It's no secret that my son Jack has a lot going on medically. Besides the eosinophilic esophagitis and many food allergies, he's also got an extremely rare chromosomal disorder. In many cases, children with chromosomal disorders grow differently than typical children. Most times they are smaller though some conditions can cause them to grow too quickly. Eitherway, it is difficult to judge a genetically different child's growth on a growth chart made for average children, because while they may not be anywhere near the 50th percentile, they may be growing just the way their genes are directing them to. That makes it very hard to tell if a child with chromosomal abnormalities is growing slowly because that's what he/she is made to do, or because they are not getting adequate nutrition.
The first thing that tipped Jack's doctors off (but not the first thing that tipped his mom off) that something wasn't quite right with him was that, on his birthday, he weighed just 17lbs, despite being born at a normal 8lbs. After birth, he has just seemed to grow r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, and that's ok. However, he has a nutritionist that comes every two weeks to our house to weigh him and talk about any concerns we may have since his diet is so restricted, The last two times she has come (a 4 week period), he's lost weight. He's gone from 29lbs to 28.4lbs to now 27.8lbs. Obviously, his genes may make him grow slowly but they probably aren't making him lose weight, so his calorie intake is not adequate. It's very hard to get enough calories when you take dairy and eggs and tasty things made of wheat like bread, cake, and cookies out of the equation, and when eating is sometimes painful and traumatic.
ENTER the magical dairy free egg free weight gain smoothie!
Together with Jack's wonderful nutritionist, Miss Ashley, we have come up with a yummy recipe. It's by no means a recipe that needs to be strictly adhered to to be tasty, you can omitt or add practicaly anything and it'll still probably taste good, but here is our recipe!
We call this a Marshmallow Smoothie because it smells and tastes like marshamllows, despite having an avocado in the recipe!
1 very ripe medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1 large ripe banana (frozen works best but not necessary)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vanilla non dairy ice cream (such as Rice Dream or SO Delicious coconut ice cream)
1/3-1 cup vanilla almond or soy milk (as much as needed to reach desired consistency)
2 tsp honey or agave nectar, if needed for sweetness
We also add 4 scoops of vanilla Elecare Jr. for extra calories, but it tastes almost the same without it.
Blend all until creamy and smooth. Makes a whole lot, but I make it in the morning, keep the rest in the fridge and give it to him between meals.
You could throw in some berries, but for Jack I wouldn't use berries with lots of seeds and he hates blueberries so, it's sort of out of the question. Dates are high in calories, as are raisins but you might need a food processor instead of a blender to really puree those. Peanut butter and/or cocoa powder would be yummy also. There's really no limit to what you can throw in a blender and turn into a smoothie, lol! Yesterday I added too much soy milk and it was pretty watery so I poured in a bit of baby rice cereal that we still had laying around to thicken it up. Worked like a charm! Only use a little though because the cereal thickens up as it sits and becomes a little like semi-wet cement. ;)