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DianeByrd

How To Convince Teen To Stay On Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet?

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My 14yo ds is gluten, milk, and soy free (and free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives). He and his two younger siblings are home schooled, so managing his diet is fairly simple. Our home is free of all those foods. The difficulty arises when there are special events - parties, invitations to spend the night at a friend's, weekend retreats. We always bring an all-in-one dish and dessert when we go to potlucks. We make dinners to bring to friends when they invite us over. I've given in some of these times when it is just my ds because I know how hard it is to enjoy social settings when food is such an issue. Sometimes, it is impossible to really participate if food has to be packed for several days! Anyway, when I've let him eat freely, I've almost always regretted it. Although, my husband has taken him to eat out in a pinch and allowed him to eat gluten and avoid only milk and he's been relatively OK from what I can recall. I'm pretty convinced though that milk, or milk and gluten together, send him into a rage for days. He thinks we're totally wrong. He thinks we're not understanding him and that his circumstances warrant how he's feeling. I'm not sure what is just part of being a teenager and what is diet related. I've occasionally gone off the diet when he has and have dealt with days of crying, which, like my ds, I feel are warranted by my circumstances, but I know are just much harder for me to handle when I've eaten gluten and milk. Boy, are we a pair together when we've gone off the diet! I'm not doing that to myself again. How can I help him embrace the need for the diet himself? One day, he'll be moving out, going away to college, having his own family, etc. He doesn't have any other symptoms to really point to; although, sometimes he'll get an ear infection, and this last time he's complained of stomach aches for a few days. His sisters are on the diet to deal with failure to thrive. My mother was schizophrenic. I've thought of warning him about the connection, but I don't want to go overboard. He respectfully stays on the diet when we tell him to. I'm just not sure what to do when he'll have several days of activities centered around eating out in a group setting for a camp, etc. I don't want him to feel totally weird. And what should he tell friends when they ask why he can't eat milk and gluten?

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I was diagnosed when I was 13 y/o (I'm now 35). It is hard to be "different" when you are a teen, but it really is what you make of it. Knowing that shizo was linked to celiac, it was one of the major reasons I stayed gluten-free that and the stomach aches.

I hated it when I told people I couldn't eat something and they would say, oh I'm sorry or that sucks! I just told them don't feel sorry for me. It usually put a stop to the weirdness. If they say Oh I forgot you can't eat that, just say well as long as I remember it will be okay. Also people tend to understand allergy allot better...Don't get me wrong I'm a huge advocate for educating about Celiac but some times it is just easier to say I'm allergic. Ultimately he will do what he wants, you can't force a person. Just try to be a good example and don't cheat.

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I was diagnosed when I was 13 y/o (I'm now 35). It is hard to be "different" when you are a teen, but it really is what you make of it. Knowing that shizo was linked to celiac, it was one of the major reasons I stayed gluten-free that and the stomach aches.

I hated it when I told people I couldn't eat something and they would say, oh I'm sorry or that sucks! I just told them don't feel sorry for me. It usually put a stop to the weirdness. If they say Oh I forgot you can't eat that, just say well as long as I remember it will be okay. Also people tend to understand allergy allot better...Don't get me wrong I'm a huge advocate for educating about Celiac but some times it is just easier to say I'm allergic. Ultimately he will do what he wants, you can't force a person. Just try to be a good example and don't cheat.

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I was diagnosed when I was 13 y/o (I'm now 35). It is hard to be "different" when you are a teen, but it really is what you make of it. Knowing that shizo was linked to celiac, it was one of the major reasons I stayed gluten-free that and the stomach aches.

I hated it when I told people I couldn't eat something and they would say, oh I'm sorry or that sucks! I just told them don't feel sorry for me. It usually put a stop to the weirdness. If they say Oh I forgot you can't eat that, just say well as long as I remember it will be okay. Also people tend to understand allergy allot better...Don't get me wrong I'm a huge advocate for educating about Celiac but some times it is just easier to say I'm allergic. Ultimately he will do what he wants, you can't force a person. Just try to be a good example and don't cheat.

Oops! I clicked add reply before typing!

Thanks for the advice. We tend to use the term allergry, but that leads to the inevitable question of what happens when you eat it? That's where the awkwardness arises; his symptoms tend to be emotional. What teen wants to say that? And he doesn't even believe that he has an allergy, since we've only tested via dietary changes.

I'm also not too sure he'd respond well to warnings about schizophrenia. I know I didn't react well as a teen to the suggestion that I should be concerned about ending up the same as my mom.

Any other thoughts?

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Something I've done when people ask me what happens if I eat gluten or why I can't eat a certain food, I'll just say, "I just don't feel well after I eat it. If I avoid it, I feel great." I keep it simple and vague, and that usually ends the discussion. :) I figure, I'm not obligated to tell anyone anything, and I can just keep my response within my comfort level. Something to try, if you haven't already. Good luck!

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