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.
START BAKING ONLY WHOLE GRAIN BREADS AND TREATS
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.
STOP FEEDING HER YOGURT
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.
TALK TO HER DOCTOR ABOUT FIBER SUPPLEMENTS
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.
INCORPORATE MORE BEANS AND LENTILS INTO HER 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.
START LOOKING FOR WAYS TO EAT MORE FISH
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.