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Feedback re “Worried and Frustrated” (Chronicles November 25)



Dear Rachel,

As a mother whose child is currently in a treatment center for an eating disorder, I will say that the mother who wrote to you in frustration has every right to be concerned. Her daughter’s eating habits are NOT normal and downright dangerous.

She won’t eat carbs? Eats only salads? No meat? The need to be skinny when she’s already a size 4? These are all signs of an eating disorder. I don’t know how long she’s been eating this way, but if it’s been going on for a while, then it’s not just a phase.

While I do generally agree with your responses, I think you were too soft this time. Also, based on my own experience as well as speaking to others, doctors are not experts in eating disorders and most likely they will tell her that everything’s fine. Deficiencies don’t usually show up in routine blood work (at least not in the beginning). She needs to be seen by a doctor who specializes in eating disorders.

A Realist

Dear Realist,

I hear you loud and clear, and I hope the worried and frustrated mother is reading as well. My sincere wish for your daughter’s good health and quick recovery!

For another perspective, read on…


Dear Rachel,

I read with interest the letter from the mother who is worried about her teen-aged daughter’s eating habits and mentions her not eating meat. Perhaps I can offer her frustrated mother a bit of reassurance.

Today I am baruch Hashem a mother and grandmother who can also identify with this woman’s daughter. When I was much younger I got turned off eating meat. Or chicken. Or fish. Any and all animal or mammal flesh repulsed me. My mother tried many times to fool me, like by coating the chicken in bread crumbs to make me believe it was a vegetable or soy cutlet.

Nothing worked. I was satisfied with eating fruits and vegetable salads and pizza. (This mother who wrote doesn’t mention dairy.) I should add that I’ve been a vegetarian to this day. I get my protein mainly from yogurt, nuts and chickpeas.

Yes, I’ve been slim all my life. I’m often asked whether my children are also vegetarian. The answer is no. They and their father eat “normally” and I have no problem preparing dishes for them that I don’t take part of.

You’re right about medical check ups. I’ve been told on occasion that I’m missing some nutrients, which I then take supplements for.

I guess you can call it different strokes for different folks. At a simcha, I’m happy to offer up a second helping of chicken or beef to the woman sitting next to me, while I get to fill up on my veggies.

No Regrets

Dear No Regrets,

All I can say is bon appétit! If you’re okay (sure sounds like it) with the veggies while the aroma of roast chicken or a juicy steak is wafting in the air around you, then all power to you.

Thank you both for weighing in.


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