What is Gluten?

Glutens are plant proteins in the subclass Monocotyledonae, found in wheat, semolina, bulgur, couscous, wheat berries, graham flour, whole meal flour, groats, malt, oats, barley, rye, triticale, and possibly spelt and kamut. Gluten is elastic and provides the stretchiness necessary in making yeast and non-yeast breads.

Gluten-containing grains are the most common ingredients in breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, cakes, pretzels, matzah, Passover flour, farfel, cream sauces, thickening agents, and breading. Gluten derivatives are also found in malt, modified food starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), textured vegetable proteins (TVPs), and dextrin, and they are used in the following, unless labeled ‘gluten-free’: soy sauce, flavorings, instant coffee, some ketchups, mustards, commercial mixes, caked decorations, marshmallow creme, canned soups, deli meats, sausage, and hot dogs. Products labeled as corn bread or rice pasta may contain glutens unless otherwise labeled. Gluten is also found in some of the binders and fillers found in vitamins and medications, and even pastes and glues on envelope flaps.

A wheat-free food is not gluten-free unless all of the gluten sources are avoided. If the label does not state “gluten-free”, then it is likely not gluten-free.

What is Casein?

Casein , which accounts for 75 percent of the proteins in milk, is a major culprit in ADHD- or autism-related food sensitivities. It is found in all milk products, with the exception of properly clarified butter, also known as ghee, in which the milk solids have been removed. Dairy-free or milk-free does not mean casein-free. Even nondairy cheese substitutes from soy, almonds, or rice may have casein to improve the texture. Casein is commonly used in meat products such as deli meats, salami, sausage, hot dogs, and pepperoni, and caseinate is a common component in nutritional supplements.

(Source of above information: The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook by Pamela J. Compart, M.D., and Dana Laake, R.D.H., M.S., L.D.N.)