It is a growing claim that GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet given to children with autism has shown positive results in their overall behavior. Though there has not been any conclusive evidence, most parents have seen definite improvements in social behavior, speech and disposition after the child was put on GFCF diet.
GFCF diet is a wheat-free diet. Gluten is present as protein in barley, wheat, rye, malt, semolina, soy sauce, certain vinegars, flavorings and artificial colors. Casein is present as protein in milk and other dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, whey and ice-cream.
According to certain studies in the US, foods with gluten and casein are not easily digested by children with autism on account of which their body produces substances that induces apathy and dullness in them. These substances significantly change the child’s behavioral patterns, responses, perceptions and reactions to a given environment.
In order to combat this behavioral disorder, you can start your child on a GFCF diet to find out if it will work. You should consult with your child’s doctor to get a specialized opinion before changing the diet. It is found that it will take from 4 to 6 months for your child’s body to be totally free of gluten and casein, before you start noticing the difference. While shopping for GFCF foods at supermarkets, read the list of ingredients carefully to ensure that they are what they claim to be.
Some GFCG foods are buckwheat flour, rice, potato, tapioca, corn, soy, quinoa, amaranth, fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs and beans.
Here are a few delicious GFCF soups & stew that your child will surely love.
GFCF baked potato and bacon soup
4 pounds potatoes, 6 bacon slices, 3 cups of chopped onions, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 6 cups of 1% low fat milk, ¾ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 cups of chicken broth (fat free & less sodium), 1 cup of shredded less-fat cheddar cheese, chopped parsley(optional)
Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Bake potatoes for an hour or till it turns tender. Mash it partially with the skin and set aside. Cook bacon over medium heat till it becomes crisp and then crumble. Add chopped onions to it and sauté for a few minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic and salt and sauté again. Add mashed potato, milk, pepper and chicken broth and boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cheese and serve.
Curried lamb and lentil soup
1 pound of lean leg of lamb, ½ cup onion & celery chopped, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 tbsp, curry powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/8 tsp red pepper powder, 2 cups of chicken broth (low-salt), ¾ cup lentils, 2 finely chopped tomatoes, 3 cups chopped spinach or collards, ½ cup chopped carrot, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped.
Remove fat from lamb and cut into 1 inch cubes and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan & sauté onion, garlic and celery for a couple of minutes. Mix in lamb and sauté until brown. Add curry, pepper, cumin powder and stir well. Add tomatoes, lentils and chicken broth and boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add spinach and carrots and simmer until lamb is tender. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
1 pound of mussels, cleaned, 1 pound whitefish fillet cut into large cubes, ½ cup minced onions, ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, 2 large finely diced tomatoes, ½ tsp salt & dried basil, ¼ tsp black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, ½ cup dry white wine & 2 tbsps chopped parsley.
Heat oil in a pan and cook onions & bell pepper for a 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients, except mussels & whitefish and simmer stirring for 5 minutes. Add whitefish and mussels on top and cook covered for 10 minutes. Gently shake the pan to stir without lifting the cover. Throw unopened shells and garnish with parsley. Serve hot.