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Question About Nephew
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6 posts in this topic

Hi there,

My name is Molly Burk and my 18 month old nephew was just finally, after a long process diagnosed with celiac disease. I have done some research, thanks to sites like this on this and have a concern about his diet.

His mother, who is a great person and I love dearly, is also a vegeterian, and has passed this on to her children. She does not eat red meat so her children therefore do not either and I am having a real hard time with this. Especially, now that I know that the main things she was feeding him he cannot have.

I have tried to talk with her about this and she refuses to feed him, actually any kind of meat. From what I have read, this is important for him and I do not know how to get through to her on the importance of his diet.

He only weighs 16 pounds, and is 18 months old. I had a hard time with this before he was diagnosed, with both her children, and now I am scared that he is never going to develop normally.

I am asking for any information on this, if anyone knows so I can show her some proof on the importance of the protein in his diet. She has taken all the precautionary measures and went to the health food store but she has not given him ANY meat at all yet, and he was diagnosed over a week ago.

I love my nephew and his mother, but without going crazy and getting angry at her, I need some facts on this??

Any one that I show a picture of him to, say he looks malnourished??? Please correct me if I am wrong, i may just not be educated on this!

Thank you

Molly

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My, that's tiny! Is she not using dairy products either? Milk and eggs?

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I don't know the amount of expertise the mother has with the vegan diet. Well trained vegans have a variety of protein options. Once the gluten free diet has started and the villi have healed, your nephew should start gaining weight very soon. The month- weight ratio was about the same for my daughter before diagnoses (meat eating diet). Keep an open mind and listen to the mother's answer to your protein questions. You may also suggest some of the bean flours to replace the rice, tapiocca, potato flours for the gluten free diet.

Laura

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Hi Molly,

This probably isn't the best site to learn about the nutritional advantages of a vegetarian diet. My son has type 1 diabetes and is a vegetarian (the rest of our family is not). His medical team is completely supportive of this approach. With a little research, you will find overwhelming evidence that being vegetarian is perhaps the best diet approach you can chose for lifelong health.

Meadow :)

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Hi,

Being vegetarian and celiac are two very different things, and I don't believe one really impacts the other. Whether or not to be veggie is entirely its own issue.

That said, your nephews small size IS the result of celiac and in a year or so, he'll probably look just like other kids his size, but give it some time.

You don't mention if the mother is still breastfeeding. From what I know, it is very important for a vegetarian baby/toddler to be getting breastmilk, so that they get enough fats (of the right kind) in their diet. Anthropologists theorize that one of the reasons humans can wean their young so early compared to similar mammals is that we introduce meat at an early age. So if meat is not introduced, breastmilk is all the more important.

.02,

Merika

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It is not necessarily problematic for him to be vegetarian and gluten-free. In fact, many of the grains that celiacs turn to when wheat is out have MORE protein than wheat does - and in some cases, a much more complete protein than wheat does.

If she is well versed in vegetarian nutrition, there is no reason why being vegetarian will cause problems with his development. (This is different from being vegan, of course, and you haven't yet noted which one they are. He can be healthy growing up vegan as well, but it is more difficult.) The only thing that a vegetarian has trouble with is B-12, and if he eats eggs, that's not likely to be a problem. Vegetarian diets still have plenty of protein (from beans, whole grains, soy, and fruits and vegetables, not to mention dairy and eggs if they have them) and when well balanced and supplemented with B-12 are just as nutritious as a similar diet containing meat, and, of course, plenty of fat and fiber.

If she's having trouble converting to gluten free, and his food choices are limited because of that, that is a different issue, and one that she can overcome through learning. Please keep in mind that he may look malnourished NOT because he's vegetarian, but because he's celiac - so he IS malnourished (because his intestines were not absorbing the nutrients he was ingesting). It will take much longer than a week for him to see significant systemic improvement, so please be patient, and supportive, of the transition to a gluten-free diet.

Feel free to encourage her to stop by here, and keep coming back yourself, for more information and just some general support on living gluten free!

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