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Comparing the SCD Diet to the GFCF Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was formulated in the ‘50s by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas. It is also known as the SCD Diet, and it is the direct precursor to Dr. Elaine Gottschall’s GAPS Diet. While it is not entirely gluten-free and casein-free, it does have similar objectives to the GFCF Diet and other autism diets: To help free those with gluten and casein intolerance from the gastrointestinal and behavioral issues that sometimes come along with disorders in the autism spectrum.
How does the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Work?
The initial diet is called the “Intro Diet,” and it is practically identical in most ways to the GAPS Introduction Diet. There are a few exceptions. SCD allows a few things that GAPS does not such as peanuts, navy beans, white beans, and cottage cheese. The allowed foods in this diet more closely resemble the same foods that the GFCF Diet permits.
However, the SCD Diet closely follows the same stages as the GAPS diet from the Introduction part, which consists of several stages, and then the full-on diet stage. Just as with GAPS, the SCD Diet takes a while to implement. Each stage takes weeks or months to get through, and there are quite a few exceptions to rules. For instance, one rule is to avoid dairy, but cheeses made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk that undergo at least 30 days of natural aging are permitted.
The foods and beverages that are disallowed are:
- Alcoholic beverages like brandy and sherry
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Curry, onion and garlic powders
- Freshly brewed coffee
- Grains such as rice, barley and wheat
- Instant coffee
- Juices made for commercial sale
- Milk and milk-based drinks and creamers
- Processed meats like ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausages, salami and other sandwich meats
- Starchy foods such as potatoes, corn starch, parsnips and yams
- Sugar sweetened beverages
Unlike most diets of this type, this one actually allows the consumption of dry wines, vodka, and whiskeys like rye, scotch and bourbon.
So How Does it Compare to GFCF?
As a diet that is seen as an alternate autism diet, it is a mostly gluten-free and casein-free diet, with the exception of the very limited dairy allowance, and it certainly seems to help in similar ways to the GFCF Diet. However, the Specific Carbohydrate diet is just as complicated to follow and as difficult to implement as GAPS.
If there is any criticism of GFCF compared to SCD, it is that GFCF is slightly more lax with the inclusion of occasional sugary treats. Nonetheless, GFCF is, out of all the autism diets, the easiest to follow and the strictest in terms of gluten-free and casein-free foods.
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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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Today, I have a special announcement! I’ve launched a new website, GFCF Diet Plan, to help you succeed with the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet. I’ve been asked by so many people for help in following this difficult diet that I felt it would be a great idea to put a website together to help people succeed with the GFCF Diet.
Don’t worry, though! I will continue to run this blog where I can offer you recipes and other great articles about all things related to gluten-free, casein-free living. I’m just trying to provide you with a more in-depth guide to succeeding with the GFCF Diet. I hope you will check out the website and also sign up for my mailing list so you won’t miss out on anything!
The weather is warming up and summer is upon us. What better treat to try for an easy dinner on a hot, summer evening than chilled avocado soup? The soup is not boring at all, it has a pleasant spiciness that isn’t overwhelming. It can also be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for several days (for a lunch item, perhaps?).
This recipe is something I adapted from an avocado soup recipe in Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce: A Guide to Easy-to-Make Dishes with Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables. That recipe looked pretty good, but mine is both gluten-free and casein-free which makes it even better if you have food allergies!
Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Avocado Soup (My Rating = 100 Thumbs Up!)
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup chopped green onions, including 1/2 of dark green stalks
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup canned coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1. Put all ingredients in food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender. Cover and process until smooth.
2. Chill for at least 1 hour, prior to serving.
3. Serve in small cups or bowls. Garnish with crumbled bacon or more sliced green onions, if desired.
Serves: 6 (1 cup servings) or 12 (1/2 cup servings).
Today’s product recommendation is a book about healing autism through natural methods. It’s titled, Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide, and is co-authored by Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. This book contains quite a bit of information about the GFCF Diet as well as other nutritional therapies and supplements. It is not light reading, and if you are squeamish about detailed information about poop, you may have a tough time getting through at least one chapter! However, the reality is that for many people with autoimmune disorders, including those on the Autism Spectrum, poop is something we usually have to correct (either there is not enough or there is too much, to be polite). In addition to this information, there is also a great deal of information on environmental toxins, allergy testing, and dietary intervention.
I realize that if you are not a big Jenny McCarthy fan it may be tough to take this book seriously. However, while Jenny provides the human, humorous touch to the subject, the “meat” of the information comes from Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, a well-respected pediatrician specializing in the biomedical treatment of autism and autoimmune issues. (To learn more about Dr. Kartzinel, go here.) I found that the combination of their voices helped to make a difficult and potentially boring subject quite readable. The book is set up in a Q & A format and is packed full of resources. My copy is dog-eared and I’ve probably re-read it about 4 times because it is such a good source of information.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. Please comment below!
Welcome to my blog about how “eating differently can still be delicious”. The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free diet (also known as the GFCF Diet or the Autism Diet), is not new but is gaining in popularity. Many parents of children on the Autism Spectrum have seen dramatic changes in their children after switching to this diet. As the mother of a son with Aspergers, I can speak from experience on this topic. To read more about my story and background, please check out the About Me page.
This blog contains GFCF recipes, tips on how to follow the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free diet, as well as product and restaurant recommendations. I encourage you to check out the FAQ section if you have questions about this diet or any of these terms. Please also feel free to Contact Me with specific questions as well.