A few months ago I had a conversation with someone who told me he was recently released from the hospital after having triple bypass surgery. I mentioned that my mom had a heart valve replacement a few years before she passed. I also told him about my pulmonary sarcoidosis, current health issues, and how I had been in and out of the hospital due to multiple spontaneous pneumothoraces. We were equally taken aback by the other since we are both still relatively young men.
As the conversation lightened up, we shared our experiences about our respective hospitalizations. We were in different hospitals in the city around the same time. His facility is known for cardiac care and mine is known for its lung center. We agreed that the food made our stays more challenging. In theory, the food isn’t supposed to be gourmet; however, there needs to be more of a balance.
Food for thought
Since I do most of the cooking in my family, I’m more of a picky eater. I usually like to plan our meals. I read labels and I have to have veggies with every meal. I’m not too big on breakfast. Usually, some tea or almond milk will get me started for the day. Every once in a while I’ll have the urge for something bigger like an egg or a bagel with cream cheese. On occasion, I’ll make creamed chipped beef — my wife’s favorite. Once or twice a year, we’ll do Sunday brunch at a restaurant where I’ll lose my mind enjoying all of the choices available.
I was in the hospital on my birthday in 2018. The day didn’t feel “special” because of the circumstances, but I was thankful to celebrate another year. As a memory of my birthday, I saved my menu tickets from that day. I had chicken cheesesteaks for lunch and dinner.
As the dietary aide taking patients’ orders told me the daily choices, I asked several questions about the food. They explained that the majority of menu items are prepared off-site and reheated for the patients. This made me somewhat uncomfortable because it’s equivalent to fast food, which I don’t eat. For the time being I had to suck it up and find something I could eat … and possibly enjoy. I’m a huge veggie-eater, so plates of pasta, white bread, sugar, breaded chicken fingers, and burgers aren’t included in my usual diet — not to mention prepared meals.
Inflammation is a main contributing factor to sarcoidosis. Believe it or not, there are a lot of foods that contribute to inflammation within the body. Controlling your diet can control or slow the progression of your illness. Low-grade inflammation starts with diet. Processed foods contain a lot of artificial flavors, colors, dyes, and preservatives that aren’t nutritious and are of no health benefit … especially to those with chronic health issues. High-fiber diets promote longevity, plus they make you feel full, so you’re eating less while staying healthy.
Trying to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle is a strategy that can work. I encourage my family and friends to research the importance of diet and how a modified diet with calculated food decisions can prove beneficial to you in the long term.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.