Gluten Free Diet - Fort Benning,GA

Updated on February 09, 2011
M.M. asks from Duluth, MN
14 answers

This is a long question- sorry! I just wanted to give all the details for our particular situation.
I have recently read research that suggests children with autism may see benifits from being on a gluten free diet. Our oldest son (who is 6) has asperger's syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder, as well as some sensory problems. He doesn't seem to have any of the GI problems typically assoiated with these intolerences, although he does have some mild constipation (which we believe is more related to his anxiety and "holding it" at school- which i know is common for kids his age anyways). He also has severe dust allergies, and when we had testing done for these, we discovered he DOES have a wheat allergy. Since he was showing no GI symptoms, the allergist was not concered with this at the time.
We also have a 5 year old son, and a 3 year old son. Wheat is very much a part of our diet. I don't think our boys have ever had a piece of white bread! We have whole wheat and whole grain everything in our house- it is just instilled in my mind that whole wheat/grains are good for you and that is the way I have always cooked. I have made such an effort to feed my family healthy foods everyday that they enjoy.
Our 5 year old has asthma and also some pretty severe GI symptoms that the GI specialist believes to be the beginnings of either chrons disease or ulcerative colitis (colonoscopy showed inflamation of his entire colon). And although he has tested negative for celiac disease and does NOT have a wheat allergy, I thought it maybe worth considering the gluten free for him too just to see if it helps.
I am looking for others' opinions on whether or not you think it is a good idea to try this diet. I know that you have to be VERY strict with it for several months to see any results. If I knew it would benifit 2 of our children I would do it no questions asked (I would do it for the whole family, not just for the two of them). I am just a little nervous and skeptical because there is no real scientific research out there that proves it actually works, and its definitly no small feat to just "try it out" for 5 months. If you were in my particular situation, would you make this big change for the whole family, with no guarantees that it would even work for anyone? Thank you for your thoughts!

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answers from Atlanta on

I am about to do the gluten free diet for my entire family and it was actually recommended by my pediatrician. My 13 year old son has shown an intolerance for wheat products, but has never tested positive for the allergy. He has asthma and allergies, but does a whole lot better when he does not eat wheat products.
My mother was put on the gluten free diet due to digestive issues. When she switched, she immediately lost 10-15 pounds in a week! She has never felt as good as she does now! I grew up eating wheat products and thinking that it was okay until I started doing my own research. We are basically eating the substinance for livestock and other animals. That is not the same as the correct foods that we need, as humans, to live a healthy, allergy-free, and disease-free life.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hello - I have a 14 year old Asperger girl. We were diagnosed at 10 and immediately the dr wanted to medicate. I spent about 3 months just researching Aspergers and at the end of the 3 months I ran accross a link between gluten and casin and autism. The jist of it is that for Aspergers (autism)/Add/Adhd don't properly digest gluten . . . it floats around in your body causing havoc. Once it gets to your brain, it causes neuron's to "misfire" - messing with moods, and their actions. If you remove gluten (casin builds up and acts the same way) those neuron's start to fire normally. They say it can take 12 weeks to "detox" but we were lucky and noticed a difference in 6 weeks.

My daughter was a picky, picky eater. As an Asperger child, she was very reluctant to change - right down to her food. So, I started one meal at a time. She ate oatmeal for breakfast so I replaced it with cream of rice - took her 4 days before she finally ate it, she did go to school without breakfast those days, but I knew she'd eat lunch (it was the same), once she at the cream of rice, I worked on her lunch - one item at a time, mind you this kid ate the exact same lunch since Kindergarten and she was in 4th grade. Once we got lunches done, I started on our dinners. After 6 weeks, she said she noticed a difference and wanted to keep the diet - said she felt "happy" for no reason, something she'd never felt before. Her heartburn was gone, headaches were gone - it was amazing. Also, once she was gluten free for a bit, she started eating more foods and was way less picky. We've been gluten free now for almost 4 years and she eats whatever I make now. We are also casin free - I tackled that right along with the gluten free. She was in therapy for the aspergers and the therapist said she no longer wanted to see her because she felt she was virtually "symptom" free. It's been wonderful.

Our breakfasts consists of : cream of rice, eggs, gf/cf bread, french toast, pancakes, hashbrowns
Lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, meat sandwiches, fruit, veggies
Dinner: chili, sloppy joes, chicken breast, hamburgers, veggies, potatoes, fish, steak, casseroles (modified of course)

it is a lot more work to eat this way, and more pricey as we don't use prepackaged anything, but the benefits are way worth it. I'll also say, that I used to make special gf/cf meals for her, but kept contaminating her, so I gave up and we are all gf/cf (at home - I'm more lax with myself out and about if I don't have my daughter with me). I hope that helps - if you want more info, let me know, i have an 8 page document I typed up for the courts for my daughter's father. I would also add that her pediatrician was not supportive, but I really didn't want to medicate. She did test negative for celiac, but this is different. I had her in for her 13 yr check up and at the end of the appointment, the pediatrician asked why she was gluten free and when I said she had aspergers, she said she totally forgot because she's so "normal" now.

Let me know if you want more information - I have plenty!!
Best of luck - D.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

It's hard, I'll give you that. We did that approach here to see if it would help with my sons behavioral issues (he has ODD). We didn't see a difference other than the fact he was no longer having any processed foods, preservatives etc. We saw most of the difference from not having processed foods period although, that does not mean this diet wouldn't help your children. I tried because I do have several friends who put their children on it because of similar issues to the two of us and they HAD seen a change but it does take a while. Basically, when a body is trying to digest something that is giving it difficulties, for whatever reason, it tries to self regulate it but that doesn't always work so it messes other systems up and it's like a domino effect. One system gets out of sync and then all the rest go. So once you get the body on the proper types of foods it begins healing itself properly.

Like I said, it's a hard thing to do but it's something you have to try with your family to see if it works. It may not, such as in my case, but it was worth it because I learned a lot about nutrition. Although I no longer do GF exclusively, I still often make something. The food can be pretty tasty, though. It's a big step at first. I basically got rid of everything so I wouldn't be tempted to cheat or my husband wouldn't give the kids something wrong. Once I got in the hang of it, it wasn't bad at all. The only difference I noted was texture. And of course the time taken to prepare the meals but since I pretty much made all of our stuff myself anyway, I didn't see too much of a difference. There are a lot of GF foods on the market, but I found it easier to just make all my own stuff anyway; much cheaper too.

There are some great cookbooks out there, even ones especially for children. When we were on this diet, I rarely had a meal the kiddos turned their noses up. Here is a recipe I have from a friend that has to gluten/soy/dairy free in her house. All of them except her husband is intolerant and can't have this stuff. This bread looks real and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was. It's simple to make. It will be different than basic bread dough but after you gain some experience you'll be able to tell the right texture, etc.

Raechel's Flaxmeal Honey Loaf

6 c brown rice flour
4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp salt
1 c sorghum flour
1/2 c flaxmeal (It's easier, & better to buy whole flax seeds & grind as you need it.)
1/4 c honey
4 1/2 tsp yeast
3 3/4 c water (add 3/4 c gradually until proper texture achieved)
6 eggs
1/2 c oil
2 tsp vinegar

MIx together and beat 7 minutes. (Should be a thick batter consistency.) Pour into 2 greased 9x5 pans and smooth tops. Raise 30 min. backe @ 375 for 65 minutes.

See, it's GF but it also doesn't have a ton of the different flours involved so it's really simple to do, especially for a beginner. This is actually the only GF bread that I've managed to actually get to come out.

You mentioned using whole wheat in everything. Have you ever used sprouted grains? Or any of the other grains besides wheat? They taste great and they pack an even bigger punch than just whole wheat. Also, if you decide not to go GF, a good cookbook you should add to your arsenal is Nourishing Traditions.

Good luck on your decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I have Celiac Disease and when I was diagnosed in 2001, it was VERY hard to do this diet, so I can understand your hesitation and concern. However, now? There are so many resources around about gluten-free diets that everywhere you go, someone can help you. Grocery stores everywhere now carry or have GF sections and tons of restaurants (even italian) have gluten free menus! There are cookbooks galore and published shopping guides to help you pick out name brands that are known to be gluten free.

Wheat doesnt mean its just in "wheat bread". Wheat is in white bread too. Wheat = flour (wheat flour). It's a grain. ***Gluten = wheat, rye & barley. And these are in everything, mostly processed or preserved foods. If you stay away from highly processed foods, you will be safe (for the most part, but you still have to be careful) Corn starch is okay but if it says "modified corn starch" that could mean they added wheat flour as a filler (cheapens the product, thickens it, saves the company money).

Oats are now safe due to USDA handling and processing of oats.

Flours that are safe (and great for cooking) are:
Quinoa flour
Rice Flour
Nut flours
Oat flours

Pamelas and Kinnikinnik have GREAT GF products, and in fact I buy them in bulk from to save a ton of money! I get the Pamelas baking mix bc it makes the best pancakes and waffles!!! You'd never know the difference from regular, but it also is great for substituting into other recipes that call for flour.


I would definitely try the diet. For people who have Celiac Disease, they notice an immediate difference within a week.

For those with ADD or sensory disorders, it can take a few months but I have a friend in another state who tried it on her son (he has Aspergers) and it has done wonders with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I have 3 boys (7, 5, almost 2) and we are all on a gluten free diet now thanks to various problems that our children had. Our oldest had severe mood swings and what may have been diagnosed as ADHD or possibly even mild autism as well as 'tummy aches.' (We live in Japan so did not have access to doctors well-versed in these things) I finally tried the gluten free diet and it helped him so much that I became a believer. When my second started having energy problems and GI issues, our family became gluten free. Yes, it is crazy difficult and frustrating at first. I too, had grown up on everything whole wheat, whole grain, and homemade. But even so, our diet is now so much more varied and nutritious that if it wasn't so difficult to get used to, I would suggest this diet for anyone. And I have a friend who has lived with 'Crohn's' all her life, recently went on the gluten-free diet and now swears that that's the answer to all her problems! Now, I know everyone is different, but my vote says YES, it's worth a try! Even though the first 3 months are really hard!
By the way, I believe some of the best, most recent research on celiac AND gluten-intolerance is coming out of Columbia University, Manhattan's new research center devoted to this research. Check it out. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both have celiac disease. My sil's oldest son also has celiac disease and aspergers. Celiac disease is not the same thing as a gluten intolerance or wheat allergy. The symptoms of celiac disease vary. Some people won't have digestive symptoms, but it will affect them in other ways. There is a ton of information about it. You have access to a computer, so just do some research. It is important to know whether your child has a wheat allergy or celiac disease. An allergy is different from celiac. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. The body attacks itself and the villi in the digestive tract causing it to become smooth like a slide. The body cannot absorb nutrients like it should.

My sil also has two younger children. She does the gluten-free diet for the whole family. Her son with aspergers also has a problem with casin in dairy so she takes that into consideration for him. His diet is a very important part of managing his behavior and moods.

A gluten-free diet is a pretty healthy way to eat because you have to avoid a lot of processed foods. A previous poster is right that the world at large has made great strides in accommodating a gluten-free diet. I would avoid wheat for your oldest even if he's not having a lot of GI symptoms because the longer a person is exposed to an allergen the worse the reaction will become.

I would be more concerned about what kinds of changes you need to make to accommodate your youngest son. Ulcerative colitis and chron's disease are very serious conditions that if not properly managed can ultimately lead to surgical removal of sections of the bowel. I would suggest talking to your doctor or seeing a pediatric GI specialist to help you with dietary considerations for your children. Gluten-free may or may not be right for your family. It is up to you to get all the information you can about your sons' allergies and conditions in order to make the right choice. Good luck and God bless!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Yes, I really really think and entirely raw diet-fresh fruit fresh veggie diet would help your whole family. IT will be hard but dealing with all the other health issues if you don't will be even harder.



answers from Macon on

My Goddaughter is on a gluten free diet. She has Down Syndrome and trouble digesting foods. So, after testing, found that this would help. AND IT DOES.
However, it is costly to get started. If you are going to do it, the whole family should participate.
Grocery stores have lots of foods , now, that are gluten free. You may still end up at a Whole Foods Market or health food store. Just remember, to read the labels (learn what to look for) so that you know where the sneaky product is hiding.
Gluten is in things like catsp, soy sauce, some spices, cream soups, canned beans, dehydrated soups pretty much all "regular' pasta, almost all cereals, salad dressings, mayos, juices. Again, read the labels carefully.
When they visit with us, I make sure to have bean flour on had and her foods are make separate from ours. I use the cookbook "The cluten Free Gourmet" by Bette Hagman. She has several out there but this is the one I use the most.
I make macaroni and cheese-using corn macaroni and I make a really good potato dish making the cream soup from scratch per the recipe in the book. It's just as good!
Jen's mom doesn't cook! So this was a huge learning curve for her. She now cooks and makes her own lasagna noodles from scratch! She has yet to find them easily. They eat alot of Talapia, nothing breaded, and Jen is doing great with it!
Mom and Dad do eat regular lunches and if they must splurge, they do it without Jen around. Dad loves his pizza but gluten free wasn't as tasty for him.
I like this author because she explains the whole cooking thing so you understand and gives you the ingredients to watch for.
Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

I think it would be worth trying, especially since your son has a wheat allergy. There are so many great gluten free products at the stores, you may be surprised how easy it is!
Good luck!



answers from Spartanburg on

I feel for you. My 16 year old son suffered from severe abdominal pain and IBS for several years. Eventually he developed severe anxiety from having abdominal symptoms in public. He was either running to the bathroom constantly or had constipation. That also lead to him having agoraphobia. He eventually had to completely home school because he was missing so much school. I took him to the doctor several times. They ran tests and all they could come up with was that he was constipated and had IBS. They told me to increase his fiber. So I did and he got worse. In fact he started having orange colored bowel movements. At my wits end I finally spoke to a
nutritionist. I explained everything to her in detail and she suggested trying a gluten free diet. His orange colored bowel movements were an indication that he was not absorbing nutrients from the food he was eating. We already knew he was allergic to dairy but never considered him having a problem with gluten. So we tried it. For the first time in years his digestion finally works properly. The pains went away. His bowel movements are regular and normal. He has been eating like this for about 8 months and feels like a different kid. It didnt happen over night but within a couple weeks there was a noticable change. I also have him on vitamin suppliments to be sure he is getting enough nutrients. I also give him foods that have more soluble fiber such as carrots, squash, potatoes, ect.. He eats low fat meats, drinks plenty of water and excersises every day. Hope this helps. Good luck!!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I think if you are going to try it that now would be the time. If your 5 year old is starting Kindergarten in the Fall then if you want to make sure this diet is working and doing everything you want it to do. If it does work you know that you will be fighting an uphill battle with the school They just can't accommodate everyone with the lunches they serve and you'll have to supply his lunch and every snack. It will be worth it if the changes you are hoping to see do in fact happen.

I have a friend who studied medicine at OU and every time she has done the gluten free diet she says she has felt healthier than any other time in her life. It's just very hard and she is a single person on disability and just cannot afford the cost of specialty foods. She does eat 98% vegetarian.



answers from Atlanta on

You may not have to wait that long to see results. It may be harder to tell with children but I saw results rather quickly. My energy was better and my mood is more stable. All it took was a bite of choc. cake on 3 seperate occasion fo rme to see how much food could affect my mood, even more than my physical health. Each time I became weepy and depressed after having no wheat for several days. I have not tested as celiac, but I do have some typical symptoms. More have appeared as I have aged. I noticed each time I eliminated much of the wheat from my diet via South Beach and another diet, I lost weight, feltbetter, yet I ate MORE than normal. But I did have a crash on SB eventually due to not enough carbs. One day it finally clicked - maybe my body doesn't like something in wheat but other carbs are okay?

I am No where near perfect in my diet. It is easy to cross contaminate. Gluten can hide in ANYTHING! It goes by different names and isn't always on the label. It can be in shampoo, lotion, canned items like soups, baked beans, etc.
Gluten can hide in spices, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, etc.

Gluten free is definitely more expensive if you buy specialty products to supplement your old foods. But if you include rice in meals it isn't so bad. We have learned new recipes the whole family likes (I am the only one trying to follow a gluten free diet). We have discovered some special wild rice we enjoy!
I rarely spend money on any gluten free products except Rice Bread, forzen waffles, and Rice Flour. This way I can feel normal and have sandwiches. I find a toaster oven to be invaulable. Gluten free items are often dry but I hear Udi's makes good bread. I choose to barely wet my waffles and bread in some water then toast it to soften it and make it yummy. Otherwise it is too hard and dry for me! Takes some preplanning for sandwhiches, etc.

Oh and I found out I am probably more allergic to oats than anything due to eliminating oats and wheat. Many times it helps to eliminate corn flour too as that really upsets most of our intestines. I have yet to eliminate dairy (I do drink almond milk) and corn on top of the wheat. BUT when I did for about a week I felt awesome! Hard to keep it up when I am fixing so many different foods for everyone else, etc.

It took me several months to work up to going gluten free. I tried it a few times along the way. Start trying out new recipes b4 committing so that you don't feel overwhelmed and starving the first week and quit. There are some forums out there with recipes to make foods that taste more normal. Some give food reviews, etc. I personally can't stand Bob's all purpose gluten free flour due to the garbanzo beans (which I love normally), but it's the only thing I have found that I can't stand. But others like the stuff and can't taste the difference.

My wheat eating hubby and son prefer gluten free brownies by betty crocker. My parents and I LOVED the choc. cake by BC too. And my son and I couldn't stop eating the cookies and cookie dough by Betty Crocker. These were our holiday/birthday splurges.

I hear Pamela's makes great gluten free pancake mixes, etc. But I am on too tight a budget to try it. I use rice flour instead. I added frozen pumpkin to them and they were awesome, though a bit more dense :)

Salmon patties work with rice flour too, though it takes more!

It takes awhile to get the nerve to go Gluten Free and then start playing with recipes, etc.

For me my migraines had started coming back and this took it away. I still eat wheat either in accident and sometimes on purpose without too much effects as long as I don't do it too often. I have to judge how I feel first and during eating it, etc. BUT I never get away with eating alot of it and only when it is combined with cheese as that seems to keep my body from reacting too much for some odd reason. My weakness is pizza and lately quiche! Though I ate a ton of cookie dough too and my mouth ended up feeling raw for a week. I was HYPER sensitive to oats and wheat for 1-2 months. I couldn't take my vitamins (B and E) due to the tiny amounts in there that made my stomach burn instantly. I have probably been sensitive to it my whole life but due to little symptoms no one knew. But I think it is the reason my body is a wreck and I have lupus/RA/chronic fatigue symptoms I can't shake from years of it eating my body. Just a theory :) But back to the first month. Even Vit. E in chapstick set me off. My lips would burn and itch. Vit E can be made from wheat :) Some people stay this sensitive and I was afraid I would, but so far I no longer have to worry about everything I touch, much less eat. I hear it may get worse over time if I keep the wheat away, but since I have never tested via a Dr. who knows!

I have yet to try ANY Oats even gluten free versions as they still have a protein that can cause some Celiacs to react and it was Aveeno shampoo/conditioner that caused a never ending intense burning rash that kept me doped up on benedryl for 3 days so I am scared of any oats now :) But the aveeno is what made me think, hey maybe this allergy isn't all in my head.

So I recommend trying out some products, recipes, etc. until you feel comfortable jumping in completely. And don't beat yourself up if you slip up. It is very hard for me to keep it up just for myself. thankfully i don't have asthma and can deal with any digestive upset or fatigue if I do slip up, or forget. It takes work and time to get it down pat and LOTs of research - or try buying an up to date gluten free products book due to the fact gluten can be unlabed in some foods! Not sure who's book is best just know they are out there and probably worth all the money.



answers from Lincoln on

Yes, I would try it. Gluten-free is not an easy thing to do, but since your 6 year old does have a wheat allergy, sounds like its a necessity.
Many children improve in all sorts of areas when their diet is changed. Go for it!



answers from Atlanta on

Hi M.- I tried the gluten-free diet (somewhat of an elimination diet) for about 2 months and it made a tremendous difference in the way that I felt. I thought I had celiac disease because I had been having a lot of GI issues. I had a colonoscopy, which showed that nothing was wrong, but that was almost 2 years ago. I got some information from my personal trainer on an elimination diet to see if I could pin point what was bothering me. I took that information to a hollistic doctor and he suggested doing away with gluten/wheat. I must admit, the diet was a little tough in the beginning because you feel as if you can't eat anything! I had gotten to a point where I was almost afraid of food so I figured it was worth the try. I discovered a lot of great recipes online and in books. People are becoming more concious about gluten and I have noticed that several products/stores are moving towards gluten free items now. I would suggest speaking to a hollistic doctor and a nutritionalist for purposes of getting the right amount of what you and your kids need so not to deprive them of any nutrients. See if you can find one that takes insurance. You gradually get used to eating that way and you feel great. Most of the time when you cut gluten, you cut wheat too, which is what I did as well. Hope that helped. I am not an expert, but I did try it out and I felt 10 times better. I had an upper endoscopy a few months ago and there were no signs of food allergies or celiac disease. Ihave yet to be diagnosed with anything, but I would recommend the switch. I am not as strict as I was before, but very mindful and I do things in moderation now. Oh, and you will get good at reading labels lol Good luck!

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