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#61 of 85 Old 09-28-2006, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sensory issues
Our other daughter has sensory issues and we are working loosely with an OT. I could ask her what her thoughts are about Desta. She has met her and is somewhat familiar with our journey thus far. This is a good idea. Thanks!

Namaste!
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#62 of 85 Old 09-28-2006, 10:29 PM
 
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HOLY SUPERMAMA of the 1st DEGREE!!! I just want to concur w pp that you are doing some serious hard work (which you know already) and that all of the thinking and preparing of special (wonderfully thoughtful and nourishing) meals takes sooo much energy and time and WOW you have two other kiddos and are homeschooling. Anyway, sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and am trying to access that just out of reach reserve of patience (because I have been tending with love my children who are simultaneously driving me batty) I feel like another understanding mama hug would be so therapuetic...that was a serious runon just to say: here's a big electronic hug to someone who's doing some pretty awesome lovin work.

Ok, love, respect, and heartfelt encouragement, Teresa

ps: our iron smoothie recipe:
--frozen berries (we use any combination of raspberries/strawberries/blackberries)
--frozen banana
--2 TBLSN Frozen OJ (w/o calcium supplement)
--1 cup or so of water
--2 tsp of Floradix
--->My 4yo sucks this down, and has not complained about the floradix taste yet...it doesn't have yogurt in it, so maybe it would pass as something a little dif. than a smoothie? Hugs again, tw
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#63 of 85 Old 09-28-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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...I just was really shocked at the phrasing... that after all you went thru, the money you spent, she didn't have the right to malnourish herself. I thought it was important to point it out.
Look, I hate to stir the pot here; but for someone who's signature puts religion under fire; you sure are focused on other peoples wording! You concentrate too hard on the words, and not enough on the POINT. The child isn't eating, and the mother is trying to find solutions...no need to put her under attack! - Respectfully.

I don't know alot about nutrition, to be honest, I just try to avoid sugars and try not to impose my dislikes onto my son (which I'm doing successfully...he likes shrimp *barf*). But something I did learn from my mother (who catered to me, her picky child); was how to hide things. As said before, spaghetti is the easiest to hide things in, and what I do, is make large amounts of pasta sauce, then noodles, and mix the two, then freezer bag child-sized servings for those nights when I don't feel like cooking or he won't eat what we're having. Couple of things to consider...

- select your pasta carefully. You can buy cool tri-colored pasta that are made with spinach and tomato. Or, consider buying a pasta maker, and make your own.

- you can also buy tortilla's that are made with spinach (and one's made with tomato) but you don't have to tell her what's in them. (a good idea for that, esp. if she won't eat wraps - sandwiches - is to brush them with butter; cut them up, and bake them in the oven for a few minutes until they're crispy. Then serve them as chips; maybe even with dip (like, Philidelphia chipdips - cheeze product!! - they come in various flavors, let her pick)

- tofu. I'm not a vegetarian, nor did I grow up eating tofu. I came across it under unfortunate circumstances. I was pretty broke, and I found out that tofu is a good source of alot of vitamines and proteins; so I started mashing it with a fork into little bits, and making pasta sauce from half ground beef and half tofu. You couldn't even tell it was there. Look up tofu recipes too (though, you're a vegetarian, so you probably already know)

- iced cream...I know Breyers makes natural iced cream, so maybe it's worth checking the label for the nutritional content...? There could be calcium.


I found this site that has a list of iron rich foods: http://www.bloodbook.com/iron-foods.html so that might help.

Also, ALMONDS (dry roasted, 240ml/1 c. = 389.2mg Calcium; 5.2mg Iron)....you can buy them slivered (great for chicken flavored rice; or in salad); you can buy them whole for eating by the handful, or for baking; sliced (GREAT for cake decor and so on); and ground ...which is my favorite...I always throw a couple spoonfuls into sauces ...maybe she'd even like it by the spoon/handfull?

If you can manage to get in just three leaves of spinach some way some how, that's 25mg's of calcium. (yes, I just read that off a pamphlet I happened to get at the grocery store today

I guess you'd have to look at it like this: being a vegetarian, you don't eat meat; but what if you were suddenly in a place where you were faced with having to every day? Perhaps, infiltrate your kind of food into her diet slowly (like, start with once a week, or wherever you're at, then slowly go up to something small everyday on the side of what she's used to, until you up the portion and downsize what she's familliar with to the special meal). I know you have your own tastes and other kids; so maybe the freezer and the microwave will be your best friend for awhile. And just keep trying new foods and just ask her to try it and that's all; and when she dislikes it; ask questions like "what is it that you don't like? Is it the taste...? How it feels in your mouth? Is it because there are too many foods put together? Is it because it's one food by itself? Is it because it looks strage?"...asking specific questions might help you better determine what specifically it is she dislikes about the food and you can work around it better.

I'm sorry for my long rant, I hope I helped even a little bit!

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#64 of 85 Old 09-28-2006, 11:40 PM
 
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Oh; one more thing: try making the food "fun"....get her to help cut sandwiches into silly shapes with cookie cutters, or create a face out of the foods or something like that.

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#65 of 85 Old 09-28-2006, 11:42 PM
 
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for someone who's signature puts religion under fire
Just doing my job.
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#66 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 01:58 AM
 
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You don't need to make just injera with teff!

I substitute about the quarter of the flour in any recipe with teff, and it tastes wonderful! Really nutty and yummy. Maybe teff zucchini muffins would be a hit?

You could also make your own spinach pasta - kids love to help wind the handle on the machine.
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#67 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 02:40 AM
 
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holy cow. you have covered just about every base. All i can say is just keep trying. and in the mean time sneak in as much nutrition as possible.

good luck mama.

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#68 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 03:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
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.
Okay, I didn't know that.

Now I'm back to thinking that your doctor is not a very nice person. Maybe your child needs to eat more food and get more nutrients from food. But can I just point out that eleven pounds and two inches must have required that you fed her a diet that was rich in nutrients? Especially calcium? Pressuring you around this just feels really unfair. it is just incredible, wonderful, that she's grown so much in such a short time! Yes, I understand that she really needs more nutrients, still. But can the doc give you some credit for what Desta, and you, have already achieved?

I went and read your homeschooling blog. I feel like my responses in this thread were really inadequate. If she's still learning English and struggling with (though enthralled by! Excellent ) basic math, probably pulling nutrition into her homeschooling curriculum is a little much. I'm always thinking about how to integrate lots of learning into one package. Maybe it's enough that you had an Amharic interpreter with you when you saw the nutritionist.

I did have another thought along the same lines though. I've been thinking about your situation all day and wondering what might be helpful! Maybe you could institute a New Food of The Week program at your house. Everytime you go to the grocery store, you and the kids pick out a new food, learn about it, and try it. Then everyone in your family will be in the same position. You could make a chart with everybody's ratings.

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#69 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I'm back to thinking that your doctor is not a very nice person.
No, that's really not the case. He's very kind, has a great sense of humor, has been very nice to Desta, and has gone out of his way on several occasions to help us out and make things convenient for us.

He's been working with us on the eating thing since Desta joined us. He has made some helpful suggestions and has been very supportive of me through my frustration. He has spoken with Desta several times about nutrition and has always been careful to acknowledge the newness of American food and congratulate her when she tries new things. He asks her for recommendations of Ethiopian food.

It's not like he was standing in front of us shaking his finger in our faces saying, "You need to feed this girl better!" He just told us, very plainly, the she's going to need to eat more variety and she's going to have to take some (not all) of the responsibility for eating nutritiously.

The "Food of the week" idea is a good one. Thank you.

Namaste!
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#70 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 10:51 AM
 
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I had a thought about why the dr might be opposed to supplements. Calcium and iron inhibit each other's absorbtion. So if one was relying on a multivitamin, dd wouldn't be getting the vitamins in an absorbable form. Keeping this in mind, you might want to focus individual meals on being either high iron or high calcium.
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#71 of 85 Old 09-29-2006, 11:29 PM
 
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gosh, mama, what a lot to tackle. big love to you.
i wanted to mention kefir-it's got lots of calcium, and tastes delicious. lots of good probiotics too. you can find it at kroger grocery stores and in health food stores. also fortified cereal, my dd, a very picky 4-yr-old raw-foodie vegetarian (by her choice, my dh and i eat some meats)also really loves barbera's wild puffs-they're like a coco-puff but tastier and healthier, and chock full of iron. i second the mentions of floradix, too, despite the dr's wanting you to get the iron and things thru food.
good luck to you and your girl.

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#72 of 85 Old 09-30-2006, 12:17 AM
 
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Almond butter (alone or blended with peanut butter so it's more familiar) might help, almonds are great... Good luck to you and your family.

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#73 of 85 Old 09-30-2006, 01:09 AM
 
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I just want to say that, dealing with an extremely picky eater myself, I have loads of sympathy for you. My son doesn't have the health issues that your daughter does, and it's still frustrating and frightening to me to think of the nutrients ds isn't getting.
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#74 of 85 Old 09-30-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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I don't know if you've already tried this, but at times we've resorted to a peanut butter smoothie- glass of milk, spoonful of skimmed milk powder, spoonful of peanut butter, half a banana (more to taste) and a handful of frozen spinach cubes. Add honey or sugar if you need to- and on occasions, I've been known to dye it green and call it Kryptonite.
Also, if she'll eat pizza then that gives you
a) a layer of tomato sauce to hide vegetables in
b) the potential for her to pick out her own toppings.
It's also possible for you to really bulk up the nutrient value of bread if you make your own, by using vegetable water or even a vegetable juice, skimmed milk powder, molasses and nuts, fruits, seeds and vegetables. Pumpkin bread is one that springs to mind.
And, obviously, don't forget the value of letting her get involved in the kitchen.

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#75 of 85 Old 10-01-2006, 01:49 AM
 
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I wish you all well.

I am not feeling the 'sneak the veggies in' thing some people are suggesting; I am of the thought that food sensitivities and allergies in children are often manifested as 'don't like it'.

My mom forced me to eat all kinds of crap that you'd suppose are traditionally 'good' for you (orange juice, strawberries, walnuts, avocados, eggplant) that I later was able to articulate, "Hey. I don't want to eat this, it makes my mouth hurt & my stomach ache."

It must be frustrating to be worried about her health & limited eating, & I'm glad you are being so patient. But honestly, I hope you can figure out the injera; it's farking good, I could live on that & some doro wat. I am sympathetic!

(I wonder if it's the culturing you are having trouble with? Some of the NT mamas may be able to help you out with getting it started; maybe even find a way to have an Ethipian friend get you some raw dough to use as a starter? Apologies if you've tried that!)

Just one last thing- I get what Thismama was saying; if you aren't adopted you cannot imagine how shocking that sounded. I know you didn't mean it that way, Dharma; just saying Thismama was not the only one who found the phrasing... awkward.

Anyway, namaste back atcha, & try to relax & let her figure this stuff out herself a bit. People bugging me about food gave me a lot of issues that (thankfully) in adulthood I managed to overcome. I know how important excellent nutrition is to her health status (& everyone's!); I just don't think pressing the issue will be a help. Especially not sneaking food into her she does not wish to eat. I would hate having to explain my every food preference.

You're doing great with the 11 pounds, Desta! (More wat!)
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#76 of 85 Old 10-01-2006, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just one last thing- I get what Thismama was saying; if you aren't adopted you cannot imagine how shocking that sounded.
Well, I am truly sorry if I said something that hurt or offended. I didn't mean to at all. I guess in my mind it's no different than saying of Ramona, "I didn't spend nine months stuffing my face with 100 grams of protein a day and go through 11 hours of natural childbirth so that she can become malnourished by her own choosing." It's my job as Mom to make sure my kids are healthy. But I'm sorry if it came across wrong.

Namaste!
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#77 of 85 Old 10-02-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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How 'bout banana bread (you can find a recipe that uses yogourt to make it with) and instead of walnuts, use almonds. That's a good recipe choc-full of vitamines that you could (dare I say it?) serve for lunch (*GASP*).


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#78 of 85 Old 10-02-2006, 01:07 AM
 
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Has anyone mentioned the Little House Cookbook? It's partway down this page:

http://www.fun-books.com/liwgen.htm

I've never seen it, but even if it isn't exactly full of the kind of foods Desta needs to eat, at least it might inspire her to branch out a little, assuming that Little House is still of interest to her.

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#79 of 85 Old 10-03-2006, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for everyone's good ideas and support. I went back and talked to the HIV doctor yesterday. I explained to him how I felt that his advice and the attachment therapist's advice were conflicting and that I felt stuck in the middle and unsure of what to do. The doctor apologized and said he had not meant to put me in the middle. He said that he has been pleased with Desta's progress since she got here, that he feels that her health is improving and that she must be getting a decent amount of nutrution as evidenced by her growth and weight gain. He said (and I know this is true) that many kids adopted from other countries have a great spurt of "catch-up" growth when they first arrive due to the better nutrition, health care, and emotional situation they are in. His concerns are not so much immediate as they are long-term. He said she not in immediate danger of becoming malnourished, but that chronic deficiencies in calcium and iron will cause long-term problems. He said that if we are having a lot of heartache and headache over the eating issue that he would be happy to recommend some good supplements, but that in the long run we are going to have to figure out a diet for Desta that does meet all her nutritional needs without the use of supplements. He said he does have some patients who are very ill and very malnourished and that supplements are helpful to them but that the best course of action is to have excellent nutrition to begin with as excellent nutrition will not only prevent problems but also help her HIV meds be more effective. He said that he would be happy to discuss these things with Desta again if I wanted him to, but I told him that I thought she might feel uncomfortable with that, and he said that was fine. I told him about my plans to "sneak" more nutrition into Desta and he said that would be a good starting point and that, hopefully, with time, she would broaden her list of acceptable foods. I asked him whether there was any way we could determine whether Desta has sensitivities to any of the foods she refuses and he said that we could by all means do that if I wanted to. We plan to talk more about that at our next appointment.

I feel better about things and dh and I plan to begin following the attachment therapist's advice of "here's the food, eat what you like," which worked very well for us when we first started it.

Namaste!
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#80 of 85 Old 10-03-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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Thanks again for everyone's good ideas and support. I went back and talked to the HIV doctor yesterday. I explained to him how I felt that his advice and the attachment therapist's advice were conflicting and that I felt stuck in the middle and unsure of what to do. The doctor apologized and said he had not meant to put me in the middle. He said that he has been pleased with Desta's progress since she got here, that he feels that her health is improving and that she must be getting a decent amount of nutrution as evidenced by her growth and weight gain.
Wow. I am so relieved by this and it's not even my daughter. Or my respected doctor. Great! Good!

I am rooting for everything to keep working out for your family as well as it has been.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#81 of 85 Old 10-03-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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wow! what an awesome Dr. !!!

thats good to klnow that she is not in any immediant danger. That should give you some time to just work things out with her adjusting and making the general cultural transition. hopefully with time this will work itself out to some extent.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#82 of 85 Old 10-03-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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What a great example of patient-doctor communication. I'm so glad you talked to him about it, and so glad about his response.

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#83 of 85 Old 11-06-2006, 05:48 AM
 
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I didn't read the whole thread, but I noticed she is Ethiopian and your family is vegetarian. There are lots of ethiopian veggie recipes at this site:

http://www.ivu.org/recipes/
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#84 of 85 Old 05-19-2007, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to update people on this situation because so many people took an interest in it when I initially posted this thread.

After Desta's January visit to the HIV doctor (at which time her bloodwork again indicated nutritional deficiencies), we implemented a "vegetables first" rule at the dinner table. Desta has to eat a serving of vegetables before she gets anything else for dinner, and if she wants seconds of anything (usually she wants seconds of the high-carb portion of the meal) she has to eat everything else on her plate first.

I know that this is not in keeping with the MDC way, but Desta visited the HIV doctor again two weeks ago and we just got the results of her blood tests on Thursday. Her T-cells, which had been dropping, have climbed 300 points and all her other bloodwork, including that which had previously indicated nutritional deficiencies, was fine.

I talked to Desta about this and about the fact that the HIV doctor said that the high-carb, no veggies diet she prefers could be contributing to her fatigue, and I hoped that she would understand the connection between her eating habits and her health, but she didn't seem to. I think that the connection is too vague for her. Since she was still feeling ok, in her mind everything was fine.

I don't like forcing her to eat, but she has gotten used to it and it's not really an issue anymore. We just told her that we are her parents and we are responsible for making sure she stays healthy and that's the way it is. We initially had an argument about it, but when she saw that dh and I were united and that we were not backing down, she accepted it.

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#85 of 85 Old 05-19-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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Glad to hear she's doing well!
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