Finding it hard to eat physically can drop your health faster than you can blink. You may be starving, but the pain, difficulty, and sheer frustration of the fact that you can’t eat your favorite foods like normal can easily put you off. Once is no big deal, but when you live with dysphagia, there is no once. It’s an ongoing condition. If you don’t find a new way to consume the liquids and foods your body needs to survive, you’ll end up putting your health in a very precarious situation.
However, with the right mindset and a new approach, you can thrive even with this new difficulty to swallow. This is especially true if it started because you have or have beaten other health issues like cancer or a stroke. You need those nutrients, and you need to enjoy life. With this guide, you’ll learn just how you can reinvent your approach today:
Smaller Meals, More Often
Smaller is better when you live with dysphagia. Eating a big meal all at once can be exhausting and painful. That’s why you should skip the big meal approach and instead look into how you can eat more meals (say, five or six) instead. This will keep you healthy and full and spare your throat by making it into a marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t think you need to eat a full meal, either. Having a light soup as an in-between meal can help give you that extra energy, soothe your throat, and help you stay hydrated.
Thicken Your Liquids
Hydration is one of the hardest aspects for those living with dysphagia. The good news is that you don’t need to try to choke down those thin liquids or deal with the taste of cornstarch in your tea. Instead, you can use this taste-free SimplyThick thickener for food and drinks.
One packet will thicken your drink up to a syrupy consistency. If you need it to be thicker, you can use another packet. This simple system makes it easy to adapt any drink, anywhere. You don’t need to be at home to drink properly. Instead, you just need to have a few of those packets in your pocket, wallet, or purse, and you’ll be good to go.
Prepare Your Meals
The DDSI, which is the organization that works on providing research, education, and solutions for those living with dysphagia, has created a level system for foods, from soft food to liquidized foods. Their system can help you understand both what type of food prep your meals will need and also how to best achieve just that. You’ll likely need to go through a trial-and-error process. Create and prep a meal at various stages. You can take pulled pork, for example, and try eating it at different stages. For best results, rank each experience with a numerical scale on several factors of eating, from taste to ability to swallow, and so on. This way, you can clearly see which level of preparation suits you best.
Always Add Moisture
When preparing your meal, always add extra moisture to the dish. This can be done with a thickening agent or with sauce. It depends on the taste requirements of the dish or your personal preference. Either way, more moisture in your food will make it easier to swallow and also taste better, too.