Overcoming Sensory Issues with Food in Autism

July 14, 2008 at 9:16 pm 9 comments

Kattie submitted the following question regarding problems with eating:

“my child was diagnosed with autism 2 years ago. he has been tested and does have mild alleries to wheat,milk,eggs. meal time is such a battle..he only eats about 5 foods. cheese, ramein noodles, cherios, bread, and strawberries. trying to get him to eat anything other than that he gags himself to the point of vomitting.any advise on where to start??? i do have a gluten free casein free cookbook, however it is very hard to follow. do you suggest any books or food stores that can be any help?
his doctor hasn’t really been any help. thank you.”

Hi Kattie,

I hear your struggle! My son gagged for a long time too, (and had to drink water to wash down every bite) but no longer does it. My suggestion as far as food is to see if your local grocery store or health food store has a section with gluten-free items. There are alternatives to his favorite foods. Instead of cheerios, we use “Perky O’s” made by Perky’s 100% Natural brand. I think it is this brand that also makes a cereal called Nutty Rice (no nuts in it though). It is not like Cheerios, but so good that it is worth mentioning. For pasta, there are lots of brands that make rice pasta – we particularly like the rice pasta (spaghetti, penne, spirals) made by Mrs. Leeper’s brand. I use coconut oil on the pasta with a bit of Celtic Sea Salt and it tastes great!

There are also many gluten-free breads. Food for Life makes great gluten-free bread and has many choices. Also, Enjoy Life brand makes fantastic gluten-free cereals and snack bars. We use Rice Milk – make sure it is labeled as Gluten Free. We use Rice Dream, Original Classic (unflavored). We do NOT use the flavored or enriched because these have items which have been shown to be excitotoxins and harm the brain. (See writings by Dr. Russell Blaylock and Amy Yasko).

As far as cheese goes, I haven’t found a casein-free cheese. Most soy cheese contains caseinate or casein. Also, most DAN doctors advocate not having soy because it is problematic for children with autism.

I would then start slowly incorporating different tastes – just a bite at at time of other foods. Try some yummy vegetables like butternut squash with cinnamon and a little bit of stevia for sweetness. Or, cauliflower steamed very soft and mashed with oil, a touch of rice milk, and salt.  You can also adapt regular recipes to be gluten-free/casein-free.  For a long time, my son did not like the texture of red meat or chicken so I created recipes for gluten-free, casein-free meatballs and chicken meatballs (or hamburgers). You can also make them egg-free with egg replacer. In the coming weeks, I will share some of my invented recipes that are easy (15 minutes or less!), so check back here.

The thing that helped my son the most, however, was addressing the physical causes for the gagging and food aversions. I obviously do not know what is causing these problems for your son. I can only share with you what worked for my son.  I put my son on a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to address deficiencies. I noticed that this helped with many of his sensory issues, including his aversions to foods (ex. he then liked avocadoes, which he previously choked on). I also found that one of the most-helpful things for my son early on in treatment was digestive enzymes, taken with everything he ate. They helped him to actually digest the food he was eating, and his behavior relating to food dramatically improved within three weeks!

It is a struggle, but keep trying. The extra effort is worth it. Now my son gladly eats everything I give him – he even LOVES swiss chard and broccoli!

Blessings and endurance to you as you press on!

“Therefore, my beloved bretheren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corin. 15:58 NASB



Entry filed under: biomedical treatments, Gluten-Free/Casein-Free & Specific Carbohydrate Die, Support. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet in Autism – A Great Starting Place for Biomedical Treatment Upcoming Teleconference Seminar on Causes and Treatment of Autism

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. clairelouise82  |  January 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    really like your blog. You provide so much fantastic information. My son has aspergers and is 8yr old. We have problems with food and thanks to your post I’m going to make sure that it’s not due to what’s in the food that makes him fell this way.

  • 2. Mona  |  August 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    My son has P.D.D. pervasive deveopment disorder on the autism spectrum and ADHD. I was told he needs to have a CFGF diet. I stopped at a natural food and vitamin store and the clerk and I read labels together. She really wasn’t much help. I appreciate the time and effort you did to help educate us by your knowledge and experiences with the diet.

    Thank you,

    Mona Martin

  • 3. sandrar  |  September 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  • 4. Renee  |  October 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I just stumbled across this site and enjoyed your feedback. My son Joseph is 5yrs old and is in the autistic spectrum. He enjoys all foods on the gf/cf plan so I feel blessed.

    God bless all parents on this journey!

  • 5. shannon cozart  |  June 19, 2010 at 7:45 am

    My son will be 3 in sept.and is showing a lot of the signs of autism,and is due to be diagnosed at the end of june. He’s lactose intolerant and they put him on soy after he was born)ou had said soy is problematic for children with autism-how so?

  • 6. krishna  |  May 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    God bless you, this comment are like a balsam in my soul… many places, brands and things are accesable for my son now.

  • […] autism patients have food aversion and are picky […]

  • 8. nicole  |  May 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Is this site still current? Our 11 year old has aspergers and Crohn’s. I need some support.

    • 9. acttoday  |  June 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      I’m still here, but since our son no longer has “autism,” and we’ve moved on to so many other issues in life, I find it difficult to keep this blog current. I’m still here to support and assist in any way I can.


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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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