By Julie McCay Turner

Editor’s Note: It’s always a day to be aware of something. For instance, February 9, is unaccountably National Toothache Day, while February 5 honored Nutella. But this week has been important to someone who’s important to us, the author of  ‘100 Meals You Never Thought You’d Eat Pureed’ brought Feeding Tube Awareness Week to The Bedford Citizen’s attention, and as it draws to a close we’d like you to know why.

Jeff Hoyland – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Jeff Hoyland, the photographer who captures amazing images of student athletes and shares them with The Bedford Citizen and on “Bedford Snapshots,” a Facebook page displaying his photographs, is a “survivor of cancer treatment” according to a 2011 post on his blog, The Art of being Better. He is also the author of 100 Meals. But let us not sell Jeff short: In addition to his photo skills and medical diagnosis, Jeff is an optimist of the very best sort.

Facing the prospect of a lifetime of commercial nutritional supplement drinks or “cold fruit smoothies; tasteless veggie shakes; and creamy, milky, yummy, dairy treats,” Jeff got creative when a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube, or stomach peg, was installed after his second cancer diagnosis.

Jeff was given two choices in 2010: “1) disfigurement by toxic drugs and radiation or 2) Death.” Since he’s going strong in 2018, it’s easy to deduce that Jeff chose another option.

Randi Hoyland’s commitment to good nutrition and ‘real food’ along with Jeff’s experience at the Emerson Hospital Head and Neck Cancer Survivors’ group led to their experimentation with pureed meals.

“The [meals] are designed to nourish the soul,” Hoyland writes. “The recipes are designed to get enough calories down the throat with a maximum amount of ’joy’.”

A favorite nutritionist, Emily Biever, agrees that “getting enough calories in the body is JOB NUMBER 1; getting enough protein is JOB NUMBER 2; getting enough proper fat is JOB NUMBER 3; and getting vitamins, chlorophylls, and veggies is JOB NUMBER 4.”  Jeff’s book, 100 Meals You Never Thought You Would Eat Pureed – Recipes for Head and Neck Cancer Patients, contains  “a ton of recipes that cover JOB 4.”

There are recipes for Chicken Cacciatore, turkey and stuffing, Super Bowl snacks, a hot pastrami sandwich, Philly cheese steak, strawberry waffles, and a lobster feast. The 100 Meals Facebook group, however, noted that more research would be needed to make a pureed soft pretzel taste like the real thing, even with the addition of hot/sweet mustard.

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