Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Oncology Diet

I discovered a hidden world today. The world of fresh food, whole grains, vegetarian offerings (other than salad), and virtually no lines. Yes, I discovered the Lantern Cafe at MD Anderson. This is where primarily staff and doctors eat. Certainly, patients can eat here (I did) but only if they know it exists. I've been here almost 2 months and only heard of it today when I met up with Lucy R. for lunch.

What was on the menu? Veggie lasagne, eggplant parmesan, Asian chicken (non fried), brown rice, a pretty kick-ass salad bar, freshly made sushi, and roasted root veggies with pesto. I chose the rice and root veggies which had walnuts for protein and some green tea.
 Guess how much it cost? $3.18. 

Notice the lack of wheel-chair bound people?
This is such a far cry from what is offered to patients at MD Anderson. I have been to two of the main eateries offered to patients and their caregivers and the results were pretty dismal. The salad bar was pretty much the only fresh and healthy fare to be had and even that was pretty sparse. What was available were hamburgers, fries, pizza, chickfila (more fried food), and some overcooked veggies and protein entree. Nothing vegetarian, no green tea. But by golly you can have a danish and every known soda created.

I cringe when I see people so sick they are being pushed through the crowds in a wheelchair, their IV bag following behind, with a tray of fried and sugary food devoid of nutrients sitting on their laps. Contrast this with the fit and healthy doctors over at The Lantern Cafe which even advertises Cooking Light at their entryway. What do the doctors know that we, the patients, don't? Perhaps seeing cancer every single day, how it ravages the body and soul and how, even after 50-60+ years of the cancer fighting trifecta (surgery, chemo, radiation) at their fingertips, cancer is still projected to affect 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women, killing 1 in 4 (this according to last month's Newsweek).

Perhaps we should do as the oncologists DO and not just what they say. And patients should demand better treatment, not just from their doctors, but from the hospital itself. I think it is pretty damn close to criminal to offer such fare (without an equal number of healthy alternatives) to people who need as many nutrients as they can get in order to fight for their lives. In effect, they are guaranteeing their continued business.

1 comment:

mommy of 2 said...


I completely agree with you.


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