Special Needs


(Related to the POOP post, but I didn't want to get too confused and ask too many q's in one post)

So, when I hear mom's say that they 'switched to GFCF diet' that's pretty much it.  Just a statement. 
Before we attempt to make this big change in DS life... I have some questions:

Autism = communication is hard.  What kind of changes did you need to make in the FAMILY eating habits to accomodate your child?  Just wondering if you feel you have to sneak out of the room to drink milk, or eat a chip.  It's very hard for my son to understand that he can't have something if it has always been available.  I feel like he CRAVES things like milk - weather for comfort or for hunger.. I don't know.

What kinds of resources do you find are your best advocate for finding the right foods?

What are your favorite foods?
Do you cook meals according to GFCF, or do you just make seperate meals?

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  • With my son, we changed just his diet.  It was too expensive for us to change our entire family.  Things that were my sons favorite, I didn't eat in front of him.  Example cheetos, cheerios, soft serve ice cream, I wouldn't have dared do that to him.  If my DH or I wanted any of things that were his favorite, we waited til he was in bed at first.  Now, we can eat anything in front of him.  It no longer bothers him.  (we started the diet in Nov, 2007).  It hasn't bothered him for awhile now.  I have also found substitutes that he finds acceptable now.  That took awhile. 

    I make his chicken nuggets, pizza, french fries.  He's fine with it.  When we first started the diet, as long as he was eating I was ok with what we got into him.  This was for about 3 weeks.  If I could get him to eat cereal and chicken nuggets for 4 days straight, I did it.  Whatever it took to get him going.  Then I expanded from that. 

    Health food stores are the best for finding gfcf foods but they are expensive.  I also ordered special diets for special kids (one & two), The ADHD and autism friendly cookbook, the internet, gfcfdiet.com, tacanow.com.  You can buy "regular" things in the grocery store, you just have to know what your looking for.  If I wasn't sure if it had gluten (because milk has to be labeled, gluten doesn't) I called the company.  Sometimes right in the middle of the grocery store.

    I make him seperate meals but usually something similar and we still sit at the table and eat together.
  • Hope you don't mind me giving some info. Haven't done this myself.

    A lot of families keep seperate meals just for the GFCF child. As you'll probably find out it is sometimes more expensive to eat this way so many families can't afford to make the switch for everyone.
    What seems to work the best is keeping things similar. If you are drinking milk DS gets his version of the same thing be it Rice milk or whatever. I noticed that some families don't necessarily have to do both Cassein and Gluten some children benefit from just cutting one out or even just cutting sugars out of their diet. But that is all biomedical info that I don't know about well enough.

    There is luckily more of a variety of items out there (at least in CA) but most parents shop at smaller Organic grocery stores. (In CA Wholefoods, Trader Joes, Mother's) Some families order food online and there are lots of recipes online as well...just google it :)

    Also just remember that just because your little man can't communicate to you that well it doesn't mean he doesn't understand what is going on around him. I always think it's helpful to you and him to tell him why he can't have something...."It will hurt your tummy, make you sick, mommy wants to make you better. Just an idea, kids always want what they shouldn't have anyway :) 

    I've seen this diet really help with attention and behaviors hopefully if you choose to do it you will get good results as well.

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  • Ditto sammyluvsj.  One thing I should add though, Is kids with autism can crave milk and if you cut it out, they start craving gluten or vice versa. One usually gives them a better "high" but when that's not available, the go for second best.   From what I know, most families cut both.
  • Totally true! I've also seen children who just can't have sugar at all. Their digestive enzymes break it down into what's basically alcohol and thus causes a lot of the physical stereotypy, sugar makes them drunk.
  • What kind of 'high' do you mean?  Obviously I haven't read as much about this as I thought I had.  How do you know that's what it's doing? (if you need to point me to a book or website, thats fine)
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  • It's almost like they're on drugs.  The act as if a drug addict does and that's why you see the behaviors that they do.  Think about when someone is drunk or on drugs, they do crazy things.  Gluten and Casein act like drugs in their system because most kids with autism can't break down the peptides properly.

    Unraveling the mystery of autism and pervasive developmental disorder: A mothers story of research and recovery by Karyn Seroussi

    The special diets for special kids also talks about it.

    Louder than words - jenny mccarthy

    Children with starving brains - Jaquelyn McCandless
  • Here are a few resources that might help you: www.gfcfdiet.com/unacceptable.htm https://gfcf-diet.talkaboutcuringautism.org/autism-diet-gfcf-foodlist.htm There's also a book called special diets for special kids (I and II). My sister and cousins have been on this diet for several years now and its crazy to see the difference in their behaviors if someone slips and them something that they aren't supposed to have. My mom makes it easier for herself to ID good and "bad" foods in the cabinet, by drawing happy or sad faces on the packages of stuff my sister can have. We always had the whole family drink vanilla rice milk and a few of her staples so we wouldn't buy 2 of everything and then stuff that was dry and could be kept longer we mostly bought just for her in the beginning and would eventually end up eating too. You can find a lot of foods a WF, My Organic Market, TraderJoes. Ians is a great brand that makes a lot of allergen free foods sold in the freezer section of stores like these. Hope that helps!
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  • My son was on a GFCF diet for awhile.  I ended up taking him off of it because it did not work.  I have TONS of information and tons of websites. (too many to put on here)  If you give me your email address, I can email you some stuff.

    I found it hard to eat things in front of my son.  I never ate any kind of junk food in front of him.  I felt I would be teasing him.


  • scott and briana at hotmail dot com
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  • I am very much appreciating all the info!!  Gives me a great place to start without sorting through all the junk on my own!  Thank you Thank you!!!  Keep it coming. 
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  • I will email you all the stuff I have tonight.  I work all day and I don't have the information at work. 


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