First off, I feel more confident, just because we’ve all become more used to it.
(GF=Gluten Free. CF=Casein Free)
I’ve learned that GF for autism is different from GF for celiac disease. For celiac it’s necessary to be extremely vigilant and watch for even the most minute traces of gluten. For autism, we’ve found that miniscule amounts don’t really make much difference one way or the other. That teeny tiny bit of leeway makes it much easier to maintain our budget too. For instance I don’t have to buy the specialty GF cornflakes, I can but the regular ones which have some malt in them. Malt is usually derived from barley which contains some gluten. Regular cornflakes would be out of the question if we were battling Celiac, but with autism, regular cornflakes don’t appear to cause any reaction, at least in my kids. Like with all things though, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). I’ve also found that small amounts of soy sauce that contains wheat doesn’t seem to cause a reaction, I wonder if it’s because the soy sauce is brewed or fermented and that somehow the gluten properties are changed through the fermentation process. I have no proof or anything, just my own pondering. Since wheat-free soy sauce is cheap and widely available (Kroger Brand) I use wheat-free at home, but if we get fried rice out in public, then we don’t worry too much about where the soy sauce came from, because we know that tiny amounts won’t be any problem.
According to their labels, some foods are processed in factories that also process wheat or dairy products. There is a chance of cross contamination. For the most part, I don’t worry about cross contamination. I did once find a few milk chocolate chips in the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I simply removed them (they were a lighter color) and continued on with the rest. It wasn’t a problem. As long as the product I’m buying doesn’t contain any of the offending products in the ingredient list I trust the Lord when it comes to cross contamination. Non-Christians may find that difficult to understand, but it’s simply a normal part of the Christian lifestyle. Trust God with the stuff I can’t control, cause really He is in charge of all of it anyway. It’s a comforting way to look at the world.
We’ve developed a method for the kids to identify what they can and can’t eat, that’s pretty easy for them and I find it helpful too. We had trouble explaining to them that some foods they could eat in very small amounts and it would be still be okay, but other foods they shouldn’t eat at all, ever and then others were fine to eat in unlimited quantitites. We finally hit upon the Traffic Light: Red light, Yellow light and Green light.
Some foods are Green Light Foods. They can be eaten as much as desired and there is no need to worry about them. Fresh fruits, vegetables, Rice, Corn, Oats, plain meats, plain beans, soy milk, potatoes and others.
Some foods are Yellow Light. These can be eaten in small servings such as french fries from Fast Food stores (they often have small amounts of wheat added to them), Dark Chocolate (some has small amounts of milk and some do not. It’s not always convenient to read the label when out with friends, so choose dark chocolate, and you’re better off than eating milk chocolate.) Soy yogurt cultured with dairy based bacteria. Heavy Cream & Real Butter (they’re mostly fat, and fat doesn’t have any protein in it, thus no casein) And lots of others.
Finally are the Red Light Foods. These are not eaten at all, ever, except on Christmas. And even then, it’s okay to refuse them. Except if you must eat them, it can only be on Christmas. These foods include flour, cheese, milk, ice cream, and the regular offenders.
This method of identifying foods has been a huge blessing on us. Asperger’s kids like everything to be in tidy boxes in their thought processes. Giving the kids 3 boxes to mentally divide thier food choices into has helped them be able to eat in the world and to make their own choices at pot lucks and family gatherings and restaurants. AS a matter of fact, the whole Traffic Light concept has made them much easier to feed and empowered them to take more control over their own diets. I find myself using it too, for high calorie and low calorie foods. Being allowed yellow light foods, in small portions makes a diet much easier to customize. Some days we don’t eat any yellow light foods, and other days, entire meals may be made up of yellow light foods (like fast food meals out with friends)
Altogether I am very satisfied with this diet and plan to stay on it forever and ever until we’re dead. I admit to not following it as faithfully as my kids have, especially over Christmas (ugh!) but day in and day out we all eat the same foods and the stress level in our home has really diminished with these dietary changes.
I’m open for questions now. If anyone has any, please feel free to ask. I’ll answer them as best I can.
Oh, and one final note, thanks so much to everyone who is praying for my cousin Christina and special thanks for all the comments on her blog. I cannot even express my gratitude, it means so much that yall are so willing to offer your support, strength and hope. Hugs & Love all around.