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Taking First Steps

If you are ready to get started, you are in the right place.

Take one step at a time when beginning a new diet and you will be surprised that it is not as difficult as it seems.  Below are some great first steps for adding in nutrition and taking out food additives that cause many problems for children including hyperactivity, irritability, inattentiveness, aggression, and more.

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Autism is a whole-body disorder. The foods and substances that are fed to children directly impact what happens in their brain. In the child with autism, this gut-brain connection is important for parents to understand. Foods and nutrients can impact the symptoms of autism.

When implementing diet keep an open mind, imagine the many positive possibilities and take simple small steps to work toward full implementation. Here are ten simple, yet powerful, things you can do today to help your child feel better as you serve them food on a daily basis:

  1. Remove all artificial colors: Such as Red #40 and Yellow #5
  2. Remove artificial flavors: Vanillin, artificial strawberry, etc.
  3. Remove all preservatives: Specifically BHA, BHT and TBHQ
  4. Remove Monosodium Glutamate: MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, other hydrolyzed items, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract
  5. Remove Artificial Sweeteners
  6. Avoid Trans Fats: Partially hydrogenated oil found in many commercial mayonnaise, margarine, and peanut butter products, fast foods and fried food, and baked goods
  7. Serve organic fruits and vegetables: Avoid pesticides and chemicals
  8. Serve organic dairy products: Avoid hormones and antibiotics
  9. Serve grass-fed meats: Avoid hormones and antibiotics
  10. Limit sugar and avoid high fructose corn syrup use: select organic juice

After you become comfortable with the first ten simple healthy eating steps, the next step is often considering which autism diet to do.  A vast majority of families start with gluten-free and casein-free (dairy-free) diet.  You can learn more about the various diet options in Nourishing Hope for Autism as well as our Autism Diets page.

Begin to GFCF, create a list of your child’s favorite meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options your child enjoys now.  After you have assessed meals for artificial additives and used healthy ingredients, begin to see where you can eliminate gluten and casein with appropriate substitutes.   Gluten is found in certain grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale and most oats (unless they are certified gluten-free).  Casein is found in all dairy.  From here you can begin to find substitutes.  Included with our Learning Bundle (Nourishing Hope for Autism and Cooking to Heal) is a shopping list of GFCF and soy-free resources to help you.

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