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The GFCF Diet

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

My sons occupational therapist has suggested we take a trial of the gfcf diet.  She wants to try three weeks with out milk first then eventually try gluten free as well. I was looking for some input on this subject, we are supposed to start the lactose free on monday, it would be nice to hear from someone else who has put their toe in the water with this thanks so much,

post #2 of 17

We did this a couple of years ago. I held off for a while b/c I was intimidated by the thought, but it wasn't that hard in the end. We started with both GF and CF and then reintroduced dairy after a couple of months with no ill effects. When we reintroduced gluten we saw a noticable increase in meltdowns. 


There are so many great products out there it is not so hard. I use Pamelas Products a lot. DS could always tolerate small amts of gluten and we are now experimenting with reintroducing it b/c he seems to be better able to tolerate it now and GF bread (one of his staple foods) is very expensive. 

post #3 of 17

We did this for 15 months as my nursling was gluten and dairy intolerant and we did it again last year to address some dietary and behavior issues with my 12 yr old. A great resource is TACA. They have food lists and suggestions for those on a budget. It can feel limiting but its doable. One thing that helped me was thinking of eating "grandma's" way. Like for dinner, think a meat, a starch (like rice or potatoes), and a veggie. Lots of combinations. Breakfasts were easy too - eggs scrambles, hash browns and sausage, gluten free cereals. I found that we could sub rice flour for wheat flour in most of my quick bread recipes, like banana bread or pancakes. Lunches were harder since I was/am pretty reliant on sandwiches, mac and cheese, etc. Eating left overs from dinner was easiest. If not that, then we'd have soup or nitrite-free hot dogs. You can also make smoothies and some homemade muffins with rice flour. If you can bake and cook at home, you will save loads. But its nice to have a few special treats and convenience foods you can keep around. Tortilla chips and salsa, Bush's Baked Beans to eat with fritos corn chips (both GFCF last time I checked), Van's dairy and gluten free waffles. Costco has some good gluten free crackers and chips. Peanut butter with GF pretzels and apple slices is a nice easy snack. We ate a lot of homemade trail mix made with Chex (most are GF), almonds, raisins or craisins, and dairy free chocolate chips. 

post #4 of 17

I'm gluten free myself and consume very little diary. I've found that "paleo" is the secret word to use in searches for recipes and shopping tips. One of my kids is dairy free. Both eat very little gluten.


Our diet is based on meat, eggs, lots of vegies, fruits, nuts. We drink mostly water and herbal teas. We have a lot of things wrapped in lettuce -- tonight's dinner is hamburgers in lettuce wraps. When we make things like pancakes, we use Almond Flour as our base ingredient.


Do you have a specific concern or question?

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback! I have found some really great recipes online. Iwas glad to hear about cosco as well hopefully i can dig around and find.I guess one of the biggest questions I have is if we end up going long term with the diet he there is any vitamins that he will need supplemented?.
post #6 of 17

The more I study it, the more I'm convinced that the FDA's recommendations are based on what is good for American farmers, not what is good for our health.


Wheat is total bust. There is nothing in it that you can't get in a better way. It is cheap to grow and can be made into all sorts of things, which have long shelf lives.


Dairy for children is more positive -- it is a source of protein and calcium. Protein is very easy to come by in lots of other ways. Calcium is found in many deep green vegies (which we eat at every meal). You can also get OJ fortified with calcium or calcium chews if you are concerned. This is somewhat a controversial subject, so I suggest you do your own research. My DD who is diary free has never been able to tolerate it. She is now in her teens and has healthy teeth and -- from what we can tell -- healthy bones. 


One thing we've found is that in skipping a couple of foods that are major sources of calories for most Americans, we need to replace those calories with something, or we just don't feel full. (One can only eat so many vegies and protein.) We eat a lot of healthy fat. I make a point of including healthy fat with every meal. It might sound odd, but, for my family, it has turned out to be the key to eating this way without feeling hungry.

post #7 of 17
Originally Posted by loucinal View Post

Thanks for all the feedback! I have found some really great recipes online. Iwas glad to hear about cosco as well hopefully i can dig around and find.I guess one of the biggest questions I have is if we end up going long term with the diet he there is any vitamins that he will need supplemented?.


You can do a good multivitamin for your own peace of mind. When trying to heal intestinal related behavior issues, many people use Cod Liver Oil which is a good source of Vit A and D. I like Rainbow Light brand vitamins as well as Child Life (which has a liquid multi and a Cold Liver Oil). Also adding a probiotic can be helpful for gut health. Its tricky to find a dairy free one. Coconut milk yogurt and kefir can provide a source of good dairy free bacteria. Just keep in mind that as his gut heals he will absorb more and more nutrients from the foods he eats as his gut isn't so irritated and inflamed. This is why the diet helps behavior, it removes irritating substances which allows healing and better absorption of nutrients which feed the brain and nervous system. And lets be honest - its pretty hard to find GFCF junk food, so they end up eating a lot healthier overall. I agree with Linda on the move that there is no need to restrict fat. In fact, fat is good for brains too. And it can be a key in making the diet sustainable. Earth Balance Spread is safe, as well as Spectrum Palm shortening, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. 

post #8 of 17

I agree about a probotic. We get one in pill form (that is GFCF) from our health food store. I keep thinking about making my own sauerkraut (because homemade sauerkraut is supposed to be great for gut health) but it kinda freaks me out.


Also for fat:




nuts and seeds


It has actually been a little strange to watch our bodies absorb more nutrition and just get healthier and healthier. My hair is thicker and fuller now than when I had gluten in my diet. My DD's skin is clearer.

post #9 of 17

We've all been gluten and dairy free in my house for almost three years.  I'll add to the information above that being on the diet has also improved my son's health in wonderful ways.  He is less reactive to his environmental allergies and NO longer has asthma. 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

I got a call from his ped's office this morning the nurse on the phone was pretty rude, treated me like a moron and said that the doctor does not want him

on the diet. She also said that she is faxing information that says the diet is no longer supported to the OT. I am pretty frustrated because I told the nurse that it was a "trial diet" that we were not going full blown gfcf over night...not the message that was relayed to the doctor and they won't let me make an appointment for it???  I'm pretty sure even though I really like his ped I'm just going to do it anyway. Everything I have read about it says it's pretty much fifty fifty and it can't hurt him to try it so onward I suppose!

post #11 of 17

Interesting reaction!  My son's pediatrician didn't say she wouldn't support it the diet, but, she also didn't claim it was her right to say what kind of diet my son was on. 


You don't need your pedi to sign off on how you feed your child but I'm sure you know that :)


However, over the years, I have shared information with my son's doctor about food, supplementation and homeopathy and how they've impacted all of our health for the better.  She's known us now for 11 years, and, I have to say, her attitudes have changed a great deal in that she has become much more aware of how many parents find these things helpful to children with special needs.  She has seen enough improvement in children to know not to "scoff" at it.


So, I'm sorry you've had that kind of reaction from your doctor's office.  I'd suggest you continue with your plan! 


Good luck.

post #12 of 17

So sorry you had such a bad reaction from you ped office.  I just took my two children in for well checks this week and the PA that we see at our family practice mentioned that my son has some Asperger's characteristics and that we might want to start the GAPS diet and/or Paleo if we didn't want to be as strict.  I was so happy that we had this amazing PA literally 2 minutes from my house and I couldn't easily talk about not vaccinating and about feeding the raw milk formula to my children.  It was awesome.  He said he even mentioned to a patient one time to maybe try the raw milk formula.  He said that we were the first patients he's talked to that totally agreed with him and he didn't have to really explain what it was and try to talk them into giving it a try.  I think he said he is also on the GAPS diet or Paleo.  Not sure.  I was crying when we pulled out of the parking lot I was so happy.


Definitely continue with your plan.  I've been looking at the website www.healthyhomehappy.com.  Great info. She has an autistic child and started the GAPS diet and now she doesn't even register as autistic anymore.  Definitely worth checking out.

post #13 of 17

Pediatricians are trained to diagnose and treat disease. They are not dietitians or nutritionists. And they tend to let their personal biases come across as "medical advice" when it really isn't, especially when it comes to things like eat, sleeping, discipline, etc. It can be frustrating! Just do what you need to do for your own peace of mind. Its your child and you buy the groceries. You don't need his permission, and it was really inappropriate for you to get a phone call like that. A gluten free and dairy free diet is usually really nutritious because it eliminates so much junk. The standard diet of most of that ped's patients is probably a lot more harmful for their health - pop tarts and fruit loops and the like. Sheesh. :eyesroll

post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by earthmama4 View Post

Pediatricians are trained to diagnose and treat disease....A gluten free and dairy free diet is usually really nutritious because it eliminates so much junk.


Doctors have little to no training on nutrition, so there really isn't a point in talking to most doctors about this. They just don't know anything about it.


I think it's pretty obvious that the way Americans eat is a disaster for health. In addition to the fact that special needs are occurring at unprecedented rates,  less than a 1/3 of a adults are a healthy weight and this is the first generation expected to live a shorter time than the previous generations. It is super obvious that the mainstream advice DOES NOT WORK for most people.


A gluten free and dairy free diet rules out pretty much all processed foods (unless you just go out of your way to track down GFDF faux versions of processed foods).


For some people, this is a life changing diet. For other people, it makes no difference at all. But the only way to find out what is true for you son is to take the diet for a test drive. It can't hurt, and it might help.


Doctors just don't like to admit that they don't have all the answers, and that the dietary advice they've been handing out for the last 30 years is nonsense.

post #15 of 17

(Not having read the replies - sorry)... I want to comment that I did this for my older boy with very mild autism and obvious metabolic problems. Be sure that your child doesn't end up looking emaciated as mine did. Hopefully your child LOVES kale and spinach, maybe small servings of prunes as well. With my younger boy who is more severe with autism and also has seizures, we had to cut out all MSG. This was my first self-discovery. Bacon and Ramen noodles were exacerbating his seizure condition. We are now on the Paleo diet which is much healthier because it focuses not just on eliminating gut problems (gluten & wheat, corn, soy, etc.) and allergies (casein, dairy - especially unfermented); it focuses on healing the whole body by eliminating all sugar except that in fruit, and also eliminating all bad fats (no, not chicken fat but soybean oil, canola oil, etc.), and all processed foods. It's purely healthy. The Paleo diet often becomes the Ketogenic diet which sounds extreme, but if health is the goal, then there is no healthier diet. If you can boil eggs or make a mean veggie-turkey omelet and grilled chicken salad and steak with a massive side of greens, and a handful of blueberries plus almonds as a snack and eliminate all garbage, cook mostly with olive oil and coconut oil, then you can maintain a ketogenic diet which many people claim cures cancer, manages diabetes, and all sorts of health problems...


I'm two weeks into this healthy lifestyle change, myself. I've lost eight pounds. Willpower triumphing, I refuse to feel cravings. My body spent several days detoxifying in the most severe smelly sweat that I've ever experienced - I had to stay home through it - and now I feel wonderful. My younger boy has been without sugar, starch and dairy right beside me and I am seeing change. Yesterday I caved and bought him a yogurt as a treat. He developed a stuffy nose and I realized just yesterday that he has a definite allergy to dairy. I give him pro-biotics (powdered) in his daily medicine-juice. I am amazed at how this is helping...


And shopping? Well, we hit the produce, run by the eggs, turn the corner and head back to the meat, and make a beeline for the register. No more zig-zagging through the aisles which sell us mostly junk - soy, corn syrup, all of these things that do us harm. No more.



post #16 of 17

I don't mean this as an argument against dietary changes. I completely support giving it a try - many people have seen some pretty great results. But I want to throw in my 2 cents worth. 


My YoungSon was 100% gluten/casein free for 9 months (clear liquid diet for different reasons - long story). His autistic symptoms did not change one bit - either when he went on, or off, the diet. I watched and journaled carefully through that whole time. No behavioral differences. Today, at 17, many of his issues are resolved, and his diet is pretty average - little junk food, less fast food, mostly scratch, lots of dairy, wheat, produce, meat, and eggs. 


My point is that dietary changes don't work for everyone. If it doesn't work for your family, don't feel YOU failed. Don't beat yourself up, don't give up.

post #17 of 17

I feel that the most successful key to this diet is "home-cooked." If you look for "gluten-free" labeling on heat-and-serve foods, you will notice sometimes tons of ingredients including preservatives. The best we can do is break the packaged foods habit and begin connecting with Grandma by cooking the way that she did or does.


I saw a picture of a 3-month-old sucking on a McD's french fry. Mama was so proud - "like mother, like daughter." I once watched a young mother exit a gas station with a Mountain Dew, fill her baby's bottle with it, and pass it back. This is the kind of stuff that is poisoning our kids, toxifying their systems...not to mention fluoridated tap water but I won't get into that one in this thread.

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