Meals for pa­tients, de­signed with Love

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOHN LIU

A pa­tient is di­ag­nosed with can­cer ev­ery seven min­utes in Tai­wan. Most pa­tients opt for West­ern treat­ments such as chemo­ther­apy or ra­di­a­tion ther­apy, and the battle against the ma­lig­nant dis­ease is each pa­tient’s last hope of a re­ju­ve­nated life.

How­ever, some­thing is miss­ing. Pa­tients un­der­go­ing rig­or­ous can­cer treat­ments have to deal with a med­i­ca­tion’s side ef­fects and as such have unique nu­tri­tional needs.

De­spite the crit­i­cal role that nu­tri­tional in­take plays in a suc­cess­ful treat­ment, tai­lor- made meals for can­cer pa­tients were nearly non- ex­is­tent un­til just over four years ago, when Mir­a­cle Power Love ( ) came on board to pro­vide the ser­vice.

The com­pany’s co- founder, Wang Pin- jiao ( ) , a long­time nurs­ing pro­fes­sional, ex­plained how her busi­ness got started. In the process of pro­vid­ing care in her nurs­ing ca­reer, Wang was asked many nu­tri­tion­re­lated ques­tions by pa­tients.

Know­ing their unique nu­tri­tional needs, many pa­tients asked: “Are there any providers that de­liver meals for can­cer pa­tients?” Af­ter re­ply­ing “no” to the ques­tion mul­ti­ple times and see­ing the anx­i­ety and dis­ap­point­ment in the in­quisi­tors’ faces, Wang thought to her­self: “How come no one is pro­vid­ing the ser­vice? There are many post­na­tal di­ets pro­vided in the mar­ket, so how come no one is of­fer­ing chemo di­ets?”

A Not- so- easy Path

So in Oc­to­ber 2010, Wang and a fel­low nurs­ing pro­fes­sional founded Mir­a­cle Power Love. Soon af­ter­wards, they found out why no one had waded into the busi­ness — the com­plex­ity and dif­fi­culty of the task was just too great.

In or­der to make tai­lor- made meals, they must first ac­quaint them­selves with dif­fer­ent can­cer types and their im­pact on food in­take, as well as clin­i­cal medicines and their side ef­fects, since they all play a role in the patents’ di­ges­tion and nu­tri­ent ab­sorp­tion.

Pro­fes­sional knowl­edge of the in­ter­re­la­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent nu­tri­ents and their char­ac­ter­is­tics is also re­quired in or­der to de­sign ideal di­ets.

Then, to turn all th­ese con­cepts into ac­tual meals, they must re­cruit the right chef who is will­ing to make ad­just­ments to the tra­di­tional way of cooking and pre­pare dishes of un­usual tex­tures, fla­vors and even shapes to meet can­cer pa­tients’ spe­cial re­quire­ments.

Meals that Ap­peal to

Gourmets

Imag­ine the nau­sea, lack of ap­petite, loss of taste and swal­low­ing pains that can­cer pa­tients have to suf­fer.

What is on Mir­a­cle Power Love’s menu can eas­ily ap­peal to the most health- con­scious gourmet. Ev­ery meal comes with a cup of tea; a bowl of rice, noodles or con­gee; three dishes ( chicken, beef, fish or pork) and soup. They are cooked and de­liv­ered to pa­tients’ res­i­dences on a daily ba­sis.

Among the more than 400 dishes that Mir­a­cle Power Love has de­signed for can­cer pa­tients are or­ange spare ribs, foo- young shrimp, stir fried egg white with crab meat, steamed mush­room stuffed with shrimp paste, cater­pil­lar fun­gus vi­tal­ity soup, and pork rib soup with lo­tus seeds and lily bulbs.

Can­cer pa­tients usu­ally re­quire a higher dose of pro­tein to en­able the growth of white blood cells, Wang stressed, adding that the point is help­ing pa­tients “com­plete treat­ment smoothly.”

The En­tre­pre­neur Jour­ney

Mir­a­cle Power Love weighs in treat­ment, med­i­ca­tion and pa­tients’ diet pref­er­ences to come up with tai­lor- made meals.

The en­deavor en­abled Wang’s team to gather lots of know- how, but also trans­lated into sub­stan­tial losses in the early stages.

In ev­ery busi­ness, no mat­ter the in­dus­try, to grow from noth­ing to a cer­tain size, cap­i­tal and time is of­ten the source of pres­sure and prob­lems, Wang said of the com­pany’s big­gest chal­lenge in early days.

” We had pas­sion and pro­fes­sional knowl­edge when we first started, but this was not enough. We needed a team, but the prob­lem was that there was a tal­ent short­age in our in­dus­try since no one had done this be­fore or had re­lated ex­pe­ri­ence.”

” Con­se­quently, we needed more time to cul­ti­vate tal­ent, and the ques­tion was if we had abun­dant cap­i­tal to cover the ex­tended pe­riod of time re­quired to train our staff.” It can be a drag to the com­pany, said Wang.

Look­ing back, it was a growth process and main­tain­ing the right bal­ance be­tween cap­i­tal, tal­ent and time was the key to the busi­ness’ sus­tain­abil­ity, said Wang.

The Road Ahead

The food prepa­ra­tion can­not be au­to­mated and re­quires sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment of hu­man ef­fort, Wang said, adding that work­ing long hours is “in­evitable.”

Nev­er­the­less, pa­tients’ feed­back has pro­vided the great­est sup­port in Mir­a­cle Power Love’s mov­ing for­ward. “When you see pa­tients re­gain their health, and see the value and joy of life again be­cause of your help ... the sense of ac­com­plish­ment tran­scends all,” Wang said.

This en­ergy will pave the way for the com­pany’s fu­ture ex­pan­sion, that is, the pro­mo­tion of other meal brands, tai­lor made for the el­derly, pa­tients who have un­der­gone surgery, and pa­tients of other com­mon dis­eases. The com­pany has also in­tro­duced frozen home­made soup and food packages that re­quire only 30 min­utes of cooking.

We have over­come the most dif­fi­cult part — pre­par­ing meals for can­cer pa­tients — and with the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties, the pace of fu­ture ex- pan­sion will vary widely from that in the past, Wang said con­fi­dently.

Cour­tesy of Mir­a­cle Power Love

(Top) Mir­a­cle Power Love ( ) Inc. co-founder Wang Pin-jiao ( ), cen­ter, poses with the com­pany’s nurse and di­eti­tians in Taipei on Satur­day, April 18. Wang and her team fac­tor in med­i­ca­tion, treat­ment reg­i­men and diet pref­er­ence to make tai­lor-made meals for can­cer pa­tients. (Above) This un­dated photo shows a meal pack­age from Mir­a­cle Power Love. All meals for can­cer pa­tients are cooked and de­liv­ered to their res­i­dence on a daily ba­sis. Com­pany co-founder Wang stressed that can­cer pa­tients re­quire a higher dose of pro­tein to aid their re­cov­ery.

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