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Opinions? Casien-Free, Gluten-Free

Aidan’s speech pathologist, Debbie, lent me a book called “Eating for Autism”. The book is a 10-step program to getting your autistic child on a healthier eating regimen including the Casien-Free Gluten-Free diet.

So far our family is on the first step which is slowly replacing certain foods in our kitchen with healthier alternatives. The items we have to get rid of are anything containing artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and preservatives. The next time you look in your pantry, take a look at just how many of your food items contains one or more of these things!

We decided to try this diet after the psychiatrist made a comment about putting Aidan on medicine. My husband and I are NOT big medication people and we want to exhaust any other options, within reason, before deciding on medication.

We’ve heard both negative and positive opinions on the Casien-Free Gluten Free diet and the cost of the special foods are already weighing heavy in our pockets. We would like feedback on the diet and whether or not you think it would be worth pursuing further.

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13 thoughts on “Opinions? Casien-Free, Gluten-Free

  • I don’t have autism, but I do have a HUGE amount of health problems, including lyme disease, which went undiagnosed for so long that it began to affect brain function and cognition.  I’ve been mostly gluten free, and totally casien and sugar free for two years now, and I’ve made almost a full recovery.  It’s tough at first, but you quickly learn shortcuts that help; there are bread mixes in most supermarkets now that are fabulous and easy, as well as a slew of kid-friendly snacks and foods that cater to people who are cutting out these things.  Good luck, I recommend it!

  • I work at a group home for special need kids. We tried the CFGF diet with one of the boys for a few months and it increased his behaviors significantly. He was more physically aggressive towards people and SIB more often than before he went on the diet. I didn’t see any progress made with the individual I work with during his diet. We eventually took him off because of the negative results and increased behaviors.

    If you try the diet I would recommend for birthday parties and other such events making him his own cake or treats. That way he won’t be upset he’s not getting any of the treats or food at the event. I wish you the best of luck with the diet!

  • @MommaFish89@xanga – if your child is on a special diet when he enters the regular school system, it shoudl be in his IEP and they need to made aware of it. It is no differnt than if a child had a peanut or bee sting allergy. They are required to follow it. However, if there are parties coming up it is not the resonsibility of the birthday “childs” parent to bring in food for your son. So what many parents do is ask for a list of parties for the year and send in something special for their child to eat whiel everyone has cupcakes, etc. Most schools are well aware of special diets and do try to help as much as they can.

    As far a sbirthdya parties are concerned, alot of hosts are actually aware of diet restrictions in todays world. Tell them and offer to bring appropriate food for your child along to the party. Most people will appreciate your candor and your offer of supplying the appropriate food. First of all, the hostess should make it an easy transition for you child. She should serve your child like anyone else. As far as the other parents, if anyone asks you say he is on a restricted diet due to allergies. That is something everyone understands. You also never owe anyone excpet the hostess and explanation, btw.You really never have to explain autism to anyone if you don’t want to, oh and if someone is put off because of your child’s diet restrictions, who would want them in your child’s life to begin with.

    Don’t worry about what others think. See if the diet helps.

  • Thank you for all the comments! I really appreciate it.

    One of my really big concerns right now are birthday parties. Other parents have no problem loading their children, and the birthday guests up on sugar and goodies. Lol. I want him to be able to go to birthdays, of course, but I don’t want to take him and then he be the only one there not eating cake and ice cream or having a lollipop. And I’m scared that if I take a special plate for him it’ll upset the other children which will upset the other parents. >.<

    Same thing with school. They allow him to eat special foods in the Head Start program he’ll be starting in October but I’m not sure about when he gets into the regular school system.

    How do you guys work with being on the diet and social events with your child/ren?

    And thank you again!

  • The GFCF Diet is increasingly growing in popularity. Before I began working at Speech Therapy Center, I had a family friend whose child was autistic. She is the one that told me about the GFCF diet. Her son had to eat special foods that did not contain grains or lactose. Being autistic, he was an extremely picky eater, and when he did not get his way, boy were the tantrums bad. Between his mother and grandmother, they read tons of recipe books regarding the GFCF diet, and began making his favorite meals without casein or gluten. Although it takes them a long time to prepare his meals and to make sure he does not break his diet, their son has made an extreme cognitive, behavioral, and social improvement. 

    This diet is not for everyone; it is both time consuming and expensive. I know people who swear by it, and others who believe its a myth. But it is worth a try. At our center, we highly recommend it to parents; it does not hurt to try it!
    We post blogs on our website regarding nutrition and autism along with other topics that you may be interested in. Feel free to visit us at

  • @lovelybones1@xanga – actually what you should do is ask his parents what they think of the diet and do they think it would help him. Other than that it is none of your business how they choose to treat THIER child. You can bet that they love him more than you ever could.

  • Find a network of individuals to support you in your whole family life-style change. We have found a wonderful Integrative Medicine physician and he has been our medical professional cheerleader. You will not regret the move.  I know this sounds simplistic but begin by eating only fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. Coconut milk yogurt with nuts, hemp seed and fruit has been our breakfast mainstay since the switch. The substitution and purchase of gluten free items is expensive.   Author and Doctor mark Hyman has several wonderful books that can be checked out at the library in your area. 

  • I know this kind of diet can be very expensive, but just remember that not everything has to be this special food. Yes, it helps, but if you have most of the food in his diet not contain gluten and casin free products, then you can have some products that do contain these ingredients. You’ll still see progress and you’ll be able to keep costs down so that you will be able to afford to keep doing it (thats the main part). I know that this has worked for many children, but at the same time, I know a lot of families that this has not worked for and will never work for. So before getting too into it, just make sure you know where you are on the scale with Aiden and how much this diet will help him.

  • Hi, I have an autistic nephew and I love him dearly and well….I was wondering would you advise it if I bought this book and gave it to his parents as like a guideline thing or should I just buy it and keep it to myself, and feed him the recommended food when ever he comes over??

  • That book is wonderful!  I have it and love it

    I agree with luvaidan, it is not cheap or easy to follow, but it is a whole lot easier than going on the diet in Jamaica or the Caribbean.

    That being said, my son has been casein free for 7years now and gluten free for 5-6years. He is also sugar free…. he reacts to sugar in his system almost instantly! I have seen good results.

    It is a life change that at times may be so subtle that you may wonder why you are putting your self and your child through the stress, but it is those subtle changes that make the difference.

    It is not a  easy step… but I say if you are willing to try anything to help your son then definitely you should give this your all. (it is not for everyone but you will not know if you don’t give it a try)

    Good Luck

  • Our son, ironicall named Aidan, has been on the diet for 8 months and we’ve seen tremendous improvement in him in all areas.  This did not happen overnight !  One of the key aspects of this diet is consistency and I think that’s where results vary.  If you do not intend on committing completely I wouldn’t bother.  We have totally committed and have not gone outside of the diet and we are sold.   We are continually making changes and adding new foods.  Hope this helps.  

    ps.  NOT EASY start and NOT cheap. 


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