Food, allergies and your family - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-02-2013, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am curious how your family does this.

 

at 10 dd became completely allergic to gluten and dairy (not anaphylactic, but severe stomach aches, gas, bloating, horrible body odor) and super sensitive to any sugar and fat - whether healthy or not, like say oranges and cookies. she still can eat a little sugar and a little fat, but things like french fries make her sick 'like my insides are bleeding', 6 medium sized tangerines will set her off too. 

 

its just dd and me. and i decided to join dd in her diet. 

 

why?

 

because it was really really hard for her to give up some foods like bread and butter, chocolate cake (like tiramisu), some chinese food. these are specific ones from some bakeries that she likes or restaurants and changing ingredients doesnt make them taste the same.

 

so i have become mostly gluten, dairy, sugar and oil free too. and i find people are surprised by that. that i am doing a great thing. 

 

which surprises me. wouldnt any other family do that? especially when there are just two of us?

 

how about your family? how do you manage this? esp. if you have more than one child who is allergic/sensitive to different things?

 

i know this can get very complicated with non allergy issues like food preferences - like vegetarian, vegan and the rest of them, esp. when you are trying to decide how to bring up the children. we have had this issue too. ex inlaws family let the children choose. some became vegans and some stayed with everything. 

 

at 10 i also discover how emotional the whole food thing has gotten. if we go to a potluck or an event where people know us well and know dd's food issues, dd now gets reduced to tears if she finds no option to choose from. i always take a dish of course that she can eat, but she equates not having a choice for her as not caring. she doesnt mind it if no one knows us and the only food she has to eat is what we brought. 

 

MODS : i hesitated where to put this. and i decided to put it in parenting because its not about food and nutrition - but the other side of it. and i want to know how it affects the whole family's eating habits. 


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#2 of 6 Old 05-02-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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No, I wouldn't alter my diet to that extreme if my child needed to alter his/hers. I wouldn't sit in front of the child and eat a giant ice cream sundae, but I might have one after they went to bed! And I would eat a piece of toast or something in front of a gluten-free child, while offering them a gluten-free piece of toast at the same time.

If they became vegetarian, I would honor that but I would still occasionally cook meat for the rest of the family, and eat it in front of them.

I don't think there's anything offensive or unsupportive about maintaining a diet that works for you, even if the same diet doesn't work for someone else in your household.

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#3 of 6 Old 05-02-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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At one point we thought our dd might have to drastically alter her diet and it would have meant giving up pretty much every food she loves.  DH and I discussed it and knew we would absolutely, as a family, do the same.  If we had other kids, I wouldn't make them keep their diets clean at parties or friends' homes but we would keep an all-family-friendly pantry at home, you bet. 
 

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#4 of 6 Old 05-02-2013, 07:27 PM
 
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It's hard from all angles, really.  

 

In our family, dd1 and I have "competing" allergies:  I cn have wheat and limited dairy, but no corn, soy, rice, or oats, and dd is severely allergic to all dairy and wheat (not gluten).  Thankfully we both have a few things we an eat together: meats, veggies and potatoes.  We've given up trying to make one thing work for everybody, and instead try to accommodate a bit for everyone.  I gave up the battle against being a short order cook a long time ago!

 

But despite our different diets, my daughter knows I know how she feels.  I have some dinners with family where I can eat one thing, and some where she can eat one thing, and we both eat beforehand, or for close family, make some additional dishes that satisfy us.  The hardest part for her is the dessert, (she's 8 and has had allergies her whole life, so this is something she is "used to") and make sure she has something she can have either there or before hand, even if it's just a gluten-and-dairy-free chocolate chip cookie I bought from the store.

 

So, it is nice to have support, especially when you have to make the adjustment at such an age as 10yo.  I remember being 8yo and crying, reduced to a sobbing pile on the floor of the car (days before seat belts!) on my way home from the allergist's office.  The news was that I had to continue to avoid dairy for another 6 weeks.  It was devastating.  (Thankfully for me, my mom took me off the diet.  I wasn't allergic to milk, though I was intolerant.  Unfortunately, they didn't look for a lot of things I was allergic to!)

 

If it helps, if it makes both of you happy, then great-- I think it's a wonderful gesture to join in with your daughter.  In the case of gluten, it can make everyday so much easier when you don't have to keep gluten-free equipment and pantries segregated and whatnot.  There are a lot of ways to support a child with food allergies, though, and it doesn't have to be consuming a diet that you don't need to be on.

 

ETA:  I blew up at dh when, after making several combinations of dishes to go with the general "hamburger" theme, dh declared he was tired of hamburger and wanted a Garden burger (off limits to both dd and I).  Oh, I gave him an earful!  And really, how freakin' hard is it to pop one in the toaster?  But noooooo..... he wanted it with melted cheese!  Well la-di-frickin'-da!


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#5 of 6 Old 05-04-2013, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

There are a lot of ways to support a child with food allergies, though, and it doesn't have to be consuming a diet that you don't need to be on.

 

Could you please (or anyone else) let me about the different ways. I am not sure I know them. 

 

Lima I should have clarified - not eat in front of dd. I have to say this has been an interesting journey of discovery for me. Very emotional. I started with not eating in front of dd. But i felt so guilty eating behind her back (its just me but i felt i wasnt being supporting enough for her on her emotional journey when i promised her i would support her by joining her in her diet) that i could not do it. I mean i do on rare occasion if i have to, or if i failed once again at keeping temptation away (like when i couldnt resist the chocolate chip cookies right in front of my nose when i hadnt eaten anything that day yet and i was ravenous). but mostly i have been able to stay away - say 90% of the time.

 

its been interesting because i've been trying to clean up my own diet, and i just could not thwart temptation. but doing this with dd has really helped me with my food addictions. in the sense i can be in the room with the food in front of me and not long for it. some more than others. 


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#6 of 6 Old 05-04-2013, 08:56 AM
 
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The way I support dd is making sure she has what she needs and wants to eat.  That sounds like "duh!" when I write that down, but what I mean is the emotional stuff:  at others' birthdays I make sure she has something special.  At home, I bake for her regularly, even though it means I go without a treat I can eat (which I really don't need anyway).  If I bring something home for me that is really going to set off that emotion, I make sure she has something equivalent.  So, if I buy crackers or cookies, I make sure I bring home crackers and cookies she can eat, if we don't have them already at home.  If we eat out, we choose a place she can order a meal at.  

 

I do make a lot of the sacrifices for her, but it is not in the form of adopting her diet, which would be impossible for me.  In some ways, that would almost be easier if I could, because it would help her feel more "normal".  What she's missing would be less "in her face", like it is on days I make bread. 

 

She also gets a lot of sympathy from me.  We often have conversations (when talk turns that direction) of what we miss eating.  She doesn't miss dairy because she doesn't remember it, but she misses wheat.  I can go on and on about huevos rancheros and corn tortillas and my homemade granola, both off the menu now bawling.gif.   It all helps. 


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