How do I wean my teenager off gluten-free junk food?

celiac gluten free junk food

Boy did I eat like crap when I was young. My mom changed things up (to my horror) and I cleaned up my diet. Yet when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, for some reason I just had to have gluten-free cookies, cakes, brownies, pizza, etc. I paid the price. Now a mom with a 15 year old who is newly diagnosed with celiac disease is asking how to wean her off the junk food that she has been so used to. Here’s her email:

“My 15 year old daughter was just diagnosed and is pissed as all hell and rightfully so. I read your book in two days and loved your voice…I am passing it on to her to read but may cut out the chapters on beer and semen lol. My question is I know you advise to steer clear of gluten free products and I agree but how can I help my pissed off teen who is not a lover of veggies and has allergies to most fruit? My one side of my pantry is currently a gluten free junk heaven!”

Beer and semen? Yikes. I address that, plus the mom’s dilemma. Listen in.

Podcast Transcription (unedited at this point)

You’re not just telling us what we want to hear? No, sir. No way. We just want to hear the truth. Well, then I guess I am telling you what you want to hear.

Hello my Gluten Free Friends welcome to episode eight of year Gluten Dude, where I answer emails sent to me from the Gluten Free and C3liac communities about a whole range of topics. Today we are going to talk about weaning a 15 year old off Gluten free junk food. Not an easy task. I know. As usual, this episode has no sponsors, but I would like you to check out my mobile app. It’s called Gluten View. You can find more information at Glutendo app and big news. We just added and ask the dietitian feature to the app, which is very cool. So please check it out. Now let’s head to the inbox. You got mail, baby? Yes. Hey, Gluten dude, my 15 year old daughter was just diagnosed with celiac disease and is pissed off as hell and rightfully so. I read your awesome book in two days and loved your voice. I am passing it on to her to read, but I may cut out the chapters on beer and semen. My question is, I know you advised a steer clear of Gluten free products and I agree, but how can I help my pistol teen who is not a lover of veggies and has allergens to most fruit? The one side of my pantry is currently a Gluten free junk. Heaven. Thanks for listening. Okay, well, first things first to everyone listening out there. I think I should approach the beer and Seaman comment in the email in my blog and in my book. I write a lot about beer and hint hint gluten removed beer is not safe for those with celiac disease, and I will take that to my grave. And I also have an article about Semen because I once got a message on Facebook privately. Of course, asking if Semen is Gluten free. Hint hint, hint. It is now on to the email itself. Yes, I do advise not getting caught up in the Gluten free junk food, which I will also take to my grave. No, I don’t advise eliminating it 100%, but I do advise eliminating it for the first few months until the body has a chance to heal and then introduce it slowly and then just keep it to a minimum. Now, as a parent, I too struggled with keeping my kids healthy. They did not have celiac disease, and they still don’t have celiac disease. And when my kids were young, I did not have celiac disease, so we always struggle with the balance of hey, letting kids be kids. But hey, we also want to educate them about the importance of food going into your body, and I think we struck a good balance. Even though growing up, they sort of lived on pasta and bagels. They both eat very well now one of my favorite parenting quotes is that kids don’t do what parents say. Kids do what parents do. I’d like to think we led by example. Who knows? Now, I remember when I was 15 years old. Now I have three older brothers and we ate like crap, and my parents let us eat like crap. Now, sort of everyone else pretty much in that generation. It’s not like my parents doing something unusual or something dangerous or whatever, but we ate garbage. How bad did we eat? Well, let’s go over the list. Let’s see. We got Fig Newtons chips, Ahoy, Nilaw wafers and Oreos. And don’t forget those. Prepare meals like TV dinners and Sloppy Joes Count chocolate Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes, Susie Cues, Devil Dogs, Dingdongs and Hostess cakes, cheese puffs cheeksits and yeah, cheese balls too Pringles beagles. Anything greasy would do. Then we’d watch it all down with high sea or Nestle quick. Just going over this list is honestly making me sick. So one day, my mom back in the time she followed someone called Edgar Casey back one day I thought he was a quack. Now I realized he probably had some good ideas that were way ahead of its time, but she got on a bit of a health kick. Now, my mom was an interesting character. And when I say interesting, I really mean challenging where instead of talking to us about how she wants us to start eating healthier and the reasons we should be doing it, she just stopped buying junk food and one day came home and we always go to the bags and digging. See, we got where was all the junk food? No, this one had tofu and granola and a lot of Greens and yogurt. And what are we doing here? It was hardcore for us. Now we still stuck some things on the outside. Of course, I ate McDonald’s, probably. I was 18 almost every day. Disgusting as I think about it. So while I would say my mom’s heart and mind were in the right place, her approach to me was maddening. But of course, that was her approach to a lot of things in life. God rest her soul. So here’s what I would do. I would talk to your daughter and I would say, hey, I want to start introducing healthier foods into your diet. And here are the reasons why, whether you go general health, where the greasy foods and the processed foods are not good for you in general, or just stick with Celiac Health, where your body will not heal unless you eliminate these junk foods, at least for three months. And then, as I said, reintroduce them slowly. First things first hide half the gluten free junk food in your pantry. Then I wouldn’t throw it away. By the way, I would just hide it in the basement or in a cabinet where she can’t get to so you can bring it up slowly. In the future months. And then I’m assuming you or your partner Cook most of the meals, just start prepping good meals. And if you prep good meals and you limit the junk food that’s in the house and you also lead by example and donate junk food and need healthy foods, eventually she’ll stop giving you a hard time. I like to think and she’ll follow your lead. And then three months goes by. She’s feeling better. Say, hey, here’s some gluten free cookies for you to enjoy in moderation the next month, some cookies and some crackers. The next month cookies and crackers. You get the point. And then after maybe six months, you have a talk with her and you say, how are you feeling? Not only how are you feeling physically and how is your body healing from celiac disease, but how are you feeling mentally? And I mean that in multiple ways. Do you have more clarity in your thinking because you’re eating less junk food? And have you gotten over the anger of not eating junk food anymore? People always say, Dude, lighten up. Everyone deserves treats. And it’s always funny when people say treats, it’s stuff that’s really unhealthy for you. But I understand the concept and the point you’re trying to make. And so yes, everyone does enjoy treats, but not if you’re not feeling well and not if it’s not going to let your body heal. So my final advice, get rid of most of the junk food. Take control over diet. You and your partner make the meals you lead by example, you slowly bring stuff back in and communicate. Communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate. And then maybe when she’s 21, show the chapters on beer and semen

and that my friends puts a wrap on episode eight of Deer Gluten Dude. As always, I thank you for tuning in. If you’ve got a question about living with celiac disease, just head on over to glutendo. Com. Hit that contact link and send me an email. And who knows? It may become its own podcast. Episode Monday How cool is that? And before I sign off, please just check out my app at Glutendo app. Not only will it help you live a much better glutenfree life, but we just added an app. Ask the Dietitian feature where we have an actual registered dietitian nutritionist on board to help answer your questions about nutrition and diet until next time, my friends.

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4 thoughts on “How do I wean my teenager off gluten-free junk food?”

  1. Interesting question that needs a helpful answer. Teens are tough to start with and feeding them costs a fortune these days just trying to fill up that hollow leg! First, makes sure she is eating enough at each meal, especially protein and healthy carbs. She is somewhat picky eater simply because even as a young child she may have realized her tummy hurt after eating certain foods. Dude may not agree- but I think things like gf Rice Chex mixed with nuts, m & ms , golden raisins or regular raisins- baked with some butter and seasonings makes a healthy snack for anyone- recipe is on the box. I add a variety of nuts, dried cranberries and some dried fruits too and it becomes like a granola. 2 cups of this? She might like to make it! She is old enough to begin being responsible for her own meals and snacks. Take her shopping and stay away from the snack aisle. Personally, I think things like homemade oatmeal raisin cookies are a bit healthier and more filling than choc chip – and it’s easy to reduce the sugar and add ground flax. I do agree to remove all the snack foods for now and concentrate on healthier ones, even a bowl of soup can be a snack and still be healthy. Lots of gf soups on the market too- or make your own. You may need to avoid dairy too- most doctors tell their patients to give it up for a year until the villi heal. Check with her doctor. That could be an even bigger problem. You do need to set the example and that’s not easy – either. Good Luck!

  2. Non-GMO corn chips topped with real cheese and microwaved (or dipped in organic salsa, bean dip, or hummus, to which you can also add some carrot or cucumber sticks to dip) are a staple snack at my house. Not quite as bad as some of the other GF junk food out there. We LOVE occasional GF DF oatmeal chocolate chip cookies…. Introduce sliced pears or apples, nuked with cinnamon on top (if not allergic). Mix it up; it may take the adult fixing some of these kinds of items, at least at first.

  3. When you were little and I stopped you walking in traffic, you cried. I was preventing reality from punishing you.

    Now that you’re older, if I stop you eating gluten, you’ll be mad. But I’d be trying to prevent reality from punishing you.

    Celiac is an absolute reward/punishment system. Be gluten free, you’re pretty much fine. Don’t be gluten free and you’re punished.

    Not by me. It’s depressing and hard enough to do.

    Now add to it that you’re getting addicted to GF junk. OK all kids have some amount of junk food. But your gut is already one strike down.

    Not asking you to be a perfect angel. But reality may punish you and I’m worried because I love you.

    (IDK how I did on that, I’m not a mom, so…)

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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