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Liquid Diet Nutrition

Here is what i am NOT. NOT a medical professional, not a nutritionist, not a dietician.

This is based solely on the research i have done on the expertise of others. I have zero qualifications to guide you on nutrition so feel free to take it or leave it! I invite feedback!

Pre-Glossectomy/Laryngectomy I was rather a foodie. I loved food! I ate a primarily vegetarian diet, but had cycled through different phases in my my life ranging from mediterranean to keto. Ben and Jerry had always been close friends. The month before my surgery I spent trying to eat all my favorites one last time, good fun! Ironically, our architecture firm's niche is designing restaurants. When we traveled one of our favorite things was to visit hundreds of restaurants to see design AND sample food! 

So imagining a life without food wasn't pretty. I actually went in thinking it was most likely that i would never even drink water again. So when i got the greenlight to try and drink...WOW. At first it was just like funneling the water down my throat. Slowly i learned to swallow again. Ahhhh water, how sweet it is. 

Doctors and nutritionists seem satisfied sending people on their way with a case of Ensure. Have you looked at the ingredients? First ones...Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Blend of Vegetable Oils (Canola, Corn), - gag! Maltodextrin is a highly processed carb, second ingredient is SUGAR, milk - why would i want to consume dairy if its not yummy cheese or ice cream?, Canola and Corn oil?????? This is NOT healthy by any measurements. 

I had done some research prior and requested Kate Farms formula for my PEG feed in the hospital. I am not going to go to the mat for Kate's being a superfood. However, it is definitely a better alternative to Ensure and it was available through my hospital. My insurance wont cover it...but i believe some will. First ingredients...Purified Water, Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic MCT Oil, Organic High Linoleic Sunflower Oil. So sugars and oils are still up at the top, but at least they aren't as horrible sources as Ensure. 

With my changed taste and an interest in living the healthiest longest life i can, i chose this as an opportunity to eat a whole food plant based diet. I dove into the search for nutritional and recipe guidance on liquid diets. I did not find WFPB guidance. I did find recommendations to blend my waffles...ummm...no thanks. I'm sure there isn't a perfect diet and i don't believe that diet can cure cancer. I do believe that it can give my body the best fighting chance! So i have started on the journey to create my own WFPB vegan liquid diet. I hope that sharing this will help someone searching for this information OR help inspire others on a liquid diet to embrace a new way of eating.

whole food plant based vegan liquid diet

me with lymphademia head, excited for syringe feeding!

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PEG tube: this is a plastic tube which is stuck directly through your belly into your stomach. liquid nutrition is either gravity fed or pushed into it with a jumbo syringe. for me the gravity feed took FOREVER, like literally most of my day was hooked to the thing. i was super excited when i graduated to the syringe and over the moon when Dr.Ha popped that sucker at 2 weeks after my radiation was done!

peg tube installed

peg tube site HEALED!

Romanesco Cauliflower

my core READING material

The Proof is in the Plants

by Simon Hill

I'm probably a little TOO obsessed with Simon Hill right now! Some of the book might go a little deep into the science for some people - but i like having the data and knowing that this guy researches (when bogged down, SKIM) ! Bottom line - stay away from anything that isn't a plant. Focus on variety in a whole food plant based diet!

The Forks Over Knives Plan : How to transition to the life-saving, whole food, plant based diet

by Alona Pulde, MD + Matthew Lederman, MD

This is very reader friendly! BONUS, if you really hate reading...watch the movie! 

Anti cancer, A new Way of Life

by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

I previewed about 10 books on 'anti-cancer' diet/lifestyle and was horrified at how many of them had a tone of, its kind of your fault if you got cancer, and if you had lived this way you wouldn't have it. I call bullshit. Right, here I am with this list of nutrition books and a WFPB liquid diet, so huh? I believe we do need to give our bodies every chance at preventing disease through lifestyle and nutrition, but i also believe there is some shit (genetics, hidden environmental, etc) that's just out of our control. This book does a good job at NOT victim blaming. It also covers a variety of aspects including Food, Mind and Body. Fairly easy read!

Fiber Fueled

by Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI

It's all about the microbiome baby! Much of the take away here is the same as The Proof - eat whole grains, veggies and fruit! The focus, however, is derivative of his research on the microbiome as he is a gastroenterologist. Love his insta too! @theguthealthmd

VEGAN? really?

Image by Claudio Schwarz

Dude, i'm telling you!!! Give it a shot. Read The Proof or listen to Simon's podcast. All the cool kids are doing it!! As i said, i'm not a nutritionist and you are free to believe what you want...but read the books above and i feel confident you will come away a WFPB primarily vegan! (full disclosure, if i could still enjoy ice cream i would still keep that indulgence!) Bottom line is, its just better for your body, SCIENCE says so!

So what do vegans eat? Check out this Food Pyramid from Simon Hill.

the proof pyramid.png

All about that Macro.

There seem to be so many differing opinions on macros. I tend to like the Simon Hill approach of not getting too hung up on them and focus on quality and diversity of food. 

That being said, i do track them on Cronomoter. I also tend to tweek them depending on my latest reading, and use them as a loose reference. I am still using Kate Farms to calorie supplement as needed and they are loaded with unsaturated fat, and 20g of sugar per box - which is NOT listed on the side of the box! However, as I'm battling to keep weight on, they are quick, easy to swallow, and not that filling. In relation to MACROS - they blow away my fat percentage. 

With a grain of salt, (why a grain of salt? I have read multiple guidelines and they all differ so this is what i have settled on as my lowest common denominator)...and like Simon Says 'focus on food groups, not macronutrients'. BUT cronometer doesn't track food groups so i do use the macros as an overview of my nutrition.

 

my current MACRO goals:

Protein         17%

Net Carbs    66%

Fat                15%

Whoa...why so many carbs? Aren't carbs bad? I'm not a nutritionist. I recommend reading all the books above (and more!) to understand ins and outs. But in summary, they are good carbs coming from whole foods (beans, grains, legumes, etc), rather than processed food carbs. Whole different ballgame.

Protein, Protein, Protein....getting enough protein seems to be the national obsession of the moment. First, you absolutely positively do not need to eat meat to get protein or 'enough' protein (read the books!). How much protein and it is also a raging debate. This is just what I have settled on for myself from my reading. 

 

Almost all my fats are polyunsaturated, primarily from nuts and seeds, and Kate Farms + Owyn, which i'm STILL using to calorie supplement. #getofthejuice #goals

#GOALS

eat for diversity : 

forty unique plants per week!

Tracking calories and macros.

I have tried both MyFitnessPal and Cronometer. I highly recommend Cronometer. With the FREE version you can fairly easily adjust and view at a glance your calories AND macros. Very easy to use on your phone and to create your own 'custom' recipes.

Why bother? Well especially when adjusting to this whole new way of eating, i found it very important to track. Left to my own devices i definitely would NOT eat enough. When food stops bringing you the sensory pleasure of taste, let's face it, there are more fun things to do!

As i really want to hone in and eat 'my best life' diet, tracking keeps me accountable!

cronometer.png

Liquid diet sample day.

Right, all well and good, but what do i actually eat? errr...i mean drink...

Fluids really fill you up, no really. While drinking formula is pretty effortless, drinking my homemade meals takes more or less effort depending on how thin i mix them on any given day. This translates to my eating small 'meals' across the whole day.

This usually plays out as such:

  • (1) Kate Farms 

  • COFFEE!

  • Breakfast Bowl

  • Smoothie

  • Grain Bowl

  • Soup

  • (1) Owyn

Doesn't look that challenging, however its 7 'meals' over the course of 12 hours means more than one meal every two hours. Thus why i meal prep and freeze everything. 

BEVERAGES: water, water, water and COFFEE and water, water, water

blueberryswirls.jpg
How this plays out in the Cronometer App :
daily food log.png
Using Cronometer's settings, you can easily track your calorie consumption and make sure that you are meeting your daily requirements. I personally use Cronometer to maintain my weight and even strive to exceed my calorie intake to gain muscle mass (first time ever!).
daily energy.png

You can see how i'm doing on my macro goals here. Again, not uptight about the ebb and flow of them! ALSO, as you can see...no problem getting PROTEIN as a vegan!

I also went in and customized my nutrient goals, but you do NOT have to do this! Just me going nerd.
dialy nutrient summary.png
and then expanded even FURTHER...

Tools of the Trade

Ninja!!!!
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Immersion Blender
Mini food processor
Non-dairy milk maker
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A high quality blender is an absolute MUST. I got lucky and happened to have inherited a Ninja from my mom.

I literally use my immersion blender for almost every single meal i eat. I do meal prep and freeze so i nuke in the micro and then blend, or add non-dairy milk and blend to get the right consistency for me and the challenge i'm up for at the moment! I also have started carrying this with me for travel meal prep.

Okay, so i have this Sunbeam Oskar and i can't remember if my mom gave it to me or i bought it or when i got it. I rarely used it prior...but now i love this guy. I looked it up online and i guess i must have had it a long time because i don't think they make it anymore, but i'm sure you can find something similar. I use it to finely chop nuts, dates, oats for smoothies etc. It just does a better job than dumping into the Ninja directly. 

I just got this puppy and i'm OBSESSED. I was paying $6 for 28oz of MALK oat/almond milk. With this i can make 20oz with 5 tablespoons of oats or 2 tbsp almonds. AND it self cleans after each 'brew'. Brew time is approx 15 min. NOTE: yes, there are less expensive non-dairy milks out there but check out the ingredients! I just wanted oats and water no oils etc.

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