Saturday, January 21, 2012

What are the "registered dieticians" doing when it comes to perform their job duties? -Food for thought!

When some of us stay at hospitals for different reasons, we eat what "they give us", unless you pack your own food. I remember very well when I had my children, and at that time (30 years ago) I asked my husband: "why do they feed me "can fruit" when I could easily eat fresh fruit? -I was not as health conscious as I am now and my common sense told me that the easiest way to eat natural and fresh is just picking a fruit from a tree, rinsing it off and putting it in my mouth, how much easier and simple is that? No cooking time, no baking time, fast and easy.  I am not even talking about the amount of pesticides, fungicides, herbacides, nematicides, rodenticides, all the group of "cides" together when they are sprayed in those beautiful shiny apples we buy, all those perfect looking fruit the commercial produce entice our eyes with, it is a matter of commercial versus the organic.
Now, we may ask: What are the "registered dieticias" doing during their working hours at hospitals and clinics, giving us can food? We are patients who need care, some of us after delivering a child, others after invasive surgery, others with diabetes and so on and so forth. Do they know how to feed the patients? -I suppose they are, that is why they study and get trained, but when it comes to real life and put the skills into practice, why are they absent? or in other words, what do they learn in school? Are they trained to do the right thing? and if they are, why don't we see the results?
In an article published by "This dish is veg, dishing up animal rights, vegan, vegetarian, Eco-friendly News", Laeticia Butler compiles the following information:

Recently PCRM, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has done research on the types of foods available at hospitals nationwide. After a review of 110 hospitals, a list was composed of the top 5 institutions offering the most unhealthy food options.
Now this is a list you are going to want to see:

  1. St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas- this hospital is known for their advancements in heart surgery, so I don't think it's inappropriate when I say it's a little hypocritical for them to allow four, yes FOUR fast food restaurants in their cafeteria. In addition, they offer a fried-chicken bar in case you need that extra artery clogged. Maybe this is their way of making sure they don't run out of patients.
  2. Medical University of South Carolina University Hospital Complex located in Charleston, S.C.- if you thought the four fast food outlets listed at St. Luke's was too much, then skip right onto the next because the Medical University of South Carolina has FIVE! Their cafeteria also serves country-fried steak and other high-fat food options.
  3. Naval Medical Center San Diego Hospital Facility Complex in San Diego, CA- A little better, this hospital offers three fast food outlets. But wait, just when there was hope; it turns out that they provide patients with a menu offering a variety of pork chops, meatball sandwiches, and other high-cholesterol eats. Now that's the way to recover from a heart attack!
  4. Duke University Hospital Complex located in Durham, N.C.- again, this hospital has three fast food outlets in their cafeteria while featuring a cholesterol raising menu to their patients.
  5. Children's Memorial Hospital Complex in Chicago, Ill- you would think this is the best of the list with just one fast food outlet, but think again; the patients are able to choose from a menu of chicken wings, quesadillas with bacon and (gasp) hot dogs!
I share the confusion with Laeticia, indeed, aren't hospitals and health professionals supposed to be promoting health? Is this the major HEALTH PARADOX America is facing today? Laeticia comments: "Handing a hot dog to a 6-year-old cancer patient or a pork chop to the 60 year old that just had a heart attack probably isn't the brightest idea".
I ask my blog readers now, is it a good idea?

Laeticia comments: Our cancer and diabetes rates are on a rapid incline in our society and people need to pay more attention. Diet plays a significant role in our health and those working in this profession must take more responsibility in the promotion of a healthy diet.

I must say, the patients aren't the only ones suffering from the lack of healthy options available at these hospitals, what about the staff? Nurses, doctors, and employees pulling 12 or more hour shifts run down to the cafeteria for a quick bite and are quite limited in their options.

It turns out that patients and doctors are starting to notice the lack of concern for this issue and are beginning to take a stand. One participant in a sleep study took photos of the meal she was served which included fried food, a soda, and a cookie, and sent it to PCRM.

Laeticia affirms that we all have a voice and should use it to stand up for the health of ourselves and our loved ones!

Thank you Laeticia and my thanks go to PCRM for spending their valuable time in this noble cause with the facts. Knowlege is freedom and freedom of choice and decision based on knowledge is a priceless gift, that we can all choose to have!
To your health!

Friday, January 20, 2012

GINGER, "BLUEISH OR GREENISH" is that a matter of concern? or we should be lucky to have it?

When it comes to aesthetics, food is not an exception. We tend to become apprehensive and judgemental if the object of visual appreciation looks different than others from the same category. If it does not fit in the common expected looks, we tend to panic. Ginger is an example of this reaction. When ginger bought from a store, after cutting or breaking a piece, happens to show a "blue ring" inside  and around the peripheral inner area, it is NOT a sign of something wrong with the ginger, it is actually a terapheutical ginger and we should considered ourselves lucky to have found it, and usually it is sold at the same price of the other yellow and white types.

The research indicates the following:

Paul Schulick in his book entitled: Ginger: Common spice & wonder drug, states the following:

"The ginger rhizome is aromatic and thick lobed and ranges from white to yellow in color: One of the prized varieties and most unusual exception to this color range is a variety that possesses a characteristic blue ring which circles the fleshy interior." (p.6)
"Since the focus of this book is on the medicinal properties of ginger, it is significant to note that the only specific variety actually singled out from a therapeutic standpoint is the blue ring, which is reported to contain the highest proteolytic or protein-digesting enzyme content." Thompson, E. H. et al. "Ginger rhizome: a new source of proteolytic enzyme." Journal of Food Science 38, no.4 (1973):
Moreover, Eliza Secrist in her article: "Ginger, the Universal Medicine, analyzes the valuable properties of "blue ring" ginger as follows:
Although well known as a pleasant tasting cooking spice, it is not so widely known that ginger has been used for thousands of years, worldwide, for its numerous potent healing benefits. Ginger is an especially wonderful ally because its healing benefits are particular to so many of our daily health concerns. Probably best known as a superb digestive aid and nausea reliever, ginger also helps heal ulcers, supports cardiovascular health, reduces pain and inflammation, and speeds recovery from colds and flu while reducing fevers.

Additionally, the National Cancer Institute has recently identified ginger as one of the top ten foods offering the highest levels of anti-cancer activity. Most importantly, ginger accomplishes all these without the side effects associated with drugs. As is true of all botanicals, growing conditions and quality have enormous impact on the quantity of active compounds found in ginger. Look for the highest-grade organic ginger you can find. In many cases, a blend of fresh and dried ginger is most effective.

Today not only is it our most widely cultivated spice, it is also one of the most widely researched. Norman Farnsworth, Ph. D., senior university scholar of pharmacology and Director of the World Health Organization Centre for Traditional Medicine at the University of Illinois, calls ginger "one of the three most thoroughly investigated plants in the history of the world." As is the case with many herbs, current research and clinical studies validate the traditional or "folk" uses of the plant.

Moreover, when selecting ginger, please be aware that quality matters. There are many grades of ginger available. For best results, choose the highest grades. It is also wise to select ginger products manufactured from the 'blue ring' variety of ginger. Medical research has found this particular variety contains the highest level of digestive enzymes. Finally, ginger is a heavily fumigated crop. If you are using concentrated forms of ginger (extracts, syrups and dried powder), you are also potentially receiving concentrated amounts of these chemicals. For this reason, it is wise to seek out organic sources and products.
Eliza Secrist is a Licensed Certified Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant, the former Director of a Women's Resource Center and the Clinic Manager of a Women's Health Center, who has been teaching and counseling for 10 years,
My advice to everyone is to try to get ORGANIC ginger as much as possible or grow your own. I am starting to grow organic "blue ring ginger" in my garden, and if I am successful, I will have it fresh and sundried/powdered for cooking and pastries. Follow me soon in my webpage.
To your health!!