A gluten free, wheat free and dairy free diet is recommended for those individuals with autism.
National Autism Awareness
In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. Join the Autism Society in getting involved with the autism community.
Many physicians are prescribing this new diet, as up to 8 in 10 autistic children may benefit greatly.The "Defeat Autism Now!" Protocol recommends that every autistic child be placed on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for at least 3 months. Here is what one person says about the impact the diet has had on her son:
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"Hello! I really love your website--what a lifesaver it is to us since our autistic 3 year old began the GFCF diet! We are seeing AMAZING results--after only 6 months, our little one who never had met an IEP goal, has now met all his speech and occupational goals and we have to do another meeting with his therapists! Wow! :-D Thanks so much!"
So, what is gluten and casein? Since this site was initially founded to serve the gluten-free market, you can read all about gluten throughout our site. Click here to learn more about the complications of gluten and wheat, the silent invaders.
Connection between gluten-free, casein-free diets (gfcf) and autism.
Briefly, gluten is a protein, and so is casein. Gluten is a protein fraction found in all wheat, rye, barley, and most oat products. Casein is a protein fraction found in all dairy products. To most Autistic children, gluten and casein are the equivalent of poison. They leak into the gut, undigested, and attach to the opiate receptors of the autistic's brain. Essentially, many autistic children are "drugged" on wheat and milk products, as if they were on a morphine drip.
Although parents have been reporting a connection between autism and diet for decades, there is now a growing body of research that shows that certain foods seem to be affecting the developing brains of some children and causing autistic behaviors. This is not because of allergies, but because many of these children are unable to properly break down certain proteins.
Researchers in England, Norway, and at the University of Florida had previously found peptides (breakdown products of proteins) with opiate activity in the urine of a high percentage of autistic children. Opiates are drugs, like morphine, which affect brain function. These findings have recently been confirmed by researchers at Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. The two main offenders seem to be gluten (the protein in wheat, oats, rye and barley) and casein (milk protein.)
Is your autistic child addicted to gluten and wheat?
"But milk and wheat are the only two foods my child will eat. His diet is completely comprised of milk, cheese, cereal, pasta, and bread. If I take these away, I'm afraid he'll starve," were the comments issued by an anonymous mother in an interview with Karyn Seroussi of the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention.
Karyn responded, "There may be a good reason your child "self-limits" to these foods. Opiates, like opium, are highly addictive. If this "opiate excess" explanation applies to your child, then he is actually addicted to those foods containing the offending proteins. Although it seems as if your child will starve if you take those foods away, many parents report that after an initial "withdrawal" reaction, their children become more willing to eat other foods. After a few weeks, many children surprise their parents by further broadening their diets.
But what will my child do without milk?
Americans have been raised to believe that this milk is essential to good health, largely due to the efforts of the American Dairy Association, and many parents seem to believe that it is their duty to feed their children as much cow's milk as possible. However, lots of perfectly healthy children do very well without it. Cow's milk has been called "the world's most overrated nutrient" and "fit only for baby cows." There is even evidence that the cow hormone present in dairy actually blocks the absorption of calcium in humans. Be careful. Removing dairy means ALL milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. It also includes product ingredients such as "casein" and "whey," or even words containing the word "casein." Read labels - items like bread and tuna fish often contain milk products. Even soy cheese usually contains caseinate.
How can I possibly elimate the thousands of products that contain gluten?
Many might be willing to try removing dairy products from their child's diet, but don't think they could handle removing gluten. It seems like a lot of work, and they're so busy already. Many people wonder if this is really necessary. However, what you need to understand is that for certain children, these foods are toxic to their brains. For some, removing gluten may be far more important than removing dairy products. You would never knowingly feed your child poison, but if he fits into this category, that is exactly what you could be doing. It is possible that for this subgroup of people with autism, eating these foods is actually damaging the developing brain.
The Latest Recommendations
The Autistic Network For Dietary Intervention highly recommends that parents try the gluten-free, casein-free diet for at least 3 months. It may take that long to see results, and you MAY NOT cheat. Gluten is virtually everywhere, hidden in thousands of foods you would never think of: soups, sauces, candy, cereals, breads, pastas, cookies, etc. Likewise, casein is present in ALL forms of dairy, including but not limited to, cheese, creams, many sauces, butter, yogurt, ice cream, anything with whey, caseinate, etc.
The gluten-free, casein-free diet is challenging, but it can make a tremendous difference. We often receive phone calls where parents break down in tears as they recount the improvements seen in their child. It is not at all uncommong to hear reports that an autistic child made eye contact with their parent for the first time, or that he/she was able to attend a "normal" school for the first time. One parent struggled to tell us that her 4 year old used to stand in a corner and beat his head against a wall, but within 4 weeks of the diet, he was able to play outside with other children.
Let it be said that this diet will not affect every child, and may not have dramatic effects if it does. However, we at Gluten Solutions are absolutely convinced that the GFCF diet helps a majority of Autistic children, many of them quite dramatically and within a couple of weeks. There is no harm in trying it, and so long as you don't let your child ingest ANY gluten or casein for 6 weeks, you will know whether improvement occurs. If it is too tramuatizing to eliminate gluten and casein at the same time, first eliminate casein (all dairy products) and then gradually eliminate gluten (all wheat, rye, barley, and oat products). What is of utmost importance is to realize that the diet is all or nothing, however. Minute traces of either protein in your child's diet may set you back a week or more.
Some children, after being on the diet for several months, will actually know if they accidentally ingest gluten or casein. One parent reported that her son, accidentally eating a wheat-containing cookie, told her, "The bad person is inside of me, Mommy." You can see how profound the implications of accidental gluten or casein ingestion can be.
Gluten-free, Casein-Free Foods By Mail.
encouraging news is that Gluten Solutions stocks the premier brands of gluten-free, casein-free foods from several top manufacturers. We focus on stocking the very best-tasting and hard to find gluten-free, casein-free products, and offer a highly convenient way to shop. We stock only 100% gluten-free foods, including breads, baking mixes, cookies, crackers, snacks, pastas, and more. Most of our items are kid-friendly, and we add about 25 new products each month. More than ever, we are on the lookout for new GFCF foods that are palatable and healthy for children.
When you start the diet, it can be overwhelming. That's why we exist. Simply put, health food stores and grocery stores treat gluten-free foods as an afterthought. Product selection may be poor in many cases, and there will most likely not be a dedictated "gluten-free" section. What's more, the staff will probably not be 100% educated on your needs. You can order from gluten-free manufacturers directly, and most provide excellent service. But you'll have to pay separate shipping charges for each company, and there will usually not be a guarantee on when your products will arrive.
If you choose to try us out, you will most likely find the largest selection around, and the lowest overall shipping charges. Plus, we clearly list whether products are also free of casein (everything is gluten-free). We also have a QUICK SHOP feature, which lets you quickly sort our online catalog by 1) What's New 2) What's Most Popular. This makes it very easy to see what tastes good, so you don't waste your money. We also let you pick the shipping option you prefer, and we package and mail all orders the same day or next business day.