UEA students host an all-pureed dinner in Norwich for a good cause

The SLT Society at the UEA is planning a pureed meal to raise awareness for people with swallowing d

The SLT Society at the UEA is planning a pureed meal to raise awareness for people with swallowing difficulties - Credit: Archant

Pureed curries, vegetables and other flavourful dishes are all on the menu tonight at Roti, the highly-rated Indian restaurant in Norwich.

Some of Roti's popular dishes will be transformed into pureed meals. Photo: Bill Smith

Some of Roti's popular dishes will be transformed into pureed meals. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Despite the innovative culinary expression, the all-pureed private dinner is being hosted by the UEA Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Society to make a statement, not merely to try a fun twist on classic Indian dishes.

The group is hoping to raise awareness for people with difficulty or discomfort in swallowing, medically called dysphagia. This symptom can be caused from diseases that affect the esophagus, including ALS, Esophageal cancer and Multiple sclerosis.

'Patients who have dysphagia are often put on a diet of pureed food for their safety. We want to know what it's like for them when you put them on this kind of diet and raise awareness for people who have swallowing difficulties,' Elissa Poyner, the society's social secretary and dinner organiser, said.

Ms Poyner is a third year student at the UEA working to become a speech and language therapist. After her work experience in local hospitals, she wants a pureed diet to lose its negative connotation.


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'In my experience at hospitals, nurses might say to patients, 'Oh, I'm sorry I have to give you this food, it's a bit gross.' That's not the right way to go about it, we shouldn't look at this kind of diet as a bad thing.'

The SLT society has had events to fund raise and raise awareness in the past - many of which fall under its 'Giving Voice' campaign - but have never coordinated a puree dinner with a local restaurant.

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'There are lots of people out there with problems with food or drink. Eating and drinking is such a sociable and important thing in life and going on a restricted diet is tough. We want more people to be aware of the issue and for there to be a bit more communication,' Ms Poyner said.

To learn more about the society and dysphagia, visit http://www.ueasltsociety.com/.

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