Category Archives: Blenderized

Tube feeding

The Poopinator Plus

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Matthew did very well on the Poopinator for a time.  Then slowly it stopped working and he began backing up again.  We had to put him back on Miralax, added Lactulose, Senna Plus, Enemeez and eventually the Peristeen pump.  Each addition brought some relief for a time but then stopped working.  He ended up back in the hospital for yet another clean out in October and to complete some much needed testing.  After a Sitz Marker Study, we came to the conclusion that there was no specific areas of colonic inertia .  His infectious Disease doctor highly suspects the backing up of his bowels was the cause of the g-tube stoma infection and the GI doctors are suggesting an Apendicostomy.

So here we are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Matt eats most of his blends by mouth but gets meds, extra water, the Poopinator and an overnight feeding of green smoothie.  Because of issues with his immune system, having an Appendicostomy done most likely would increase his chances of  infection.  On the other hand, after 16 years of major GI issues, I can’t see how I could maintain his nutrition and medication regimen without the g-tube.

So now I am on a mission.  Delay or completely avoid another surgery.  He has been drinking a blend throughout the day that contains hemp milk and it seem to bring him some relief.  Then it came to me:  Why not give him a straight shot of it with The Poopinator?  It might have a better effect that way.

Ingredients:

  • 4oz of the original recipe or any combination of the foods listed in The Poopinator
  • 1oz of hemp milk

Directions:  Mix well.  Warm the mixture and give as a bolus at the fastest rate that is tolerated.  Flush with at least 10cc of water.  If the volume is too high, reduce the solids before reducing the hemp milk until a tolerable volume is reached.

Please remember this:  Medication and/or surgical intervention is not a failure on your part (somehow I think I’m talking to myself here).  The goal is to do whatever it takes to give our loved one(s) the best quality of life possible.  Blended whole foods is by far the best choice over formulas but sometimes it’s just not enough.  Hang in there and don’t quit!

 

 

Blend Cooler

One of the objections health professionals have for not using home blended meals is food-born illnesses. Though they are justifiably concerned, it need not be a road block to good nutrition.  Individuals who must or choose to use a feeding pump don’t have to be excluded from enjoying the benefits of a whole food blenderized diet.  Where there is a will, there’s a way.

Take this scenario, for instance.  You have to go to work or school and you choose to bring your lunch.  Do you get to your lunch break and toss your nutritious lunch in the trash?  No?  Why not?  Because it’s been in your lunch box with an ice pack all morning, you say?  Exactly!  We don’t think twice about for those that eat orally.  So, when I was faced with the same issues, here’s what I came up with:

 

  1. Find a lunch box that will fit your feeding bag.
  2. Cut a whole in the top of  it to thread the loop through so that you can hang it on the IV pole.
  3. Cut a whole in left side to allow the tube to exit and connect to the pump.
  4. Add Bag filled with the feeding and ice packs front and back.
  5. Zip up the lunch box and start you feed.

It is best to start with a cold blend if you can.  That way the food stays fresher longer.  Depending on how long the feeding runs, you may need to replace your ice packs.

If your pump came with a mini backpack,  you may use it but I had a hard time fitting ice packs in with the feeding bag.  If anyone reading this has figured it out, feel free to add your idea to my comment section.  If you need something more portable, you can get a regular backpack that has sections to hold the lunch box and the pump so the tubing doesn’t get kinked.  Nowadays they usually have an opening for headphone wire.  If not, adapt it yourself.

At first I was afraid to do this thinking the blend would upset Matt’s stomach because it was too cold.  Then I realized that, by the time the food got to the extension tube, it was room temperature.  Besides, we eat cold food all the time without even a thought.  He as not had any issues.  As with anything you do with your tubie, when you try something new, watch them closely.  Look for signs of discomfort and stop the feed if there are any.

I hope, pray and dream of the day when manufacturers of feeding pumps get on board with those of us who choose food over formula.

Raiden’s Breakfast Blend

 

Raiden Barnes
Raiden

One of the most rewarding parts of being a tubie parent is being able to help others along on the journey.  Raiden’s mom and I connected through a group online and now I get to watch him thrive on…You guessed it.  Real food.  Just look at that smile!  I don’t know about you but I think he’s saying, “Thanks, Mom!”

Getting started can be scary and overwhelming.  Just remind yourself that, barring any dietary restrictions, tubies are real people who need real food.  Think to yourself, if my son, daughter or family member could take in 100% of what their body needs to thrive orally, what would they eat?  If the person was able to eat before the tube was placed, what did they like to eat?  That is always a good place to start.  If your tubie is a baby just starting out, introduce 1 food at a time just as you would any baby, paying special attention to possible allergic reactions.  There is also a hidden benefit to the tube.  Tubies often get a more balanced diet because you don’t have to battle their taste buds.

Now, the title of this post is Raiden’s Breakfast Blend so let’s get to it.

Raiden's Breakfast Blend 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of old fashion or quick oats
  • 1 cup of Fairlife whole milk
  • 1  cooked scrambled egg
  • 1 apple

Directions:

Combine oats and milk and cook according to the directions on the package.  Cook the scrambled egg and set aside.  Cut apple into quarters and remove the seeds.  DO NOT PEEL.

  1. Place apple oatmeal and egg into the Vitamix container (in that order) and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, the to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute or until completely smooth.
Raiden's Breakfast Blend (4)
Enfit Syringe with Adapter

This blend is about 300 calories.  If the blend is too thick, water can be added to reach the desired consistency.  Thinner blends can have lots of bubbles so it’s best to let it sit a while before giving it as a bolus feeding.

Mooie!

enteral-feeding
Night Feeding Via Pump

Ok it’s been a while since I been able to add a new recipe so here goes.  I’m dedicating this to 2 young tubie warriors.  This ones for you, kiddos!

Three years ago, right before Matt had his hip surgery, his digestive tract started giving him problems again.  I was trying to avoid putting him on laxatives so I developed a green smoothie that I had hoped would help him.  I originally put fruit in it and offered it to him to drink.  He liked it (sort of) but he only drank 2oz.  I knew that was not enough to work so I went back to the drawing board.  Then it dawned on me.  He has a g-tube!  He doesn’t need to drink it so I can remove the fruit and add more greens!  It worked.  The added greens allowed me to add more fiber without fighting with him about the taste.  Now when I give him a bolus feeding or hang his bag for his night feeding he smiles and says, “Ooh! Mooie!  Yup.  You got it.  That’s where the name came from.

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Bolus Feeding

Since each child and adult that are g-tube dependent have different issues, I caution you to check with your doctor before changing a feeding regimen and, if you get the ok to to try this, add small amounts at first and watch for adverse effects.  I do not recommend making this smoothie with anything else but a Vitamix.  The Vitamix blends the green so finely that there are little or no leave particles to get caught in the filter of the feeding bag.  If the filter gets clogged that feeding stops and the alarm goes off.  It’s less of a problem for bolus feeding but, if there is difficulty in breaking down solids, it could cause issues.  This is the one that worked for Matt:

  • 1 Cup of peppermint or chamomile tea
  • 2 Tablespoons Organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1oz fresh Aloe Vera (optional)
  • 2oz Avocado
  • 3 Cups packed greens (your choice)
  • 4 tsp organic olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Makes 2 8oz smoothies.  I have also added 1 tsp of fresh pureed ginger when Matthew’s stomach was more upset than usual.  Feel free to experiment with different greens.  Sometimes I will buy the large bag of Power greens or spinach from Costco along with Romaine lettuce hearts.  I also keep a close eye on the local farmer’s market for greens that are on sale.  Parsley is great because it helps settle the stomach.

Hemp Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Print

 

Hemp milk is by far the easiest dairy milk substitute.  There is no cooking and, with the Vitamix, there is no need to run it through a filtration bag.  It is very calorie dense with lots of protein.  It tastes great as is but I’ve added a couple of ingredients for folks who like their milk substitutes a little sweeter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Directions

  1. Place hemp hearts, dates and 2 1/2 cups of water into the Vitamix into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute.
  5. Turn machine off and remove lid.
  6. Add the remaining cup of water and the vanilla and secure lid.
  7. Select Variable 1.
  8. Turn machine on and blend for 30 seconds.

 

Food Tips:

  • It is a good idea to slice the dried pitted dates lengthwise before putting them in the Vitamix.  This will ensure that no part of the pit was left inside during processing at the plant.  I have yet to find any literature that says they are dangerous but the pieces can clog g-tubes.  Even if a piece gets through it could cause problems in the GI tract of someone who already has difficulty processing solid food.
  • If you have time, soak the dates and hemp seed for 30 minutes before blending.  This reduces the amount of sediment and completely removes the need for straining or filtering.
  • One cup of fresh hemp seed milk has about  194 calories.  It has 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat so, unless you have a high caloric need, I suggest sticking to the 1/2 cup serving size.  Hemp milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Drink it straight or add it to smoothies.  It is also a great base for blenderized meals.
  • As with all “Super Foods” take the time to research and steer clear of the idea that “if less is good, more is better.”  This is very important if you are dealing with specialized or restricted diets, on medications or have various health conditions.

 

Time Tip:  Freeze any portion of the milk that will not be used in 3-4 days in ice cube trays.  Store the cubes in labeled and dated freezer bags for up to 6 months.  Since each cube is about an ounce, you can quickly grab what you need without wasting any.

 

Money tip:  Shop around before buying hemp hearts.  They can run as high as 12 dollars a pound in some stores and on line.  Winco has the lowest price at $7.02 a pound.  They can be found in the bulk food section for much less than the prepackaged bags.  It is good to alternate seed/nut milks.  If you are on a tight budget, alternate the types of nut/seed/bean milks you make to save money.  This is also important especially for individuals on blenderized diets to insure balanced nutrition.

 

The Poopinator


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!

Ingredients


1 once pureed celery
1 once pureed pumpkin
1 once pureed butternut squash
1 once pureed papaya

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or small jar and stir.
  2. Using a 60cc syringe, draw up mixture making sure to expel any air bubbles.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Homemade “Ripple Milk”

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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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.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked yellow split peas
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 4 pitted dates

Directions

  1. 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).
  2. In the large Vitamix container, add ingredients in the order listed and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  5. Blend for 1 minute or until completely smooth.
  6. Remove milk from blender and repeat steps 2-5 with remaining peas.

Food Tip: This recipe makes a total of 10 cups of milk.  It is thick so if you plan on drinking it, you may want to thin it out a bit.  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.

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 $4.29 for 48oz.  Since I only used 1 cup of dried beans, I made 80oz for only 33 cents!

Raw Coconut Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

coconut-milk-2

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.

Ingredients

Prepare fresh coconut

6oz fresh coconut meat

4 cups of water (total)


Directions

  1. Place coconut meat into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds or until a fine mash is formed using the tamper to press the coconut meat into the blades.
  5. Turn machine off, remove lid, scrape container with a Vitamix spatula, add 2 cups of the water and replace the lid.
  6. Select Variable 1.
  7. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  8. Blend for 1 minute then pour contents into a Vitamix filtration bag to extract the milk.
  9. Return the mash in the filtration bag to the Vitamix container and add the remaining 2 cups of water.
  10. 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.

Basic Blend

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

  1. Place all ingredients in the container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then to High.
  4. 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.

 

 

Matthew’s Green Smoothie

ATTENTION: Make sure to get clearance from your doctor before trying any blenderized diet.

My Helper
My Helper

1 cup of peppermint or chamomile tea
2 oz of Avocado
2 oz of fresh Aloe Vera (optional)
3 cups of greens
Makes 2 cups

Bolus Feeding Syringe
Bolus Feeding Syringe

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to 10, then to High.
Blend for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth (no visible leaves).

Night Feeding Via Pump
Night Feeding Via Pump

Food Tip: When using this smoothie in the enteral feeding pump, it is vital that there are no leaf particles. Because the bag tubing, extension tubing and g-tube are all small in diameter, small bits of leaves can get caught and cause the pump to alarm and stop the feeding due to “No flow out”. Green smoothies do not work well without some type of fat in them. Outside of the health benefits, that’s why the avocado is added.Also, if formula is normally given, it is best to combine the smoothie with the formula and mix well. It has been my experience that straight green smoothies without the formula mixed in tend to separate. The pureed greens are lighter than the water so the water will go though the pump leaving the greens stuck in the feed bag.  If Aloe Vera is used it must be food grade.  Do not use fresh Aloe Vera unless you know how to properly prepare it.

Time Tip: How much smoothie to give depends on total volume and tolerance. It is best fresh within 2-3 days so I store the remaining smoothie in a container that allows me to shake it up before pouring.

Money Tip: Since they are going to be blended, buy greens in bulk and freeze any portion you do not use within 3-5 days. That way there is no waste from greens gone bad in the refrigerator.  Fresh frozen greens such as kale and spinach break up easily once frozen allowing for easy measuring and blending.