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How to Implement a Gluten Free Casein Free Diet at Home: A Mother's Experience Some of the recent studies made

on autistic children suggest the autistic kids do not have the proper enzymes to digest gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats) and casein (a protein found in milk). The brain perceives the gluten and casein that are not digested properly as a substance that has a drugged effect on the brain. If these substances were removed from the diet, slowly the effect of casein and gluten would go and the child would awaken to its environment, responding to activities around him or her. I had read some of the success stories. I thought about it for quite some time and as the argument sounded quite convincing I decided to put my fouryear-old son on a Gluten-free Casein-free (GFCF) diet this July. Planning the diet was a big challenge, I had been loading him with gluten and casein from morning to night- milk, bread, chapati, cheese, curd, biscuit, ice-cream, etc all this time. Stopping all this basic food sounded like a big challenge. In the first week, it seemed like a very tough decision as a lot of my time was taken in locating and perfecting recipes to my son's taste. Initially the reported effects may be negative. As soon as we stopped gluten and casein in our son's diet he became quite dull and craved for those foods. Experience would suggest that these are good signs and precursors of a positive response. These symptoms indicate that the child was addicted to those substances and now shows withdrawal symptoms. My son has been going to a play school for one year but did not sit in class and did not learn anything much there. I used to teach him at home one to one. But after about a week on GFCF diet he became very active and his speech became louder and clearer. His eye contact improved. The diet helped him to give a better response, as he did not remain lost in his own world. His response to the ABA teaching program improved very much. In school he started sitting in class, responding to the teacher and participated in the class activities. He no longer shunned the company of children and teachers. After about three weeks of the diet his teachers had good things to say about him. Much of my time goes in planning for his diet. Replacing dairy milk with soymilk was the first diet replacement. We could trace only one company in Delhi making soymilk. However, it was strongly flavoured and contained preservatives so we decided to make our own. With our homemade soymilk we made curd, paneer, custard and also ice cream. At first one may not like the taste of soymilk, but young children soon develop the taste for it. I have thought of replacements for most of the things our son misses. I use flours other than wheat to prepare chapati. Planning beforehand helps because kids remain hungry all the time and give no time to prepare. As kids remain hungry they are willing to try new things which they earlier would refuse. I keep a batter of dosa ready and bake a GFCF cake every week. Fruits and salads are also handy. Actually if you see this as a more healthy diet, we can all of us switch to it, particularly the elders in the family.

The problem of eating out with our son, once he started on the GFCF diet got resolved easily once we realized that almost all south Indian foods are GFCF as they are based on rice and dals. In a north Indian restaurant he could have rice, vegetables and pulses. All can enjoy having orange bar with him after dinner. If we go for parties we try giving him rice, dals and vegetables and if he insists on chapati we carry some GFCF chapatis with us. Carry fruits on outings. At a fast food joint the choice may be limited to just fries and soft drink for the kid. Many parents say that their kids dig into other children's tiffins at school. While they try and find ways to control this they can continue their diet therapy at home. For an older child the diet could be explained to him. The diet should be tried for at least three months for some visible change. The results of the undigested casein and gluten take about eight months to be flushed out of the system. When the child is ill and at other times too parents tend to get disheartened and may want to discontinue the GFC diet. But if they can stick to it they would soon realise that the children do better with it. If you want to start your child on a GFCF diet then do not give any dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, paneer, curd, ice cream, chocolate or any food items that contain these. Do not give biscuits, bread, cakes, atta, maida, suji, dalia and any food items that contain these. You would be surprised to know that much of our Indian foods are GFCF. Our namkeens are all besan based with chirwa, peanuts, chana etc. These can replace the biscuits our children snack on. As already mentioned, soybean can be used to make a nutritious milk that is quite close to dairy milk. Curd, paneer, custard etc can be made from it. Wheat flour also has to be replaced by other flours like soyabean, chana, makka, jwar, bajra, kutu, singara, etc. You could also try to make a combination of them. Cakes can be baked using a mixture of rice flour, soybean, chana and corn flour. While removing dairy products from the diet we must make sure the child gets sufficient calcium from other sources. Rich sources of calcium are ragi, chana, rajma, moth, lotus stem, almonds, gur, figs, cherries, currants, dates, watermelon seeds, cumin seeds. Multivitamins and Calcium supplements could also be given if the doctor advises. Foods you can give include all fruits, all vegetables, all dals and pulses, all nuts, ghee and all oils (ghee has only fat the casein of milk has been removed so it is safe), egg and fish and meats, rice and most cereals (excluding wheat, oats, rye, barley). Some suggestions for a GFCF diet for mealtimes are: --For breakfast: Soya milk, Juice, Chirwa, Potato fries, Saboodana, Dosa, Idli, Cheela ,Fruitso For lunch/ dinner: Soups without milk, Chapati made from GFCF flour, dal, whole pulses, vegetable, curd from soya milk, rice, khichri, fried rice with

vegetables --For snacks: potato chips, banana chips, popcorn, cake and biscuits made from nonwheat flours (cocoa can be used in cake and biscuit recipes), fruits, vegetable cutlets, vada, pakori, murmura, rice noodles. --For sweets: besan ladoo, boondi ladoo, petha, coconut barfi, other non-wheat and non-milk sweets, ice lollies , jellies, peppermint polo, sweet candies. --For juices: all juices, cold drinks (watch out for the sugar content in them, as some kids tend to get hyperactive.) Kelloggs products that do not have wheat can be used. These are fortified with calcium and iron. GFCF Recipes Soya milk Roast Soya bean at 800 C for 20 minutes Soak them for 8 hours. Grind into a paste Add 5 parts water and boil. Then sieve it through a fine cloth. Add water to make it of the consistency of milk. Refrigerate. Add sugar or any flavoring for taste. GFCF flour Suitable for roti or try any other combination 1 parts soya bean 1 parts chana 3 part jwar Cake Replace butter with1 part oil and1 part ghee Replace maida with1 part rice flour, 1 part GFCF flour 1 part corn flour Replace sugar with Brown sugar or gur (complex sugars are better than simple sugars) Follow usual cake recipe. Eggless cake (Egg can be given in GFCF diet, but if someone is a pure vegetarian or is allergic to egg they can try this) Replace every 2 eggs with 1 teaspoon baking powder and any liquid such as soya milk, juice or water, to make the right consistency. Biscuits Use the cake ingredients and follow any biscuit recipe. Bread Bread can be made the same way as the pizza base.Without gluten the bread may not be as soft. We can try using a solution of gondh which is a kind of edible gum

available in the market. Ingredients 2 cups white rice flour 2 cups soya flour / chickpea flour 1/4 cup sugar 4 tsp xanthan gum or gondh 1 tsp salt 4 tbsp oil 1 cup water 1 tsp cider vinegar cup warm water mixed with 2tsp sugar 4 tsp dried yeast 3 eggs Method Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the yeast to the sugar water and let stand to 'proof' for about 15 mins (or less). Mix oil, vinegar and 1 cup of water, then beat in the eggs. Add the oil mixture and then the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and beat. If necessary add a little more water. Beat preferably in a heavyduty mixer; if not beat by hand. The softer the dough the softer the bread! Form the dough into whatever you want (rolls, pizza base or bread). Grease the loaf tin and put the dough into it and keep it in a warm place until risen. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown. In my oven the bread took about 50 mins. You will have to experiment with your own oven. Makes an excellent Pizza base also. Pizza Make the pizza base from the GFCF flour, rice flour and corn flour. Mix yeast with the flour and let the dough rise for 3-4 hours in a warm place. Use paneer made from soya milk instead of cheese. Chocolate Soynut Cookies Ingredients 3 cups light brown sugar 2 cups vegetable oil 4 large eggs 4 cups all purpose GFCF flour 1 tsp salt 2 tsp baking soda 2 tbs soymilk 2 tsp vanilla 2 cups roasted soynuts(soaked and then roasted),chopped 2 tbs cocoa powder Method Preheat oven to 375o F. Beat oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in baking soda, salt, all purpose flour and cocoa gradually along with soymilk and vanilla. Stir in soynuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute and remove to wire rack to cool.