With the holidays coming up we thought we would pass along information on how to thicken alcoholic beverages for the dysphagia diet.
Hydration is important for the dysphagia patient, so it is important to have the ability to thicken many types of beverages. There is an art to thickening liquids, including fruit juices, milk, coffee and tea, sodas and other carbonated beverages and alcoholic beverages. Don’t be shocked. Not every dysphagia patient is alcohol-restricted. One company has thought this need for hydration through and has created an excellent line of products for every type of beverage. It is called Slõ Drinks. They have a special line for beer, wine and bar drinks. If you are cleared for the consumption of alcoholic beverages, the product is sold on their website.
I interviewed the founder of the company, Mathew Done. He explained the reason why there are different products for different drinks. Food science, dear readers, is important and it takes time. “A drink’s fat, sugar, temperature and pH levels affect a thickener’s ability to thicken. . . As a result my company has different thickeners for different drinks. I think we are the only manufacturer to think this way, which is why it took 10 years to perfect our products!”
As Mathew explained, “It is essential to first make sure the thickener works in a drink and then calculate the amount required to make it a specific consistency.” Different thickeners for different liquids. That is why the full product line took ten years to develop.
Slõ Drinks thickeners are available in nectar and honey consistencies. The company also provides instructions for pudding consistency. You use less liquid rather than more thickener to get to the correct consistency for each individual. The Slõ Drinks website is an informative resource. If you click on their YouTube link, you will find a How To video, with Mathew himself demonstrating how to use his company’s products.
As I have written elsewhere on the Essential Puree website, ALL LIQUIDS must be thickened for the dysphagia diet. This includes oral rinses and liquid medicines, such as cough medicines. It is easy to overlook liquids such as mouthwash and liquid medicines, but it is absolutely necessary. The consequences may be dire, as I found out in taking care of my mom. The aides and me were not thickening her oral rinse. As a result, she kept getting bronchitis and her doctor was puzzled at the recurrence and why it would not clear it up. We did not want the bronchitis to turn into pneumonia that would require hospitalization. We went over the household routine to discover the cause. One of the aides realized that we were not thickening the oral rinse. We told the doctor. We changed the routine and started thickening her oral rinse and her cough medicine. Once we did this, the problem came to an end.
Another innovation: Slõ Drinks makes a line of thickeners custom-tailored for taking medication, such as flu medication in hot or cold liquid. They have a second formula for pain medication and vitamins.
Note: As I write in the Essential Puree Guidebook, at the suggestion of one of my mother’s physicians, I bought liquid vitamins and collated minerals and added them to her thickened drinks. That’s another way to go.