Monthly Archives: January 2010

Hospital Food

So last week I was at my local hospital rehab ward to observe occupational therapy for several days (occupational therapy is my next course of study and, I promise, the last degree I’ll collect before I turn 30. I need to make more money.). Folks who have suffered strokes, folks who’ve had heart attacks, amputees, folks who’ve been shot or endured devastating accidents, these individuals constitute the population of this inpatient ward. This private non-profit hospital is among the more progressive and well-endowed in the NYC metro area. The staff seem respected and happy, from the physical and occupational therapists to the practical nurses, from the food servers to the social workers.

The hospital food orders can be restricted for patients with cardiac conditions, limiting them to low-fat/low cholesterol options. And one could get some fresh fruits with his or her requests. Vegetarian meals were also options. The food offerings were conventional, but not of the lowest standard, and there was room for customization on the part of the savvy patient.

Nonetheless, I want to assert that many conditions suffered by these patients were ultimately caused by diet. Smokers and heavy meat-eaters, given their stated conditions and diets, abounded in this population, especially amongst stroke and cardiac patients. Diet is the first medicine. It begins at youth. Bad medicine across a lifetime leads to an undesirable outcome, it was overwhelmingly clear to me after my observation of who tends to wind up needing these sorts of therapies.

Healthy food, physical culture (primal and vigorous exercise and play), adequate sleep, healthy relationships and vocations, sunshine, rest, hopefully some love – these are the original therapies. If the whole population ate brilliantly and lived vigorously (but safely and sanely), physicians and allied health professionals like me, even those in alternative medicine disciplines, would be damn near out of business. For real. If we are honest, many of our professions are created by the need to mitigate negative lifestyle choices only. Nutritionists, for example (just one of many disciplines to critique) are not really necessary but to the nutritionally clueless, obese client who can afford one, who will tell the client what to eat and why. But common sense says we should eat natural fresh fruits and vegetables, as much as we need, and then relax. Hell, personal trainers – a profession I’ve been trained in – don’t really need to exist but for an adult population that has completely forgotten how to move and play to stay naturally healthy. Another thing I’ve been trained in, massage therapy, is unnecessary for those who have great friends and/ or lovers who can share affection and apply pressure to pain and aches maturely and effectively.

If the population moved towards health and sanity, no need for many of us healthcare peoples. We’d need retraining for some other profession, those that actually produce and reproduce material needs in societies. I would actually prefer that the population did this. That would be the trend in a revolutionary society that knows about preventive medicine, social equality, pro-human values, harmony with nature, and so on.

But it’s not happening, in fact the trend goes backwards. Hence among the only stable and growing jobs in this recession continue to be those in healthcare.

Shouldn’t be. Preventive medicine is the best therapy. Love is the best drug. Healthy diet is the most profound lifelong pill. For me, healthy diet is of course this low-fat raw vegan road. Staying healthy is easy in this configuration. Eat fresh clean raw plants when you’re hungry. Then relax and do other things like positive, life-affirming and creative work, coupled with vigorous and fun play, and completed by welcome and relaxing sleep.

Stay healthy, so you don’t have to even deal with the berserk capitalist anti-human monster euphemistically called our healthcare system in these united snakes. Complicated and clever ways to deal with the ordeal of medical billing for insurance was one of the main things everyone at this hospital was talking about.

Don’t make the world need more nurses, therapists and hospital food.

What it Looks Like!

Here are photos of yesterday’s batch of raw okra stew:

And here in my hand is an habañero chili pepper – one of the hottest peppers grown on Earth, or in the known universe. I throw just one of these babies in a sauce, raw. I’ve been known to use two from time to time. It is fiyah.

I call ’em Heat Rocks.

Behold this force of nature.

Raw Okra Stew

Here is my first attempt at putting a recipe into written words:

Raw Okra Stew

All ingredients are fresh raw from the produce stand or farmer’s market!

Chop up:

Buncha Okra (like 2-4 handfuls)

Two Cucumbers

Buncha Spinach

Red Bell Peppers

(you can add or subtract whatever base veggies you want here. Tomatoes, celery, carrots, asparagus, you name it.)

Blend:

Like three or four nice tomatoes

Thumb or two of ginger

A red onion if you’re down with that

One or two habañeros (Jamaican hot peppers) because I like it hot! It’s raw but it ain’t bland son. I’m still Nigerian.

A few basil or cilantro leaves if you like

A red bell pepper

Two or three sticks of celery.

Do:

Rinse everything well.

Get a big-ass bowl.

Chop everything in the chop category into fine chunks the size of the ends of your pinkies.

Put it in the bowl.

Then blend everything in the blend category.

Pour that into the bowl.

Mix all the contents of the bowl for a few minutes until the soup is thickened into a slimy consistency by the Okra. Mix it well!

Eat.

Try this one y’all Afrikan vegans and others out there staying raw and healthy. Let me know how you like this. This is one of my main dinner dishes. I love this.

Rolling

Folks want to pick my brain, so I am back. It’s been exactly one year since the last post. I’ve been keeping it low fat raw vegan all the while, doing Afrikan and Nigerian-style recipes for dinner, eating mostly simple, affordable staples like bananas, apples and oranges by day. There are several topics I’m going to touch upon very soon: physical culture and functional fitness, raw veganism and the environment, recipes, and some other things.

Briefly in terms of progression, since I first became a raw vegan two and a quarter years ago, my diet has steadily become a lot more simple and less exotic, besides much lower in fat in the past year. I haven’t eaten nuts in over a year, and have not been to a raw vegan restaurant in the same time span. No durians, no cashews, no cacao, no goji berries. Avocados like once a month. I don’t even eat dates anymore because they’re so damn expensive, especially when I can get like ten pounds of bananas for the price of one pound of dates. Nowadays it’s mostly about spinach, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, okra soups, zucchini pastas, basil and ginger flavored sauces, and so on. So I’ve moved away from so-called “superfoods” and other exotic things. My diet is very pedestrian at this point, the way I like it, and my health is robust. Maybe I’ll progress further in the future towards liquidarianism or something, ala Jericho Sunfire. When I became vegan ten and a half years ago as young teenager I wouldn’t have dreamed of becoming a raw vegan, so who knows? I’ma just keep evolving, getting wiser and stronger.

I vouch for the fruitarian/ low fat raw vegan lifeway. It is easy, it keeps one healthy and vibrant and with a clear smooth complexion and high energy. As a strength athlete I attest that, with resistance exercise, one will have no problem putting on muscle and maintaining tone, definition, or even bulk. This diet is excellent for all natural athletes and even body builders. It is practical because you can find your raw materials in any produce section of almost any grocery or farmer’s market. All raw folks, I encourage y’all to stay raw. To those new to it, begin. Have no doubt and be disciplined.

More later.