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"my Kids Can't Have Gluten So I Have To Get Whole Wheat Spaghetti For Them"
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26 posts in this topic

So I'm new here. My sister has decided that her kids, the two SHE gave birth to, not her stepkids, are gluten sensitive.

I'll try to keep this short and near the point. She was anorexic in high school until our parents started "hounding" her and then she became bulimic. She survived that, only to still barely eat anything. I should note at this time that women in our family are not typically heavy at all.

On to her kids, HER two kids, the other two are fine. (A little bitterness here as she tends to treat them a little different.) She decided that they were gluten sensitive since they have tummy aches. She had them tested and it came back negative. She decided to put them on a gluten free diet. Ok. Two years later I'm getting close to mastering the gluten free cooking. It took some practice, but I won over the "Gluten-free is taste free" crowd at Thanksgiving. The look on my neice's face was priceless when she asked me which were the ones she could eat and I told her everything.

She started homeschooling the kids this year and apparently their lunch, everyday, is peanut butter, yogurt, and a banana.

I can't count the times I've heard the youngest one ask for more, be told no and then hear "but Momma I'm still hungry."

The last time she took them to the doctor, she was told they were underweight. They do look like they're getting too thin.

Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that when they were babies, if they didn't poop when she thought they should, she was always quick to give them laxatives or even suppositories. Which causes me to worry that maybe she messed with their natural development, which in turn caused their tummy aches.

And finally, does this not sound like she is pushing her eating disorder onto her children? I won't even get started on my Munchausen by proxy theories.

Oops. One more thing that originally sent me here in the first place. She preaches at every family function that her kids can't have anything with gluten. She insists that everyone change how they cook for her two girls. However she serves them whole wheat pasta and whole wheat tortillas. Does this not contradict the gluten-free diet she supposedly has them on? I think she's crazy, but I'm crazy for all my neices and nephews and if cooking gluten-free makes life easier and better for those two, I'll go all out, but does she sound crazy or what?

(First post to a forum ever) Apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors, Thanks for reading!

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This is really really an unfortunate situation. I think your sister is confused and she might not even realize it. It is possible that gluten is giving her children problems but I wonder why she doesn't realize wheat pasta and wheat tortillas have gluten. Is it because it's not white and she is associating white bleached flour to gluten and not whole wheat?

In a sense it does sound like your sister may be passing off some of her issues to her children which is not uncommon. However, there is very little family can do without alienating the family member completely.

I do undersatnd your frustration and feeling of helplessness in this situation.

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annonymously report her for child neglect.

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Have you asked her about the whole wheat stuff? What did she say? What does the

Dad say?

You may have to report them. If you know who the pediatrician is, you might talk to him/ her.

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I think you're right to be worried about the kids. if they were overweight I could see limiting their calories, but that doesn't sound like the case here?

Serving whole wheat would ge better nutritionally and on the glycemic index scale, for blood sugar control..but makes nO sense to serve to kids that are supposed to be gluten-free.

In fact, I've always wondered if whole wheat has MORE gluten than white bread which has been processed more.

Honestly, it sounds like the mother needs therapy.

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Well, if this is truly the whole story, then you sister sounds quite ill and in serious need of help. Her children are at risk for all kinds of problems.

richard

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I agree. Its no wonder you are concerned for your neices and nephews. Is there anyway you can sit down and talk to your sister about what's going on? I'm not sure of the relationship that you have with her...is there a husband in the picture that maybe you could talk to? Telling a kid 'no' who says they're hungry after you know they aren't eating enough, just isn't right...especially when they're growing and maturing. How has your sisters eating been? Has that concern been coming back? If nothing else, I'd definitely discuss the whole wheat not being gluten free thing with her.

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I am sorry, but she sounds mentally ill. I second giving their doctor a call.

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Whole wheat is full of gluten. You are right to be concerned.

I think the first thing you need to do is pass on a very reputable source of information about whole wheat containing gluten. The university of chicago has a great celiac research center that explains about celiac and the gluten free diet.

I think it is not child abuse to feed them gluten free with negative celiac tests, since she is right that many people have intolerances or even celiac with negative test results. However, she needs to actually do it! I have a post about going 100% gluten free on my blog that might appeal to her need to control things ;P

Next, there are so many good blogs for people with histories of eating disorders and also feeding kids. A favorite is:

http://familyfeedingdynamics.com/

I wonder if she would be interested in any of the articles there. I am guessing from your post that she may feel judged by you if you send something like this her way, but if there is a way to share articles with her without directing them at her (like on facebook as your own wall post with a comment having nothing to do with her) that might help.

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I made a boo boo yesterday - I should stick to facebook or forum not both!! :blink:

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If she says that they have improved on a gluten-free diet while she is feeding them whole wheat, then their problem (or supposed problem) likely has nothing to do with gluten.

However, telling family that the kids follow a gluten-free diet would limit the amount of cakes and such they could be given. Just food for thought.

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If she says that they have improved on a gluten-free diet while she is feeding them whole wheat, then their problem (or supposed problem) likely has nothing to do with gluten.

However, telling family that the kids follow a gluten-free diet would limit the amount of cakes and such they could be given. Just food for thought.

I have to agree. Especially because also, I've heard that some people are using a gluten free diet to hide their eating disorder. This kinda sounds like another version of that. Especially since whole wheat is supposed to be healthier for you than white flour.

If you are concerned that these children are being abused please call their local child protective services. You can do so anonymously.

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People think really strange things. My daughter was at my friend's house when she was little and my friend asked me if she could have some Ramen noodles? This was long before we knew of her wheat allergy. I said she could. I was then horrified to learn that my friend gave them the noodles straight from the package. Uncooked! She told them they could sprinkle just a little of the powder on the noodles for flavor. But not too much because she had them on a low sodium diet. I was like... But... You give them GATORADE! It's loade with sodium! She kept denying it until her husband overheard and agreed with me. She then ran to the cupboard and looked. She looked horrified. I guess she didn't read labels. She also kept opened bottles of Gatorade in the cupboard, unopened.

She also told me she had put her middle daughter on a gluten-free diet and that it was really easy. Said to just give her rice instead of bread. Said that it didn't help her at all. Well knowing now what I know about what you really should do to go gluten-free, I doubt that she did it right.

Her kids were very thin and I was amazed at how little food she actually fed them. I think she herself had an eating disorder, living mostly on coffee and cigarettes and bragging that she just ate one meal per day. She had some other weird issues. Like wearing only white tops. She had hundreds of white tops, mostly all the same.

One day the Dr. told her she had to feed her littlest one more food. The girl was 3 I think and weighed only 20 pounds. I also saw the oldest one being screamed at by the dad for eating a whole bag of baby carrots. I think those kids were starving all the time.

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I said she could. I was then horrified to learn that my friend gave them the noodles straight from the package. Uncooked!

Slightly off-topic, but I've heard of other people doing this.

Personally, I think it's gross.

But I've seen people snacking on uncooked ramen noodles - not because they didn't know to cook them, but they actually LIKED them uncooked. Weird, IMO, but my mother also prefers orange peels to the actual orange (which I think is even weirder.)

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I've eaten Ramen noodles uncooked pre-celiac....it was college, and it wasn't terrible :)

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I would encourage her to seek the help of a dietician for her children so she can become more educated about an appropriate diet and calorie intake for children. (and she may need other therapy herself, but it will only be helpful to her if she comes to a place where she wants to be helped).

I noticed several other posts stated to report her: I would weigh any decision to call cps very carefully, and being as objective about the situation as possible: you obviously care very much about your neice/nephew, and sometimes state involvement can have negative consequences for the kids.

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Slightly off-topic, but I've heard of other people doing this.

Personally, I think it's gross.

But I've seen people snacking on uncooked ramen noodles - not because they didn't know to cook them, but they actually LIKED them uncooked. Weird, IMO, but my mother also prefers orange peels to the actual orange (which I think is even weirder.)

My son used to steal the rice stick noodles out of the pantry and eat them like crackers. He was little - 2 or 3??

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A child that is told "no" when they are still hungry would concern me and sister or not I would report them.

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A child that is told "no" when they are still hungry would concern me and sister or not I would report them.

My daughter used to constantly say she was hungry. She would throw down her fork in the middle of a meal and scream that she was hungry and needed a snack. This pretty much stopped once we learned of her food allergies. I guess I was just feeding her stuff she was allergic to pretty much all of the time! She must have mistaken the upset stomach for hunger. I don't know.

More recently she was diagnosed with a thyroid problem and pre-diabetes. That has lessened her hunger more.

She has been overweight most of her life though. Big difference. If she were too thin, that would be another issue. These kids sound too thin.

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Children should NOT go hungry. They are growing. A little overweight is much better than a little underweight. Err on the side of health, err on the side of extra muscle and fat for growing bodies.

Please intervene in whatever way you find suitable. These children need to eat.

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Their_aunt, it sounds like your sister is in need of counseling. Her eating disorder is placing her children in danger physically and psychologically. Report her anonymously and articulate your concerns that the children have been placed in danger willfully by their mother by under feeding them, denying food when asked, and feeding them food that would make them otherwise sick, and their weight being noticibly under the norm. See you can get the kids for the weekend to make sure they eat more in the meantime. I doubt talking to her about a gluten free diet will help, I think she may lash out or blame you for her children's situation. Be cautious, keep your wits and wisdom about you, and I will pray for a better resolution for these poor kids.

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People think really strange things. My daughter was at my friend's house when she was little and my friend asked me if she could have some Ramen noodles? This was long before we knew of her wheat allergy. I said she could. I was then horrified to learn that my friend gave them the noodles straight from the package. Uncooked! She told them they could sprinkle just a little of the powder on the noodles for flavor. But not too much because she had them on a low sodium diet. I was like... But... You give them GATORADE! It's loade with sodium! She kept denying it until her husband overheard and agreed with me. She then ran to the cupboard and looked. She looked horrified. I guess she didn't read labels. She also kept opened bottles of Gatorade in the cupboard, unopened.

She also told me she had put her middle daughter on a gluten-free diet and that it was really easy. Said to just give her rice instead of bread. Said that it didn't help her at all. Well knowing now what I know about what you really should do to go gluten-free, I doubt that she did it right.

Her kids were very thin and I was amazed at how little food she actually fed them. I think she herself had an eating disorder, living mostly on coffee and cigarettes and bragging that she just ate one meal per day. She had some other weird issues. Like wearing only white tops. She had hundreds of white tops, mostly all the same.

One day the Dr. told her she had to feed her littlest one more food. The girl was 3 I think and weighed only 20 pounds. I also saw the oldest one being screamed at by the dad for eating a whole bag of baby carrots. I think those kids were starving all the time.

It breaks my heart to read things like this. My parents starved my brother and I when we were little. I used to hide food in our bedrooms any time I could sneak it.

Now I hoard food - not in a bad way. I don't buy lots of snacks, but I have enough food to make it through about two weeks to a month if a disaster happened. I'm afraid of my kids never having enough to eat. Nevertheless, my 14 year old was told by her doctor it wouldn't hurt if she gained five pounds. Constantly telling her to put more on her plate. She never takes in to consideration the exercise she does for sports.

Ok, I'm rambling, sorry.

Anyway, to the main poster, I'm sure she doesn't mean any harm to her children, but remember that most people who suffer with eating disorders do so because they need to feel in control of something. If you can find a way to get her to attend some meetings for eating disorders and maybe some clinics about children's health and eating, it might help a bit.

As for reporting her for child neglect - don't do it. Those things have a way of getting found out and it could really cause more problems. If the children's health is truly in danger, the doctor is required to report it (in most states).

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My mother in law is a retired nurse, she's always used white bread because she's allergic to wheat. She reads labels, but tends to assume she knows what things are made of instead. She's in her 70's and finally realizing she's been doing it wrong.

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As for reporting her for child neglect - don't do it. Those things have a way of getting found out and it could really cause more problems. If the children's health is truly in danger, the doctor is required to report it (in most states).

I've ended up having to report child neglect and abuse several times and it can be very obvious who made the report despite "confidentiality." Your sister's kids may need your support and it would be very bad if you got completely cut off from them. It is a decision to weigh very carefully, as a last resort. There are better ways to intervene, imo.

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This is absolutely appalling. Those kids are at serious risk for so many problems both physical and emotional. A great point was already made, it should be pointed out to her that if her kids are doing so much better on this "gluten free" diet than it's definitely not a gluten issue or the whole wheat products she's feeding the would have them very I'll. Report her!

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