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Hello all! Tough question for you today...

A family that my family is close with has a 16-year-old daughter, Sophia, who has been having some health issues - namely, she has been fainting a lot (often several times a day). Her parents have taken her to several doctors and her bloodwork has all come back fine. So they're at a bit of a loss.

They took her to a holistic doctor who, among other things, told her to go off gluten and dairy for a while to clean out her system and see if that helps. She has always had issues digesting dairy, and her dad has some issues with gluten.

I spoke to her mom briefly yesterday and she's really concerned about how to get her to eat healthy. Specifically, she's concerned about her protein intake, because Sophia is a very picky eater. She doesn't really like beans, and almonds are the only nuts that she likes. I didn't get to speak to her for long, but it sounds like they're trying to limit meat intake as well (though not entirely, as far as I know).

I'm trying to compile some information so I can give it to her when I see her next Sunday. So, if any of you have any suggestions or even recipes, please let me know - this could help them out a lot! Thank you :)

Laura Hogg asked this
November 14, 2011 at 9:32 AM



Is she a vegetarian?

Erin Froehlich answered
November 14, 2011 at 9:53 AM

No, but I got the impression that as a family, they're trying to cut down on their meat intake.

Laura Hogg answered
November 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Really, I think they were just looking for any dietary advice, but the mom did specifically mention protein.

Laura Hogg answered
November 14, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Well, if she isn't a vegetarian, obviously meat would be a good source of protein, but there ARE other vegetarian protein sources besides beans or dairy. :)

If nuts are still okay, though she's not the hugest fan of them, it's a very rare person that doesn't like peanut butter!

Eggs are another great meat/bean/nut substitute. Since cutting out all meat but the occasional fish from my diet, eggs have become my go-to protein source! They're also great because they can be prepared so many different ways.

Last thing I can think of is quinoa. You said she's a picky eater, so she may be hesitant to try it, but preparing it like her favorite cous cous or rice dish may help her feel more comfortable.

Erin Froehlich answered
November 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Hi Laura,

Erin is absolutely right in that lean meats, poultry, and fish would be excellent sources of protein. There are also plant-based alternatives to dairy products such as those made from soy which typically has the highest protein content. This way she could still enjoy yogurt, cheese and milk for protein sources. Depending on the specific brands, many of these may be gluten free as well - you will simply need to check the label and/or call the manufacturer to confirm as not all products state if they are gluten free. A great way to build in extra protein would be through a soy yogurt smoothie with a nutrition supplement if necessary to ensure she is getting all of the essential nutrients (if her diet is truly lacking).

What about peanut (or almond) butter on gluten free toast or an apple? Soy cheese and crackers? Eggs are a great source of protein (hard boiled, scrambled, egg sandwich, etc.). I know you mentioned that she only likes almonds, but what about introducing other nuts in a mixed trail mix with nuts and seeds alike?

I hope that at least some of these suggestions will help your friend to maintain the health of her daughter. Best wishes to their family :)

Health & happiness!


Jessica Corwin MPH RDN Health Coach answered
November 14, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Thanks so much for the help, ladies! I should see her on Sunday (she wasn't there when I was talking to her mom) so I can get a better idea of what she likes and what she doesn't. Her mom said that her diet is really quite lacking, so getting her to enjoy some of these healthy options may be a challenge...but maybe if I make some food and take it over to her, she'll discover that they're not so bad :)

I'll pass along this advice and maybe print up some recipes. Thanks again for the suggestions!

Laura Hogg answered
November 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM

It might seem like a pain to do, it is better to protect your children now, then wait until something bad

Collin answered
November 22, 2011 at 1:22 AM
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