(NaturalHealth365) New science reveals that we can help children with autism by eating gluten free and casein free foods. A study from Penn State earlier this year stated that a gluten-free/casein free (GFCF) diet can lead to behavior and physiological improvements in children with autism spectrum disorders. Positive responses in children included: increases in their children’s social behaviors, such as language production, eye contact, engagement, attention span, requesting behavior, and social responsiveness, when they strictly followed a gluten-free, casein-free diet.
This comes as no surprise to the myriad of parents who have had their children on these diets and witnessed not only a relief in behavior, but bowel movements and improvements in overall digestion as well.
The link between digestive disorders and autism
The Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition reported that in the group of children they tested, 36.7 percent of those with autism had intestinal permeability (IP) compared with 4.8 percent of children who were not diagnosed with autism. Further, they discovered that relatives of children with autism were also more likely to have IP; meaning having a relative with this issue, puts a child with autism at greater risk of having IP. They concluded that measuring intestinal permeability in children with autism could identify patients with autism who would benefit from a gluten-free diet.
But for parents who can’t afford the test, simply putting your child on the diet can show you if it would be beneficial.
Getting started on a gluten and casein free diet
This is usually a concern for parents when I begin to see their children with autism. Their child eats so few items how can they possibly go GFCF? This is a legitimate concern and my answer varies somewhat based on the child.
Sometimes the child’s favorite food, such as pancakes, can be easily done in a GFCF format by using a tasty mix and coconut or rice milk. Other times we introduce a new food like a hamburger (organic ground beef with organic vegetables mixed in and baked or fried in coconut oil), cut it up and give pieces to their child to discover what their child will eat it. Celebrating with your child when they eat something new is essential!
The best approach is to start slowly by adding new GFCF foods gradually (about one food every 3 days). If a new food causes an issue, you will know which one it is. Buy small amounts of the new foods, buying only in bulk when you know your child likes them and can tolerate them. It may take 6-8 weeks to become fully GFCF.
It is important to thoroughly read food labels as gluten and casein are found in many forms and under many names. Brands like Udi’s, Food for life, Namaste and more can be found easily at most grocery stores and can be purchased online as well. I have found researching and buying online easiest as it gives me more time to read labels and I can do this while my daughter is sleeping.
Keep a food and behavior log. Write down any behavior changes that occur; this includes positive behavior changes. Celebrate those and communicate your observance to your child.
Your child may resist these changes initially. Supplements such as vitamin D, calcium, zinc, magnesium and others can help provide essential nutrients for your picky eater as they transition over to a diet that can provide relief for their bodies, minds and souls.
About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com
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