Update on Status of My Family’s Diet & GFCF Bread, again

First the bread, I am trying a new recipe, will share results later today or tomorrow. The recipe is from Gluten Free [Cooking School].  It uses a flour mixture made with masa harina (a type of cornmeal) plus soy flour, cornstarch and brown rice flour, all relatively cheap in my neck of the woods. Once again, I have high hopes for it. It’s rising right now, and I’m anxious to try it.

Next, we have been on our Gluten-Free, Casein-Free (GFCF) diet for almost a week now. These are our results.

Maggie (Mom)

  • Fewer headaches, down to once a week instead of daily. Haven’t had a migraine since starting GFCF.
  • Much, MUCH more energy. I think I had chronic fatigue, but never bothered to get it diagnosed because, well, my schedule allows for daily naps when necessary. Since starting diet I am sleeping 5 to 6 hours a night, waking naturally, and taking a nap in the afternoons. I feel more energetic, more vital, than I have in a while. This extra energy alone is worth the dietary change.
  • Haven’t gained any weight. I’ve been eating sugar and starches, and haven’t gained a single pound. Not sure why. I hope it means that weight-loss will be easier in the long run.
  • No tummy troubles. Zero indigestion, zero heartburn, zero bloating, zero gas.
  • A very painful rash I used to get on my hands, made up of tiny blisters that both itched and ached, has cleared up. When it used to bother me really bad, I noticed that Benadryl (an allergy medicine) would give me some relief. Doctors have told me it’s eczema, due to stress. I never agreed with that diagnosis, but did pray often for the Lord to reduce my stress level (What stress level? I have to ask) so the bumps would go away. Certain dishwashing liquids helped, but nothing alleviated it completely. Today, it is almost all gone. Amazing!
  • I feel happy. It’s a simple thing, but very satisfying.

Tommy (Asperger’s Syndrome).

 Describes himself as . . .

  • Feeling more energetic
  • Focusing energy is easier
  • Having higher self-esteem
  • Being more self-confident in public
  • It’s easier to concentrate

 Mom notices . . .

  • Much more patience
  • Kinder
  • Much more talkative
  • Friendlier
  • More social with family members and at church
  • Thinking more clearly and quickly too
  • Lighter spirit, not so heavy and serious, more open
  • Less repetitive behavior
  • Happier. Definitely happier

Jamie (ADHD)

  • No changes what so ever. None. Zippo, finito, nada.

So, I have talked with Fred (who admits to seeing some changes, but not as many as I do) and to my Mom (who sees the same changes I do and others besides) and the boys. We have decided to be a GFCF family. Outside of the house if Jamie wants to eat “regular” food then that’s fine. In the house though I’m keeping everything and everyone on the same diet. Tom is very happy about the changes he feels and wants to continue the diet. He explains it like this “I’m autistic, so I have to eat a special diet. No gluten. No dairy.” This is the very first time he has actually said the words “I’m autisitc.” So that in and of itself is HUGE progress. It’s sort of like he’s blooming. Slow and steady, a little more every day.

In all honesty I really thought that the GFCF diet for autism was probably a bunch of wishful thinking on the part of the parents. It seemed like “New Age Mumbo Jumbo” to me. Before “resorting” to the diet we tried several different meds, none of them worked and some made things worse. We tried psychiatrists, psychologists, and a handful of doctors. I took him out of public school, in part because I could see that it was nearly killing him to go there everday. I saw how much he was hurting. We also have religious beliefs that made us take the boys from public school and teach them at home, but a big part was that the school could not treat Asperger’s Syndrome with any effectiveness. If anything their so called “treatment” made it worse.

I’d heard about a GFCF diet helping kids with autism for a few years. I read things online, but never really researched it in any depth. In fact I think I ignored and even avoided any information on it because I thought it was pointless. I was also terribly reluctant to even think about changing our diet. It would be too expensive, it would be too hard, too limiting, too different.

Finally I reasoned that if there was anything to the diet, that my kids at least deserved a shot at it. Praise God I finally did it. I think He had a lot to do with guiding me in this direction. So we tried it and I am now a True Believer. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about this diet. It really does make a difference, and I’m seeing that for us (a family who cooks most things from scratch) the changes in our diet are pretty minor. I have to switch some of my formulas for baking. I have to use cornstarch for thickening instead of flour. I have to use non-dairy products instead of dairy. For the most part though, I’m still cooking normal food. Our grocery bill will go up. I can see that. But I will simply do what I do best, and that is learn cheaper ways to create the stuff we want to eat. I mean, God gave me that skill for a reason, so I might as well use it.

So, I will be making a few changes to my website (Frugal Abundance) as I sort out this GFCF thing. I will update recipes. Add more recipes. Maybe even write new articles.

We are now a GFCF family, and we will be here on out.



Filed under Budget, GFCF, PCOS

35 responses to “Update on Status of My Family’s Diet & GFCF Bread, again

  1. Yay, I get to be the first to comment?

    All I can say is, God bless you for being so sensitive to his leading. I will keep praying for the same clear direction for our family, whatever that might be.

    And I will look forward very much to seeing the additions to your site and hearing what happens for you all.

  2. Thank-you Mama Squirrel. I find myself feeling obtuse and thick-headed for resisting His leading for so long. Makes me laugh to read your perspective and makes me more gentle on myself too.

    I’m praying for you and your family, for clear direction, one way or the other. I prayed that God show me exactly what I should do and make it clear to me, to my sons, my husband and my folks. Everyone who will be directly affected by the dietary changes. I did not want to have to fight anyone over it. I just wanted God to pour the soothing oil of His Grace over the entire situation so it could be as painless as possible. I’m willing to obey His direction, I just need to know what it is.

  3. Erika

    Wonderful to read…I am so glad you are having success. Maggie, my 15 year old son also has Asperger’s. The real change in him came in about 5th-6th grade age, when he said, like Tommy, “I am autistic.” When Jacob acknowledged that yes, he is different, and that God Himself made him the way he is, for His purposes…it opened up his life in ways I could NEVER have predicted or even really hoped for. “Blooming,” as you say…praise God you are experiencing this with your son!

  4. I found my eczema is worse with dairy products, so it may be right about the rash. The only time I get it now on an almost dairy free diet is when I get heavily stressed, or when the weather season changes (like now). The docs say stress, but it comes in many forms. Just worrying about your sons is stress, our bodies are strange things indeed.
    Loving these updates!

  5. Congrats! Our family has seen an amazing change in our son since implementing the diet, and I am so happy to see other parents try it, too! I wish more people would give it a shot, at the very least…

  6. I’m so excited for you that you and your son have seen so much improvement in just a few days! I can’t wait to hear how the bread turns out (and my feelings won’t be hurt if they don’t like it) and how the next week goes. You sound like a brave mama, who, with the grace of God, will have this GF thing down in no time.

  7. I thought I’d check in to see how the diet was going, and it sounds like it is great! I look forward to watching your blog for recipes. My grocery bill skyrocketed when we went GFCF (of course, part of that is because my kids also can’t tolerate much corn and no soy at all unless it is fermented), but cooking from scratch and buying in bulk has reduced it greatly. However, I can tell there is a lot I can learn from you. May I ask if you are using xanthan gum to get your bread to rise? I haven’t bought any yet. We just eat really short bread. 🙂

    Okay. Too much chatter on my part. All of this was really to say, congratulations on finding a solution for (most of) your family. 🙂

  8. This is amazing. I had never heard of this diet before a couple of months ago, and everywhere I hear about people that have tried this, I always hear great things. I have yet to hear someone go back and it not be a slip-up. And they always go right back.
    I suffer from migraines too, and I have had several people in the last month recommend GFCF to me.
    So glad you are having success with this!

  9. Me

    I’m happy for you!! A bit of a selfish moment here, will all of your FA recipes be converted or eliminated if not GFCF?

  10. keilis

    Hi, I recently discovered your blog (by searching for ‘Gluten-Free’) and have enjoyed reading it. I’m now on a GF diet, which I started out of a sheer desperation to feel better. In regards to the rash you had on your hands, I also had that same sort of rash before I went GF! Have you heard of Dermatitis Herpetiformis? It is celiac disease of the skin. The symptoms for it are just like what you described.

  11. lewella

    How often were you getting heartburn/indisgestion before you went GFCF? I ask because I get both on a daily basis and if this works for you, maybe I should consider it as well.

  12. Hi Mimi, nice to meet you. 🙂 I agree the results are amazing.

    Mary Frances, your blog is so inspiring. Thank-you for sharing it. Your bread turned out good too. The texture is the closest to wheat bread I’ve found yet. Will blog on it later, with pictures I hope.

    Brandy, yes we’re using Xanthan and it works very well. I know it’s expensive, but the little bag lasts a very long time, at least a year, even with frequent baking. BTW, dont’ worry about chatter, ;0 That’s what blogs are for. 🙂

    Me, I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the reconstruction. As I figure it out, I’ll let you know. I think I’ll keep the recipes already up in an archive of sorts. Something readily accessible, but on a different page.

    Lewella, I have never had a lot of trouble with indigestion exactly. I had rumblings in my tummy and now I don’t get rumblings any more. When I would go low-carb the rumblings would stop for the most part, and I think it had to do with wheat or gluten or something of that nature.

    Keilis, I’ve just today been reading about that rash, Dermatitis Herpetiformis. Fred says it’s my imagination that it’s the same thing and that I’m being a bit of a hypocondriac. I’m not sure if I agree with him or not. I thought he was a little bit of a hypocondriach before he was diagnosed with diabetes, and it turned out I was wrong. So it might be he’s wrong on this issue. I do know that Low-Carb usually cleared the rash up too, although not as quickly or as thoroughly. I’m still working this part out.

  13. Hi Jess, if the Lord is leading you, I feel it’s worth the plunge. My original intent was to try it for 2 weeks and then if necessary try it for an additional 2 weeks, before making up my mind. I think I was lucky to see the results I did so fast and so clearly. I think a trial run is worth it, there’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

  14. That is really awesome! You go Maggie!! I wish I tolerated soy better, because Mary’s bread is very good. I’ve had real problems with it lately, which is a shame since soy flour is so affordable!! I’ve been using rice alternatives a lot lately.

    I am so impressed with the amazing changes you’ve had in just a week! It took longer than that for me, although what you said about “I just feel happy” really struck a cord! I felt that way too, very soon after I started the diet!! I’m so glad you’ve has such a wonderful results with this!

    I hope to post the super yummy pizza recipe today!!

  15. lewella

    I look forward to the new additions to the site. I can’t honestly say I’ll be going GFCF but I like reading about the different recipes and might try a few of them.

  16. Melissa

    Oh, I forgot to mention how much I LOVE the photos!!! They are super and really add something special to the blog. -Melissa

  17. That is awesome, once we have some money in the budget, I want to try to do this as well. We are a big gluten family and I do want to cut it out but with an almost 0 budget for groceries, it means only buying cheapo stuff. I have 2 autistic children, one with an actual diagnosis and one that I diagnosed. I also have an add/adhd child. Again self diagnosis. We all could benefit from this I am sure.

  18. Also have you checked out this site? Kerryann is gluten free and she has a site about it. She has a ton of recipe’s

  19. christina

    im glad you found something that works for you and your family. and thankfully it requires no medication, just diet. i also looking forward to the recipes you have bc i am probably going to be diagnosed with celiac this summer. as i said before in another comment that 3 close family members have celiac. im only waiting to be tested until after i deliever this baby. you are giving me hope that changing my diet is not going to be as hard as i imagine. it is kind of intimidating and daunting. i love my gluten i guess. thank you for HOPE!!

  20. Judie

    Hello Maggie,

    I’ve been following your site and your recent challenge to change your diet to GFCF. I admire your determination and all the energy you put into making sure your family is well. May God bless you for that. I have a cook-book called “Whole Foods for the Whole Family” and found the following recipe which made me think of you so I wanted to share it with you in case you might be interested. The recipe is copied from the cook book and none of the wording or information contained in it is mine.

    Egg-Free, Wheat-Free, Milk-Free Mealt Loaf

    1 1/2 lbs ground beef
    1/4 to 1/2 c grated potato
    1/4 c chopped onion
    1/4 c grated carrot
    3/4 tsp (or less) salt
    Dash of pepper
    1/2 to 1 c tomato juice

    Optional :
    1 c peas
    1 c chopped carrots
    1 c chopped green beans
    1 c chopped celery
    1 c chopped green bell pepper

    Combine all meatloaf ingredients and mix well. Pack into loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. May substitute broth or gravy for tomato juice.

    You do not have to add the optional vegetables, but it is a good way for children to learn to enjoy them. Yield: 6 servings

    Approx Per Serving: Cal 279; Prot 26g; Carbo 7g; Fiber 1g; T Fat 16 g; 52% Calories from Fat; Chol 84 mg; Sod 477 mg.

  21. maria

    Dear Maggie, Hooray for you, your super family and new diet! Just a reminder to check out any Asian or Indo-Pak grocers you may find within driving distance or on the internet. Recipe sites aimed at the Asian and Indian communities are also a goldmine of recipes for wheat-free milk-free cooking. Asian and Indo-Pak grocers are nearly always far cheaper sources of bulk items like rice flour and soy products than your typical American healthfoods store and Indo-Pak grocers always have great staples like chickpea flour (called Besan, is very good for making fritters and savory goodies) and bags and bags of all kinds of ready-made crispy-spicy snack stuff made from chickpea flour. Indo-Pak grocers also carry rolled rice (called Poha, same idea as rolled oats, only made from polished steam-treated rice), which can be reconstituted and treated like fried rice or a rice salad. . Indo-Pak grocers also often carry Jowar or Juwar (sorghum) flour and Ragi or Bajra (millet) flours for making flatbreads similar to tortillas. If these grains suit your dietary needs there are many recipes for their use, even as porridge. Likewise, Asian markets carry a wide range of rice noodles very creaply priced. There are even (Chinese and Korean) noodles made from mung bean starch! These are slippery and gelatinous when cooked, a different noodle indeed but refreshing in the summertime served ice cold in salads or cold clear broth. If Buckwheat suits your diet, look to Japanese cuisine for help. They have used it for centuries and have devised all manner of uses for buckwheat groats and flour, both savory and sweet. I hope this helps, good luck to you – I admire your strength and sense of humor.

  22. maria

    I forgot – many buckwheat noodles sold in stores are not pure bickwheat, they add wheat flour for easier handling. If you like buckwheat noodles, it’s best to make then at home. Regards, Maria

  23. Praise the Lord Maggie! I am thrilled you found something that WORKS for your family and is doable long term, and I really look forward to reading up more on your progress and any new recipe adventures.

    I have food sensitivities to wheat, yeast, milk, and a few other things – not outright allergies but I definitely feel it when I overdo these items, so I am hoping I can incorporate some of these recipes you’re using into my family’s diet as well and see if it helps with my own conditions.

    Thank the Lord for all the resources he makes available to us for our benefit. That includes one another and wisdom to share 🙂

  24. Wow, Maggie. I am so happy for your family that a gfcf diet is helping. It is amazing isn’t it? I think you will bless a lot people with your frugal gfcf recipes. Eating well and frugally can be done without gluten or casein!

  25. BTW, I LOVE your new look! It’s still sweet and simple, but I totally dig the pop of color! Fresh and yet still a nice “throw-back” feel!!

  26. Liam

    I look forward to the new articles!

  27. I applaud you for being so active and trying to do what is best is for your family.
    So many news stories talk about families with autistic and adhd/add children but the families just seem to throw up their hands in despair and not do anything or are expecting a miracle drug to fix everything.
    I think what you are doing shows so much love and dedication to your family.
    Bless you!

  28. tuimeltje

    Hi Maggie, I just stumbled across your blog and am really enjoying all the food stuff. The things happening to your family because of this change are really exciting.
    While I don’t eat gluten-free and don’t have a pressing (health) reason to do so, I have occasionally considered simply trying avoiding wheat for a while to see if it’d make any kind of difference to me.
    Also, I really love frugality.

    Your blog made me think
    the blog of a friend of mine might be interesting to you. She has a really good blog with gluten-free vegan recipes. They’re not consciously casein-free, but automatically so since it’s all vegan.

    In another post you mentioned some fears about vegan cheese. Unfortunately, there are some really bad ones about, and you seem to have come across them already.
    So far I’ve only really liked the Redwood&co ones, but I’m not 100% sure they’re available in the U.S. yet. And I have to admit, the only other one I tried is a local one, Yakso, which was truly awful. I’ve heard some U.S. vegans rave about Teese(sp?) recently, but I don’t know if that’s gluten-free.

  29. Isn’t it nice to see the results so quickly? I originally tried gluten free for my own health issues and noticed a lot of benifits for my adhd daughter and my other daughter that had a lot of heartburn reflux issues.
    I found gluten free to be scary and expensive looking at first but once you have had time to play around with it the stress and money parts get a lot easier.

  30. Lynn

    The GF/CF Diet works wonders for many children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Aspergers, Autism, ADHD, etc.) and allergies, however, there is more recovery available through a complete biomedical approach. My two sons (initially moderate autism and asperger’s syndrome) are on a modified GF/CF/SF (soy-free) diet supplemented by GF/CF/SF specific enzymes and a multivitamin designed for children on the Autistic Spectrum. We also try to avoid refined sugar. My youngest son no longer qualifies for special education services due to his inprovement! My oldest son with Asperger’s is now virtually symptom-free and is very social! The LORD has guided me step-by-step through this process! Read the following books (They confirmed that I was indeed on the right track, as did the vast improvement in my children!):
    1)Children with Starving Brains by Jacqueline McCandliss, M.D.
    2)Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Kenneth Bock, M.D.
    3)Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions by Karen DeFelice

    My youngest son hit a plateu on the GF/CF Diet, until we added enzymes to handle the trace amounts found in some foods. We also found that enzymes that are formulated to replace the GF/CF/SF Diet can do just that (though there definitely are limits), which allowed us the freedom of having gluten and casein occasionally. My children’s moods (meltdowns, non-compliance, anxiety, sensory problems, etc.) almost disappeared after added a specialized ASD multivitamin to the mix! We use Super Nu-Thera (kirkmanlabs.com), Vita-Spectrum (klaire.com), and Vit-Min Spectrum powder (rhinebeckhealth.com). Amazing results! ASD children have such vitamin deficiencies due to leaky gut syndrome they can’t reach their full potential without special vitamins that address there weakest links (especially B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc). I hope that our success will encourage you and direct you to the resources that have changed our lives!

  31. Lynn

    Sorry about the typos! I was so excited to leave a comment that I didn’t proof my writing before I submitted it. My husband and I are about to hold our first workshop for our community concerning the success that we are experiencing. As soon as I finish writing all of the details of our “plan” for the workshop. I would be happy to email it to anyone that is interested.

  32. Laurie

    Hi Maggie, I was referred to your website from mothering.com as I am gluten free too. My only brief comment (since I’m new here and haven’t looked around yet) is about the rash on your hands.

    It is most likely pompholyx (also called dyshidrotic eczema or vesicular eczema of the hands). I have it too and while they say it’s caused by stress (some say abnormal sweating but that has been disproven) I’ve never been able to really identify a stress link. For me it just seems to come and go when it wants, lol. Here’s a site that has some pictures (warning: some are much more severe than others if you’re squeamish). http://dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/pompholyx.html

  33. Maggie,
    I’m a long time HH and FA reader. 🙂

    I am SO thrilled to see you are doing GFCF, because our grocery bill has been out of control since putting my son on this diet last year. But, he has so completely changed since being on it that we know that he will never go back to a traditional diet.

    This is my favorite GFCF bread recipe:

    Oh, and look for Smart Balance Vegan spread at your local warehouse stores. I buy a 5 lb tub of it at Costco for $6.50, and it’s fabulous margarine! It’s very similar to Earth Balance, but much less expensive. Make sure to get the “Vegan” type.

  34. Hi Rebecca. Nice to meet you. :-). I had no idea that Smart Balance made a Vegan Spread. That would be ideal! I’ll look for it at our Sam’s Club. The regular Smart Balance I can buy at Walmart contains casein, so it’s out. I’ve been using Fleishmann’s Unsalted Margarine for baking. It has a few transfats, which I know I should be avoiding, but it tastes so good and costs about $1.50 a pound, which is half the price of the next cheapest Vegan Margarine.

    Thanks for the link to a bread recipe. I’ve got a few of them I want to try. This past week we just haven’t eaten much bread. I want to make some though, just haven’t done it yet.

  35. Hi Laurie, yes, that’s exactly what I was getting. I’ve had a few dry patches of skin the past month, but no blisters, which is a blessing. Thanks for the link, I never would have known what it was otherwise. 🙂

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