Tuesday, December 23, 2008

GFCF - what does that really mean?

GFCF stands for Gluten-Free, Casein-Free. Most of you are saying, "Yeah but what does that stand for?" "What does it really mean?" Well gluten is found in just about everything - white/wheat bread and many places you wouldn't even think! Casein is the protein in milk - which is found in alot of food as well. This means no tortillas, bread, cookies, barley, rye, wheat... no milk, butter, yogurt, cheese or any food with milk ingredients. The laundry list of ingredients you need to watch out for is HUGE!

Recently my youngest sister was diagnosed with allergies to gluten and casein and it has been quite an adjustment for her. I drew her name for a Christmas present and so I set out to find her the best gluten-free casein-free cookbook to help make it easier on her. In my searching I stumbled upon something that sparked my interest... the title read:

"The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook - The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet"

Since my son had been diagnosed with ADHD and I was still searching for more answers, I started to do some research and found that there is a whole school of thought on food as medicine which can be traced back to Hippocrates! It has long been recognized that food can affect your health - for the good or bad. So, I forgot about my hunt for a cookbook for my sister and order it for me! (Don't worry, I did find her something else for Christmas!)

The cookbook was so much more than a cookbook, it is written by a pediatrician and nurse and they explained how they received very little training in medical school and if they hadn't seen the results with their own eyes by parents who tried the special diets, they wouldn't believe it was true. They go on to explain why it makes sense and thus the decision was made to give it a try... and I was completely overwhelmed... to the point of tears.

My sister helped get me some recipes to get started and told me to just start cleaning out the pantry/fridge and take it one step at a time. That was the easy part... the hard part is being prepared to make a healthy meal every night that my kids will eat. We decided to do this as a family, because we are all in it together! I have talked to the boys about how this could make a difference in their lives and they understand for the most part... until the craving for a quesadilla hits and they can't think of anything else to eat! Giving up the gluten is no big deal - there are so many suitable substitutes and so many fabulous mixes and recipes... the hard part is giving up the cheese!

We are gluten-free casein-free for 1.5 weeks now and I notice a difference in their behaviors, and so did my Mom. We are just going to stick with it for a few more weeks and then try introducing each on separately to see if there are any behavioral sensitivities.

I have learned that this would not be an "allergy" like you would think of a normal allergy, because those types of allergies have immediate responses and can be measured by the tested performed by a standard allergist. This is more of a "sensitivity" which causes problems 1-3 days after it is eaten, making it next to impossible to narrow down the problem! There are tests that can be done to determine if you have a sensitivity but they are not covered by insurance and honestly, just doing a trial removal diet is the best way to determine if there is a sensitivity to a food.

I have found several great blogs on gluten-free casein-free diet with tons of recipes and mothers just like me who are looking for answers to help their children with all kinds of issues from ADHD, to Aspergers, to Autism. The Lord just continues to bring the right resources into our lives as we need them and we continue to be grateful for his guidance and blessings.

Now it is Life with boys... gluten-free and casein-free... oh my!

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