Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet is Not Working

10 Strategies for the GFCF Diet Plan for Autism and ADHD

Starting on a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet for your child with ADHD, autism, anxiety, or other neurological/special needs can result in profound improvements. Let’s start by defining what these things are. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. It can be found in many types of foods, dressings, sauces, and condiments. Casein is a protein found in milk and other dairy products. Similarly to gluten, casein protein can be found in many things, not just dairy products. In this article whether we say gluten-free and casein-free or gluten-free and dairy-free, we are generally talking about the same thing.

Implementing a gluten-free and dairy-free diet can potentially offer a wide range of benefits for your child. Improvements can be varied and include receptive and expressive language, enhanced cognition, better sleep cycles, less hyperactivity, improvements in constipation, and a decrease in disruptive behaviors. Consistently following a special therapeutic diet can offer immense benefits for your child.

In fact, one study found that over a 5 month period, participants on a gluten-free diet showed an improvement on a number of behavioural measures.[1] If you are interested in the science behind a GFCF diet, read my article on 7 science-based reasons a GFCF diet affects the brain and autism.

But, not every child responds the same way to dietary intervention and sometimes parents may wonder why a dairy-free and gluten-free diet is not working for their child.

Maybe you thought behavior would improve, or perhaps you were hoping for improvements in digestive symptoms, sleep, rashes, anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, or language.

Maybe the diet was working at first, or maybe you never saw the results you were hoping for.

I have heard these challenges in my practice over the last 20 years and I tell parents that there can be a number of things for them to consider. I will share my top 10 reasons why a GFCF diet may not be working and offer strategies that can help.

So if you’re asking the question:

Why is the GFCF diet not working? Or Why is the GFCF diet not working anymore?

… you’re in the right place.

Here are 10 strategies to help when the GFCF diet is not working:

1) Infractions

Firstly, let’s define what an infraction is. It simply means that some small – even minute – amount of gluten protein and/or casein protein is still getting into your child’s diet or can even be absorbed through their skin. This can be from many different sources including:

Treats or foods at Grandma or Grandpa’s house

Treats or foods at school or daycare

Cross-contamination is when a gluten-free and/or casein-free food is sliced, prepared, heated, fried, or placed with foods that contain gluten or casein

Personal care products like lotions or shampoos

Craft items like Play-Doh

If your child’s diet is not 100% gluten-free and dairy-free compliant, that can interfere with seeing positive results.

Success Strategy – Keep going. Review your child’s diet and personal care products or things like Play-Doh for gluten and dairy. There can be many names for both of these compounds so make sure you are checking everything. Also, it is important to communicate with well-meaning friends, relatives, and school/therapy personnel. To see the potential gains, you have to be strict so yes, even 1 bite can hurt the progress you are making. And since it takes a while for gluten and dairy to leave your child’s system, being consistent with avoidance – including cross-contamination – is key to success.

2) Salicylates Interfering With Symptom Improvement

Salicylates are naturally-occurring food chemicals in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods like herbs, spices, nuts, etc., and in artificial additives and food colorings. So even gluten-free and dairy-free foods can be high in salicylate and if your child is sensitive to these compounds, it could be masking the positive benefits from a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

High salicylate foods can cause red cheeks or ears (not related to heat), hyperactivity, irritability, bed wetting, aggression, sleep challenges, and other symptoms in some children.

One of the most common experiences I see with clients is that they do a GFCF diet and hope to see improvements in hyperactivity, behavior, and physical symptoms, but they don’t. So they figure “diet,” or a GFCF diet specifically, must not work for them. But instead of giving up, I encourage them to try also removing salicylates. Then, all of the reduction in symptoms and the gains they hoped to see suddenly happen!

It’s important not to give up on diet but to dig deeper!

Some foods that are high in salicylates include:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Red grapes
  • Most melons including watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Red bell pepper
  • Cucumbers and pickles
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato sauce
  • Zucchini (with peel on)
  • Cinnamon and spices
  • Almonds
  • Honey

Success Strategy – If you’ve implemented a gluten-free and dairy-free diet and are seeing things like the symptoms listed above or irritability, defiant behavior, aggression toward self or others and your child is eating many of the high salicylate foods listed above, it may be worth reducing or eliminating those foods as well and assessing how your child feels and behaves as a result. But, it doesn’t mean that the gluten-free and dairy-free diet is not working, it just may mean that there are additional compounds that are also presenting a challenge for your child’s body to process.

3) Additional Food Sensitivities Causing Inflammation

When a food causes inflammation in the body there can be many reactions both physically and behaviorally. Removing gluten and dairy is a great start in reducing inflammation because both of these are inflammatory foods. But, each person is unique and any food can be or become inflammatory, even those we consider “healthy.”

The most common food sensitivities (in addition to wheat and dairy) are:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Citrus
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar

So once again, if you have removed all exposure to gluten and dairy and still are not seeing the results that you want, exploring food sensitivities is a good next step.

Success Strategy – Again, stick with a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, but also eliminate specific foods that your child is reacting or sensitive to. And not all food sensitivities are visible like a rash. Sometimes they cause underlying inflammation in the system that you can’t see on the outside, but that affect the brain and get in the way of you seeing improvements.

4) Food Additives

Chemicals and additives in foods can trigger behavioral issues that can mask the benefits seen from a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. As mentioned above, sometimes the issue is related to salicylates – as in the case of artificial colors – or it can be because of another food compound. Artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives are three very problematic food additives for behavior. Studies show artificial colors and preservatives cause hyperactivity in children.[2]

Another problematic food additive is MSG and related substances high in glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that causes a feeling of excitability and hyperactivity, as well as anxiety, aggression, and other stimulatory sensations – and can be found in food. It is not only found in MSG-type additives such as monosodium glutamate and autolyzed yeast extract, but also in foods naturally high in free glutamate, such as soy sauce, parmesan cheese, and marmite. Glutamate is often found in similar foods as amine foods such as sauerkrauts and bone broths.

These food additives can cause a lot of behavior issues that can mask any beneficial results you were hoping for with the GFCF diet.

Success Strategy – Cooking a healthy gluten-free and dairy-free diet with as many home-cooked foods as possible is the easiest way to overcome this possible challenge. Reading food labels and knowing exactly what is in the foods your child is eating is essential. And eliminating food colors, preservatives, and chemicals is a tremendous step towards the positive improvements you are hoping to see.

5) Chemicals Around The Home

We don’t often think of chemicals in our home interfering with a GFCF diet, because we are not eating these chemicals. However, when we are exposed to them through breathing them in or putting them on our body, they can have detrimental effects.

Synthetic fragrances found in air “fresheners,” candles, fabric softeners, and body care products can also contain salicylates as well as dozens of chemicals that can negatively affect mood, behavior, and brain function. There are many chemicals to be careful of including cleaning products, detergents, antibacterial soaps, flea treatments, and more.

With some of these chemicals you might see immediate reactions that interfere with diet results; whereas, with others there can be long term damage that you might not notice right away.

Success Strategy – Avoid chemicals and choose natural options. Pay attention to any chemicals you use in your home and seek out more natural products. Additionally, only put natural body care products on your skin or your child’s skin. And be careful of anything you breathe in that could negatively affect your family.

6) Grains Are Irritating The Gut

Again, the issue of inflammation can be a big one and can mask many of the benefits of a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. Grains and starches can be difficult to digest, especially for some people, such as those with gastrointestinal disorders and microbiome imbalance and can cause irritation – and even inflammation – of the gut, impacting GI symptoms and the microbiome. The gut and brain are closely tied so when the gut is irritated, the brain is often negatively impacted.

If your child is still experiencing digestive symptoms after doing a diet that removes gluten, casein, soy, and any personal sensitivities, a grain-free diet trial may be beneficial. Working with an integrative physician knowledgeable about underlying issues is important. Through them you can do specialized testing that can give you much information on whether grains may be presenting a challenge for your child. Leaky gut, candida overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth, and other gut imbalances can indicate a benefit to following a grain-free diet.

Success Strategy – The strategy here would be to transition from a gluten-free and dairy-free diet to also exclude grains. Most grain-free diets such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS diet, or Paleo also remove starches like potatoes which can be helpful. Many gluten-free products use rice flour, millet, quinoa, or potato as common ingredients. If your child suffers from gut issues, those grains and starches break down into sugars which can feed those imbalances in the gut. So, by removing grains and starches, you remove the food source for the pathogenic bacteria and fungus, and improve both the gut and the brain.

7) Microbiome Imbalance / Infections

As we discussed briefly in the section on grains, when your child is experiencing gut issues like leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalanced bacteria), and gut pathogens, because of the gut-brain connection, it can have a profound impact on your child and their ability to function. While a gluten-free and dairy-free diet is likely helpful, it can be hard to see the effects while the body is also dealing with this other issue.

As we mentioned in diet strategy #6, grain-free and starch-free diets can be helpful with dysbiosis.

Another strategy is a low FODMAPs diet. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that bacteria feed on and can create gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

Additionally, a low oxalate diet can be helpful with dysbiosis, as high oxalates damage the microbiome. We’ll talk more about this diet strategy in #10.

Sometimes, more than one diet is implemented and in other times people switch to a new diet. But in a vast majority of situations, gluten-free and casein-free are still recommended.

Success Strategy – The strategy here would be to discuss any medical issues with your physician. From a dietary perspective, you can support the good, healthy gut bacteria by eating a clean, whole foods diet and adding in probiotic rich foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade dairy-free yogurt, kombucha are just a few things that can be rich in probiotics and can be beneficial to add to the diet,while you consider which therapeutic diet or principles might help.

8) Sugar

Sugar can be inflammatory, cause behavioral reactions, and even deplete vital minerals. Sugar can create problems in the body which could be interfering with the success of your gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

Since sugar is inflammatory, it can cause digestive and systemic inflammation that can lead to a worsening of symptoms. Sugar can also negatively impact behavior and ADHD, so a high sugar diet can mask improvements or “counteract” benefits of a GFCF diet.

Furthermore, sugar is another compound that can make gut dysbiosis worse. Since the pathogenic organisms feed off of sugar, a diet high in sugar is going to contribute to the growth of those bugs. This can cause behavioral and learning issues which can interfere with the benefits seen from a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

In fact, I wrote a blog on avoiding sugar.

When undertaking a nutritional intervention for your child with autism, it is important to stick to whole, unprocessed, fresh, and organic foods whenever possible.

Success Strategy – The obvious thing is to reduce or eliminate sugar. This can be done in a few ways. There are other sweeteners which can be enjoyed like coconut sugar that can make the switch easier. You can simply switch out regular white sugar for coconut sugar and slowly begin reducing from there. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, but keep in mind it is still sugar and has negative properties like feeding yeast, so use it sparingly. All natural fruit can also be a good alternative to sugar. You can use things like bananas to sweeten smoothies and even muffins. Other sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit can be a wonderful alternative to sugar without the negative health effects of artificial sweeteners. Xylitol and erythritol are other options although some people have GI issues with these forms so start slow.

9) Inadequate Nutrition

Poor quality food and nutrient deficiency can play a role in behavioral issues, attention or focus, sleep, even things like constipation! So you can see how having foods with low nutritional quality in your child’s diet can cause or exacerbate issues. This goes for gluten-free and dairy-free foods too.

Processed foods are not typically nutrient dense and often have fillers, preservatives, and other chemicals. So when you transition to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, try and stick to whole foods, or you could be either continuing the same problems or even creating new ones with these foods.

Success Strategy – Eat whole foods and cook from scratch! Once you determine what your child will/will not eat, batch cooking and doubling (or even tripling!) a recipe to eat later is a valuable tip. Muffins, meats, soups, and casseroles can all be stored in the freezer to be reheated for eating later. This allows you to maximize your time and still eat healthy, home made foods. If you do need to bring in some processed foods, review those ingredient labels and try and bolster your child’s diet with additional fresh vegetables and fruits in the way of smoothies or other creative ways to get them in. You can continue to slowly reduce the number of processed foods as you further hone your child’s diet.

10) Additional Food Compounds Irritating The Gut Or Body

Inflammation can occur even on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, depending on your child’s unique biochemistry. Things like oxalates, FODMAPs, histamine, and glutamate can be problematic for some individuals. Oxalates are inflammatory molecules that inhibit mineral absorption, cause dysbiosis, inflame the gut, and cause oxidative stress and pain. As mentioned above, FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that bacteria feed on and can create gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, and constipation. This is obviously no fun! Histamine is another culprit of inflammation. It is often thought of related to seasonal allergies and itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing. But foods that are high in or liberate histamine can cause other inflammatory issues on the inside of the body as well. And, if your child is also exposed to pollen or other environmental allergies, their “bucket” for histamine may overflow. Inflammation can worsen symptoms and impede the results of your GFCF diet.

Success Strategy – While a gluten-free and dairy-free diet is a great foundation, removing additional foods or food compounds may also be necessary to get the results you are seeking for your child. Understanding your child’s specific dietary needs is important in determining the right personalized nutrition intervention for them. So rather than abandoning dietary intervention, it may be a case of fine-tuning. For example, A low oxalate diet can reduce harmful oxalate levels thereby reducing inflammation and pain. But, it can also be helpful with dysbiosis, as high oxalates damage the microbiome. Removing FODMAPs can reduce GI distress. Reducing high histamine foods during a high pollen time may reduce rashes or tummy aches.

To summarize, here are the 10 strategies to help when the GFCF diet is not working.

Personalized Nutrition for Success

The big takeaway point here is to not give up. A gluten-free and dairy-free diet is a great place to start for your child with autism. And many families see tremendous improvement from just that. But, if your child does not, there may be other factors at play or additional foods or food compounds that need to be removed as well.

And this is where taking your child’s unique needs into account is the key. What I’ve learned after working with thousands of families is that for a diet to be most successful, it needs to be tailored to the individual needs of each person. Personalized nutrition, or BioIndividual Nutrition as I call it, is about taking the specific diet principles your child needs and creating the personalized therapeutic diet plan that’s right for them.

If you would like step-by-step guidance, my Nourishing Hope for Healing Kids program walks you through implementing a healthy gluten-free and dairy-free diet but also teaches you how to figure out what additional special therapeutic diet(s) your child may benefit from and how to create a personalized nutrition plan that’s right for you. You’ll also have a community of families just like yours to connect with.

Helping Children with Anxiety Through Personalized Nutrition and Therapeutic Diets

An astounding 31% of children have anxiety (and 46% of adults!) To say this is a problem would be an understatement in my opinion.

Symptoms of anxiety can be debilitating and can negatively impact the child’s home life, school performance, friendships, and ability to function at all in certain circumstances.

If you have a child with anxiety, chances are you’ve noticed your child often displays physical and behavioral signs such as restlessness, recurring headaches, withdrawing from family, or refusing to go to school.

In addition to anxiety being common in children, anxiety is particularly high in children with ADHD and autism. Researchers found that 41% of children with ADHD had anxiety and/or depression. [1] According to a research paper published in Neuropsychiatry, “up to 80% of children with ASDs experience clinically significant anxiety, with high comorbidity rates for social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety disorder (SAD) (30, 35, 37 and 38%, respectively).” [2]

Children with ADHD and autism often find the uncertainty of their environment very stressful. Some have sensory processing disorders that can add to the problem. Shopping centers, crowds, cramped spaces, bright or fluorescent lighting, and loud noises, can overwhelm their system. This can push them into “fight or flight.” Everyday activities such as going to school and shopping can cause anxiety.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help children and individuals with anxiety. Understanding what factors contribute to anxiety for the individual can help. One of the biggest underlying factors is biochemistry. And since food and nutrition – both good and poor – can affect biochemistry, addressing diet and nutrition can really help.

Food, Nutrients, and Biochemical Factors in Anxiety

Certainly lifestyle strategies such as stress reduction and mindfulness can help people with anxiety, it’s still important to get to the root causes or contributing factors. Understanding and addressing the biochemical roots affecting anxiety help support your children from the inside out.

1) Food reactions can contribute to anxiety

As a nutritionist, I have worked with children with ADHD and autism for 20 years and I have both seen food cause (and alleviate) symptoms of anxiety. What foods affect anxiety varies based on their underlying biochemistry and personalized nutrition needs.

Food sensitivities: Inflammation, as we’ll discuss further in #2, is a common underlying factor in anxiety. And food sensitivities are a huge cause of anxiety including gluten, casein (the protein in dairy products), soy and eggs. When foods are not tolerated, they can create inflammation that can trigger anxiety.

Glutamate: Glutamate is excitatory and can stimulate the nervous system. In other words, foods containing glutamate, such as soy products, corn starch, corn syrup, and products containing carrageenan can cause anxiety.

Histamine: Foods containing a large amount of histamine and those that can trigger a release of histamine can also cause inflammation and anxiety. Histamine-rich foods include aged or fermented foods, cured meats, canned or smoked seafood, yogurt, citrus fruits, most berries, spinach, tomatoes and tomato-containing products, spices, artificial food colors, and preservatives.

Salicylates: In addition to glutamate and histamine, salicylates can also cause anxiety and a host of neurological and behavioral challenges. Examples of salicylate-rich foods include grapes, berries, apples, green bell peppers, canned mushrooms, red chili, chicory, apricots, herbs, and spices. Almonds and peanuts are also rich in salicylates.

Oxalates: Furthermore, oxalates can also not only trigger inflammation but also are known to cause anxiety.

Grains: For people with gut inflammation, grains can be particularly problematic. And once the gut is chronically inflamed, it can cause systemic inflammation.

Sugar: Sugar can contribute to anxiety. For example, poorly regulated blood sugar is a factor in anxiety, and a high sugar diet over time can lead to blood sugar dysregulation. When blood sugar drops too low, anxiety can be a symptom. Also a high sugar diet is often associated with low nutrient intake and depletion of nutrients, which can also affect mood.

2) Chronic inflammation in anxiety

Chronic systemic inflammation is an underlying factor in anxiety conditions. Inflammation is also common in ADHD, autism, depression and most other neurological conditions, as well as chronic disease.

During an inflammatory reaction, chemicals known as cytokines are produced by the body – and research shows that these cytokines can cause many neurological (and physical) symptoms including anxiety [3, 4].

Anything that triggers inflammation, such as allergens, inflammatory foods, and chemicals, can cause or exacerbate anxiety.

3) Leaky gut can exacerbate anxiety

Leaky gut is a condition where the tight junctions in the intestinal lining are damaged. This creates an environment where bacteria, fragments of bacteria, and even proteins from foods that are not fully digested can “leak” into the bloodstream. It is also known as intestinal permeability. This mechanism can trigger the immune system and create systemic inflammation as the immune system becomes hyper-stimulated.

So if you are asking yourself how what goes on in the gut can impact what happens in the brain, and especially conditions like anxiety, the answer is “quite a bit!” The gut-brain axis is the mechanism by which the gut and brain communicate with one another. Inflammatory cytokines can be formed as a result of leaky gut and they can cross the blood brain barrier. When that happens, the cytokines can cause a whole host of symptoms which include anxiety, depression, headaches, and irritability [5, 6, 7].

In addition to increased inflammation, pathogens also thrive in a leaky gut. These pathogens can compound issues related to mood and increase anxiety and they also compete with good bacteria in our microbiome – which can help reduce anxiety.

Poor digestive function usually occurs with leaky gut and this results in impaired absorption of critical nutrients and amino acids that the body and brain need for good mental health and reduced anxiety.

4) Decreased methylation in anxiety

Poor methylation plays an important role in anxiety and depression and is common in ADHD, and autism. Children with ADHD and autism are at greater risk of reduced methylation. Methylation is a biochemical pathway important for many essential processes of the body. For example, methylation is essential for the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and anxiety such as serotonin and dopamine. To summarize, reduced methylation can cause decreased levels of serotonin (and dopamine) which can lead to cognitive and behavioral challenges such as anxiety.

5) Dopamine imbalances and anxiety

An important neurotransmitter involved in social interaction and reward behaviors is dopamine. Dopamine has been studied in regards to anxiety in autism [8] and can also be imbalanced in ADHD. Under normal circumstances, the dopamine transporter is able to clear excess dopamine from the synapse. A synapse is a gap where nerve cells can send impulses to other nerves via neurotransmitters. Genetic variations in autism disrupt this transporter.

In addition, pathogenic bacteria can contribute to high dopamine and therefore increased anxiety. One toxin, HPHPA which stands for 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic acid, is produced by Clostridia bacteria in the gut and can be a causal factor for autism. For ABC News Dr. James Greenblatt explains that “HPHPA causes deactivation of an enzyme [Dopamine Beta-Hydroxylase] so that dopamine cannot be converted to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.’’ This inability to convert dopamine effectively can lead to oxidative stress and a depletion of glutathione. Glutathione is a major antioxidant key in the detoxification process. [9] This reduced detoxification can also worsen anxiety.

6) Excess glutamate, hyperactivity, and anxiety

Another important neurotransmitter linked to anxiety is glutamate. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter that has been studied in regards to ADHD and autism. [10] Some children, particularly those with autism, can be deficient in an enzyme (glutamic acid decarboxylase) that breaks down glutamate and turns it into GABA. GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that produces a calming effect through inhibition of nerve transmission in the brain. [11, 12]

In addition to being made in the body, glutamate can come from the foods we eat, either from food additives in packaged food or naturally in certain foods that are fermented and processed. Many of these food additives are derivatives of glutamate (think MSG) including autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, even “natural flavors.” They can cause significant reactions, including anxiety, for sensitive individuals. Reading ingredient labels is important, especially for those who react poorly to glutamate.

7) Pyroluria, nutrient deficiencies, and anxiety

Another common biochemical factor in anxiety is a condition called pyroluria, also known as pyrrole disorder. There can be a genetic component to pyroluria and it can be induced by stress. People with pyroluria over-produce pyrrole which is a by-product of hemoglobin synthesis. This results in depletion of vitamin B6 and zinc because the excess pyrrole to bind to these nutrients. Vitamin B6 and zinc are two key nutrients linked to anxiety, sleep issues, reduced cognitive function, and problems concentrating when deficient. Individuals with ADHD, anxiety, autism, and other neurological conditions have an increased rate of pyroluria, for some conditions the rates of pyroluria are over 40%. [13]

Diet and Nutrition Considerations

There are a number of diet and nutrition strategies that help reduce anxiety. The key is to address the underlying factors that are contributing to the individual’s anxiety and this requires a personalized nutrition approach, or what I call BioIndividual Nutrition® (and teach practitioners in my professional training program). A BioIndividual Nutrition and therapeutic diet approach takes into account a person’s unique biochemistry, genetics, and environmental factors to determine the right nutritional intervention.

Allergen-free and elimination diet

As I mentioned above, food allergies and sensitivities are common causes of inflammation. An allergen-free diet can help. Depending on your needs, a gluten-free, casein-free and soy-free diet, as well as egg-free, nut-free, and corn-free, or the elimination diet may be helpful to reduce anxiety if your body is reacting to food allergies and sensitivities.

Grain-free diets

In addition to gluten-free, diets that support the reduction of inflammation in the GI tract such as grain-free and starch-free diets can be very helpful to improve anxiety. The Paleo diet, as well as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and GAPS diet are great grain-free diet options.

Low salicylate diet

In addition to anxiety, salicylates can cause hyperactivity, irritability, aggression, red cheeks and ears, and sensory sensitivity. Salicylates are found in berries, grapes, raisins, apples, juice, and oranges. A low salicylate diet can help with anxiety along with many behavioral and physical symptoms.

Special therapeutic diets

Additionally, when appropriate, the following special therapeutic diets can help anxiety, for individuals where underlying biochemistry may be affected or depleted: low glutamate diet, low histamine diet, or a low oxalate diet.

Additional meal strategies

For parents and caregivers looking to support a child with anxiety, here are some additional suggestions.

  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Including healthy protein and fats with every meal helps to stabilize blood sugar. These can include but are not limited to: grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, poultry that is pasture-raised, organic eggs, grass-fed butter, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter or clarified ghee if tolerated. It is also important to consume as many deep colored vegetables as possible for their nutrient density.
  • Avoiding foods that can cause or exacerbate inflammation like gluten and other foods I have mentioned above can help as well. Industrial seed oils such as cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, and canola should be avoided.
  • Many additives in foods can also cause or make anxiety worse. Avoiding artificial sweeteners, artificial nitrites and sulfites, food dyes, potassium bromate, BHA/BHT, propylene glycol, propyl gallate, MSG, disodium inosinate and guanylate can be helpful.
  • Supporting the good gut bacteria through probiotic-rich foods can be beneficial as well. However, if your child is sensitive to glutamate and/or amines, watch for any negative reactions as those sensitive can see increased anxiety as a result.
  • Create the optimal diet right for your child based on their bioindividual needs. There is no one-size-fits-all diet and determining what your child needs is key to reducing anxiety.

Proper supplementation

Adequate nutrition is important to make sure the body can make the neurotransmitters it needs, keep inflammation under control, and support the brain.

A multivitamin/mineral formula and essential fatty acids (as I discuss in my Nourishing Hope for Healing Kids program) are a great place to start.

Proper nutrients can play a pivotal role in reducing certain symptoms and behaviors. In fact, I was part of a 12-month study on nutritional and dietary intervention in autism. [14] Along with a healthy gluten, casein, and soy free diet, the study also included a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral formula and essential fatty acid supplement. The study found, “ improvements in aberrant behaviors (ABC—Irritability, Lethargy/Social Withdrawal, Stereotypy, and Hyperactivity), sensory processing (SSP), and GI symptoms (6-GSI, PGI-2, ATEC), and Overall (PGI-2).”

By the end of the study, parents reported a statistically significant improvements in:

  • Mood/happiness
  • Anxiety
  • Sociability
  • Attention focus
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tantrums
  • Aggression

Understanding someone’s underlying biochemistry and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) can help determine proper supplementation needs. For example: folate and B12 are important for methylation; B6, zinc, magnesium to support transsulfuration and pyroluria, and magnesium for its calming effects.

No one wants to see their child struggle, especially with something as debilitating as anxiety. There are things you can do, starting today, that can make a profound improvement. Dietary and nutritional intervention is something that families can implement, with the right guidance and support. If you are ready to get started and need a step-by-step program, I encourage you to enroll in my Nourishing Hope for Healing Kids program where you get everything you need to create the best diet for your child.

Because of the complexity of anxiety and the high rate of co-morbid conditions such as clostridia infection or PANDAs, two infectious conditions that can cause increased anxiety, or an auto-immune condition, always work with your doctor to assess for any underlying medical issues.

18 Years: ONE Empowering Idea for ADHD & Autism

MartinJulie_December2019This Spring marks the anniversary of ONE Empowering Idea for ADHD & Autism that’s helped countless children and families worldwide. This ONE idea, Nourishing Hope – giving specialized attention to the food and nutrition children receive to help them improve – is fueled by scientific inquiry and personal passion, and drives an evolution of thought regarding the epidemic of childhood disorders.

Nourishing Hope has become a global movement of like-minded people sharing a message of hope and healing for our children and families. Instead of simple “awareness” that autism and ADHD exists or that prevalence of increases, we aim to empower those affected with known avenues of support, helpful actions, and simple truths. 

Read about the journey below – it began with Julie’s passionate curiosity and now engages parents and health professionals around the world. ONE thing is clear – that when families embrace the concept and practice of nourishing hope – things improve. And, often for the entire family. When you behave in alignment with what you believe, the likelihood of sustaining the behavior and seeing desired results goes up immeasurably (that’s hard science).

NutrientsCoverAndPaperBecause hundreds of scientific studies identify food-related symptoms and behaviors in children with ADHD, Autism and more, and thousands of parents from around the world report that diet changes equate to measurable improvements in health, cognition, and behavior – one could argue that dietary intervention is THE most scientifically sound, proven, and safe approach to helping.

In 2018, Julie/Nourishing Hope, published “gold-standard” scientific research that validates the straightforward approach she’s been sharing. Read Julie’s blog where she explains all about “Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder—A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trial,  and how nourishing hope can help you too. No further evidence is required to validate that going from NOT being calculated about Food and Nutrition intake, TO being calculated, is worthwhile.

Every person benefits from nourishing hope!

What is nourishing hope?Pencil-Girl_ONLY_200px

For those new to Nourishing Hope/Julie (and Martin) Matthews, here’s some of the back story of nourishing hope came to be.

As many recall, autism rocked the world in the Spring of 2005, when rates were skyrocketing and David Kirby published the book “Evidence of Harm,” a global wake up call that stirred great controversy and action. While some people became polarized in “debate” over varied facets of causation, others focused on autism recovery and the actuality that ASD is a full-body disorder, and that improved health, learning, and behavior was possible. That’s where Julie Matthews’ work fit in; she’d been studying/practicing nutrition and autism since 2001, and knew unquestionably that diet and nutrition could influence the trajectory of autism.

As a couple, choosing to be in life and “business” together, we committed to teaching and impacting others with the greatest of integrity. Knowing that autism was fraught with controversy, we opted to focus on sound science and common sense.

Julies_OriginalAutismPaperBy 2005 we’d distributed several hundred copies of Julie’s original research paper, titled: Autism: Biochemical Influences, Environmental concerns, Nutrition Intervention. Families and clients were so thankful that Julie had shared this information and provided such thought-out and researched guidance. The information was changing lives and we quickly learned it was powerful.

To reach more people we decided to turn the research paper into a book. But we felt that this knowledge tool required a powerful phrase to convey its value. So we created an intentional visioning session to give a power name to Julie’s interest and work. We wanted to convey:

  • Hope is real – recovery from autism is possible!
  • Attention to food/nutrition matters!
  • Abundant science supports doing this!
  • Just take action – it’s always worth it!

And with those intentions; through meditation, linguistic iterations, and thesaurus consultations – Julie blurted out “nourishing hope” – and our new world began!

The phrase summed up the “take away” of Julie’s research while simultaneously inspiring the most prudent recommendation. We know that…

  1. Autism (and related) is a full body disorder, varied systems and biochemistry are affected, and food and nutrition influence these systems, and…
  2. that specialized attention to the food and nutrition these children receive is warranted and beneficial. That’s ONE Empowering Idea!

nourishinghope_logoFrom that day, Julie and I (Martin, her husband and business partner) became dedicated to families of children with autism and other special needs. We support a global message of hope and have become the voice of children and families that understand the influence of food and nutrition upon the disorder of autism. Taking charge has helped their children improve and demonstrate potential that was previously unrevealed.

Whether choosing to omit using an artificially colored reinforcement treat, or following a full-on GFCF diet and making your own sauerkraut (or anywhere in between) – you are nourishing hope! And why not? Choosing food and nutrition strategically is a way of thinking and behaving that makes sense. Your actions aim to aid the body and improve its health and systemic functioning.

And for autism and related disorders, overwhelmingly, we know that scientific inquiry points us in the direction of strategic consideration of the food and nutrition people receive (i.e., following some specialized and personalized diet).

Are you nourishing hope?

18 Years of Empowering Families


NH_BookCover_IPPYIn the fall of 2005, after years in practice, at the Long Beach Defeat Autism Now! Conference, Julie gave their Director Maureen McDonnell a copy of newly titled “Nourishing Hope.” Things instantly clicked between Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) and Nourishing Hope, as Julie brought deep science and knowledge of the instrumental role of nutrition to the conversation about “autism diets.” Julie/Nourishing Hope championed the “diet/nutrition” message for their conferences for several years, also introducing live Cooking To Heal learning events at DAN! Conferences. See her introduction to a thousand parents here. Julie also spoke at Autism One, NAA, USAAA, Autism Society, and in Canada with Autism Today, and Australia with the Mindd Foundation several times. She and Martin launched their own live events too, holding one-day autism nutrition education workshops and creating Autism: Hope in Action conferences. Julie has shared the nourishing hope message in more than 60 cities around the world.

AF_RocketScienceInfJulie/Nourishing Hope has published scientifically referenced articles with the Autism File Magazine, the Price-Pottenger Foundation, and multiple other media sources. She’s appeared on countless radio programs, podcasts, television news programs, and even hosted her own live broadcast radio program in San Francisco for nine years. She’s been interviewed for documentaries, invited to expert panel discussions, contributed to major university research, and is routinely invited to speak at major conferences on autism, mental health, and beyond. Julie sits on several scientific advisory boards, championing the science and application of specialized diet and nutrition. She has motivated audiences of 15 to 1500.

In 2009, “Nourishing Hope for Autism” won an IPPY Award for “Most Progressive Health Book,” (press release here) and in 2013 Julie was honored by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals for her contribution to the field of holistic nutrition science.

In 2014, Julie/Nourishing Hope expanded efforts by launching advanced training in BioIndividual Nutrition for healthcare professionals. Though some nutritionists tout a singular dietary approach (diet dogma), Julie has always expressed that there is no one-size-fits-all diet – that customizing one’s diet and nutrition approach is essential. Julie directed her years of research and demonstrated methodology into a training course for leading edge professionals to teach the best of what she has learned. The mission of the BioIndividual Nutrition Institute is to establish the legitimacy of patient specific diet and nutrition protocols for the prevention and healing of all chronic health conditions. Julie has certified dozens of nutritionists, dietitians, integrative and functional medicine practitioners through her BioIndividual Nutrition program,

In 2018, “Julie Matthews – Nourishing Hope” appears alongside respected scientific researchers as “gold standard” evidence in published that supports the practice of improved diet and nutrition for autism (and much more!). You can read that study for free right here.

For nearly two decades, Nourishing Hope has been focused on informing and empowering families and clinicians that:

  • Scientific inquiry supports giving strategic attention to improved diet and nutrition for ADHD, Autism, and more.
  • Dietary improvements benefit every child
  • Cooking, shopping, etc.. is doable under nearly every circumstance

Nourishing Hope has touched families in 120 countries – tens of thousands have benefited by embracing this process. The concept and practice is universal. No matter the nation, culture, or perceived limitation, we routinely hear positive accounts of children improving by nourishing hope.

Today, the world knows more about the very things “Nourishing Hope” comprised years ago: hundreds of new studies being published corroborate Julie’s initial research including:

  • Influence of our environment
  • Common physiological, biochemical, and metabolic concerns
  • Benefit of diet/nutrition improvements

Are you nourishing hope?

Side note about Julie Matthews

10_Years_Of_Hope2Since her professional nutrition career began in 2002, 2020 marks a total of eighteen years that Julie’s been focused on helping children and families. Her knowledge and know-how was earned through YEARS of research/clinical experience and countless Saturdays as an allergen-free alchemist (i.e. chef) – in the kitchen, grocery store, or library, learning to “make it work” for even her most challenging clients.

Since the beginning, Julie has concurrently been focused on Nutrition for Healthy Pregnancy and Baby, putting all of her research, knowledge, and experience into teaching prevention/promoting health. And she’s practiced what she teaches – becoming pregnant at age 39 and delivering her healthy baby girl safe at home, with midwife, doula, and husband (me!) assisting.

Julie_taiko_cupertinoFew of you know that Julie is also an accomplished Fire Poi dancer – which is all about movement and flow – and can be done with lights or fire! Roller skater too! And she’s a Taiko performer, banging on huge Japanese drums. Her range of interests, passions, and talents is vast – stemming from I believe, a fundamental love of life, people, and happiness. As her husband, life companion, and business partner I cherish every day with her and remain committed to co-creating, sharing, and impacting the world together.

Do you believe that food and nutrition matter for autism? Have you experienced the influence of making a diet change? Are you nourishing hope?  Share your comments below.

Author: Martin Matthews

Arizona State University Study Proves That Nutrition And Dietary Intervention Effective At Improving Autism

Contrary to historical medical beliefs and public education and perception, new controlled twelve-month study shows that diet and nutritional intervention significantly improves the symptoms, cognition, digestive health, and behavior in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

San Francisco, CA – May 30, 2018 – Nourishing Hope, a world leading authority on nutrition and dietary intervention for the healing of Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, today announced that a recent study by Dr. James Adams, Director of the Autism/Asperger’s Research Program at Arizona State University, co-authored by Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope, definitively proves that nutrition and dietary intervention do, in fact, significantly reduce the symptoms and behaviors associated with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dr. Adams’ study, published in a peer-reviewed journal, Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder (download study here), A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trialshows a direct and irrefutable correlation between nutrition and improvements in autism symptoms. Dr. Adams has published dozens of research papers over 15 years of investigating nutrition and autism, showing similar outcomes.

“The positive results of this study confirm that a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention is proven and effective in improving non-verbal IQ, Autism behaviors, developmental age, and other symptoms in most individuals with ASD,” says Dr. Adams. “For 16 years Nourishing Hope has provided scientifically based nutrition strategies that help children and adults with autism around the world. Now, their founder Julie Matthews has contributed to this “gold standard” research study that substantiates their approach.”

The comprehensive nutrition approach significantly improved:

  • Cognitive function, 6.7 point increase in IQ
  • Developmental age increased by 18 months in the treatment group vs. 4 months in the non-treatment group
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Speech, sociability, irritability, hyperactivity, and more

Matthews adds, “The study also shows that no matter the age of the individual with autism, diet and nutrition intervention can help. It’s never too late to be nourishing hope!”

The study was a randomized controlled trial. A total of 117 individuals, aged 3 to 58, were enrolled in the study. 67 of the participants had been previously diagnosed with ASD; the remaining 50 participants were neuro-typical. Those with ASD were randomly assigned to a treatment group (37 participants) or a control group (30 participants) after having been physically examined by the study physician.

The study measured the effects of six nutritional interventions introduced over the course of a year, including supplementation and a healthy allergen-free diet.

Each of the interventions had already been studied individually, and demonstrated to be effective at improving autism symptoms. Researchers anticipated a synergistic effect from this comprehensive approach, and the results were substantial.

1 in 59 children are affected, and $137 Billion is being spent annually to support those with autism. It’s time for mainstream medicine and media to embrace Nourishing Hope’s proven and effective solutions and help every family living with Autism and related healthcare issues. The process is safe, natural, and provides what the human body requires most; quality food and individualized nutrition.

The organization is hosting a free online educational event titled Nourishing Hope for Autism Summit on July 30 – August 3. For more information and to register, visit

About Nourishing Hope

For 16 years Nourishing Hope has provided scientifically based nutrition strategies that heal the symptoms and behaviors associated with Autism, ADHD, and other developmental delays. The organization’s proven methodology is practiced by families and healthcare providers around the world and is producing breakthrough results.


Peter Nilsson
[email protected]

Amazing Instant Pot Refrigerator Pickled Beets

I like to have lots of veggies on hand throughout the year, and we love beets! Beets are excellent for our digestive health. Beets help the liver and gallbladder by thinning the bile, making it much easier to digest and assimilate healthy fats in our diet. Beets are rich in betaine, which is involved in and supports methylation. They are also a great starchy vegetable, containing 4 grams of fiber per serving.

These are “refrigerator pickled beets” rather than fermented in a brine. So there are different benefits. This recipe actually uses raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) and not cooked like most. ACV is excellent for getting our digestive juices flowing, so we can get more of the nutrients from our food. And while not fermented (fermented beets also have amazing benefits), this recipe is great for stocking up on veggies in the refrigerator to last a couple months throughout the winter. Or if you make a small batch, you can have a couple weeks of ready-to-eat vegetables in your refrigerator that can be added to salads or have as a quick side dish.  And they taste amazing!


3 lb beets (4 large beets or 6-8 small ones)
1 1/2 cups of the raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1  1/2 cups of water
2-3 TBS maple syrup or honey (optional)
2 inches of fresh ginger, cut into coin-size slices
1-2 tsp grated orange zest
1 cinnamon stick or 2 teaspoons of cinnamon chips (chopped up cinnamon stick)
1 tsp whole cardamom (decorticated, i.e. outer pod removed)
1 tsp whole clove
1 tsp allspice berries
1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Remove beet greens (the greens are great to saute’, and serve as a veggie side).

Leave skin on the beets and scrub them. Put beets in an instant pot on top of the steamer at the bottom. Place on Steam setting (for pressure steaming) with lid on for:

15 minutes for small/average sized beets
20-25 minutes for large beets

**Texture of cooked beets should be tender (better to be a bit firmer than softer, and remember they will continue to cook/soften a little while cooling).

Release steam naturally for about 5 minutes. Check beets for cooking completion. If they need more cooking, quickly lock lid in place and continue to let steam in residual steam for 5-10 more minutes, you should not need to turn the Instant Pot on again.

When cooking is complete, let beets cool and rub the skin off the beets (comes off easily once steamed).

Cut beets into small cubes or slices, and place in mason jars.

Mix all ingredients, and pour liquid over cooked beets. I often mix the other ingredients as the beets are cooking.

Refrigerate, and enjoy!!

Let them marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator and they will reach full flavor.





Best Gluten-Free Holiday Meal

An Easy-to-Make Delicious Holiday Meal Your Family Will Love

This is the season for holiday meals, and the nostalgia and family time spent together at the dinner table. Here at Nourishing Hope, we have readers from 90 countries, who all celebrate the season differently.  So whether you are looking for Holiday recipes, or just a fun gluten-free family gathering, here are some of my special diet favorites (all available in Cooking to Heal).

Unfortunately for those with food intolerances, the prospect of a Holiday meal rich in gluten and dairy leaves many saying “no thanks!” Traditional stuffing, is made from bread (wheat). Gravy is made with wheat flour, and mashed potatoes are loaded with milk, cream and butter. Pumpkin pie contains wheat and dairy. All of these foods are off limits for those following a gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCF diet).

However, you needn’t miss out on these delicious holiday dishes, nor the good times that accompany the season – not just because you’re on a gluten-free or other allergen-free diet. With a little ingenuity you can maintain the special diet your family is on right through the holidays!

Turkey is inherently gluten-free and dairy-free unless you add something containing those ingredients. Use safe herbs and spices, oils, and avoid flour often used as thickener for gravy.  Avoid “apple pie spice” and other spice blends in your Thanksgiving dinner (because blends almost always have gluten).

Holiday meals often are notoriously deficient on vegetables.  Typically there is one “token” vegetable that no one eats.  So I’ve included some tasty vegetables that guests will love!  In fact, this year my Brussels Sprouts have been requested as an encore, since everyone loved them so much last year.   Also, check out this beautiful Kale, Beet, and Pomegranate salad – it’s delicious and the colors are so festive.  Most vegetable recipes can be make gluten-free and dairy-free if they are not already, so consider adapting one of your favorites.

For mashed potatoes: you can very easily substitute non-dairy milk for milk or cream in the mashed potatoes, and certified casein-free ghee or other fat for the butter, or try my starch-free cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”

For a pie, there is no excuse not to do GFCF—there are so many options and no one will know the difference!

For those following gluten-free and casein-free, here’s a simple and delicious GFCF Holiday dinner – along with recipes. Trust me, your guests won’t know the difference.

If you are following a grain-free and starch-free diet such as GAPS, SCD, or Paleo, simply avoid the stuffing and the crust for the pumpkin pie (just bake the filling alone in the dish), and for the gravy avoid the flour and simply simmer down the pan drippings, and you’ll have a wonderful meal that’s compliant with your special diet.

Gluten-Free/Special Diet Holiday Menu

Roasted Turkey

Gluten-Free Stuffing

Gluten-Free Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

Confetti Brussels Sprouts

Kale, Beet and Pomegranate Salad

Pumpkin Pie

Whether you follow these ideas or create your own meal, with a few new twists on your old classics, you can make an allergy-free Holiday meal that is simple and delicious!

Nourishing Hope Success Story: Getting Your Hopes Up With James

 [This is part of our series: Getting Your Hopes Up: Stories of Healing Thru Diet and Nutrition – stories directly from mothers and fathers, on their experience using food and nutrition to help heal their child with autism, ADHD, and other developmental delays.]

We have a new story of hope to share with you! Angela and Dan’s son James’ success story of hope and healing shows us how the determination of his loving parents combined with the GAPS diet, fish oil, and other interventions give us hope. They were determined to get James off his IEP, and that they did. James is now thriving!

Early signs for James:

James would often exhibit autistic behaviors such as flapping his hands, toe walking, and banging his head on the ground when frustrated. After receiving his one-year vaccinations, he ran a fever for 3 weeks, after which we obtained a permanent vaccine waiver. When he was age 2, James was diagnosed as having expressive speech in the 6th percentile. “As parents, when we spoke to him, he literally couldn’t understand what we were saying to him. He would repeat everything that was said to him (echolalia) without understanding a word of it. He did not point at objects. He did not talk very often, and when he did speak he used one word utterances like “cracker” or “train.” He never asked us any questions. He would run around aimlessly in circles. Potty training was not even a consideration. He would obsessively play with trains for hours. He had no interest in opening Christmas presents, literally dropping them on the ground and walking away. He would play by himself, even in a room full of children.”

James’ behaviors at the age of 2-3 years old:

Introduction to Gluten Free/Casein Free and GAPS:

The first thing James’ parents tried was the Gluten Free/Casein Free(GFCF) diet. This worked great to eliminate stimming behaviors such as hand flapping and tow walking. But still the echolalia and general lack of comprehension persisted.

Angela had read some testimonials from other moms about how the strict GAPS diet had helped their children, so she started it. She cooked everything from scratch, including our salad dressing. “We continued with our same speech therapist (who used PECS) and we did “homemade” ABA several hours weekly. (Used the books How Do I Teach This Kid and Behavioral Interventions for Young Children with Autism) I breastfed until age 4, and insisted on daily naps. Within a year (age 4) James was enrolled in regular preschool, speaking in complete sentences, using pronouns correctly, potty trained, playing with friends, and asking us who/what/when/where/why questions!”

This level of recovery was wonderful, and James’ parents considered his Autism recovery to be a success. They learned about additional therapies and decided to give them a try, with the goal of eliminating his IEP (for ADHD).

Finding hope with other interventions:

In addition to staying on the GAPS diet, James’ parents added fish oil, probiotics, several other vitamin supplements, weekly chiropractic, low level laser therapy, homeopathy, MNRI, FIR Sauna + detox footbath, eliminated our microwave, WiFi and Cordless Phones, neurofeedback, parasite “zapping”, Reiki, Theta Healing, Craniosacral Therapy, Berard AIT, eliminated florescent lighting at home and school. “By age 6 we dissolved his IEP completely.”

James after GAPS at the age of 4: 

Continuing on his healing  journey:

James’ mom Angela continues to maintain several protocols for his continued well being. “We are still following a strict Organic Gluten Free diet, which is mostly GAPS/Paleo. We continue with fish oil, vitamin supplements, chiropractic. We monitor Vitamin D, Iron and Lead with traditional lab testing; monitor micronutrient, thyroid, and omega status twice/year with SpectraCell testing; and monitor gut health with twice/year stool testing from Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory. Even now, labs still show a low-level of leaky gut so we give Just Thrive probiotic 1/day (clinically proven to reduce leaky but)”.

It takes a concerted effort:

Angela made some suggestions on some of the more critical changes to make. “Of course if the family has the means, I’d advise them to try all the same things we did. But if resources are limited the bare minimum is vaccine waiver, GAPS diet, fish oil, multivitamins, chiropractic, homeopathy, PECS, ABA, MNRI, Just Thrive probiotic. Complete recovery is most likely when a massive recovery effort is embarked upon before age 5. Streamline your life so you can focus your entire energy on your young child’s recovery. If your own ADHD or health issues are interfering with your ability to care for your child, by all means address those issues as well. 100% effort now will pay off down the road – which will allow your child to reach his fullest potential, and allow you to ultimately regain your life back.”

Angela’s final words of advice for parents:

“Get rid of all non-GAPS food in your house. Kids need vegetables to be healthy –  minimum of 4 veggie servings/day – to maximize flavor make a tasty salad dressing or coat with ghee & sea salt. If you are struggling to implement your child’s therapies hire a specialized coach. For a preschool aged child aim for 14 hours sleep daily. Use a whole-house water filter to minimize chemical exposure from tap water. Pause having additional children until your autistic child is fully recovered, otherwise you won’t have the time/energy for his/her recovery. Read Dr. Mercola’s The EMF Extinction when it comes out in 2018.”


James is now 11 and enrolled in a competitive private school. He is getting all A’s, play trumpet, does Kung Fu, has many friends, and plays on the school’s soccer team!

Here we are, another family who tried many different approaches to diet and lifestyle, and found hope! Do you have a story of hope you would like to share with our readers? Let us know, and we will work with you to get it published.

Wishing continued Nourishing Hope for James, and for all our families!

CBS NEWS – Nutritionist Mom Livid at CDFA’s Raw Milk Meddling (VIDEO)

This news story conveys the audacity of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and the personal impact of their actions upon my natural, healthful family – and local respectful farmers.

My wife, Julie Matthews is among the worlds leading nutritionists specializing in autism, as well as healthy pregnancy and babies. She knows a thing or two about making safe, quality food choices for herself, our baby, and her clients.

It’s perfectly legal to purchase and consume raw milk in California, and legal to own a share of a cow or goat.  City dwellers contracting with farmers for direct access to healthy food is a sacrosanct relationship dating back to the dawn of urban living.  I’m among countless San Francisco denizens who engage in this practice, be it for veggies or dairy.

But recently, government officials are interfering with citizens’ constitutionally protected right to choose what they eat.  Our Government seems to think that we are STUPID people who are unable to engage in private contracts and make our own FOOD CHOICES and that we need to be protected…from ourselves.

I disagree.

Here’s the news story that ran on KPIX Channel 5 in San Francisco, local CBS affiliate. Find the original story here.  Also see JULIE’S COMMENTS BELOW…

From Julie Matthews.

Raw milk has numerous nutritional benefits, and research studies specify its advantages over commercially produced, hormone containing, enzyme depleted, pasteurized milk.  Many adults and children cannot tolerate pasteurized milk; yet have no challenges drinking natural (raw) milk.   When sourced from a clean farm and healthy herd – akin to mother’s natures’ best work for centuries, raw milk is exceedingly safe and nutritious.

To be sure, motherhood is fraught with tough, sometimes risky decisions.  Life itself is risky: crossing the street, playing in a pool, eating food.  Nonetheless, the choices we make as parents are…ours to make!  We do not need the government to protect us.

The guise of protection always accompanies reduced freedoms.  In the news story, you’ll hear the sentiment of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; on the one hand saying the wish to encourage my close relationship with my farmer, but on the other – choosing to interfere in my relationship.  Hogwash!

I know better than they do about what’s best for my family! And I’m not stupid – as the state seems to imply they need to save me from myself!

Despite the insulation in the news story, there is NOTHING illegal about herdshares in California.  A herdshare agreement is a private contract between two private individuals.  The state of California is now trying to regulate these private contracts, reinterpret laws, and force family farmers out of business or force them to become a commercial dairy.


  • Has there been a dangerous outbreak?  No
  • Has this milk ended up on grocery store shelves?  No
  • Has there been an incident with a herdshare in California? No

The CDFA claims it’s a “food safety issue.”  Yet, there is no public safety issue because herd share milk exchanges hands only between private parties, not the public.

I’m insulted.  As a Certified Nutrition Consultant, it seems that I may know more about the benefits and safety of raw milk, than most state and federal regulators.  But that is not the point.

The point is – it’s none of the state’s business, and we mothers will not allow government regulators to dictate what our family can and cannot eat!!!  What’s next, regulation of breast milk?  Babies might need government protection from RAW breast milk; after all, who knows where those boobies have been, or what mom’s been eating?  Seriously!

We must not tolerate this tyranny.  On the state and federal level we need to vote for leaders who legislate based on the constitution and who believe in liberty and food freedoms for everyone!

Congressman and Dr. Ron Paul supports raw milk—he even introduced a bill to repeal the inhibition of raw milk transportation across state lines.  I will be writing more on Ron Paul soon because when our food freedoms are threatened we cannot separate food from politics.

Please share your thoughts and experience with raw milk.

If you are a mom that feeds your family raw milk, we’d love to hear your story.  If you are a farmer or regulator, please share.

See our Earlier Blog Entry, Radio Interview, and Newspaper Story about this issue – BY CLICKING HERE

ALSO…See what Julie said about Junk Food, also on KPIX News (Video) BY CLICKING HERE

A few RESOURCES for Learning About Raw Milk (MANY more online!)


Attacks on Fresh Food Becoming Personal!


Attack on Fresh Food!

Exclusive Interviews & Discussion about Government trampling of your Right to Choose what you eat and where you get your food!

Join Julie and Martin Matthews of Nourishing Hope during their LIVE San Francisco radio program, Reality Sandwich.

WHEN: Thursday, July 14th at NOON – Pacific

WHERE: 89.5 FM San Francisco –

We’ll be investigating recent actions by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to SHUT down some of the last remaining natural family farms.

It’s ALARMING – across the nation our government is impeding access to REAL FOOD, while ignoring our Constitutional (and innately human) Rights.

Fresh nutritious food is vital to nourishing hope!


READ ABOUT what just happened in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Julie’s response in the paper and on the radio.



Download MP3 HERE

Program GUESTS:

  • Kristin Canty: Director/Producer, Farmageddon
    • See below for documentary film description
  • Mike Hulme: Owner, Evergreen Acres Goat Farm
    • Told to stop allowing herd share owners to access their milk and to become a commercial dairy.
  • Mark McAfee: Owner, Organic Pastures Dairy
    • Largest raw dairy producer in CA, instrumental in secure legal access to raw milk.
  • Pete Kennedy: Attorney, Farm to Consumers Defense Fund
    • Defends the right of farmers to distribute raw milk and raw milk products to consumers.

Our Government seems to think that we are STUPID people who are unable to engage in private contracts and make our own FOOD CHOICES and that we need to be protected.

We’ll explore what’s happening RIGHT NOW on this issue, learn about the legal aspects, understand WHY people drink raw milk…and hear all about the new documentary film, Farmageddon.

Catch us on the air!

Julie and Martin Matthews

Nourishing Hope & Healthful Living




The California Department of Food and Agriculture are AGAINST this practice. According to CDFA, goat shareholders don’t have the right to drink raw milk from a goat herd they have purchased an ownership interest in. The CDFA thinks that they know better than you what’s good for you. And, they think that pasteurized milk from a feedlot dairy where large amounts of antibiotics are used (due to the unhealthy conditions) and Bovine Growth Hormone (a genetically engineered artificial growth  hormone) may be given to stimulate milk production, is healthier than the milk coming from the precious goats via the process seen below. You have got to be kidding…


WATCH THIS VIDEO from our visit to Evergreen Acres.


Nature in Motion producing some of the healthiest food available.


Farmageddon: The new documentary film debuted last month and we are looking at bringing it to San Francisco. The film shows how Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.

You can learn more about seeing the film near you at:



Download MP3 HERE



(Support Small Dairy Farms & Stop the CDFA lunacy)