This is part two in a continuing series on the GFCF diet. Remember, I’m not an expert, just a mom who’s been doing this!
We’re going to assume you read the last post and have gathered up a list of foods your child eats. Take a look at the list. Do you see mostly dairy products?
– Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese
Or, is it gluten (wheat) products?
– Bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, muffins
Or do you have what I consider the “classic autism diet?”
– Kraft dinner, chicken nuggets, french fries, at least 4 litres of milk per week, some fruit, very little meat
Now you have a choice – the easy way? or the hard way?
The Easy Way
Some will call this a misnomer because no matter what, starting the diet is hard for you & your child. If you’ve got a rigid thinker, a child who demands everything the same way, right down to the serving plate, this is the way to go.
First, pull out the food that your child doesn’t focus on. So, if he loves milk, start pulling out gluten. If you’ve got the combination of dairy & gluten, choose whichever you think will be easier. It is probably dairy.
In the easy way, you don’t go cold turkey – you finish what is left in the cupboard & don’t buy it again. Or, you start adding a little alternative milk to his cup with regular milk and then gradually reduce the cow’s milk.
We’ll explore this in part three of the series.
The Hard Way
In the “hard way” you pull everything. Gluten, dairy, soy, artifical colours, flavours, chemicals, pesticides and every toxic thing you can find.
Ok. Not quite. But, there are parents who recommend it. And in a really severe case, I might too.
When you start the diet the “Hard Way”, you should at least pull Gluten, and dairy from the diet immediately. As in, you get up tomorrow, you start feeding only GFCF foods. You don’t give in to the whining, crying, food refusal, irritability (yours) and anger (probably theirs).
This is a tough. tough. tough. thing to do. You can do each piece one at a time (pull just dairy, in 2 weeks then pull out gluten) so that you can see the changes in your child from each.
So what did we do?
We did the diet the “Hard Way” with an occasional infraction (when you feed a gluten or dairy substance by accident or on purpose). I first pulled out dairy and two weeks later pulled out gluten. If I didn’t have a perfect GFCF substitute, I chose the most healthy non-gfcf food.
But, I did gather up 3 boxes of non-gfcf food and hide it in the basement. Soups, Kraft Dinner, flavoured rices, cereal, flour, crackers, chips….you get the idea. Out of sight, out of mind.
The hardest part? Finding acceptable pre-made GFCF products. Followed closely by making acceptable homemade GFCF food.
Within 1 month, we were totally GFCF and we had already seen BIG changes in our little boy. Eye contact, improved speech, improved gait, less fidgiting, more regular bowel movements, loss of the “stinky kid” label.
In part three, I am going to detail how to do GFCF the “easy way”.
Homework: Gather up all your non-gfcf foods. Put them in a box. Even if you intend to do the easier switchover, this will get you in the habit of label reading.
Get familiar with all the hidden sources of gluten/dairy. Don’t worry about memorizing the list, it’s too long anyways.
The list you need is found on the For Beginners page.