Tube feeding with Real Food
If someone you love needs nourishment via tube feeding, or if you know someone who does, you’ll want to read today’s guest post by Julie, another mom warrior who didn’t blindly follow her doctor or the medical establishment after her son, AJ, was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. She instead took matters into her own hands. As a matter of fact, you never know where life will lead, so you’ll want to know about this life-saving information even if you don’t need it right at this moment. (And this is also an important topic to be aware of if you’re formula feeding a baby – there’s more on that below, or click here for where to find the WAPF real food baby formula kit.)
Here was my first email from Julie… (And isn’t AJ so stinkin’ cute?!)
“As a real food advocate, can you imagine being PRESCRIBED a diet that amounts to 50% corn syrup? That’s what happened to my son — and thousands of other sick people every day. It would happen to you, too, if you were to end up with a feeding tube.
A few facts:
1- Tube feeding formula is a $3 billion industry in the U.S., dominated by Abbott, Nestle and Mead Johnson.
2- Every tube-feeding formula on the market today contains at least 50% corn syrup or corn by-products…and genetically modified corn at that.
3- People who blend real food at home for tube-feeding have been largely shunned by the medical community, even kicked out of the school lunchroom because of this ‘unsafe’ practice of putting real food into a stomach!
Please watch our short video about my son’s story (below), how Just Food was born to give people on feeding tubes easy access to real food, and consider sharing with your legions of fans. $5 will buy a Just Food meal for a hospitalized tube-fed child at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.”
I asked Julie to tell us more of her story:
This is a photo of what my two-year-old ate one day. Bone broth, chicken, kale, carrots, mango, quinoa, coconut oil. All pureed and given to him through the feeding tube that he has had for almost two years.
He didn’t always get real food through his feeding tube. When he first received his tube, we followed doctors orders to pump him full of formula. We hooked him up to his feeding pump anywhere from 6-8 times a day, and often overnight, trying to get him the amount of prescribed calories. He was miserable. Our family was miserable.
Seeking answers, I found a group of tube-fed people and caregivers that had this radical idea: Put real food through the feeding tube. It was truly a lightbulb moment. Within days of starting to add real food to AJ’s tube feedings, his color perked up (imagine what you would look like only living off white food), he stopped vomiting daily, his reflux improved, and he started having regular bowel movements. Since that time, he now receives a whole rotation of quality proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Not many two year olds get beets, bison, kale, flax seed oil and quinoa on a regular basis!
After this lightbulb moment, I dusted off my MBA and started researching. Turns out $3 billion worth of tube-feeding formula is sold annually in the U.S. – and it’s growing. Just about all of those formulas contain the same basic stuff, mostly corn syrup / corn derivatives. None of them contained 100% real food or offer nutritional variety. This is what is being prescribed to kids like AJ who have neurological issues, and people who have cancer, ALS, cerebral palsy, MS, AIDS, and the other 150+ different conditions that could make a feeding tube necessary – all conditions that deserve the best nutritional support possible. (It’s worth noting that formula is not innately bad – many people wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for some of these specialized formulas!) (Note from Kelly: I disagree with that statement, I actually do think it’s bad, having seen the ingredient labels, but better than starving I suppose…)
That’s when the idea for Just Food was born. 100% real food, pureed meals for people on feeding tubes in convenient shelf-stable pouches. We’re starting with 3 different meal options but hope to add more quickly to provide nutritional variety.
Feeding a real food diet is rarely suggested by those in the medical community, but almost every nutritionist and doctor that has heard we have AJ on a “blenderized diet” gives us a pat on the back, saying “It’s the best thing for him.” (However, one young girl on a blended diet was kicked out of her lunchroom because of this ‘unsafe practice’ of putting real food into her stomach!) It’s my hope that Just Food makes real food via tube the preferred option for tube feeding. After all, what would you put into your body if taste didn’t matter?
Julie Bombacino is the founder of Just Food. She lives outside Chicago with her husband Tony, daughter Luca and son AJ. Click here to buy Just Food meals or donate to a hospitalized child now.
This is Kelly again. So what about you, what would you put into your body or your kids’ bodies if a tube feeding was necessary?
I can’t wait to hear how you answer that question!
Personally, I’d make my own, and use similar foods as Julie does, such as bone broth, pastured meats, but also add in things like ground liver and fermented cod liver oil and butter oil - and I’d look closely at the WAPF baby formula kit, too. What a great option Just Food would be to have on hand, though, for times you run out of your own meals or on crazy days. Or for those who just wouldn’t make their own, which is a lot of people. Please spread the word to anyone you know who could use this information! (And no, Just Food isn’t a blog sponsor, this isn’t an ad for them, I just think it’s cool what they’re doing, especially the part about getting donations for others who are tube fed.)
Better Baby Formula
By the way, as I mentioned above, those of you who need to give your baby formula will want to listen to this advice as well. Commercial baby formulas are full of junk and if I had to do it over again and couldn’t breastfeed for whatever reason, I would not give my baby that stuff. (This is not a judgement on those who don’t or didn’t know better! I gave our oldest formula, too, because I didn’t know any of this then.) Thankfully, you can get the Weston Price baby formula kit here.
- Read my posts about breastfeeding and the struggles we had early on
- Get Just Food here or donate to help someone in need
Watch the video: