Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going Gluten and Casein Free

I've been doing a lot of research lately on the GFCF diet and the positive effects that it can have on people with autism.  For quite a while I have put it off, because it is hard to implement, it's expensive, a lot of food is hard to find (our Whole Foods is an hour away),  you have to be SO strict about it (kids on it can't even use certain school supplies because they use gluten in playdoh, some kinds of glue, etc) and many other reasons.

BUT I have finally decided that this is something we need to do.  It's an experiment of sorts-one that needs to last at least 6 months- but hopefully we will see at least SOME results before then. Even the smallest improvement would make me happy, but I am really hoping Jackson might start talking.

In case you don't know, gluten is a protein in wheat and casein is a protein in milk that are causing health problems for some people who basically cannot digest these proteins. They can experience stomach problems, skin rashes, hyperactivity, self-stimulation, and other issues that many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders have.  (Trust me when I say that is a very vague description of the issue and there are MANY books and websites dedicated to more information about it). We have thought Jackson was lactose intolerant and have been limiting his dairy and giving him Almond Milk instead of cow's milk for over a year now.  His tummy troubles have gotten much better since then, but hopefully he will improve even more when we completely eliminate it from his diet.

We haven't started the diet full-time yet- we will start after he gets out of school and we get back from visiting family. So far I have been researching appropriate foods, finding out which stores near me carry what & what I can order online, and I've bought a few things for Jackson to try.  So this month we will be experimenting and next month Jackson will no longer be eating gluten or casein.

 So far he really likes Pirate Booty Veggie Puffs and he even ate a grilled cheese tonight made with GF bread and rice vegan cheese! He is a very picky eater so I was surprised he even tried them!  I also made a batch of GFCF blueberry pancakes to freeze for his breakfasts this week.  He hasn't actually tried them yet, but I did.  I thought they were pretty good but next time I am going to add some pureed banana to make them a little sweeter.

I know this wasn't the most interesting post ever, but I want to try to keep up with our progress and any improvements that Jackson makes as well.

8 comments:

Mandy said...

I have a friend who also is doing the gluten free diet with her autistic son. It seems to have worked so far. Good luck, my friend. Hope you are feeling well!

Kat said...

I am so happy you are giving this a try! It is definitely worth a shot. It has worked for many kids.
Gluten free products are really becoming much more available. I was just at the grocery store and I saw almost an entire aisle with gluten free products (there are so many people who have gluten allergies these days). Even some cereals are going gluten free.

Great job! And good luck! :)

Brandy@YDK said...

it definitely sounds like a commitmment - i hope it makes a huge difference.

Gem said...

We're slowly starting DS1 on the gfcf diet too. Yes, it is expensive!!! omg.

And yes, the commitment...I read about having to dedicate specific cookware, utensils, etc. and even checking your bath products...

Hopefully you'll see a difference.

Once the summer starts we're going to have DS1 on it completely and hopefully we see a difference too!

Shannon said...

Such a huge commitment. I am so proud of you for trying the hard stuff so willingly.

Brandi said...

I have some friends who have to be gluten free/dairy free. Hopefully it helps him, and that you guys transition to it easily. Good luck!

heather@actingbalanced.com said...

Good luck with it - we went GF but not CF on the advice of our nutritionist and Liam's needs... we are considering making the full switch over now that he's older. I did find GFCF play doh that you can supply to schools or ask that they get in as part of his iep.

One thing you can do is keep a food diary and a separate behavior diary - note what he eats/drinks in one, and what his behavior is like in the other - when he stims, has outbursts, if he's lethargic, more responsive ... and then sit down and compare the separate diaries...

Jackie said...

I hope the diet changes help. My son had just turned 4 when we did some allergy testing and started him on a GFCF diet. It really did help his behavior. It helped, and still does, to tell him that certain foods would make his tummy hurt. We didn't realize, and neither did he, that those foods actually did make his stomach hurt. Goodluck.