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Casein- and Gluten-free diet


pamjsa
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My son has been struggling with Inattentive-Type ADHD for several years now. We've found a medication that works pretty well for him, but we've also learned that the meds can't fix everything--as his neurologist puts it, "The medication can only make it easier for you to focus on making the right choices." As he grows, though, it becomes necessary to take higher doses of the medication--and each change in dosage has unpleasant side effects (loss of appetite, profound insomnia, etc.) The meds have made a huge difference in his life, so discontinuing them altogether isn't an option; at the moment I'm trying to explore other avenues that might allow us to adjust the meds less often.

Recently I've been reading a lot about the role of a casein-free and gluten-free diet in helping kids with autism and austism spectrum disorders, like ADHD. There's some disagreement within the medical community as to whether or not this diet does any good, but lots of parents are testifying to changes they've seen in their kids after modifying their diets. I'm willing to give it a shot, since it seems like it can't hurt and just might help.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about how to get started on this sort of diet--particularly since my son's favorite foods are pizza and cheeseburgers, which offend on both the gluten and casein fronts. Should I get rid of one thing first (maybe gluten, which seems easier) and see if that makes a difference? Or should I just go whole hog and get rid of both at once? Are there better/worse options for gluten-free products on the market? (I'm assuming the casein-free diet will involve cutting out cow's milk altogether.) Are there better/worse sources for recipes that will help me make this switch? My son is a pretty picky eater, so I'd appreciate any advice that will help us make a successful adjustment. And if anyone has experience with a kid who has been positively impacted by this diet, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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My son has been struggling with Inattentive-Type ADHD for several years now.  We've found a medication that works pretty well for him, but we've also learned that the meds can't fix everything--as his neurologist puts it, "The medication can only make it easier for you to focus on making the right choices."  As he grows, though, it becomes necessary to take higher doses of the medication--and each change in dosage has unpleasant side effects (loss of appetite, profound insomnia, etc.)  The meds have made a huge difference in his life, so discontinuing them altogether isn't an option; at the moment I'm trying to explore other avenues that might allow us to adjust the meds less often.

Recently I've been reading a lot about the role of a casein-free and gluten-free diet in helping kids with autism and austism spectrum disorders, like ADHD.  There's some disagreement within the medical community as to whether or not this diet does any good, but lots of parents are testifying to changes they've seen in their kids after modifying their diets.  I'm willing to give it a shot, since it seems like it can't hurt and just might help.   

So I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about how to get started on this sort of diet--particularly since my son's favorite foods are pizza and cheeseburgers, which offend on both the gluten and casein fronts.  Should I get rid of one thing first (maybe gluten, which seems easier) and see if that makes a difference?  Or should I just go whole hog and get rid of both at once?  Are there better/worse options for gluten-free products on the market?  (I'm assuming the casein-free diet will involve cutting out cow's milk altogether.)  Are there better/worse sources for recipes that will help me make this switch?  My son is a pretty picky eater, so I'd appreciate any advice that will help us make a successful adjustment.  And if anyone has experience with a kid who has been positively impacted by this diet, I'd love to hear from you. 

Thanks in advance for your help.

May I suggest the discussion forums on mothering.com? I don't have personal issue with this myself, but a lot of moms there do, and I believe you could get some really great advice.

"God give us good taste, why bother?" Captain Jim's Sushi Chef
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To get into a discussion of cures and treatments for ADHD is probably outside the scope of eGullet. However, I can tell you that increasingly, there are products on the market that are gluten-free substitutes for products that ordinarily contain wheat flour and other things containing gluten. According to friends who must eat gluten-free, some of those products are not bad at all, and others are dreadful.

I believe there's a thread about gluten-free cooking if you want to try a search. Additionally, if you start threads with specific questions, you'll probably find people who will be happy to try to help you.

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ADHD isn't on the autistic spectrum. That said, you might also want to look into the Feingold program. I know a few families that have benefited from Feingold.

edited to add, GFCF pizza is hard to do because there really isn't a good casein free cheese substitute that both melts well and tastes good.

Edited by MomOfLittleFoodies (log)

Cheryl

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