PKU now - compared to our past
PKU life is so different today and not only do the newer PKU foods make things more convenient, but they also taste a million times better too!
Nowadays, regardless of what foods you feel you’re missing out on, there is almost always an alternative. Albeit, sometimes you need to make it yourself - but the products make things so easy!
For example, if you want to make a cake (quickly), you can by whisking a packet of Fate Cake Mix with 65g of margarine and the right amount of juice/water, then putting it in a bowl with some jam and sticking it in the microwave for 4 and a half minutes.
There you have it!
A cake in 4 and a half minutes, and it turns out just as you would expect a jam sponge to be!
With the versatile savoury Fate Mix, you can make absolutely anything from omelettes to cookies, garlic bread to burgers, and chestnut roasts to summer puddings.
Your options are almost limitless, and the flour is so easy to work with!
You’re all so knowledgeable with recipe ideas on Facebook...
Returning to PKU formula…
New versions of PKU formula, made from GMP, (milk based) has now allowed taking our PKU formula to be literally drinking milkshakes every day. Happy days!
No more mixing up a gloopy liquid with that awful white powder, just grab a carton and drink it - or even make a fruit smoothie with your formula and have it with your breakfast to start the day.
Maybe you would miss the convenience of grabbing quick snacks to help get you through your day, but Promin have pasta, and instant potato pots available (which you just add hot water) – along with a low protein alternative to crisps and even breakfast bars you can grab on your way out to work.
As a substitute for meat, Promin and Mevalia have thought this through and have burger and sausage mixes available – which are a brilliant addition to your plate.
I even use the lamb and mint burger mix in stews, too (to give a naughty, lamb flavoured ‘kick’).
Mevalia also have some brilliantly soft breads, which you would never have believed SOFT bread would ever be released within the PKU products, but it is absolutely a ‘thing’ these days. You can even choose between white bread, brown bread, ciabatta rolls, mini baguettes and pizza bases – as well as other snacks and baking products all available from Mevalia’s selection on prescription.
There are several milk alternatives, with my personal favourite being ‘Sno Pro’ - manufactured by Nutricia. I find Sno Pro to be the creamiest milk alternative on the PKU market, and the lattés I make with it are pretty amazing (if I may say so myself)!
There are also some excellent products available for us in the supermarkets too (thank the lord for the rise of veganism).
PKU Friendly Foods Available at Supermarkets
Back in the 1990s I would never have dreamt I would have been able to eat something as simple as cheese on toast within the constraints of the PKU restrictions, but the vegan trend has helped us out unbelievably (certainly over the last few years).
Violife cheese comes in a variety of forms - available as cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, blue cheese, soft cheese spread, and many more (with most being completely free of phenylalanine) and plenty more suitable vegan cheeses are obtainable in the ‘Free From’ sections of various supermarkets.
Coconut milk is also suitable for us, and most brands are low enough in protein for us to drink it (or pour on our cereal) completely exchange free – a world away from the days of pouring on fresh orange juice instead.
Surely, I’m not the only one who done that! (Cringe)
‘Koko’ are another manufacturer who produce yoghurts which are only half an exchange per pot.
Yoghurts being another thing I accepted, as a child, I would never be able to have without PKU repercussions – but now we can!
There has also been a lot of fuss in the PKU community about the foods available from ‘Hooba’ Meat Free Products, and rightly so!
I’ve recently tried the ‘Hooba’ products for myself and, although we need to count these in to our daily protein exchanges, they are as close to the real thing as you could possibly imagine them to be and well worth sacrificing exchanges for (in my opinion).
These meat free foods allow us to choose from Cumberland Sausages, Harissa Sausages, Breakfast Sausages, Apple and Sage Sausages, Meat Free Burgers, Meat Free Meatballs and Meat Free Mince – all brilliant options and very tasty!
There are many other products out there, and we are constantly sharing new discoveries with each other on the PKU social media pages to help one another eat within the PKU restrictions.
Why not join the PKU community on Facebook (if you don’t already)?
Although I speak so highly of the foods we can eat these days, there is still no excusing the reality of PKU being a tough diet to adhere to.
It was difficult as a child, it’s difficult now, and I’d expect it always to remain difficult in the future; but when your formula is now just like drinking a milkshake, we have our own meat alternatives, and we can eat simple snacks (like cheese on toast) completely exchange free. This was unthinkable when I was a child and it makes life with PKU so much more manageable.
As a message to any PKUers not on treatment, and unaware of the available PKU friendly foods these days, a return to eating the way your body is designed to is likely to be surprisingly easier to manage than you remember, and, of course, there’s always the cognitive advantages to look forward to as a result.