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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Diet!

My daughter, Alia, was very sick this weekend. In fact, I ended up taking her to the hospital, because she was having agonizing abdominal pain, she was extremely pale and lethargic, and she was very thirsty. It was very scary, because the doctors all thought she had appendicitis. Her pain was so severe, she had to have morphine...TWICE. My 4 year old! The only good part was that my ex-husband actually came through this time. He was there at the hospital the whole time, and he stayed with my other kids, so that I could be there when Alia had her extremely frightening and invasive tests. I think it really comforted her to have both of us there. When the tests came back negative, the doctors released her with a diagnosis of, "Non-specific gastritis/colitis."

Personally, I think her problem was that she was constipated. She has had a lot of problems with it in the past, and I thought it was a lot better, but I must've been wrong. I already talked to her, and I told her that from now on she has to follow a very high fiber diet with nothing in it that will clog her up. This is going to mean some real changes for her, because she can't have any dairy products, red meat, chicken, bananas, or refined grains. I used to put wheat germ in her yogurt to make it more healthful, but that was the wrong thing to put in there. I should have sprinkled the BRAN in there. Anyway, here's what I'm going to do.

This is of course, good for everyone, but I think it's going to take some getting used to! I'm going to have to amp mine up with flax and extra bran as well, which I'm sure will affect the taste and texture of what I make. I'm going to have to experiment a lot with different ratios of different grains. I'm sure we will all get used to it, though, and I'm hoping eating whole grains will positively impact the whole family.

I was letting her eat a LOT of yogurt, because a lot of times, she'd refuse to eat anything else! I thought it was healthy, but I think it really contributed to clogging her up so bad. I went to Publix yesterday, and luckily, they are having a BOGO sale on shredded wheat! I got 4 boxes for free (WIC) and last night, she ate shredded wheat with soymilk for dinner. I told her that from now on, if she doesn't want to eat dinner, she can have high fiber cereal, high fiber bread, dried fruit, or regular fruit instead, but NO YOGURT. She really took it better than I thought she would.

There are fiber "candies" that you can eat to supplement your diet, but I don't know if it's good to give them to small children who are already on a high fiber diet.

Beans and lentils have a lot of protein and fiber. Best of all, they are also frugal! There are a lot of recipes that use legumes instead of meat. I actually have a Middle Eastern cookbook that has a lot of awesome bean and lentil based recipes. I just need to start trying them! A lot of vegan cookbooks have good recipes featuring legumes as well.

Fish isn't generally constipating, unlike beef and chicken. The only bad part, is that fish is usually a lot more expensive! There are ways around the expense, though. Canned salmon is a great bet nutritionally, and it tastes pretty good! It's definitely not as tasty as fresh, but it definitely works in casseroles and on sandwiches. Canned tuna is also a good option. I'll post any good recipes I find!

It might be a little tough at first, but I think this new diet will be a positive change in the long run. For one thing, legumes are a lot more frugal, and less fattening than meat. Fish has great health benefits, along with not being constipating. I'm hoping this new diet will improve all of our health, especially poor Alia's.


WilliamB said...

Oh your poor child!

In addition to Mex and vegetarian, you might want to give Indian a try as well. That's a culture that is widely vegetarian and has incorporated beans and lentils into everything. There's a blog called that has a lot of vegetarian, Indian and bean recipes. (Although one of my favorite quick means is bean dip (mashed cooked beans, salsa, garlic) and tortilla chips.) And did you know that popcorn is whole grain?

There's a recipe from Cook's Illustrated for a really tasty multi-grain bread. As written it uses white flour, whole wheat flour, and multi-grain hot cereal (like oatmeal but 5 or 7 grains). It's pretty powerful stuff but if even that much white flour is too much, I bet it would work with all whole wheat, especially if you used more yeast and gave it more time to rise. I can send it to you if you want.

Good luck. That's a big thing to be dumped with, on top of everything else. The only silver lining is at least it's a frugal solution.

Allison said...

I hope Alia is feeling better!

Good luck with the new diet. Growing up, we didn't really eat beans (besides opening a can with hot dogs on the grill). I look forward to reading more of your recipes because I'm trying to eat more beans lately.

Mary said...

I think your new diet will be good for the whole family. We eat a lot of beans, and I'd really like some good recipes if you come up with some. I'd also like lentil recipes. We don't eat them very much, but I'd like to start. Remember that all (whole) fruits and vegetables provide fiber.

Anonymous said...

Ask her doctor about giving her a natural yougurt culture supplement. My daughter was on a medicine called Miralax from age 18 mos-3 for constipation. It began not working as well. A pharmacist suggested this to me, and it worked great. You can get it at a health food store. The one we buy is a flavored powder you can stir into a drink.

It is also good for the loose bm's when they're getting over a stomach virus, and to give when they are taking antibiotics.

But again, ask her doctor if it's appropriate for her.

-- Amanda

Lindy H said...

Great ideas, and don't forget about has been our biggest help in a family with 2 constipated/irregular people!