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My Child Needs More Nutrition - Page 3

post #41 of 85
I think her acceptance of American foods will come naturally, in time. Maybe as she makes more and more American friends, and sees the foods that her peers enjoy. Surely as she is exposed to foods over and over that she sees the rest of the family enjoy.

I would definitely educate her about nutrition, as I would any child. But I don't think I'd choose this battle right now--battling her to eat more foreign foods. I would work with her preferences--wat, pizza, pasta, etc. Have portions in the freezer, and serve it right along with your regular meal. And then go back to not commenting at all on what she chooses to eat.
post #42 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Believe me, I have done everything I possibly can short of preparing traditional Ethiopian food every single night of the week (we usually eat it three times a week) to accomodate her likes and dislikes, but the simple fact is, she claims that she doesn't like so many foods that she is not getting enough variety to meet her nutritional needs.
You are expecting a child who has grown up with awesome food to switch to this society's foods? As an adult, I have gone back to eating the food I knew and loved as a child.

I would find a way to prepare her tradional foods and learn to like them , too. They are a lot healthier than typical American meals, iykwim.
post #43 of 85
Would it help for her Dr. and her therapist to get together with you and discuss it all together? there really are two seperate issues at work here that need to be brought together.

another thought was do you have an ethiopian resteraunt near you? I know the one here serves huge portions for a reasonable price and you could easily split them up and keep them on hand to make as a part of your regular meal or as a lunch option. I know the flat bread they serve is insanely nutritious, so even if you could pop some of that on the table at every meal. mesh ethiopian foods into every meal kinda? rather than making a whole meal every now and then.
post #44 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I think her acceptance of American foods will come naturally, in time.
But why should she?
post #45 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
But why should she?
The dr said it would be healthier for her to have less animal fats, considering her HIV meds. So I can understand why the OP would prefer her to broaden her palate beyond Ethiopian food, if it is largely meat based.
post #46 of 85
Have you considered a supplemental drink... one of the nutrition ones? There is everything from Slimfast that is fortified, to protein drinks, and then I think there are quite a few at the health food store, depending on what sort you're looking for. That might help with calcium intake.

As far as iron - isn't there quite a bit of iron in red meat? You said she likes red meat. Maybe more meals with that?

Also, how about stuff with good 'ol flour? Wheat flour has a reasonable amount of iron in it, and I believe even white flour is fortified. There are lots of bread like things you can make, maybe she would eat one of those? How about pancakes with a flavoring she would like? Maybe rolls or biscuits? Ooooh... I bet you could sneak some things into a muffin.

Dunno if this helps at all, but that's all I can think of mama. Good luck.
post #47 of 85
There are very lean meats available that would probably work great in a stew (trimmed chicken breasts, lean cheap cuts of beef or lamb or goat). US pork is so lean that it has to be injected with liquids to make it edible. I agree with thismama's suggestions.
I don't think that Ethiopian food is necessarily heavily meat-based...I can't imagine that would be economical. But it is a concentrated source of some important nutrients, and for an ill child who is having trouble getting enough nutrition, that would overcome other considerations for me. I think broadening the palate or eating what the family eats are secondary (or less) considerations when dealing with a kid who has a life-threatening illness and who does not need power struggles in life right now...yk?
post #48 of 85
Quote:
another thought was do you have an ethiopian resteraunt near you? I know the one here serves huge portions for a reasonable price and you could easily split them up and keep them on hand to make as a part of your regular meal or as a lunch option.
If you've got one near you, I think this is a fabulous idea. Buy a couple of orders of wat, and divvy it up into meal sized portions and pop them in the freezer for Desta.

I can understand how it would be tough to have to add cooking Ethiopian food every single meal as an additional task right now. I'll bet your plate is more than full, bad pun intended!
post #49 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
The dr said it would be healthier for her to have less animal fats, considering her HIV meds. So I can understand why the OP would prefer her to broaden her palate beyond Ethiopian food, if it is largely meat based.
FWIW- everytime I have eaten with my friends, there is only one meat dish among several vegetarian/bean dishes.
post #50 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Here is an example of how things are going right now:

For lunch today I asked the kids what they wanted. Efram suggested eggs, and Ramona and Desta said that was fine. Efram and Desta chose hardboiled eggs and Ramona chose scrambled. When we sat down to eat, Desta peeled the whites off the eggs and left the yolks (with all the calcium and iron) sitting on the plate.

Snip

My girls suggest hardboiled eggs but the yoke is so dry they end not eating them.

So I discovered that deviling the eggs they gobbled them right up.
post #51 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
After speaking with an attachment therapist about the issues we were having with our recently-adopted child refusing to eat almost everything we served, we adopted a "here's the food, eat it or don't" approach. This worked very well. We didn't comment on what or how much she ate and the food battles almost completely disappeared.
I did not have time to read all the responses, so bear with me if someone has already said this. I personally think I would keep the approach to food you agreed with the therapist (maybe adding to her plate a food you're sure she will eat like for instance iron-rich whole wheat pasta), while at the same time completing her plate with the great recipes that pps have put forward. Food battles stink. She will grow up to like more foods as she grows older. I was worried last year my eldest ate very few foods, now the list of dislikes is getting shorter and shorter and it is the little one who is starting the "I do not like it" phase. I think the more of an issue this becomes the longer the phase will last. Does she like sardines dissolved in hot olive oil and served as a dip for toasts? That's the most calcium-rich thing in the world. I used to eat that during pregnancy and while nursing... Good luck...Your children are beautiful... and Desta looks so well adjusted from your blog and your pics... I thought the idea of building a "little house" was just great! I am sure this will solve itself out..
post #52 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
I would find a way to prepare her tradional foods and learn to like them , too. They are a lot healthier than typical American meals, iykwim.
Okie dokie, one more time for those of us who may have missed it: I cook Ethiopian food. Frequently. I plan Ethiopian at least 3 times a week for dinner. She eats an Ethiopian breakfast every morning. She eats leftover Ethiopian dinners for lunch. We eat Ethiopian at friends' houses several times a month. Ethiopian friends bring us Ethiopian food several times a month. We visit Ethiopian restaurants several times a month. Our entire family loves Ethiopian food. I do not serve the SAD in our home. We eat a healthy, whole-foods, multi-ethnic vegetarian diet.

Eating, serving and liking Ethiopian food is not the problem.

The problem is that she is not getting the nutrients she needs from the foods she eats. I honestly do not think that this is a problem of my lack of providing her with foods she likes. I buy foods she likes. I prepare foods she likes. She has access to fodds she likes as snacks. The list of things that she likes is [b]microscopic[/i] and does not encompass enough variety to give her all the nutrition she needs.

I'm getting the feeling that people think I am being inflexible. I honestly do not think this is the case. I am not plunking down plates of stuff she hates and saying " Eat it or go hungry!" What I am trying to do is find ways to incorporate the foods that provide the nutrients her bloodwork results show she is deficient in.

Namaste!
post #53 of 85
I had another thought- is there any possibility that any of her meds are making food not taste good or impacting her appetite in any way?

Just a thought that crossed my mind....

-Angela
post #54 of 85
Thread Starter 
Btw, I am sure that it is hard for people not living this drama to understand the full scope of it. If it were as simple as every single meal being an Ethiopian one, I would do it. If it were as simple as red meat making a daily appearance on the menu, I would grit my teeth and do it. If it were as simple as letting her choose what she wanted from a variety of healthy options, I would do it. If it were as simple as giving her some supplements, I would do it. However, none of those things alone does it. We are trying to blend food preferences and dislikes with working on attachment and bonding with meeting unique medical needs with working around unique medical predicaments with learning about nutrition with confronting a radically different style of cuisine with helping her learn decision-making skills with being responsible parents ...

Namaste!
post #55 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I had another thought- is there any possibility that any of her meds are making food not taste good or impacting her appetite in any way?
I know that some of the meds can cause decreased appetite, but this does not seem to be the case with Desta. She has what I consider to be a good appetite and does not pick at her food. She has gained 11 pounds and grown 2 inches in the 4 months she has been with us.

Off to make a traditional Ethiopian meal for dinner!

Namaste!
post #56 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
She has gained 11 pounds and grown 2 inches in the 4 months she has been with us.

That right there is huge. You're doing awesome, mama!

I can't imagine how hard it is to know just how sick your DD could become and trying to balance that with honouring her right to self determination. I know I would have a hard time keeping fear away.

It sounds like you're trying everything and there I have no advice. It just felt important to let you know you're being heard and that none of us can know just how hard it all is (an older child adoption can be TOUGH without adding in a potentially devastating disease) without being you.

Keep on keeping on, mama. You'll find a way to make it work.
post #57 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
I'm getting the feeling that people think I am being inflexible. I honestly do not think this is the case. I am not plunking down plates of stuff she hates and saying " Eat it or go hungry!" What I am trying to do is find ways to incorporate the foods that provide the nutrients her bloodwork results show she is deficient in.

Namaste!

no, I'm on your wavelength.

11 lbs in 4 months-that's great!!! I looked at your photos-your whole family is adorable, and Desta is such a beautiful young lady.
post #58 of 85
Dharmamama,

You are an amazing woman who I can tell is working on doing what is absolutely best for her daughter, family, self, etc. So, just wanted to say that up front.

I have a child who is very very very hard to feed. Especially with any kind of balance in his diet. Were he not still breastfeeding, I'd be very concerned about his intake in certain areas. He does, however, have sensory issues that should really be addressed through OT/feeding therapies. He had some, insurance ran out, long story. But, I was wondering if there might be another kind of access to supporting Desta with eating and whether some sort of eating therapy, protocols that OTs use, etc might help her. I'm not at all certain, from what you've described, whether anything sensory might be at play, but from what I know of Ethiopian food (a bit), there are definitely a good deal of unfamiliar textures and sensations in "American" food, which might come into play here.

Just wanted to suggest another possible avenue for exploration.....And even if it's not sensory, there are step-by-step processes that OTs use to help kids with food aversions/sensory issues around food to try them. Very gently, very slowly. So, it could be something to look into.

Best of luck continuing to nourish your daughter.

megin
post #59 of 85
I'm baffled at the hostile tone some of the responses have taken. Speaking for myself, I'm in awe at what dharmamama and her family have undertaken. I'm not sure that I'd have it in me.

Dharmamama, does Desta's HIV clinic have a pediatric nutritionist on staff? If so, that person might be able to help you balance the nutritional needs and the emotional/behavioral needs.

Also, here is advice about slipping vegetables into fruit smoothies:
http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006...smoothies.html
post #60 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5 View Post
Dharmamama, does Desta's HIV clinic have a pediatric nutritionist on staff? If so, that person might be able to help you balance the nutritional needs and the emotional/behavioral needs.
Yes, and we have seen her. I felt it was very helpful. We actually had an Amharic interpreter go with us. I found out about the Ethiopian breakfast that Desta likes to eat and about where I could buy some of the spices that she likes as well as got information about the nutritional content of the foods that Desta likes so we could see where we needed to go to get the nutrients she is missing. I think that it helped Desta to see that we are trying to work with her, not against her.

Namaste!
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