Autism and good nutrition

Autism, overcoming picky eating
October 23, 2017
Autism & calcium supplementation
October 26, 2017


Have you ever wondered why your autistic child only wants to eat chicken nuggets and yoghurt? Well, one reason is that these things are full of gluten and casein. Gluten, casein and soy are all proteins that require pancreatic enzymes to break down. Most autistic children do not produce enough of these pancreatic enzymes to break down gluten, casein and soy proteins.  Gluten and casein, when not properly digested, become peptides that act on the opioid receptors in the brain, thus creating an addiction to foods containing these ingredients.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, casein is a protein found in milk and dairy products and soy is commonly offered as a substitute for both wheat and dairy but is also a protein undigestible for an autistic child. Transitioning autistic children to a Gluten Free, Casein Free, Soy Free (GFCFSF) diet, also known as the Autism Diet, will improve the overall health of autistic children. Most parents of autistic children report that problems such as ear infections, rashes, sleep issues, tantrums, self injury, dangerous climbing and other challenging behaviours are reduced once their children are on the diet.

The transition to this diet, or rather from these toxins, will be most successful if it is done as a whole family. How bad your autistic child’s addiction is to these foods will play a part in how difficult the transition is.

Start by doing some good solid research. Learn to read food labels. Learn all that your child can and can not eat. Have your child allergy tested so you don’t inadvertently replace these proteins with other food he is allergic to. Think of some of your child’s favourite foods and find suitable replacements for them. Pick a time when you will have your child with you for an extended period. If school holidays are nowhere in sight, any weekend will do. Then systematically weed out the nasties. Here’s a suggested plan:

Weeks 1-2: Remove all casein (milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, yoghurt etc). If you replace with soy, use only Bonsoy. Begin calcium supplementation.

Weeks 3-4: Remove gluten – wheat, oats, barley and rye.

Weeks 5-6: Remove all soy. Now you’re all on “the diet”

Weeks 7-8: Recheck everything and refine diet, if needed.  Replace any personal care items such as shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap and classroom supplies.

Weeks 9-10: Recheck everything and refine diet, if needed. Do an inventory of sugars and carbohydrates, adjust diet to good levels.

Well meaning relatives can easily undo all your hard work with a single “treat”. They will not have to live with the consequences of their kindness as you will days later, so get them on board from the beginning. Informing them that it is a serious medical issue is usually an effective way to go about it.

Wheat substitutes:

Almond flour
Arrowroot flour
Brown rice flour
Buckwheat flour
Casava flour
Coconut flour
Garfava flour
Lentil Flour
Navy bean flour
Pecan flour
Potate flour
Potato starch flour
Quinoa flour
Rice flour
Sorghum flour
Tapioca starch

Milk Substitutes:

Almond milk (plain, vanilla and chocolate)
Cashew milk
Coconut milk
Coconut cream
Flaxseed milk
Hazelnut milk
Hemp milk (plain, vanilla and chocolate)
Quinoa milk
Rice milk

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