I can tell you what Christian IS NOT eating.
Cans of formula.
And he's thriving! He's doing great!
I remember his former GI doctor trying to explain why formula was "perfect nutrition in a can."
My first response to that would be if it's so perfect why don't you feed it to your kids? In fact, if it's so awesome, why aren't you eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I've never been able to understand why just because my son's brain is injured that means he doesn't need the same nutrients or the same foods as a typical four year old boy. He doesn't need a perfect food pyramid. He needs what I make him. And I aim to make him what I would make him if he could ask me for a snack himself.
Okay, I'm kind of rambling.
What I really want to do is update everyone about the fascinating world of the blended diet! Or what I affectionately refer to as blendy-blends.
It's actually not that exciting, really. But I get a lot of questions about Christian's blends and what I use and how I started so I thought I'd update.
For those thinking about a blended diet, just like anything in life, the hardest part is STARTING!
My Rules of Thumb:
1) Feed your g-tube fed child what you would feed them if they were a typical mouth eater. For example, I would feed Christian chocolate chip pancakes if that's what we have for breakfast. Which has been the case for the last three Sundays. So that gets tossed in the blender. I would feed him cheerios and almond milk. So that goes in the blender. Scrambled eggs? That goes in the blender. You get the idea.
2) If you are having trouble understanding calories, divide it out. If your kid is on 1000 calories a day, choose 10 things that are 100 calories each. Avocados are about 200-250 calories each. Well, that just means you now only have to choose 8 things. Keep it simple.
3) Don't be afraid! Would you be afraid to feed a typical child? What's the difference? Use your Momma or Daddy or Gramma or Grampa brain and just keep repeating to yourself - I'm feeding my child. What would he want to eat? Apple juice? Okay! Blueberries? Okay!
Those are my start out rules. Easy, peazy, right?
I know there is adjustment. I know it can be difficult finding the right foods, combinations, calories, volume, mode of feeding, pump, bolus, and everything else! I know! It's taken work for us, too. But it's totally and completely worth it.
And just for good measure, here's a typical menu for Christian:
1 cup of vanilla almond milk - 90
1 cup of 100% apple juice - 110
1 banana - 105
1 avocado - 200
1 Dannon Greek Yogurt - 120
1 Nutrigrain Bar - 120
1 cup sweetened cinnamon apple sauce - 200
1 cup of frozen blueberries - 90
2 scrambled eggs - 140
2 tablespoons of butter - 200
1/4 cup of MCT oil - 300
This amount is for about a day and a half.
See? Seasonal fruit. Yes, that is a Cutie. And those are grapes and frozen blueberries.
I didn't take an after because the meat and veggie blends don't look so appetizing. And besides, all that kale looks so pretty!
*Add seasonal fruit, cheerios, other cereals, orange juice, or whatever you had for breakfast!
*I add butter and MCT oil for added calories and low volume. Experiment with different oils if calories are an issue.
*For constipation add pumpkin, more water, dried fruit like raisins and apricots, prune and pear juice.
A meat and veggie blend would include tuna, chicken, pasta or rice, usually something we had for dinner, carrots, spinach or kale, apple juice, tomatoes, almond milk, butter, olive and MCT oil. Oh, and mac and cheese. Because he's four. And he would love that.
In my opinion, there isn't a terribly significant increase in our grocery bill. Everything he eats can be found in our pantry or fridge and everything he eats, with the exception of kale, we eat, too. So we're not buying anything really "extra." And, again, it's money I would spend if he were to eat by mouth.
All of this may seem overwhelming but it's actually pretty awesome. I am making my son's food. He eats what we do. It seemed so confusing at first and now it makes perfect sense.
And best of all...no vomiting! I'm now 100% sure his vomiting is caused by allergies. He gets seasonal allergies and when more secretions and/or phlegm gets down into his throat it kicks off a gag reflex. But if I hadn't experimented with whole foods I don't think I would have ever figured it out! We'd just be on the acide reflux medication merry-go-round.
I can't say enough about the blended diet. It has been one of the biggest game changers for Christian and for those who want to transition to a blended diet and have questions, hit me up!
I'm happy to spread the blendy-blend love!