Friday, February 29, 2008

Blend It! Plunge It! Slurp It!

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When Ken and I got married it was almost sacrosanct to get a blender as a wedding gift. We didn't break with tradition! Our blender mostly sat in the cupboard or in a box as it moved with us from place to place. Occasionally I would haul it out of its dark cupboard , quickly use it, and hide it again.
No longer is it the neglected kitchen gagdget! It, in all its 70's glory, is now proudly displayed on our kitchen counter next to a cool antique cubby and some great glass crocks holding flour and sugar. Finally this vintage Osterizer has come into it's own by becoming the most used item in our kitchen! All hail the mighty blender!
Due to the type of cancer Ken has, at this stage, all of his food has to be easily swallowable. (Think smoothie texture people!) Every patient is different. One person we heard of ate nothing but 12 cups of custard a day! (Yum) Another, towards the end could only stand to swallow sour cream due to its cooling nature and creamy texture. One wife got creative and made an entire cookbook of her special recipes, which she shared with us. But for some reason, canned salmon with vanilla Ensure didn't appeal to Ken's fine pallate. (nor did turkey baby food with vanilla Ensure . . .go figure?!)
We have finally come up with what works best for Ken right now - though it could change. So as a treat for you today, and as Ken's first guest blogger and executive chef of the Carlson Cancer Cuisine, I (Victoria, aka The Queen Vee) thought I'd give you a peek at what's keeping the big guy going - with 3000 calories a day! Here's how we do it:
Breakfast: The 1000 Calorie Shake Recipe
One scoop whey protein
One cup true, real, all the fat, vanilla ice cream
One container Ensure PLUS (chocholate, vanilla or strawberry)
One cup full fat yogurt in flavor of the day
Canned fruit of your choice
Add 2% milk and whole cream, baby!
Not only does this breakfast provide 1000 calories, it also gives Ken 24 ounces of his daily requirement of 110 ounces of liquid! Bottoms up, Ken -in this fabulous cup given to Ken by a really thoughtful HIGH SCHOOL classmate, Mary Cady. At least we know he won't forget his name.
We hesitated using Ken's feeding PEG tube (hereafter referred to lovingly as "The Pegster") because we didn't want him to lose his ability to swallow. But after a week of rapid weight loss and a bit of a chewing out by the doctors, we embraced The Pegster for lunch and snack times and found that it has taken some pressure off of Ken, allowing him to focus his swallowing around breakfast and dinner times. He now takes one third of his daily calories through The Pegster. This could increase toward the end due to swallowing difficulties.

Lunch: The 900 Calorie Plunge Recipe
2 cans Isosource liquid (do not try at home . . . nasty, nasty stuff)
1 container Ensure
Secret Ingredient - 1/2 cup straight prune juice (mmmm...)
1/2 cup salted water

Personal aside by daughter Samantha who is editing this post: Watching the plunge is a real treat. Mom and dad have a little system I call the Pinch n' Plunge. It involves Dad pinching the tube, mom filling the syringe and saying "Go!" when she's ready to plunge. They do this in quick sucession about ten times with the delectible recipe above. When it's done, Mom turns to Dad and says, "How was it, dear?" He lovingly answers, "Delish!" It is a complete riot!

The Pinch n' Plunge by a great team!
He looks happy (and really good, too). It must be tasty!

Dinner: A pureed soup du jour followed by the second 1000 calorie shake of the day. His current favorite is egg drop soup from the Asia Cafe. He also favors Campbell's Bean with Bacon run through the blender. The good thing about both soups is they are high in protein, which he needs.


Dessert: As if he hasn't had enough ice cream - and the doctors have told him to have as much as he wants - some evenings he tops it all off with a NASCAR sponsered Klondike Bar zapped in the microwave for softening.

I log everything Ken eats and drinks into a food journal. At the end of the day I tally up his calories and fluid intake and if it isn't high enough we do the "Pinch 'n Plunge" to make up for the missing numbers.

I've ventured a guess that he may never want soup and smoothies again after this, but he says he will. One nice thing about this for me, is that after 38 1/2 years, I have a break from cooking. Now if I could just get my kids to quit coming over for dinner . . .

We're halfway through Ken's treatment - a real milestone. We've hit our stride and Ken's spirits are good. The next few weeks will be the most challenging with The Pegster becoming a more frequent option. We feel your prayers and we'll see you on the high ground.


Matt said...

After reading this post I've decided that a 3000 calorie diet is a lot of work! By the way, I love that blender. They don't build them as well as they used to that's for sure. Mindy and I discovered today that are second one is broken which means we will purchasing our 3 blender in 8 years.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Thank you SO much for the day-in-the-life look at the diet!! That was really, really interesting - seriously. And, you two are undeniably the funniest people I know. I really hope T and I are that funny when we are "blending" our food.

The plunging photo is the best one ever. It kinda sums it all up.

Tobi said...

Seriously all you Carlson's are some of the funniest people I know. Keep laughing through your trials and I'm sure it will smooth out your bumpy path. Thanks for showing us the hard work that goes into staying into heathly. Your dedication and hard work is simply marvelous.

The Carlsons said...

You totally need a hand held blender. Forget that real blender crap. To much clean up and you know me....I hate to clean. I have not used my real blender in about 7 years and I use my hand blender several times a week....and it still works. And seriously, if I had to take in 3000 calories a day you'd see a big smile on my face. Dad I know it's hard for you. I wish I could consume the calories for you and you could but on the weight. Some of us would love to consume that much food....yummy, yummy!

Pinspot said...

Great post Chef Carlson! It's nice to read how this is all going from a fresh perspective. And you made me laugh out loud!

What could be better than a green light from your doctor to eat ALL THE ICE CREAM YOU WANT? You're livin' the dream Dad, livin' the dream.

Crazy Granny said...

That almost makes me want to get the 33 year old blender out of my cupboard and give it all the praise and glory that it rightfully deserves. Keep on sipping, sucking, slurping and whatever it takes to keep going Ken.

squeezeme said...

Whew! And I thought feeding "selective" youngsters was a lot of work. I'm on the drink 100 oz. of water a day plan.....and that feels totally consuming. I wouldn't even know where to begin counting calories! Victoria, you are an amazing manager of Ken's nutritional intake! Thanks for sharing the details with us. Ken, we love you and look forward to taking you out for steak dinner someday!