The Autism File

Hidden problems
Kathy Gold


Living with a child on a gluten and casein free diet is not easy. Taking out the large problems, bread, cake, milk, yogurts and cheese can be daunting but pretty straight-forward. I was wary of substituting with lots of soya straightaway as many children are also allergic or sensitive to it. Once the big offenders are out of the diet it’s time to start reading the labels, all of them – even foods from the health food shop.

Not all gluten free foods are casein free and vice versa. It’s important to keep reading the labels as companies do change their ingredients. If you are buying any prepared food be vigilant. Most ‘low fat’ foods use some sort of starch to maintain the texture – so normal mayonnaise, eggs, oil, salt etc will be OK but not the reduced calorie variety. Anything containing modified starch is suspect although check with the company it could be from maize and therefore OK. Other things to avoid are rice syrup, caramel colouring, brown sugar and coconut cream. Check tinned tuna fish as some is cooked in milk. Maltodextrin can come from wheat. Herbs and spices can have wheat fillers and raisins in big tubs are out as they use flour to coat the sides of the canisters. Avoid foods with the following words on the labels: casein or caseinates, hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, whey, whey protein) lactoalbumin, lactose and lactulose. Especially check cold meats and hotdogs. The following ingredients may indicate the presence of wheat protein: gelatinised starch, hydrolysed vegetable protein, modified food starch, natural flavourings. For a really full list see www.gfcf diet.com or Lisa Lewis’s Book Special diets for Special Kids.

I can hear you all shouting ‘Help!’ I certainly was to start with and I’m still not sure that Daniel’s diet is clean. I do use soya milk for cooking or almond milk which I think has a nicer taste. There is a non-dairy ice cream called ‘Swedish Glace’ which comes in lots of flavours and can be found in some supermarkets and health food shops. You can cook with rice flour or I use a mix passed on to me by a friend of six parts rice flour, two parts potato flour and one part tapioca starch. This makes good fairy cakes but use 125g of it rather than 100g as it’s a very light mix. It also makes good pancakes.

My recent success was mini doughnuts thanks to a wonderful mini doughnut baking tray from Lakeland Plastics (tel. 015394 88100). You cook them in the oven. The recipe I used was 225g rice flour, 2 teaspoons of GF baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 175g caster sugar, 175ml of soya milk, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring. They made a nice change to biscuits and would be really good for a party.

We’ve just managed a birthday party this weekend, not something I usually relish, but this was a sympathetic friend and more to the point her little girl Alice (4 years old) understands that Daniel cannot eat some foods. Alice is the best policer of Daniel’s diet that I could hope for. I remembered the cake equivalent with icing and gfcf smarties (available as Whizzers) as I feel it’s very difficult to expect your child to watch other children eating birthday cake. If I don’t manage the cake my friends don’t get offended when we exit before the ‘happy birthday’. Boxes of food are also good at parties for isolating your child’s food.

My other recent finds have been a burger maker (again Lakeland Plastics). At long last burgers that look right and Kallos (from soya), a milk free alternative to soft cheese. Daniel ate it like a dip with cut up carrot. If your child likes meat try Scan Swedish meat balls which are available in some supermarkets.

It would be really good to put together a list of foods available as the lists on gfcf diet site are from the USA. If anyone would like to send me details of their finds we can publish them to help everyone manage this diet with more ease.

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In issue 2
Winter 1999 …
Jonathan Tommey reports
Our Diagnostic Testing for Billy
Fear of Flying
From Despair to Detox
Psionic Medicine
Testing, Testing,
1 - 2 - 3
Report from the 5th Annual Defeat Autism Now Conference
An Injection of Hope?
Diet and Nutrition
Gluten and Casein Free Recipes

Conference Report
Autism: An Allergic Disease?

Food for Thought
Autism File Letters
Secretin Test Results
The Son-Rise Program
Organisations and Contacts
Readers Page