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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.woman cutting vegetables

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.

For additional information, please visit:

SCD Lifestyle

Breaking the Vicious Cycle


Here’s a different way to get vegetables into your picky eater…make it look like cake! This week’s recipe is GFCF Carrot Zucchini Bars and it is adapted from a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens: New Cookbook 14th Edition.  There isn’t too much sugar in these, although they have a pleasant sweet taste to them. The original recipe does call for a cream cheese-style frosting, but as you can see in the photo – I opted not to do that. My son did spot the evidence of vegetables in them immediately, and refused to try them. (I guess this is where the frosting might have been helpful to mask the veggies!) However, my husband and I tried them and thought they were very tasty.  My husband provided the rating for this recipe; he gives it 12 Thumbs Up!

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Carrot Zucchini Bars (Husband Rating = 12 Thumbs Up)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (about 3 medium)

1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)

3/4 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda in large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, oil, honey, and vanilla. Mix until combined thoroughly.

Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

Yield = 24-36 bars, depending on size


It’s that time of year…birthdays, weddings, graduations, holiday picnics, end-of-school-year parties, etc. A fun time for sure, but also difficult for those of us following a special diet, like the gluten-free, casein-free diet. However, there is no need to despair! You can succeed in both eating foods that won’t make you sick and have a good time. Here are four tips on how to do this –

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you accept an invitation or make plans to attend an event, don’t be afraid to ask the host or organizer what foods they plan to serve.  It may help to ask for very specific information about the ingredients or preparation, like, “Will the juice be 100% juice, or a juice drink?” Or, “Can I have my burger/hot dog without a bun?” By having the knowledge of the menu, you can better prepare yourself and determine if you need to bring alternatives. (You may feel more comfortable about this if you explain to the host that you and/or your family are on a special diet.) This does get easier the more you do it!

2. Don’t be afraid to take your own food to an event. If you find out that the menu is not going to be GFCF, or that there may only be one or 2 things that you can eat, be bold enough to pack your own cooler of food to the event. It’s actually more comfortable to take food that you can eat than standing around at the BBQ and eating lots of watermelon and nothing else due to your GFCF diet! I do recommend letting your host know that you are bringing your own food, and why, so that it’s not awkward when you show up with your own meal.

3. Talk with your children about the food at the event before you attend. This doesn’t have to be a difficult situation for your children, if you prepare them.  I always tell my son, before we go to the event, what types of food and drink will be offered and what we will be eating. If I am planning to take alternative foods, I try to encourage my son’s input in the decision process so I know he’ll have something he likes at the event.

4. Be prepared to be asked questions about your food. This is another situation that can be a bit awkward, but it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared. It’s in our human nature to be inquisitive, so expect that people will ask why you aren’t eating a bun with your burger, or why you brought your own food. Prepare your children too; my son is now very confident in telling strangers that he can’t eat gluten or dairy. (If an eight-year-old can do it, so can you!)

Finally, going to these social events can be much less stressful and more fun, if you follow the above four tips and prepare yourself and your family properly. If you have additional tips, or stories of how you handled certain events, please comment below!

I was talking with my son, Nick, about how I was going to write this blog about my recipes.  He’s a second-grader and has Aspergers.  We’ve been on the GFCF diet since November 2011, so it is still fairly new to all of us.  I will admit that some of my attempts at cooking GFCF have been great, while others have been pretty awful!

I asked Nick how we should let the readers know whether he approved of the recipes on the blog, so that other moms (and children) might be interested in trying the recipes.  He suggested we do a “thumbs up” rating system.  So, now, when I make a new recipe, I ask Nick to tell me, “How many thumbs up would you give this one?” He responds according to the following scale –

Thumbs down – terrible, please don’t ever make this again!

One Thumb up – not bad, but not too great; you can make it again

Two Thumbs up – really good; please make this a lot!

Four Thumbs up – (“Wait, Mom, I don’t have that many thumbs!”) this is the best thing you’ve ever made; please keep making it all the time!

So, as you are checking out the recipes, please look for the “thumbs up” ratings from Nick right next to the recipe titles. And, please, be sure to tell us in the comments how many thumbs your family members give the recipes too!

Rachel with son Nicholas

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.

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