16 Medical Selection Power: The Hospital's Food
To understanding the loneliness of patients.
The difference between Chinese and Western medicine among doctors and hospitals is that TCM practitioners do not use mechanical physical examinations and diagnosis, nor therapeutic methods in accordance with a manual. TCM practitioners use physical palpation and a questioning form to carefully assess an individual’s symptoms and bodily constitution. Meanwhile, when doctors and hospitals understand TCM, their methods of medical care are closer to “understanding the loneliness of patients”. In other words, these doctors and hospitals are more likely to be able to feel concern and directly experience a patient’s high expectations of medical care; therefore, they attach importance to these criteria.
By Looking at the Hospital's Food, We are Able to Understand “Whether or Not a Hospital is a Thoughtful Hospital for Patients”
The physician’s techniques and evaluations, and the service of the nurses are important for sure; we just particularly need to go there to investigate the food served by hospitals, and then you can really understand whether or not specific hospitals are operated by physicians who “can understand the loneliness of patients”. Previously, I have mentioned that when I stayed in a University Hospital to cure my esophageal cancer, I was shocked to have been served “curry rice” and “curry noodles” by the hospital. The hospital that I stayed at had quite new facilities and medical equipment, and the nurses and staff were nice, but I could feel that “it was not a hospital that could understand the loneliness in the hearts of patients!” Why are most hospitals so heedless and absent-minded about patients' meals? It is because the subsidy for the catering service is low, and consequently, it causes hospitals to neglect the important principle of “medicine and food coming from a single source”.
In regards to this matter, Obitsusankei Hospital, which is operated by Dr. Obitsu Ryoichi, applies the wisdom of TCM; it puts those effects to work on the catering service in the hospital. They provide patient meals mainly consisting of macrobiotic meals and Chinese-style congee. They pursue the “simple eating” principle of Japanese cuisine.
In Obitsusankei Hospital patient meals feature, in daily rotation, nine kinds of Chinese-style congees: wolfberry congee, Chinese yam congee (also called Rhizoma Dioscoreae), red bean congee, Eight Treasure congee, fungus congee, lily root congee, green bean congee, coix seed congee and lotus root congee.
The Following is The Menu For a One-day Stay at Obitsusankei Hospital:
Breakfast: Eight Treasure congee, miso soup, fried bracken fern, cucumbers pickled in soy sauce, pickled perilla leaves
Lunch: brown rice (with oatmeal, millet, corn or tares added), miso soup, stuffed green peppers (not with meat stuffing, but a seitan stuffing made of wheat gluten), macaroni salad
Dinner: brown rice (with coix seeds, millet, corn or tares added), Spanish mackerel stew, natto, yogurt.
Next, I am going to introduce the recipe for making “Eight Treasure Congee”. This is the cooking method that the hospital staff taught me.
Cook this with eight kinds of beans and stem and root vegetables. Red beans act as a diuretic, having detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects. This helps with renal disease, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Mung beans have antipyretic and diuretic effects. Cowpeas (white beans) help digestion and have the effect of repairing weak organs. Soybeans (Glycine max) can prevent hypertension, atherosclerosis and obesity. Lablab beans (hyacinth beans) have a digestive and diuretic effect, and are effective for chronic diarrhea. Green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) have antipyretic and analgesic effects. In addition to these six kinds of beans, by adding lotus root and Japanese yam, the congee becomes “the compound Chinese-style congee” of Obitsusankei Hospital.
Ingredients: rice 120 grams, red beans 12g, mung beans 24g, cow-peas 6g, soy beans 3g, green beans 4g, lablab beans 12g, lotus root 12g, Japanese yam 24g, salt 6g and water 1.8 litres.
Directions: Presoak the red beans, cowpeas, soy beans, kidney beans and lablab beans until soft. Since green beans are harder, add them to the boiling water first to let them soak and cook. Next, add the rice, mung beans, lotus root, Japanese yam and all the other softer beans to the broth, and cook it at high heat. When the broth is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and continue to simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes. After that, turn off the heat.
Furthermore, I heard that lettuce juice is also served at lunch. The lettuce juice is made based on Dr. Max Gerson’s dietary therapy, a German physician.
In the hospital, nearly 70% of the hospitalized patients eat meals concocted with such recipes, made with botanical herbs and herbal dietary therapy, such as the variety of Chinese-style congees, macrobiotic meals and more. This is just like receiving a TCM medicinal treatment following “medicine and food coming from a single source”. There are still such hospitals in Japan. Physicians and hospitals cannot just use strong drugs and surgery to treat patients, they should also value naturopathic self-healing power.
A “Smart Act” Differentiates Eerie Therapists or Traders in Relation to Medical Industries
Recently, a lot of therapists and traders actively sell health foods and alternative therapies. No matter whether it is the health foods and alternative therapies that they are selling, or the people themselves, in fact, their contents are both good and bad. In order to keep everyone out there from being cheated, I am going to introduce some tips for identifying fraud and preventing yourself from being cheated.
First, pay attention to the people who promote these kinds of health foods and alternative therapies. If they do not seriously ask about the symptoms of the patient, but try to sell you with smiles, saying, “...everyone is cured by using this kind of treatment...” or “This kind of food is absolutely effective...” this is highly questionable. I am not picky about their promotional passion. The truth is that many traders are narcissistic, and are unable to understand a patient’s pain. In addition, these kinds of health foods and alternative therapies are different from the therapeutic methods provided by the University Hospitals. A lot of them have no experimental validation. When selecting alternative therapies or health food, avoid those therapeutic methods that only have "miracle" or "religion" in their assessments. There are some odd doctors and therapists who will recommend that patients take some extremely expensive medicines, some of which can cost up to several million yen. Even though people claim how effective these health care products are, do not be defrauded.
Even in an era of longevity there are still people suffering from intractable diseases; thus, the important thing is whether or not patients can understand, for themselves, what a “regret-less life” is. Can they be unruffled when making judgments? It is the secret to mastering life:
1. When an alternative therapy or health food is recommended to you, carefully verify its inventors or the physicians who recommend the specific therapy and health food to you through their books or lectures.
2. Companies with good reputation do not collect and use the experiences of anonymous patients, but provide public information, such as scientifically significant data, or data from clinical trials by highly reliable physicians who have been recognized by the community.
Just grab onto these two “tricks”, then you can see through scams. Even for alternative therapies, you do not have to impetuously dislike them and assume that they are unreliable. Since you just need a little bit of experimentation to prove reliability, you can review its existent value based on your own judgment.
Three Keys to Selecting Alternative Therapies
1. You do not need to try every kind of therapy; it is fine to just concentrate on testing/trying two or three kinds.
2. If you can receive a specific type of therapy, you should continue to use it if you can afford it financially.
3. Use your intuition and try your best to choose therapies supported by empirical evidence.
Today, we live in an era of disclosure of medical and health care information; there are more and more therapeutic methods for people to choose from. From now on, patients and their families will need to make more choices with wisdom. Remember these words, “Treatment is a practical philosophy to determine your own life”. I hope that everyone can live on with a “regret-less life”; that you can choose a therapeutic method that you can accept and which relieves you.
Chairman of SlowHealth Research Association
Chief Editor of Life Guide Book
Professor Emeritus of Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, China
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