Supersize Me, Hospital Style

I’ve mentioned on that I’m going through an intense 90-day diet and exercise program called P90X. It is extremely tough, but effective. I’m working out six days a week and learning new ways of eating healthy and breaking bad snack habits.

I knew when I started P90X that Abby would be born right around half-way through the program. In fact, she was born almost exactly half-way through it, on Day 49 of 90. While we were at the hospital for a week, I obviously missed some workouts, but I was committed to the diet plan, even though I wasn’t home to manage my own food. I prepared by packing some P90X-friendly groceries for snacks and breakfast, but lunch and dinner left me wandering around walking distance of the hospital, looking for food.

I got by okay, as there was a Wendys (good salads and grilled chicken) and Panera Bread (good whole wheat bread and quality meats). I had to walk a mile to get to each of these, but I didn’t mind since I was missing my workouts. Compared to an hour of P90X workouts, a one-mile walk on a nice day was a breeze.

Now, here’s what I found disappointing. There was a single restaurant in the lobby of the hospital. One single food establishment was allowed to set up shop inside a hospital. Can you guess what it was? Here’s a clue: you actually don’t deserve this kind of break today, especially if you’re in the hospital.

McDonald’s. Serously, a McDonald’s in the hospital lobby. Granted, I took advantage of it for its diet soda fountain, but I didn’t saddle up for a Bacon Egg and Cheese McGriddle while thousands of people fought for their lives in the floors above me.

The most striking image for me was one gentleman who stood beside me in line as I waited to pay for my soda. He had ordered his breakfast, something with sausage and butter and gravy and lard. He was waiting patiently, despite the heavy load he was carrying: his oxygen tank. Seriously, he had an oxygen tank slung over his shoulder. I’m sorry, but if you’re chained to an oxygen tank that’s piping fresh air directly into your nostrels, I’m reasonably sure that a McSkillet Burrito with Sausage is not what the doctor ordered.

I’m no doctor or fitness expert. I’m not a physical trainer, and I’m certainly not a vegetarian. I love food. I love to eat food. I would often love to sit down to a burger or pizza feast of grease. Sometimes, I still do. But if a health care provider has one shot to send a message to the public about what is or is not a decent meal, I hate to think that McDonald’s is the best they can come up with.

For more on the fast food industry, and McDonald’s in particular, be sure to check out the excellent documentary, Supersize Me, on DVD. It’s an eye-opening, funny, shocking, and entertaining look at how America’s food tastes have changed in the age of McDonalds. Defintely worth watching.


One Response to Supersize Me, Hospital Style

  1. ebrown says:

    Funny that you wrote this, because I just finished a book, Restoring Your Digestive Health, and one of the chapters they had was about all the diets that abound. They also made mention of the R-Diet that is given most patients in hospitals. One of the issues is that many patients are on antibiotics that kill good and bad bacteria thus making it harder to digest the foods they serve. They say it is better to talk to the doctor and go outside the hospital for healthier foods. And, yes, it always amazed me too that McDonald’s were prominent in many hospitals as well.

    I have been doing a lot of reading on our immune systems and how proper diet can help us stay healthy. Unfortunately, much of the typical American diet is processed garbage. We want it NOW and we pay the consequences in the long term. If you start research autoimmune diseases it is amazing what you will learn.


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