Food & Nutrition | Jarrah Eddy
Gluten Free and Casein Free Diet
"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."
Remember: all your fruits, all your vegetables, all your nuts and seeds, all your seafood and animal proteins—including eggs are all naturally gluten free!
Gluten is a protein found in wheat (and other varieties of wheat like spelt), rye and barley. Sometimes oats can also be cross contaminated by these crops.
Casein is a protein found in the breast milk of animals (The structure of the casein molecule varies from animal to animal).
It is important to note that casein is a protein, while lactose (also found dairy) is the milk sugar component. So just using lactose free products does not eliminate the casein molecule.
There is research to show that a gluten free/casein free diet can result in improvement in behaviour, eye contact, socialisation, concentration and learning.
The theory behind this is to do with the breakdown of these proteins and their chemical structure.
Through poor digestion, the two particular proteins can remain intact through the digestive tract and cross across the gastrointestinal lining. This allows them to enter systematic circulation and cross the blood brain barrier. Once inside the brain, they can bind to the opiod receptors. This can impact mood, concentration, mental performance and pain tolerance.
The goal is to adhere to this diet strictly for 6 months to assess the benefit. Although parents can often note improvement within the first month with comments like “It feels like a fog has lifted and my child is more aware and alert”.
Implementation of this diet usually needs guidance by a practitioner to make sure that adequate nutrient levels are still met.
It can also be daunting when you have a fussy eater and wheat and dairy comprise of most of the diet. In such a case, gradually swapping of ingredients may need to be done more slowly over a 2-4 week period to help with the transition.
Below are gluten and casein containing foods:
Breads and Cereals:
Below do not contain gluten and casein:
Grains and legumes:
Breads and Cereals: