fussy eaterQuestion:

I have a 3 yr old and his dentist is telling me that he has serious cavities and needs to be put under anesthesia to have fillings done. I have trying my best to remineralize his teeth by feeding him better foods such as those listed in Rami Nagel's book Cure Tooth Decay, but my child refuses anything but bread and sweets.

We were vegetarian and just started eating meat about 4 months ago. I am doing my best but am at a loss because he just spits out any food I try to give him that isn't bread or sweets. Can you please help?


I'm glad to hear you have Rami Nagel's book! You will also need to get Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)

I know it can seem impossible to feed your child anything healthy when they react that way. But, I assure you that when you are STRICT and do NOT give into any snacks, sweets, breads, or anything that contains GLUTEN, sugar, or artificial ingredients for at least 1 week, you will see an improvement and less resistance to eating their meals.

Your goal is to provide him with a diet to starve out the bad bugs in their intestinal tract so it can heal. Bad bugs include yeast and other organisms which compete with beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and prevent nutrient/vitamin absorption from food.

These bad guys in his gut affect your child's taste perception and willingness to eat certain foods. And when they leak out of his intestines and cross the Blood Brain Barrier, they cause serious food cravings and food aversions, not to mention a problem absorbing nutrients and vitamins from the few nutrient dense foods they may eat.

Your second goal is to get him really hungry so he's more willing to eat whatever is in front of him. Right now, it sounds like if he doesn't eat the healthy food that you try to feed him, you'll make him something else. So he's just learned to refuse what you give him until you provide something that feeds his cravings.

The only foods which he accepts and eats are the ones which feeds the bad organisms in his intestines. It's very typical that children have severe cravings to the foods they are addicted to (rejecting anything but those). But the sad fact is that these are the foods which are causing their health issues.

Here's how to improve the situation
Explain to him that you (or his doctor or dentist or someone he admires) has a new plan for his health to make him feel better and make his teeth stronger, and it's really important and it will be fun! (see if you can make a game out of it and reward him with stickers for effort).

It's important he understand why you're attempting to feed him foods he doesn't want or like. You'll see, he will soon be preaching to others about his special diet!

Next, be very clear about the fact that when you serve him his food, it's the only food he's allowed to have for this meal. If he doesn't eat it, he has to wait until the next meal time. NO SNACKS, no beverages aside from water or homemade bone broth if he does not eat his real food.

If you got to the park where he will be running around and get hungry, bring a thermos full of delicious warm food that he would normally reject at home such as a homemade bone broth soup with chicken, turkey, or beef, veggies, and some coconut oil. If he's hungry and worn out from activity, he may just devour it all right there!

During mealtime, he may fight you and kick and scream and have tantrums, but you must stay strong and calm and explain to him with confidence what you are doing and why and how much you love him.

Make sure teachers and caretakers are all aware that he is only allowed to eat certain foods which have been prepared by you or are on a list you provide them with.

If you continue with this plan, he may not eat the first or second day. But ALWAYS present him with the option to eat a plate of healthy delicious food 3-4 times per day. You may also place 3 different foods on that plate (assuming they are all healthy non-yeast feeding, nutrient dense GAPS approved options).

If he does not eat anything, you may start feeling horrible about it or think he will die of starvation. But he will NOT. Be sure to keep him hydrated with water or bone broth which is of most importance.

Children have gone many weeks without food during wars, times of poverty, and the Great Depression. It's not our goal here, but they certainly will be fine 1 week without food if kept well hydrated.  However, these food tantrum fasts almost never lasts longer than a couple days if you are STRICT and monitor 100% of his intake.
If he'll drink the bone broth, add coconut oil and/or grassfed butter to it so he gets some good fats that help heal the intestines.

During this time that he's not eating much, the yeast and bad organisms will start to die off. As this happens, more frequent bowel movements are common as he will be detoxifying.

Soon enough, you will see that his appetite will open and he'll be more willing to try the foods he was rejecting before. In fact, you may see him start behaving like a completely new child. The stories I've heard from moms are nothing short of amazing once their kids' guts start healing.

If you need ideas on what to make, check out Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book on the GAPS diet which has many suggestions. Here is her website on this topic of fussy eaters:

Rami Nagel's book also has good food suggestions since you are dealing with teeth mineralization.

Once his symptoms have improved, you can move from the Introductory GAPS diet, to the regular diet, and then eventually onto a regular healthy diet which is naturally low in problematic foods.

Hope this helps!
Annika Rockwell, Certified Nutritionist