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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Apr-02-20, 02:44
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Food boxes should come with health warning

The following is an opinion article in today's Times in the UK:

Quote:
Food boxes should come with health warning

Instead of nutritious fresh produce, the frail and sick are sent food that puts them at more risk


I recognise itís hard. I know itís early days. I understand the governmentís under pressure. But I am stunned by the pitifully inadequate food boxes that itís sending out to tens of thousands ó soon to be hundreds of thousands ó of Britainís most medically vulnerable people this week.

This month the (UK) government made a contract with the sickest one and a half million people in the country. These are the individuals who most need to be shielded from the virus. They include cancer patients, transplant survivors, those with compromised immune systems.

Stay at home for 12 weeks, they were told. Donít add to the burden on the NHS. Donít go out, even to shop. If you have no friends or family who can supply you, we will take over, with weekly free deliveries to keep you well and safe.

The first 2,000 deliveries began last Sunday with the communities secretary hulking boxes on TV; 50,000 will go out from the government this week, rising shortly to 400,000. Anyone in the vulnerable category who isnít on the existing list can join it, either online or through their GP.

It is a vital element of our startling new world. Itís bleakly necessary at a time when every commercial online delivery service is so besieged that new slots are weeks away. If people cannot go out to buy for themselves because that creates danger both for them and for others, then the state must step in.

Take a look, then, at what weíre giving one person for a week. I asked the communities ministry what should be in a box. They say they are standard, but may vary slightly.

It is not the nutrient-dense diet a sick person needs. The only complete proteins for a main meal come in just two cans, one of tuna, and one of corned beef. There are two litres of skimmed milk. Thatís it for protein.
Instead, the box is high on carbohydrate, much of it highly processed.

Thereís a packet of fig rolls, a box of chocolate breakfast cereal, a packet of pasta, one white sliced loaf, a packet of potatoes. Three tins of beans, two of starchy marrowfat peas, two of tomatoes, one of peach slices, a jar of pasta sauce, teabags and coffee. There are no fresh vegetables but a little fresh fruit; a small bag of oranges and one of pears.

Itís food to survive on, not to nourish. Even if you split the little tin of tuna into two meals, and the corned beef into three, that leaves meal after meal heavy on starch, low on protein, devoid of the leafy green vegetables essential for cell functions, missing the fats and fat-soluble vitamins our brains and bodies need and crave. As the nutritionist Zoe Harcombe points out, it is short on omega 3, proteins and vitamins A and D in the forms our bodies can absorb.

What would you put on your pasta, potatoes or white sliced loaf for the remaining nine meals, after your breakfast of chocolate cereal or plain toast? Only tomato sauce or beans. Thereís no butter or olive oil, no cheese, no nuts or peanut butter, no eggs. So much of it is food the government tells us to avoid; the low-nutrient, white and sugary food that sends our insulin levels soaring and plunging.

This is, letís remember, not a kind-hearted supplement to someoneís larder. It is intended to be a complete diet, by definition going to those expected to be unable to add to it for months. I asked the communities ministry how the contents had been decided and by whom; all they would say was that it was ďin consultationĒ with the Department of Health.

The reason this matters so deeply is that we are not just trying to give people any old calories to keep them alive. In this pandemic, where there is no cure, whether or not we survive will be critically influenced by the robustness of our individual bodies and immune systems.

The cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra says despairingly that diets high in glucose like this cause chronic inflammation, which makes it harder to fight acute infections when they arrive. We already know from the Italian and Chinese evidence that the people most likely to die from Covid-19 are those whose bodies are already under strain from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or from being overweight. Which is why we should be maximising the most vulnerable peopleís health, not undermining it.

In one small indication of what might work better than what weíre providing, this January a six-month Dutch study of children with repeated upper respiratory tract infections found that those given green vegetables five times a week, beef three times, whole milk and whole butter every day cut their antibiotic use substantially, and they were sick for a third fewer days than the control group.

Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of Sustain, the national alliance for better food and farming, is sympathetic to the governmentís fight on many fronts, but says it must recognise the magnitude of the task it has assumed here.

It is a shame, she points out, that so many meals-on-wheels services have been destroyed by austerity. Now itís as if the state is taking over a care home for 400,000 extremely fragile residents. They need bespoke diets designed by clinical dieticians, differing for those with varying critical conditions, provided in packaging easily opened by weak hands. If they canít get that, malnutrition will follow.

The first packages were a clumsy, well-meaning answer to a complex problem. Now Britain must do better.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/...rning-57n520f2p

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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Apr-02-20, 12:13
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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Default

As a user of food pantries in the US, I can assure you this government only knows to hand out shelf stable garbage.

They cannot handle fresh and froze very well.Though a few pantries have made the expencive investment in freezers and refrigerators.

In my experience 99% of food pantry "food" is processed and shelf stable. The most vulnerable get the poorest quality food.
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Apr-02-20, 14:00
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Arielle
In my experience 99% of food pantry "food" is processed and shelf stable. The most vulnerable get the poorest quality food.


Yes. Lots of pasta, boxed meals, non fat dry milk, maybe some dried fruit if one is very lucky.

To be fair, this is -- like in the US -- the kinds of people able-bodied people put together, too. I have seen so many posts about flour, rice, and potatoes that everyone is stocking up on.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Apr-02-20, 19:40
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deirdra deirdra is offline
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Default

I remember my mother's tales of WWII and for several years afterward when the only things her relatives in Yorkshire wanted for Christmas were canned ham, tuna or corned beef. They were readily available in North America and relatively cheap to mail. You could even buy them already packaged for shipping, ready to slap on a mailing label and send back to the motherland.

1 can of tuna and 1 can of corned beef would be my protein minimum for 1 day, not 1 week.

Last edited by deirdra : Thu, Apr-02-20 at 19:46.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Apr-02-20, 20:25
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bevangel bevangel is offline
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Default

I get that when the gov't is trying to suddenly feed thousands and thousands of extra people, "shelf-stable" is a necessity. But they could at least offer canned proteins (tuna, chicken, sardines, etc), canned green vegetables, and at least some butter, cheese, oil and nuts. That's an INSANE diet.

And, worse, by saying that the government will take care of all these people, it's gonna make kind folks who would otherwise step in to take care of their elderly neighbors feel like they don't need to because that job has been taken care of by our gov't.
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Apr-03-20, 05:31
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Dodger Dodger is offline
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Default

While beggars cannot be choosers, the food recipients are not beggars. At best the 'foods' being provided are a supplement. It does puzzle me that those who have health problems and are frail are given fat-free milk. They are the ones that need all the calories possible to keep their strength up.
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  #7   ^
Old Sun, Apr-05-20, 07:31
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Plan: Dr. Bernstein
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Default

Those food boxes sound very much like the supplemental food boxes we get. Lots & lots of carbs - cold cereal, white rice, juice, canned corn (rarely green beans), pasta, canned fruit & processed cheese. I keep the tuna & chicken, as well as the shelf-stable milk for my husband - which is low fat. I make sure he gets plenty of good fats in the rest of his food. The remainder of the boxes goes to the food bank.

I'd sure hate to need to depend on those boxes for most of my food.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, Apr-05-20, 07:36
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Default

I have gone deeply into canned fish futures Some nice cheese, dill pickles; it's a meal!
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 12:30
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Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Default

I've been seeing some of the free lunches and breakfasts they're handing out to kids in my area. Horrible stuff. I figure if I'm ever in a hospital I'll starve to death. I won't eat sugar or grains and I think that's all they serve.
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  #10   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 13:03
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy LC
I've been seeing some of the free lunches and breakfasts they're handing out to kids in my area. Horrible stuff. I figure if I'm ever in a hospital I'll starve to death. I won't eat sugar or grains and I think that's all they serve.


I would starve to death too. I once several years ago mentioned this potential problem to my doctor. I thought maybe she could write something in my record about all the foods I couldn't eat. Her advice was to get someone to bring me food. My son and daughter-in-law said a few years ago that they would do that for me if it ever were necessary and then they decided a few months ago that they were going to move 1000 miles away. I thought I had lost my safety net but the current situation has convinced them that this is the wrong time to make that kind of move so I'm still covered if I land up in a hospital, or so they say. I am not sure they understand that this is not some minor request but something I am truly serious about. I'm hoping to just stay out of the hospital.
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  #11   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 13:19
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bevangel bevangel is offline
Posts: 2,237
 
Plan: modified adkins (sort of)
Stats: 265/176/167 Female 68.5 inches
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Progress: 91%
Location: Austin, TX
Default

Unfortunately, if a person end up in hospital during this COVID19 crisis, - regardless of the reason they're there - they may not be allowed any visitors! Hospitals are being very strict about visitors, even for such situations as a woman giving birth. And, if one can't have visitors, that makes it impossible to rely on someone bringing food in. Yeah... just stay out of hospital!
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  #12   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 13:28
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/125/135 Female 62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevangel
Unfortunately, if a person end up in hospital during this COVID19 crisis, - regardless of the reason they're there - they may not be allowed any visitors! Hospitals are being very strict about visitors, even for such situations as a woman giving birth. And, if one can't have visitors, that makes it impossible to rely on someone bringing food in. Yeah... just stay out of hospital!


Right. What I said was the plan pre-Covid-19. All bets are off now.
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  #13   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 14:58
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Meme#1 Meme#1 is offline
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Plan: Atkins DANDR
Stats: 210/188/160 Female 5'4"
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Progress: 44%
Location: Texas
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bevangel
Unfortunately, if a person end up in hospital during this COVID19 crisis, - regardless of the reason they're there - they may not be allowed any visitors! Hospitals are being very strict about visitors, even for such situations as a woman giving birth. And, if one can't have visitors, that makes it impossible to rely on someone bringing food in. Yeah... just stay out of hospital!



It also makes it very scary when a family member(s) should be there to over see the care their loved one is getting and to make informed decisions concerning their care based on their condition and medical history that the patient may be too ill or distressed to remember.
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  #14   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 15:00
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is online now
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
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Yep, likely I'd starve to death, as I wouldn't touch the hospital they try to pass off as food.
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  #15   ^
Old Fri, Apr-17-20, 20:30
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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Posts: 13,647
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 255/214/153 Female 5'8"
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Progress: 40%
Location: Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy LC
I've been seeing some of the free lunches and breakfasts they're handing out to kids in my area. Horrible stuff. I figure if I'm ever in a hospital I'll starve to death. I won't eat sugar or grains and I think that's all they serve.


This is the same fare given out at food pantries. The already limited meats and veggies has taken a dive, and only 5O% at best of usual. Lots of sugar cereal, cheese nips, canned fruit......all contributes to poor health, not good health, sadly.....
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