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Food Fads

Posted by helen 
Food Fads
November 27, 2016 12:40AM
Freddie (11) has a friend to play today who is vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and prefers to eat organic food....
Lunch is proving to take quite a bit of consideration so although he is lovely I am thankful he isn't staying for longer.
He isn't allergic to anything this is just a lifestyle choice.
He has never eaten sugar in his life which is admirable and I do understand people wanting to be healthy but I wonder at cutting out so many food groups.

What do you think?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2016 12:40AM by helen.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 01:01AM
I think that it is a bit OTT for an 11 year old. You say it is a lifestyle choice but an 11 year old is probably not informed or motivated enough to have made the choice himself, rather it has been made for him by the adults(s) around him who buy and prepare his food.. While I have no issue with a child's diet being organic and including little or no sugar, the dairy free and vegetarian aspects of it make me wonder if he is getting the right balance of nutrients for a child of his age.

Edited to add that if this was my child going to a friends place just for the day or to stay, I would provide some items of food that he could eat and not expect his friend's mother to have to work around the various limitations.


Barbara Anne

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2016 01:08AM by Barbara Anne.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 02:05AM
I am curious to know what you gave him to eat, Helen. Crudites, nuts, gluten free crackers?
I agree with Barbara Anne. Health issues aside, I have to wonder what he will decide to eat when he is an adult and able to please himself. Maybe I am just old fashioned, I think there has to be a happy medium between such a restrictive diet and one laden with too many unhealthy choices. His mother's name isn't Gwyneth, is it?

I know a little girl who has coeliac disease, she has never missed out on going to parties. Her mother makes up a selection of food for her and she takes it in her special party container. Often making extra for the other children who are curious and want to try something out. She knows exactly what will happen to her should she be tempted to eat something else that could trigger another visit to hospital.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 02:49AM
Unless he's known to be allergic or actually have coeliac disease then I wouldn't even worry about it, if the mother isn't concerned enough to provide her own food for him, then what he gets at your house is none of her business! I'd provide something healthy, and probably vegetarian but I wouldn't worry about dairy/gluten unless a known problem exists.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 03:09AM
Griz I entirely agree with what you are saying.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 03:53AM
What on earth do they eat? Plain meat, veges, beans and rice? I'm with everyone else, unless there are actual health issues, then this is overboard. I also think it is borderline rude that she didn't provide you with appropriate food. My oldest son had a peanut allergy when he was 2-5 (one of the lucky few that outgrew it) and I always provided "safe" snacks when he was going to be out of my care.

I'm with Griz.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 04:27AM
A vegetable frittata cooked in olive oil and minus the parmesan would fit around the child's intolerances. The Italian kind, not a "crustless quiche". Or one of those Middle Eastern egg dishes such as eggah or kuku.

I would not take it upon myself to serve food that has been labelled as unacceptable. What if the child is actually allergic? I have sometimes been the unwitting victim of gluten in food served by friends who think I am deluded; I would never do that to anyone, let alone a child. It is a matter of respect and honesty.

(edited to add) I agree that the mother should provide food for the child, but if she doesn't have the manners to do this it still doesn't give you the right to ignore the child's preferences.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2016 04:29AM by TPANDAV.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 09:51AM
Oh I also found out when he arrived that he also doesn't eat eggs or avocado.

So, his lunch was Midnight Baker bread, (not gluten free but he does have this bread), sauerkraut (thank goodness I had just bought some to try) and lettuce. Plus an apple.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 10:58AM
...oh dear, I do feel sorry for the little boy, especially as you have said, Helen, that his diet is not based on any food allergies or health conditions. .

Can you please elaborate on Midnight Baker bread - I had not heard of it.


Barbara Anne
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 09:28PM
Midnight baker is on Dominion Rd Auckland and they make a wonderful bread called the Freedom Loaf. The bread is wheat free but not gluten free and has lots of seeds in it. I buy a loaf, slice it thinly and then freeze it. I am the only one in our house who eats it so I just toast (triple toast) the slices from the freezer and then top with whatever I fancy. It has oats in the recipe and I think it is probably very similar to The Life Changing Loaf but without almonds or hazelnuts.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 09:51PM
The poor child, if there is no basis for the extreme diet it is almost bordering on cruelty. I am vegetarian and I cook, but looking at thoses restrictions, you do have to wonder what he actually does eat. It looks to me if it would be a chore to feed anyone with that level of restricted diet...again if these were medical reasons, we all would be very sympathetic to his needs, but a choice! Is ridiculous. Also as above we all agree on healthier diet choices, but we all have to realistic, some days we will have cake :-)
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 09:51PM
That is a challenging list for anyone.

My friend who is dairy and gluten free due to major intolerances, was advised not to be vegetarian as well, even though ethically she wanted to. The advice was around getting Vit B and D and iron absorpency, since she has Chronic Fatigue, and also around social occasions.

One of my work colleagues is dairy and gluten free, and vegetarian, but does eat eggs and some sugar...

I am pretty confident and competent with gluten free meals and baking now, and have many vegetarian family members so don;t mind this at all. But the multiple complexities along with childhood preferences are hard.

I guess I would do fruit, vege, and a peanut or almond butter sandwich or crispbread/corn bread offering. Or a rice noodle stirfry of some sort.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 11:43PM
I agree the amount of exclusions is considerable and does present challenges. It would be interesting to know the rationale.

I do think we will see more and more of this due the ongoing debates around the food groups mentioned particularly sugar and gluten, and thus people will make differing conclusions which I do think need to be respected as well.
Re: Food Fads
November 27, 2016 11:46PM
That child is going to be vulnerable to many nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vit B12 and iron. Part of the problem is that while vegetables can contain good levels of some nutrients, the bioavailability is much lower than for the animal equivalent. Helen, here's a good summary by Chris Kesser, which might give you some support should you wish to talk to the child's parents about his diet.

Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 12:03AM
tpandav, most vegetarians and vegans will have this information and most will happily take supplements. The decision not to eat meat is around ethics, beliefs. Ongoing media stories about bowel cancer, carcinogens etc only validate the decision.
Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 02:51AM
Sometimes I think what other people are happy to eat or not eat simply shows up our own thinking limitations around food and what we've been ingrained to believe is normal and natural. Our brain is stumped because it knows only what we eat.

The child can actually still eat a lot of things. As Jenna said, this includes vegetables, beans, rice. You can do all sorts of things with chickpeas alone. There are hundreds of recipes for beans that don't require any cheese or gluten products. Lots of nuts and nut products. Vegetables are so varied and tasty - my go-to standby in cafes is roast vegetable salad (with NO feta - if it has it I pick it out). There are so many gluten and dairy free products now that the child still has plenty of options in the bakery department. I'm sure some delicious Thai (coconut milk) and Indi*an curries (lentils, chickpeas) will be on his menu.

It can be an eye-opening and surprisingly worthwhile opportunity to look up suitable recipes on the internet and cook something you're not used to cooking for people who choose to eat differently than ourselves.

If he's vegetarian and also doesn't eat eggs or dairy then actually he'd be a vegan in relation to food (that is, he might still be wearing leather shoes...).

And it would be interesting re the child being sugar-free...does this mean no white/brown sugar kind of thing but that he's still eating honey, genuine maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc? And he's eating fruit which is sugar by another name (fructose...). There's a body of thought that thinks fructose is as bad, if not worse, than sugar.....but don't tell him or his parents that....

If that child turned up at my house unexpectedly, I'd start him off with celery loaded with Pic's peanut butter...grinning smiley

Hmmmm...and that dairy-free thing...does this mean he's having buffalo mozzarella on his gluten-free vegetarian pizza (tomato, onion, capsicum, mushroom, pineapple and other yummy things...), goat's milk feta in his salads and pecorino (sheep cheese) in his gluten-free pastas...?? ....which would explain why he's classifying himself as vegetarian rather than vegan....

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2016 04:10AM by J1.
Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 04:03AM
Table sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Its the fructose in it thats actually why we have so many people advocating eliminating sugar altogether
Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 04:50AM
You are right of course J1, there are plenty of delicious recipes - and In***an food is particularly good. We do cook what we are used to and what is common in our society and family. I hope my children try and eat whatever is given to them when visiting another household, because that is a lovely part of our society and culture. Of course allergies and intolerances are different...

I would think a diet rich in vegetables, nut, pulses could be very healthy as long as you eat broadly within this.

I do worry that we are becoming a society of people polarised at both ends of the food spectrum - some care so much about providing the most careful nutrition for their family, and others eat hardly a healthy meal....
Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 11:17AM
Well I think you were wonderful to get this food for him as I know I wouldn't have done so. Personally I don't eat meat, like a lot of other people, but my friends don't care about that and seem to think I am strange and say what a fussy eater I am.
Re: Food Fads
November 28, 2016 08:57PM
I think every parent wants the best for their children hence the diet. It is not what I would choose but each to their own. However if I was the parent I would have sent appropriate food along with the child so they didn't feel awkward asking for special dietary requirements.
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 01:12AM
I personally don't care what other people eat, however it is just plain rude to send a child along to your house with a long list of requirements without warning or providing the options you'd prefer to see him eat. Although I happily cook and eat Thai, Indi*n etc, I don't always have the ingredients to hand, and I need to look for recipes so I need some forewarning if I "need" to cook that way, rather than doing it just because I feel like a nice Indi*n chickpea curry.

I'd also just like to point out that honey, maple syrup etc all contain fructose as well, so are really just sugar by another name, so anyone who wishes to avoid sugar needs to avoid these things as well....oh and dates....I see so often recipes "sugar free" sweetened by dates, which of course are basically ALL fructose. Particular bug bear of mine, had a friend of a friend who has a child who is "allergic" to sugar, but is given honey etc without any worries! Worried well!
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 03:31AM
I agree that its rude.

I think the point of eliminating/reducing sugar is that you will by default significantly reduce your fructose intake. Fructose is also the sugar in vegetables - no one can eliminate.
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 11:25AM
I agree...thoughtless and rude...especially when it is not allergy related. I'd love to see what that kid is eating in 5 yrs time!!
Probably takes supplements...but surely they are not as "natural" and healthy as getting them from food.
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 01:34PM
Plates Wrote:

> I think the point of eliminating/reducing sugar is
> that you will by default significantly reduce your
> fructose intake. Fructose is also the sugar in
> vegetables - no one can eliminate.

Only if the sugar that is eliminated is not then replaced with honey, maple syrup, dates etc, which seems to be what is happening, people take white table sugar out of their diet and replace it with honey. They are reducing their refined sugar intake, but not their actual total sugar intake...and recipes which contain sweeteners like that, aren't automatically healthier which lots of magazines (including some who should know better) are playing on. "We've made this cake recipe healthier by removing the sugar" (and replacing it with maple syrup and dates)...quite simply you can't have your cake and eat it too!
I do agree that people should be reducing their overall sugar intake, but I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about sugar in general.
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 08:44PM
Griz, I completely agree with you, and this is why I think more and more you will come across the scenarios Helen did. There is no clear message, and the information is difficult to rationalise, but I do understand the attack on sugar as its in most things eaten daily opposed to the other sources you mention. You are right, the focus needs to be on reducing instead of replacing.
Re: Food Fads
November 29, 2016 11:30PM
Without these food rules in place, a child is likely to be given supermarket white toast bread with butter and jam for breakfast, chocolate biscuits and cordial/soft drink/fruit juice for morning/afternoon tea, cheese and ham white bread sandwich plus chocolate-coated muesli bar for lunch, and McDonalds for dinner. And expected to want and prefer this food.

The only way to protest at this and attempt to avoid it is to declare sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, meat-free. So a form of protest at the terribleness of the typical food offered children (and adults, but children have less rights to refuse/decline/seek alternatives).
Re: Food Fads
November 30, 2016 12:36AM
Lots of different perspectives here....

I think with eating it is what you do most of the time that is important. What we provide in the home and for school lunches is the most important thing. In saying that, there are times when "occasional" food crops up too often between the shared lunch at school and the lollies at the hairdresser and the birthday party etc... I can face the same problems myselfsmiling smiley

There are two issues here:
1) Is this a reasonable diet for an 11 year old? I would say yes it can be, although it is a restrictive one in our culture and relies on good cooking skills.

2) Is it reasonable that this diet is provided out of the home - visiting friends/school camps/school cooking classes/shared lunches etc I say probably not, unless there is a real need (allergy/intolerance/behavioural issues).

My 11 year old son is making gingerbread at school today....On Saturday he will be playing interclub tennis in a rural town where the other team provide a morning tea which will no doubt be a mix of fruit and cakes etc.. These occasions do come up regularly at that age and navigating them so your child has good nutrition as well as different experiences can be a challenge. When he visits friends from different cultures I expect him to eat what is offered even though it is not what we eat at home.
Re: Food Fads
November 30, 2016 01:56AM
I think anyone sending their child to "our" Helen's house could be reasonably assured that what is provided for lunch would not be of the white bread and mcdonalds variety.
Re: Food Fads
November 30, 2016 06:41AM
Very over the top - clearly not his choice.
I believe we need to educate our kids to make the right choices and everything in moderation.
I bet he goes crazy the moment hes left home and totally overindulges in all the things he has missed out on.
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