Substitutes for Casein in Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet

December 31, 2007 at 10:54 pm 3 comments

When eliminating casein from the diet, many parents naturally turn to soy because it has become so popular in mainstream culture – soy milk, soy ice cream, soy cheese, etc.  While I must admit that soy milk and soy ice cream taste really great, unfortunately, soy is not a good substitute for casein in a gluten-free/casein-free diet.  Many doctors and healthcare professionals effectively treating autism encourage soy avoidance.  (See Children with Starving Brains by Jaquelyn McCandless, M.D.)  In many autistic children, the protein in soy causes problems similar to those caused by casein.  Also, food allergies are a common problem with children with autism spectrum disorders, and soy is a very frequent food allergy.  Soy should especially be avoided with boys because soy encourages the production of estrogen. 

Instead of milk or soy milk, try almond milk or rice milk.  Blue diamond brand makes an unsweetened almond milk (original or vanilla), which is great for those trying to keep sugar intake at a minimum.  It can be sweetened with a bit of stevia.  Watch out for hidden gluten in rice milk – one brand does not list any gluten containing ingredients in the ingredients list; however, on the side of the box is a statement that there is some gluten in the product.

I have not found a cheese substitute that is casein-free and tastes good.  (Watch out for casein, caseinate, and also for whey.) 

As far as a substitute for butter in baking – solidified coconut oil works very well.  It will melt when the temperature approaches 80 degrees, so you may have to put it in the refrigerator for a little while before using it to firm it up a bit. 

Experiment with your recipes, and you will find what works best for you.  Remember that the extra effort really is worth it!   


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Gluten-free/Casein-free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal Recipes – Breakfast and Dessert Gluten-free/Casein-free Snack Time Recipes

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Karina  |  January 2, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Experimentation- yes. I’ve found that coconut milk makes an excellent sub for dairy in GF/CF baking, smoothies and homemade ice cream. And Vance’s DariFree powdered mix is a pleasant change from rice milk, too. It’s derived from potatoes, and protein-free. I use Vance’s in baking recipes that call for powdered milk. (No connection to the product- just sharing a resource.) 🙂

  • 2. David Shaw  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Excellent post on casein and soy allergy. I’d like to use some of your wording later this week when I do a food allergy post if it’s ok with you.

    Chef David

  • 3. Joyce Seabolt  |  May 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    May I please use your information for an article? I’m writing about gluten-free/casein-free diets for children with autism. The article will appear in ASSIST Autism magazine which is launching publication soon.

    Thank you for any help or information you can share about this important subject.

    Joyce Seabolt


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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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