Hospitals, Please Let Food Be Thy Medicine!
We have all heard about how terrible hospital food is, right? Whether you have been in one yourself, or visited a relative in one, the idea of hospital food being terrible is now a comical trope and has been for quite some time. It is on par with airline food which has been become its own never-ending source of jokes. But it’s not funny!
What if I told you that the most common gastric feeds for those who cannot eat conventionally consist mostly of glucose syrup, soy protein isolate, and milk derivatives?
Men, women, and children who have brain injuries, swallowing difficulties, neurological, digestive ailments, and many other conditions are often fed gastric feed products that cause more inflammation and disease! Many of my clients come to me when their loved one is receiving this feed 5 times every single day… for months, or even years for some patients.
Our primary goal is to change the feed to something of much higher quality (which is outlined in one of the last chapters of How To Feed a Brain), but in conjunction with that (and possibly more importantly), there is another step that can be taken to improve brain health immensely. Research shows us numerous cases that establish high-quality Omega-3s as being especially therapeutic after a brain injury. As we talk about in the Omega-3’s and Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment article, high-dose fish oils, especially those high in DHA, have been shown to powerfully support TBI recovery and neuroprotection.
High-quality Omega-3s may be the most important supplementation we can take after a brain injury, especially if you or your loved one is receiving a conventional gastric feed formula. Through m partnership, all of my clients have been successful in getting the feed and supplementation they want for their loved one.
My passion for helping to get your loved one high-quality nutrition while in or out of the hospital is immense, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. I offer one-on-one consultations at feedabrain.com/consult.
A New Paradigm
The gastric feeds used by most hospitals are created by multi-national corporations who want only one bottom line from their product: profits. By making the cheapest product possible, and selling it for the highest possible margin, they make the most money. The supplementation they use to “fortify” their low quality processed formula are usually the cheapest with very low absorbability (at best), and often harmful to optimal human physiology.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite alternatives to the conventional conventional gastric feeds that
All of AMPLE’s products are amazing meal replacements for people who are eating conventionally and they can also be fed as a gastric feed. They are a nutrient-dense collection of superfoods including a probiotics, soluble and insoluble fiber to feed them, foods that regulate blood sugar, and so much more.
AMPLE K is currently my favorite supplemental and ketogenic feed!
AMPLE K alone is very convenient to be fed (just add water or broth and shake), and can be used in conjunction with other feeds (recommended with BrothMasters). It encourages ketogenic metabolism, (which is neuroprotective and promotes healing), while also providing many important nutrients.
Check out the video below to see Connor’s mission with AMPLE. To learn more about the ingredients, and why they choose these ingredients, See their full formula here and use the coupon code FEEDABRAIN at check out for a 15% discount.
AMPLE Meals Founder Connor Explains His Mission:
Another company I absolutely love is BrothMasters. Using their bone broth as a base helps to heal leaky gut syndrome (aka intestinal permeability) which will in turn lowers inflammation levels and supports overall health.
While Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut,”
I remind myself that all health begins in the gut.
By supporting digestive health, and using the ingredients that nature provided for us, we are already way on our way to living a healthy and wholesome lifestyle.
We love their products, and while they are not a complete gastric feed yet, their products are amazing for any paleo or keto household or even if you just love to make delicious home-cooked meals.
My favorite gastric formula for TBI
My favorite ketogenic gastric formula is any BrothMasters broth mixed with AMPLE K. This mixture is extremely nutrient rich, providing much of the nutrition needed for optimal brain function and repair.
Click here to learn more about BrothMasters. Use the coupon code FEEDABRAIN for a 15% discount!
While in our quest to find and create real food gastric feeds to create a revolution in hospital nutrition, we found another crusader with the exact same mission as us, and also with a very similar story. Robin Gentry McGee has a background in nutrition, and has studied functional medicine for a number a years.
When her father incurred a traumatic brain injury after slipping on black ice, he was left only able to eat through a gastric tube. After being on this liquid feed for nearly a year, Robin made the startling discovery that this “food” product was mostly corn syrup, and chemicals like we said previously.
She talked to her doctor of osteopathy, scoured the internet, and looked for any possible alternative that she could to help her father. To her dismay, no alternatives existed at that time.
Taking Her Family’s Health into Her Own Hands
She began her mission to create amazing gastric feed that could help her father recover. She succeeded and has been providing “Liquid Hope” to the world for over a decade! She never intended to sell the formula, but so many people came to her wanting this solution that she had created.
She began her company Functional Formularies in order to help families around the world heal their loved ones using real food. Her formula is a complete formula that addresses all macronutrients and micronutrients. I was astonished that even each individual form of each vitamin was the optimal for absorption and efficacy.
I am a stickler when it comes to ingredients, and I must say that I was really impressed when I saw this formula. We have been talking to them among other companies in this space to create special ketogenic formulas, and about how we can all partner together to create this revolution.
The video below is about Robin’s story, and click here to learn more about Liquid Hope. You can get ready-to-consume gastric feeds for your loved ones right now if that is something you require.
Robin Gentry McGee Explains Her Story of Liquid Hope:
Real Food Blends:
Another great option for non-vegetarian versions of gastric feed come from none other than Real Food Blends. This is another great example of an amazing family taking their personal health into their own hands, and changing how the game in this country is played.
After a very severe seizure, the son of the creators of this company could no longer swallow food conventionally. Their son was drinking all sorts of synthetic formulas, and was having serious digestive issues and a multitude of other negative side effects until they started blending real food.
It wasn’t until they had to go on vacation with their son that they began to create their portable, shelf-stable, real food blends. After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, they were able to launch their company that now helps tens of thousands of people across the globe.
For their full listing of products check out their website HERE, and for their full story, check out the video below.
The Story of Real Food Blends:
You can also make your own blenderized gastric feeds using a high speed blender like a Vitamix, Nutribullet, Ninja, or Blendtec Blender. These kinds of blenders can chop up the food at a cellular level.
Even if you can eat conventionally, drinking a smoothie or eating a soup made of fruits and veggies that have already been made ready to absorb is a great way to get a ton of nutrition in an easy to consume package.
“How to Feed a Brain: Nutrition for Optimal Brain Function and Repair” by Cavin Balaster has a step-by- step guide for blenderized feeds. You can also find an overview in our Handouts section.
What About If I Can Eat Conventionally?
For me, having one to two liquid meals per day helps me feel nourished, and cleansed without feeling overwhelmed with prep time and clean up. Juicing is great if you want to ingest a very large quantity of nutrients in a little juice, but blending these same foods retains their fiber.
The fiber can act as a prebiotic for our microbiome. It can also help to stabilize blood sugar, and cleanse our intestinal tract. Juicing has its uses when we want to absorb the nutrition of a pile of green veggies, and other foods, but fiber will keep you feeling full if you want to make your drink a meal.
Enzymes and Smoothies
The first stage of digestion is when the food is chewed and mixed with saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important because it contains special enzymes, namely amylase, an enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars to prepare the food for the next phase of digestion in the stomach. Because we are skipping this step in smoothies or gastic feeds, we are going to want to add digestive enzymes to our gastric feed. For products that are designed to include important enzymes especially for when the first stage of digestion is skipped (like in gastric feeds), go to feedabrain.com/enzymes.
Here is One of The Blenders We Really Love
We are currently talking to several companies to promote some gastric feeds that are Feed a Brain approved.
Our competition is the corporate giants that are creating poor quality products for profit instead of making high-quality products to bring about the best possible outcome.
We are working to bands together with many of these companies that are changing the face of medicine. Together, we can change the world. Please contact me if you are interested in joining forces: [email protected] (write GASTRIC in the subject line).