As you may know, my mother lost her battle to this terrifying disease in mid 2017, and during the whole process I completely lost my faith in the hospital system. Now, don't get me wrong, my mother's oncologist was and is, one of the best doctors I have ever dealt with. Not only was he optimistic (when he clearly knew the outcome) but he was always prepared to go over and beyond for my mother. For that I will be eternally grateful. However, it's not the doctor I have concerns with, rather the hospital system and how the so called 'food specialists' known as dieticians aimed at helping my mother. I was mortified.
Let me break this down.
Imagine you are in hospital. You are lying in bed waiting for your meal to arrives it's dinner time or breakfast or lunch. You can hear the food trolly makes its way down the corridor and edging closer to the room. Finally the hospital worker brings the tray of food to the table over the bed and you remove the plastic or metal cloche to reveal.....unappealing, unappetising slop. Reluctantly, you consume a few mouthfuls, and then give up. Some time passes, and the doctors and nurses notice that meals are left half eaten, and report this on your patient card. A dietician is booked to see you as everyone is concerned. The dietician takes some notes about your likes/dislikes and suggests a 'high protein' diet, or maybe a 'pureed diet' or whatever it is they suggest for you, it's wrong. Let's just say it's wrong. Because inevitably it is.
In the coming meal trays, you notice with your meal a bottle of 'liquid food' - suggested by the dietician to be consumed 1-2 times a day. It's a high protein drink. Or it's a high calorie drink. You know you have to drink it, you trust the health professionals. And so, along with your tray of slop, you consume the drink. But what are you really consuming?
I see this all too often. Innocent patients drinking a meal replacement/calorie drink/ protein drink but no one actually cares to ask what is in this product? And why do dieticians continually insist on suggesting this rubbish to their patients?
Now, I am not going to name brands or tell you what the names of these drinks are, but I'm sure with very little investigating you could find these online, or maybe you have seen them in hospital. I want to look at some of the ingredients....
INGREDIENTS (VANILLA): WATER, CORN SYRUP, CANOLA OIL, CALCIUM CASEINATE (MILK), SUGAR AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, DISTILLED MONOGLYCERIDES, MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GEL, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM CITRATE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, CITRIC ACID, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, MALTODEXTRIN, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, CELLULOSE GUM, FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC SULFATE, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, COPPER GLUCONATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, VITAMIN D3, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, THIAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM IODIDE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE, VITAMIN K1, VITAMIN B12
Essentially this drink is a fake glass of milk with added fats and sugars. you could take a multivitamin, crush it and use 1/10th of it, add it to a glass of water, add a whole lot of glucose syrup and then more sugar and about 2 tablespoons of milk and don't forget to add 4 tablespoons of canola oil .
Every 236ml of this drink, 162 ml is plain water, the rest of the fluid is made up of sugar syrup, oils and milk powder. RIDICULOUS. This is considered food by the hospital.
It is 480 calories of rubbish. And yet, patients are consuming this.
let's look at one more example of a very high calorie and protein drink provided by hospitals to patients.
INGREDIENTS (VERY VANILLA): WATER, CORN SYRUP, CANOLA OIL, CALCIUM-POTASSIUM CASEINATE (FROM MILK), SUGAR, ISOLATED SOY PROTEIN, CORN OIL AND LESS THAN 2% OF SOY LECITHIN, CALCIUM CITRATE, MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SALT, SODIUM CITRATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, CITRIC ACID, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, TAURINE, ZINC SULFATE, ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, NIACINAMIDE, CARRAGEENAN, FERROUS SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, VITAMIN D3, COPPER SULFATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM SELENATE, VITAMIN K1, VITAMIN B12
This last item, also very well known and used in hospitals throughout Australia - designed to help patients gain or maintain weight. They do this by loading the product with corn maltodextrin (CM) which acts as a thickener and is highly processed form of polysaccharide. This ingredient has a high glycemic index and a poor choice for diabetics and those with insulin resistance. It has double the glycemic index of sugar. Research has shown CM to directly interfere with gut health, and disruption the natural balance of good bacteria in our digestive system. CM promotes the survival of salmonella which is directly responsible for inflammatory diseases in the gut. Thirdly, this product is manufactured from genetically modified corn (I am pretty confident I could say that none of the ingredients are organic), Finally, CM has zero nutritional value. It has zero benefit for your body, and yet it's the second ingredient in this product. The next item is more sugar. After that it's a cocktail of vegetable oils to keep the calories high and then there's some protein in the form of milk and soy, followed by token amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Now, this infuriates me. Because either one of three things is happening
1. The person in charge of hospital food ordering these products is an idiot who needs to go back to university and study basic biochemistry. Even a person who has no formal qualification in this area of study, could look at the ingredients and say "Wow, this is really crap. Surely this is not going to help my body recover at all".
2. The person/people in charge of ordering these products gets a HUGE kick back from the manufacturer of these horrific drinks/foods.
3. No one wants to change anything because it's too hard, would cause disruption to the supply chain and disgruntle the upper echelon staff...
The way I see it, there is no way that a decent human would think these items are healthy and safe for sick people to consume.
Let me put it this way, would you take a 250ml jar, and add 160ml of water, 30ml of canola oil, 60ml of sugar syrup and an 1/8th of a spoon of vitamins? Would you shake that up in a jar and drink it? I wouldn't - never. I would much prefer a fresh fruit and veg juice or a good quality non GMO fermented plant based protein with added nuts, dates as a sweetener and whizzed in a blender, and yes, I'll even take a good quality multi.
It's about time we took control of our health, because if we don't, then our life is in the hands of people who really don't know or care about us. And I ask you, what are we afraid of? Why are we afraid to ask the question to the dieticians, "What is in this that will benefit me?", "How will this drink make me feel better?", "Can you please explain to me, why all the cancer literature explicitly states to avoid sugar and refined foods and highly fatty foods, and yet you're giving me this drink which is high in both the ingredients I've been told to avoid?"
Why aren't we asking? Why are we trusting?
Alternatives to powdered drinks
As you know I'm big on nutrition from food, but if you need it in liquid form, add a combination of the following in a Nutribullet. Oh and don't forget to wash thoroughly, were appropriate.
2 florets of broccoli
Handful of raspberries
1/2 and avocado
2 tbsp MCT, coconut or Hemp oil
1 cup chopped kale
1 small cucumber
1/2 peeled lemon
1/2 cup kefir or yogurt of choice
I'm obsessed with collagen and protein powders and my favourites are in my store. I have great alternatives for vegans.
NES Grass Fed Collagen Hydrolysate
NES Marine collagen
NES Joint Formula Cherry Collagen Hydrolysate
Vivo Alkaline protein (vegan)
Amazonia Raw prebiotic multi for Men and Women
Melrose MCT oil
Mad Millie - Make your own Kefir Kit
and much more....