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Nullo's avatar

Is it possible to make a life- and health-sustaining liquid diet?

Asked by Nullo (21973points) May 30th, 2012

Say you can’t chew for a month, but have no trouble with a straw and want to avoid the IV. What would you recommend?

Ordinary grocery stuff is preferable.

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13 Answers

syz's avatar

Are things like Ensure and Boost considered a balanced diet?

Fruit smoothies are a good choice, and finely textured soups, I suppose (tomato comes to mind).

gailcalled's avatar

I shared a hospital room with a woman who had ben punched in the jaw by a drunken boyfriend. It was broken and she was wired up; her primary source of nourishment was Ensure.

You can puree almost anything these days, also, with a decent blender and a quality juicer.

Coloma's avatar

For one month yes, longer would be compromising your health unless your’e in a coma and have no other choice. haha
The inventor of peanut butter was trying to come up with a high protein, nutritious food for his invalid wife that had a hard time eating. Bonus trivia. lol

boffin's avatar

It’s liquid bread…

Mariah's avatar

Another similar one to ensure and boost is Carnation’s VHC (very high calorie), it’s something like 500 or 600 calories for an 8 oz can. These all provide a lot of nutrients but are also packed with sugar, so they’re not exactly health food.

By the way, IV nutrition wouldn’t be the first logical step for someone who couldn’t chew, probably feeding via a naso-gastric tube would come first, fewer risks. Not that that’s any more pleasant, though.

Judi's avatar

I was on a medically supervised weight loss program and had milkshakes for 6 months. I think I got more nutrition in those low cal shakes than I did in the 2000–3000 calorie diet I was eating before.
You can purée most soups which can contain all the nutrients you need.

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wundayatta's avatar

My bother-in-law had tongue cancer and lost his ability to swallow. Now he survives on liquid food poured directly into his stomach via a tube the comes through the wall of his belly. It is possible to survive like this for years.

I don’t know precisely what your situation is, but I’m sure you can luiquify food and suck it down a straw if it is possible for you to suck and swallow. If not, I guess there are surgical ways to bypass the mouth and introduce food to your stomach.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes. It certainly is. My cousin has been developmentally disabled since birth. She non-ambulatory, cannot speak and though she can take food by mouth it is mostly for pleasure, when she has a taste for something particular and she will generally eat by mouth sporadically and only what she likes so it’s not a reliable way for her to get proper nutrition and a balanced diet. So, she tube fed through her stomach. She gets about 90% of her food/nutrition through the tube. She does get one, maybe a couple of Ensures, I’m not sure, and a “One-A-Day” type vitamin every day, but everything else that she is fed, through the tube, is just regular food that my aunt or one of the aids purees in an ordinary household blender. It has kept her alive for about 43 years now and physically, in terms of anything related to her diet, she is very healthy. So yes, absolutely, it can be done.

Paradox25's avatar

Juicing various fruits, vegetables and even eggs can work well here, and you’ll get more nutrients from these foods by consuming them this way. You will have to come up with a way to get your B vitamins, selenium and iron that typically we get by consuming meat products though. Maybe the eggs here?

Nullo's avatar

@Paradox25 I can actually manage small bites of food, provided that I tuck them in with my fork. I take a multivitamin.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Nullo You can puree just about anything, ordinary grocery foods, with and ordinary household blender. The issues would be 1. Like any diet, making sure you included a balance and variety of nutrients, fibers, enough calories, all that stuff. 2. Using enough liquid to make the puree the right consistency. It would necessarily have to be liquid enough to get it through a straw if chewing is the main issue, but if someone wanted to take it through a straw you would have to make it liquid enough and 3. If it is being consumed by mouth as opposed to through a stomach tube or something like that, you would have to find someway to make it reasonably palatable I think; for it to be consistent, daily source nutrition and caloric intake.

Mariah's avatar

@Nullo Eek, sorry to hear this question isn’t hypothetical. Here’s a puree soup recipe that is full of healthy stuff and calories and is delicious:


5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
1 large white potato, diced
1½ cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen (I get fresh and microwave it for 10 minutes beforehand)
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ tsp dried sage
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
⅓ cup apple cider (I use apple juice)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese


Melt 4 tbsp butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato, and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk, cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 inutes.

Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth, season with salt and pepper, garnish with grated cheddar.

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