Day 3: Breakfast: Porridge. Lunch: Left-over roasted parsnip soup fortified with potato Dinner: Pancakes pureed with almond milk (banana, nutella, honey (pictured below); blueberry and yoghurt; raspberry jam and creme fraiche) Midnight snack!: puree bean stew
Day 4: Breakfast: Porridge (I spy a theme). Lunch: Left-over puree bean stew and puree spinach. Dinner: Pureed deconstructed cottage pie and pureed peas with parsley. Snacks: Green juice (minus citrus).
Porridge porridge porridge. If I didn’t like porridge, breakfast would be pretty hard. Before launching into the lessons learned from Day 4 though, a few words on pureed pancakes.
The taste of the pureed pancake mix was actually pretty good once I’d added in all the toppings to the blender, but it felt terribly wrong to blend them, as if I were missing the point of pancake day entirely. Spending time creating the perfect pancake (the picture below isn’t the best example) and then shoving it straight into the all-smooshing blades of the blender was very sad indeed.
Food is so often central to the traditions that people inherit and develop across a lifetime, and it must be incredibly isolating for a modified diet to restrict participation in those traditions. As my sister carefully chose the toppings she wanted, rolled up her pancake, and cut it into neat little sections, I found myself feeling very much left out.
I could talk for a while about the time/effort to nutritional gain ratio for my pancake experiment, but suffice it to say that I needed to delve into the next day’s lunch for a midnight snack.
Back to the porridge then. I haven’t been particularly adventurous in my morning options. Normally, I run out of the house without breakfast and grab something on the way, but I’d have to bank on somewhere having a puree option. Considering the prospect of going hungry for the morning after my calorie intake issues on day one, this hasn’t been a risk I’m willing like to take. We’ve had a couple of clients express a dislike of porridge and other sweet options, so I’m going to try branching out into savoury breakfast possibilities in the next few days.
Because it’s such a process to make meals and blend them every day, I’ve found myself eating a lot of leftovers for lunch. It’s a great time-saver to cook in bulk, although it does get a little boring eating the same thing. Freezing portions of pre-pureed meals to be able to choose from a selection at a later date would be a good solution to this in the longer-term.
One issue which often comes up with our clients is that they don’t feel that they can go out to eat with friends anymore, as the menus don’t cater to their dietary needs. Today I staved off some afternoon hunger pangs with a trip to a juice bar. I reflected that this could be somewhere our clients could go with friends and order from a wide range of options.
After my experience with the pancakes, I thought that for dinner tonight I should go for a puree meal which wasn’t too dissimilar in texture from the original. Armed with my stick blender, I went round to my friend’s house to make a cottage pie. As potatoes are very starchy, blending them makes them rather sticky, which would mean my mash would fail to meet the standards of a thick puree diet according to the Dysphagia Diet Food Texture Descriptors. Sweet potatoes are less starchy so might be a better option. I’m pretty sure my peas would also have failed due to the occasional bit of shell. It’s really quite hard to get food to the right texture and ensure an even consistency. The results were very tasty however!
Swallowing exercises: My compliance with the exercise regime today was, I have to admit, pretty poor. I was in too much of a rush this morning to do the first set and had to do them quickly during coffee break, I completely missed the lunch time alarm and have yet to do them this evening. I can see how the best laid plans to complete the exercises go awry when life gets in the way.