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Alex’s PKU journey: from high school to adulthood

 

Managing my PKU in my teenage years was quite a collaborative and easy process. Structured school days meant routine was key in my diet, and with help of my mum and grandma’s amazing cooking skills, my recess and lunches consisted of home-made cupcakes, bread and other energy-filled treats that kept me going.

Throughout high school I was very active in sports, playing 1st XI cricket and 1st XVIII AFL, while competing in track and field for my school. This meant my energy levels needed to keep up with me at training and match days.I would often turn to my supplement for slow-burning energy, but when I needed it, fruit, smoothies using my Duocal no-protein powdered milk and sugary snacks gave me that burst to perform. This was all very easy to maintain, because of such a predictable routine. However, life with PKU outside this structure was a whole new game. Straight after school, I embarked on a gap year, where I worked at a school in Edinburgh for 12 months in 2017. This was my first taste of independence, and it gave me the wake-up call I needed to manage my diet on my own.

Creating a relationship with my local pharmacy to get my supplement and finding the best source of low-protein sustenance in my town was step one to gaining confidence in my diet management. Once I’d established a solid base and gotten used to fending for myself, planning trips overseas became far less stressful. I could be confident I could secure an adequate amount of supplement that would get me through week to month long trips.

Upon my return to Sydney, my newfound appreciation for global cuisine became a catalyst for researching new potential meals. Not only did I discover a love for vegetables, but this shift also significantly lowered my protein intake, and allowed me to weave more treats into my diet. While I’m still a fiend for hash browns, I have grown to love massaman curry with Loprofin Rice, vegetable stir fries with vermicelli glass noodles, rice paper rolls and vegetable tacos made with Loprofin Mix flour. From my gained independence and expanded palate, I also developed my cooking skills, setting me up for life out of home, and the enjoyment of cooking meals for myself and my family.

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