Thank you for joining us for another day of Autism A to Z! This one had me stumped for a bit (though not quite as much as the letter Q will, I’m sure… already trying to think of something for that day) until I looked inward. Going gluten free has been one of those things that I’ve been debating for quite some time for Sweet B’s sake. And I’ve always had my doubts and hesitations about doing so. Partially because of the cost and partially because I didn’t know where to start. It’s still something that I’m considering so that leads me to wonder: is going gluten free necessary for autism?
The other reason this question came up is after a brief discussion with Kyle.
I had offered him one of the gluten free snacks that we have and he wondered if it was necessary for people who don’t have a gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease to go gluten free. I’ve wondered the same thing even if we are starting to integrate more gluten free products into our house.
But what exactly is gluten and how does it affect the body?
Gluten is defined as a substance present in grains especially wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is what’s responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Gluten allergies, also known as Celiac’s disease are an autoimmune condition that affects approximately 1% of the population.
Gluten causes problems in a lot of people, but what most don’t know is it’s indigestible in all people. More than likely each and every person that eats foods that contain gluten has an issue with it which means we all of an intolerance to it in one way or another.
Gluten allergies react differently to each person based on a number of things. Those things include digestion and absorption in the small intestines. These types of foods can be considered toxic because they attack and could possibly destroy them over time.
For some people gluten doesn’t affect them at all, but for others it can make them very sick and could be a matter of life or death. These affects can be different depending on what foods are eaten and how much, which is why it’s important to read labels and know what you can and cannot eat.
The only way to decrease the problems that are associated with gluten allergies is to avoid eating those foods that contain gluten. While it’s very hard to do, it’s the only way to prevent health issues that could potentially cause death. It’s not worth dealing with the pain and the fear of death when eliminating the foods will eliminate the problem.
Gluten is in a lot of the foods we eat every day.
It’s in bread, cereal, French fries, pasta, and many of the foods that are processed. While eliminating these foods is hard because they’re in a lot of the foods we eat every day, if you have Celiac’s disease they could be the difference between having a day full of pain and sickness or a day full of energy and happiness because you can do what you want pain free. Taking the time to read labels and watch what you eat will help you to lead a better life. One that will make you feel better and will be free from pain and sickness.
As I mentioned, going gluten free is still one of those things that I’m debating. There has been some research that a Gluten and Casein Free diet can be beneficial for individuals with autism. But my biggest roadblock? Changing over Sweet B’s diet and getting the same consistency when she’s with her dad over the weekends.
However, if you’re looking for a family who has had success by going gluten free, check out Carly at The Puzzled Palate and in particular, read her post about meeting her daughter again.
We are making some changes but we haven’t gone entirely gluten free. I’m still unsure if we will.
Do I think it’s necessary?
Well, honestly, I can’t answer that question until we try.
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I saw a gluten free frozen dinner made by a chain that specializes in healthy eating and it was loaded with more calories than a regular tv dinner, and had more sugar in it. I notice that a lot of gluten free foods make up the flavor by putting in more sugar! I know that some people can not tolerate gluten, and they should stay away from it, but the prices for gluten free products are expensive!
I don’t doubt in the slightest that for people with a gluten allergy or intolerance should definitely stay away from it.. It’s just not realistic for our family right now with the prices. Maybe making a few changes here and there but not going entirely gluten free just yet.
As more and more gluten-free products are hitting the market, it is a lot easier to go gluten-free now than it was 5 years ago. Also, with the growing awareness of Celiac disease the number of resources are growing as well. I first learned about it when I met my now sister-in-law who has Celiac disease 8 years ago.
As a side, gluten is not actually in French fries (potatoes are naturally gluten-free) but can be cross-contaminated in the frying oil if breaded products or other items containing gluten are fried in the same oil.