Robin Gentry McGee, Founder and CEO of Functional Formularies
If you have a feeding tube under medical care, that’s your lifeline providing the nutrients you need to get better. At least that’s what one concerned daughter thought until she did some digging and found shocking results.
It all started in 2005 when Robin Gentry McGee, Founder and CEO of Functional Formularies, was in the hospital with her father who had just come out of a coma. She picked up his feeding tube and read the ingredients. “When I read the ingredients I was horrified, It contained many different forms of sugar and a lot of chemicals, but not one ingredient was real food,” she says. “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 her entire career, she felt perfectly equipped to make a more nutritious feeding tube formula. “So, I started figuring out a formula that would not only address [my father’s brain injury but also his other secondary complications,” she says.
Once she realized there were no organic whole food feeding tube formula available on the market, McGee decided to take matters into her own hands. As she began developing healthier feeding formulas for her father, she was unaware of the immense impact she would make on the medical community and patients around the world. “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,” McGee says.
Refusing to let the feeding tube get in the way of her father receiving a nutritional meal, McGee focused on ways to prepare his intake of whole foods. A daily meal consisted of grains, legumes, vegetables, Chinese herbs, supplements, and wheat grass shots. Family and friends were so shocked to see how quickly her father began to heal, they began calling her formula “Liquid Hope.” Within weeks his condition began to stabilize and eventually he went from taking a total of 17 medications daily to only two.
Now eight years later, Functional Formularies is available worldwide and continues to grow at a rapid rate as demand increases. With a manufacturer now available to produce the products, Functional Formularies is producing 32,000 to 50,000 units monthly and is projected to hit $1 million in sales by the end of this year. The product is the only one of its kind on the market today and can be used as feeding tube formula or a meal replacement for anyone trying to increase their daily nutrition. Some of the 17 ingredients include sweet potato, kale, garbanzo beans, whole grain brown rice, sprouted quinoa, rosemary, garlic, and has no added sugar.
The company recently received $1.6 million in funding from private investors to continue their expansion. Currently McGee and her team are working on a new product, which will be unveiled in January. There are also plans to create a pediatric formula, functional food over the counter, and new formulas that will be targeted to specific health issues. Customers can purchase 12 oz. serving size for $7.99 or in units of 6, 12, or 24. The product is now covered by Medicare and 95% of customers who applied were covered making it accessible to all who are in need.
“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,” McGee says.