The creation of Wholesome Blends

By Sarah Thomas

When my then three-year-old son Lewis suffered a major stroke, life as I knew it had changed forever. Lewis was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and ADHD, a combination of conditions which meant eating was a very difficult for him, if not a dangerous thing to do.

Lewis was on and off nasogastric tubes, and I was thrown into the world of tube feeding. It was a massive learning curve for our family, and something I had never experienced before.

One of the biggest challenges was trying to get Lewis to consume enough nutrition to support healthy growth and development.

I had always been interested in nutrition and I wasn’t happy with the high artificial sugar content of commercially available blends. I started making my own blends at home in my Vitamix, and from there, Wholesome Blends was created.

Shortly after Lewis’ PEG placement, I took a trip back to New Zealand to see my parents. I wasn’t able to take homemade blends through customs and I broke my mother’s blender on the first blend I did. We were in rural NZ with the nearest shops an hour away. I had to feed my 9-year-old baby food. This was not acceptable.

Lewis’s Dad and I had been involved in a couple of food manufacturing businesses when we lived in New Zealand, I have seen what it took to start a manufacturing plant from scratch. I had helped Lewis’s dad scour through food safety laws, I knew about food compliance, safety and handling, manufacturing, distribution, food law and the most important part – how to make blends. Believing I could do this myself was a different story.

I called upon a friend I had worked with, a chef and sports nutritionist to help me put some recipes together that had everything I wanted in a blend for Lewis. He nailed the brief on the first draft. The Pork and Oats and Vegetarian blends that we have today come from my amazing chef. Finding a manufacturer to make the blends was tricky, but we found a place in Melbourne that believed in my vision.

I realised quickly to hire people that are better than you to help. My dietician, chef, graphic designer, bookkeeper and now social media manager have all helped Wholesome Blends get to where we are today.

Lewis and his twin brother Cohan are now 13, and the past 10 years have been the most amazing experience. We have come to know so many beautiful families and the encouragement and support I have received from the Tubie community is incredible.

Bringing Wholesome Blends to fruition has been a passion project for me, the tube feeding community have long needed alternative options to feeding formulas, we are about providing choice for families, and making their lives just a little easier.  

This is Sarah Thomas’s remarkable story. Come hear her in person at our Source Mama Live in Brisbane on May 5. Get your tickets at: https://bit.ly/SMLIVEBRIS

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