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I stopped for a late lunch at the Living Well Bistro on my way home from visiting family in Oregon this past weekend.  This is a relatively new addition to the vegan restaurant listings for Portland, Oregon on Happy Cow.  The man at the counter said that the Bistro opened up about 8-9 months ago.  I’m ecstatic that I discovered it.  It’s located just inside the Adventist Medical Center.

As a health care provider who is constantly frustrated with the nutrient-poor food served in “typical” hospitals and nursing homes, I still can’t contain my enthusiasm about dining in a 100% Plant-Based restaurant inside a hospital.  Pinch me!  This gives me hope for the future of health care.

I looked on the Adventist Health website and found that the hospital also has a Garden Cafe, which “…embraces the Adventist position of practicing a vegetarian lifestyle to support the holistic nature of humankind. All food or beverages consumed should honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind and spirit.”

You can poke around this website to learn more about the Adventist Health Studies (AHS) at Loma Linda University.  AHS are “long-term studies exploring the links between lifestyle, diet, and disease among Seventh-day Adventists.”

I found out that, of the 96,000 AHS-2 study participants

  • 

8% are vegan
  • 28% are lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • 10% are pesco-vegetarian
  • 6% are semi-vegetarian (eating meat/fish less than once per week)
  • 48% are non-vegetarian.

So how do those numbers compare to the U.S. general public?

According to the 2011 Harris Interactive survey (conducted on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group)…

  • 5% are vegetarian
  • Half of the vegetarians are vegan (2 1/2%)

That’s quite a difference.  Those numbers are WAY too low!  No wonder that the Adventist Health studies provide so much information on the benefits of plant-based eating.

Now…let’s enter the Living Well Bistro…

The Living Well Bistro Menu features breakfast items, appetizers, soups, salads, whole grain bread, flax crackers, tacos, live pasta, naan pizzas (with Daiya vegan cheese), rice/quinoa bowls, wraps, desserts, smoothies, and other beverages:  A vegan’s dream come true!

On one side of the Bistro is a display of kitchen items for purchase…

I smiled W-I-D-E when I saw all the vegan cookbooks on display!
Dr. Neal Barnard is a doctor you can trust with your precious health…


Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking…


I ordered the Garden Veggie Wrap & Sesame Ginger dressing for the salad…

“A whole wheat tortilla filled with our sunflower pate, cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots and seasonal greens finished with a creamy dill dressing”

I grabbed a Banana Almond Smoothie for the road…

“Bananas, almond butter and dates blended in rice milk”


I couldn’t resist this crazy moist, melt-in-your-mouth Mint Brownie…

Just like the Terminator said…
“I’LL BE BACK.”

 

 
 

Every day that I go to work, I nearly go crazy…and here’s why…

Chicken Lasagna with Creamy White Sauce

The food. Nursing home food. It’s the same everywhere, so I‘m not picking on my employer. In my 15-year career as an Occupational Therapist, I’ve worked in at least a couple dozen Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF).  Hospital food is no different- I’ve worked in plenty of them, too.

The food at all of these places for sick and functionally impaired folks is abysmal.  Can we really call it food?  Make no mistake- this is a system-wide “healthcare” (i.e.- “keep you sick”) problem.  Shall we thank our government and the USDA?

Here is an average diagnosis list for the typical patient I see in rehabilitation every day:  HTN (high blood pressure), Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), CAD (coronary artery disease), DM (diabetes), OA (osteoarthritis), and dementia.

Many have a history of CVA (stroke) and/or cancer.  Also, recurrent “antibiotic resistant” urinary tract infections are all too common ( MRSA – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

This week I met a relatively rare specimen.  She’s a “younger” woman (i.e. 70 years old) who fractured her leg while pruning a garden tree.  She said to me, “I eat organic.  I juice my vegetables.  I eat kale.”  She was “horrified” (her words) to have been served a hot dog and french fries for dinner on her first evening (with cake for dessert!)  I truly felt her pain.

Now, let’s say you were admitted to the SNF with a CABG x 4 (a four-vessel Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) at mid-morning that same day.  What did your nurse’s aide bring you for lunch?

“Beef Pot Roast, Baked Potato with Sour Cream, Green Beans and Strawberry Bavarian Cream with Whipped Topping.”

Translation?

Lunch:  beef, white potato, dairy, vegetable, white flour, sugar/HFCS, and oil/trans fats.

Dinner:  high-sodium/high-fat/high-Nitrite animal trimmings, fried white potato, refined flour, and refined sugar.

The menu comes from “Dietician Consulting Service.”  I guess these would be the Dieticians who promote chronic illness and death?  Gee whiz, I must be naive to assume that a Dietician’s JOB is to develop menu plans with good nutrition.

I still have a menu from last summer, when the residents/patients were served grilled cheeseburger, french fries, and a root beer float for lunch, and then 3-cheese macaroni and cheese, peas, dinner roll with margarine, and an ice cream bar for dinner.  I kid you not!

Can you believe that the daily meal plans consist primarily of meat, dairy, refined flour, white potatoes, refined sugar, unhealthy fats, and a very little vegetative matter?  This is a healthy, balanced diet?

Not according to my lady patient with the lower leg cast.  She must go out of her way to secure her own nourishing food.  Your new coronary artery graft doesn’t have a prayer.  There’s a very good chance you’ll become “vegetative” if you eat these non-nutritive substances.

Got fiber?  Nope.  Add your pain medications into the mix, and you’ve got some serious constipation.  (No problem- you can rely on Milk of Magnesia, enemas, and/or manual fecal extraction.)

Veggies- WHERE ARE YOU?!?

The “Dietician Consulting Service” menu is devoid of nutrient density.  It’s critically low in whole fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, whole grains, and nuts/seeds. It’s critically low in fiber, phytochemicals (“phyto” means plant), anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s disease-promoting and death-promoting.

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the animals eaten every morning, noon and evening of every day, of every week, for every meal on this menu come from the worst of the very worst of the Hell holes called factory farms.

Now…are you surprised that going to work makes me nearly go crazy?

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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