As we approach the end of the year and the run up to the holiday season, we wanted to share some ideas to help make your Christmas special.
Here are some suggestions for clothing, unique gifts and how to enjoy meals together over the festive season.
MND NSW Shop has lots of stocking filler items that can help to raise community awareness about MND and all profits from sales support MND NSW to continue to provide our services. There are plush puppies, clothing, small gifts and doggy bandanas! Browse our shop selection here!
Buy From The Bush is a marketplace for Australian bush businesses that are based in rural and regional Australia. The site aims to make it easier for small businesses in rural communities to sell their products and for consumers to shop with purpose. The site includes gifts, art, food, home wares, fashion and lots more! Go shopping here!
Welcome to Country
Today, there are more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses actively engaged in the delivery of over 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences. ‘Welcome to Country’ is your guide to experiencing Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australia and gives you access to accommodation, art and culture, attractions, tours and much more. Get some inspiration here!
Dress to Impress!
Tommy Hilfiger began creating Tommy Adaptive fashion in 2016 and his clothing range for men, women and children is now available in Australia. Tommy Adaptive includes design solutions which make them more comfortable and accessible such as magnetic buttons, large open necklines, velcro closures, adjustable hems and no zippers. You can view the full Tommy Adaptive range on their website here.
Australian based company EveryHuman also specialise in clothing where function and fashion are combined. Their adaptive clothing and footwear range is available in Australia & New Zealand and can be found online here. NDIS participants may also be able to access funding from their plan, discuss with your Support Coordinator for more information.
Planning a dysphagia-friendly Christmas
Special occasions like Christmas can tend to focus on enjoying and sharing food with family and friends. This can be a challenging time for someone with MND, who may have a modified diet or a PEG, and they may feel that they are missing out. So, we have some suggestions for ways to make enjoyable Christmas meals for those with dysphagia:
- Buy ready prepared food items where possible if it allows you to spend more time with your family and friends. Supermarket shelves are full of good quality, ready-to-go items that require just a little effort to adapt to your dietary needs e.g. pate, which can be pureed or mashed with a little liquid if it seems too thick.
- Roast meats puree well, just be sure to avoid skin and any overtly crispy pieces. Add thick gravy and blend to an appropriate consistency. Serve extra gravy on the side and make sure it's not too runny if the person requires thick fluids.
- Try to make the meals colourful - use lots of different coloured vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beetroot and sweet potatoes. All these vegetables can be cooked to a softer texture or easily pureed with some broth. Butter, cream or milk can also be added to boost the taste and calorie content and to get a creamy consistency. Try not to mix or blend different foods together though, as this can turn into an unappealling colour and will effect the taste of the different flavours.
- Ensure that the food is well seasoned, seasoning like chicken salt can add extra flavour to blended foods, which can lose flavour once blended. Ensure you taste the food before you serve it and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Mashed potatoes and gravy shouldn’t need much modifying but check there are no lumps in either. Butter or cream can also be added to the mash to enrich the meal.
- Try using specialty moulds for any pureed foods to help the food look more palatable. You can buy moulds from your local cooking shop or from stores such as Flavour Creations and Puree Food Molds (Note: they can be expensive, so shop around).
- Be aware of mixed consistencies in foods, such as soup with chunky vegetables, as these can be more difficult to swallow and may need to be blended to one consistency.
- A tasty dessert could be some pureed fruit, such as stewed apples or pears, with added mixed spice to give a seasonal flavour. Fresh mango can be pureed once the stone and skin are removed and made into a sweet treat. Chocolate cake can be mixed with single cream and left to soften for a few hours in advance then enjoyed with extra cream.
- Enjoy a Christmas tipple with these recipes for alcoholic ice pops, chocolate & brandy mousse and vodka jelly (pg. 65).
- Please be mindful that ice-cream, gelato and jelly can turn into runny/thinner fluids when they melt in your mouth, so might not be suitable for someone requiring thickened fluids. There are thickened ice-creams available that you can buy, please discuss this with your speech pathologist for more information.
- The MND Association in the UK also has a comprehensive guide, ‘Eating and drinking with MND’ which has lots of information and recipes and can be found online here.
If you are having difficulty swallowing, or ever cough when eating and drinking, it is important to discuss this with a speech pathologist to find the safest thickness and texture for your diet and fluids. You should also discuss your diet and nutritional needs with a dietitian.
Happy Holidays from MND NSW!