More and more families are turning to the GFCF diet to help with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a whole host of other diseases and disorders.
When people begin this diet, it can be very overwhelming. Hopefully this “cheat sheet” will offer less anxiety, less confusion and give you the power to move forward and continue to make a difference in your child and/or your family lives.
Before we get to the gluten free and casein free tips, I feel it is most important to get your family healthy. Chemicals are for scientists, not for the human body to consume. This is important even for those who are typically developing. The most imperative thing to do first is to START TO READ LABELS. This will prepare you for what lies ahead.
Any food or drink items that say these following words or letters need to remain on the store shelf and never come into your home: artificial, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5, aspartame, nitrites, BHA, BHT, TBHQ, preservative, MSG, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients can cause severe behavioral problems, sleep disorders, poor self-control, meltdowns, anxiety, aggression, hyperactivity, irritability, depression, mood swings, aches and pains and a host of other ailments and negative behaviors. To learn more go to www.Feingold.org
Let us now talk about hints for ridding your body of gluten and casein. Many people are not aware of the damage cross contamination can cause. What is cross contamination? It’s a knife that is spread across your wheat toast, dipped into the peanut butter; leaving crumbs behind, waiting for the gluten free person in your family to later use their knife in the same jar. This can happen with condiments and other products in your home, too. It just takes one crumb or one sip to reverse all the hard work you have done to achieve becoming GFCF. Another way for cross contamination to occur is using the same cookware, bake ware and appliances that you use gluten filled and casein filled foods. You will want a new toaster, a new bagel cutter, new cookie sheets, new grill, new colanders and new cutting boards. An option is to use foil or parchment paper to cover the cookie sheets, grill, etc Some pots and pans also can cause cross contamination, as they might be porous, thus the proteins you need to avoid could come in contact with your GFCF foods.
Think outside of food. There are other household items that contain gluten and casein, which should be avoided. Check labels and when in doubt, call the company and ask if the item has gluten or casein in it. The legal guidelines for non-food items are very different than for edible items. Non-food items do not legally have to list all of the ingredients. Some of the items you need to investigate for gluten and casein are: toothpaste, shaving cream, cosmetics, sunscreens, soaps, lip balm, lotions, cleansers, dental floss, shampoos, conditioners, deodorant, play dough (most have gluten!!), art supplies and other similar products.
Medicine, both over-the-counter and prescription medications often have gluten and sometimes have casein proteins in them. OFTEN, they have artificial colors and flavors. Discuss these items with your pharmacist, asking if they have the ingredients that you need to avoid. You might need to contact a compounding pharmacy. You can locate one near you at www.iacprx.org or calling 1-800-927-4227
When visiting the dentist, bring your own toothpaste. Discuss with the dentist your concerns over what is being used in your children’s mouths. Many of these items have dyes!! Have the dentist mark your child’s chart with the items not allowed to go near your child.
Replacing casein in your diet is not as challenging as many think. Many people think cow’s milk is a must-have in everyone’s diet. There are plenty of foods and beverages that contain calcium, protein and other nutrients that cow’s milk contains, without casein. For milk alternatives try “milk” made from almonds, hemp, other nuts, potatoes, rice coconut or soy (some people cannot tolerate soy.) Most of these alternative milks come in original, vanilla or chocolate..
For gluten free items, check your health food stores, Whole foods, Trader Joe’s and specialty stores. More and more items, even in typical grocery stores are being packaged with the words GLUTEN FREE on them. Remember to make sure the product is also casein free.