The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book by Kerri Rivera, "Healing an Epidemic."
If I could choose the one part of my protocol that would be the single most important piece of the autism recovery puzzle it would be The diet. By The diet I am referring to the dietary plan that I recommend to all of the families that I work with. It is a combination of the classic Gluten Free, Casein Free, Soy Free, with the elimination of sugar, corn syrup, coloring, preservatives and other "harmful foods." The diet is the basis to the rest of my protocol, similar to laying the foundation of a house that the rest of the structure will rest on. It is critical to the effectiveness of the rest of the protocol. When a family with a child recently diagnosed with autism comes to see me, the first thing they want to know is:
What can I do to fix this? I always, always start with The diet. In fact, I send them away after that first meeting with hope that they will be able to recover their child, but only if they have the dedication to commit to the diet 100%. I explain to my families that they must think about food how their great grandparents thought about food. In generations past food was derived from the Earth, with little processing. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and meats were dietary staples for our great grandparents and they will be for our children as well. We must think whole foods, not processed foods. It is of little help to go from junk food to gluten free, casein free junk food.
After my first meeting with a family they leave with the list of permitted foods and I tell them to email me when they have a week straight with zero exceptions or "errors" on The diet. That is where the parents who are truly hungry for recovery are separated from those who are interested in having someone else recover their child for them.
One of two things generally happen during that first week. First scenario: I get an email from an ecstatic Mother or Father…"I can barely believe it, Johnny slept through the night for the first time in months, or Johnny had a normal bowel movement, or Johnny said 2 new words yesterday! " That's what I hope for, the second scenario is I never hear from the family again, there may have been tantrums, or an adjustment period related to the diet that proved too much for them, and they decide to pursue another avenue. That's not to say that everyone sees a miracle, or there's no middle ground, as some of the results are less obvious, such as more eye contact or less redness in face, but generally speaking, we see positive changes. But in reality, any change is a good sign. The diet is only the first piece of the puzzle. It is the welcome mat to autism recovery. We must continue from there. We don´t just do the diet. We do the diet and then keep adding and subtracting till we get the desired, end result.
That said, your child's Dr may have not heard of the diet, of may be misinformed on it's benefits. We will include a list of links to various studies and articles published on the benefits of The diet for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. It is important to only consult with people who are familiar with autism and the recovery of autism. If your current physician is unfamiliar with autism recovery, it is important for the health of your child that you find someone who is. Surrounding ourselves with people who are immersed in biomed and healing children is of the utmost importance.
For starters, a researcher at the New Jersey Medical School's Autism Center found that children with autism were more likely to have abnormal immune responses to milk, soy and wheat than typically-developing children, according to Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2011-2012. Also, there is growing interest in the link between autism and gastrointestinal (GI) ailments. A study by the University of California Davis Health System found that children with autism born in the 1990s were more likely to have gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, diarrhea and vomiting, than children with autism who were born in the early 1980s.
Simply because your Dr is uninformed or tells you there is no evidence to prove that The diet will help your child, do the research for yourself, as only you are in charge of your child's diet. Heck, do The diet. It doesn´t cost you any money and it just might save your child. Whether he eats Cheesey puffs or fruits and vegetables will ultimately come down to you. The only way to know for sure if your child is going to be one of the cases who recovers with diet, is to try. It can take gluten 6 months or more to be removed from the micro villi or "shag carpeting" of the small intestine. As I mentioned previously some children have monumental changes in 2-3 days, but even if your child's evolution is taking a little longer than most, DO NOT GIVE UP! At the writing of this book I have worked with over 2,500 families of children with autism, and all of the recovered children as well as the children about to come through the door have used varied protocols depending on their symptoms. What is the one thing that they all unequivocally have in common? The diet.
In my opinion, it makes little difference what other interventions you apply to your child if you can't manage The diet 24/7/365. Hyperbarics, chelation, music therapy, ABA, etc simply cannot have the desired effects if we are still feeding drugs to our children. Why drugs? Because that is what gluten and casein become in the bodies of our children on the spectrum. More specifically, gluteomorphin and casomorphin. Yes, similar to morphine. These substances are produced in the gut due to improper digestion of peptides (as we will explain more in detail later) and the existence of leaky gut syndrome allows them to cross the blood brain barrier where they act exactly like morphine or heroin. Would you purposely give your child heroin, or any other illicit drugs? NO! So now that you have read these words, and understand the severity of this issue, do not give your child another piece of pizza, Cheesy puffs, bread or flour tortillas. Tell your family and your child's school that they can no longer give your child these items, and if they do it's like giving them a dose of morphine. If it sounds drastic, that's because it is. Researchers have found an abnormal amount of these undigested peptides in the urine of children with autism, therefore proving their existence in the body. Dr. Reichelt in Norway, Dr. Cade at the University of Florida, and others found that urine samples from people with autism, PDD, celiac disease, and schizophrenia contained high amounts of the casomorphin peptide in the urine, similarly Gliadorphin (gluteomorphin) has been verified by mass spectrometry techniques to be present in unusual quantities in urine samples of children with autism, (excerpted from gfcfdiet.com)
Do the diet! There are still plenty of food options that are permitted, I promise you your child won't starve. There are some recipes that will be included later in the chapter to get you started. I truly mean when I say that The diet is absolutely the most important piece of the puzzle. If we can't remove what is directly linked to brain and gut inflammation as well as immune allergic reactions to offending foods, it is nearly impossible to heal a child on the spectrum. I have personally never seen a family recover a child without dietary intervention, that's not to say it hasn't happened, but I can't say I've seen it nor heard of it.
In the case of my own son, his acidic diarrhea and sleepless nights stopped the week we started The diet. From that moment I was hooked, not only on The diet but on Biomedical treatments for curing Autism, and I have never looked back. I strongly encourage you to experience the diet for your child and even as a family it is a good thing.
Some other tips include:
Keep a journal. What foods have you taken out? Are you adding something in? Reactions: rash, more/less hyper, more/less stimmy, sleep patterns, bowel movements: how many, consistency, tantrums, acceptance of new foods, eye contact, language, etc. Write it all down, then you know what's going on, and when something is working for you, and when it's not. Doing the ATEC at autism.com is an excellent way to see how you are doing. Everytime that you begin a new intervention it is a good idea to do and ATEC and then repeat every month or so and see how your child is evolving. Sometimes our children are recovering right before our very eyes and we don't even know it.
Using the ATEC helps a great deal to measure improvements. Many of us are tired or burned out and don't have as good as a memory as we would like to, so a formal questionnaire can help us to discern when an intervention is working or not.
Always read labels. Read the label on the back. Not just the one on the front that says "gluten free". Many times they have sugar, yeast or other items that are not allowed. We must know what we are putting into our children's bodies. If you can't pronounce it, you don't really want to put it into your child. Be careful of hidden offenders like malta, natural flavors, artificial flavors, whey, numbers (red 40), etc.
Have a support system. It doesn't matter whether it is a friend, family member, rescue angel or neighbor. Have a shoulder to lean on, autism recovery is a marathon not a sprint, and no one should have to go it alone.
Take it one day at a time. Defeatist thinking will only harm your resolve to help your child. "I Can't do this for the rest of Johnny's life" or "How will I get through this year" are defeatist thoughts. Go hour by hour or minute by minute if you have to, and know there are victories every day in the world of autism, and we must draw strength from those victories, even when they aren't our own. My website has a section called Milagros, which are real emails that I receive from parents describing the advances of their children on my protocol. Take some time to read them, and know that children are recovering every day and believe your child can be next.
So here it is…The Diet
Permitted Foods List
• Fish: small not large
• Organic is better, but not required
• No processed meats or cold cuts (hot dogs, bologna, etc)
• No shellfish (full of toxins)
• All fruit, OTHER THAN citrus fruit and pineapple, is acceptable
• Frozen fruit without cream or sugar is acceptable
• JUICE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
• NO canned fruit
• Be careful of dried fruit, as it may contain sugar
Note: Fruit should not be consumed after a meal as a dessert. Due to it's rapid digestion, if it is eaten after other slower foods (meat, grains, etc) it will ferment in the stomach, causing bloating, gas, or discomfort. Fruit is best eaten before a meal, or separate from meals.
• All Vegetables !!!
• This includes french fries… however, not frozen fries nor fries from fast food chains, these are often coated in flour.
• All of them!
• Xanthan Gum
• All beans – EXCEPT Soy
• Agave syrup
• Maple syrup (without sugar added)
• NO Piloncillo
• NO Sugar
• Corn Syrup
• Sodas – Cokes, etc.
• V8 Splash
• Chocolate milk
• Natural Flavoring
• Soy sauce
• Microwave popcorn
• Cow's milk in any form, even lactose free
• Noodle soup
• Knorr suiza (boullion cubes)
• Corn flakes
• Soy milk
• Processed meats (hotdogs, ham, sausage, cold cuts)
• Play-doh (contains gluten)
• Flour Tortillas
• Jell-o or gelatin
• Numbers (E260)
• Artificial flavoring
NO Cow's Milk
• NOT CASEIN FREE
• NOT LACTOSE FREE
• NOT ORGANIC
• NOT EVAPORATED
• NO NO NO COW'S MILK
• ALL COW'S MILK, REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS REMOVED FROM IT, CAUSES MUCOUS AND INFLAMMATION. (which are responsible for maintaining pathogens)
The food allergy panel says he's not allergic to gluten or casein…so my child can continue to eat those ingredients.
It doesn't matter…if your child has autism or is on the spectrum he must avoid gluten, casein and soy. The network formerly known as DAN! Also says to observe your child carefully after adding a new food or a food he hasn't eaten in a while. In one particular case, even though the child didn't test positive for an orange allergy, he produces symptoms of an allergic reaction whenever he eats one. We must remember that the body is changing constantly and that any test is only good for a couple of months, if at all.
Some sample recipes:
• 1.5 cups of almonds
• 3 cups of water
• Honey to taste
• Place all ingredients in a blender for 2-5 minutes and strain. Serve cold or warm. Almonds should soaked in hot water and then peeled beforehand. A Vitamix works best, but is not necessary.
• The flesh of one coconut
• Enough water to cover the coconut in the blender.
• Honey to taste
• Place all ingredients in a blender for 2-5 minutes and strain. Serve cold or warm.
• 300 grams rice flour
• 300 grams corn flour
• One egg yolk
• 200 grams agave syrup
• 250 grams coconut oil
• Bake 20 minutes at approx 325 degrees
Until we have this section organized,
there is a very complete list of FAQ's about the diet at gfcfdiet.com