My mother is a stroke victim who still has, after one year, a feeding tube. She is still completely bedridden and cannot speak. She has good days and bad ones, as expected. She is alert at times and doesn’t respond at others. The doctors very quickly gave up on her and wanted us to use a drip (they prescribed “Jevity”) for all her nutrition. She is at home in the round-the-clock care of my sister who feels that she needs nothing but juicing and refuses to listen to the doctors because “they only want to maintain her and we want to rebuild her”. She has obtained different recipes of fruits and vegetables needed for each different thing such as cleansing arteries, dissolving an aneurysm, building cells, etc. My mother has lost quite a bit of weight (she is only 5’4″ and was very overweight before – my guess is that she’s lost about 40 pounds) since we brought her home and my other sister feels she is being starved and wants her to be given something else, such as Ensure or go back to the ‘Jevity’ drip. She is also being given Chinese herbs and other supplements suggested by a medical doctor who has an acupuncture business is an adjoining town. Please give me your opinion/suggestions as I seem to be caught in the middle.

Your sister’s dedication is to be commended. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of many nutrients that are essential for health, but may not provide all the nutrients needed by someone who is seriously ill. Fruit and vegetable juices may provide little protein, fiber, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids all of which are necessary for health. Some may interfere with medication she is given, as may the Chinese herbs. Even though she needed to lose weight, her weight loss may be a cause for concern since this may be an indicator of malnutrition. Perhaps it is time for the three of you to revisit your mom’s diet with the input of her physician and/or a dietitian who specializes in clinical care (check with your hospital or the American Dietetic Association).

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