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Tips on going Gluten and Dairy free for behavior issues

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My plan is to go gluten and dairy free, for the whole family, starting in June. I still have to pitch it to my husband and figure out how I am going to afford it. I will really need to change the way I cook.


I am planning this because of dd's behavior problems and dh's health problems. His chiropractor thinks his back and muscle pain may be an allergic reaction to gluten, I already know he is sensitive to large amounts of dairy and tree nuts, cooked onions, whole grains and he has an anaphylactic reaction to Pepsi.


I am going to cut out a lot of sugar too, but I will not use fake sugars. I will use honey and occasional white sugar. I plan to eat a lot of Asian meals and I will get a few rice based breads for things like hamburgers and the occasional PBJ. We are planting a huge garden so I plan for us to eat a lot of dinner type salads.


My major questions...


I know wheat, oats, barley and rye are out. Can we still eat corn products?


What do I do for snacks? Easy snacks. I need a huge amount of snacks that I can keep in the cupboard or in the fridge and the kids can just grab them. Right now that is yogurt, cheese sticks, muffins, oatmeal bars, crackers... All things that will not be allowed once we switch over.


Right now I eat PB on whole grain toast and/or a yogurt based smoothie for breakfast. I need something quick in the mornings for myself.


Right now my son eats oatmeal every morning. He and I do not like eggs except the occasional hard boiled one, but we can't eat that every morning. What do I feed him? He needs a lot of food. He is only 11 yo and he is 3 inches taller than I am. If I keep things like oatmeal in the house for him it will be too tempting to just let the girls have it when they beg for it so please don't suggest different food for different people.


If you have had to make radical food changes please tell me how you did it and how you would do it again?


Any suggestions for meals and snacks would be appreciated.

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there are gluten free baking mixes and "flours" you can get- maybe you can make your own cookies and muffins for snacking?


My youngest son is allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts . When he was diagnosed it was SO hard for me. All my toddler foods were gone and it was a tough adjustment. We are doing ok now but we didn't have the challenge of gluten as well.


I know there's a lot of gluten free products out there - but they are probably expensive.

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We just discovered my son is wheat,dairy,corn and soy allergic (as well as having onion,tomato and nuts etc).


We are able to get a lot of rice based cereals in our local super market. There is a lot of good products..Nature's Choice, Pamela's Product's etc. Also Buckwheat flour is a good alternative to making pancakes.


We eat UTZ Potato chips because it is soy free. You will need to spend time reading labels but I have noticed that my two local supermarkets (competing stores) each carry their own line of "natural and gluten-free foods.


My son drinks Rice Dream products and I was also able to find him coconut milk ice cream.


Expect your food bill to go up as you try out new products. Some of the rice based flour foods aren't as tasty as others. I am hoping to have more time over the summer to learn to cook and bake my own items.

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Corn is okay if it's pure corn. I just saw Gluten Free Chex corn cereal in the store the other day. That's good because it means the mainstream food companies are starting on the gluten free stuff, and they are usually cheaper. Trader Joe's has a list of the things in their store that are gluten-free. They have a corn cereal like the old "Sugar Pops" when I was a kid, though not so sugary--Gorilla something or other.


I would think Whole Foods would have a list of their products as well.


The bread is bleck phooey gross and expensive as all get out. I have a broad palate and enjoy most foods, but I bought a loaf for like $5 and could not get one piece down. A friend who has celiac says she can eat some of it toasted. I think there are gluten-free corn tortillas that you can use for "bread."

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I know I could substitute with a bunch of specialty gluten/dairy- free stuff but I would rather stick to meals and snacks that are already gluten and dairy free by their nature.


Do you make any meals or snacks that don't need special breads and things? I guess I am looking for interesting ways to combine meat, fruits and veggies with some corn meal thrown in :D

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Here's a blog that might be helpful: Gluten Free Mommy


I haven't looked at it at length so if it's weird my apologies. :) I did a quick google for "naturally gluten free snacks" and it popped up. Hopefully you'll get some good ideas here as well.

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Be careful with Asian food. Most soy sauce has wheat in it.


My daughter has celiac, so she is gluten free. We do a lot of salads, meat, fresh fruits, and she eats yogurt. We also eat eggs. I do make gluten free bread, cake, rolls, cookies, etc. Most meals are gluten free at our house.

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There are 2 volumes of "Special Diets for Special Kids". They are pretty good. There are tons of free gluten/casein free cookies, crackers, and chips out there. Most are slightly more expensive but not much. Also where we live, if you can get a large enough group of people together to go to your grocery store and request gluten free products, they will start ordering in bulk. It cuts their costs and yours.


You really need to call the company of any mixes, sauces, or condiments you are using because they change the ingredients all the time. Also I would caution against using main stream products just because they say they are gluten free. Unless you call the company and verify that those products are processed in a gluten free facility, they are probably contaminated. Also there are quite a few children who react to gluten and casein, who will also react to corn and soy. There's no good well to tell until you've systematically eliminated it all and then tried adding it back in. HTH





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We had various health issues and did a huge food test--based on Rapp's book. I recommend testing everything first--and doing the food elimination diet test as the way to do it. When you see your kids' and husband's health improve without certain foods it also makes it easier to make the permanent change, despite the first challenges of the changeover. It is best to make sure dh is in agreement. That helped me considerably. He was 100% behind it. These allergies/intolerances usually do run in the family---one gets a stomach ache from milk, the other, congestion, the other, headaches, etc. Without knowing it, I have become liberated from a history of stomach aches. Who would have thought that I had had a problem all my life? It took till I had children and tested them that it became clear. But one thing I wanted to suggest....sodas have a lot of sulfites in them, and it makes me wonder whether your child might have an allergy to sulfites. These are in vinegar, wine, some seafood like shrimp, frozen potato products, dried fruits, etc. We discovered a family-wide sulfite allergy and now use only rice vinegar, eliminate most preserved foods, no soda....and no dried fruit with sulfites. I would check...just a thought.


As for foods, this is what we rely on for meals:




Rice flour or GF flour pancakes


Quinoa (you can sweeten it with brown sugar or honey, raisins, or vanilla rice milk...make it into a rice-type pudding) Incredibly healthy.


Frozen fruit mixed with vanilla rice milk (Trader Joe's is cheapest I think) into smoothie


Sprouted cinnamon & raison english muffins...Ezekiel bread. Okay, this may not be scientific, but for some reason sprouted grains don't give us the same problems as flour products. We can eat Ezekiel bread with no problems. And it is a WHOLE lot better than tapioca bread, rice bread, etc. No one hold me to it, but this is what we have found....anyone also find this to be true?


Trader Joes' gluten free cereal--granola type product, excellent! But most have would have to check


We eat a lot of almonds....


We use tapioca bread (tasteless alone, but....yum in this) and make a skier's french toast. Smart balance and brown sugar together in a saucepan till melted, then pour into casserole 9 by bread on top. Mix eggs and rice milk together as you would for oven french toast, in same quantities, then cook for 30 minutes at 350. Tasteless bread turns into delectable french toast!


My kids eat a LOT of frozen fruit, mixed with the kinds of grain cereals they can eat




Pre-made gluten free stuff is expensive. We have gone for a lot of different soups (love the Monastery Soups cookbook...very easy simple recipes, healthy and can do while home schooling.) I make a huge pot on Sat or Sun and then at least have 2-3 lunches without any work. Or make more of dinner and have leftovers for lunch.


Some really good rice pastas out there...Tinkyada is one.


Salads...a lot

For boys, I make extra batches of chicken the night before, and make caesar salad...


Veggie stir fry


My kids sometimes eat tortillas with no msg, natural cold cuts. This is my easy easy lunch! Although we do refrain from wheat, we have intolerance and not extreme occasionally the small amount of wheat in tortilla is acceptable


Easiest---lots of baked potatoes for those growing boys. You can top it with all sorts of things


Bean-type pot black beans and rice, Cuban sausage and chick peas, etc.


Leek potato soup...with rice milk, no dairy. I can't tell the difference




Sulfite-free dried fruit


fresh fruit


GF flour home made banana bread or zucchini bread, etc.


Nuts (I know many cannot eat nuts...)


Rice crackers, seaweed and other types


We do eat popcorn


Larabars (Trader Joe's prices are okay)--but perhaps nuts?


Rice Chex cereal mix....I make it almost like the recipe on the box. Skip the wheat and corn chex cereal. Use wheat-free tamari sauce and a little bit of rice vinegar instead of worcestershire sauce (since the latter has some wheat in it, I believe...or is it sulfites?)...all the rest in a pot. Mix and then bake as directed. There are some great wheat-free pretzels out can add these in, and any other types of snacks you can eat. This stuff goes fast in my house...




This is the easiest part. Lots of chinese stir-fry type dishes, using rice stick pasta or bean threads or rice.


Roasted chicken with roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.


Chicken fajitas with corn tortillas, guac, homemade salsa.... (trader Joes' has a pollo asado and carne asado in the non-frozen section that is excellent for this)


Lasagna with. . .. get this....!...rice lasagna pasta, soft tofu blended with some salt and 2 eggs to make a ricotta imitation, hamburger meat, tomato sauce and I sprinkle half the lasagna with real cheese (for some of the family) and half with soy cheese or rice cheese or leave plain.


So many others...


I find that it is easy to make GF and DF meals as long as you home cook. All Asian food usually complies. I find a lot of Cuban food complies. Hearty soups, fish, etc. Hardest is vegetarian, because it usually has cheese or some other yummy thing to add flavor....


I'd be happy to share recipes on how to make GF flour at home (costs less than store bought.) Also, if you want any other above recipes, let me know.


It starts out being very difficult....quite an adjustment for us! But it was worth it health-wise. We are eating better too. Much more wholesome food. It was a fantastic move.


Hope all goes well. We're rooting for you!

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To make a radical diet change, it takes determination, knowledge, and creativity. When my son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and my daughter and I were subsequently diagnosed with gluten-intolerance, we had no choice but to make an immediate and complete change.


Here is a document that I created for a friend last year who was wanting to start a GF diet--note this is GF and not GFCF. Please verify all items before buying because I haven't double-checked this year to make sure they are all still GF. Also, Rice Chex is GF, and all the other Chex cereals (except Wheat Chex ;)) will be going GF by June 1. We have started finding GF Honey Nut Chex on our Wal-Mart shelves.


I love Carol Fenster's cookbooks. I have Cooking Free, which includes egg, dairy, and yeast free recipes, as well as Wheat Free, and her newest one which is AWESOME, is 1000 Gluten Free Recipes. I use her biscuit recipe, pizza crust recipe (easy and yummy!), red beans and rice, cornbread, etc.


Eating gluten-free takes discipline at first--expect a frustration/depression period about 1 week into it. But, we eat much healthier now. Fresh meats, fresh fruits and veggies...little processed foods...bread, pancakes, cookies, cakes made from scratch. You get to control the amounts of sugar and butter, etc. You mentioned sugar--I love to bake with Demarara Cane Sugar instead of white sugar; you can find it at Wal-Mart, too. You learn what you want to cook from scratch to save money, and what you want to buy mixes for to save time, but it takes time. It takes time to learn how to quickly scan ingredient lists to see if you can have it or not. But now, I know what I buy and it is easy to shop. I buy Kraft Ranch dressing--not Hidden Valley. I buy McCormick Taco Seasoning. (That link is to a discussion on taco seasonings on a gluten-free forum that was invaluable in my research period.) I use GF Pantry's brownie and muffin mixes from Wal-Mart, cake mixes, and pasta (my favorites are Quinoa and tinkyada). We eat tacos with hard shells, or enchiladas (corn tortillas). The rest I make from scratch.


Anyway, it's late, so I hope that makes some sense.

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and I'd be happy to help. We were peanut free when we started, but we've gotten those back:001_smile:.


The key is to cook, cook more than you need, freeze and reheat. For breakfast my kids like waffles, pancakes and muffins. I cook a weeks several days supply of whatever I'm cooking. Waffles and pancakes go in the freezer, then toaster (or microwave). Muffins just store in a sealed container and heat in the microwave. I use a mixture of grains, my favorite mixture is 2 parts sorghum flour and 1 part corn starch. I substitutes in almost any recipe for regular white wheat flour.


Dairy if far easier to be without than gluten. You can take your choice of milk substitutes. We use Silk (my kids like very vanilla - very sweet!), there is also Pacific rice milk and Almond Breeze. There are others too, but all of those are both GF & CF. I also use Dairy Free which is a powdered potato based milk In margarine, Smart Balance light is dairy free, at the health food store you can get Hain Safflower oil margarine in sticks which I think is better for baking. The only thing that is hard is cheese. We use Follow Your Heart vegan gourmet for pizza and Tofutti slices for American, but they aren't the real thing.


As far as snacks, well, we don't snack, so I'm not good at recommending them. Fresh fruits and nuts, when we are hiking, I make granola type bars to take along with cereal, dried fruit and nuts usually held together with some molasses or honey based coating. I have a couple recipes.


I recommend the site They have extensive lists of what products are gluten and dairy free. I also used to be a member of the yahoo group gfcfrecipes and I have recipes for everything imaginable (no kidding!).


When you start out with a radical change, it is overwhelming. A year later, it seems like there is no other way to eat and it is no big deal. I hear people talk about how hard GFCF is all the time. Really the only thing that I missed was being able to go out to eat, that was hard. Otherwise, I just cook a lot. Once you are used to doing that, you really don't think too much about it.


Feel free to PM me with any questions and I can give you recipes for anything you need.

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...looking for more tips and we eat popcorn as a snack a lot, too. We have a dedicated kettle for it, just wipe it out afterward, I buy the corn in bulk, technically it's whole grain. Now if I would just regularly get the non-GMO corn more often!


I was just doing some web searching for premade gluten-free items and came out as the winner when I used; glutino is our fave overall brand for premade. Since we don't have a TJs near us, this is a good option.

But since you are trying to do the "regular meals thing", the only thing of any substance I really have to add to all these good posts is that I use a bit of Thai fish sauce instead of worcestershire sauce - worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it. The fish sauce I have is "Thai Kitchen" I think and says "Gluten Free" under the ingredients. That with a bit of Bragg's or wheat-free tamari and the dash of rice vinegar as someone posted above, make for a closer flavor imho. If you can get ahold of some tamarind paste, it is also in worcestershire sauce and will be useful in both thai cooking - pad thai - and any time you need to sub for worcestershire sauce.

I have also weaned my ds off of wheat somewhat gradually. I don't know how often that approach is used. I primarily did it so I could then gluten-challenge him again later and observe. I mixed up a batch of these pancakes:

starting with about a third cup of wheat flour replacing part of the rice flour and then a little less each batch. I use real sugar not an artificial as recommended. It also has buttermilk but you could substitute a powdered non-dairy milk - might have to increase acidity some other way to get the baking powder to do its job. So now my ds completely accepts these pancakes. He also accepts toast made from bread from a local GF bakery. They use "Tom Sawyer" flour and get a very good textured rice-tapioca loaf but still I prefer it toasted and so does he. the GF breads are fine for french toast and stuffing but, yeah, not so much for sandwich bread.

Also, what is general opinion about goat's milk? The casein in it is somewhat different. from Dr. Sear's site: " Goat's milk contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, alpha-S1, found in cow's milk"

I tolerate goat's milk and cheese fairly well - I'm GFCF now too - but because of the expense, I don't indulge in it too much. maybe I wouldn't tolerate as well if I tried to eat it every day?

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Goats milk still contains casein. It may not be quite the same allergen, but people who are gfcf for ASD normally do not eat it, nor does anyone truly allergic to milk. If you just have an intolerance, you might tolerate goat milk, but it is physically the same protein trigger that most of us are trying to avoid.

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There are 2 volumes of "Special Diets for Special Kids". HTH







Lots of people like this book, but for us, with multiple food issues, I find this one very difficult to use; I bought it and sold it.


Good books are:


The All Natural Allergy Cookbook by Jeanne Marie Martin. I still have to substitute, but it's much easier to work with.


The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook by Marjorie Hurt Jones


If This is Tuesday, it Must be Chicken is designed for people who wish to go on a rotary diet to avoid developing more allergies/sensitivities. It's by Natalie Golos & Frances Golos Golbitz.


Special Diets Solutions by Carol Fenster is popular; I find most of the recipes too complicated for our specific needs, but it has some very helpful recipes for making nutmilks, rice milk, etc.


I avoid gluten free baking flours because they are mixes, and the Bob's Red Mills ones have beans. HOWEVER, Bob's Red Mill does have stone mills dedicated solely to grinding gluten free grains into flours.


We buy our gluten free grains & flours in bulk and save a great deal of money this way.


One key thing to bear in mind is that it's far easier to learn to like things if you don't try to make it just like gluten containing products. No rice bread is going to be just like wheat bread. My dc used to eat soy yogurt (when we were only gf/cf and hadn't had ELISA testing yet) but they'd had a long break from dairy yogurt so weren't comparing the one with the other.


Another helpful product is arrowroot powder, which can be bought in bulk (at least in 1 pound bags). My dc finally got tired of buckwheat pancakes made with only buckwheat flour. I used 3 cups of buckwheat flour, so I dropped 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour, put in 1/2 cup of arrowroot, and, voila, they loved them again. In your case, you may wish to start out like that. Many use tapioca flour, but we find it very binding.


Gluten free grains:




Gluten free grain-like things:

amaranth (an acquired taste, usually better mixed)

quinoa (if the saporin is washed off it tastes better, but another acquired taste)

buckwheat (is a fruit in the same family as rhubarb, and the name is very misleading)

sorghum (we tried this but didn't develop a taste for it)




If you're avoiding dairy for behavioural issues, you'll want to avoid anything with casein in it, which includes soy cheeses, and I think also rice cheeses. It can also be in other things. It's the milk protein that is linked with behavioral issues, not the lactose.


I'm supposed to be starting a board break today for a week or so due to commitments IRL, but will be checking all my subscribed threads only if you have any questions--I saw this on the main forum page when I was going to make my break announcement and thought I'd pop in on this one. Feel free to PM me with further questions.



ETA I hadn't realized this is the SM forum--many won't know me anymore, but I used to go on the SN board on the old boards. I have a ds with low muscle tone who was delayed in reading (but finally really took off this year--it turned out to be a visual developmental delay combined with far sightedness & a weaker eye) and a dd with many dietary needs that used to cause a lot of behavioural issues.

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