Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (GF/CF) Diet

November 15, 2007 at 6:29 am 4 comments

Many parents find that their children improve in lots of ways through the gluten-free/casein-free (GF/CF) diet – for example: improvements in behavior, expressive and receptive language, less stimming, fewer tantrums, and fewer digestive complaints. In fact, according to information from the Autism Research Institute, parents report that the GF/CF diet is one of the most helpful therapies – over 65 percent of children showed improvement on the diet!
The problem with gluten and casein is that many autistic children do not break down these proteins and the incompletely-broken down proteins (peptide chains) cause neurological disturbances and autoimmune responses.
Casein is found in milk products and gluten is found in many grains such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, and others.
The best way to determine if a GF/CF diet will benefit your child is to try it for a minimum of three months, preferably six months. It is probably best to start slowly. You may want to eliminate casein first, and then gluten. Your child will probably protest, especially if these are his favorite foods. (Many children with gluten and casein intolerance do crave milk and gluten-containing grains.) Be prepared with gluten-free and casein-free alternatives. Many grocery stores now have sections devoted to gluten-free/casein-free products. You can order products online too. Also, try experimenting with traditional recipes, substituting the wheat flour with buckwheat flour, rice flour, and tapioca flour. The butter can be replaced with hardened coconut oil.
Since there are many hidden sources of gluten and casein, you will have to become an expert label reader, and I suggest doing some reading about GF/CF diets. Some helpful resources are “Special Diets for Special Kids” by Lisa Lewis and “The Cheerful Chemist’s No Casein, No Gluten, Sugar Optional Cookbook” by Sally Ramsey.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori Pfeiffer  |  December 28, 2007 at 1:42 am

    I am reading tons of information about gluten free/substitutes but what about substitutes for casein? Is soy the way to go? Learning as I go…Lori

  • 2. acttoday  |  December 31, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Lori, Soy can be problematic too. See the most recent post – Substitutes for Casein in Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet.

  • 3. Gluten Free Diet For Kids  |  July 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I just like the valuable information you provide for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check once more right here regularly. I am fairly certain I will be informed lots of new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

    • 4. acttoday  |  August 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Thanks for your positive comment! I must apologize for the delay in responding – we’ve been extraordinarily busy and I haven’t had much time to sit down lately. Please do check back often. I’ll be making some helpful changes and additions soon, including more recipes.


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Autism-Changing Tomorrow (ACT) blog is maintained to provide a place where ideas and thoughts relating to autism and treatments for autism may be exchanged. The information on Autism-Changing Tomorrow is of a general nature and is provided with the understanding that ACT or any individuals or entities associated with ACT are not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Any information in the postings, messages, articles, comments, and publications in or on the ACT blog must not be considered medical advice or recommendations and such information should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board certified physician to address individual medical needs.

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