Our daughter is tiny. Over and over again, we’ve heard people say how their kids are so super small, only to find out their kids are 3 years younger than our daughter and bigger than she is! Other than being small, she seems happy, coordinated, and active. She never had abnormal test results of any kind. She was just small.Around the time we decided to change our diet, we started to see a pediatric endocrinologist. Kid1 was tested for celiac disease (which was negative for both blood & genetics). She was also screened for Turner’s Syndrome, and had her bone age, growth hormone levels, and thyroid checked. On top of that, she had a comprehensive metabolic panel done.
Her bone age was a couple years delayed, which meant that she still had time to grow. The doctor took a watch and wait approach.
With our dietary changes, Kid1 went from being an extremely picky eater to a kid with the typical tween appetite. She eats more than I do sometimes! We watched. We waited… and we were shocked that a year later she’d gained less than 2 pounds and less than an inch. Now she wasn’t just hovering far below the growth curve… Even when adjusted for bone age her growth curve would have been crossing percentiles if there had been any down there to cross.
So, another round of bloodwork was performed, and it came back normal. The endocrinologist suggested we consult with the dietitian. She was nice about it, but when you have made feeding your family a vocation, the idea that you aren’t feeding your kid properly and that’s why she hasn’t grown kind of smarts.
Since we’re doing the GAPS diet which cuts out all those “healthy whole grains,” I was a bit concerned that we’d get a knee jerk reaction and be told this was the reason she hadn’t grown enough.
Most people assumed that there would be some kind of push back against GAPS. Friends asked me why I was even going, when I already know so much about nutrition. The truth is, I wanted another person’s perspective. Just because I know how to do GAPS, doesn’t mean I know everything about how food is working for my daughter. So we just kept eating our normal full-GAPS diet, and I prepared myself for the attack.
The dietitian was a very thoughtful, sweet, funny woman. She had already looked at Kid1’s chart, and she read my blog entry and the food journal before she saw us. She looked over the food log and said, “Can I come eat at your house?”
Calories, carbs, protein, and fat all looked balanced to her. She told us that the full fat sources of food we were using were excellent. She said that normally she’d worry if someone had restricted all grains, but in our case we had clearly researched it and Kid1 was getting plenty of carbs and nutrition from other foods.
She asked me for my questions. I pressed on the carb issue, saying I knew it was easy to slip into too low carb of a diet. She said, nope, she’s eating plenty of carbs! I asked about calories, and she said Kid1 was actually eating more than is required of a person her height to sustain growth.
In fact, Kid1 had actually gained another pound in 2 months since our January visit! She’d only gained 1.9 pounds in the entire previous year. For a 12-13 year old girl, that’s not much. Typical girls her age gain around 18 pounds per year.
We have a growth hormone stimulation test coming up, and are considering more testing. We still don’t have our answers. Maybe something is wrong, maybe she was stunted by her 8 years as a vegetarian with pickier and pickier tastes, or maybe she’s just got her own time-table for growth.
Either way, the mainstream medical world has given its stamp of approval to our diet, crazy as it may seem to some.