Friday, April 20, 2012

What is Dysphagia and How to Cook

Dysphagia affects mostly the elder population.  It is when food is unable to be chewed because of swallowing issues.  Swallowing becomes painful or difficult.  Eating becomes a problem and often people lose a great deal of weight.  I have been working with patients with dysphagia for five years now and have learned how to prepare the food so that it tastes delicious and patients can begin to eat better.
How Does Dysphagia Occur?
“Dysphagia occurs when there is a problem with any part of the swallowing process. Weak tongue or cheek muscles may make it hard to move food around in the mouth for chewing. Food pieces that are too large for swallowing may enter the throat and block the passage of air.

Other problems include not being able to start the swallowing reflex (a stimulus that allows food and liquids to move safely through the pharynx) because of a stroke or other nervous system disorder. People with these kinds of problems are unable to begin the muscle movements that allow food to move from the mouth to the stomach. Another difficulty can occur when weak throat muscles cannot move all of the food toward the stomach. Bits of food can fall or be pulled into the windpipe (trachea), which may result in lung infection.” By

I have several recipes on my website: that have been converted to patients with Dysphagia.  For example the Chicken Avocado Salad
I find that a food processor with a chopping blade is indispensable in cooking for people with dysphagia.  If you are interested in more recipes please contact me at
The one important understanding if you are cooking for people with Dysphagia is don't just cook the meal and put it in the food processor.  For something like steamed vegetables that is fine.  However, if you are doing a recipe such as the chicken avocado salad, it is important to process in steps so the food has the most flavor.