Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is the Gluten Free Diet?

Many parents have placed their Autistic children on the gluten free diet in an attempt to help control the symptoms of the condition. It has been reported that 8 out of 10 children with Autism respond to this diet, experiencing less problems in behavioral and social areas. For this reason, many parents want to at least give this diet a go before ruling it out as helpful for their child. Below, you will learn about the gluten free diet and how to help your Autistic child by using it.

What Exactly Is the Gluten Free Diet?

The diet basically centers on foods that are gluten-free, and although many foods do contain gluten, more alternatives are being made available. Typically, the foods which contain gluten include those containing wheat, barley, oats and rye. It’s important for parents considering the gluten-free diet to check labels of all foods coming into the household, since gluten can be present in many unlikely places. In fact, most foods which contain any sort of artificial flavoring may contain gluten.

Where to Find Gluten-Free Foods –

Although many foods do contain gluten, there are also many alternatives available. Check your local health food store to find gluten-free baking ingredients, meals and snacks. If this is all very new to you, you might want to experiment by cooking a few practice meals that are gluten-free. While it can be frustrating and difficult to become accustomed to eating gluten-free, it can also be worth the effort. If the child does well on the gluten-free diet, the family will eventually adjust and will usually be happy with the foods available to them.

What Foods are Acceptable to Eat?

There are many foods that individuals can eat – even if they are avoiding gluten. This includes but is not necessarily limited to:

- Certain Meats and Fish
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Nuts
- Eggs

Once you’ve learned your way around a gluten-free kitchen, preparing meals that are delicious and satisfying will not be difficult. Pick up some gluten-free cookbooks or search for recipes online to get started.

Although the gluten-free diet is not considered a cure for autism, it has significantly reduced the symptoms of Autism with many children. It is often easier if the entire family adopts this gluten-free diet rather than expecting only the child to eat this way. It helps in the preparation of meals and snacks as well.

Often times, parents of Autistic children will try just about anything to help the condition and its affects. The gluten-free diet can be a wonderful way to help treat the child’s symptoms and help with behaviors. If you’d like to try it – understand that the diet should continue for at least 3 to 4 months in order to determine whether it is helping or not. A few weeks or a month will not be long enough to assess the results.

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