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nutritional violins

Forgive me the ruse of exchanging the word violence for violins, as did Emily Litella (Gilda Radner) on Saturday Night Live years ago. In the skit, Miss Litella gives an impassioned editorial response to a story about parents objecting to violins on television. Chevy Chase eventually interrupts and informs her the story was actually about the “violence” on television. “Never mind”, she replies. Well, I wish this was about violins–it would sound much nicer–and we wouldn’t have to mind.

Three years ago, I came upon an article that referenced the term nutritional violence. I had never heard this term before, but it gave label to what I had considered the glaring basis for what was gravely compromising the health of our populace. I made a mental note to further explore that issue, and bookmarked the link so that I could reference it when ready.

When I recently revisited the link, it was no longer active, and I cannot locate it again. I had long hoped to credit the author and her article–so if you may be familiar with this, please let me know. Instead, I poked around for other references and found some articles on nutrition’s impact on violent behavior which I have been musing on as well, given the recent stream of extreme acts of terror perpetrated by assault guns. This past fall, after the tragedy in Las Vegas, in a rare Instagram, I posted the MyPlate haiku question, “I often wonder, What did they eat for breakfast? Those who go and kill.” 

IMG_0845

Paiute Indian Harvest Exhibit  Cannonville, Utah

Actually, the following is the only dietary information I have on those who have pulled the trigger: in limited media details on the Parkland shooter, I heard he was apprehended after the shooting having a soda at a local mall; the YouTube shooter was a vegan; and Dan White, who killed Harvey Milk, invoked his diet change from healthy foods to Twinkies and other sugary foods as part of his defense, claiming their consumption was symptomatic of his depression.

While my own data is thus limited, and yes, I was shocked and chagrined to learn of the vegan’s destructive rage, there is other evidence of the association between the composition and constituents of one’s diet (or lack thereof) and behavioral impacts–including violence. Studies have demonstrated the decrease of violent behaviors through dietary and nutritional manipulations in prisons and in schools.

Interestingly, schools were the first institutional settings where large scale attention to nutritional improvements were made–though those efforts continue to be challenged and there is still much work to be done. I was reminded this week of the disconnect between our institutions and communal well-being in an article in The New Food Economy on “lunch shaming” whereby students whose families cannot afford to pay for school lunches are stigmatized and either denied food or offered an inferior meal. The article quotes Christine Tran, school nutrition equity advocate, who states, “School food is often not seen as a school issue, which is a problem philosophically within our country.” One might broaden that statement to reflect many other environments.

While I have witnessed school lunchrooms and have written about this previously, I have not been privy to a prison chow hall. However, I have engaged in enough conversations with those who were previously incarcerated, and those in drug treatment programs to have a pretty good sense of what is going down. It is sad to see how seriously overlooked nutrition is as an adjunct to healing.

I bring your attention to two papers (here and here) which describe how poor diets and nutritional deficiencies may be risk factors for aggressive behavior and solutions to address this grave problem. The usual, along with the not so recognized, culprits are to be found on the list of trouble makers.

By addressing nutrition as it relates to the promotion or provocation of behavioral violence, I may have strayed here from my intention to discuss nutritional violence–nutrition that violates individuals and communities, but the two could be conflated. If we have been able, with only short hindsight, to witness the profound impacts of our modern adulterated foodstuffs on physical health, it should not be a huge leap to consider the mental health consequences as well. An increasing understanding of that which effects the brain–and the brain’s relationship with the human gut microbiota–provides insight not only into our physiology and metabolism, but into our moods, emotions, cravings and other behaviors as well.

The nutritional violence I was initially thinking about is not perpetrated by guns, but by our food system and the purveyors of its policies and products. It does not kill its victims point blank, but, it robs. It robs people of access to basic food required for physical, emotional and social health and well-being–and disproportionately it does so to the poor.

We might credit that our food system does not starve its citizenry, leaving it victim to gross nutritional deficiencies causing widespread blindness, stunted growth and kwashiorkor as in other parts of this world. But, it is certainly acknowledged that it has inflicted harm in its own and profound way.

I don’t think I have to describe what our food landscape looks like here. Many of us may have some basic ideas of the food deserts; fast food swamps; adulterated, processed, sugar-laden foods commandeering our grocery stores (pharmacies, schools and hospitals); seductive and targeted advertising; pesticide-laden, large-scale government subsidized supported agricultural practices; caffeine and sugar-riddled beverages; and corporate-controlled food policy. Allow me to add in marginalized breastfeeding promotion and support; native lands devoid of access to water and cultural foods; food insecurity and hunger; and pharmaceutical food additives. (My, that was a fun paragraph. What did I miss?)

I hope I do not have to try to convince too hard that there is some essence of violence in the above, nor that such suggestion be considered hyperbole. One may have to close their eyes for a moment to imagine and appreciate more deeply the collective impact. But, then also, to go one step further, and to consider how our food system more deeply affects communities already burdened by injustice.

Quite coincidentally, after I started this piece, I saw that my old friend Mark Hyman, powerfully addressed this very topic, in a talk titled, Our Food System: An Invisible Form of Oppression, that he gave last week on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. He gets to my point better than I could, outlines the profound consequences of this oppression, and reaches a  much broader audience. I thank him for his attention to this matter and for sparing me my final paragraphs.

Others too address similar concepts in various ways and with different names, such as food and race; community safety and nutrition; oppression through poor nutrition; gender, nutrition and the human right to adequate food and nutrition; food justice; and food sovereignty. There is much serious content packed in here, but all worthy of review and consideration if this is of interest to you.

As always, drop by, say hi, subscribe and please share below any experience of nutritional violence you may have encountered.

Related Posts: Serenity Now, Of Poverty and LightKyuushoku, Reporting from the Rim of the Sink Hole

Take a peek at Emily Litella’s funny tirade on Busting School Children — which may be sadly relevant.

Most sincerely yours, Elyn

my plate

MyPlate Plate

MyPlate Haiku                                                                                                                                       I often wonder                                                                                                                                        What did they eat for breakfast?                                                                                                        Those who go and kill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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just today

Just today,

I got an email from one of my nutrition information feeds. It informed me that the way one can eat carbohydrates more efficiently and prevent insulin resistance–which is associated with diabetes–is to take Cinnamomum Burmannii Berberine,  Pterocarpus Marsupium,  4-hydroxyisoleucine, #5 – R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA)–which you can buy in a pill form.

I did not attend the bariatric conference that I went to and wrote about this time last year–How Can You Say No to a Brownie–and therefore missed the session on Diet Strategies: Which work and which don’t. I guess I will have to wait, along with the rest of the world, on that breaking news.

Sunset

(Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

I culled through the medical records of a number of clients at the Health Center, collecting data for a project I am working on. Stories of  lives weathered by poverty through the literature of  lab results, vitals, hospital discharge papers and consult notes. Lives marked by the chronic health problems of diabetes, hypertension, pain, extreme weight and hospitalizations. Conditions tended to by a boat load of pharmaceuticals, prescribed in an oft crap shoot manner.

I was brought to my knees.

I wondered how I can get the inefficiently carbohydrate-eating, diabetes prone poor some Pterocarpus Marsupium.

I wished nutritional supplements were available to my clients. I’d settle for some R-Alpha Lipoic Acid.

I realized I missed the webinar I had registered for with Renegade Chef Ann Cooper. Without an ounce of rocket science she is feeding kids healthy foods in schools. I was disappointed.  Click here

I received an e-health report that 50% of people with hypertension do not have it controlled. I thought about all the records I had just pored over. Most of those with uncontrolled hypertension are on one to three hypertensive medications.  Click here  

I wished again–this time for stress reduction programs for my clients.

I left my office near tears.

I dreamed about a new line of work.

On my way home I heard a news story that stopped me in my tracks. The US Army had declared a service-wide stand down this day to bring attention to the problem of suicide in the military. Army bases around the world were shut down for mandatory suicide prevention training.   Click here

I took a walk.

I thought about processed food. I use tweezers to extricate it from my clients’ lives though I could use something a bit stronger–like a Jaws of Life.

I wondered about a stand down calling for a moratorium on garbage food.

I decided that we need a National Day of Nurturing and Nourishment.

My amazing, earth-moving niece Shanti shared some stories about the beautiful and remarkable greening, gardening and food work she does with the Clinton Housing Development Company and Cultivate HKNY in the midst of New York City.   Click here

Going to pick up my daughter, I drove along a quiet road with the sun setting spectacularly on one side while the harvest moon rose beautifully over the other.

I read the paperwork asking me to sell David’s Cheesecakes, Grandma’s Pies and cookie dough for a fundraiser. My heart sank. My inability to broker in sugar will cost me some bucks as I will have to choose the buyout.

I wrote this blog.

As I was calling it a day, my childhood friend Amy posted information about an organization doing wonderful work. I was glad to learn about One.org that is working with women to address childhood malnutrition and putting nutrition on the global agenda. Please, check it out.  Click here

I shut out the light, deciding I would do a new little campaign at the Health Center. I will call it One Day One Way encouraging people to take back their own health.

By the light of the moon, I wished you all good night

In health, Elyn

comments cherished

my plate

My Plate Haiku

What’s with my tummy
Expanding and contracting
Like the moon above

by David

If only we could
Change the world on that one day
By feeding our hearts     by Julie

a bushel and a peck of ways to address childhood obesity

This is a slight revision of a previously published post.

It seems that we spend a lot of time fixing things that should not have ever become so broken. Not only time is wasted but a lot of resources– that seem to be rather scarce these days.

As this relates to the care and feeding on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels of  human beings, we certainly have been drawn off course. Some significant digressions from what should have been a rather intuitive  matter or a natural symbiotic relationship with the natural and nurturing environment have occurred.

Healthy Children

Healthy Children (Photo credit: Korean Resource Center 민족학교) drawing by 13 yo Suzy An, Irvine, California

Though early humans expended much of their energy trying to procure food for survival, they still seemed to have had time for other endeavors as well–like discovering fire, inventing the wheel and designing clothes. Nomadic cultures certainly had to find to go or take out food solutions. One would think that at this stage of the game, we too should be able to both nourish and progress.

Listening to the persistent conversation about the problem of obesity one might think evolution-wise we were still inventing the wheel. The top experts in the field are engaged in the mandate to ferret out the problem and find solutions, huge research projects are undertaken, big monies are allocated, programs are created, public health campaigns are rampant. The hunt is on and it has been going on for decades. This time its pursuit is not roaming bison or wild turkey but the reclaiming of our natural homo sapien form and functioning. So far, we seem to have only snagged the primordial beast of eat less and exercise more.

I wonder if this all has to be so difficult. Where and how did we stray so far off course?  How did we allow the school food situation to get so bad? Other nations with way fewer resources than ours have maintained a large degree of nutritional integrity,even if  in the form of some hearty gruel. Jamie Oliver, a simple lad from England, has managed to bring nourishing food into kids’ cafeterias.

Today, sadly aware that September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, I venture into the childhood obesity debacle to suggest that maybe we can shift the focus, listen to our inherent wisdom, reclaim our cultural connectedness and tweak the approach, to save some on the expended resources that we are currently draining. I know these are complicated matters but perhaps there really are more holistic solutions.

Here are some possibilities:

ð  Mandate paid maternity leave of a valuable length. The United States is one of only three countries in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. The other two are Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. Most countries provide paid leave of between 14-22 weeks. Norway allows 44 weeks, while Canada allows 50. Most mothers here who do get to stay home for a meager six weeks after the birth of their babies generally are those whose jobs provide disability insurance. Wow. What a warped difference in consciousness. We are also quite stingy in terms of annual vacation time. Without time for parents to establish healthy routines, many important aspects related to family and child health are neglected. Additionally, one cannot even begin to discuss weight matters without considering the role of stress on our eating and metabolism. maternity leave comparison   maternity leave petition

ð  Revisit infant feeding recommendations. Our early feeding practices rely on the introduction of cow milk and soy-based proteins, processed grain cereals and juices as babies’ first foods. Infant feeding recommendations promulgated by physicians professionally under-educated on nutritional matters and baby food manufacturers seem almost sacrosanct in our society. The digestive imprinting and physiological adaptations to our first foods provide important clues as to children’s feeding inclinations. Ignoring this stage is short-sighted.

ð  Teach our Children to Eat like the French (and other food conscious cultures). This article by Karen Le Billon highlights this important issue. I might call this Nurture Children’s Developing Food Palates Appropriately. This means we should not be catering to children’s unformed palates. Doing so dwarfs the development required to appreciate more sophisticated and healthier foods, tastes and textures. Overexposing children early to an onslaught of sweet and chemically-produced tastes inhibits acceptance of the wide variety of foods required for a balanced diet. This is a major problem.  how the french feed their children

ð   Stop advertising and marketing food to children. Over thirty-five years ago Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Action for Chidren’s Television petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to restrict advertising aimed at children–in large part due its effects on children’s dietary preferences and intake. The FTC agreed that such practices were inappropriate. However, the food, toy and advertising industries pushed back and unfortunately pressured Congress to halt taking action. Today,17 to 20 billion dollars are spent annually on the marketing of non-nutrient foods to children. Additionally, while our FDA continues to hold to its stance that artificial food dyes and preservatives in our food are safe, other countries have begun to take progressive action to remove these substances from their products–even in foods made by American manufacturers–for their children’s sakes.

Michael jacobson   television food advertising      elimination of food dyes

ð  Likewise, redesign supermarket and drug store layouts so that they do not cater to 4- year-olds’ sensibilities.  Next time you shop, pay attention to how many cartoon character endorsed products are populating the food aisles, especially at the eye-catching “end caps” and checkout counters.

ð  Respect recess. Put it back in the school if it has been taken away. Provide it daily and preferably before lunch.

ð  Integrate relaxation/yoga/resilience training and cooking/gardening curriculum at all grade levels.  

ð  Protect farmers and subsidize fruits and vegetables.

Well, using agricultural measurement, I think that is enough for now.  If we truly and intelligently wish to address this matter– and to heal what should have never become so broken– we have to restore the capacity of those best equipped to nourish and protect our children–the parents, farmers,cooks, teachers and schools. And yes, it may require the creation and implementation of policies on a larger-scale which will facilitate that as a culture we are prepared to do so.

Regarding the Let’s Move initiative, my contention is that children innately know how to move–it is not them who need to get their butts in gear. May we love our children a bushel and a peck.

In health, with a hug around the neck, Elyn

please share your thoughts or additional ideas on this matter.  thanks.

My Plate

My Plate Haiku

Smooth peanut butter

Spread on a peeled banana

Snack time perfection.

by Gretchen

morose meals and human bites

Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, with...

Image via Wikipedia

I am pretty certain that McDonald’s is purposely trying to get my goat. They know I have not cared for them for a really long time. It goes way back. Firstly, I never liked that red and yellow color combination. I find it jarring and it reminds me of a bad mix of mustard and ketchup. Then, there was the whole clown thing. As a child, Bozo viscerally upset me. When McDonald’s fashioned Ronald after Bozo it was like a recurring nightmare. I was confronted repeatedly by the image I thought I had successfully avoided by outgrowing children’s programming. I am sensitive that way. On top of this, I think their restaurants smell bad.

I recall in high school coming home after eating at McDonald’s, climbing into my mom’s bed not feeling great and deciding to become a vegetarian. I can’t swear the two events occurred simultaneously, but I carry a strong association between them.

Then of course, as a whole foods advocate, nutritionist and mother, there was no way I could find love in my heart for this child-seducing fast food corporate giant. I did my best to be the David to this Goliath, but the Happy Meal made me lay down my sling shot. By that point, not only were kids enchanted, but the parents were as well, and I felt defeated.

Still, I was shocked recently when driving down a local highway. I came upon a McDonald’s billboard displaying a gargantuan coffee drink, with a Marge Simpson hairdo-sized topping of whip cream styled with a Mark of Zorro chocolate signature. The huge letters said, ” Chocolate Drizzle is a Right, Not a Topping”.

Since they know I don’t watch much television and therefore might miss their commercials–what better way to get in my face than with a billboard. So what if I tell my clients that  McDonald’s will not pay for their medical bills and medications should they develop nutrition-related health problems. Or, that I do use their bathrooms on occasion. This still seems like an overblown, petty and morally bereft response to our personal tiff.

Is this subliminal or just plain out seductive and manipulative advertising? Or is it downright obnoxious?  I get that this is just advertising and that companies rely on it to promote their products. I do watch Mad Men–on Netflix. But to be raising chocolate drizzle to the status of a right in a world where many are denied their true ones is indecent. This assumption about simple entitlements overshadows and ignores the sanctity of our real human rights which according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to matters such as life, liberty, security of person, freedom from servitude, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. They extend to include a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care, and necessary social services. Drizzle does not make the list.

Am I being too sensitive again? Should I lighten up?  From where I sit, there are more important rights to assure than drizzle. Here are some examples of things I see that may make me a tad jaded. One day last week I had five clients. Cumulatively they weighed 1,576 pounds. Individually they weighed 382, 366, 284, 292 and 252 pounds. The 252 pounds belonged to a 11-year old boy with early signs of diabetes and other distressing diet related health problems.

One morning this week I saw three clients right in a row. They ranged in age from 35 to 48 and were on 17 prescriptions between them–mainly for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, reflux and pain–lots of pain. I am tempted to list them. They make for an interesting mix of consonants and vowels. Later, I saw a woman who described a recent McDonald’s meal to me which consisted of  1800 calories.

On a daily basis I speak with people without kitchen tables, homes, jobs, beds, medical insurance, sufficient medical care–and adequate food. I see kids who can’t go out and play in their neighborhoods and who might not graduate high school.

So, don’t go there with me McDonald’s, asserting that chocolate drizzle is a right. You know that drizzle is not a right but a chemical mixture of corn syrup, dextrose,water, sugar, glycerin, hydrogenated coconut oil, cocoa, food starch modified, nonfat milk, natural  and artificial flavors, salt, gellan gum, disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate, soy lecithin, and artificial flavors. And that it sits atop beverages that contain up to 390 calories and 59 grams or 15 teaspoons of sugar. More importantly you know that the billions you have to spend on advertising can cover up that bad smell especially when money is tight and food comforts.

When the inequities have been evened out, when health care is guaranteed for all, when the growing of healthy food is more supported by our government and available, when rights are not confused with privileges and when corporations are held responsible for their actions–then McDonald’s and I can end our feud and sit and have a conversation. Maybe we can meet at my office.

Eleanor Roosevelt who worked tirelessly to establish the Universal Declaration of Human Rights wrote, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home–so close and so small that they cannot be soon on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood they live in; the school or college they attend; the factory, farm, or office where they work. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Let’s not belittle this beautiful description of what really matters.

In health, Elyn

http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/ingredientslist.pdf

my plate

my plate

My Plate Haiku:

Are we what we eat

Or do we eat what we are

Are they the same thing?  by Julie

a shmear campaign

I really wish I didn’t have to write about this.  Other more pressing issues in my brain are asking to be brought forward.  However, it was another day in the schools for me, and checking out the cafeteria scene has become one of my pastimes.  Here is what I stumbled upon today that I just can’t readily dismiss.

As usual, I approached the lunch line as the little kiddies were lining up, trays in hand.  The black styrofoam mystery boxes stood in formation on the big metal trays coming out of the warmers.  I approached the lunch ladies with my pseudo-smile and asked–So what’s for lunch today?  The response was, it is not lunch, it is brunch. I was a little taken aback. I admit it was one of the earlier lunch periods, but a quick glance at my surroundings confirmed that this was not Sunday morning at The Four Seasons.

I backed off and decided to see what the kids could tell me. I positioned myself near the little machine where they punch in their assigned lunch number, and then grab their chocolate milk container from the insulated fabric cooler. Really Jamie Oliver, the cooler carried fifty chocolate milks and two white, plain, unflavored milks. (I am never sure what is the politically correct name for that milk. )

I asked the kids what’s for lunch. As the meal was still hidden under its patterned plastic wrap, they too were still pretty clueless. All I could see was that there was something wrapped in cellophane with writing on it, under the plastic wrap.  I soon learned that brunch consisted of two turkey sausage lying on the bottom, appearing quite naked or a tad under dressed if you ask me, a hash brown square, and on top a squished Bagel-ful.  Do you have the full picture–or are you stumped because like me you have no idea what a Bagel-ful is?

A Bagel-ful?  I did not make this up. Subsequent investigation revealed that apparently Kraft has been marketing this for a few years now and I think you can actually buy these in stores. If you don’t know what a Bagel-ful is, it is a processed rectangular dough product injected with Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Original Bagel-fuls Image

Blasphemy!  Is there not some standard of identity for a bagel? Is not a bagel by definition a boiled heavenly dough formed into a circle thereby having a hole in the middle blessed by some senior rabbi and ordained by God? Is a claim of propriety by a food manufacturer not something akin to idol worship? And, isn’t there some omniscient understanding that we should not be serving such mashugenah to children in our schools? How is this for product placement Morgan Spurlock? Is this an example of cost containment in our school lunch programs? Not to mention that the Bagel-ful got heated up in plastic?

Pondering the composition of this meal, I wandered the lunch room. I think the kids are on to me. Some may be a little suspicious but very deep down I think they know I have their best interests at heart–so they are usually pretty friendly and quite adorable when I stop to chat with them about what they are eating. Today, a kid who chose a turkey sandwich instead of the hot meal asked me to help him to free the sandwich from its plastic bag.  It was a good thing I was there. The tie thingy was the kind you can’t undo and you just have to brutally tear the plastic from its tight grip.

My market research showed that a number of kids thought the Bagel-fuls were nasty and did not eat them. However, other kids then asked those kids if they could have it instead. Oh well. The good news is the apples looked good and seemed to get a 100% approval rating. I wonder who made them.

What do you think?

In health, Elyn

Pop Smarts

Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry

Image via Wikipedia

Last week was a rather discouraging one for this persevering nutritionist. I knew it was bad, as on Friday I found myself contemplating stopping at a Dunkin Donuts and just drowning myself in one of those massive confectionery pond-sized drinks, weighted down with heavy donut shoes.

The final straw so to speak had occurred just moments before. On Fridays I work in some elementary schools. As I was packing up my Mary Poppins basket musing on the students I had spent my day with, an announcement came over the loud-speaker. The principal was congratulating a boy for his lack of tardiness or absenteeism for the month of February. His reward was that he got to share a Burger King lunch with some school-level celebrity.

Really? Why don’t you just shoot me in the foot? Well, maybe this boy was being given his fair reward. All the other slackers who had managed to show up on this day got a thick greasy piece of pizza, a cellophane wrapped bag of carrots (which is more appealing than most of the veggie offerings) a blob of half-frozen mushy blueberries–the ice crystals were visible– and a chocolate milk on their non-recyclable styrofoam tray. That should teach them not to miss school.

The night before I had been at a charter elementary school. I was presenting with two other speakers on healthy choices for school success. I had been excited that the school had focused a parent meeting on this important topic and was glad to have been invited. Despite good intentions on behalf of the school, only six parents out of a student body of 300 attended. Still, we did our thing.

Out of my Mary Poppins basket I  passed around, along with some other nutrition shockers, a well-worn packet of Pop Tarts with an attached baggie filled with the eight and a quarter teaspoons of sugar that it contains. I asked the participants to look at the long list of gruesome ingredients as I talked about nutrition and brain health. After the talk, a staff person approached me. She meekly told me, that if kids get to school late, and miss the provided breakfast, they are given Pop Tarts. Given the rewarding of non-tardy behavior to only one recipient at the other school, I surmise that no small number of kids are getting their brains doused with such artificial intelligence here. I felt like I was going to cry.  (We did come up with some alternative ideas for the school though.)

Oh well, no biggie. Maybe I was just sensitive because the day before that I had a new eating disordered client who was restricting herself to three hundred calories a day. Or, maybe it was the young diabetic who I had spent many teaching moments with, who came in the day before that with a high blood sugar of 227 and told me that she had a beef patty, some pringle like potato chip I had never heard of, three Oreos and a large-sized can of Arizona Green Tea for breakfast.

Perhaps, most disheartening though was the doctor who totally ignored my concerns about the severe dietary deficiencies of a patient we shared–whose support I really needed to facilitate her care. Like the scenarios I described above, this is really nothing new to me. Doctors untrained in nutrition, give short shrift to diet, except for some lip service when it comes to blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. I am rather used to being ignored by physicians.

I do not expect my clients, my students, and even school administrators to fully get this whole food and nutrition thing given current conditions. Those with eating struggles would not have them if they were easily understood. Individual schools are not easily able to remedy food service limitations. Teachers have many other matters to attend to.

But, I do really expect that by now, even conventionally trained medical providers would appreciate the connection between diet and health and would give attention to meaningful dietary assessments in supporting the treatment of their patients. It is recognized that patients whose doctors inquire about their smoking habits and are told to quit have higher smoking cessation success. To help turn the tide on the nation’s health crisis , doctors true embracing of dietary health is essential. Last week, I really needed that doctor to express to our patient who was in the office, concern about her eating and to provide to her some basic nutritional supplements. Instead, out the door the patient went, with a prescription for one more drug in hand and no mention of my recommendations. I slumped in my chair.

Usually, I can handle situations like this with more aplomb. Maybe I am just a bit depleted in B-vitamins which lowered my resilience. Never mind. Time to re-fortify. Onward.

Your thoughts are most welcomed.  I would love to hear your comments.