Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in many cereal and bread grains such as oats, rye, barley, bulgur, durum, kamut and spelt and foods made from those grains. It is also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, artificial colors and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.
Some believe that the proteins break down into molecules similar to opium-like drugs. Children with autism usually have leaky gut or IBS. The child’s stomach and very permeable intestines have an inability to break down the proteins, thus, allowing the protein to leave the intestines and be absorbed into the bloodstream. The molecules of the proteins then travel to the brain giving the child a sort of high.
This sort of gut distress can cause array of symptoms, and your child may have only one symptom or could have several. Many autistic children have trouble communicating their symptoms or discomforts. Your child may feel miserable and display behaviors that are difficult to handle.
These symptoms are clearly associated with a gut problem. Such discomforts may include, but are not limited to, bloating, abdominal pain, headaches or sensory irritabilities. The majority of autistic children have poor food or non-food choices. They may also have a delay in language, motor and socialization skills as well as focus issues and difficulty sleeping.
You may notice the obvious symptoms like constipation, leaky gut, acid reflux and vomiting. Consider altering your child’s diet if he/she shows signs of any of these behaviors.
Many communities have health food stores or regular supermarkets that carry products that are gluten-free as well as websites and businesses online that sell GFCF foods and vitamins. Some of our favorite brands like Welch’s, Bush’s Baked Beans, Ore-Ida Golden Fries and many others are considered gluten-free and casein-free.
Foods that can be eaten on the GFCF diet include, but are not limited to, rice, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, potatoes, buckwheat flour, beans, vegetables and many others. There are also many cookbooks and recipes that can be found online or in stores for gluten and casein intolerance.
So, you can see how important it would be to remove gluten and casein from the child’s diet. By removing a source of constant distress parents are helping their children improve behaviors, focus, and even lowered distress.