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Woman Exposes Stepdaughter’s Fake Allergies, Leading To Family Rift And Legal Battle
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Woman Exposes Stepdaughter’s Fake Allergies, Leading To Family Rift And Legal Battle

Interview With Expert
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It seems like every day there’s a new food trend circulating around the internet. You’ve just got to try putting butter in your coffee! Haven’t you heard bananas are bad for you? Forget rice, that’s toxic! We’re all about cauliflower now.

It can be exhausting trying to keep up with all of these complicated dietary fads. So one woman who has no patience for these trends recently shared on Reddit that her stepdaughter has suddenly developed a variety of “allergies.” But instead of accommodating them, this stepmother decided to keep feeding her what she always has. Below, you’ll find the full story, as well as a conversation with Registered Dietitian Nataly Georgieva from JM Nutrition.

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This woman’s stepdaughter has suddenly decided to adopt a variety of dietary restrictions

Image credits: Becca Tapert / unsplash (not the actual photo)

But instead of accommodating the teen’s preferences, she has been feeding her the exact same meals as the rest of the family

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Image credits: Karolina Kaboompics / pexels (not the actual photo)

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Image credits:  Nonik Yench / pexels (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: HatNo7106

“There are no specific benefits associated with removing a particular food from one’s diet in the absence of a food allergy”

According to Statista, more than 40% of Americans follow some sort of special diet today, including high or low carb, lactose-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescetarian or vegan. The majority of these people do not have any food allergies though, as only 10% of Americans actually do, Food Allergy Research & Education reports. The most common food allergies in the US are shellfish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fin fish, wheat, soy and sesame. And about 40% of kids who have food allergies have more than one.

While many people choose to alter their diets to suit their preferences, being allergic to certain foods is not something to be jealous of. A third of kids who have a food allergy report being bullied because of it, and American families spend almost $25 billion each year caring for kids with food allergies. Not to mention the fact that those with severe allergies always have to be extremely cautious of what and where they eat, as cross contamination can sometimes be fatal.

To gain more insight into this topic, we reached out to Registered Dietitian Nataly Georgieva from JM Nutrition, who was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda. First, we wanted to know when it’s wise to remove a certain item or food group from your diet. 

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“There are very specific situations that warrant removal of a food or food group from one’s diet, such as folks with food allergies or certain medical conditions, for example, celiac disease, in which case gluten must be avoided,” Nataly shared. “Another example includes folks with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), who may be advised to follow a short-term elimination diet to determine the cause of their symptoms, though this is typically suggested as a last resort due to the restrictiveness of the diet.”

“Social media is subject to tons of food and nutrition misinformation”

Outside of these unique circumstances, however, the expert says extreme caution should be used when avoiding certain foods. “[Doing so] unnecessarily can potentially lead to the development of food rules or hypervigilance around food, increasing the risk of disordered eating,” Nataly warns. “There are no specific benefits associated with removing a particular food from one’s diet in the absence of a food allergy. Any reported benefits tend to be subjective to the individual.”

We were also curious about the impacts that social media can have on users’ diets. “Social media is subject to tons of food and nutrition misinformation, which is why it is important to only follow credible accounts, including reputable organizations or individuals who openly state their credentials/licenses,” Nataly told Bored Panda.

“Following food trends and dietary advice from social media accounts that are not credible may otherwise contribute to restrictive eating, body image concerns or appearance-related eating, harmful beliefs about food, and guilt and shame associated with eating foods that are demonized,” she continued.

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And when it comes to how parents should address their kids wanting to cut out certain foods, Nataly encourages moms and dads to ask their kids questions from a place of curiosity and non-judgement. “This can help to provide a safe space for your child to open up.”

“By having a better understanding of where these dietary changes stem from, parents can then use that opportunity to debunk any harmful food beliefs”

If your child suddenly wishes to make dietary changes, Nataly recommends having an open discussion and asking them any of the following questions: “I’m curious, where is this sudden interest coming from? Where did you learn or obtain this information? What is the reason for wanting to make these dietary changes? What do you believe are the benefits? What beliefs do you have about that particular food?”

“By having a better understanding of where these dietary changes stem from, parents can then use that opportunity to debunk any harmful food beliefs, provide age-appropriate education, and role model what a healthy relationship with food looks like,” the dietician explained.

“Whether or not the accommodation is made should ultimately depend on the individual circumstances and how drastic the change is from how the child was eating previously,” she continued. “For example, is it just one specific food that the child no longer likes to eat, or is it an entire food group?”

Finally, Nataly noted that if you suddenly notice extreme dietary changes in your child, consider booking an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in disordered eating as soon as possible. “That way, the dietitian can assess whether your child displays any patterns of disordered eating and provide the appropriate intervention. The sooner treatment is sought, typically the better the outcome,” the expert shared.

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We would love to hear your thoughts on this situation in the comments below, pandas. Then, if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda piece discussing dietary changes, look no further than right here!

Readers were quick to take the stepmother’s side, and she chimed in to provide more details about the situation

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Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

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Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

Mantas Kačerauskas

Mantas Kačerauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

As a Visual Editor at Bored Panda, I indulge in the joy of curating delightful content, from adorable pet photos to hilarious memes, all while nurturing my wanderlust and continuously seeking new adventures and interests—sometimes thrilling, sometimes daunting, but always exciting!

Read less »

Mantas Kačerauskas

Mantas Kačerauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

As a Visual Editor at Bored Panda, I indulge in the joy of curating delightful content, from adorable pet photos to hilarious memes, all while nurturing my wanderlust and continuously seeking new adventures and interests—sometimes thrilling, sometimes daunting, but always exciting!

What do you think?
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zselyke_szekely avatar
UpupaEpops
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As someone with IBD and living in a country with free healthcare, I would take off a week and very happily and very meticulously take dear daughter to have every last medical test taken, including a colonoscopy. By the time we're finished, she's either going to be cured and never joke about this s**t again or we will learn that she does indeed need a specialist diet. (My IBD for example comes with lactose sensitivity that doesn't show up with a regular prick test. But I can't even have mashed potatoes if it isn't made with lactose-free milk and a lick of soft serve will send me.)

maxthefox2 avatar
Max Fox
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is almost impossible to test for most food intolerances except by looking at the reaction to the food. The best way is to have somebody you trust make food for you, and randomly include the tested food in some, but not in the others. That will eliminate psychosomatic reactions, and help you identify whether you are intolerant. I would be surprised, though, if lactose intolerance will ever be detected by any means but trying. Lactose intolerance as an adult is the normal condition for all mammals. Lactose persistence is a mutation that occured in North Europe and in West Africa. Most adults from East Asia are lactose intolerant.

Load More Replies...
jonconstant avatar
ConstantlyJon
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why is everyone ignoring that OP is expected to make all of these meals? I'd have just been like, listen, if you want this crazy diet then that's fine, but I'm done making anything for anyone in this house. You can learn to make your own food. Watch your influencers and have them teach you. I'm done. Then watch the whole thing implode.

quigleyk737 avatar
Krystal Quigley
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do all the cooking, cleaning, maintaining two kitchens on top of a 60 hour on her feet all day long work week because dad cares enough about his daughter to complain but not enough to learn how to cook.

Load More Replies...
zora24_1 avatar
Trillian
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If I worked 60 hours a week and had a husband as well as a teenaged kid I would expect them to do the cooking. For themselves, and for me. And if they can't cook they better well learn it bc I wouldn't make a single meal for them.

Load More Comments
zselyke_szekely avatar
UpupaEpops
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As someone with IBD and living in a country with free healthcare, I would take off a week and very happily and very meticulously take dear daughter to have every last medical test taken, including a colonoscopy. By the time we're finished, she's either going to be cured and never joke about this s**t again or we will learn that she does indeed need a specialist diet. (My IBD for example comes with lactose sensitivity that doesn't show up with a regular prick test. But I can't even have mashed potatoes if it isn't made with lactose-free milk and a lick of soft serve will send me.)

maxthefox2 avatar
Max Fox
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is almost impossible to test for most food intolerances except by looking at the reaction to the food. The best way is to have somebody you trust make food for you, and randomly include the tested food in some, but not in the others. That will eliminate psychosomatic reactions, and help you identify whether you are intolerant. I would be surprised, though, if lactose intolerance will ever be detected by any means but trying. Lactose intolerance as an adult is the normal condition for all mammals. Lactose persistence is a mutation that occured in North Europe and in West Africa. Most adults from East Asia are lactose intolerant.

Load More Replies...
jonconstant avatar
ConstantlyJon
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why is everyone ignoring that OP is expected to make all of these meals? I'd have just been like, listen, if you want this crazy diet then that's fine, but I'm done making anything for anyone in this house. You can learn to make your own food. Watch your influencers and have them teach you. I'm done. Then watch the whole thing implode.

quigleyk737 avatar
Krystal Quigley
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do all the cooking, cleaning, maintaining two kitchens on top of a 60 hour on her feet all day long work week because dad cares enough about his daughter to complain but not enough to learn how to cook.

Load More Replies...
zora24_1 avatar
Trillian
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If I worked 60 hours a week and had a husband as well as a teenaged kid I would expect them to do the cooking. For themselves, and for me. And if they can't cook they better well learn it bc I wouldn't make a single meal for them.

Load More Comments
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