Functional Formularies originated in the quiet and beautiful countryside of Wilmington, Ohio. The company was founded by Robin Gentry McGee who over the past several decades has developed a vast knowledge of the food as medicine model. It was only natural for Robin to use her experience and knowledge to help her father and herself when faced with life threatening health issues. After experiencing positive results, she is more determined then ever to make it easier for others by taking the guesswork out of choosing healthy alternatives.
One morning in 2005, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. My brother called to tell me that our father had slipped on black ice, fallen and had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. His chance of survival was very small.
Then we had our first miracle; my father survived the surgery. But, he was still in a coma and on life support. We were advised almost daily to pull the plug. Searching my mind for something that would help him, I remembered a conversation with my acupuncturist a few years before. It was about emergency points used in traditional Chinese medicine to bring people out of a coma. Since the hospital wouldn’t allow the acupuncturist to perform on my father, she showed me what I needed to do. Nervous, but determined, I tried three of the emergency points using the eraser end of a pencil. We did this for five minutes every hour, 24 hours a day. After three days my father opened his beautiful brown eyes. A second miracle. But we weren’t in the clear yet.
Although out of the coma, my father still struggled and was barely hanging on. One day I picked up the feeding tube can and read the ingredients. It contained many different forms of sugar and a lot of chemicals, but not one ingredient was real food. I immediately began looking for an organic whole food feeding tube formula on the Internet and local health food stores but came up empty-handed.
As a professional chef working with organic whole foods my entire career I felt perfectly equipped to make a more nutritious feeding tube formula. So, I started figuring out a formula that would not only address the brain injury but also his other secondary complications.
This began my immersion into food as medicine.
I discovered the book "Healing with Whole Foods," by Paul Pitchford, and it was just what I’d been looking for: How to prepare the healthiest, whole food possible for good nutrition. I used grains, legumes and loads of fresh veggies. I also added some Chinese herbs and supplements. We juiced veggies daily and gave him wheat grass shots through his feeding tube. My family began to call my formula Liquid Hope. If my father had to be under medical care, I was determined to make sure his diet was as nutritionally sound as possible. I did not want a feeding tube restriction to limit his intake of whole foods.
I am grateful that my father's condition gradually started to improve after his brain injury. It took six weeks for him to become aware again of the outside world. His injury initially had him close to renal failure, which can lead to dialysis, but fortunately his condition stabilized and his blood results improved. With time, he went from taking 17 medications daily to taking just two. His health was definitely improving, whether it was by way of modern medicine, the grace of God, or anything in between. One of his doctors even phoned to tell me that it was a "miracle." Now, the very nature of "miracles," of course, is that they either cannot be or have not yet been scientifically proven -- nor can food be claimed to have medicinal value, according to the Food and Drug Administration -- so I can make no claims about seeming miracles or Liquid Hope with regard to my father’s improved health. What I can say is that good nutrition is healthier for you, regardless of whether you can feed yourself or need assistance. It truly matters what food you put in your body. Making the option of real, whole food available for use in a feeding tube was my way of trying to help my father. Making this formula available commercially as Liquid Hope is my gift to others.
This experience even further rooted my feeling that food has the innate power to both harm and heal. I deeply believe that from my father’s suffering he gave not only a great gift to me, but to the world. And I hope to share with as many people as possible.