Food for resilience and recovery

Blog

Food for resilience and recovery

By Jane Clarke

March 14, 2020

High energy, Light meal, Sweets

You might be surprised to learn that when I was ill as a teenager in hospital and feeling at my most poorly, often all I would crave was a thin shortbread biscuit, all buttery and sweet, that would melt in my mouth and needed no effort to chew. Within minutes, it would give me a lift and persuade my mind and body that I did have the energy, strength and willpower to move forward and get better.

Now I see my dad, who has dementia, experiencing similar strong sweet cravings (he won’t start his savoury course without the reassurance that there is a delicious pudding to follow tout suite). Many of my patients – especially those going through cancer treatments, or who are dealing with severe pain, gastric challenges or recovery from surgery – get that same urge for sweetness, but then feel fear around eating sugar when they most need to protect and nurture their health.

When the body is in crisis, or has digestive or other challenges, we instinctively crave the nourishment which is easiest to absorb – and top of the list is sugar. We know how delicious it is, but also, because some of it is instantly absorbed through the roof of the mouth, we get an endorphin response soon after eating, which gives us that ‘I feel strong’ feeling. That’s why some of the usual rules around healthy eating can be relaxed, or simply don’t apply, when we are struggling with our health. And it’s why, after 30 years in clinical practice, I’ve designed Nourish Drinks with this knowledge in mind.

When we are coping with cancer treatments, the high metabolic requirements created by tumour cells, or the need to recover from surgery, our body requires many more calories than usual. Without them, not only do we not have the physical strength to recover, but we run the very real risk of becoming undernourished and increasingly vulnerable to infection. So-called ‘clean eating’ and low-fat, high-fibre and sugar-free foods simply won’t give our body the fuel it needs to help build strength and endurance. Healthy fats give us energy and help the absorption of certain vitamins; too much fibre fills us up and, when the appetite is already poor, prevents us getting essential nourishment; and sugar provides a source of easily absorbed energy.

Each Nourish Drink contains a careful balance of protein, essential fats, carbohydrates and 26 vitamins and minerals to give your body all the nutrition it needs in a single serving (one carton is a complete meal replacement). The organic dairy milk, cream, fruits and chocolate in the recipes contribute natural sugar to our Nourish Drinks. But I’ve also add a small amount of organic, unrefined sugar in order to provide essential calories. The protein from the milk and cream helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, meaning the drinks provide a sustained source of energy and you’re less likely to experience the classic sugar high followed by a crash that other sweet foods can cause.

So many customers have already told us the difference Nourish Drinks have made to their life, or to their loved one. If you have any questions about Nourish Drinks, please go to our FAQs where we talk more about the ingredients. And take a look at our blogs, below, for more insight into sugar and fibre, and their role in our diets.

‘Just love these drinks and they are so useful during chemo. It helps me get nourishment to the body fast when I have a dip that is caused by nausea or missing the signal for my refuelling opportunity. Thank you!’
Cheryl, a Nourish customer

 

Related articles
Sugar 
Does sugar feed cancer?
Fuel vs fibre: how to find the right balance
Fibre: when the only option is to go low
Video: When you need a low-fibre diet

Nourish Drinks come in Mango, Raspberry, Vanilla and Chocolate flavours

Explore more like this

Read our blogs for helpful advice and Nourish knowhow

View blog
'Baking was my solace when Mum had dementia'

'Baking was my solace when Mum had dementia'

Julie Jones is credited for creating ‘the most beautiful pastry on Instagram’. But it was her mother’s diagnosis of dementia and a desire to find an activity they could share to...

View blog
Anxiety & appetite: what to eat when stress affects your stomach

Anxiety & appetite: what to eat when stress affects your stomach

We've all felt that cramping, gut-wrenching feeling in our stomach when we're anxious, and it's as physical as it is emotional. Stress triggers our fight or flight response – ou...

View blog
Life with dementia can still be an adventure

Life with dementia can still be an adventure

Life can shrink when you are living with dementia. It’s not just the diagnosis itself that limits you; it’s the loss of confidence it can bring and the challenges of getting out...