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lizbeth

How To Help A 21 Year Old Son

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I am the mother of a 21 year old young man who is a college student living away at school. He was diagnosed his senior year of h.s. with celiac. He is motivated to stay on the diet and blood tests/biopsy have come back with the information that he is adhering to the diet well. However, he continues to have digestive issues with frequent bowel movements, D and it affects his life as a young man who would like to lead a more normal life. He is not motivated to learn much more than he already knows about the disease, instead putting his hope in there being a pill developed which would enable him to eat gluten. He is not very interested in learning to cook altho he will cook some very basic things. If he does not have anything convenient around to eat such as a snickers bar or a ready made gluten-free meal such as mac and cheese, then he will just go hungry.

What is the best way to help him as a parent? I am trying to foster independence. I do cook for him a good bit when he is at home but am trying to help him take more initiative in this situation.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

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I am the mother of a 21 year old young man who is a college student living away at school. He was diagnosed his senior year of h.s. with celiac. He is motivated to stay on the diet and blood tests/biopsy have come back with the information that he is adhering to the diet well. However, he continues to have digestive issues with frequent bowel movements, D and it affects his life as a young man who would like to lead a more normal life. He is not motivated to learn much more than he already knows about the disease, instead putting his hope in there being a pill developed which would enable him to eat gluten. He is not very interested in learning to cook altho he will cook some very basic things. If he does not have anything convenient around to eat such as a snickers bar or a ready made gluten-free meal such as mac and cheese, then he will just go hungry.

What is the best way to help him as a parent? I am trying to foster independence. I do cook for him a good bit when he is at home but am trying to help him take more initiative in this situation.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

That's a tough one. If he doesn't seem interested in learning the things that will help him lead a more normal life, then I'm not sure what you can do. On the other hand, he is 21 when being "normal" is pretty important to people, so having something like celiac would be pretty tough.

If he's not in the dorms, could you get him a nice little grill or something? What man doesn't like to grill meat! Plus a grill is quick and easy. Or one of those little foreman grills? I used to use those for grilling chicken quite a lot.

Most of the guys that I knew at that age didn't really cook much. Mainly quick meals-either preprepared, pizza, or speghetti. Could you stock him up with gluten-free pasta?

You also might want to point out that girls love a guy that can cook! ;)

Also, if all of his tests are coming back normal, is it possible that he's having problems with something else in his diet?

Jennifer

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That's a tough one. If he doesn't seem interested in learning the things that will help him lead a more normal life, then I'm not sure what you can do. On the other hand, he is 21 when being "normal" is pretty important to people, so having something like celiac would be pretty tough.

If he's not in the dorms, could you get him a nice little grill or something? What man doesn't like to grill meat! Plus a grill is quick and easy. Or one of those little foreman grills? I used to use those for grilling chicken quite a lot.

Most of the guys that I knew at that age didn't really cook much. Mainly quick meals-either preprepared, pizza, or speghetti. Could you stock him up with gluten-free pasta?

You also might want to point out that girls love a guy that can cook! ;)

Also, if all of his tests are coming back normal, is it possible that he's having problems with something else in his diet?

Jennifer

Hi Jennifer, thanks for your reply. I have gotten him a George Foreman grill and he will use it some. I am trying to coach and teach him. I wish he would get interested in eating healthier. He doesn't care about fat grams or healthiness of what he eats. I have tried to find a cooking school for celiacs but have not been able to find one. Have pointed out the "girl" factor but to no avail yet. I guess alot of this is normal for a 21 year old.

He is definitely having problems that are undiagnosed. He is scheduled for a colonoscopy and endoscopy on Monday to see if that turns up anything. His gastro doctor is not a believer in food allergies, and while I respect him very much, we may have to go down that road with another doctor. It affects his life negatively as I know he worries about going out and having D when with girls and with other friends. He has alot going for him with looks and personality but I know this fear of having a problem really holds him back.

Lizbeth

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Yep, I see it most men do not want to be responsible for their celiac disease& at times anything else! I believe he is typical..... It appears to be harder for men to adapt that they have health issues....

You can only try to help him or just continue to be his gluten-free cook.If he gets hungry enough he will step up to the plate. And if he just eats gluten stuff he will get so sick his hard lesson will be learned after one time! Tough love, after a few falls he will come around....

I have on grandson who is 11 & loved to already cook gluten-free but the younger one has no cares or desirtes to do any of it...He thinks his brother is going to always care for him after we older gluten-free cooks have passed on. What a surprise for him coming down the pike!!!!

There are so many new gluten-free packaged foods available ie: Conte's has 10 oz italian meals, kettle cusine has wonderful soups. Go Picnic has lunch box type meals.Organic Bistro also has frozen gluten-free meals........

I'm easy prey for preparing food so I probably would be cooking & baking gluten-free for him & keeping his freezer full...now I'm not saying that is the correct way to go..I'm just easy prey......

hth

mamaw

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I think we all grieve the fact we can't enjoy eating out and foods like everyone else. And being in college has GOT to be even worse. That stuff is around all the time. I'm sure even if he tries cooking some for himself, he's getting cross contamination not only in his own place, but others. Even if he's not into the cooking process so much he needs to be vigilant about reading labels of snack foods, etc. Even things "made in facilities that also processes........" can greating affect many of us. I have a 19 yr old and I know that you can talk till you are blue and until they are ready to hear it, it won't help to keep lecturing him about it all. And he's still at an age that believes he'll live forever, so I would say letting things ride for awhile may be the best approach. But don't let one or even two doctors lead you around and think they know it all with this. VERY FEW doctors in this country have a clear understanding or balanced approach. You will learn so much more just reading boards like this than those doctors. You will need to push them and be the advocate for your son's health. Just a thought....have you looked to see if there's a local Celiac group in the area where he goes to school? Perhaps if he got acquainted with a few others that have the same issues, it would help his interest level.

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I have tried to find a cooking school for celiacs but have not been able to find one.

I looked into doing a weekend cooking class about a month ago just for fun. I called and asked if they could accomodate my eating issues and they said they've done it for others in the past by getting that person gluten-free ingredients for the same things the rest of the class is cooking. It might be worth calling one of the cooking schools and see if they can accomodate a celiac in the regular class, but with gluten-free ingredients. That would also help him realize that gluten-free eating doesn't necessarily need to mean eating different foods.

Jennifer

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Hi, I don't know if you have received a helpful answer yet because I haven't read the replies but I can certainly understand your problem. My grandson who lives with me is 20, soon to be 21 and while he is going to a local college and eating at home or having me pack his lunches he is very good about reading all labels before he purchases a product. I'm wondering if your sons reluctance to take responsibility is related to the fact that he still seems to be having problems even when he tries to eat right. We found out 4 months into the gluten free diet that a very high percentage of celiacs are also dairy intolerant. That makes it much more difficult but once you get a handle on that things get easier because you aren't having symptoms any more. That means no cheese, no more snickers bars. This isn't the same as lactose intolerant this is casein intolerant. Casein is the protein in milk and you can't get away from that. My grandson eats sandwiches made from gluten free bread and natural healthy lunch meats with lettuce and mayonnaise. You have to read labels because all mayonnaise is not dairy free. There are some soy based cheeses but again not all of them are dairy free, you have to look for words like whey, lactose, casein. If he can eat more fruits and vegetables to replace what's missing in his diet which is fiber because gluten free breads and baked goods do not have fiber then he may change his bowel habits. Popcorn is pretty good dorm food and does have fiber. If you like you can contact me and I would be happy to chat more with you about this. raxann1@netzero.com

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Hi, I don't know if you have received a helpful answer yet because I haven't read the replies but I can certainly understand your problem. My grandson who lives with me is 20, soon to be 21 and while he is going to a local college and eating at home or having me pack his lunches he is very good about reading all labels before he purchases a product. I'm wondering if your sons reluctance to take responsibility is related to the fact that he still seems to be having problems even when he tries to eat right. We found out 4 months into the gluten free diet that a very high percentage of celiacs are also dairy intolerant. That makes it much more difficult but once you get a handle on that things get easier because you aren't having symptoms any more. That means no cheese, no more snickers bars. This isn't the same as lactose intolerant this is casein intolerant. Casein is the protein in milk and you can't get away from that. My grandson eats sandwiches made from gluten free bread and natural healthy lunch meats with lettuce and mayonnaise. You have to read labels because all mayonnaise is not dairy free. There are some soy based cheeses but again not all of them are dairy free, you have to look for words like whey, lactose, casein. If he can eat more fruits and vegetables to replace what's missing in his diet which is fiber because gluten free breads and baked goods do not have fiber then he may change his bowel habits. Popcorn is pretty good dorm food and does have fiber. If you like you can contact me and I would be happy to chat more with you about this. raxann1@netzero.com

Hi. My daughter who is also 20 was diagnosed with celiac about 1 1/2 years ago. After being completley gluten free she was not getting any better, in fact she was getting worse. We went back to our primary care after the gastro doctor said it was just going to take more time. They set her up with a new gastro doctor who immediately ordered a colonoscopy. Not only did she have celiac and lactose intolerance, she also had crohn's disease. She has been on pentasa for about a year now and doing well with both diseases. Having the crohn's on top of the celiac is especially tough because not only can she not eat gluten, she also cannot any grains or raw vegetables, including salads and anything with seeds. Her diet is very limited. It is tough for her being in college but she copes pretty good. I wonder when anyone says that they are still have digestive issues and stomach pains if there is something more than the celiac. According to our gastroentoligist it is common to also have crohns or colitis too. Unfortunately diet alone does not help these, u will need to medicine. I would suggest having them check for IBD also if he is not improving.

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I am the mother of a 21 year old young man who is a college student living away at school. However, he continues to have digestive issues with frequent bowel movements, D and it affects his life as a young man who would like to lead a more normal life. He is not motivated to learn much more than he already knows about the disease,

At 21, it is hard to get them to listen. I'd ask him how he plans to explain his diarrhea problem to a friend he'll be sleeping with. Perhaps he'd like to have that small problem cleared up first. Of course if he already has a close friend this approach might not work. Sometimes you have to hit them over the head for them to wake up and see all the problems that could be solved.

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Could stress or depression be factors? College is stressful, and this diagnosis can be depressing. D can be part of stress/anxiety. Apathy or poor motivation can be part of depression. The counseling center on campus probably offers free counseling to students, and if you suggest it just as a way to talk about his celiac's and the stress/adjustment associated with it, then hopefully the counselor would rule out anxiety or depression.

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