girlfriend/CF Diet? I'm scared to start!

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by sandman3, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    Ok, so I've been considering this option for about 6 months now, I've read books, studied websites and have an appointment scheduled for my difficult child 2 with an Integrative Medicine Clinic (VERY EXPENSIVE!) but I'm telling you I am scared to death to start this!!! I don't know why, "D" is so agressive and I guess I fear the "withdrawal" period from all of his favorite "gluten high" foods. Help!!!

    Also, do you have to do both, gluten and casein, at the same time?? We're dairy fanatics, so that scares me to. I feel like I'm being weak. I guess I better go get my Warrior Mom gear ready, lol

    Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Have you thought about the diet that comes from the book "Breaking the Viscious Cycle? It's similar to this but maybe a little bit easier? My Stepsister has her family on it. It is a huge lifestyle change and you have to be very dedicated. If your children are small, it's much easier. If they are older you have to have their buy in which can be difficult. If I had known about this diet when my child was very young, say before school age, I would have done it. The benefits can be life changing. Having said all that, I haven't been able to make that kind of a lifestyle change. I just try to keep healthy food in the house and really watch the sugar intake which is hard as difficult child is addicted to the dang stuff. I always feel like I should be doing better. Wishing you the best. ML
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My kids and I have been on the girlfriend/CF diet for almost 2 years now. We have a history of celiac disease and one of my daughters had the stomach issues involved with that so we started with just gluten free for her.

    I had some testing done that showed difficult child 1 and I also needed to be gluten free so we started it. My own mood and energy level improved so much that I was convinced it would help difficult child 1. Our testing also showed we needed to be casein free but I didn't do that right away.

    After a few months, it was clear that difficult child 1's incidents were associated with dairy so we gave that up, too. Her dairy symptoms are aggression. Her gluten symptom is irritability. Now she also has stomach problems and fatigue from gluten.

    I have heard about the withdrawal period but I have also heard lots of stories of feeling better pretty quickly. I could tell in 2 days for myself. With my daughter, I thought in 2 days that it was working but it took longer to be convinced.

    I started with just gluten and I emphasized what they could have, not what they had to give up. I sent them to school with a treat in their lunch and told them if there was an unexpected treat at school that I would get them one after school. Since I really wanted to see if it would work on behaviour, I let difficult child 1 have all kinds of gluten free treats in the beginning so she didn't necessarily miss her regular foods at first.

    It is harder when you have to give up casein, too. There just aren't as many options readily available. Most of the food already made for the girlfriend/CF market isn't very good, in my humble opinion. I make most of our treats and I serve them to everyone. My kids' friends actually talk about how good they are!

    Even a trace of gluten/casein can give us symptoms so it is important to be strict, especially in the beginning when you are trying to figure out if it will work. We avoid anything that says "may contain traces of . . . " or "manufactured in a facility with . . .". Some people are not this sensitive.

    I got my information from I think about 30% of celiacs also have to be casein free so there is support for that there, too.

    There is a big learning curve on this so you will probably make mistakes but you can do this. I hope it works for you.
  4. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    sandman3, I'm glad you posted this. I've been toying with it too. I've started trying out new recipes already, hoping to get the kids acclimated to some new dishes and snacks before we go whole hog. I will probably jump in Friday before spring break so we won't have to contend with preschool snacks.

    It is good to read the posters' experiences with it. Please keep us posted on how it goes.
  5. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    We initially started my youngest on the gluten-free, casein-free diet, about 3 years ago, due to her stomach issues. She had some bloodwork showing very high antibodies to gluten, but a negative biopsy for celiac. I decided to try removing gluten anyway, and I was shocked myself at the immediate change in her! Within days, her mood changed from chronically irritable to pleasant -- even casual acquaintances could see the change in her. I think the quick change for her was because gluten had been causing pain. She also had almost immediate physical "evidence" (i.e, stool improvements!) that removing gluten was helping her. Anyway, it was good motivation for me to continue, which I did, eventually removing milk also -- and she started to speak where she previously had no language.

    I have heard of many who start by removing only gluten at first, so if that seems easiest for you, go for it! I think some people actually recommend removing things slowly at first.

    The one piece of advice I have is that in the long run it will be easier if the whole house is gluten-free, casein-free. We're not in my house -- only my 5yo is -- and there are CONSTANT cross-contamination issues to deal with.

    If you decide to go fot it, there are many places on the Internet with helpful people who can give you food advice, recipes, etc. One very active group is the Yahoo GFCFKids group.

    Good luck with everything!
  6. mamamia

    mamamia New Member

    I am gluten intolerant myself and it's not really that hard to go girlfriend/CF as long as you plan ahead. I eat dairy now but didn't my first year of the girlfriend/CF diet.
    One key in changing my diet was to focus on whole foods only. Nothing processed. I rarely ate out, and if I did, it was at a place where I could get "plain" food - like a steak and broccoli.
    I learned to love goat cheese while CF part of my diet (although I never got used to goat milk or goat yogurt), and I gave myself permission to eat some things that I hadn't before - like bacon, and plenty of red meats. and full-fat salad dressings. I've also eliminated almost all sugars from my diet. I feed my family the same things I eat, although I often buy them gluten extras - like breads and rolls and regular pizza crusts, etc. Cross contamination used to be a big problem for me but now that I've been doing this 3 1/2 years I seem a lot less sensitive to trace amounts of gluten. For about 2 years, however, I was hyper sensitive.
    The Breaking the Vicious Cycle diet is a lot more restrictive than girlfriend/CF, actually. No raw fruits or veg, but you *can* have dairy, as long as it's homemade yogurt. Pretty tricky, actually.
    I wonder if I should try this with-my little ADHD/grumpy guy. We don't do red food dyes and try to avoid all simple sugars...but he certainly loves his gluten-containing foods...he has no digestive issues, however. I'll think on it.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I have often thought about this diet for difficult child. He could probably forgo the gluten fairly easily but the dairy products would be difficult. I know that many experience positive results. seeing this thread, I think that I will do somemore research. It is something to consider.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My difficult child is allergic to milk, lactose intolerant (yes, there's a diff) and had a gluten sensitivity. We have to buy tofu cheese (we call it fake cheese) to put on the fake pizzas we make (rice crusts). So far, he can still eat tomato sauce, blk olives, and pepperoni but the poor kid may have to give up more in the future.

    It is SO hard when you've got to do both. I feel for you.
    But it forces you to be creative and learn to cook.

    One thing I've found to be useful is to keep difficult child so busy during the day that he is literally starving to death by dinnertime and will eat anything. LOL!

    Also, having a lot of people around increases the peer pressure.

    My easy child will eat anything so she usually eats what difficult child leaves on his plate.
    And at the very worst, I feed failed recipes to the dogs ... :(