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Home Nutritionist and Recovery

Thursday, September 06, 2012

When we're little, our parents are responsible for teaching us how to tie our shoes, dress ourselves, clean up our boo-boos, and how to eat. For the first decade of our lives, our parents are completely responsible for the foods we put in our bodies.

It's interesting to me how as my parents pass from middle age into senior citizens that the role has changed.

After my dad's surgery, I have pretty much taken over the kitchen. As I've mentioned in the past, my parents raised me on mostly produce and fruit, so I have an easier base to start with. I don't have to fight with them too much to eat their veggies.

Since they are both now retired, I'm a little surprised how their nutrition seems to have reverted to more processed foods. In retirement, you'd think they'd have more time to shop and prepare foods, but it seems they have stocked up on 'convenience foods' so they have to go out less.

Today I'm making a pot roast in a crockpot. It's so easy. Just chop up onion, green peppers, carrots and celery; brown chuck roast in a pan; put in crockpot with chicken stock and turn on low for 10 hours. That's it. Easy. That's what I call convenience food. I'm hoping to remind them good food comes from ingredients, and not boxes.

My dad hasn't been eating much since the surgery, which is worrying. I'm not sure if it's an appetite loss. I was absolutely appalled by how little he was eating - I eat more food than he does! A nurse came by to check on him, and fortunately I was able to get her on my side. She said he needs to eat about 180g protein in his recovery. I'm not sure why he's been reluctant to eat. I gave him a chicken breast the other night, and he thought it was too much food. I don't know where it is coming from, but it's concerning. Protein and calories are what's needed to recover.

I bought protein shakes and protein bars to get his protein levels up. I'd rather he eat real food, but it's more important to do something. I checked the package labels, and bought ones that had the least sugar I could find. Not terribly easy to find.

So I guess I'm in the role of home nutritionist. Which is fine with me. I enjoy doing it, and it's keeping me busy.

My dad is doing better, but not out of the woods. The risk is pneumonia and wound infection for several more weeks. We have to try and minimize these risks. And as you know, I believe nutrition is the best medicine.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I nursed my dad for 3-1/2 yrs so I know how it feels to be on 'that side' - good luck with his recovery. I hope he gets well fast!
    1989 days ago
    Good for you, sticking to the way you were raised. emoticon
    It isn't easy to turn the tables on your parents. Good luck. emoticon
    1990 days ago
    It can be really difficult to feed a senior who just doesn't want to eat. We took turns preparing meals for my grandfather for about three years. He didn't like what he called "soft" or "bitter" lettuce, and got finicky when we had to begin reducing his sodium and protein intake. Like your parents, though, we were lucky that he preferred more whole foods than processed foods. I hope that you find joy in your role as home nutritionist, along the worry that you feel.
    1990 days ago
    Processed foods are also easier to digest as well as chew.

    I used to work with a woman who volunteered at a food pantry. One day, she brought in piles of bread. It was loaf after loaf of day old European style crusty bread. places like Whole Foods donate bread that's past its expiration date. Well, she brings in these loaves of bread and I asked her why didn't the pantry take them ? She said they did take quite a bit. She even takes food over to elder care facilities. However, they wouldn't take the bread because the crusty style breads are too hard for the residents to chew. that's why we got the left overs. When I visit my aunt in her retirement facility, they tend to serve softer types of food.

    Also, processed foods are a quick source of calories. When my aunt had her hip surgery, the painkillers made it difficult for her to eat. Like your dad, my cousin gave her protein shakes like Ensure to keep up her strength.

    Hope your dad is doing better after his surgery ! the medications do make it difficult to eat.

    1990 days ago
    Your feeding them good, whole foods might just help Dad recover faster. Good job focusing on feeding them right. I'm sure they're glad to have a real home-cooked meal, too!
    1990 days ago
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