Food Preparation and Creative Caregiving

My Beloved in Hope, PA,1993 by Allison L. Williams Hill 

Food preparation and creative caregiving produced interesting meals for my husband's unique situation. 

Giving my husband foods with high water content has been received with appreciation. I became a health coach after taking, enjoying and successfully satisfying the requirements for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s program.   I enrolled online while we lived in the British Virgin Islands.  I thank Joshua Rosenthal, IIN’s creator, for creating an electronic version; I knew a few years before that when we returned to the states, that I would be in the program, continuing acquiring knowledge on a subject I became interested in forty years ago.  I was thrilled to be able to fulfill attending IIN earlier.

Food's Importance

Food energetics should be considered during and for each season and for all of the foods’ contents.  For example, my husband enjoys fruit.  Mixed fruit salad’s energy is cool and damp.  This is not something that makes him feel good when the temperature is freezing and cold.  However, I could select specific fruits liked dried fruits or prunes that would be more suitable because they are dry and warm.      

Each person is different as developed by family history and life experience, one’s own habits, culture, etc.  That is why, as a health coach, giving Health Histories are extremely important.  Asking a care receiver what he or she desires and observing what they say and do will inform the caregiver about what to do.  

Food Varieties: Experiment With Your Food!

Life is not fixed, so experiment!  Discuss things that could be included, tried, and evaluated.  Always ask the care recipient.  Ask if they would be willing to try something different.  Colors, aromas, and textures could be ways of adding interest to already established meal plans.

I found a stove-top mashed potato mix. This was an alternative because we did not have a working stove.  I purchased three packages; I was sure my husband would like it as he liked mash potatoes.  I made two for lunch.  I fed him the potatoes.  He ate it.  So, I asked him, “How do you like the potatoes?”  “I don’t,” he said.  I was really surprised!  “You don’t like them?”  “No.”  The best question I asked was, “Why?”  He said, “I don’t like the style.”  He meant the taste.  Well, we continue to experiment.   Oh yes, I stopped feeding him what he did not like.  He deserves to be happy.

Tommy Cichanowski, creator of a web site called The Mind Body Connection quoted: "I have always known that one's mental state controls one's physical state.  The problem has always been to show that scientifically."

His web site contained the following information from the National Academy of Sciences, 1975: "Throughout history, man has used some 3,000 plant species for food; (From a possible selection of over 12,000 edible plants.) at least 150 of them have been commercially cultivated to some extent. (That's only less than two percent.-AWH)  But over the centuries the tendency has been to concentrate on fewer and fewer.  Today, most of the people in the world are fed by about 20 crops - cereal, such as wheat; rice, maize, and sorghum; root crops such as potato, sweet potato, and cassava; legumes such as peas, beans, peanuts (ground nuts), and soybeans; and sugar beet, coconuts, and bananas.  These plants are the main bulwark between mankind and starvation.  It is a very small bastion." 

The few plants that are commercially produced are the reason for many allergies people have from food. The range of food is quite extensive to the point that if you find there are foods you cannot consume or do not like, there are others that contain the vitamins; minerals, and amino acids for your body's needs.  

Vegetables, animal protein blended with white potato

Food preparation had to change in order for my husband to eat. As funds improved, my husband had dental care.  He had oral surgery that reduced what forms of food were available to him.  As I watched him eat, I noticed his frustration.  For example, when he ate an egg sandwich he used to enjoy, he appeared to grow tired of the work to chew them.  As I watched him eat, I thought of how I could make the foods he likes softer so that no chewing, ideally, or little chewing will be necessary.  

I speculated that his lack of oral hygiene was brought on by depression.  As the dementia increased his efforts on oral hygiene diminished.  If his teeth needed to be cleaned, it came to a place where I would have to do it.  It was done after each meal before and during his dental visits.  Now I attempt to get them done twice a day unless his condition dictates otherwise.

I needed a way to chop and blend his meals. The tool that came to mind was: (tah dah!) The Magic Bullet.  The infomercial replayed in my head. I bought one and used it for his dinner the same day.  I washed the parts and blended his food.  It worked.   The food was made into the consistency he was able to handle.    

I integrate my studies from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with everything I do.  I completed the program and provide <a href=> health coaching services </a>.  My husband, my family, and I are my first clients.

He was given fruit salads first for breakfast to improve transit time in addition to the vitamins and minerals they provide.  Blending them and adding bananas enabled him to still enjoy them.  I  also blend apples, prunes, and salad greens like herbs and mesclun, an ideal way to increase enzymes and minerals.

The apple smoothie is done in two steps: I cut the skins and place them in the smaller blending cup used with the grain blades.  I add prunes, it helps to cut them, water and blend.  Sometimes I include seeded grapes and put the seeds in.  This mixture is transferred to the larger blending cup (without the handles because it holds more) and blend with the apple slices.  The double blending cuts the apple skins into smaller parts and the seeds are small enough to swallow.  This is best when it is allowed to sit covered for about 10 or 15 minutes.  It thickens and develops a custardy texture and great taste.  Make sure it is covered to ensure vitamins are not destroyed by air. 

I prepare plain cream of wheat with Polaner All Fruit with fiber.  I separate some of the cream of wheat into the smaller blender used for grains but with the cross blade.  I don’t wash the cup because the remaining fruit from the smoothie’s skins and prunes are carried into the cereal.  The fruit is blended becoming smooth and fluffy.  It is poured over the cream of wheat in a bowl and folded in.  I occasionally taste the mix with my own spoons to see if I need to blow on it to cool it for him.  The cereal is pretty tasty.     

The Magic Bullet successfully blends cooked fish, animal protein - ground turkey; sirloin, with potatoes or Basmati, Jasmine, or brown rice and hot water.  I use the water I boil the potatoes in to achieve a smooth consistency.  I don’t eat meat so I am ultra-careful in seasoning them.  I always attempt to eliminate lumps or grainy textures.  All foods require water to blend; this is a great thing because increased water content aids regularity.

Since I got the Magic Bullet, I resumed making asparagus.  I intuited he was to get asparagus only each morning.  Some of you may be interested in 18th century information about the power of asparagus.  I found the information at Women Warriors, a favorite website created by people who help others and our planet.   The cross blades blend it well including the fibrous stalks.  He gets it all. For that information go to Asparagus.


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