Tag Archives: neocate active

Lasagne – an unusual last supper!

I’ve been fascinated looking back over the last 4 awareness weeks and seeing how our approach to “Eating like M” has developed over time. When we first started in 2013, we chose to eat the foods that M could eat at the time, even if they were things he wouldn’t have touched with the proverbial barge pole such as mushrooms, tomatoes or courgettes and followed the lead of other EGID families by eating exactly the same as him on the Friday, including the much-dreaded Neocate Active. Year 2 followed a similar approach, though Mike matched M mouthful for mouthful on the Friday to truly understand what it felt like to be on his diet and again drank the obligatory pint of Neocate for full effect. By 2015, M’s diet had changed dramatically and when we hit NEAW15, he had only 3 safe foods he could eat. Despite initially rejecting the idea of eating like M, IMG_0496[1] Mike and I decided we would once again support him through what was proving to be an extremely challenging time and agreed to spend the week with just 3 foods making up our 3 meals with a litre of E028 to wash it all down for Mike.

2016 has taken us another step forward in our “Eating like M” adventures and this year saw G choosing to stand in solidarity with her brother and join in our week with just 5 safe foods. I am so proud that she decided to take part in this challenge with us and stoically managed the week without complaint. Once again, our week led to opportunities to share our family’s EGID story with others, including Mike’s discussions with fellow attendees at a fully catered RICS training course in London. He had expected the standard buffet lunch to be provided and had armed himself with rice-cakes and apples to get him through his day, so the hot meal that was prepared on request to meet these strict dietary requirements was a more than pleasant surprise.

One of the highlights of the week for me was our final meal on the Saturday night. I had been looking for the perfect opportunity to try out what was, to me, a completely new product and our last M-inspired dinner gave me that chance. I first heard about this product back in February at the #FFFA16, when fellow judge, Stanley Montwedi, founder of online shopping website FreeFromMarket recommended it to me and couldn’t stop raving about how amazing it was. IMG_0469[1]With NEAW16 in mind, I had ordered a couple of boxes from him and knew exactly what masterpiece I’d be whipping up next.

As a family we have always enjoyed eating pasta, but M’s food restrictions have made enjoying a variety of different pasta dishes almost impossible. Thanks to this new-to-me range of products, that is no longer the case. Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Lasagne was actually the winner of the 2015 Free From Food Awards Pasta & Pizza category and I must say that it was definitely a worthy winner. I used it to make a M-friendly chicken lasagne, layering strips of chicken with the pasta sheets and lashings of white sauce flavoured with basil and oregano. I didn’t pre-soak the sheets as per the cooking instructions, but given the limited sauce that could be added to my lasagne, we all found them quite chewy, so I think I will try soaking them beforehand the next time I cook it. And believe me, there will be a next time because the whole family was impressed with this dish. M enjoyed it so much that he asked for it for lunch and dinner 3 days in a row and was most disappointed to discover that it did eventually run out! The Rizopia rice pasta range includes lots of different shapes of pasta which are all safe for M and will add some much-needed variety to his meal-times.


Day 6: Educating those around us

With the growth of the internet and the increasing popularity of social media platforms as well as the plethora of blogs out there that cover a multitude of topics, the world has become a lot smaller and it’s easier to spread the word and work towards greater understanding. Our family has become adept at educating those around us about EGID, a necessity when even the medical community struggles to reach a consensus about this rare disease and whether it really exists or is simply part of a much bigger picture. As a quick aside, try living with anyone who is in the midst of an EGID flare and, bigger picture or not, you’ll understand why we will continue to fight for research into this unquestionably chronic and life-impacting illness. T_2384403_orighe same is true when it comes to feeding tubes as sadly misconceptions are rife and the reasons behind a tube can be as complex and individual as there are stars in the sky. Even with children or adults living with the exact same condition, their symptoms and need for additional nutrition can be vastly different.

Of course, those of us who live with the reality of additional nutritional support and tube-feeding often have the best opportunity to educate those around us about it, but we can’t do it on our own. PINNT (Patients on Intravenous & Nasogastric Nutrition Therapy) here in the UK and the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation in the USA do an amazing job of supporting families going through nutrition therapy, be that newcomers to the world of tube-feeding or those who’ve been doing it for years. They also provide tools and advice that can be effectively used to educate the outside world about the reasons behind this treatment and how to give easy-to-understand answers to the most difficult of questions.

Last year, M made a video for National Eosinophilic Awareness Week, which he used to help teach his classmates and the wider school not just about EGID, but also about his tube and, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t think of a better way to help educate my community than sharing it once again:

United we stand

Yes, you guessed it, today is:

U for Unite-page0001

and signifies perhaps the hardest challenge we’ve taken on for EGID awareness week, ever. This week Mike and I are standing in solidarity with M and with all those other brave souls out there who have to battle with EGID every day and have no chance to opt out when things get tough. For the past 2 years, I’ve documented how we’ve followed M’s diet for the week, restricting our diets as he has to restrict his and even drinking the occasional glass of Neocate Active to get a glimpse into that aspect of his life.

IMG_0940When we first started planning our activities for this year’s awareness week, I briefly considered eating like M again, but dismissed it, thinking that the limitations of 3 ingredients and a litre of E028 on a daily basis might just prove to be too much for both Mike and me.  However, fast forward a few weeks to my preparations for my newspaper interview and I revisited the idea of “eating like M” and wondered if actually this might be something we could achieve.  I chatted it over with Mike, debated whether we could do it and, both being keen to give it a go, decided this would be our diet for the week.  Each day will be filled with 3 meals of rice, chicken and cucumber prepared in a variety of ways and Mike will even be drinking the litre of E028.  I have undertaken this with careful consideration of my own T1D and will be keeping an even tighter eye on my blood sugar management to make sure that I stay fit and healthy during the week.  I have also opted out of the E028, but will be partaking in a pint of Neocate Active everyday to show willing.

We’re not on our own either as there are other parents, family members and friends who will be spending some or all of this week eating like their loved ones. Trust me, it’s not an easy decision to make, but is a great way to raise awareness and get conversations started, which is reason enough to stick to it for a week. I am filled with admiration for just how well M has coped with such a bland diet for so long and have been struck with the harsh reality of how much pain he must have been in for years to be able to cope with these limitations just because it’s helping him feel better. Three_Musketeers_SwordsSo tomorrow when you’re tucking into your bowl of honey nut corn flakes or a bacon roll for breakfast, or sitting with your feet up dunking a chocolate biscuit into your cup of tea, or perhaps even enjoying a plate of fish and chips for tea, spare a thought for M and the others like him who are eating a restricted diet right now or may not be able to eat anything at all.  This week it really is a case of “All for one and one for all“.

Medicines galore!

M's daily batch of medicines

M’s daily batch of medicines

Today’s post was going to be a relatively short one.  One to just give you a glimpse of the amount of medicine M takes every day.  One to raise your awareness of the medical impact of this condition; but the thing is, taking 9 medicines on a daily basis is never going to be a short story, even though compared to some EGID children, this isn’t necessarily a lot.  M does a great job of taking his daily doses and has moved on from last summer’s need for Grandma’s jam to being grown-up enough to take his capsules the “adult” way, sometimes even swallowing both of his lunch tablets at the same time – something I don’t think I could do.  I’m also going to attempt to explain what each medicine does and why he takes it, but keep in mind that I’m no medic and so my knowledge is that of an EGID Mum, nothing more.

Medicine Dose When taken Why?
Calcichew D3 1 tablet
  • Breakfast


A calcium supplement to ensure calcium intake is sufficient to protect bones due to malabsorption issues
Movicol 1 sachet mixed with 65mls milk
  • Breakfast
An osmotic laxative, which means that they relieve constipation by drawing water into the bowel to soften stools. Used to ensure M doesn’t get impacted again and we can adjust the dose as we need
Cetirizine 5mls
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This is an anti-histamine and is used to reduce or relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction.   Typically used to help skin reactions and hayfever.
Ketotifen (Zaditen) 5mls
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This is an anti-histamine and is used to reduce or relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Typically used to help symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Nalcrom (Sodium cromoglicate) 1 capsule
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Before bed
An anti-allergy medicine specifically used to prevent the symptoms of food allergy. It works to prevent the allergic reaction happening when food is eaten
Lansoprazole 1 capsule
  • Lunch
A Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to reduce the amount of acid produced by the lining of the stomach when digesting food and thereby reducing acid reflux
Senokot 5mls
  • Dinner
A stimulant laxative used to encourage the muscles of the bowel to move the stools through the body and prevent constipation. Again, we are able to adjust the dose as M needs
Neocate Active 1 sachet mixed with 300mls water
  • Evening
An elemental feed that contains amino acids, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. Used to provide dietary supplementation for children with multiple food allergies. In M’s case, we believe that this is what helps him maintain his weight
VSL #3 Probiotic 1 sachet mixed into his Neocate
  • Evening
A probiotic supplement frequently used in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It works by forming a protective barrier on the walls of the GI tract

sweetsAs well as keeping on top of all that and making sure M has the right medicines in the right doses at the right times, we also have to make sure he’s eating well and nothing creeps into his diet that shouldn’t.  Tonight was “Film night” at school and I was the parent standing at the tuck shop, scanning the ingredients of each and every item being sold to check what was and wasn’t M-friendly!  In comparison, our meals today were a lot easier:




  • Milk (200mls)
  •  Sliced pear
Bowl of:

  • Free-from cornflakes
  • Rice milk
  • Sakata rice crackers (2)
  • Fruit stars


  • Sakata rice crackers (6)
  • Peanut butter
  • Celery
  • Orange


  •  Sakata rice crackers (10)
  • Peanut butter
  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Chicken and bacon pasta (Glutafin corn pasta twirls, bacon, cucumber, carrot, corn, coconut cream and egg-free mayonnaise)


  • Chicken and bacon pasta (Glutafin corn pasta twirls, bacon, cucumber, carrot, corn, courgette, mushrooms, tomato, coconut cream and egg-free mayonnaise)
  • Chicken and bacon pasta (Glutafin corn pasta twirls, bacon, cucumber, carrot, courgette, mushroom, tomato, corn, coconut cream and egg-free mayonnaise)

  • Sliced pear (1/4)
  • Nakd cocoa orange date bar
  • Dried apricots (3)
  • Sakata rice crackers (2)
  • Peanut butter
  • Sweets
  •  Carrot cake cupcake