New Pureed Food Enhances Appearance of Meals
We all know the saying “you eat with your eyes” is true. If this statement wasn’t true, fine dining restaurants, celebrity chefs and the roaring cookbook trade would be out of business! So much of the ritual of eating centers on how food looks. A roast dinner. A decadent cake. The social aspect of eating in most societies is a powerful influence too. Aside from our need to survive, for many of us food represents so much about life, togetherness and abundance.
But what if food became something you wanted to avoid because of your medical condition? We examine this truth – and reveal the unlikely miracle agent providing a wonderful solution.
What Is Dysphagia?
A large group of our population cannot enjoy food the same way they used to. Dysphagia is a secondary medical condition affecting the nervous system, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke or multiple sclerosis. Dysphagia is also caused by cancer of the mouth or oesophagus, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), weakened muscle tone or dentures that don’t fit properly. It causes difficulty in swallowing.
A Distressing Disease
Because of the unpleasant side effects associated with eating – such as choking – many people understandably regard it as stressful and upsetting. Dysphagia can result in malnutrition or dehydration as well as being psychologically and emotionally distressing. In addition to not wanting to eat, individuals with Dysphagia avoid social gatherings and anything related to food, such as celebrations of birthdays.
75% of care home residents suffer from dysphagia, and 65% of dementia sufferers also suffer from it. Care services have, up until now, struggled to adequately feed using pureed food (or “smooth” diets). There has been no alternative and little in the way of support for their challenges. Research shows care staff have a lack of sufficient knowledge about dysphagia due to meagre resources for training, let alone finding a solution to making pureed food a dignified dining experience. Both care home staff and residents have battled insufficient resources and support while living with and trying to treat this condition effectively.
What we see on our plate has a profound influence over our decision to eat and enjoyment of eating. “People’s perception is typically dominated by what they see,” says Charles Spence, Oxford Professor of experimental psychology. Dysphagia sufferers surviving on a traditional smooth food diet were receiving some of their required calorific content, but the pleasure in eating was lost, causing a myriad of troubling consequences and difficulties.
Gelea: Miracle Agent
Enter a humble thickening agent called Gelea, and a German company determined to revolutionise the smooth food diet and help individuals feel like they are eating for nourishment and enjoyment again.
Gelea transforms pureed food back into its original form. This means a carrot can be pureed, then Gelea is added and it is reformed into a carrot and placed on a dinner plate. The same principle goes for all other food groups. This means dysphagia sufferers can eat a roast dinner that looks like a roast dinner. Not only does the food look like food, it also continues to assist by being easily dissolved in the mouth, just like pureed food.
The results have been extraordinary. Both care home staff and care home residents trialling the product report that mealtimes have been transformed. Care services, private care homes and providers of care home meals are lining up to try this miracle product to transform the lives of their residents.