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There have been a lot of posts since I've been on the site about friends, partners, and family asking how to deal with their religiosity. My issue is slightly different.

I have a sister-in-law (sil) who I am just crazy about. I think I love her more than I do my brother. Anyway, we never talk religion so I don't know where she stands on that, but she does have a lot of beliefs that drive me up the wall.

Recently her daughter (my niece) developed some medical symptoms that have been diagnosed as a thyroid problem. Before the test results came in, my sil decided to put the kid (14 yrs old) on a Mediterranean diet and to cut out all sugar and gluten because that would facilitate treatment. Nope.

There is no evidence that gluten is involved at all. (The percent of people who are gluten intolerant is in low single digits.) And the kid doesn't eat vegetables and only some fruit. She's as thin as a rail. This same sil almost didn't have her vaccinated. If she had not done so, I would have talked to my brother about stepping in.

She means well, she just doesn't understand how to interpret legitimate evidence so she's taken in by a lot of nonsense out there. I hate to see her go off on these pseudo-scientific tangents, so I guess I just compartmentalize and ignore that side of her. Is that how others handle this sort of situation?

ladyprof70 7 Jan 2

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She sounds a little loopy but not that bad and her beliefs are really none of your business unless she asks for your views, and even then, she probably isn't really asking for your actual views, she just wants commiseration and validation. Your being neutral and not participating probably "should" tell her all that she can handle or cares to know about what you think. In my experience when people fish for this kind of commiseration, they take it where they can get it and more or less ignore when they don't.

If we want unbelievers to allow us to not believe then it makes zero sense for us to demand respect and live-and-let-live from them, and then turn around and be "just crazy about" the beliefs they have that differ from ours. They are of no real consequence to you. Ignore them. You are not your [un]beliefs. Your existence is not threatened by others not sharing them.


Putting any child on what sounds like a healthy diet would be a good idea in any event.
Urging sil to take the kid to a Real doctor of course is a good idea....
The fact that the kid is "thin as a rail" by today's " standards" is a good thing...she may live far longer if she stays that way.

The issue is that her thyroid is not functioning. The medication will rev her metabolism and if she won't eat what's on the diet (she's a very picky eater) and is not getting sufficient calories it may affect her growth

@ladyprof70 that's when you need to tell your sil she Must take the child to real doctor...and it may just be anemia, I had the exact same symptoms when I was advice would not "diagnose", just mention your concern. Is there a father in the pic?

@AnneWimsey She's been to multiple physicians and had multiple tests. There's no doubt about the diagnosis.The problem is fairly pervasive in our side of the family. SIL is much more hands on than my brother -- her father. The strict diet may not come off since he does most of the cooking the family.


Refute bullshit whenever possible.
Present facts backed by evidence.
Explain why the arguments for alternative, holistic, and folk medicine are flawed.
Never overlook nonsense.

JimG Level 8 Jan 2, 2019

Present her with fact filled and verifiable articles.

She seems to want to do her best. Give her solid facts on the subjects.

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