Thousands of people are tube-fed, including children. My two-year-old daughter is tube fed, and learning how to provide her with adequate nutrition has given me a lot of fascinating new knowledge that is surprisingly generalizable. In fact, I now prepare some of my own meals using the principles that govern her diet. Here are the key things you need to know about how the blended diet works, and why anyone who is trying to boost their health can benefit from this approach.
What is the blended diet?
Each tube-fed person is unique and requires different nutrition. Typically, nutrition is a commercial (store-bought) formula, and it can cause vomiting and lack of consistent weight gain at times. This can cause stress for the tube-fed person, and the caregiver.
When looking for alternatives to help my daughter, I discovered the blended diet. It consists of home-cooked meals processed in a high power blender, which can then be drunk or fed through a tube. Via this method, my two-year-old daughter went from artificial formula to fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, and dairy. As she grew and became stronger, she would drink her blended food. Drinking her blended food required less energy and caused fewer sensory issues than eating—over time, it has truly transformed her life. She is now five and still has medical issues, but she is growing and it is all because of the blended diet.
A blended diet isn’t just for those who are tube-fed—it can be for anyone desiring to improve their health. Inspired by the benefits of the blended diet, I now make my own special breakfast blend that I also share with my one-year-old son. All the principals are the same in learning about nutritious food. Here are ten reasons why the blended diet really does work.
1. You can maintain weight
For those who have struggled to gain or maintain weight (whether due to tube-feeding issues or general health difficulties), consuming fresh foods through the blended diet can allow your gut to heal, and protect your body. This allows you to thrive.
2. Nutrients are absorbed much quicker and are easier to digest
Some foods eaten on their own might be too oily or heavy, but when they are blended together the body responds more positively. With a blended diet, the digestion process is also much quicker (especially compared to the commercial diet I was giving my daughter).
3. Lots more superfoods
Loads of fresh veggies can be added to blended meals, including handfuls of spinach, kale, bok choy, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts. All of these ingredients enrich your body and give it the energy it needs. The options are endless!
4. Increased energy
It is easier to add healthy fats and oils like avocados, flaxseed oils, and coconut milk that promotes energy and weight management.
5. Hair and nails grow and strengthen
With the right balance of nutrients, your body becomes stronger on a blended diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and zinc can be found in fish, nuts, red meats, whole grains, and leafy greens.
6. Skin glows and looks healthy
The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables and only after a few shorts weeks, the benefits of a blended diet are evident.
7. Easy use of leftovers
Blending can be as simple as using leftovers, saving you both money and time.
8. Prevents constipation
With more water, fresh fruit, and veggies, there is a better balance of fiber, reducing the risk of constipation. Blending keeps so much of the fiber in the food, which also allows for better energy management.
9. Improved sleep
Leading universities have conducted studies showing that eating more nutritious food will improve sleep. It also with weight management, whether you are trying to drop a few pounds or actively gain weight. Hunger and sleep are linked.
10. It’s easy to add more nutrition to your diet
The blended diet offers a straightforward way to improve your eating habits. Blending allows for a huge range of fruits and veggies to be consumed. You are only limited by your imagination.