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Ways To Encourage Eating More

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My 13 year old son was diagnosed in Sept. 2011 with Celiac. He immediately gained 6 lbs after going Gluten Free but since the beginning of Jan. he has gained no weight and only a few inches in height. He's a picky eater, liking mostly fruits and vegetables (and popcorn). A typical day is 2 waffles for breakfast, part of an apple in the car to school, tea with half and half. For lunch he'll have a pear, gluten free cereal bar from Glutino, fruit snacks and maybe another snack type food. He'll have popcorn when he gets home from school and then dinner which he eats fairly well. I encourage him to snack, have ice cream, shakes or smoothies but he doesn't seem to want more. The doctor did put him on an appetite stimulant but I saw no increase in his appetite on it. Last night I encouraged him to eat ice cream and his question was "is there another way I can gain weight other than eating?" I'm at a loss. He's 70lbs and looks so tiny next to he is peers.


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"is there another way I can gain weight other than eating?"

Weight gain by snacking would be weight gain by increasing fat percentage. Nothing healthy about that.

Real weight gain means more muscles, which of course comes from exercising in combination with eating more proteins...


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I have a 14 year old who does not have these issues but has eating habits that are similar and that is a challenge for this mom. He has gotten that attitude that I am a restuarant that will cater to his whims and has gotten fussy. He hardly wants to eat B and L and just wants junk.

But I feel for your son, maybe he is feeling like I am right now, I feel like "do I have to eat?" LOL. But no joke. I just have too many issues with food and it's just not enjoyable anymore. Plus we often don't feel like eating because food makes us feel unwell. I have the challenge of being underweight too. I was able to gain but it took a lot of consistancy over a long time and I had to put some of my feelings about food aside. Sorry, but it's true. I still do.

That being said, it really helps to keep trying new things, not too much at once, but keep trying. I dug out a new recipe that DH and I will try this weekend because I am in a big food rut right now. Also we have to think that the success is in trying, not whether or not we like the results. We need a few hits sometimes but we can't get stuck in the misses. You also need to try new things that he can eat as a family. It makes a big differnce to have it on the family table, no matter what our age.

Ideally you don't want him to be just eating carbs. That will contribute to feeling unwell. No fear of fats-full fat dairy is a good thing. And protein, ideally from meat or eggs at each meal. But you may just have to start with anything if he's in a real rut-even just a differnt veg or fruit. Maybe rotate his favorites so that he doesn't get too used to one thing and it becomes a crutch. Sometimes our tummies and minds need to be retrained to get used to variety.

Get into the kitchen and make things together. Enlist him with helping in family meal prep. I've been teaching my son kitchen skills for a few years now. My goal is that he can cook for himself by the time he graduates high-school. It's just a basic life skill and esp. important with food allergies on board. He doesn't need to stay for the whole meal prep, if that feels like too much. I often have my son do one task and then he is free to go ;) like cutting lettuce for tacos, peeling apples and cutting them for apple crisp, flipping pancakes after I've made the batter, browning ground beef for tacos etc. It's good for him and helps me;)

Just some ideas. Each family and kid and situation is different but hopefully some of that will help.


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I know the feeling of not wanting to eat. Sometimes I wish I could just take a pill and get it over with!

As a teen, I had a very rough time when I had some sort of stomach thing happen to me. I got very ill and couldn't keep any food down. When I finally got better I was still so fearful of food and even drinks with calories in them that I wouldn't eat a thing and would only drink water or diet soda. I reached a dangerously low weight. For me the appetite stimulant did work.

The only thing I can suggest is to keep food available at all times and encourage him to eat it. Sounds like he needs to be eating more protein. Adding fat to the diet isn't necessarily a bad thing but it needs to be good fats like olive oil, avocado or avocado oil, coconut oil, etc.


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    • Hi AWOL, Since you weren't able to complete the 2 weeks gluten challenge for the endoscopy the results are not necessarily reliable.   So to be err on the side of caution I think you should assume you have celiac disease.  Your doctor should not assume you don't have it either since the challenge was not completed.  He has no proof that you don't have celiac disease.  He does have evidence that you have negative reactions to eating gluten though.
    • Hi Ironic Truth, Thanks for Replying. Wow I get bad joint pain too. So my opinion especially if he is eating gluten is to get him tested. I wish I had been tested when I was eating gluten 8 years ago .  I had tried 8 years ago initially to figure out what the heck was going on with me and my immune system. I started with a GP, went to Allergist/Immunologist etc. I gave up 4 doctors later when nothing seem to be found and you sense they start thinking lady you're a nut job . My cousin a diagnosed Celiac took over 2 years to be diagnosed and she is a nurse. My husband said for years "I think bread is bad for you" and in a desperate attempt to help myself -I gave up wheat after 2 weeks felt better 2 months later I went total gluten-free and felt very much better that was 4 years ago. So I have suspected NCGS or Celiac for a few years now. However getting someone to test you for it when you were classified IBS 20 years prior-well as is chronically heard on the forums here is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. One then just finally says ok I will just try this gluten-free thing myself. I was gluten-free for 3 1/2 years and improving. Then  I got gluten-ed in March of 2016 and I had worse symptoms then ever the joint pain arrived. I went to a new allergist who refereed me to another Allergist/Immunologist who deals with Celiacs and Food Intolerances. I did see a Rheumotologist in July 2016 since the muscle and joint pain was still lingering, who tested me and reported no antibodies. Back to the specialist who did more test and suggested the gluten challenge. It's likely me failing to complete 2 weeks caused it but the symptoms got real bad and I thought I'm going to have worse issues if I don't stop this.  Today my fingers are just starting to heal they were peeling during the gluten challenge among all the other symptoms I get, which I attribute to dehydration. The dry peeling fingers did not improve until I got the IV the day of the scope. Bizarrely I was looking forward to the scope hoping I'd get an IV with Meds and fluids becaus eI felt I needed it. I did see one abstract, I can't get my hands on the full article as you stated their is a link: Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jan;50(1):126-9. Celiac disease and intestinal metaplasia of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus). Maieron R1, Elli L, Marino M, Floriani I, Minerva F, Avellini C, Falconieri G, Pizzolitto S, Zilli M So I will pursue the path of monitoring the  Barrett's. Despite no official diagnosis for me, you are right Gluten is bad for me, I should avoid it, I will, and I'll stay on the forums. Good luck with you Boyfriend he is lucky to have you looking out for him.
    • Hi Sunshine, There is a program called a 504 plan that some schools will follow if you get one approved.  It helps the school identify proper ways to deal with a child's particular needs.  Probably it is helpful to have a 504 plan, but they may require a formal diagnosis for it.  I suggest you talk to the school and ask them about it.  Tell them the situation with the kid and about the stress he would need to go through to get diagnosed.  They may be willing to work with you without a formal diagnosis.   I am not saying you absolutely have to have a 504 plan for him.  School districts vary and some may be more accommodating than others.  A 504 plan may give you certain rights, but I  am no expert on them. The gluten challenge is 12 weeks of eating gluten for blood tests.  The payback for being formally diagnosed is questionable IMHO.  Treatment is the same regardless, eating gluten-free for life.  One thing to be aware of is that celiac disease has a genetic factor.  So he got the gene from one of the parents.  Anyone else in the family could have celiac develop at some point.  So testing every couple years for all family members is a good idea. Welcome to the forum!
    • Thank you everyone. I appreciate all of the information and support.  I am feeling overwhelmed right now and it was really getting me down yesterday. I don't feel so hopeless now. 
    • Okay. I think I will start with an allergist and a dietitian. 
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