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Old 09-11-2017, 05:47 AM   #1
NovelMama
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Default A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

My girls are moderately sensitive to gluten, but they just don't care. It causes constipation and gas in them both, circles under PJ's eyes, "chicken skin" on their upper arms and thighs, and the wheat belly pudge.

The whole reason we all went GF in the first place is because, when she was 4, AJ started having severe stomach pains after eating it (although it was such a delayed reaction that we didn't even connect it to gluten at first - we only went off gluten because "everybody was doing it" and I'd heard people GF because of similar stomach pains, LOL). She stopped getting those after being off gluten for a year, but it ended up getting reintroduced into their diets and she didn't get the stomach pains anymore, so we thought maybe she'd been healed from it because we'd caught it so early and been off it for so long. But they older she (and PJ) got, the more these other issues started creeping up.

The problem is that AJ HATES eating GF, and it causes HUGE arguments. Those of you who have seen my homeschool posts about AJ know that this child has strong, strong opinions and that we've had a lot of battles over it. The same is true with gluten.

I don't want to fight with her. But I also am living proof that she's going to be miserable as an adult if she keeps eating gluten and I don't want her to deal with that. I'm also torn between being the parent/the logical thinker in this situation who is able to see the consequences of this when she can't, and the whole "parents, do not exasperate your children" thing. I am also very worried about creating food battles and how that might cause even worse issues with her down the road. She is also my worst eater - she eats like a bird and has a very limited number of foods she is willing to eat. And she simply *won't* eat if all I have are gluten free options of things and she doesn't feel like eating a non-bread/breaded type item.

Tomorrow she starts school for the first time at a hybrid program, and she wants sandwiches for lunch. But not with gf bread. So another battle is about to ensue. And I just don't want to fight it anymore.

What do you do when your kid doesn't care about the consequences of what they eat and how it affects their body? Do you hold your ground because you're the parent and know better, or do you say, "It's their body" and let them do it? Do you make *them* buy gluten options of food if they want it? Do you make *them* pay for the fiber supplements so they don't get constipated?

What do you do when natural consequences can have long-lasting effects and they're just not mature enough connect those dots? Or they do understand but just don't care? (Since plenty of adults can be that way too, so it's not necessarily a maturity thing but just a personality thing.)
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

Can you buy regular bread and gf then put the gf bread in the regular bread bag... let her see you making sandwiches from that bag... would she notice?

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Old 09-11-2017, 07:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

I wouldn't buy food that my children react to. I don't think I would make it a battle beyond that. You have food options that she can eat. If she chooses not to eat, that is the natural consequence.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

I believe it has to be their choice because otherwise when they get older they binge in rebellion to the restriction. My kids were totally dairy free for a long time but as they got older I loosened up and let them decide. My 11 year old won't eat dairy (and gets mad at me when I cook with it. The older ones will eat pizza but not things like sour cream or cream cheese. They will eat ice cream occasionally but eat it with the admitted knowledge that they will suffer afterwards.

I would consider letting her eat what she wants but have her keep a food journal that includes how she feels and you could as well and then compare notes.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

Margaret is similar in her sensitivity. She'll get that hard "colic belly" tight itchy skin she has trouble making it too the bathroom in time (though not as bad anymore) and over time just issues with vomiting in general. We briefly tried reintroducing gluten after being off for over a year. She actually went two weeks with no reaction and we thought Ohh good maybe she has outgrown this. Nope when it came back it was full force. .. She is also dairy free with similar issues. (obvious dairy if its like the 37 thing on an ingredient list we usually let it go)
She does sometimes complain especially because the rest of us are not GF. We are lucky that she not extremely sensitive so we dont overly worry about small cross contaminations and dont HAVE to have a total GF home. However she does when exposed enough to react have bad enough reactions that is keeps her from actually "insisting" on breaking her diet restrictions.
I wont buy what we know makes her sick. However I do compromise in other areas. We tried different types of breads before finding ones she likes. They are simple "white" breads with no redeeming nutritional value but ehh they are also safe I let the rest go. I keep a bag of her approved and safe Chicken nuggets (the sliver platter GF honey nuggets with the pooh bear on the front), and sometimes corn dogs on hand. Again not exactly the picture of health but for her still a safer choice and her "special" go to foods when she having to pass on the rest of the family dinner of gluten pizza or Lasagna (BTW I know can be made GF but she hates sauces anyways). Her overall food choices are whole foods meats DF yogurts Fruits and veggies nut butters etc a few compromises helps keep the peace.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

I'm with Sara. I would tell her if she wants to buy gluten stuff with her own money and prepare her own food with what she's bought, then go for it, but you will only be buying food that you know is best for her. I wouldn't make it a battle, simply a "sorry, this is your only option" kind of thing.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

I agree with MoS that for a restricted diet to be successful, you need buy-in from your kid. Otherwise they'll probably "cheat" when you aren't around. Because it is *hard* to be gf in a gluten world, especially when you are well aware of how good gluten baked goods are, and how gf options are not at all a comparable replacement. (It's hard for my always-gf middle dd, who *is* on board with eating gf - she won't cheat, because she fears the inevitable stomach pains that follow.)

I see three separate-but-related problems:
1) ways to get buy-in, or at least a partial buy-in, from AJ
2) what can you do wrt minimizing gluten while she's emphatically not on board with eating gf
3) practical things to make eating gf less painful/distasteful for her

I like MoS's food journal idea wrt number 1. I'd also probably aim for partial buy-in - being gf most of the time, but eating the occasional gluten treat. Maybe, if she was somewhat amenable to negotiation, she could pick out 4-6 favorite, irreplaceable gluten items, and be gf everywhere else. (Granted, this wouldn't work if she ate all of her top 6 every day. Another idea could be one gluten thing per meal or per day, in treat-sized portions, not meal-staple portions.). And there are some mainstream gf carbs - Cheerios and Chex, for example - that are both tasty and carby and normal - and gf. They might be less objectionable.

Wrt 2, maybe it would help if the house was low-carb? Or at least low-gluten-carbs? If you mostly cook naturally gf meals, you limit both the need for inferior gf substitutes and the number of tasty gluten carbs in the house. So long as she's adamantly not on board, I'd try to keep the whole house as gf as possible - and definitely keep around naturally gf treats she likes. That doesn't really help on the sandwiches thing, though - seems your best bet is to give on the bread while keeping most of her other meals gf, or to go with some non-sandwich option that is naturally gf and contains things she generally likes. I wouldn't send her with food you know you hate - she'd probably not eat it and it would just go to waste. (Which is bad in general and extra bad given how pricey gf bread is.)

Looking at number three: my middle dd is quite picky about gf baked goods, and that's *without* knowing what the gluten options taste like. Out of a half dozen gf breads we've tried, she only likes two of them. (And they are a *lot* better toasted - some of the gf breads are almost inedible without toasting, but once toasted are half-way decent.) We still haven't found a gf granola to replace her beloved Chex granola, after trying at least six. Once we find a good brand, she clings to it - she's entirely over trying out new gf things, since she likes so few of them. I generally refrain from making her finish off the failed new thing - I finish it off myself (unless it's so bad that I don't want to eat it, either ). And very few of them are truly *good* - but are more "good - for gf".

Middle dd is the only gf person in the house. We make sure that everything we eat is either gf or there's a dd-approved gf substitute. If we don't have a dd-approved gf substitute for something, then we just don't bring it into the house, period. That way, eating at home is just as normal for her as for everyone else - I don't want her to look longingly at gluten treats she can't have in her own home, kwim? There's enough of that out of the house .

Which is what makes a restricted diet hard - keeping to it when you are out and about and miss out on things because of your diet. And it makes you stand out, too. Do you think that might contribute to AJ's wanting "regular" bread - not just because it tastes different (and usually worse ) than wheat bread, but also because it is *obviously* different? That eating gf would mark her out as different from her peers, and different in a way she doesn't want (esp as she doesn't want to eat gf in the first place)?

Idk, from what you wrote she sounds like she really likes her carbs - doesn't like a lot of non-carb things - and that does make being gf hard. Because gf substitutes for gluten carbs are the most expensive and least tasty kinds of gf food. I think I might sideline the gluten issue a bit, and work on increasing the number of naturally gf non-carb things she eats, while also reducing the place of gluten carbs in your family's diet. That would help reduce her gluten intake, and generally help break her carb addiction, even if she never goes gf.

---------- Post added at 11:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:23 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaySunflowers View Post
Can you buy regular bread and gf then put the gf bread in the regular bread bag... let her see you making sandwiches from that bag... would she notice?
Ime, there's a huge difference between gf bread and wheat bread - there's no way to miss the difference. Gf bread can be tasty, but it's an entirely different consistency - it's not anything like wheat bread. If general you really likes squishy, squunchy white bread - there's just no gf substitute for that.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

ITA with other posters. This is hard.

Idea-wise, this is the best texture gluten-free bread I have found: Glutino http://www.glutino.com/products/breads/ I haven't tried their white bread, but their multigrain is very close to gluten bread IMO. Udi's is absolutely NOTHING like Glutino - they're totally different textures.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatist View Post
I wouldn't buy food that my children react to. I don't think I would make it a battle beyond that. You have food options that she can eat. If she chooses not to eat, that is the natural consequence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsHutch View Post
I'm with Sara. I would tell her if she wants to buy gluten stuff with her own money and prepare her own food with what she's bought, then go for it, but you will only be buying food that you know is best for her. I wouldn't make it a battle, simply a "sorry, this is your only option" kind of thing.
I think there can be a difference between "not buying food my children *react* to" and "only buying food that you know is *best* for her" .
I mean, I don't ever feed my gf dd gluten, because eating it just once *will* hurt her. But I do buy her the occasional gf junky treat, which is obviously not nutritionally best for her, but in small doses doesn't do harm and is good in other ways.

And there's also a difference between only *buying* food that you know is best, and disapproving of ever *eating* non-best food.
In terms of what I *buy*, I avoid artificial colors (for everyone) just as religiously as I avoid gluten for dd (I refer to them as killer colors ). But when it comes to food from outside sources, I do allow the kids to eat stuff with artificial colors (whereas dd doesn't eat gluten, period). I don't think artificial colors are harmless, but I do think the harm from the occasional outside food is negligible. So I do allow them to have the occasional outside artificial color food *with my blessing* even though I do believe that they are harmful in large doses over time, and so refuse to buy them and disapprove of eating them regularly.


Anyway, so I think the question NM needs to answer for herself is:
*do I believe that it is possible for AJ to eat *some* gluten in a way that largely mitigates the problems? (In which case she could give her blessing to gluten exceptions to a partially gf diet, whether that means being ok with AJ buying/eating gluten food outside the home, or whether she's ok with bringing certain gluten foods into the home under certain being-a-responsible-gluten-eater conditions.)
OR
*do I believe that it is impossible for AJ to safely eat *any* gluten, and so I cannot either be involved in buying her gluten food or give my blessing to her buying/eating outside gluten food?
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

Quote:
Originally Posted by forty-two View Post
[/COLOR]

Ime, there's a huge difference between gf bread and wheat bread - there's no way to miss the difference. Gf bread can be tasty, but it's an entirely different consistency - it's not anything like wheat bread. If general you really likes squishy, squunchy white bread - there's just no gf substitute for that.
It's also a level of cross contamination I'd even not be comfortable with ( and I'm pretty relaxed in this area).

Mine likes the kinnikinnick (sp?) Gf White because it's squishy.. Wal-Mart's gfs loaves also meet her approval.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

I've been lucky with my kid, he has an actual wheat allergy besides the celiac gene and obvious intolerance. I don't know that the science would get through to him, but he's been exposed exactly once in 7 years and the belly pain was pretty memorable. He has other allergens that register the same severity that he eats on occasion because we've never seen any effect at all besides eating them too much will cause chicken skin or mild eczema. He's been really compliant for a kid that isn't generally compliant with anything unless there is a reason that makes sense *to him*.

At some point it has to be their choice. He's never felt weird about it until maybe the last year or so. It's an awkward age. He doesn't want to eat things that make him feel bad, he just wants to fit in. He's had anaphylactic episodes from cross contamination from nuts so it's a huge fear of his. He has severe anxiety. We've had to work hard to get to a place that he knows he can touch or be around and even eat some of his minor allergens after having anaphylaxis to something he isn't even allergic to.

Eating disorders are a real concern, and barring actual celiac I would err on the side of it being her choice.


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Old 09-12-2017, 12:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

How many days a week is the hybrid program?

My thought is that I would maintain GF at home for all dinners and breakfasts, but allow the sandwiches on a part-time basis at first...let her start the program with a "normal" lunch and keep a diary of symptoms. Let her know that she will be expected to take 1 naturally gluten-free lunch per ___(pick a reasonable amount of time)___. Assure her as she starts to complain that she can take a sandwich to the first day, but the longer the meltdown lasts, the more you'll consider rescinding the offer or shortening the time frame. Tell her that she can look at what other people are eating and request whatever yummy-looking goodness she wants that might get other people mildly jealous that she gets better food, or she can pretend that she ran out of bread, or whatever, but once a month or once a week or once every four classes, she's getting a naturally gf meal, so be ready to pick one without complaining.

After a while, when she's settled into a safe GF meal for those days, I'd try to get her to come up with a second or third choice to alternate. Then, with food diary in hand, I'd try to get her buy-in to replacing more of those sandwich meals with the GF ones. And when she starts yelling that it's not fair to change the rules, I'd tell her that I'd given her time to fit in and time to find options, but that I'm not willing for her to compromise her health over the long-term...that this was a temporary offer made out of consideration for her feelings, but not a sustainable one.

That's about the time I'd start talking about people in support groups suffering as adults Maybe sooner. And maybe with her personality, a temporary laxness might backfire. You can answer that better than I can. But my thought is that social anxiety is probably driving the resistance right now, and if symptoms are mild right now, I'd be willing to cheat a little to get her through this time period compliant rather than rebellious...getting her on more solid ground emotionally before trying to get her to buy-in for the long-term.

I don't know if that's the right strategy medically. I'm looking at it from more of a strong-willed perspective, and it may be that it's too dangerous to play that game. I'm just thinking that with her being old enough to circumnavigate you, I'd rather direct the cheating and limit it rather than try to be strict and have her blow it purposefully behind your back.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: A question for those who have kids with mild food sensitivities

So much great info! Our house is GF and has been for a long time even though not everyone needs to be GF. It's easiest for me and best for everyone.
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Rev. BK
Married for 15 years
Homeschooling 2 boys, 8 & 10 1/2
Baby girl, 3
Pebble baby 01/09
"Almost mom" to a young man we raised from his teenage years - he's 29 1/2 now & engaged (just back from treatment)

Author, Singer/Songwriter, Lover of Jesus, 2XVBAC-er
GFDFSF, and I have lots of recipes after 10 years of practice
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