Anatomy of a “healthy/nutritious” drink… (fake #foodie friday)

Ensure® is not good for anyone and it’s really, really bad for someone who is very ill and needs to recover.

As is clear from the last posts in which I talk about our toxic diets, I’ve been thinking about what we’ve come to consider nutritious and how far off base we so often are. I’ve worked with very ill people during my career. Often when they have a hard time eating food they are given a drink called Ensure®. It’s ridiculous to feed sick and hurting people such crap. It has virtually none of what one needs to rebuild and recover. One could quite easily make a fresh drink with egg yolks (just off the top of my head). Egg yolks are exceedingly nutritious and if they are acquired from truly free-range, pastured chickens they are very safe as well as humane. Most eggs in the supermarket, even when they say free-range are not in fact safe or humane. Sad fact.

In any case there are likely all sort of drinks that could be whipped up fresh in a blender with whole real food for those of us who are so sick and vulnerable we can no longer eat.

I, in fact, went through such a time. I did not even think of Ensure. And my husband did make drinks with plain yogurt and eggs and other nutritious goodies.

So here are the ingredients of Ensure®:

Ensure®: Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soy Protein Isolate. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Whey Protein Concentrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Salt, Carrageenan, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.
Contains milk and soy ingredients.

Let’s break it down:

First of all corn and soy are both genetically modified pretty much always unless they’re explicitly marked ORGANIC. They are also both common allergens that people aren’t aware of. Milk too is a common allergen is loaded with antibiotics unless specifically marked ORGANIC. The ingredients in this drink are not organic.

Maltodextrin is SUGAR. It’s the base of Ensure, this supposed food for the sick and ailing. The next ingredient then is again SUGAR. So the first and second ingredient we feed to very sick people in this drink is SUGAR. There is little protein in this beverage and milk doesn’t really provide very good nutrition unless it’s raw and/or cultured and a lot of sick people are allergic to standard pasteurized milk without being aware of it. It’s more likely that they have this issue if they are chronically ill. This milk will also most likely be loaded with antibiotics and growth hormone since it is not labeled organic.

Then there is Canola and Corn oil. The fat source in this phood. Healthy fat is very important for a sick body. These are NOT healthy fats. See more about industrial seed oils here. (scroll down the page to the heading: Industrial seed oils: unnatural and unfit for human consumption)

The main foodstuff remains sugar which is a very poor food for any kind of meaningful and ongoing sustenance. And yet we feed this to people who are very ill for sometimes very long periods of time. Most people who drink this crap imagine they are doing something good for themselves. Another tragedy, yes. The long list of synthetic nutrients is hardly comforting after seeing what the base of this beverage is made of.

This drink should be avoided. Period.

If one needs liquid, easy, dense nutrition it’s actually quite easy to make a highly nutritious liquid beverage in a blender. One need not ever drink Ensure.

I may do this breakdown with other processed food from time to time. It takes some time to learn how to read and understand food labels. The best rule of thumb is to eat food without labels. Whole single ingredient food! Mix it up at home.

Eating wholesome whole read food is important for body/mind/spirit health and well-being. I’ve written a lot about my adventure with diet and healing here:  Nutrition and gut health, Mental health and diet

Healing with whole foods

And you can find more Foodie Friday posts and recipes here.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters