A noted SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) of our acquaintance stresses the importance of nutritionally-dense snacks for the dysphagia patient. According to our SLP friend, dysphagia patients may have the problem of maintaining a healthy weight on a pureed diet.
The maintenance of a healthy weight is critically important in maintaining healthy immune function. As many caregivers and family members are time-challenged, here’s a suggestion for a convenience food of excellent quality. Having been a caregiver myself, I know how much time it takes to shop for good ingredients, to prepare the food, and to clean up the kitchen. This product is a real find.
Liquid Hope is an organic whole foods meal replacement. It is an amazing product from an excellent company called Functional Formularies. It was designed to be used as a nutritionally-dense meal replacement. It may also be used as a snack.
Liquid Hope is made from whole foods, with naturally occurring sugars, and 20 grams of protein per 12 ounce pouch. It is a convenience item that is superior to commercially available products that have a high sugar content. The ingredients follow the high standards of clean eating and nutritional healing. This makes it a good choice for persons with swallowing disorders. The 12-ounce package contains 450 calories, but does not have to be consumed all at once. Once opened, it may be safely stored for several days and may be consumed over several occasions. (See the Functional Formularies website for specific instructions on storage and freezing.)
Liquid Hope tastes like a sweet pea soup or can be made into a smoothie using pineapple juice. Adding coconut water works well, too. The product may be used as a soup base. With the addition of other savory ingredients, properly pureed, one can change the flavor. It is not difficult to imagine adding pureed steamed veggies to the soup. This will provide variety and give the user control of the diet, effectively eliminating patient boredom and frustration. This greatly increases the positive psychological element of feeding and nutrition.
Many people enjoy the savory taste, as is, straight from the pouch at room temperature. There are many options for creating an original smoothie from this base. Robin Gentry McGee, the founder and CEO of Functional Formularies, urges the consumer to feel free to add or subtract ingredients.
As a suggestion: Coconut oil and avocados may be added to this smoothie, as well as kale or spinach. As Robin says, when using Liquid Hope as a base, you are only limited by your imagination! We here at Essential Puree agree! Before using this product, be sure to check with your doctor, SLP (speech language pathologist), or dietician.
To those with food allergies, be sure to check the complete list of ingredients, as the product contains almonds. On the Functional Formularies website, you will find testimonials of healthcare professionals. You may wish to share them with your SLP, dietitian, or physician.
Use common sense and make sure all additions to the Liquid Hope base have an even consistency without fibers. Use a mesh sieve and a silicone spatula to remove any fibers or seeds. The object is to extract the nutrients and the phytochemicals, while eliminating any problematic texture. If you wish to make a smoothie, the following recipe will get you off to a great start!
Pineapple Mango Smoothie
Servings: Makes 5 one-cup servings. One pouch will make several snacks or meal replacements.
- 1 package Liquid Hope
- 1-1.5 cups coconut water
- 2 cups mango and/or pineapple juice, preferably organic
- 1/2 cup of ice
- Thickener as needed (see below)
For the Puree
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the smoothie reaches desired consistency. Make sure that you get a smooth puree. If you add ingredients and it is necessary, run the puree through a mesh sieve with a silicone spatula to remove any fiber, seeds, or vegetable mass.
Temperature: Always serve a dysphagia meal or snack at the correct temperature for ease of swallow. Not too hot, and not too cold. Use the temperature guidelines recommended by your SLP, dietitian, or physician.
Note: If you decide to add wheatgrass, make sure you have one of the high-speed commercial blenders, such as a Vitamix. You need one that can extract the nutrients, while reducing the wheatgrass to a smooth liquid, safe for the swallow. Run the liquid through a mesh sieve using a silicone spatula to make sure that any and all particles are removed. You want a clear smooth liquid with no fibers, please.
Essential Puree recipes are for Puree Level 4 of the National Dysphagia Diet, which is pudding consistency. If the smoothie is too thin, use a commercial thickener. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to amount of thickener needed. Use guidelines suggested by your healthcare professional to obtain the right degree of thickening for your prescribed level of the National Dysphagia Diet. Essential Puree recommends xanthum gum thickeners in either gel or powder form. These do not have a starchy aftertaste. These are easily available in drugstores and online from home healthcare websites.
Some Brand Names
Simply Thick is a gel gum-based thickener that comes in individual packets or in large pump bottles. The gel is slightly more expensive per serving than the powder forms. Powdered gum-based thickeners like ThickenUp Clear and Thick & Easy Clear are good choices. Remember that these thickeners reach their maximum degree of thickening after several minutes of refrigeration. So, thicken with the appropriate amount of thickener, place the smoothie in the fridge, wait five minutes, and enjoy. (The instructions for the wait time are stated on the manufacturer’s packaging.)
For Thinning the Recipe
If smoothie seems too thick, feel free to add more coconut water. Mixing with coconut water increases the amount of important electrolytes! Coconut milk will make a creamy smoothie. Nut milk also adds good flavor. The choice is yours.
Robin McGee, and her company Functional Formularies, subscribes to the philosophy of food as medicine. We here at Essential Puree heartily endorse this approach. We strive for nutritional healing in all stages of life and in all conditions of life. Liquid Hope contains:
- filtered water, organic garbanzo beans, organic green peas, organic carrots
- organic whole grain brown rice, organic whole grain brown rice protein
- organic flax oil, organic sprouted quinoa, organic sweet potato
- organic broccoli, organic almond butter
- organic kale, organic garlic, organic turmeric, organic rosemary, organic ginger
- organic wakame (seaweed)
- vitamin blend (see their website for full details of blend)
Cost: $7.99 per 12oz serving + shipping. Sold in cases of 6, 12, or 24 units. To order, visit the Functional Formularies website.
On a Practical Note: Insurance Coverage
Ms. McGee asks me to inform our readers that if someone uses Liquid Hope for enteral nutrition, it is covered by most insurances including Medicare/Medicaid. The American College of Gastroenterology defines enteral nutrition as any method of feeding that uses the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to deliver part or all of a person’s caloric requirements. It can include a normal oral diet, the use of liquid supplements or delivery of part or all of the daily requirements by use of a tube (tube feeding).
Note: When you visit the Functional Formularies website, you will see that Liquid Hope has other uses beyond the dietary needs of dysphagia patients. It is also used by endurance athletes, as emergency rations and also for feeding tube patients who prefer organic whole foods.