This is a long post but I wanted to share with you the gluten-free miracle one family had. Read on…it’ll tug at your heart.
I got the following e-mail in June (shared here with permission though names have been changed…):
I read your guest post on Kitchen Stewardship months ago and I was intrigued, but wasn’t quite sure it would fly for my family. I’m a stay at home mom of a 2 and 4 year old and a “foodie” husband who also happens to be a bread lover.
However, your story struck a chord with me because of the challenges I am having with my four year old son. He is four years old and 64 pounds. (He’s also quite tall too, but his BMI is still about 95%.) In Novemeber, on his fourth birthday, our regular pediatrician was concerned about his weight and his gross motor skills (and thought they might be connected) so we took him to physical therapy and have since made his physical activity must more of a forefront concern. (Not that he was just sitting around before, but he is the type of kid that would rather pick up a book or play in the sandbox than run around and play tag.) Also, I have always been very careful about what we eat as a family. Lots of whole grains, not a lot of sugary treats, lots of fruits, etc. (He refuses to eat vegetables no matter how I try but I continue to try everyday).
Sorry for all this background, it’s just that I am getting very frustrated! We recently took him to a naturopath after finding out he had gained 8 pounds from November to May (and this AFTER all of our conscious efforts). I had hopes that she would help us adjust his diet (possibly even going gluten free), but she has referred us to a program for obese children at Children’s Hospital (which I am definitely having a tough time wrapping my mind around….lots of the literature talks about making “healthier food choices” and I swear, if they tell me to include more whole grains and whole foods, I will scream! That’s what EVERYONE has told us and we have been doing! The poor kid barely knows what a non-whole wheat baked good tastes like.) Also, I feel like a fight a food battle everyday. “I’m still hungry.”
In any case, this huge buildup is for this question. If I start trying to integrate gluten-free foods into our diet, but don’t eliminate them entirely, will it make a difference (if he is truly gluten intolerant)? I think I will be able to do it at home since I currently do most of our baking, etc., but I don’t want him not to be able to participate in snack time, etc. at preschool. Although he has been unaware about our concerns to this point, I think he’s beginning to catch on and I don’t want him to feel like the “fat kid.”
Ah! Any advice for a frustrated mommy?
Thanks for reading (and letting me vent a bit).
I’ve read your e-mail twice and my heart just hurts for you. I wish I had an answer for you but I don’t. I steer clear of wheat products and white sugar because they are the big problems for me. If I get gluten from a cross contamination situation I don’t have the same problems that someone with Celiac would have. I’m not that sensitive. But I do know that wheat and white sugar are like poison and they start that insatiable food craving that will only go away when I don’t eat it. I do remember that feeling of “I’m still hungry.” I could never really get full, and even if I was it didn’t register. It took me a while to learn what full and hungry meant. This is just how it works for me.
That being said, I’m not a doctor and have no real nutritional education so I can’t offer any sound course of action. I don’t know what would work for your son. It would be impossible and irresponsible for me to give any advice. But I do understand how it feels to be so utterly powerless and to try your very hardest to make a change and have others tell you you’re doing it wrong. I’ve been there over and over again. I will keep your family and your son in my prayers for a solution. The one thing I’ve learned is that if I keep searching for an answer, I’ll eventually find it. Sometimes it just takes longer than I’d like.
Your children are precious. I can tell that your family is the focus of your life. They are lucky to have a mom that loves them so much.
Jane and I exchanged a few more e-mails, then just last week I heard from her again, with the subject line: Thanks you, Thank You!:
I’m sorry I never wrote you back to let you know how it went for my son.
But taking out the gluten made a HUGE difference right away. Seriously, I can’t even believe it. In the first three weeks he lost 4 pounds. For a 4 year old, that is AMAZING. I haven’t weighed him in a few months because I really wanted to take the emphasis away from that. The real difference is his energy level. It’s astounding. From a kid who would rather sit in the sandbox at the playground to one who is climbing on everything and running everywhere. I mean, he was gross motor delayed so taking out the gluten might have coincided with a leap in his development, but I truly believe that leap was made because he had so much more energy. The biggest weight has been lifted. We don’t have to fight about food all the time anymore because even though he still asks for more after meals, it’s not constant like it was before. I just can’t believe it.
I do most of our baking now because store bought gluten free baked goods are a) WAY too expensive for our budget and b) kind of icky. But I don’t mind at all. I would gladly do this extra work to maintain the change we have seen in John.
Thank you so much for all of your support early on! And without your story on Kitchen Stewardship (?…I think. That’s not one of the blogs I read regularly which makes it even more remarkable that I read your story and took it to heart. Clearly, divine intervention!) I don’t think I would have even considered this possibility.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I didn’t want to write that post for Kitchen Stewadrship – I was ashamed to have my fat pictures posted on the front page of Katie’s blog. And, I was scared of what people would say. I almost backed out but didn’t want to let Katie down.
Though putting my imperfect life story out for the world to read was difficult and humbling, I am grateful that my years of pain and struggle with my weight helped Jane, little John, and their family.
Above my bedroom door it says, “Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.” I see those words each night as I drift off to sleep and first thing every morning.
I believe in miracles.
Take a minute to reflect on your life – and your journey with food. Think about the miracles, both big and small. How have they changed your life and your heart?