Autism and the Gluten Free Diet
The Gluten free diet consists of removing any foods from your Autistic child's diet that contain Gluten.
This can seem hard at first because so many foods do have Gluten in them. Gluten is found in most prepared foods.
Foods containing wheat, barley ,oats, or rye need to be eliminated from the diet. Gluten can also be found in some vinegars and sauces. Artificial flavorings often contain Gluten.
When using the Gluten free diet you have to be careful and read all labels on foods. Gluten can be in foods you would not think of, like spices
The theory behind removing Gluten from an Autistic child's diet is that when the child eats a food with Gluten it causes their body to react differently than a child without Autism.
The Gluten free diet can be expensive to follow. Most Gluten free products are sold in specialty, or health stores. These stores usually charge a much higher price.
Some major grocery stores are now carrying Gluten free products. You can find Gluten free flour, pancake mix, waffles, cookies, snacks, and many other foods. Most parents find out it is cheaper to make their own Gluten free food.
Recipes for gluten-free cooking will be added here, or you can find them in Gluten free cookbooks. Some parents go together with another family following the Gluten free diet and buy in bulk. Then they share the foods. This can help lower the costs of the Gluten free items.
Autistic children following a Gluten free diet can eat meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nut, eggs, and products made with gluten free ingredients.
It can be hard to keep a child from eating their favorite snacks, and treats. Some of these can be made by using Gluten free products. Muffins and cookies can be made from Gluten free flour.
It just takes some getting used to the new way of eating.
Often people following a Gluten free diet will remove all dairy (Casein) products from their diet as well. You can find out if your Autistic child has an allergy to a certain food by having allergy testing done. The doctor can arrange for this testing.
If you are going to try the Gluten free diet with your child you have to be prepared to follow it for several months to tell if it is going to make any difference. Gluten remains in the body for a long time.
Most people do not give the diet a long enough chance to work. Trying it for a week or two will not give the body enough time to remove any remaining Gluten from its system.
Some people do however see improvements right away in their Autistic child.
If you want to find more information about Gluten free dieting there are several books available. Visit your local library, or book store to find one. The NCH Team will be adding gluten-free recipes under our recipe section.
The Gluten free diet will not work with every autistic child. The majority of the children that show improvement had a sensitivity to the gluten to begin with.
The Gluten free diet is not a cure for Autism. It is used to help lesson the symptoms of Autism.
Goldenseal and olive leaf extracts are commonly used in the treatment of Celiac disease because they help to regulate and protect the immune system, thereby reducing the auto-immune effects on the small intestine, lessening the severity of gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease.
Chamomile is another good herb to reduce the digestive inflammation and upset stomachs that are associated with gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease.
Horsetail Tea is associated with reducing the inflammation of the digestive tract and the intestines, while also boosting the strength and durability of the digestive system, so your system is less sensitive to gluten.
After being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, there is a good chance that your body is slightly deficient in various essential nutrients since your intestines haven’t been properly absorbing them.
For this reason, it is a good idea to regularly take dietary and nutrient supplements to ensure that your body gets back on track.
Some Celiac patients continue taking nutrient supplements for years as a way to make up for some of the nutrients they will lose due to their selective diet.
Luckily, it is becoming much easier in recent years to maintain a well-balanced diet without consuming any gluten, and without spending an exorbitant amount of money!