Food. It's a four-letter-word.
It shouldn't be that way. I, myself, absolutely love food. I may be the world's least pickiest eater. And I've always been that way. In fourth grade our teacher asked us what our favorite food was. I eagerly raised my hand and shouted out "Spinach!". The boys in the class teased me for days for that one. So sometimes it's hard for me to relate to the boys on this problem.
It started eight years ago when Corbin was born with heart defects. He had a hard time eating because he would tire quickly since he was in a constant state of congestive heart failure. My dreams of breastfeeding him subsided as I had to be flexible and feed him my breastmilk via a bottle, so I could add additives in it. We needed him to chunk up so he would be strong when it was time for the inevitable surgery.
Corbin always teetered on that line of Failure to Thrive, even after his surgery. And when he was older we had to meet with a dietitian to learn how to cook all of his food in oil and other ways to get healthy fats into him. He also had a carnation instant breakfast every morning. Even though he was struggling gaining weight, he loved to eat! He ate whatever I put on his plate.
When Brian was born I was happy to have that breastfeeding bonding. He breastfed for 16 months and gaining weight was NEVER a problem for him. When I started to introduce pureed vegetables he would eat them right up. He, too, ate whatever I put in front of him. I was patting myself on the back for raising two boys who had healthy, well-rounded diets.
Then when Corbin was about three he decided he didn't like vegetables anymore. He didn't like foods touching. He craved carbs. About a year after that Brian decided he really didn't like food anymore- unless it was starchy carbs.
It's been a struggle ever since.
Not only were the boys self-limiting but they both had obvious intolerances. When I took our whole family off of gluten three years ago, I was only looking for differences with Brian (which we saw!), but I was shocked that Corbin got on the growth chart for the first time in his life (since birth)! I wasn't going to knock it to coincidence. I know, that I, felt much better removing gluten and dairy from my diet. And I still struggle why I allow myself to eat all of it (it just tastes so good!!).
Then of course Brian has had his love/hate relationship with apples (The Phenol Effect, Phenols Strike Again, Tweaking the Diet: Phenol Removal). For a while, I was blaming it on the phenols (I'm sure you all remember, if not- look at the links above), but I am almost 99% sure it's an allergic reaction to the apples themselves.
Recently I've been having some success with getting them to try new things. Our biggest hit was thanks to suggestions from Brian's dietitian. Sweet potato & turnip chips. Simple. Yet I never thought to try it. I just cut them up thin, toss with safflower oil and sea salt, and bake. And Brian can't get enough of them (I'm sure due to the salt).
New foods we've tried that he loves and are really good for him- Udi's brand bread & pizza crust, Daiya "cheese", and Honest Kids juice pouches. All great alternatives for what he was eating previously, but not messing with his body like the old brands did.
Even though I can't get him to eat a great big helping of vegetables (besides the aforementioned chips) they are both at least taking a nibble of whatever vegetable I offer. In the past few weeks they have nibbled asparagus, brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, red pepper, and cucumber. I've made some homemade hummus and Corbin loves it- no luck with Brian yet.
Maybe, someday, I will be able to have those well-rounded eaters, that I had myself believing I had years ago.