Gluten Free Diet can help with asperger’s syndrome

One of our customers, Carol Gray, relates her experience of changing the diet of her son who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome to avoid gluten.

Carol relates her tale:

We have seen that diet can make a very big difference. Cutting out gluten (strictly) with our son (diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome) stopped the horrible extremes of his then behaviour – the tempers, anger, tantrums, accidents, suicidal and depressed actions, etc. They were gone within ONE WEEK. The house became calm and peaceful. He played happily with his sister. This continues to this day. He still has his smaller Asperger’s difficulties – but none of the above which made life awful for all of us.

Our Story

Our family have discovered, quite by accident, that certain foods can have a enormous, and extremely detrimental effect on your health and well-being, if your body is not able to deal with those foods.

We are a normal family – except that one of the family, John, has an inflammatory medical condition and our daughter, Amy, has a different medical condition. However, it is really concerning our son, Tom, now diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (on the autistic spectrum), that I am writing this for.

Early signs

In early 2006, Tom started to show very alarming and distressing behaviour at home. He was 7 years old. His unrest and distress got very bad, he would move his hands and feet constantlyand also frequent incidents of aggression with his sister were the start of it. Then came hot tempers, anger and aggression that would rise from nothing (at least nothing to the rest of us). He also wrote suicidal and similar notes. I started to fear for our daughter and the negative effect all this was having on her. And for Tom who had always before now been an extremely good boy, always very well behaved outside his tempers which were getting worse now.

We were desperate. We had to try to get some help to sort out what was wrong – I really do not know where we would be now if things had remained as they were then. In early 2007 Tom was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autistic spectrum.

The previous year another member of the family, John, had started a starch free diet. By avoiding starch John found that an inflammatory condition he had was relieved and he was pain free. So I was home-cooking starch-free food for John, and cooking normal food for the rest of us. It was a lot of work for me!

Then I saw the front cover of one of the National Autistic Society (NAS) magazines, entitled ‘Inflammation of the Brain’. I thought, why not try the starch-free diet for all the family? It would be so much easier for me cooking and baking the same food for everyone in the family. In addition, the starch free ‘diet’ was a very healthy diet, Although we were eating very healthily anyway, John, on his starch-free diet, was eating even healthier than we were – so it would certainly be a change for the better on that front too.

So, in early 2007, I started to give the whole family food that was completely (and strictly) starch free. And what a difference it made –

Within a week, we suddenly realised how calm and quiet the house was – there were no tempers or tantrums from Tom – and next to no arguments with his sister. The week had been beautifully calm and peaceful. Things seemed to be normal again! It was amazing – absolutely staggering and almost unbelievable.

After some months, I think, of continuing with the starch free diet (which Tom was not very keen on), we gradually realised that it was probably the gluten that was the problem – avoiding starch had avoided gluten automatically, since food with gluten invariably also has starch in it – so we changed our Tom’s diet to be gluten free.The new-found peaceful life continued – and continues still today, albeit still with its little ‘ups and downs’, as you’ll read below.

It is almost miraculous. It seems amazing to me that what we eat can have such a detrimental effect on our bodies and character. It is probably not surprising that people find it difficult to believe that diet can make such a difference – but I am writing to tell you that it is NOT a whole load of rubbish, as some will say. It is TRUE – at least for some, maybe many, people.

Maybe if medical bodies researched it, listened to and believed people who have found it to make such a difference as we have, and openly and actively encouraged others to try it – instead of remaining sceptical and silent about it and, when things get bad, pushing medication or just saying, “There’s no cure” – maybe then we’d be less astonished by the concept of some people reacting badly to certain food items.

Today Tom continues to be calm. He is relaxed and his extreme tempers and tantrums have gone. He no longer says or wtrites the awful suicidal and self depricating things. His need to keep moving has gone, all those incidents he had with his sister have gone. He is happy and content. TOTALLY DIFFERENT to how he was before. He still has Aspergers Syndrome and still has some of the little difficulties that go with it – but they are tiny compared to what he had before, and they can be helped and handled – they are nothing at all compared to what he (and we) had before. He is still lively – that is his personality – but is calm and relaxed too.

Every now and again, however, there are times when the old ‘symptoms’ start returning – sometimes they start so gradually that we don’t realise until the house gets much more what it used to be like – and then we have to think what Tom has eaten that is out of the usual. One time it was the shop-bought “Gluten Free Organic Cereal”, another time it was the shop-bought Organic Mixed Nuts, another time it was other shop-bought sweet things we were given that were supposed to be gluten-free. The latest incident is the pills he was taking, when he became, over a few weeks, gradually very much more ‘hyper’ in everything he did, which ended up being too much for everyone in the house. We stopped the pills – and within 24 hours Tom was again much his real self and after 3 days his ‘symptoms’ had more or less completely disappeared.

Whether he is reacting to some unlabelled gluten, or gluten contamination or maybe something else in the products above who knows – but, if there is a reaction – Take away the food that he is reacting to, and he becomes, once more, his real self.

So – we have to remain vigilant.

There is no comparison to life before “No gluten” – the change in him is real. No way has it been imagined or exaggerated. The intolerance effect has been so clearly demonstrated time and time again that it can in no way be justifiably challenged by anyone saying it is just a coincidence, as some will, no doubt, try.

I just wish more people were made aware of the effect certain food items such as gluten, casein (a protein in milk) and starch, amongst others, can have on people.

So many families are in the depths of despair with their child’s behaviour – and the child must be in even more deep despair – it is scandalous that families and children can go close to breaking point, yet they are still not told of the possibility that a food intolerance may be part, or the main cause, of a child’s poor behaviour.

————————

John’s Story

In 2006 John talked to a medical scientist who had researched into the inflammatory medical condition that John has.

The scientist told John that starch was the cause of his problem. The bacteria fed on the starch in the stomach, which then caused the inflammation which caused the pain.

So, after having over 20 years of pain and years of being on and off pills with their side-effects, etc., John decided there was no harm giving it a go, to see if eating no starch made a difference.

John began his starch free diet in June 2006. It was not difficult to do as I make most of the meals from scratch anyway. (A lot of processed food has added starch). It was almost unbelievable. After only 2 days John was free of his pain, the pain he’d had continually for at least 20 years and he could now move around so much more easily too. No medication was involved – the only thing that John had changed was to avoid all starch (strictly) in the food that he ate. That’s what, unquestionably, caused this unbelievable change in him.

No one ever told him

Despite having been regularly seen by specialists for over 20 years, no-one had ever told John of the piece of research detailing the effect of starch on this medical condition which meant he had continual pain and stiffness. No-one had told him that maybe the condition could possibly be slowed down or even halted just by avoiding eating starch. And no one had ever told us that Tom Asperger’s syndrome could be helped by avoiding gluten and casein.

Organic and Dairy-Free Biscuit Recipe – Apricot and Cinnamon

Thank you Susannah for sharing this recipe.

Dairy free sweet biscuits originally made for her 2 year son.

It also does not contain any transfats.

Ingredients

* 125g coconut oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 cup sugar (You could use less if trying to cut down; even with half a cup the biscuits would be sweet enough)
* 1 egg
* 1 cup of plain flour
* Half a mug of self-raising flour
* Half a mug of porridge oats
* Half a mug of chopped up soft dried apricots

Susannah used an average sized coffee mug for measuring.

Method

* Preheat oven to 175 degrees
* Cream the coconut oil with the sugar, egg and vanilla until quite light
* Add the flours, cinnamon and porridge oats until mixture starts to stick together
* Stir in the apricots
* Shape mixture into balls – each one should be about a tablespoon’s worth of mixture
* Place on baking tray/baking paper. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes
* Biscuits will still be quite soft when they first come out of the oven, but don’t worry, they will become crisp on the outside as they cool. They’ll stay soft and slightly moist on the inside.

This amount made about 25 biscuits.

Winter Soup

Serves 6 persons

  • 1kg/2lb 2oz pumpkin/butternut squash
  • 20g/¾oz margarine or olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove – crushed
  • 1 red onion
  • 900 ml/1½pts Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 300ml/10fl oz skimmed milk
  • pepper & salt to taste
  • garnish with chopped parsley or chives

Method :

Peel pumpkin or butternut squash, remove seeds. Chop flesh into small cubes.

Sauté onion & garlic in margarine (or olive oil) until soft.

Mix pumpkin or squash with onion for several minutes.

Add stock and bring to boil on medium heat. Add salt & pepper and bouquet garni.

Cover pan and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until mixture is cooked.

Taste and add more salt & pepper if required.

Discard bouquet garni and put mixture through food processor until required consistency. Pour into warm saucepan.

Finally, add milk to mixture and reheat slowly. Serve with finely chopped chives or parsley.The Winchester Diet © Julie Brown 2004

Tropical Fruit

This looks beautiful served in glass bowls – the flavour is great too. Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 150g Tropical Wholefoods mango slices
  • 100g Tropical Wholefoods papaya or apricot cut into 2cm pieces
  • 400ml orange juice
  • Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • Earl Grey tea bags
  • 2 tsp of clear honey
  • A packet of Amoretti biscuits
  • Tub of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt

    Method

    Pour orange & lime juice into pan. Add Earl Grey tea bags & bring to boil. Stir, remove from heat & add in fruit pieces. Leave for 30 mins. Remove tea bags, add honey. Simmer again for 15 min & then allow to cool over night.
    Crunch Amoretti biscuits to form a base, place compote on top, & then add a blob of creme fraiche or yoghurt on top.

  • © Tropical Wholefoods

    Tofutti Creamy Smooth Cheesecake

    ngredients:

  • 1 pound Tofutti Original Creamy Smooth
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces Egg Yellow/white mixed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp flour
    Base
  • 1 cup finely crushed digestive biscuit
  • 1 tbsp margarine

    Method

    Mix the crushed biscuits into melted margarine. Press into bottom of a 9″ baking tin. Bake for 10 minutes.

    Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the biscuit base in the tin.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 350F and then lower heat to 300F and bake for a further 30 minutes.

    Enjoy plain or add your favourite topping, such as finely ground chocolate chip cookie, fresh fruit, strawberries, mandarin segments, cranberries or banana.

  • Tofu Recipes

    Tofu is manufactured from soya beans. The beans are ground into an emulsion, then curdled with salt or a mild acid. The very mild flavour characteristic of tofu makes it an extremely versatile product which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Tofu contains more protein and less fat per one gram than any other food and is low in calories. It contains the eight essential amino acids and is easily digestible. Traditionally it is one of the first solid foods given to babies in China and Japan.

    Tofu is usually packed in water and should always be packed in water in the fridge. Firm tofu is best deep-fried, added to flans or quiches or eaten raw with soya sauce. The softer tofu can be used in sweeter cheese cakes or whips, or as a substitute for cottage cheese. To drain, place between two clean tea-towels and press down with a weight for about 30 minutes.

    Try some of these delicious recipes: Using Mori-Nu Silken Style Tofu in soft or firm available from Goodness Direct

    Deep fried Tofu

    Drain 445g (16oz) tofu well using the above method.
    Cut into 4 and dust with seasoned flour.
    Whisk 1-2 eggs and dip tofu in them.
    Drop into 55g (2oz) bread crumbs and turn.
    Drain and serve with hot tomato sauce.

    Tofu Dip

    Blend 300g (10oz)silken tofu with 30ml lemon juice, 15-30ml (1fl 0z) sunflower oil and 1 clove crushed garlic.
    Season to taste.
    Add ½ tsp each of finely ground yellow mustard seed and black peppercorns with 2 tsp shoyu.

    Millet and Tofu Patties

    Heat 1 tsp oil and gently fry 75g (3oz) millet grains until lightly brown.
    Pour on 425ml (¾ pint) boiling water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until millet is soft.
    Leave to cool.
    Blend millet, 150g (5oz) silken tofu and 2tbsp shoyu to a thick paste in a liquidiser .
    Season well and add 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley.
    Chill overnight in a fridge.

    Mushroom in Tofu…an interesting side salad

    Toss 350g (12oz) sliced button mushrooms in 1 tbsp oil with 1 clove of crushed garlic.
    Toast 50g (2oz) shelled walnuts under a hot grill.
    Chop roughly.
    Mix together 150g (5oz) silken tofu and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
    Season well.
    Stir into mushroom slices.
    Mix in 3-4 spring onions (sliced) and garnish with toasted walnuts.

    Tofu Tamale Pie…a quick satisfying casserole

    Chop 2 onions and 2 green peppers.
    Mince 3 cloves garlic.
    Sauté.
    Put in a casserole dish with 680g (24oz) tofu, 900g (32oz) tomatoes, 340g (12oz) sweet corn, 200ml (1/3 pint) water , 2 tbsp chilli powder, 2 tbsp soya sauce, 1 tsp cumin and 140g (5oz) maize flour.
    Bake at 350°F/180°C (gas mark 4) for 1 hour.

    Tofu burgers – simple to make, tasty to eat!

    Drain 900g (32oz) tofu then knead for a few minutes.
    Add 4 and a half tbsp grated carrot, 1 small onion, chopped, 2 tbsp sea salt and 2 tbsp raisins.
    Knead together to mix.
    Shape into burgers and deep fry.

    Tofu Guacamole…a delicious dip or salad dressing

    Blend 1 ripe avocado with 680g (24oz) tofu, 3 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tsp seasalt, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 chopped onion.

    Shallow Fried Tofu Steaks

    Slice 450g (16oz) tofu into soya sauce.
    Leave to soak on each side for a couple of minutes.
    Dip in flour and fry for a few minutes on each side until browned.

    Tofu and Tomato Flan

    Make up 225g (8oz) short crust pastry.
    Drain 170g (6oz) cooked chives, 1tbsp chopped parsley and 285g (10oz) tofu, well mashed.
    Season to taste.
    Roll out pastry and use to line a medium sized flan dish.
    Pour in tofu mix. Decorate with tomato rings and sprinkle with paprika.
    Bake at 400°F/200°C (gas mark 6) for 20-30 minutes.

    Tofu Casseroles

    Fry 2 sliced onions and 1 large red pepper, sliced with 1 clove crushed garlic.
    When soft, put half the mixture into a small oven proof dish.
    Arrange 100g (3.5oz) cooked sweet corn over the vegetable stock.
    Add soya sauce and seasoning and pour over the mixture.
    Sprinkle with 55g (2oz) pumpkin seeds.
    Bake at 180°C/350°F (gas mark 4) for 30 minutes.

    Tofu Curry

    Press 455g (16oz) tofu to dry.
    Cut into cubes and lightly fry, turning frequently.
    Stir into 575ml (1 pint) curry sauce.
    Heat through.
    Slice an apple and toss in lemon juice.
    Scatter over curry with sunflower seeds.

    Tofu Quiche

    Make 225g (8oz) pastry.
    Finely chop 170g (6oz) leeks.
    Steam until just tender (don’t over steam).
    Drain.
    Beat 2 large eggs with 170g (6oz) mashed tofu to make a smooth, creamy mix.
    Add seasoning and pinch of tarragon and basil. Line a medium size flan dish with pastry and bake blind at 400°F/200°C for 10 minutes.
    Put leeks in pastry case, top with tomato slices and pour on tofu mix.
    Reduce oven temperature 350°F/180°C (gas mark 4) and cook for 30 minutes more.

    And some tasty sweets:

    Tofu Cheesecake

    Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (gas mark 4).
    Melt 100g (3.5oz) butter, 1 tsp honey and 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar.
    Bring to the boil and stir in 225g (8oz) rolled oat flakes.
    Press the mix into a flan ring and bake for 15-20 minutes.
    To make the filling, blend together 300g (10oz) silken tofu, 100g (3.5oz) cottage cheese, 2 peeled bananas, 2 tbsp honey and the juice and rind of half a lemon.
    Pour into flan case.
    Chill for 24 hours before serving.

    Tofu Cream pie

    Mix together 225g (8oz) whole meal flour, pinch seasalt and one quarter tsp cinnamon.
    Work in 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp water and half tbsp of honey.
    Press into pie dish and bake at 350°F/180°C (gas mark 4) for 10 minutes.
    Blend together 455g (16oz) tofu with 4 tbsp water, 170g (6oz) honey, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 2.5 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp grated lemon rind and ¼ tsp sea salt.
    Pour into pastry case and continue cooking for 1 hour.

    Tofu Maple Fruit Whip

    Blend together 225g (8oz) tofu with 25g of fresh fruit (eg apricots or blackcurrants) and maple syrup.
    Spoon into sundae dishes and chill.
    Sprinkle with chopped nuts. (serves 2-3).

    Carob/ Chocolate Cake

    Blend 200g (8oz) honey or sugar, 200ml (1/3 pint) oil, 450g (16oz) tofu, 1 tsp vanilla essence.
    Add 300g (10oz) plain flour and 170g (6oz) carob or cocoa powder.
    Mix well.
    Bake in greased tin at 180°C/350°F (gas mark 4) for approx 30 minutes.

    Tofu and Vegetable Stew

    Tofu and white miso make this colourful, nourishing dish ideal for all seasons.

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients:

    1 pack tofu (fresh or smoked), cut into 2cm cubes
    onions, peeled and diced small
    2 turnips and 2 carrots, medium diced
    1 cup of cauliflower, cut into florets
    1/2 cup green peas
    bay leaves

    Seasonings:

    2 tbsp Clearspring Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 tbsp Clearspring Organic Sweet White Miso
    A pinch of sea salt
    Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

    Garnish:

    Your choice of freshly chopped basil or parsley

    Method:

    1. Sauté the onions with the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt in an open pot for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
    2. Add the tofu and the other vegetables (except green peas), add water to cover 1/3 of the volume of the vegetables and then the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    3. Boil the green peas with a small amount of water and a pinch of sea salt, for 5-7 minutes. Rinse under cold water to retain their bright colour then drain well.

    4. Dilute the white miso with some of the cooking liquid and add to the stew together with the green peas and black pepper (optional) to taste. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve garnished with your favourite bread.© Montse Bradford