19 AUGUST 2016
Rediscover the joy of eating
Workshop teaches cancer patients how to overcome malnutrition and appetite loss by preparing food that can be swallowed easily or eaten in smaller portions.
Eating and drinking normally, and enjoying our food, is something that many of us take for granted. For many cancer patients, this is a real problem during and after treatment.
Poor appetite and difficulty in swallowing (a condition known as dysphagia) may cause patients to lose the desire to eat altogether.
As a result, they may be malnourished, which impacts on their level of immunity, their recovery, and overall quality of life.
With the aim of providing solutions to overcome malnutrition and revive appetite for people with eating challenges, CanHOPE presented a workshop on “Appetising Texture-Modified Meals” in June, conducted by local company Health Food Matters.
Participants learned about strategies to overcome malnutrition and appetite loss. The workshop also provided hands-on experience on how to create appetising texture-modified meals for people with swallowing difficulties.
The team at Health Food Matters looked to Japan for a range of high quality food products, specifically developed to help people with medical conditions to rediscover the joy of eating.
These products are used in over 4,000 healthcare institutions in Japan, and they have been around for decades. They include modifiers to thicken liquids, nutrient-dense snacks, and ready-to-eat packs that are correctly portioned for reduced appetites.
The strategy is to deliver a full intake of nutrients without the full amount or bulk.
Grace Gan, co-founder of Health Food Matters, shares her journey in bringing these products to Singapore.
“Japan is very advanced in this area. We were inspired by our trips there. The elderly, people in nursing homes or hospitals, and even those recuperating at home, had so many nutritionally modified food options.”
Ms Gan, who is also a speech therapist specialising in adult communication and swallowing impairments, observed that people in Japan, despite being sick with serious medical concerns, had a very high quality of life.
“That’s something that really inspired us,” she says, “we saw all sorts of exciting products, ranging in the thousands – it was mind-boggling.”
The company researched and sourced for selected products that would suit the needs of people here. “So far, we’ve had encouraging response from many healthcare institutions in Singapore, as well as positive feedback from people who have tried the products,” says Ms Gan.
For the full range of products available, as well as relevant nutritional information and recipes, visit healthfoodmatters.com.sg.
Written by Sharon Tan