Our customers have surprised us with their ingenuity and lengths they will go to for real food. (Coming from a mom that lugged a Vitamix on a plane with two kids, a double stroller and two carseats, this is really saying something!)
We’ve received so much positive feedback to our meals, right out of the pouch. That easy access to real food was my ultimate goal of starting Real Food Blends. One of the coolest parts of this feedback, to me, has been how some of you are customizing your meals to fit your needs. Quinoa meal too thick? Adding some almond milk helps it flows through the pump. Salmon too thin? Blended up (in a regular ol’ blender) with a banana and voila – thicker blend to help with reflux. Some are adding oil to bump the calories, mixing with formula to trial real foods, or adding ½ cup kefir to make a larger serving.
My goal with Real Food Blends was never to create a one-size-fits all formula. I knew every meal wouldn’t be perfect for everyone as is, and that’s okay. (Can you imagine if a restaurant didn’t offer condiments or cooked their eggs only one way??) This is your body. These are your meals. Personalize. Customize. Feed it all, feed a little, mix with formula, strain for a pump, use as a base for other blends, whatever works for you or your tubie.
Another goal of mine was to de-medicalize the process of tube-feeding. Instead of a ‘feed’, have a meal! Every single caregiver we surveyed that normally feeds a formula diet said they ‘felt better about’ feeding a Real Food Blend meal. A psychological lift along with 100% real food? What could be better?! I know I instantly felt more like AJ’s mom, and less like a nurse, once I started making food for him. I’m happy to be able to pass on some of those good vibes!
Along these same lines, Marsha Dunn Klein, the author of the “Homemade Blended Diet Formula Handbook” and an advisor to Real Food Blends, tells a fantastic story about a family whose father had a tube and he really hated it. He was a real “man’s man” / salt-of-the-earth type. Marsha asked him if he would feel better if the family blended up pizza and a beer? He thought about it for a minute and replied, emphatically, YES! So the family did. The dad had pizza and a beer and felt a little more normal. (Not that we’re advocating blending alcohol, but you get the point.)
If we help one family feel a little better about having the tube, or one tubie feel a little more included in a family meal-time, we consider that a major win.
(This is not medical advice. Always consult with your medical team before making any changes to a tube-fed person’s diet.)