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Jun 11, 2011 08:23 AM

Medical Issues - part of our experiences in eating

Recently, a diabetes discussion was cut off because it was veering off into medical issues. The Chemo thread, on the other hand, keeps on going. I saw no difference in terms of people relating their experiences and sharing knowledge.

Traditionally, these issues have been taboo on CH. But as we open up some of the restrictions from the old days, I really think that discussions of our experiences with these issues could be a valuable part of the treasure trove. We've always shunned discussing Bariatric surgery (Gastric Bypass and Banding), for example. But in truth, it is a major part of today's food environment. What chowhounds have experienced, with regard to such medically limiting procedures and our love of food, could be a major resource for those considering or being forced to go through these procedures. The Chemo thread is obviously popular because a lot of people are looking for solutions, and a lot of others have experiences to share.

I know that there are issues in terms of providing medical advice. Perhaps an entire section needs to be created and stickies posted warning people to both not give and not take advice given on this site as being necessarily medically sound. But having gone through a lot of these kind of eating related issues - from diabetes to colon cancer to gastric bypass - I can tell you that the medical world really, really sucks in terms of meeting the needs of a foodie, discussing those things that are important to us.

Doctors and nutritionists and such may be experts at telling you what works from a scientific perspective, but they can't answer your particular questions about the foods you like and what exactly to do about them. Chowhounds could do no worse for each other. We represent a diverse group of folks whose only real commonality is the love for great food - it's something that those who eat to live just don't understand. For some, it's a kind of eating that landed us in trouble - but the assumption that medical experts know what you can do about that better than our fellow eaters, is not always true.

There are going to be some heated exchanges. But if we stick to what worked (or didn't work) for us, and present first hand information as just that - take it or leave it, this is what I did and this is what happened. If we discuss what others have said (professionally and otherwise) respectfully, it should be a good source of information. In short, exactly like all our other discussions. We discuss nutrition and diet all the time - they are most certainly rife with medically related issues.

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  1. I noticed the locked post you site and some exceptions made for Chemohounding as well. As someone who did not contribute personally to either but found useful insight from reading (& sharing with others) I applaud you for raising the point/question here, applehome.

    I think a middle ground that is fair across the CH board (so to speak) would be nicer for everyone to benefit from.

    1. We try to draw a distinction between threads which are about eating while ill (for example, foods which are compatible with nausea, soft foods for those who have had dental work) and threads which are more focused on the medical value of food (diets that might cure diabetes, is this diet safe?) or on diagnoses (these things cause these symptoms, am I gluten intolerant?). The former are in keeping with our mission, but the latter really push the bounds of medical advice to a place where we're not comfortable playing host to them even with disclaimers.
      We know it's common enough for people on the internet to share information about their illnesses, and there are lots of places where people can do that, but we're not aiming to be one of them.

      We don't manage to read every post or even every thread, so if it seems we're letting some out-of-bounds medical posts go by and removing others, chances are we just haven't seen them, so feel free to use the "report" link and we can take a look to determine which category we think it falls into.

      5 Replies
      1. re: The Chowhound Team

        Some topics crossover and in the case of the post applehome mentioned I think the recommendations far exceeded the medical opinions and remained in context to the overall site viewpoint on sharing tips. Sometimes a topic needs some back story/detail to make the larger point and once removed or locked is lost. Further, a locked topic no longer shows up in personal profiles so those who did contribute need to hunt it down or remember to favorite page it quickly.

        While I'm not suggesting large changes need to be made(you state the point quite well) I think the context for allowing beneficial information as it relates to people with food restrictive diets who are clearly searching for tips from fellow hounds is valuable and valid community support.

        Question: the Chemohounding thread was posted in the General Topics Board while the thread that was locked appeared in Site Topics. Does the location of the OP matter on this specific type of posting question?

        1. re: HillJ

          The Site Talk thread regarding diabetes was a little odd, because we weren't sure who the OP was aiming it at; we originally thought they were looking for CHOW to produce diabetic-friendly recipes, which is why we left it on Site Talk.

          The fact that it got locked had nothing to do with it being on Site Talk, however, and more to do with people recommending diets that were supposed to cure diabetes. That's medical advice no matter how narrowly we draw the line.

          1. re: The Chowhound Team

            Okay, thank you for responding. Much appreciated.

        2. re: The Chowhound Team

          I agree with your stand on the medical advice issue. I also think that sometimes it's a tough call, but someone has to and should make that call on CH, although not everyone will agree with it all the time. So be it.

          1. re: DPGood

            I ran into the same thing a few months ago, my husband had a stroke and I only asked what I could expect for when he came home as far as food, and my post was banished. It's true the doctors and nutritionists are clueless in a lot of ways if you care about what you eat. Unfortunately I didn't have that much interest in anything else until recently so I disappeared; now that he's coming along, I'm back but sure wished I could have hung around on the fringes.

        3. I think perhaps the moment anyone starts discussing "the anti-cancer diet" etc, the same thing would happen to the chemo thread. There's kind of no one really even discussing cancer in there at all in the sense of avoiding or managing the disease itself.

          I agree that "how to eat wonderfully around a restriction" type threads are very inline with CH.