Would You Like Ketchup With Your Poison?

I've been a way for a little bit because I'm in the middle of moving my mom and her husband into an assisted living facility. In the process of doing so, my mom ended up back in the hospital, where she is now. And this whole situation has brought back to me remembrances of when my wife was in the hospital last year and what it is that led me to adopt a no oil, whole foods, plant-based lifestyle.

I recently wrote about hospital food, and it remains as bad as ever. But it's not just in the cafeteria. It's for the patients as well. What I'm seeing this time is that if I were in the hospital, I would not be able to follow a healthy WFPB diet without starving in the process. If you order just a salad, you get a pathetic little thing of iceberg lettuce and maybe half a cherry tomato and some carrot gratings. The choice of dressing for such a culinary delight is some kind of oil-based dressing.

And that's true in the assisted living facility where she will be going as well. When we were looking at assisted living facilities, we were asked to stay for lunch and see how appetizing their meals were. When I explained that I only ate a whole foods, plant-based diet, I found that the best they could offer me was a measly looking salad. Interestingly, vegetables are not a big part of any of the menus. Meat and potatoes are. As the sales director at one of the assisted living facilities told me, "We're a bunch of bone chewers here." That made perfect sense to me. In fact, it might just be why everyone was there.

This same is true wherever people are captive. Whether it's a hospital, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, an independent living facility, a jail, a prison or a church pancake breakfast, the same is true. You're not going to get a good WFPB selection of foods. My favorite though is the annual fundraiser my previous employer would hold for diabetes awareness. The incentive for coming and donating was a free ice cream cone. I kid you not.

So, my conclusion is that we've basically institutionalized the standard American diet. We've institutionalized the idea of feeding people the very poison that has put them in the situation that then requires the services of those institutions. If I were cynical, I would say maybe that's the idea. Of course, it's not the idea at the local level. At the local level, hospitals want to make people better and assisted living facilities want to help people and doctors want to care for their patients.

But institutions as a whole may be at odds with what we as individuals really want and need. And that's a problem.

None of us would feed arsenic to our children. And if we did, that would be murder. But most moms do feed what I would consider to be poisonous foods to their children. And when the children later develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity or any other of a myriad of diseases, well, that's not murder. That's love.

We're showing love to our children.

So ask them next time, "Would you like a little ketchup with your poison?"