what scares me about being vegan[Being Vegan in the Hospital] - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-14-2007, 06:42 AM
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This thought popped into my head the other day when i had really serious stomach pains, anyway there gone but this thought was in my mind and scared the hell out of me



What if



Im admitted to hospital and have to live on their food, totally unable to go out and cater for myself for a few days or even weeks. How do vegans in hospital/care cope?



I know a veggie who was in hospital recently, all he was offered for lunch was egg sandwiches as the veggie option.



When my reletive was recently in hospital for a long stay she said she sometimes opted for the veggie dish of the day - usually cauliflower cheese or cottage cheese and salad.



Unless i got my ex to bring in vegan food what would happen to me?



Has anyone ever experienced hospital food for vegans? Last time i was in hospital i was a veggie, this was going back 8 years ago when i had my daughter, the food there wasnt so bad as there was a high percentage of Asian patients using the hospital so they did cater for veggie needs. Not sure it would be that way here in Wales though as the bit i live in is very white.



Would like to know anyone elses fears about being in a situation where there veganism isnt totally understood or respected.
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#2 Old 06-14-2007, 06:48 AM
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I think that they usually send around a vicar or something if you are in hospital and they can help you with odd jobs like paying bills etc, if you were lucky you might get a sympathetic vicar who you could send out to get you vegan food.

Or am I mad?

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#3 Old 06-14-2007, 07:03 AM
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....id probably call a friend/relative and bring me fresh food. Or pick up the phone and order chinese. Very unhealthy, I admit, but I'd prefer it to eating anything drenched in cheese. YUCK.



I guess you can also throw a fit and hope vegan food magically appears.
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#4 Old 06-14-2007, 07:07 AM
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I was in hospital in England for 11 days when I was vegan. They made me some great meals and even bought some stuff in for me specially! The chef came out of the kitchens and onto the ward to ask me what I'd like....and all that was on the good old NHS So I'd suggest asking to see the chef if you're ever unfortunate enough to be in hospital :-)
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#5 Old 06-14-2007, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blobbenstein View Post

I think that they usually send around a vicar or something if you are in hospital and they can help you with odd jobs like paying bills etc, if you were lucky you might get a sympathetic vicar who you could send out to get you vegan food.

Or am I mad?





If im in hospital and i see a vicar approaching me i think id freak lol, thought they only did that if you were gonna die.
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#6 Old 06-14-2007, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingfruitbat View Post

I was in hospital in England for 11 days when I was vegan. They made me some great meals and even bought some stuff in for me specially! The chef came out of the kitchens and onto the ward to ask me what I'd like....and all that was on the good old NHS So I'd suggest asking to see the chef if you're ever unfortunate enough to be in hospital :-)



I thought most hospitals bought in food alredy prepared, kitchens just heat it. Might be wrong there though.
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#7 Old 06-14-2007, 10:51 AM
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In the future, if I'm ever in the hospital again for an extended period of time, I will eat what they give me. I'm not about to starve myself.
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#8 Old 06-14-2007, 11:59 AM
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If your doctor is having you go into the hospital and the doctor is understanding of your veganism, maybe he/she could write orders about your diet. If not, perhaps you could call and talk to the hospital nutritionist/kitchen "boss" b4 going in to see if you can work something out. I know I haven't had to go into a hospital overnight since becoming vegan, but I have thought about what would happen if I had to. I also wouldn't let myself starve, but I would try to find a way to avoid not being vegan while there...the thought of feeling that I'd have to eat dairy, meat, or eggs would probably make me sicker than just being in the hospital
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#9 Old 06-14-2007, 12:06 PM
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In hospitals, it's important to look out for yourself. My father suffered very high blood pressure that may have led to his kidney failure. He was prescribed a very low sodium diet, but in the hospital, one of the staff doctors ordered a bouillon diet for him. Fortunately, my mom has no qualms about speaking up.



Vegans need to do the same. You're not in the hospital to become sicker.
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#10 Old 06-14-2007, 12:49 PM
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I think id be quite sick if i ate cheese or butter, just the very smell, texture makes me want to throw up, cant imagine the taste YUK!
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#11 Old 06-14-2007, 01:37 PM
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When I was in hospital, I couldn't get vegan food, but could make a good pic from their vegetarian options, and staid as close to veganism as I could.



Which meant not using butter, but had to accept pumpernickel bread that had some lactose in it. You're in the hospital to recover from something, so you better get some food in, even if that means you can't get it as vegan as you like.



But I've heard that some hospitals are more willing to cater to individuals, but not all do.
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#12 Old 06-14-2007, 02:15 PM
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If I was in the hospital for like, an elective surgery or something, I'd call in advance or pack a cooler or have someone bring me food. If it was an emergency, I'd just do my best on what they provide. In a situation like that, I'd have bigger things to worry about than perfectly adhering to my diet.
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#13 Old 06-14-2007, 03:35 PM
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Speaking with your doctor and nurses to make your concerns clear is a big deal. When I was in the hospital in Jan. of 06 and my surgeon, and nurses, were more than gracious...especially when they found out I was veg and lactose intolerant. Not a bit of dairy or meat came in on my plate. They even switched me to the low sodium diet because the food was WAY too salty. My surgeon said I had the healthiest eating habits he'd ever seen in someone my age.



As for the salt...I lived with a roommate years ago who was made violently ill by table salt, so I got used to cooking with herbs and spices instead. It doesn't take much for me to think something is salty.
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#14 Old 06-14-2007, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiceDream View Post

I thought most hospitals bought in food alredy prepared, kitchens just heat it. Might be wrong there though.







I can't say what happens in other hospitals, but the one I was in definitely did their own stuff (obviously with certain frozen foods at time). When I first arrived they messed up and sent me a pasta dish with cheese. I told the nurse that I didn't eat cheese and the meal was returned to the kitchen. I got a new meal (same pasta and tomato dish) without cheese (it wasn't just 'picked off' as the cheese was mixed into the sauce!).



When the chef came to chat with me and asked what I'd like them to buy in, I just said I'd be happy with anything that was vegan. They made me some fantastic stuffed peppers...mmmmm! I really couldn't fault the service.
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#15 Old 06-14-2007, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VagabondPoet View Post

My surgeon said I had the healthiest eating habits he'd ever seen in someone my age.







Thankfully, not everyone in the medical professions are narrow-minded!



I once had an idiot of a GP who was determined to find veganism as the cause of a med condition I have. He said I was probably anaemic and lacking in B12. I was sent to see a dietician and also had blood tests. The dietician said that she wished more people she saw had diets as good as mine....also, when I went to see the doc for the blood results, he looked on my file and said "Oh.......they're fine" Gotta say, I felt kinda smug
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#16 Old 06-14-2007, 05:26 PM
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i was hospitalized recently for two weeks (actually, i had to go back again about a month later for two weeks again..). it probably wouldn't make a difference, but i was in the psych ward. this hospital actually had quite a few options...they had about 4 vegan/veggie meals, they were all ethnic pakaged meals but they were actually pretty good. they had thai noodles with tofu, carribean bean stew, curry chickpeas, tescun bean with fetticuni....(i don't remember the names exactly)...it wasn't like crummy hospital food, it was just like those individual frozen meals actually.



although when my dad was in the hospital (a different one) they only had this vegetarian chili...and that was all he got for every meal. so you don't really know what to expect.... i know here it makes sense that they would serve more ethnic foods, since this city is so multicultural.... so it really depends on what the hospital is like and where it is.
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#17 Old 06-14-2007, 07:11 PM
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Coming from someone who has worked in hospitals and has tons of family working in hospitals... a few thoughts (I'm in the US, btw):



Most hospitals purchase pre-made items and assemble them into meals. The hospitals with actual "chefs" are far and few between.



Most hospitals will not let you bring in more than a few snack items... depending on why you're hospitalized of course. They serve premeasured meals and need to record (sometimes very precisely) the amount and type of nutrition a patient is taking in.



Most hospitals offer one "vegetarian" option at each meal, though vegan items might be next to impossible to come by.



Don't expect your Dr. to write special orders or understand the whole vegan issue either. They just want you getting food so you'll have energy to recover.

But it's doubtful they have any knowledge of nutrition or know what type of food is truely "healthy" for a person.



They might request something if it's one of the "standard" hospital diet options - low sodium, cholesterol free, high fiber, low fiber or liquid - but that's usually as far as they'll go.



ONE VERY GOOD OPTION HOWEVER: If you have a choice ahead of time, find a Seventh Day Adventist Hospital (owned or operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church - a religion that practices vegetarianism for health reasons). They serve only vegetarian meals and usually have several vegan options as well. (And they do NOT "push" their beliefs on patients and clients).
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#18 Old 06-15-2007, 08:51 PM
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My advice for you would be to ask to speak to a dietitian upon your admission. They should be able to communicate with the kitchen to get you the appropriate diet. You might need to clarify just how 'vegan' you are (explain about whey in breads and margarines, etc). And specify that gelatin isn't vegan. That one tends to get overlooked a lot for some reason.
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