Over the past few years I have seen a trend develop. Ok, it might not be a big trend, but nevertheless, a trend. Various hospitals around the country are opting for better quality food. Their 3 meals a day of mush-like food is being replaces with …..drum roll, food that is healthy. Yes, food that might even help the patient recover quicker. I know that sounds too good to be true after 50 years of serving “guess what today’s mush is”, but it is happening.
Where to “Get Sick”
So, exactly where are the hospitals serving better quality food? They are spread all over the country. In the Detroit area, organic food from a 1500 square foot on-site greenhouse supplies the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. All their food is sourced from this greenhouse, or other local sustainable farmers.
Swing over to Pennsylvania and the St. Luke’s University Health Network is supplying their patients with organic food grown from land that belongs to their network. They own 300 acres. Over the next 3 years they plan on building year-round greenhouses.
The Hudson Valley Hospital Center, in New York, sponsors its own farmer’s market twice a month from May to November. In Burlington, Vermont, the Fletcher Allen Health Care uses antibiotic-free meat. And though John Hopkins Medical Center isn’t completely jumping on the organic is better bandwagon, they are encouraging their patients to eat organic whenever possible and avoid processed food.
In California, the UCLA Medical Center is using organic food and the John Muir Medical Center offers quinoa, brown rice, antibiotic-free meat and hormone-free dairy. According to Lucia Sayre, Co-Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility, over 500 health care facilities have begun to implement healthier changes in their menus. Some hospitals are eliminating fast-food restaurants and vending machines in food courts. Others are creating hospital gardens and hosting farmer’s markets on hospital grounds.
The Future of Healthcare
We live in uncertain times. Is socialized medicine our only option? Will good quality medical treatment only be available for the rich? There is one thing we can be certain of. If hospital food improves, people will recover from an illness, injury or operation faster than eating nutrient-dead meals. Food is definitely the best medicine on the planet – even in hospitals.