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Whether you are newly diagnosed and brand new to how Food and Nutrition Improves Autism, ADHD, and Childhood Conditions, or you have been on this journey for years see how Nourishing Hope can help you.

Begin by receiving our free “Get Started Guide.”

If you don’t have your copy of Nourishing Hope for Autism, check out the Learning Bundle…on sale for our new web launch.  Nourishing Hope, Cooking To Heal, and the Nourishing Hope Food Pyramid, a graphical science based framework that supports all healing diets.

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3 Minutes with Julie Matthews

Taking First Steps

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.

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 nine 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 grass-fed meats: Avoid hormones and antibiotics
  9. 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.

10 responses to “Start Here”

  1. Is it possible to schedule phone consultations with Julie Matthews???
    If so, what are the costs???
    Thank You.
    Linda Seidman

  2. Yes Linda…. please email your inquiry (including telephone number) to [email protected] – thank you!

  3. stacy says:

    I am a teacher in a preschool-1st grade for children with Autism, and one of my families speaks predominantly Spanish. Do you offer any of your information in Spanish?

  4. At the top of each web page we have a Google Translator button that can (roughly) translate the website information into Spanish.

  5. Rosa Robins says:

    Do you have any representatives that can provide consultations in Melbourne, Australia?
    Thank you

  6. Kristen Re says:

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for all the great information, although we are not dealing with autism in our house, there are other neurological issues I am handling with my two boys. We eat a lot of nuts: homemade organic almond milk, paleo bread etc, if I add all organic hemp powder, flaxseed (made in the vitamix) and chia seed to things, would that balance out the omega 6’s to the omega 3’s? I don’t want to cause problems with inflammation etc and create diabetes nut allergies etc because of the high level of eating nuts etc on a vegetarian, clean, part paleo, part raw diet.

    Also in your cookbook, is there plenty of vegetarian recipes?




  7. Amanda Medina says:

    Is there any study that you can give me about geneticals factors in autism?

  8. Ian Thompson says:


    As we are having behaviour issues with our youngest son Edward (who has hypopituitarism) and I, as his father, have aggression issues after eating bread (I have uncontrollable outbursts of anger and I swear and cuss like someone with Tourette’s), I wonder whether food is related to both of us? Edward’s Tutor thinks that his hypopituitarism leads to frustration, which in turn leads to anger. But he drinks a lot of apple and orange juice and we wondered whether this contributed or caused his anger? And I would love to know what it is in bread that causes my outbursts. Initially, I thought that it was gluten, but the outbursts still occur after eating gluten-free bread.

    If so, we would love to hear from you.


    Juliette and Ian, England

  9. Hi Juliette and Ian, You might want to read my article on Aggression and Food. Maybe it will provide more clues for you – Check out how apple and orange juice are high in salicylates. Let us know what you discover.

  10. lynn koosel says:

    Dear Julie, my son is 41 yrs old and it is impossible for me to get him to change his mostly all carbs diet…he is now diabetic…I dont know where to turn………..
    Thank You

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