up by the handful and shoved into my mouth. The low-fat packaged dressing contained soy, something else I had told them I was allergic to. I didn’t touch the rest of the meal and the nurse looked worried when she collected the tray.

For those of you that don’t know, I do something called intermittent fasting quite often. Eating breakfast doesn’t usually fit into my schedule and I’m just not hungry so most days, I skip it. I eat when I get hungry or whenever it’s convenient later in the day. I can only do this because my blood sugar and insulin levels are regulated; I don’t recommend it for anyone just starting out on their Paleo journey. So skipping a meal here and there doesn’t have a detrimental effect on me. The hospital staff didn’t know this and they were freaking out that I was going to waste away. It was at this point that the hospital dietician (and I use that word loosely) came to visit me. She told me that the only reason she knew what “gluten-free” was was that her best friend had Celiac disease. Otherwise, she confessed, she would have no idea.

The most important part of staying Paleo or Primal in a foreign environment is asking questions. Lots and lots of stupid questions, including things you shouldn’t have to ask. But, thanks to the clever marketing of packaged foods in this country and the misinformation provided by the USDA, you have to. First off, I confirmed that the eggs were indeed powdered. There were no other options available to me for breakfast other than grits (WTF are those anyway) or oatmeal, so I resigned myself to coffee for the remainder of my stay. (I actually asked for the fruit but stockpiled it like a squirrel and later took it home for the kids. Eating nothing but fruit would have made me hungrier than nothing at all. It’s funny how that works, but that’s how it is for me.)

Second, we discussed lunch for the following day. My options were hamburgers and fries or beef stroganoff. The dietician confirmed there was flour in the stroganoff, which contained wheat noodles anyway, but that the hamburger patties were 100% beef. Okay, 100% CAFO beef, but it was protein. I couldn’t afford to be that picky at this point; holding out for pasture-raised organic beef, lamb or goat was just not in the cards. The fries had wheat in them too, and were also fried in soy oil. Yum! I asked for four hamburger patties wrapped in lettuce leaves, with mustard. (They had mayonnaise but it was soy based.) My drink choices consisted of the following: soda, fruit punch, fruit juice, Crystal Lite and water. I asked for water, but they brought me the Crystal Lite instead. I’m glad I didn’t touch it, as I later confirmed in the grocery store that the number one ingredient is maltodextrin, a substance that makes my body freak out.

I asked for 10 of those little gold packages of butter, planning on just eating them whole, but was told they only had margarine. When I inquired as to why they would willingly feed their patients hydrogenated trans fats, I was told that they were healthier than saturated fats. I didn’t have to energy to argue this. At this point, I was way more concerned with MY health and couldn’t care less about the rest of the patients. I knew I had a couple avocados on stand-by, and they would do nicely for the fat I needed. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have asked my husband to bring a jar of coconut oil, which I would have eaten by the spoonful as the doctors looked on in horror.

Dinner was actually great. I asked them to do a special meal for me. My choices were pork or chicken. Knowing what the chicken looked like, I opted for the pork – a meat I rarely, if ever, even buy unless it’s 100% organic, cruelty-free. I asked for no seasonings. The sauce that came with the pork had wheat, corn AND soy in it (how do they even manage that) so sauce was out. I actually had a choice of vegetables – carrots, corn (ha!) and asparagus. Asparagus?! Wait, that’s a legitimate vegetable! What the hell was going on? I asked for a triple serving of asparagus, with no seasonings, along with the pork. And that was dinner.

For breakfast the next morning, I ate two avocados and a banana. They filled me up quite nicely and I didn’t even want lunch. I asked for the same dinner again: pork and asparagus. For some reason, they never quite updated their computers so every mealtime, I was brought the clear, liquid diet tray. I have to admit, I wanted to eat the Jell-O. I didn’t. But I wanted to. I was so freakin’ bored and was mostly through the final season of Battlestar Galactica. There was nothing left to do but eat.

At some point during my stay, I also ate some leftover Chicken and Artichokes with Garlic Sauce (from Mark Sisson’s latest cookbook, Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals, p. 111) that my husband brought from home. He heated it up for me in the staff lounge’s microwave and the hospital staff all wanted the recipe. That’s how good this stuff is.

At some point (probably upon admittance to the hospital) this almost became a game for me. I refused to back down on any of my principles, and would have rather starved than give in. It was extremely difficult to stay Paleo, and I would not have been able to do it without my husband’s help. It was quite eye-opening to me to see just how bad nutrition could be in a place of “healing,” but I felt it was my civic duty to shake things up a bit. I’m sure the staff was more than happy to see me leave but I couldn’t care less. How they could call themselves doctors, nurses, healers is beyond me. All they are doing is treating symptoms caused by BigAgri and BigPharma in the first place. Not getting to the root of problems or practicing preventative medicine. Just treating symptoms.

Making the most of a shitty situation.

So here is a checklist if you ever find yourself in the hospital. Some of these will also work at a restaurant.

  • If you don’t have one, feign a food allergy or two. If you do, stress it.
  • Bring food from home to round out your meal. Suggestions are avocados, nuts, fruit and coconut oil, or if you’re lucky, leftovers or even fresh meals prepared by your loved ones. You could even have olive oil and vinegar brought in.
  • Add lemon/lime juice and a pinch of salt to your water. I add stevia, too, cause I like it sweet.
  • Ask to speak to the dietician (or manager in a restaurant). Tell them you want to work with them. Ask for detailed ingredients in any item that isn’t a whole food. Ask questions. Over and over and over.
  • Stick to your guns. Be prepared to skip a meal or two on principle.
  • Lower your standards a bit. You’re not going to get organic meat. Deal with it.
  • Take your supplements! Don’t forget probiotics, Vitamin D and fish oil.
  • Stick with whole foods: whatever meat you can get your hands on and vegetables. Ask what stuff is fried in.
  • If you’re lucky enough to get butter, put it on everything. Otherwise, use coconut oil if you can get some. If not, look at this as a weight loss opportunity. O_o
  • Don’t use their condiments. If you do, make sure you read the labels first. Almost everything has wheat, soy or corn in it.
  • They have a microwave and a fridge somewhere. Ask to use it.
  • Remember that your health is at stake and it will take you much longer to heal if you give in and eat that bagel/donut/hamburger/whatever.
  • Don’t use precious energy trying to teach everyone the dangers of whole grains and the joys of saturated fats. They are like brainwashed zombies. You are not going to get through to any of them. After all, you’re the one who is sick. They’re secretly thinking that you’re sick because you eat saturated fat and not enough wheat.
I hope that none of you find yourself in the hospital any time soon. Eating a Paleo/Primal diet is a great way to stay healthy, but sometimes a trip to the ER is unavoidable. Remember that you are in charge of your health, your body, what happens to it and what goes into it. Ask questions. Tell them you’re interested in your health and your diagnosis. Google stuff they tell you. Ask for second opinions. Employ the help of friends and family. And try your hardest to stay the fuck out of the hospital in the first place.

Comments

Primalgirl Goes to the Hospital Part II: Meal Time — 48 Comments

  1. Pingback: Primalgirl Goes to the Hospital Part II: Meal Time | Paleo Digest

  2. I almost choked on my tea when I read “When I inquired as to why they would willingly feed their patients hydrogenated trans fats, I was told that they were healthier than saturated fats.” Lord almighty….

  3. I went to the ER on Sunday morning and had a LAP appendectomy on Monday morning. My hospital was great providing a menu of choices with write in options. I could get just eggs and bacon for breakfast. I could ask for a burger without a bun and the ‘squash medley” (read steamed summer squash) as a side and several other Paleo friendly choices like chicken broth (no gluten, no soy), but I was disappointed that the only yogurt option was fruit based (read sugared) because I wanted to get my gut back to normal after the gallons of Cipro that had been IV pumped into me.
    As expected the nutritionist cruised though and since I am still a big girl (Paleo since April) I saw the skeptical look on her face. I told her I had been on a Paleo diet since April and had lost 25 pounds. She had no knowledge of Paleo so I summed it up quickly as nothing processed, nothing from the middle of the store and she seemed pleased with that reply. I told her I was gluten free and she noted that. It still surprises me when I speak to Doctors and nutritionists ( as a cooking school owner I have several on my staff) who have no knowledge of Paleo – we obviously need better PR….lol.
    All in all I was surprised at how I could remain mostly Paleo in the hospital, but I was out by Weds so I can’t say how it wold be long term.
    I do however live in Boston which has an enormous medical community with dozens and dozens of hospitals to choose from so I am guessing my experience was just kinder than yours.
    Hope you heal fast. I’m still shuffling about like an old lady with a ban on lifting anything over 20lbs or so for another week or two.

  4. You and I have somewhat different diets, but we share the same willingness to confront the medical establishment. In my case, I have learned to not talk with hospital dietitians, because that leads to arguments. Instead, I just choose from the choices on the menu, or better yet, I ask for things I am sure they have even if not on the menu. Usually, I ask for the same things at all three meals daily: 2 hard-boiled eggs, carrot sticks, celery sticks, and steamed vegetables. Unless they get pretty creative, it’s hard for them to mess that up.

  5. Tara –
    As a health care professional (cough), I can tell you hospitals are usually good at keeping you from dying. Getting better is usually up to the patient. And, for god’s sake, don’t eat hospital food. The menus (like schools and prisons) are devised by the USDA and are laden with sugar, processed grains and bad oils – as you’ve discovered. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the necessary dietary mine-sweeping skills as you.

  6. Glad you are feeling better girl so proud of you really enjoying and laughing out loud at second blog continued recovery and think how many people you are helping with your experience :)

  7. I read both posts but missed what is/was actually wrong with you. Was that decided? Are you home now?

    Interesting food story. It is sad how uninformed people are.

    I went to the hospital once with abdominal pain. I drove myself there when I was 18 because I thought I had appendicitis. They didn’t know what was wrong with me either and all it got me was a swelled up arm from a badly inserted IV. Actually the pain subsided after an hour of being there but I was sore for a few days. They kept me overnight or maybe two days for observation. They thought it was a ovarian cyst that popped (they had to call it something so they wouldn’t look stupid) but I figured out that it was just bad constipation. It happened again a month later and I just toughed it out and waited. I learned to stay on top of that situation.

    • They never could figure out what was wrong with me. They ended up diagnosing me with stomach flu, so they could cover their asses, even though the only symptom of the flu I had was stomach cramping. O_o I wanted to rule out appendicitis too, just like you, even though I was pretty sure that wasn’t it. I should have listened to my intuition. I look like a junkie right now, i have 12 collapsed veins, and 3 huge bruises from the IVs they put in improperly.

      • Tara, Have you ever had testing done for Endometriosis? For the longest time I had symptoms that no one could diagnose. But after (finally) having the tests done, they discovered the endo issue..

        The docs never did the test for endo. Since I had every single symptom of it, they said they were confident they could diagnose me without the laposcopic test. However, once I cut out wheat and went paleo, my endo went away. It is 100% totally gone now. :)

  8. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m barely 5 weeks pregnant, but you have inspired me to start a list of foods to bring with me when the time comes. I’m diabetic too, so hospital food would be a serious problem for me!

  9. Hey there!
    So sorry you’re going through this. I feel badly for you on many counts. Nobody wants to be in the hospital, and not being able to eat your Paleo would suck!
    That’s why I went to India for my surgery! If you ever have to have surgery consider medical vacation. I’m still here.
    Concerning staying Paleo, NO PROBLEM here. They have dieticians who ask you what you want. Then they have chefs who make it. And if it’s not right they make it again. And if they don’t have it they go to the market to get it, pretty much. It’s a healing place. US hospitals are not conducive to healing, I’m so sorry to say. But hang in there and try and have family bring you your food. Maybe a protein powder might help, even if it’s not Paleo.

    I am on day 11 of my journey. But here is day 2 with a sample of what I could eat.
    I basically stuck to eggs, steamed and cooked veggies in coconut oil, and a wild fish, coffee, decalf, tea

    I’m sending my Karma from Chennai, India
    Heal quickly and visualize.
    USDA!! An Oxymoron for health!

    DebbyK!

    • Thanks Debby! It sounds like your recovery is going well, you are very lucky to be in an actual place of healing. If I ever have planned surgery, I will definitely consider leaving the country for it. How much longer will you be in India? Was it cost effective with the airfare and all that? I have military medical insurance and can’t afford much more, but knowing that there are other options is priceless. My health/life/sanity is worth more. Love, luck and health to you! x

  10. umm…i pretty much did not eat when in an unexpected hospital stay. I had food brought in – they also do not let you sleep, such an unhealthy place.
    BTW- the Nature’s Made Fish oil has *soy* in it, might want to ditch it – what to do.

    • OMFG, I just read the back of the Nature’s Made container… aaahh! I am so sick of this shit. I finally found a brand of fish oil that didn’t have soy in it and when I went to the store last time, I was dazzled by the sale price and didn’t think to look. O_o Thanks.

  11. same thing happened to me at womack army hospital. liquid diet too and i was “lucky” enough to get sugary popsicles.. time and time again told them so i just did not eat for 4 days… whay a cluster f.£•k…

  12. Hi there! Just found your blog. I work in a hospital too and I am kind of appalled at what you’ve gone through. I truly hope you don’t think all hospitals (or should I say doctor’s) are like the countless you’ve seen. Egad! I have quite a few that I respect. Anywho.. glad you are making it through and I look forward to more posts from you! You certainly stuck to your guns -something I may not have done if I were in as much pain as you :/

    • I know there are individuals out there who work in the medical industry who care and there are quite a few that I respect. Unfortunately, they don’t work at the hospital I was at. When I lived in Germany, they seemed really intent on getting to the root of the problem and took a natural path before trying anything else. Here in the States, it’s just so different. I went in for my checkup Friday and was prescribed VICODIN for my mild to moderate pain. I don’t know what’s going on with the military, but the government intervention seems to be killing our troops and their families. I used to be all for socialized health care in this country, but now the idea scares the shit out of me.

  13. Being a medical professional (PT), I am AMAZED and disgusted that it took my own health issues (culminating in a gallbladder removal on April Fool’s Day!!) to bring me to Paleo. Now that I’ve converted, I cannot imagine life NOT Paleo… I’m not 100% as I live on an American air base in Japan and we don’t get grass-fed beef or organic and cruelty-free pork (man, am I looking forward to getting back to the states and having the opportunity to go FULLY Paleo!!!). However, I do the best I can and often fork out the expense of the local Japanese produce and meats. What surprises me is the resistance to this diet by the rest of my medical ‘friends’… kinda like it’s ME who had the off thinking!! REALLY? Like a drop of 30 lbs wasn’t enough?? AND to laugh in the face of all those post-GB digestive ‘issues’ by eating saturated fats is GREAT! IF I eat something with wheat in it? THEN I get the dumping syndrome… NOT when I eat saturated fats. They’re always reduced to the ‘well, SOMEhow it works for YOU” statement… as though it wouldn’t work for others. So, I’m gathering all kinds of research proving wheat kills and satfat/MUFAs save lives. Unfortunately, the military community tends to be the last to adapt, whereas I think it should be the other way around!!
    I sure hope you get to feeling like yourself soon! Get well…
    Debi PT

    • Oh, I feel you, you have no idea. I think for most of us it takes our own deteriorating health to bring us to Paleo – to be honest, if I ate donuts all day long and felt great, I would probably continue to eat donuts. At least in Japan you have access to a wide variety of sea vegetables and ethnic ingredients that are really good for you. Armed with your Paleo knowledge, you can rock out. :) I’m not surprised you have resistance from your medical friends. Have you BEEN to a military nutrition class? Ha ha ha ha, now there’s an oxymoron.

  14. If you thought that was bad, you should see the menu for the children’s hospital in my city here.

    Let’s put it this way: God forbid the little dears have anything to eat other than the crap they’re already used to getting at home. It might traumatize them.

    And these kids not only need to heal, THEY ARE STILL GROWING.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m drafting a post on my children’s daycare menu (also military, also has to follow USDA guidelines). It is the most appalling thing you’ve ever seen and I bet it looks very similar to the menu your poor little kidlets get. Atrocious.

  15. Glad you are feeling better!! When I was hospitalized a few years ago I had hubby bring things in for me and ate some of the food there. I’m severely allergic to nuts (as well as so many things) and they brought me a brownie sprinkled with walnuts…..thankfully it was wrapped in plastic wrap and hubby took it out the room quickly! I have a plan if I ever am there again and thank you for posting your tips as well! I am in the medical field as well (registered respiratory therapist) and it amazes me how they serve almost 100% carbage to the diabetics (just this morning one had a fat free yogurt, raisin toast, oatmeal with skim milk, brown sugar and hey why not an orange juice to wash it all down with) then of course they just adjust their insulin……heart patients told to eat low fat and do not eat salt, especially packaged meats like hotdogs, etc and he opens up his lunch that just got there and says like this? It was a huge brat with a bag of baked lays……it is sad really because it is the blind being led by either the blind or evil (or combo of the two)……treatment is to take more meds to fix things which breaks down another system of the body but hey that’s ok there’s a pill for that too! Sure would be nice to see preventative/alternative/wellness taught instead! My average patient in their 20′s is on 3-6 meds, if you’re over 40 its usually a dozen and pushing 70 its usually 20 or more……thanks so much for sharing and do take care of yourself!

  16. Sorry you had to go through such an ordeal. Hope you are healed soon!! As soon as I saw “Military Hospital” I groaned. I try like heck to avoid them at all costs. Nothing but hell for years… Finally fought like crazy to get out of there and to civilian doctors. Not the greatest but much better than the care I was getting. {{rolling eyes}}

  17. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I’m a medical resident and it’s hard to reconcile the hospital’s treatment of food as unimportant compared to procedures. I’m glad you had the courage to stand up for yourself. At the same time, it makes me a little sad that you lump all the medical community together as incompetent. We are far from perfect, yes, but nurses and doctors pull off amazing feats of healing every day…which is even more incredible given the state of ruined bodies we see and, yes, hospital food. Just remember that the “medical establishment” is really just a lot of well-meaning but sometimes mistaken people.

    • You’re right Christopher, there are dedicated individuals out there who really do care and who want to help – also doctors and nurses whom I respect deeply. Unfortunately, in my experience, once most of them have been in practice for a while, they become somewhat jaded. See my response to Chuck. I know a few doctors whom I would highly recommend, however, none of them work at the military hospital I have to go to. Here’s a little horror story which reflects the level of care we receive: the other night, I was forced to be in the ER in a lucopenic state next to someone who had a 103.9 fever and had been waiting for over 2 hours. I struck up a conversation with a man seated nearby. He told me that his wife had just given birth at that same hospital several weeks ago, and they had had to administer her epidural EIGHT TIMES. That’s right, they were so incompetent that they had to stick her EIGHT times to get it right. She now has nerve damage in her back and legs, which may turn out to be permanent, and is unable to walk. Last year, a young airman went in for a gallbladder procedure and came out missing a leg. Yes, you heard me right. Here’s the full story: http://www.coltonread.com/ We are unable to sue for malpractice, however our extended families can if we die. Hooray. That’s such consolation.

      • Oh, sorry, just re-read the story, he lost BOTH legs. They don’t like it when we mention it. It’s scary that he and I both went to the hospital with the same symptoms and that they were so eager to operate on me.

  18. Glad you’re feeling better and survived your trip to a military hospital. And a very large, very loud Woo HOO from one obstinate bitch to another for a very timely use of that trait! It is a potent weapon that must be used judiciously, and dealing with the brainiacs that staff military hospitals? Definitely the time and the place!

    Honestly, they have some good people, but those are few and far between, especially when you get to the doctors. Had more than one military doctor tell me that pain I experienced was all in my head because I was “female” and must be “close to that time of the month”. Mind you, we’re not talking a stubbed toe here, were talking invasive procedures , both of which they screwed up on. Sew a nerve into your incision and it hurts? I slipped with the cauterizing gun and punctured something in you internally that I shouldn’t have? You must be hormonal! Close, the word you want starts with an “H” alright, but it’s “Homicidal”!

    Vitamin M (Motrin) or V (Vicodin) cures all ills in the military medical program. Ironic when you can go in with an sinus infection and ask for antibiotics and get accused of having a prescription drug abuse problem. Really? They mainlining erythromycin nowadays? Huh, that’s a new one on me! And I don’t know if it’s improved, but last time I was at DG, every “specialist” they brought to me had they’re hands full with English language, let alone any sort of bedside manner! It’s all insane; this is the way we deal with our troops and their families? WTF is wrong with this picture!

    Sad to say, as I’m no longer under the tender care of the US Military, that the civilian side isn’t any better that I’ve seen. It’s the assembly line mentality: get them in, get them drugged, get them out fast so we can wash, rinse and repeat. We have pills to push, golf dates to make, and time is money people! When people have to resort to going to India for surgery just so they can insure they get good care, we have a serious problem. Best bet? Stay Paleo or Primal, take care of yourself and stay OUT of the medico’s hands as much as you can!

  19. Pingback: Strangers in a strange land « Paleodyssey

  20. Hell, I’m not even Paleo ( working on that part), and had a crappy time trying to find something edible for the two weeks I spent in the hospital! ( sadly, the available family saw nothing wrong with hospital food). I was stalked by the staff as they tried to figure out what I’d eat. Produce ( woot! for California organic) and water were my friends. Quick question off subject though: I have complete faith in the results of the Paleo diet having met and had dinner with you. Do you know how such a change would effect a child that is desperate not to be medicated for ADD? He hasn’t been diagnosed yet, but has an appointment set up by his dad in two weeks. He doesn’t have it, he just hates his step mom and has incredibly boring teachers this year ( you’d have to meet them). I’m really trying to find him something that will help him try to focus on his boring teachers.and not be nearly as hostile to her. Has their been any sort of studies or do you know anybody who has been in this situation?

    • Hi Keegan! Yes, in fact I do know lots of parents who have seen their kid’s ADD and ADHD symptoms disappear when they’re gone Paleo. Here are some links:
      Free The Animal has a couple videos with Paleo parents Stacy and Matthew, who saw their kids symptoms disappear: http://freetheanimal.com/2011/09/real-results-video-interview-paleo-parents-over-200-pounds-lost-part-1.html Make sure to read the comments. Both videos and more information is here on their blog: http://paleoparents.com/our-before-after-story/ I have been interviewing parents for a story I’m doing on diet and ADD/Autism, and have had several accounts of behavioral changes. I’ve also witnessed it firsthand in my children: for their first 3 weeks of preschool, we were forced to let them eat what the other kids were eating and they turned into little monsters. It would take us all weekend to get their temper tantrums under control. By Monday morning they were perfect angels again, only to come home from school Monday afternoon throwing tantrums again, biting, kicking and screaming. This behavior changed immediately when we started packing their own food.
      If your son’s appointment isn’t for 2 weeks, you actually have enough time to make a change. If you immediately cut out all wheat, dairy, legumes and processed foods you should see an improvement within a couple of days. Please do everything you can to keep him off medication; it changes the way your brain develops and can cause permanent damage. Watch PBS’s documentary The Medicated Child if you have any doubts. You’ll have to get his dad on board with the diet – because if he eats well at your house, he will behave well for you but just a single day of the Standard American Diet is enough to have behavior revert back to the old patterns. It’s a shitload of work, but it’s really worth it. If you have any questions or your ex-husband wants to talk to me, tell him to drop me a line. Peggy the Primal Parent (www.theprimalparent.com) also has a few great posts on this subject – once again, make sure you read the comments.
      I don’t know if there are any official studies on this, but there are rarely studies done when there is no money to be made from the pharmaceutical companies. Most of the information we have from the Paleo diet is from firsthand experiences and experiments people have done on themselves and their families. It certainly can’t hurt to go to a whole foods, grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free diet for 30 days and see what happens. Robb Wolf has a quick start guide at http://www.robbwolf.com available for free – download it and start TODAY!!

  21. Knock on wood, never been in a hospital, but did do summer work there during my college years and vowed to never visit one in a horizontal matter! Hospitals make you sick and would make me a first class obstinate bitch as well! Good for you how you worked your way through this nightmare! Love your blog, I am a novice Paleo (2 weeks at 80/20) yet have always been a very healthy eater (no junkfood, no fastfood, no processed food, lots of fresh veggies and salads, grass fed meats, home made from scratch) you are a great inspiration!
    XOMO

  22. Great post! I’ve been getting more anxious about my upcoming hospital stay. I’m 8 months pregnant and I know that I will need to be in the hospital for at least one night. I’m trying for a VBAC, but there is a significant risk that I’ll end up with a c-section and be in the hospital for 3-4 nights! The last thing I want is to be recovering from the birth and the only food options will make me sick. I highly doubt they will be able to accomidate gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free and dairy-free. I also have issues with carageenan. When I had my daughter 3 years ago (before paleo), I remember finding the food options awful and I was starving all the time! My MIL brought a basket of food for me which included lots of fruit but also tons of cheese and crackers. The fruit will work, but what to do about protein! I doubt I’ll get anywhere close to as much protein as I need (or fat!), and intermittent fasting is not an option (IMO) right after giving birth. Otherwise that’s totally where I’d be.

  23. Pingback: Paleo Salted Caramel Apple Pie

  24. I know this is an old post, but I am pregnant with my third and, due to certain issues, will be a scheduled Cesarean. So not what I would have wished for, but….

    My first birth was an emergency Cesarean after a planned homebirth, and I had NO hospital preparation. I was “only” gluten and dairy free back then, but that still rendered pretty much everything inedible. I’m not really sure how I survived, but I think a box of gluten free donuts from a local bakery played an integral role, along with some Chipotle. My second was in a hospital, where I was hoping for a VBAC and ended up with a second C-section. This time I was doing the Specific Carbohydrate Diet sans legumes, so basically primal. I planned for some hospital food (including pre-mixed and frozen smoothies) and SCD baked goods, but ran out as we stayed longer than we’d intended.

    So in a few months when I go in again, I’m bringing a cooler. I’ll try to make some jerky before I go, or buy the exorbitantly-priced clean jerky. I’ll bring tons of avocados and maybe a banana or two, though chances are they’ll have those. I’ll make some sweet potato bars with coconut flour, and some banana-almond flour waffles, both of which I can make well in advance and freeze. I’ll pre-do some bone broth soups and freeze them in mason jars or the like so that they can be reheated. Generally I’m super anti-microwave, but this will definitely be an exception. Overall, I think I’ll be fine for the 72-hour stay that’s expected. Maybe if I feel up to it when I’m that far along, I can even bake a paleo “birthday cake” to take with me. ;)

    All this to say: if you’re not in an emergency situation or an otherwise unplanned hospital visit, there’s tons you can do or bring along. (Especially if you’re not concerned about eating too many baked “treats,” as I won’t be while post-partum and nursing.)

    If I were to go in tomorrow, I might ask friends to bring me some hard-boiled eggs, avocados, an bananas. Most grocery stores would carry those, and possibly even the hospital.

  25. My neighbor had a stroke a few months ago, and I recently visited him at the rehab facility where he is living for now. His therapist was there helping him eat, as the muscles involved in swallowing are weak and he can choke easily. His meal: fake mashed potatoes, canned tomato soup, and tuna salad. I asked if I could make homemade soups or mashed potatoes and bring it in and was told that they have to monitor everything he eats. Now, how is processed, dead food going to help rebuild his body and nervous system?

    I think so many people would actually heal if they were fed real food at these critical moments.

    • I totally agree. I had to feign an allergy and be downright stubborn to get my way. Someone who is incapacitated would need family to stick up for them, and even then there needs to be “special circumstances” like saying the patient is allergic to soy, MSG, wheat, corn and Red 40. It’s ridiculous.

  26. This sucks that it happened to you, but you did a great job with the post. As an individual it can be so hard to stick up for ourselves, but as a parent, sometimes it’s even harder.

    My paleo journey began with my then 4yo daughter had not one, but two rectal prolapses a month apart. After being told by both her general practitioner and the Peds GI doctor to feed her more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, I took matters into my own hands. It took a while for me to figure it out, but once I did we cut out gluten and dairy. Within a week of cutting out the gluten, her “trucker farts” disappeared. After a month that kid wouldn’t touch a cookie if you offered it to her, that’s how much better she felt. So she wouldn’t have to eat that way alone, I committed to eating what she could eat. Within the first week I lost 10 pounds, within the first year, I lost another 30. We’ve been gluten free since then (she’s 7 1/2), avoiding gluten like the plague. We discovered paleo not long after we gave up gluten, dabbled at first, then jump in with both feet about 2 years ago. It’s tough at times, but man do we feel so good!

    here’s my long post about our ordeal. There are fun poo pictures for those interested :0)
    http://jetisteffen.blogspot.com/2011/02/graphic-story-of-poops-untold-and.html

    I am so loving your blog. Thank you.

  27. Thanks for this post (love the Internet, where nothing is ever out of date!). My husband is in the hospital now after surgery for kidney cancer. Now on day 3 an deveryone is worried that he hasn’t passed gas. He cannot come home until he does, nor will they let him have anything but clear liquid. I’ve taken him organic chicken broth and the broth from a fish soup we made, and coconut oil that he takes a spoonful of every so often. now I’m looking for ideas on what will nourish him while giving him gas lol. We are definitely having a similar experience that you did! Plus the painkillers slow things down. I have a friend who is an md from china and she says the broth from boiled radishes will do it… Will make that today if needed…. Sounds awful, but it can’t hurt!

    • Best of luck to you and your husband. I hope he is feeling better as quickly as possible & don’t give up! You’re doing great.

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