Welcome to Part 3 of a continuing series on the GFCF diet.
There are two ways to start GFCF – the hard way, where you pull everything and go cold turkey or the easy way.
Now, don’t kid yourself for a second, GFCF is still a challenge and you’ll likely spend a lot more time in the kitchen than you are used to. However, the slow & steady method is a little easier on your child.
Step 1: If you haven’t already, take inventory in your pantry. Gather up all the gluten & casein containing foods and put them in a box.
Step 2: Look at what is in the box. Are any of these foods serious favorites for your child? Is anything perishable?
Pull out the perishable items. (You don’t want to put those in a dark cupboard!!) Resolve to feed them all to your kid before the end of a week or give them away. For example, if you have boxed chicken nuggets (and I know you do!), you are going to practice making GFCF nuggets & serve them with the boxed variety. I found mixing the GFCF foods with “regular” food helped to get the kids used to new flavours.
In the chicken nugget example, you make 1-2 GFCF nuggets (or buy them, Ian’s brand is GFCF). Slice if necessary & serve. When 1 nugget gets choked down, serve a regular nugget. Repeat as necessary. Remember not to put too much food on the plate at once because it can be really overwhelming to ASD kids.
Step 3: Go shopping! This is the (not so) fun part. This shopping trip is going to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If you can, go solo. If you can’t, you’ll need to accept that you’ll be spending the same amount on less groceries & possiby going back for more in a few days.
If you are already an avid label reader, you know why the trip will take a long time. You MUST read every label on every item. If it comes in a box or a bag, it has a label. You are checking for gluten, casein and all their sneaky descriptions. Don’t worry about getting it perfect this time. Try your best and know it will get easier.
More on this in Part 4.
Step 4: Begin cooking GFCF as much as possible. Keep it simple.
Meat. Starch. Vegetable. Fruit. Beverage.
In other words: Chicken, Potato, Peas, Apple, Almond milk
Or: Ground beef, rice, carrots, pear, apple juice
All safe, all GFCF. Remind yourself of all the things you can eat. Don’t focus on what you “can’t”.
Step 5: Watch for changes. After 1 week of GFCF we were already seeing increasing communiciation and eye contact!