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going gluten and casein free the affordable way?

Posted by on Jun. 21, 2012 at 11:33 AM
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Is that even something that's possible?

We are trying to help a 3 year old with autism, he is still non verbal and has lately been having violent rampages. We have started giving him omega-3 chewable vitamins and are tying hard to cut out all the dairy and wheat items from his diet which of course is no easy task. We also only have a limited amount of places to shop around here and none of them have dairy free cheese or gluten free noodles and products like that which make it easier for us.

We heard it can be expensive and after looking it sure feels like it, can you give us some insight into how you started your child's diet?

by on Jun. 21, 2012 at 11:33 AM
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by Member on Jun. 22, 2012 at 7:34 AM

My son is gluten free but not dairy free (we didn't notice any difference without dairy so now we just limit it).  Probably the biggest way that I save $ is that I rarely buy any of those packaged items that are labeled gluten free (i.e. cake mixes, cookie mixes) but I bake it from scratch.  Really love the recipes from Elana's Pantry - go together super quick and don't have a long list of ingredients.  Fairly healthy and taste good too -I'll do her recipes for the whole family.  Also I bulk order my almond flour from Amazon - it's almost half the price.  

There are also a lot of things that you probably already buy from the grocery store that are already gluten free - chicken, beans, potato chips, etc.  My picky eater is not a fan of meat but will do beans, so we do a lot of bean based dishes.  

If I'm going to buy a gluten free product, I read reviews on it first.  There are a lot of good GF products out there but there are also some which are horrible.  So frustrating to shell out big $ for something that isn't good!  Taking the time to research has really helped me for the most part avoid the duds.

Hope this helps!

by Member on Jun. 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM
I recommend going slow. Remove and replace foods slowly. My first doc. Wanted us to do it immediately but that would have been a disaster. We went slowly this helped our daughter adjust and helped me to buy the things she would eat. It does get expensive. There r some foods that r glut ten free that u can buy anywhere. Fritios fruit roll up most pepperoni. Nathan hot dogs chex potatoes chips.these r just a few and it helped our transition because these were some of the foods she already ate. Most important thing is reading labels. Not everything will say glut ten free. Another tip I don't know if u have a big lots but that is where I found a lot of noodles and cake bread mixes for half the price. Good luck
by Head Admin on Jun. 22, 2012 at 3:36 PM


It can be expensive...but you can find ways to make it easier.  I agree with the other mom's on looking at the labels at the stores to make sure it is GFCF. Usually Meats are gluten free, eggs, fruits and veggies.  With my son when we started the GFCF I cut everything out all at once, this made things a little harder because he was so picky...but after a while he did find things he liked to eat...It took a while.  Some mom's like to remove one at a time some do it all at once...depends on what you are comfortable little guy was allergic to dairy and gluten products so we did it all at once. So worth the effort and cost...and the cost will get better as you go and find out what works and what doesn't.  Wonderful group here on cafemom called biomed momma's group that talks about diets and DAN doctors etc.  Big hugs to you!

by Member on Jun. 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Our whole family has been GFCF for almost 1 year now. Avoiding processed items will help with the cost although for me, it is a cost/time tradeoff for making everything homemade. If you work outside the home during the week, cook on the weekends and use the freezer. I actually bought a freezer because I freeze everything from soups to pancakes. I experimenting with baking with stevia because we are trying to cut way down on sugar. It is more expensive in the beginning as you try out new products and new recipes.

The big cost for my family is that I buy mostly local and organic. Be careful of some the the GFCF prepackaged items -- they are high in sugar. The first thing we cut out was food dyes (including caramel coloring which is in everything), and preservatives (particularly TBHQ, BHA, BHT and MSG in all forms) and artificial sweeteners (aspertame and splenda). Next we cut out the milk and then gluten. We did it cold turkey and that worked better for us than gradual, it really just depends on your family. We saw violent withdrawals from the milk in all 3 kids and even though it was HELL, I knew we were on the right track. Now, it is a lifestyle and the kids self-regulate themselves and ask for their replacement treats at school etc. We started in the summer when we didn't have anything else going on and we didn't have to deal with school and withdrawals. When school started, I had them get involved with planning lunches and snacks and picking out their "special" GFCF treats to keep at school for special events. It really helped that they felt in control of something.

I have a blog where I was trying to follow a budget challenge but have had to ignore it because it has been crazy at work. I do have some of my getting started tips and maybe I will go back to my budget challenge or add to the bog when I get some time. What I did learn was that the organic and local was the budget busters for me and not so much the GFCF alone. . . --

We love the Enjoy life brand cookies and the mini chocolate chips for baking, topping and decorating homemade treats. The Enjoy life coco loco bars and envirokidz bars (not chocolate because it has milk) are some of the only prepackaged items that I buy because they are so convenient for lunch boxes. They are expensive at the health food and grocery store but buy them there first and see what you like and then order online -- amazon and other online places are much cheaper by the case. However, they don't always beat a sale price plus coupons so keep an eye on it. I have found that many of the brands we like have online coupons.

by Member on Jun. 27, 2012 at 8:39 AM

I bought a grain grinder so I can make my own flour.  That's an investment that pays off.  I use both white & brown rice, Spelt Grain, and sometimes I even use beans, to make a variety of flours to use.  I dedicate one morning to mill all the four I anticipate needing in the next month.  I feel such pride in accomplishment in doing this.  I raises my self esteem in caring for my kids the best I can.

I love making black bean brownies, my kids cant get enough of them: 2 Cups cooked/pureed Black Beans, 1-2 Cups Sugar, 1/3 Cup Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/2 Cup Cocoa, 6 Eggs *optional I add 1/2 Cup Rice Flour to make the brownie into a complete protein and give it a little more body. *optional Chocolate chips Oven Bake 350 til knife come out clean when testing.  [5-6 minutes in a microwave using a ceramic cereal bowl]  Don't overcook them or they get too dry and not as tasty.  I like mine a little damp.

My children cant seem to eat enough of this kind of brownie.  My Husband just harumphs and says that they just don't know what they are missing.  He doesn't care for them but I LOVE THEM!

by Member on Jun. 28, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Madameeileen - I mostly use almond flour.  Do almonds work in you grain grinder?

by New Member on Jun. 29, 2012 at 8:53 AM

I use rice pasta and rice flour. Also, almond milk works well too. My son was tested for celiac and lactose intolerance and the results were he wasn't. However, I do believe that him and many other kids with autism are likely sensitive to gluten and dairy. Some cheeses like extra sharp cheddar and swiss can be lactose free. For some, the lactose needs to be removed versus dairy all together. I started with rice pasta and spaghetti sauce, natural applesauce, almond butter or peanut butter with rice flour bread, chocolate chex mix (gluten free with a small amount of dairy), homemade chicken nuggets etc. I would start slowly. Very few people have full on celiac disease. You might just need to eliminate the "big" culprits.

by New Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Hi gang, I know this is an old post, but I felt that the discussion needed to center around what I feel are the biggest threats to our kid's health. I gotta dig for it, but I read a study that started linking the associations between the combinations of artificial sweeteners with food dyes were really the main culprets in being a trigger for autism. When you start reading labels, food dyes are in nearly everything that kids like to eat. With the addition of aspertame, and/or (aceK) asulfumade potassium being the new default sweetener in everything... I was able to cut those out of my kids diet without being too drastic going full on gluten free. I saw an almost immediate change.

Which brings me to my next thing... things for our kids to drink. There really isn't anything on the market that doesn't contain aspertame, high fructose corn syrup etc... so I invented my own drink that's gluten free, no food dyes, no artifical sweeteners. I hope you guys can take a look at my kickstarter campaign to get this product launched. I've worked really hard on this formula over the last few years. I really feel like having an alternative in the market place really can make a small difference, especially in parenting kids with ASD.

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