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Why is Nutrition Important for Children on the Spectrum?

Diet is a crucial piece because their their digestive systems are delicate and extremely sensitive to foods such as gluten and casein.

What is the Brain-Gut Connection?

Everything we put in our bodies has a direct effect on how we feel, think and behave. Food can either be medicine or poison to our children. Think about when you drink a glass of wine. How do you feel? Are you relaxed, tipsy, etc.? This shows you that what you put in your Gut has a direct correlation in your Brain.

What happens when children on the spectrum eat food that contains gluten and casein?

For many it is drug addict going after their drubs. They become dependent and crave certain foods that gluten and casein. They will go after these food over and over and become limited on what they will eat. Does this sound familiar? The proteins in these foods leak through their gut (imagine "swiss cheese" holes in the gut) and cross the blood-brain barrier and attach to the same receptors as opiates. This gives us more insight to why we see the intensity around cetain foods are children are requesting.

Here are some items to consider for a diet:




Special Eats Simple, Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cooking
- Sueson Vess

Breaking the Vicious Cycle
-Elaine Gottschall

The Body Ecology Diet
-Donna Gates

Digestive Wellness for Children
-Elizabeth Lipski

Nourishing Hope for Autism
-Julie Matthews

What is Gluten and Casein?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. Casein is a protein found in dairy and other dairy like substances.

Shopping Tips

Every time you are in the produce section (fruits and vegetables) and the meat department, a majority of these items are gluten/casein free. When you are at your local health food store make sure to ask where their GF/CF sections are. There is even a frozen food section for GF/CF! It is recommended when you buy produce or meat to buy organic, if possible.

Note: When in doubt of a product being GF/CF, call the manufacturer.

Foods that contain Gluten

-Artificial Coloring

Grains the contain Gluten


Products containing Gluten

-Washing Detergents
-Personal Hygience Products
-Lip Balm

Foods that contain Casein

-Cow's Milk
-Goat's Milk
-Breast Milk
-Sour Cream
-Ice Cream
-Soy Cheese

Helpful Tip
There are many websites that offer GF/CF free products and will ship to your door. Here are a few websites to consider:


Frequently asked Questions?

I have tried GF/CF Free and I didn't see any improvements. Does this mean that my child doesn't need a special diet?

Did you do the diet 110%, without cheating? There can't be any infractions. Some doctors have suggested it can take up to 6-9 months to see improvements.

I saw some improvements, however, it didn't seem that much of an improvement. Should we continue the diet?

When you see any improvement in your children that is a good sign that you are on the right track! Our #1 goal for our children is to see them move forward and even the slightest improvement can be huge.

I have tried the diet and did it without any infractions and still saw nothing. What could this mean?

Sometimes you have to look for an additional culprit. What that means is that by keeping the foundation of the GF/CF Diet, look into removing additional foods such as potato, rice and corn.

I had my child tested for allergies and they did not come up with any allergies to gluten or casein. Should I still consider the diet?

Something to be aware of is that being sensitive is different from being allergic. Many of our children are hypersensitive and that by taking away sensitivities it can help them on their path to a healthier life.

Helpful Tip
Keeping a food diary is a very helpful way in discovering what your cyhild may be sensitive to and reacting to. Write down everything your child is eating and note not only their behaviors, but also include, bowel movements.

Enzymes and Diet

Nutrients can't be absorbed into the body and brain without enzymes. Enzymes are the workeds of the body and are necessary to help break down the food for proper absorption. So many of our children are enzyme deficient due to a multiple of things such as: processed foods, bad eating habits, viruses in the body, overgrowth of yeast in the body, and heavy metals in the body.

Here are some websites for enzymes:


Certified Gluten-Free

Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance

© 2009– Exercise Connection Corporation All Rights Reserved


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