Parents are turning to their child’s diet when treating Autism. Some believe that Autistic children have food sensitivity. They believe dairy, also known as Casein, is one of the foods to cause problems with Autistic children. Removing all dairy from your child’s diet can at first seem very difficult to do. Most kids love cheese and ice cream.
Most people following a dairy-free diet also remove Gluten from the diet. The ingredient in dairy that is thought to cause problems is Casein. Casein is a protein found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and some hotdogs. It is very important to read all labels on the food the child will be eating.
If you are going to try the dairy-free diet with your child you will need to make sure they are getting enough calcium. This can be done with vitamin supplements or milk substitutes. Many types of food are including calcium.
It is thought that the Casein reacts in the Autistic child’s body causing the unwanted behaviors. They think if the dairy products are removed some of the behaviors will leave. It should take a few months to know if the diet is working for your child. If you are considering removing Gluten from the diet too it is advised to try removing dairy first. Dairy is removed from the body much faster than Gluten. Gluten can take ten months or more to be completely removed from the body.
Following a Casein-free diet can be expensive. Most milk replacements cost double the price of regular milk. Not all stores will carry dairy-free products. They can usually be found at specialty or health food stores. You can find Casein-free products on the internet for mail orders. There are also lots of Casein-free recipes available online. To save on the cost of Casein-free foods some families find another family in their area using the same diet and share the cost of ingredients by buying in bulk. They then split the foods.
If you choose to try a Casein (dairy) free diet with your Autistic child remember to allow enough time to see if the diet is helping. It can be helpful to keep a journal while trying the diet. Keep a record of behaviors your Autistic child has. Then you can see if the number of behaviors is dropping. If you have not removed Gluten from your child’s diet you may want to consider this if your child is not improving from the dairy-free diet.
To find out if your Autistic child has a sensitivity to dairy (Casein) have them allergy tested. This will tell you if you should remove any other foods from the diet. If you are wanting more information about Casein-free diets visit your local library. You can find many books that deal with dairy-free living. The internet is also a great source of information.
A Casein-free diet might be helpful in treating your child’s Autism. It is not a cure for Autism though. It will only help treat some of the symptoms.