I want to talk about my
hospital stay again—specifically, about the food. My surgery took place
starting at 7:00 in the morning, and I didn’t make it to recovery until after
11:00, so I wasn’t offered anything until suppertime—not that I would have
wanted anything. My supper tray was a grim array of “clear liquids,” consisting
of apple juice, broth, sweet iced tea, a grape popsicle, and jello. The only
thing on that tray I could safely have was the insipid and lukewarm broth,
which I drank and then threw up later. The girl who brought the food felt bad
that she hadn’t known I was a diabetic, and promised I’d have something more
appropriate for breakfast.
Meanwhile, my sweet nurse
hunted down a sugar-free popsicle and brought it to me because she felt so bad
too! Although I normally avoid artificial sweeteners completely, the cold treat
really appealed to me, and it hit the spot—until it came back up.
I had vague hopes of
bacon and eggs for breakfast the next morning. What I received was a bowl of
wheat-based hot cereal, some milk, and another bowl of (regular) jello. The
food delivery girl was quite dismayed when I told her I couldn’t eat any of it.
She wanted so badly to bring me something I liked! She offered to find me some
sugar-free jello. What could I say? I also avoid artificial sweeteners, so any kind of jello is right out for me.
By the way, this is an
interesting phenomenon to me. My last hospital stay was in a completely
different hospital, but at both hospitals the only “constant” presence during
my stay was the food lady. I never had any repeat of nurses, even when the same
shift came around again. It was new nurses all the time. But the same lady
delivered all three meals a day, every day.
By lunchtime on Thursday,
I was really in a bind because I had to prove I could keep food down, and I had
failed miserably so far. The girl showed me the meal options and I picked
grilled chicken and broccoli, which looked pretty safe. It also came with pasta,
but I told her to leave that off.
Now please understand, I
had told her I was diabetic so she could only bring me what the hospital
dietician approved of for diabetic patients. I got a grilled chicken breast,
some broccoli—and a big wheat bun and banana pudding. It was at this point I
began to get angry. Not at the sweet food girl, who just delivered the meals,
but at the person who was masterminding this atrocious mistreatment of diabetic
patients. My lunch meal probably contained more carbohydrates than I would
normally eat in a week.
It was exactly this
ignorant approach to diabetic dining which led to my diabetes getting so bad so
fast. If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and you follow the standard
medical advice about diet, you are guaranteed
to get worse and worse, until the day you finally have to ask your doctor, “Why
do I keep getting worse and having to take more insulin when I’m doing everything
right?” And if he or she is honest, like mine was, the answer will be, “Because
your pancreas is wearing out.”
And I feel I should point
out here that even from the time of my diagnosis, I followed a stricter plan.
The diabetes educator in the hospital told me to aim for 150 grams of carbohydrates
a day (!!!) I kept it well below 100, and aimed closer to 50—but it was still
too much. My blood sugar continued to rise, and it took more and more insulin
to control it. I knew I’d soon begin experiencing complications with my eyesight,
neuropathy in my feet, poor circulation, etc.
So back to this recent hospital
stay. The food girl really wanted me to have a supper I could be happy with.
She showed me the menu, and one of the things on it was “Chicken Caesar Salad.”
This is a pretty safe choice for me, so I was thrilled—but when I told her I
wanted the salad, she said that as I was diabetic, I would not be allowed to
have the Caesar dressing and would have to pick an alternate lowfat dressing. I
was dumbfounded. I could eat a healthy salad, but I couldn’t dress it with a
healthy high-fat dressing.
I realized the hospital is
still going with the failed model of a diabetic diet that is high in
carbohydrates and low in fat—when it should be the other way around. This was
confirmed when I discussed breakfast with the food girl. She cheerily offered
me French toast! I wanted to say, “You’re joking, right? Do you even know what
diabetes is?” Instead I brought up the fact that I am not only diabetic, but
also gluten free. I was offered sweetened gluten-free cereal instead. I
reminded her I can’t eat anything with sugar in it. Finally she asked, “Well,
what can you have for breakfast?”
Eggs, I told her. She brightened up a little. Clearly eggs were something she
was allowed to bring me. But when she asked what I wanted with my eggs, and I said
sausage or bacon, her face fell. Sausage and bacon were not allowed for
If I hadn’t been in such
a very weakened condition, I would have wanted to march down to the kitchen and
speak to someone about this outrageous approach to feeding diabetics. It’s not
just less than optimal—it’s downright harmful. If you are diabetic, and you eat
from a hospital’s diabetic food plan, you will
get worse, not better. Your blood sugar will not be controlled. Yet this is the
eating plan that has been endorsed and promoted by the American Diabetes
Association, which is why hospitals follow it. It’s like intentional ignorance.
My many long hours of
research have turned up exactly two ways to deal effectively with Type 2
diabetes. The first way is to adopt a very strict, very low-fat vegan diet that
is also sugar free and involves periodic fasting. I’m glad that is an option
for those who really don’t want to eat meat, but it’s not for me. The other
way, the one I’m following, is to go with a ketogenic diet that is high in “good”
fats, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates (less than 20 grams per
day), and also includes fasting. In fact I’d say that a certain amount of
fasting is really crucial to getting your diabetes under control, as is
avoiding sugar completely.
It infuriates me that
these two proven dietary approaches have not been accepted by doctors and
hospitals yet. I know one reason is the belief that most people just would not
be willing to follow either restrictive plan. I think they would, if they understood
the alternative—the long slow death brought on by diabetes complications. The
other, more sinister reason is that nobody makes money from people using food
to heal their own bodies. The medical diabetes industry is a huge money-maker, and if people can
learn to do without all those drugs and related products, that industry will
suffer financial losses. So it’s not in their interest to tell you the truth—that
you can do without drugs and reverse your diabetes by making smart food
choices. I have not heard of one single person who reversed their diabetes by
following the plan endorsed by the American Diabetes Association. There are thousands like me who have turned their
health around by following one of the two approaches I mentioned above. The
results don’t lie.
I wanted to cry when I thought
about the newly-diagnosed diabetes patients in the hospital, who trustingly
believe they are being fed an appropriate diet for their condition. I was like that
several years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes at the time of my emergency
appendectomy. Following the ignorant instructions I was given led to my
diabetes raging out of control after only eighteen months! I’m so glad I
learned the truth two years ago and have taken charge of my own health! If
(heaven forbid) I find myself forced to stay in a hospital again, I will go
knowing that I won’t be able to eat the food there, and plan accordingly. If
you live near me, I might even hit you up to smuggle in some contraband bacon