The Poopinator was lovingly named for it’s ability to move “mountains” (insert laughter)! I had reached the end of my rope, tied a knot and was hanging on for dear life when the knot unraveled. Matthew’s KUB showed that he was backed up again and the GI wanted me to do another “clean out”. Matthew does not suffer from constipation in the typical sense (hard stools). He suffers from slow transit constipation and lack of sensation so he can’t feel when he has to go and I wanted him off Miralax. We had done it before (more times than I care to remember) but this time was particularly bad. Needless to say I (and I’m sure Matthew) had had enough so I reached out to my Facebook group, “Blenderized RN” for help. I got lots of suggestions for foods that work as laxatives. I tried several individually but they didn’t work. So I put on my mad scientists lab coat and glasses and went to work. And so The Poopinator was born! No more Miralax!
1 once pureed celery
1 once pureed pumpkin
1 once pureed butternut squash
1 once pureed papaya
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or small jar and stir.
Using a 60cc syringe, draw up mixture making sure to expel any air bubbles.
Give bolus at a rate that is comfortable for your child. For example, Matthew does well if I give 20mls at a time and wait 5 minutes in between.
Finish with a water flush. Use whatever volume your child can handle. I use 15ccs because Matt can handle it.
If 1 once of each item is too much volume, you can cut them in half. You can also start with only 1 item and see how it works before adding another.For convenience I blend the ingredients separately, freeze them in ice cube trays and store them in labeled and dated freezer bags. That way you use exactly as much of each ingredient without wasting any. Because he gets his bolus in the afternoon, I take out the cubes I want in the morning, put them in a small mason jar and let them defrost in the refrigerator. Be sure to warm the jar slightly before giving the bolus so you don’t end up with an upset stomach.
Here are some other foods that can have a laxative effect: Prunes or prune juice, *fresh spinach, black strap molasses, peaches, pears,pineapple, orange, apricots, plums, soaked raisins, flax seed and flax seed oil, hemp seed and hemp milk, Aloe juice and fresh Aloe Vera,coconut oil, dried dates, dried figs and sweet potatoes.
Since everyone’s system is different, some things may work too well (causing diarrhea) and some not at all. It can be frustrating but don’t give up. Try foods independently or, like I did, create your own cocktail. Like any good recipe, just remember to write it down so the items and amounts stay consistent.
*Be careful not to use too much fresh spinach. The iron in it can be counterproductive if not constipating.
So why is the Vitamix the only blender I will endorse? It is the Vitamix engineering. Vitamix has an extensive history and a warranty that backs their claims. And why not? This company has been going strong since 1921! Mine has been running strong since 2011 and I use it daily. There isn’t another appliance in my house that I can say that about. It is an investment into the health of my family.
The first time I had ever heard of this was on a Facebook group called blenderize RN. Having a teenage boy on a blenderized/pureed diet can be difficult at times. Because of his complicated GI tract and minimal oral experience, it’s hard finding things he can and will eat without slowing his digestion down. Since Matthew drinks his formula, I wanted to increase his calories and protein without adding more formula but do it in such a way as to not upset his very restricted palate. Enter “Ripple” (aka split pea milk). Since everything I blend for him is homemade, I thought I would try making it myself. I added 1 cup to his normal formula recipe and he didn’t even notice. It was so easy and inexpensive, I just had to share.
1 1/2 cups of cooked yellow split peas
3 1/2 cups of water
2 tsp vanilla (optional)
4 pitted dates
In a medium size sauce pan, bring 1 cup of dry yellow split peas and 4 cups of water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes on high then reduce temperature to simmer and cook until peas are soft (about hour). Do not drain the peas before adding them to the Vitamix. Because the peas settle, you will want to sir the pot before measuring them out.
In the large Vitamix container, add ingredients in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
Blend for 1 minute or until completely smooth.
Remove milk from blender and repeat steps 2-5 with remaining peas.
Food Tip: This recipe makes a total of 10 cups of milk. Ripple is made in a factory with added oils and gums that are not in my homemade recipe. The oils and gums allow the milk to stay in solution. Even when using the Vitamix and a filtration bag, homemade milks will separate and need to be shaken before drinking or using in a recipe. They have also reduced the peas to pea protein and removed the pea flavor. If you are used to drinking the store bought Ripple, this may be a jump for you. It is thick so if you plan on drinking it, you may want to thin it out a bit. You can also run it through a filtration bag to remove more of the solids. With 75 calories per cup and 8 grams of protein, it makes an excellent addition to a blended diet. It can also easily replace cows milk in baking for those who have a dairy free diet. Milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4 days. For oral eaters, please check out my DIY Ripple Milk post. If you are already a Ripple drinker, you may want to read How Is Ripple Milk Made? before you try to make it. It will explain the difference.
Time Tip: Make the full batch and freeze extra milk in ice cube trays then store in labeled and dated freezer bags. Each cube is about 1 once making measuring a breeze.
Money Tip: One pound of dry split peas cost around 70 cents a pound at bulk food stores like Winco. Ripple milk runs about $4.99 for 48oz. Since I only used 1 cup of dried beans, I made 80oz for only 33 cents!
One of my fellow tubie moms thought it would be a good idea to write a post on emergency preparedness for tubies. Keeping your freezer stocked with a 30 day supply of blends is beneficial in the event of a power outage but, that won’t help if you are evacuated from your home in an emergency.
This bag is under Matt’s bed. I equate it to a “diaper” bag on steroids. Because he has night nursing, it is a requirement but I think everyone should have one in case of an emergency. If there is an emergency, we can grab Matt and the bag at a moments notice. This would in addition to the disaster supply kit you have (or should have) for your family. Typically the kits are set up for 72 hours. The bag should be restocked after every use or at least once a year. Here is a list of the supplies I keep ready for our son:
Formula-Even though your child may normally get whole food blends at home, That may not be practical in the event of a disaster. It is good to keep some of the formula that he/she can tolerate for emergency purposes. Make sure to include a cup (for oral feeders) and a mixing jug in case you dilute it.
Water-Think about how much free water your child gets or drinks in a day then multiply by 3.
Syringes, extension tubes and bolus feeders-The Mic-Key button comes with an extra extension tube for pump feedings and a bolus tube and syringe. Even if you don’t use the bolus feeding tube, save them and pack them in the emergency bag.
Medication-The pharmacy will supply you with small bottles extra “emergency” medication if you ask them. We are required to give the school a 72 hour supply of all medication so I ask the pharmacy for additional bottles for the emergency bag.
Exam gloves, hand sanitizer, wet and/or baby wipes-These make clean ups much easier if you are not near running water.
Surgical masks-Many of our children have poor or compromised immune systems. You can use the masks if you find yourself confined with others who might be sick.
Dressing change supplies-Even if you normally use the reusable type, having some sterile 2×2 drain sponges and paper tape on hand can be a lifesaver.
Diapers, pull-ups and disposable under pads (chucks)-The under pads make perfect changing pads. If they get soiled, just toss them. Also toss in some plastic grocery bags for when disposing of diapers and pull ups isn’t convenient.
A change of clothes-Try to keep a light jacket, blanket and seasonal clothes in the bag.
Finger food-If your child is an oral eater, keep a sealed package of his/her favorite snack.
Lovey/soother-No matter what the age of your child, emergencies/disasters are scary. Keep something in the bag that can distract and calm them.
When I was a little girl growing up in Massachusetts, one of my favorite memories was making coconut beans and rice with my grandma. It was an old family recipe from Jamaica that was made during the holidays. When we were making it, the wonderfully sweet smell of fresh coconut filled the house. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with a cheese grater grating the coconut meat by hand and placing it on cheese cloth. I can also remember the stern look I got from her when she caught me sneaking a piece to nibble on. It was my dad’s job to “milk” the coconut. The cheese cloth containing the shredded coconut was tied and placed in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes then squeezed and measured. My dad was the only one tough enough to handle the job. All of this took lots of time but the final dish was like no other. It was a labor of love so we didn’t mind.
Fast forward to the present. Because of the Vitamix, I can make fresh coconut milk in a fraction of the time, no scraped knuckles from the grater, with less mess and nary a burn from scalding water.
Place coconut meat into the container and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
Blend for 30 seconds or until a fine mash is formed using the tamper to press the coconut meat into the blades.
Turn machine off, remove lid, scrape container with a Vitamix spatula, add 2 cups of the water and replace the lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
Blend for 1 minute then pour contents into a Vitamix filtration bag to extract the milk.
Return the mash in the filtration bag to the Vitamix container and add the remaining 2 cups of water.
Repeat steps 6-8.
Food Tip: Save the coconut water extracted prior to removing the meat from the shell to drink separately. Coconut milk is VERY high in fat calories so watch how much you drink (about 256 calories per 4oz serving). It is an excellent way to boost the calories in a blenderized or pureed diet for people with volume intolerance. Raw coconut milk will only stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days so freeze any unused milk and/or coconut water in ice-cube trays and store in dated labeled freezer bags. Always test for allergies by giving a small amount (1-2 tsp) over the course of 4-7 days.
Time Tip: Coconuts typically contain 12-14 oz of meat. Freeze any unused meat in a dated and labeled freezer bag for future use.
Money tip: Coconuts are less expensive during the holidays so stock up, process and save.
For more information on picking and processing fresh coconuts, please see my blog post on that topic.
As Matthew grows it gets harder and harder to keep up with his calorie need without adding more formula. To complicate things more, in the last 2 years, his bowel has begun functioning much less efficient. Because of that I tested him for 4 days with coconut oil to make sure he wasn’t allergic to it. Once I saw that he was not allergic to it, I began making his oatmeal with fresh coconut milk I blend myself. Since I had already done research on it, I felt comfortable giving it to him. I will post that recipe and my recipe for coconut seed pudding soon.
Since there is a lot of confusion about the health benefits of it, I thought it would be good to pass on what I have read. I feel strongly in educating myself on anything I eat but much more so for Matthew. So many of us race off after every new “super food” that hits the news without looking into the particulars of it. I tend to look for articles done with research behind them and, because of my medical background, articles written by MDs. I know there are many doctors who are anti whole food healing but not all of them are.
I read this article about coconut milk and I felt it gave a good picture of the pros and cons of it. Take a look and decide for yourself.
This is one of those “what we had for dinner” blends. The picture and the recipe are spoon thick because it can just as easy be used for someone on a pureed diet. To make it thinner for bolus or pump feeding, just add more turkey stock or bone broth if you happen to have some. You may notice that the stock is green. That’s because I blended the meal right after I had made a green smoothie. By not washing out the container, I saved time and water. Plus all of the extra nutrients from the green smoothie are now in the dinner blend!
1/2 cup of turkey or chicken stock
2 cups steamed or raw broccoli
1/2 cup brown rice
6oz (approx. 1 cup) cooked turkey or chicken
Place all ingredients in the container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then to High.
Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
Food tip: This recipe is great for starting out. None of the ingredients are commonly associated with food allergies. Raw broccoli is a little harder to digest so, if the blend causes gas, steam the broccoli first.
Time Tip: If you are blending for a little one, freeze the blend in ice cube trays for quick easy 1 oz portions. Depending on the caloric need, use batch blending and store in feeding specific quantities.
Money Tip: Buying meat on sale is the best way to save money. For example, I buy an extra turkey during Thanksgiving and keep it in the freezer. I cook it up some time later as a Sunday dinner, turn some of the leftovers into turkey enchiladas and setting aside at least a cup for blending. Then I boil the carcass to make a a quick turkey stock or, if I have time, turkey bone broth. Also, buy broccoli in bulk at a club store. Use as much fresh as you can eat in 4 days and steam the remainder before freezing in 1-2 cup portions for later use.
What do you do when you’ve done all that you can and your tubie needs a clean out anyway? All of the blending and adding and removing and…SO MUCH GREEN STUFF! Well… You just keep swimming, right? That’s what Dori did. Yes, finding Nemo is one of Matt’s favorite movies to this day even though He’s now 15. So amid the overwhelming feeling of defeat,exhaustion worry and fear I hear that song ringing in my head. Oh how I wish it were that easy. Matt has had GI troubles since he was 8 months old. I’ve been at this for 15 years. Shouldn’t I be use to the ups and downs of this tubie roller coaster by now?
But, as we all know, that is not the case. Putting up with the pain and discomfort or watching someone you love go through it is never easy. So whether you are a tubie yourself or the caregiver of a tubie, a newbie tubie or a veteran tubie, please know that you are not alone. Find a support group if you are not in one already. They are indispensable! Where else can you go and talk about poop and vomit as if it were the weather. We get each other. No need to explain, defend or excuse. Just take a breath and…You guessed it! JUST KEEP SWIMMING!