Some of you already know that my mom, my husband, and I began a Whole30 challenge just over a week ago. Our goal is to kick some of our bad eating habits and get healthier in the process. We’re going strong on Day 11. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but it hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I imagined. Sometimes the thinking about it part can be more intimidating than just diving in and doing it.
Being more conscious of my food intake has made me much more aware of what we feed James. I have to admit, it isn’t all good. Convenience wins out more often than it should and pre-made meals pass as lunch or dinner. My mom does an awesome job of making him homemade soup and stew. We had a delicious chicken and vegetable soup for dinner last night that we all enjoyed, including James. We usually have some soup or stew on hand, but we also use canned foods to give him a bigger variety. Now that we’re really reading the labels on these cans, that’s not going to work anymore.
I made homemade baby foods for James when he started spoon-feeding. They were easy enough to make and freeze, and he liked pretty much anything I made. When he moved on to foods more like the ones we eat I stopped. His texture issues and lack of being able to chew anything other than a cracker has brought us back to a more baby-food like consistency. We fork mash or puree all of his foods again. Much easier to do that with spaghetti from a can than real spaghetti. The real stuff requires getting the blender out. Looks like the blender is going to be our best friend for a while.
It seems like it should be common sense….if it isn’t something I would eat, why would I feed it to my child? His nutrition matters, a lot. The foods he eats impact his development, his behavior, his ability to fight off infections and illness. I’m really frustrated with myself that I’ve thought about this for a long time, but haven’t made any real changes until now.
These changes have evolved out of a conversation with one of my coworkers long before we started our Whole30. (I should explain that she is Vegan and doesn’t have any children, so she comes at this from a completely different point of view.) She was horrified (her word) about the “disgusting syrupy crap” they tube feed some of the adults in services. She was really put off by feeding tubes in general. I explained that my son has a feeding tube and it pretty much saved his life. Then began long discussions of why he has one and what we feed him through his tube. We looked at ingredient lists online and discussed questions I asked nutritionists and doctors about soy and sugar. She emailed me articles to read and I did a little of my own research. Top that off with all of us doing The Whole30, and we have a need for change.
The first priority for me is replacing the soy based supplement he drinks. It provides a significant amount of his daily calories, along with a ton of stuff he doesn’t need. We researched and found some recipes for non-dairy smoothies for children. I made James his first one a few days ago. He wouldn’t drink it from a cup, but eating it from the spoon is usually ok with him. Even if it has to go through his tube until he gets used to them I’m good with that. I reconciled myself with the need for his feeding tube long ago. My priority is the good nutrition he needs for healthy weight gain. By mouth or by tube, I just want it to get in him.
I’m hoping the next time James sees the neurologist he will have some good weight gain and be looking a little healthier. He’s been the only one concerned about James’ weight. He doesn’t need a lot, just a few pounds so he has a little reserve. We have about seven weeks to work toward that goal. Between now and then we have a phone appointment with a nutrition group in Minnesota (We tried a nutritionist at Vanderbilt and she suggested the same type of stuff he’s on now. I emailed a private nutrition counselor in Nashville and she thought this group in Minnesota would better meet James’ needs, so we’ll give it a shot!). I’m hopeful that we’ll get some good information and suggestions from them.
There is a lot of change happening in our home right now. We’ve definitely lost some of the convenience of quick foods. Things like the soy based supplement being in a can and easily portable will be missed. We have to think ahead and plan all of our own meals, as well as James’. It will take some getting used to, for all of us, but the benefits will definitely be worth it. Healthier days are ahead!