GFCF Update

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.



Filed under GFCF, Health

41 responses to “GFCF Update

  1. We (I, really) went GF about a month ago. Hubby still eats cheese and sandwiches. At first, I was really obsessive about cross-contamination…then I relaxed when I realized that autistic sensitivities are different. I just keep the kitchen clean, read labels, and do my best.

    I also cut out dairy, except butter, about two weeks ago. The changes have not been as traumatizing as I thought. Knowing how to cook was a great help.


  2. Terrie

    Hello Miss Maggie,

    It’s nice to see you back. I’m glad to see you’re feeling better. I’m dealing with a little bronchitis myself.
    How has the diet been for your PCOS?


  3. Carole

    I have Celiac Disease so can’t have gluten but dairy doesn’t bother me. It’s interesting the different combinations of problems with food that people have.

  4. Hi there,
    I am more than happy to remember your cousin in my prayers and will send her loving, healing thoughts. My hubby had cancer surgery after a bleeding episode was shown to stem from colon cancer. So many people prayed for him, so many I’ll never meet or know their names. I pray for others now to spread the love and gratitude.

    In His Love,

  5. For us it isn’t so much cutting out dairy or gluten as general food additives like preservatives and colorings. However we have cut back on dairy and processed carbs and substituted more whole grains. This has made a big difference in my kids behavior and my PCOS. My hair’s actually getting thicker again. I’m also losing weight.

  6. Gil

    I’ve been curious about what symptoms you attribute to gluten and which to casein. Did you go GF first for a few weeks and then add the CF so you saw different benefits? I’m thinking about severely limiting gluten for myself.

  7. Margaret

    Hi Miss Maggie

    I just wanted to thank you for all the great information on your site. I don’t know if you remember me, I’ve posted before as Margaret from Alberta and I gave you the fish recipe from my mom. I’m also a total non-cook. I’m lucky that I don’t have to be GFCF but your recipes are so good that I don’t think I’d miss it if I tried the recipe “as is”.

    You inspired me to start eating better and I tackled my first batch of lentils a few weeks ago.
    I’m only cooking for me so I had to cut down the amounts but I used your recipe as my starting point and hoped for the best as I dumped it all in my mini-crockpot.

    If I do say so they turned out pretty darn good, I made curried lentils. I served the first part of it over rice, the second part rolled up in a tortilla and I still have a bit leftover to maybe thin out and make a small pot of soup.

    I’m keeping your cousin and everyone in your family in my prayers.

  8. Thank you for the gluten free recipes. We have just learned that my husband is sensitive to gluten as it causes his blood sugar to spike. He is a type 1 diabetic. We tried your cornbread recipe tonight, and it is fantastic. We had it with some veggie chili. Delicious and filling meal. I am going to try the brown rice muffins next. Hopefully, my husband will be able to eat them. Thanks again!

  9. Anonymous

    You mentioned the GFCF helped your PCOS symptoms, like hair loss. I’m curious how long had you been on the diet before you started to notice the changes in your symptom?

  10. I just wanted to say ‘hi’ from your far-away-cousin’s family! What is funny is that my friends used to always talk about your website and finally I said, “Hey, wait a minute – that’s Jon’s cousin!”
    You’re a pretty cool mama and I often fondly remember the short time we spent together with you and your little baby, who is all grown up now!

  11. anne

    Are cornflakes gluten free or are they processed on the same line as other cereals . i am celiac so have to eat gluten free.

  12. Living in London

    Corn flakes aren’t gluten free unless you buy the GF ones which cost more (of course). Corn flakes have malt in them, from barley, so it is a no-no for celiacs.

    Just wanted to let everyone know that Marth Stewart Living ran an article in the April issue on gluten free stuff. The cake doesn’t look like anything special, but she also has a recipe for polenta-based french toast that looks worth the effort.

    Also, if anyone is ever in London, Planet Organic is a cafe/ grocer’s that sells GF stuff, but they have fresh baked GF cakes, and their polenta-strawberry slice is yummy. I buy several and make it my lunch (cringe).

  13. Your blog provides a fresh look at the subject. You might want to take a look at my blog and possibly become a regular reader.

    Free Samples. Updated with a complete new list of Free Stuff every 24 hours.

  14. Katrina

    I hope you and yours are doing well! I miss your blog posts!

    Take care!

  15. CINDY W


  16. Alison

    Love the traffic light analogy, will have to copy that one for my dairy-intolerant son. Thank you.

  17. I tried to go gluten-free once, and after about 3 months I had a terrible hormone imbalance. I would not stop bleeding for weeks. So after doing some research I learned that the gluten in white flour has anti-estrogenic properties that attach themselves to excess estrogen and remove it from the body. So I had to revoke, and take at least 2 small servings of glutenous carbs per day. I guess some people need that diet for some reason, but it hurt me. I can tell that if I eat enough raw fruit and vegetables I still lose weight when I eat a little gluten daily. I guess I don’t believe in any faddish diets, unless someone has a food allergy or some health problem like diabetes or something.
    You said something about autism, does a gluten-free diet help improve that?

  18. I forgot to mention, for people who have a gluten intolerance for some reason there is also a list of other foods that are anti-estrogenic. Pineapple, corn, the list is actually quite long. I’m sure that for people who really have a severe medical problem that is relieved through abstaining from gluten they will want to know of the anti-estrogenic alternatives as well.

  19. Laurie

    Firstly I hope this note finds you & your family well and happy.

    ??: What about “wheat meat” ? I’ve found vital wheat gluten that is 90% protein.

    I realize of course it by its very name is “wheat gluten”

    Does this mean that despite the 90% protein, that it can not be used ?

    I was hoping to use it as a chicken/beef substitute to cut down on food cost here.

  20. Anonymous

    Come Baaaaaaaack!

    (Um. I mean….)

    Miss you and hope all is well.

  21. Kathleen Walling

    I am SO EXCITED to read what is in store on your website in September! You have been SORELY missed…faithful little old me – and I know I am not the only one – has been checking for updates since FEB 19th!! :0) YAY!

  22. I am so excited. I sure like reading your stuff. You are the woman who taught me to be frugal and it has helped me so much when it was “do or die” time.

  23. Billie

    YAAAYY! Count me among those who’ve been checking for updates since February…(although admittedly less often recently…I had almost given up). I was disappointed that you might have disappeared into cyber land and am so glad you’re coming back! I don’t like what the old HH site has become and miss YOU.

  24. Me

    Amen to what Billie said. I don’t like the old site at all and I miss your words of wisdom.

  25. Hi, Miss Maggie.

    I MISS you! I tried emailing you, but your email came back undelivered. 😦

    email me sometime, if you want. hope everything is going well. 🙂

  26. Nicole

    I feel like you should know that your site has been such an amazing blessing for me and my family. I only recently discovered that I cannot tolerate Gluten in my diet and have strived to change as much as I can to GF, but the hardest thing has been thinking of things to cook (and I have to cook three meals a day every day) and I’m not that creative of a cook, so your site has been a God-send. Thank you for all of the hard work you have put forth to help those of us who have to live G-Free. I can’t wait to try your recipes and create menus and actually know what to buy within my budget, since GF products don’t always fit into modest budgets. God is using you and your site and it has greatly benefited my family.

    Thanks again, and sorry for the long comment,

  27. Miss Terrie

    Hello Miss Maggie,
    I started a blog and I put a link for Frugal Abundance. I hope you don’t mind. You have helped so many, I hope that you will be a blessing to more.


  28. Serena

    Thank you so much for your site and insight. We’re GF too though not CF and I’ve gone through similar issues as you have. I bookmarked your recipes though and I’m setting some rice to soak tonight.

    I thought I’d share this wonderful GF flatbread recipe with you, since I noticed you didnt have one. I’ve gotten so many recipes from your sites over the years that I feel like I owe it to you. Heres the link:

    Do follow the links by the OP in the comments, there are some improvements on the recipe made there.

    Thank you and God bless!

  29. I should have been checking here far more diligently.

    A middle son is about as textbook ADHD as one can get and we won’t take the meds route. We are starting to really delve into possible triggers for him, and really, just overall healthy eating for everyone in the family.

    First stop — Checking gluten as a trigger for him. I have the items for the GF flour blend but I’m a little confused (ok, a lot confused) as to using it. We are a bake and cook from scratch and eat more natural family. I don’t however have xanthan gum or guar gum or have a clue where to find it here.

    Our biggest need would be baking breads. We don’t buy storebought. Can you help me sort everything out with this and direct me to get started?


  30. Kara

    can’t wait to have you back, Miss Maggie!!!

    I miss your words of wisdom and humour…

  31. Amy L

    SOOO excited you will be back!!!!!You have inspired me for a while now. I also have PCOS and I also have to eat frugally and healthy.. 🙂 You seriously do not know how excited I was to see that update!!! Now hurry up September!!!!!!!

  32. Alexis

    Thank you for your website! Your recipes and journey towards a frugal GFCF diet is encouraging! I need some baking help! Whenever I make GFCF pancakes or waffles, the batter turns out thick and the center never cooks! What am I doing wrong? I tried your plain pancakes recipe and had this same problem. I added more liquid to no avail. Do you have any tips that might help? It would be very much appreciated. Thank you! God bless!

  33. Christina Heald

    Just a note to all your readers–Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I really couldn’t have made it this far without them. It has not gone unnoticed and I am humbled and so deeply grateful for all the love. Mags, I love you. Write me–I’d love to hear from you or at least make me a regular pit stop out here in the blogosphere. I really want to stay in touch! Love to you all,

  34. Chris, Such a delight to see you, love your pic, especially your expression, defiant, strong, beautiful, Xena Warrior Princess-esque. I’m glad the readers could be a help. I wish I could have done more myself, but didn’t know what to do, but pray and send my love. I’ll try and write soon, but I am slow about correspondence, even about my blogging. I too want to stay in touch though, so I will try to overcome my weakness in this area. So much love for you Chris, you are truly a joy and an inspiration. Hugs & Love–M 🙂

  35. Christina Heald

    Did you ever see my bald picture? Took me forever to work up the courage to post that one. Alright–I’m setting the record straight–you were always Xena Warrior Princess–I was always SheRa Princess of Power–Most Powerful Woman in the Universe! I have the license plate to prove it! With all this combined power–why can’t we cure our ailments? I tend to be slow at responding also–at least I was in the beginning and actually will go back through all my comments and write personal emails to those that have been kind enough to send well-wishes. I’m nowhere through the entire list, and have vowed that because I love to get comments, I will take a minute or two and respond immediately. Gotta tell ya, I know you have been doing this blogging thing for a long time and I am just a newbie compared to you, but will agree that it is addicting and I love it and live for stats and comments! I’m sure you can teach me a few neat tricks and help me out on some things that really bug me about the program. I’ve set up a static page with a blog rating as of today–if you’re looking for recent posts–look in the sidebar. Trying to figure out how to do a few things before they become published. Love you tons, SheRa

  36. J in VA

    I just recently re-discovered your blog.

    I would like to caution you (and maybe you’ve already dealt with this–if so, sorry)–I would be very cautious about soy, especially for boys. I recently learned more than I ever wanted to know about how soy is processed and soy milk and foods are made. Soy foods and TSP, etc are made from a soy leftover after soy oils are extracted. Many, many chemicals are used: even in the organic, non-GMO soy.

    If you want to learn more, check out the Weston A Price website.

    glad to have you back,
    J in VA

  37. Thanks J. I love weston A. Price’s stuff, he really did some ground breaking work.

  38. Chris, er, ahem . . . SheRa, do you have a kitty cat named ghost? ROTFL. I always admired her way with animals. I haven’t seen the bald picture, but will look for it. I often feel more like Joxer than Xena, but still appreciate the comparison. I think I wanted to be Mighty Isis, do you remember her? She seemed glamorous and strong and she wore the best jewelry, plus she had dark hair lik mine. Ridiculous the things we remember huh? Love you right back babe. 🙂 M

  39. I just realized I am thinking of Jana of the Jungle instead of SheRa, SheRa was the friend of HeMan, Jana is the one who had a big cat named Ghost. (Home Simpson Doh!) Jana is the one who I wanted to be, well, her and Isis.

  40. I just stumbled across your blog and find it quite interesting. My 6-year old daughter was recently diagnosed with casein allergy, as well as soy allergy (among other pod vegetables – peanuts, peas, etc) She has very severe eczema which seems to be the go-to symptom of her food allergies and also has severe ADHD (as do my husband and I). I haven’t had the chance to read through everything, but just wanted to say thanks for putting your knowledge out there. It makes it much easier for those of us who are new to this subject. I will def. be following you! Keep up the good work, and may God continue to bless you and your family.

  41. Karen

    I found your blender rice pancake recipe a while ago and was very happy with it for our family. But haven’t been back for awhile. I was happily suprised this morning to see all the new GFCF recipes. We are working on our new food storage as I discovered 6 months ago that most of the stuff in our old storage was either glutened, caseined, corned or soy-ed, all things we have to avoid. I have had to rebuild on rice/lentils/sorhum/millet and potato milk. I look forward to happily going thru your recipes for things we can use….
    Thank you~

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