Formula · Inspiration/motivation · Living with PKU

The Power of Routine

A re-used Cool Whip container. A dirty portable weigh scale. A hand mixer. A plastic straw with teeth marks on it. What do these items have in common? These are all part of my daily formula routine.

My formula-making equipment
My formula-making equipment

Every morning one of the first things I do is make my formula. I store water in the fridge over night because I like my formula cold. The first thing I do is get my powder encrusted scale down from my PKU cupboard. I set the cool whip container on top and zero out the scale. I have to switch the unit from ounces to grams. Then I measure out the appropriate amount of my diet powder. I grab the water pitcher from the fridge, remove the lid, and delicately squeeze cool whip container, gently taping the bottom with my finger to empty it into the narrow mouth of the pitcher without having powder explode everywhere. Its flexible nature makes it perfect for the job.

I plug in my and mixer and blend away. I then pour my formula, or “milk” as I often call it around family, into a smaller thermos to drink throughout that day. Off comes the paper straw wrapper and in goes the straw. Why the teeth marks you ask? Well, as a matter of habit I chew my straw. I also only sip through my straw on the right side of my mouth. Weird, I know. That’s just the way it is!

Ok I realize the straw is on my left side in this picture…that must have been for the photographer because I seriously always drink out of the right side!

I use phenyl-free 2. The taste isn’t the greatest, but I am totally used to it and I like the way it makes me feel full. I always drink water after drinking formula because there is a bit of a metallic aftertaste. I drink my formula between meals rather than at meals – because it’s so filling!

So that is my routine. Never varies. It’s the same day in and day out.

Now, I am a person who likes variety. I enjoy spontaneity. I don’t like doing the same thing every day, eating the same things every day. I love to go on walks in different locations, drive a different route, talk to different people, plan big and small trips to look forward to. In other words, I like to mix it up.

But the one area of my life I do not “mix it up” (besides with the blender :P)  with is formula. This stuff is my life line. It is what keeps me full despite the many restrictions on my diet. It gives me energy. It provides nutrients. It keeps my brain healthy. This is something I need every day.

This is why I think having a routine for formula is so helpful. There are so many decisions to make each day. But for me, having formula is not one of them. I will always have my formula. Because it is such a ritual, I do it almost mindlessly. That way making formula is not a matter of stress. It is just a matter of habit.


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