Blended diet is what John eats, through his tube that is. Blended diet is real food blended in a blender, liquid added and made into a thin puree. A puree thin enough to flow through a tube. I suppose no one ever thinks about "tube food" unless they have been touched by it in some way. I am not sure when blended diet came into exsistance, but it is rapidly gaining traction. Not only are there various resources for "how to's" available around the web, but there are commercially made real foods as well. The one in particular I use on occasion is Real Food Blends, but mostly I blend his food daily.
For a very long time if a patient had a g-tube, they were fed commercial formula of some kind. Much like baby formula if you need a visual. There are several popular brands that most of population doesn't realize is "formula", and that is Ensure for adults and Pedisure for children. We think of these products as drinks to fill in the gaps for picky eaters, but they are technically medical food. They are also popular choices for tube feeding, however they are far from being the only products on the market. Even the Feeding Tube Awareness Awarness organization has limited information on blended diet.
I first heard about blended diet when I started looking outside of the text book box when John was around eight months old. We had been through ALL the formulas, including Elecare and Alfamino. Elecare and Alfamino are amnio-acid based elemental formulas; more or less a baby protein shake. Oh, and they cost around $50 per twelve ounce can! I will not go into extensive story, but his doctor felt it was best for him to get a GJ-tube for the time being until we figured out the right medicines to better control his vomiting. After turning one, we transitioned over to the blended diet and back to a standard G-tube. The vomiting all but stopped with the transition! Yes, there are medicines working to help, he was a little older and had grown, he had fully healed from his surgeries. There are multiple factors, but I truly believe giving him age appropriate real food made a huge difference.
While blended diet is still gaining traction, there has been an established method to the diet in blended diet circles. It consists of expensive commercial blenders, organic food, oils and other random things you would never think of. These expensive blenders are a little out of my reach for the time being, but I was determined to give John real food. I first turned to the commercial real food formulas. We first tried Compleat, we didn't use it long and I will dive into that in a later blog. We then got our hands on Real Food Blends and added things to it to make it as much of a balanced diet as possible. That resulted in very large batches that went to waste, and the base of the blend still lacked variety. SO.....I kept reading through the groups and learned a few hacks using baby food purees. Then I got to thinking about people who make their own baby food. If I'm using baby food anyway...I could be making our own purees, making a wider variety and be fresher. Why was I spending oodles on baby foods?? So that is what I began doing, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen steaming, blending and washing the blender; but it is working out really well. I do not think I do it like anyone else, but it works for us. John is fat, happy and growing so well, and that is the most important factor in the big picture.
|Examples of my puree's, blueberries and kale.|