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This is our family’s experience following a gluten and dairy free diet.
I want to go on record saying that for us, this is a lifestyle choice — Nats does not have a Celiac or other diagnosed condition. She won’t need the aid of an Epi-pen should she consume gluten and dairy. She will, however, be doubled over with stomach pain, and we do notice behavior changes (not the good kind) when she eats foods with gluten or dairy.
Reading about the gluten free and dairy free diet, it seemed that many special needs parents who have Spectrum kids, Allergies, ADHD — all saw improvements when removing dairy and gluten. Here’s a blog post that talks about the benefits, and the gut-brain connection. Conversely, many professionals tell a more cautionary tale, recommending nutritionist consultation. They are quick to note that the research doesn’t support that this diet has any proven benefit.
Why we tried it
Continued complaints of “My tummy hurts,” coupled with a sleep disorder were the main reasons we gave the gluten and dairy free diet a try.
Allergies. That’s how we explained it to our then 4 year old, it seemed the simplest way at the time. For all the struggles we have, getting her to eat on this diet has been relatively easy, and has been from the start.
We experienced gains
Going gluten and dairy free continued the gains that we’d seen with removing additives: speech, behavior, and a small impact on sleep. No longer did we hear “My tummy hurts” daily. That was proof enough for us that Natalie had a food sensitivity. Our Developmental Pediatrician, however did not agree, and told us our child would get scurvy if we continued. (As a side note, we’ve been on this diet 7 years – no scurvy)
Biggest challenge: social gatherings
So many things in our life seem to be centered around food. We began this diet when Natalie was 4, and there were not as many pre-made options as there are today. I made A LOT from scratch and still do. A well-stocked freezer is a must – cupcakes or brownies to take with us to parties and special occasions.
One of my favorite homemade recipes is coconut milk ice cream – the full fat kind. YUM. We’ve always worked hard to make sure that Nats could have comparable substitutes – particularly at school.
It does take some planning. I’ve spent many an evening or weekend day cooking, freezing, prepping – but now it’s second nature. We’ve always worked hard to make sure that Nats could have comparable substitutes – particularly at school.
Quick & Easy Gluten and Dairy free chocolate cupcakes!
What I love about this recipe is that it makes 6 – it’s super quick and be done on any weeknight. (Particularly the ones where I remember (at 10 pm) that there’s a birthday party at school tomorrow, and there are no more options in the usually well-stocked freezer.)