Maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle for people with CF for a combination of reasons. Most people with CF are pancreatic insufficient, which means their body does not break down fats and protein. These people need to take digestive enzymes every time they eat. A high calorie diet is needed to counteract this mal-absorption. It's also needed as people with CF are working harder to breath than you or I. Simply living, burns more calories than average. And during periods of sickness, weight is easily lost., when it is needed the most.
There is a direct link between having a high BMI and being healthier overall. It wasn't until people with CF were told to have a high calorie diet, in conjunction with enzymes being used, that the a age life expectancy increased past teenage years.
All of this information puts stress on parents feeding their kids with CF. Suddenly "healthy" takes in a new meaning. In the early days, your baby is monitored, charted, weighed, measured so closely, you feel like you are raising a prize turkey.
During our visits with our dietician, I was interrogated with hundreds of questions. How much of this? How much salt? How much do you add to this? How much milk? How many poos? What colour/consistency? How long do you spend eating?"
If the dot on the graph drops below a certain point, then there are things to try. Polyjoule, pediasure, formula, appetite stimulants, Ensure, feeding tube. It's like a big black cloud hanging over you, waiting to rain at any time.
And then like everything else on my CF journey so far, I stop listening enough to do my own research and start thinking for myself. There is a whole world of good food out there. Why can't I use it? To be fair, our dieticians have always told us that a CF diet is not a free pass to junk food. But in my experience, healthy alternatives have not been widely suggested.
So the whole point of this entry is to share the following link with you. I started to post it on Team Ruby but waffled on do much, it passed "status length". The post is written by Jo at Quirky Cooking and is a wealth of knowledge about gaining weight in a healthy way. Because, to be brutally honest (as I always am), people with CF never used to have to worry about their health in old age. Getting to old age was beating the odds in itself. Now, people with CF are living past their 30's and overall health is so so important. That's hard to achieve if a high fat diet is a result of empty calories from McDs and KFC.
So if you want to get a bit if an idea on what "real" food is out there, read through this link:
Nourishing & Strengthening Foods . . . for those who are Underweight or Recovering from Illnesses
Oh, and did I mention I'm getting a Thermomix? It's my new weapon in my war against CF!