Welcome to Part 1 in my Diet Comparison series. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be comparing three different diets (Paleo, GAPS, and SCD) to the GFCF Diet. Many people wonder what the differences are between the diets and/or if they can follow one of the other diets and still avoid gluten and casein. I hope this series will help to dispel the rumors and provide you with more extensive information.
Comparing Paleo to the GFCF Diet
The GFCF Diet, also called the Autism Diet, certainly seems to help alleviate a number of the symptoms associated with the autism spectrum. It effectively deals with gluten and casein intolerances and the digestive issues associated with both. There are a few other diets out there that are also gluten-free and casein-free. Today, we’ll take a look at ancestral diets, which go by several names such as the Caveman Diet and Ancestral Eating.
What is Ancestral Eating?
The principle behind paleo eating plans is the idea that humans began eating grains and animal milks in abundance far too quickly. Because of this, our bodies didn’t have a chance to properly learn how to digest either. Some cultures started incorporating both earlier than others. It is possible that this could explain why some people have fewer intolerances to grains and dairy than others.
The following food groups permissible on the paleo diet:
- Coconut milk and oil
- Lean meats
- Vegetable and nut oils
While that may not look like a lot of choices, they include any food from any of the categories. There are a few foods to avoid in addition to dairy and grains. These include starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. Meats high in saturated fat should also be avoided. However, free-range cattle is often less fatty, and you can trim traditionally raised beef.
Legumes, which includes soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts and black beans, are not allowed, and obviously, refined sugars and overly processed foods are not permitted. Some versions of the Caveman Diet also advise that any food that cannot be eaten raw should not be eaten at all. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cook the food though! Our ancestors had fire and cooked food, however, that wasn’t always an option.
How does GFCF Compare to an Ancestral Diet?
Like the GFCF Diet, the ancestral eating plans also see gluten and casein as major contributors to certain health and behavior issues. It is far easier to eat gluten-free and casein-free while following a caveman diet than it is the GFCF Diet or the similar Autism Diet. The reason lies in the fact that all the permitted foods come from the produce, meat and seafood sections of the supermarket. There is no guesswork or scrutiny of food choices involved.
However, just because it’s easier to avoid gluten and casein, that doesn’t mean the diet is easier to follow. The Autism Diet allows flour substitutes and small quantities of sugar to make things like breads, pastas, and desserts. Paleo diets allow neither, and while no sugar is healthier, it is difficult to get kids on board with giving up “normal” food and the occasional sweet treat.
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