The health of our family is one of the most important things for us as parents. Eight years ago I put my son on the GFCF diet for his autism, and about 4 years ago the rest of our family joined him on this diet. Based on the remarkable results we’ve seen, I believe every family should at least try the GFCF diet.
What is the GFCF diet?
GFCF stands for Gluten-Free Casein-Free. You’re probably familiar with gluten, one of the proteins in wheat and other grains. Casein is a protein found in dairy. Often soy is also removed because of its similar molecular structure. It’s really the GFCFSF diet, but most people still refer to it as GFCF.
What’s so bad about wheat, dairy, and soy?
These 3 proteins are removed because they cause a host of issues. They’re one of the most common sources of hidden food sensitivities. They can also be very hard on the gut and can lead to digestive distress and inflammation.
Over time, consumption of gluten, casein, and soy can cause holes or cracks in the lining of the intestines. This is a condition known as leaky gut, and it’s bad news. Leaky gut may eventually lead to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Gluten and casein can also behave like a drug in those that are sensitive. People with an unhealthy gut don’t fully break down these 2 proteins. These partially digested proteins, known as casomorphins and gluteomorphins, resemble that of opium, also known as morphine or heroin.
Once they enter the bloodstream, they bind to the same receptor sites as opiate drugs. The result is a real addiction to these foods. Have you or your child suddenly had an abundance of energy or trouble focusing after eating? It could be the opiate-like qualities of your food.
Why should the whole family try the GFCF diet?
You may be asking yourself, “Why does MY family need to try this diet?” Let me pose a better question for you. Why NOT try the GFCF diet? The way we’ve eaten the past few decades has not helped us get any healthier. In fact, it may have contributed to a consistent decline in health for us and our children.
We are an unhealthy population. Almost anywhere you look in the world, disease prevalence is on the rise. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease…etc. all continue to increase.
That’s 1 in 13 or 2 kids in every classroom has a food allergy. To make matters worse, many of these kids also suffer from other conditions like asthma, eczema, Tourettes, anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders.
Food as medicine
The GFCF diet has been used to help kids with autism for 20+ years. Now, millions of people are taking their family’s health into their own hands, and discovering the healing power of a good diet. 
Programs like Whole 30, Paleo, and the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet are gaining popularity. These healing diets are actually extensions of GFCF. They all advocate eliminating gluten, casein, and soy from your diet.
Our family’s experience
These diets are providing the foundation for the treatment of everything from thyroid disease to cancer. Personally, my wife’s lifelong asthma is now nearly nonexistent and together we’ve both lost over 100 pounds – all thanks to the GFCF diet. My chronic joint pain also improved and I have more consistent energy throughout the day too.
Our kids can also see dramatic improvements. We’ve had my oldest son on the GFCF diet for 8 years. While we haven’t seen improvements in autism symptoms, his immune system is stronger and sleep quality improved. My other 2 kids have not needed a sick visit in over 3 years. Incidentally, this is around the same time we put them on the GFCF diet too.
Additionally, eliminating gluten, casein, and soy in your kids’ diet can help improve their attention, focus, and mood. Chronic issues such as eczema, acne, ear infections, and frequent illness can also improve on this diet.
How can one diet do all these things?
By removing these foods, we’re taking away major sources of inflammation, and it’s the inflammation that’s the driving force behind so many ailments. Reducing inflammatory triggers helps our immune system throttle down, which means it can better do its job to fight infections and heal our bodies. Eliminating gluten, casein, and soy is the critical first step to helping parents feel their best and allow our kids to progress and thrive in school.
Ready to give the GFCF diet a try?
While the diet offers so many benefits, it can be hard to implement especially for families. When we started, it was very overwhelming. I remember nearly crying after our first trip to Whole Foods. Everything was so expensive, and I remember thinking how can we possibly afford this?
It is definitely hard in the beginning, it does get easier. We’ve been doing it for nearly a decade and it’s simply a way of life now. For those that want to give the GFCF diet a try, allow me to offer a few tips to help get you started.
As with any new diet, you’ll have to do your research and learn about it. I’ve created a comprehensive guide to the GFCF diet to help you better understand the science behind the diet, as well as what you can eat and what you can’t.
For the GFCF & SF diet, you’ll also have to learn all the ingredients derived from them. There are a lot of hidden sources of gluten, casein, and soy, but don’t worry I have a list of all of them. Follow the links at the end of the post to get a free copy.
2. Plan Ahead
A lot of people find it helpful to plan ahead. If you know what you plan to cook during the week, then you’ll know what you need to buy from the grocery store. This could help you avoid feeling lost and overwhelmed at the store.
My wife and I didn’t plan ahead at first, and we definitely paid the price and felt the overwhelm that comes with a major lifestyle shift like this. We ended up just taking it day by day. For our first GFCF shopping trip, we spent 2 hours at Whole Foods but only bought enough food for the next day.
The following day we did the same…and the day after that. Eventually, one day became two and two days become four. Before we knew it, we started getting the hang of it. So, if meal planning isn’t something you want to do, then perhaps just take it one day at a time.
4. Find Replacements (but just a few)
When you start out, don’t try to replace everything your family eats with GFCFSF alternatives. You’ll likely double your grocery bill like this, and it can quickly overwhelm you. Only look for things that can replace the top 3-5 foods your family cannot live without.
You may have to tweak it here and there, but you can usually find something that can meet the craving for their favorite food. For example, my son loved PB & J sandwiches. However, he hated the gluten-free bread and it was expensive. So, we opted for PB & J on GF crackers.
If your family loves frozen pizza or ice cream, don’t worry. There are several GFCFSF alternatives. While they don’t taste exactly the same, they are still very good and satisfy the cravings.
5. Focus on Whole Foods
We tend to think that eating a special diet like GFCF is harder, but it can actually be simpler once you get the hang of it. Focus on serving whole foods or minimally processed foods, and avoid artificial flavor enhancers, colors, and preservatives.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel just because you’re not eating gluten, casein, and soy. A meat and vegetable is all you need for dinner and even lunch too. For school lunches, you can recreate your typical lunches with GFCFSF replacements. if your child doesn’t like the gluten-free bread, just use GF crackers or plantain chips and do homemade lunchables.
If you want some more ideas, I have many examples of simple GFCF meals that can give you a better idea of what to eat in the beginning.
In summary, if you’re a parent looking to improve an autoimmune condition, decrease constant joint pain, or just have more energy, the GFCF diet offers a potential solution.
GFCF is also helpful for kids. Whether you simply want them to perform their best in school, or if you’re looking to help your child with autism or ADHD, this diet is a great starting point.
I’ve written extensively on how to implement the GFCF diet and I have a host of resources available for you. I have a GFCF food list, and articles on everything from picky eating to cost saving. You can find links to all of these articles on this GFCF Diet Resource Page. Start your healing today.
My Gift to You
If you’re ready to dive into the GFCF diet and help improve your family’s health, I have a free jump start kit over on my site, I’m Simply a Dad.
My Free GFCF JumpStart Kit includes:
A copy of My Ebook: “A Parent’s Complete Guide to the GFCF Diet”
1-week meal plan
Printable Cheat Sheet: List of ingredients containing gluten, casein, and soy
Printable Cheat Sheet: List of foods you can eat on the GFCF diet.
This jumpstart kit is my gift to you. Simply head over to I’m Simply a Dad, and sign up to get yours today!
Standard disclaimer: Remember, I’m simply a Dad sharing the knowledge and experience I’ve learned over the past 8 years. The content presented is for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice.
My name is Dave, and I’m Simply a Dad. My son’s autism diagnosis opened my eyes and taught me how to better care for myself, my family, and truly appreciate the important things in life. Our family has made great strides in our healing journey. It is my mission to share our experience and the lessons we’ve learned as we work towards health, hope, and happiness.