Whew! WCCO thought this was a very successful chat with 50-100 people popping in an out of the chat. Needless to say, this is one long document. I have tried to sort it out a bit and condense it. I have also added answers and links to things I was not able to during the chat, being as I do not have bionic fingers. (Smile!) I am breaking it into smaller chunks due to the length. I bolded my answers, but be sure to read other people’s answers, too. Other parents who have walked the same road are a wealth of information!
Welcome to the chat on the autism diet, and cooking dairy- and gluten-free. Joining us will be expert Angela Litznger who has had vast experience cooking dairy-free and gluten-free for her three children.
Lindy: Hello, how do I start? My son only eats junk food.
philippinewanderer: my autistic daughter will not eat a fruit of any king]d or a vegetable absolutely not, will she eat some of this diet?
zachsmom: What do you do if you have a child who will only eat a few foods?
Angela_Litzinger: I would try to add small amounts of other foods and change the textures slowly to get them used to new foods. This sounds like more of a texture issue for your child. Here is a link on Overcoming Feeding Problems in a Child with Autism. Help your child find a variety of food that is in the texture they prefer while still offering new foods in small amounts with every meal. Also, read this article from Living Without Magazine: Tricks for Picky Eaters
zachsmom: My son will only eat one brand of hot dog, chicken strips from some restaurants, carrots, cantaloupe, milk, ice cream, and some bread. He won’t try something that’s a different brand because it’s different.
zachsmom: My son won’t eat cereal and he’ll turn down a hot dog that is a slightly different color. He will even turn down baby carrots that are too long!
Angela_Litzinger: Sometimes, the child will only want one brand of food and sometimes it is about the packaging. If you take a gluten free o shaped cereal, such as Perky-O’s and put it into a Cherrio box, that will work.
Angela Litzinger: Also, the article links above may be helpful to you.
priscilla: good point angela i can’t get my kids to eat cereal with nondairy milk so they eat it dry
Angela_Litzinger: My daughter actually started eating more foods after going gluten free (she was already dairy free) such as strawberries etc that she refused to eat before. Her diet is very varied now.
bridgetdave: Our son Ryan really likes chicken nuggets. We have tried the Kinnikinnick chicken coating but he likes crunchy – any ideas?
Angela_Litzinger: You could use gluten free pretzels, potato chips or chushed gluten free cereal in the coating on chicken nuggets to increase the crunch.
bridgetdave: That’s a great idea, Angela. Thanks. Should I bake them? Is vegetable oil gluten free?
Angela_Litzinger: Vegetable oil is gluten free. Except for wheat germ oil, of course.
philippinewanderer: is olive oil free of those ingredients?
philippinewanderer: is olive oil ok to cook with
Angela_Litzinger: Olive oil is a good oil to use.
GerberBaby: Bridgetdave: Here is an easy chicken nugget recipe: 1 cup brown or white rice flour with 1/4 tsp. salt and dip chicken chunks in “Vance Foods” potato milk and then into flour and fry in Organic Olive Oil…YUM!
Erinb: Are there any good cookbooks that gluten free?
priscilla: bette hagman has a good book on gluten free recipes i make the pizza crust in her bread book
Angela_Litzinger: I also like the cook books by Carol Fenster.
Flipper: A great book on the gf-cf diet & has many recipes & resource list is : Special Diets For Special Kids/Lisa Lewis,Ph.D.
and The Kid-Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook. Check your local library for GFCF cookbooks as well. I always like to try before I buy. Also, look for GFCF blogs on the web. There are a ton of people out their providing recipes to others to help them out! My blog also has recipes angelaskitchen.com.
zanderbear : Is there a group in the T/C for the GFCF Diet?
GerberBaby: GFCF is a breeze, and for 1 year we have been GFCF, Soy, Corn and Peanut free. Do you host cooking classes to address all of these too?? We are also on 4 day rotation diet and doing fantastic but would love to learn even more from others…Is there a local group like this?? we are south of the river.
mac: is there a support group for recipe ideas?
Angela_Litzinger: There are mostly gluten free support groups, but they welcome GFCF as well. The Twin Cities R.O.C.K group is great. My classes are just GFCF, but I try to loosely follow a rotation and can give alternates for other allergy replacements in my classes. Also, here is a link to GFCF support groups, the GFCFdiet.com parent support page, and the Twin Cities Celiac Support Groups.
Nicksmom: I am looking for a bread that is gluten, dairy, egg, soy and corn free – any ideas where I can find one?
Flipper: A yeast-free bread we use is Ener-G White or Brown Rice bread…who also makes breads that have yeast
Angela_Litzinger: For multiple allergies, Anna’s Bread has a variety of different mixes that are free of other ingredients.
priscilla: energ foods has a tapioca loaf we use for our sons it is free of gluten, casien dairy egg soy and corn
zanderbear: Try the FOOD FOR LIFE Brand for the Bread you are looking for
philippinewanderer: can u buy these meals already prepared?
philippinewanderer: I am handicapped (brain Injury) and it is difficult for me to cook because of my disability.
Flipper: There’s Ian’s https://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/order.asp products that are allergy-free & microwave meals they have too
mac: Ian’s Brand has some good choices..chicken nuggets and french toast that is safe.
Angela_Litzinger: Amy’s http://www.amyskitchen.com/products/search_results.php also have several gluten and dairy free meals (including pizza!!) and they are very clearly labeled on the front of the packages. My Own Mealhttp://www.myownmeals.com/ also has some premade meals that are gluten and dairy free. An all gluten and dairy free company if GFCFmaels.com they deliver nationwide. http://www.gfmeals.com/
Lindy: My son has not eaten much if any meat for more than 6 years.
priscilla: lindy have you tried the sheltons brand of chicken franks they are really good
Lindy: Should I throw away all of the typical food and start new with c/f and g/f foods?
Angela_Litzinger: I have a link on my blog: angelaskitchen.com under links to TACANow that shows how to ease into theGFCF diet over 10 weeks. That way you do not have to throw away all of your “regular” food right away, if that is easier for your family.
DillysMom: Is it best just to put all the kids on the diet? I have two other kids and I wonder if we could make this work.
Angela_Litzinger: We are all gluten and dairy free in our house. It cuts down on cross contamination and we have several of us who need to be GFCF.
nick: My son has been on a gluten free diet since school got out and now casein free for two weeks, but I haven’t noticed a difference.
Angela_Litzinger: If you haven’t seen any change, be sure there hasn’t been cross contamination in other places: play dough, lick and stick stickers, lip treatments. We were missing that when we first went gluten free.
concernedmom: Does oatmeal have Gluten in it?
Flipper: I heard oatmeal ,for now is considered gluten…as they are Still trying to figure that out
Angela_Litzinger: As far as oatmeal is concerned, it is usually too cross contaminated with gluten grains to be gluten free. Bob’s Red Mill and Cream Hill Estates have gluten free oats. I find it at the healthfood stores and Byerlys.
philippinewanderer: are there some simple recipes?
priscilla: i have not found a recipe that i would consider simple. most of what i make is from scratch because the mixes seem to be more expensive
Angela_Litinzger: check the recipe page on my blog. The slow cooker recipes are really simple. Just dump in your crock pot and go.
digger: digger: my husband just recently got diagnosed with candida so we already are making a diet change in our house, could your diet help our 19 year old with aspergers?
zachsmom: Does this mainly help autistic kids with allergies? My son has been tested for allergies and does not have any food allergies at all.
Lindy: Do you recommend getting tested first for food allergies then starting the diet?
Flipper: Try immunolabaratories.com to set up allergy testn with your local lab..theyre very thorough
cha: We tried this diet years ago and use a modified version now which limits gluten but not eliminates it. Sometimes testing for celiac desease can shed light on whether this diet would be beneficial
digger: will this diet help aspergers?
zanderbear: Digger, YES it will help
Lindy: The testing is more than I can afford, I wish there was a program out there to help people like us.
Flipper: Lindy, try applying at social services for different types of Waivers for help…they’ll tell you about those & you dont have to be poor either
chris: i would love to try this diet as well but i can not afford it i am a single mom and i get limited income as it is
Alissa: Does anyone know if there is a program to help parents pay for GFCF food?
mac: fruits and veggies are a good option
chris: would the waiver help pay for the food for the diet?
priscilla: you have to get a doctor to sign off on the diet in order for the parental support grant to reimburse you. we have that for our sons
RyanLeeAnderson: If you or your child is diagnosed with celiac disease you can deduct the difference in the cost of the GF foods from your taxes.
Lindy: I am on the list for waiver services it is a long long waiting list.
Flipper: Yea that lists can be long & all of a sudden you are called though
gigapat: thanks zanderbear
chris: o ok
Angela_Litzinger: My understanding is that it varies from county to county. I would ask the super helpful families on the Beat MN yahoo list to find out about your county. Many families on that list have already gone through that route and could email you off list with information.
paul: Are there more boys than girls diagnosed with Autism?
zachsmom: yes, Paul
Lindy: Yes there is, but the numbers are closing in.
paul: Do you have approx. percentages available boys/girls diagnosed.
Flipper: I was told & read,that yes…more boys than girls have autism
concernedmom: Do you have a web site?
Angela_Litzinger: Why, yes I do. angelaskitchen.com
gigapat: can you tell me the website to find the autism diet?
zanderbear: go to gfcfdiet.com
Angela_Litzinger: Also check out the yahoo groups gfcfkids and gfcfrecipes they are great!
DillysMom: Are vegetarian substitute foods included in this diet?
DillysMom: Not that I’m being impatient, but did anyone get my vegetarian question?
DillysMom: I’m wondering if the GFCF diet allows for vegetarian substitute foods like veggie crumbles and veggie burgers, etc.
GerberBaby: We stay far away from Soy product as alternatives, if you suspect your child has the typical “leaky gut”. these proteins may have similar effects as casein.
Angela_Litzinger: With veggie sups, you need to be sure to watch for gluten in the subs. But if your child can use soy, it would be gluten free.
mac: i know some veggie burgers have gluten and dairy
priscilla: vegetarian dose not always mean gluten or casien free. you have to read the label
unlimitedmom: Do you have any suggestions for adding pureed vegetables into bread recipes to add more nutrition? My kids won’t eat vegetables but I don’t want to waste a lot of flours and ingredients trying to figure out how to add and hide vegetables.
unlimitedmom: Angela-have you added pureed vegetables to bread recipes to hide them but get the nutrition…I am concerned about ruining too many loaves and wasting my ingredients from troubleshooting.
Lindy: Has anyone here tried the Jessica Seinfeld tricks for getting veggies in? How would that work for this diet?
chris: her tricks are kinda cool i haven’t tried them yet though.
priscilla: i puree vegetables in the kids pizza sauce i make and they don’t even know it
Angela_Litzinger: Yes, I have added pureed veggies and fruits to loaves. That adds nutrition and moistness. I also add pureed veggies to turkey loaf and meatballs…
unlimitedmom: Angela…when you added pureed vegetables to breads…do you have to change anything in the recipe?
Angela_Litzinger: When you add a veggie puree, you should decrease the other liquids in the bread to compensate for the veggie’s moisture. If you use dried or freeze dried veggies pulsed into a powder, you may need to increase the liquid in the recipe.
nick: Is there a good alternative to milk that tastes similar to the real thing? My son hates soy milk with his cereal.
mac: try the vanilla soy milk for kids, it is like a treat
digger: what if he turns up his nose to it? like many kids he’s so fussy!!!
Flipper: Try rice milk or almond milk which also is made in chocolate & allergen free
zanderbear: Almond milk by ALMOND BREEZE comes flavored, Vanilla and Chocolate, my son loves it
ECSE: nick you could try rice milk it has a different flavor.
priscilla: nick try darifree from kirkman labs they have white and chocolate it is really good
cha: my son doesn’t care for soy milk either, however he will drink 8th continent brand
GerberBaby: Nick: Try VANCE FOODS potato milk it is delicious. Kind of starchy but taste is sweet.
Lindy: I have never heard of potato milk, interesting.
mac: Silk- fortified for kids is good. It is in a purple carton. My little boy asks for the purple milk all the time.
Flipper: Oh thats great stuff,the potato milk…yet I dont use it now since my child like many with autism have a yeast problem & I learned that potatoes feeds yeast
Angela_Litzinger: I like almond milk also.
DillysMom: almond milk sounds good, where do you get it?
izzy: My son drinks smoothies made from rice milk, fruits, carrots, orange juice and coconut oil (for good fats). I am able to get foods in him this way that he wouldn’t otherwise eat. The Vita-mix blender is a blessing. It purees a raspberries and flax seeds.
Flipper: In health food sections or stores…or request your store buy products you need
Angela_Litzinger: You can get almond milk at all the grocery stores in the natural food section.