Monitoring Calories and Protein Consumption
After getting my g-tube placed in 2017, food became more of a luxury than a necessity for nutrition.
While my feeding tube was there to help me gain back the weight I lost and supplement calories going forward, I was still fortunate enough to eat by mouth when I felt strong enough or went to eat at a restaurant.
Trying to monitor my weight
But, a few months into having my g-tube, I didn’t want to solely rely on it for all my major caloric intake. Could I get down to just one g-tube feed while I’m sleeping? Would that be enough?
For a non-disabled person, monitoring weight is a simple process. They can easily step on a scale.
A person with a disability who can’t stand up from their wheelchair doesn’t have this luxury and can only track weight gain/loss if their doctor or hospital has a wheelchair scale. Unfortunately, it’s rare to find a doctor's office with one.
Only one of my doctors has a wheelchair scale, but my visits are every three months and are now virtual because of COVID-19. So, I stick to the unofficial monitor of how my pants fit and how much energy I have to decide if I need extra g-tube feedings.
But recently I have wanted to maintain calories more independently, meaning eating or drinking by mouth. However, although there are tools available, calculating exact calorie intake can be difficult with certain meals. With the g-tube formula, I know if I get 350 ml, I also took in around 350 calories.
Increased protein in my diet
Boost Plus shakes are an easy snack to monitor calories since they are on the label and have similar nutrient values to my g-tube formula. Sometimes I’ll drink one for breakfast instead of doing a g-tube feed.
Then I started taking Evrysdi (risdiplam) and anybody on this medication has probably seen the debate of how much protein we should be consuming. I don’t think there’s an exact amount, or confirmation that additional protein is needed, however, I have personally felt better while drinking this natural protein smoothie for breakfast or as a snack.
To me, this seemed like a healthier choice than buying protein powder or pre-made shakes. Either way, always consult your doctor before changing your diet.
My recipe for an all-natural protein smoothie
So, here is my recipe for an all-natural protein fruit smoothie. It’s quick to make, healthy, and, as you’ll see, has a significant amount of calories and protein. This smoothie has me feeling full and energized for hours.
Serving size: 750 ml (25.3 fl oz)
Prep & cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 ripe banana
- 3-4 strawberries cut in half
- 1 Tbsps peanut butter
- 1 Tbsps honey
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or non-fat Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
- Place all ingredients in a blender
- Close blender (unless you want pink walls) and blend for 20-25 seconds
- Check the consistency of the smoothie and, if needed, add more milk to thin out
- Pour into glass and enjoy!
Ways to modify this recipe
If you don’t like strawberries and bananas, then feel free to experiment with other fresh or frozen fruit. The most important part of this smoothie is the protein from the peanut butter and Greek yogurt. Also, I've found that leftovers are 100% good to save in the fridge.
Which emotional aspect of SMA do you find most difficult?