Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet for IBS

I may have mentioned before that my son has autism. When he was first diagnosed, his mother and I researched and got involved in everything having to with treating a small child with autism and were willing to try everything and anything. We brought therapists into the home and took him to several different specialists, including ‘alternative’ practitioners (several of which sold snake oil, solely). Out of all the things we tried, we found two to have the most positive results for my son. One was the therapy, and to be honest I don’t believe he would be mainstreamed in school, have a red belt in karate and be riding horses if it wasn’t for those wonderful therapists that came to my house every day. The second course of action that so obviously had a positive effect on the more extreme symptoms of his autism, was the GFCF diet. GFCF stand for Gluten Free-Casein Free diet. Why I missed that this could also be used for IBS until now is beyond me. I think I liked the low FODMAP idea a whole bunch and decided that since I had started it, that I should stick with it. While I continue to follow FODMAP guidelines, over the last month I have started the GFCF diet (or at least portions) to combine with the current diet. I was surprised by the almost immediate results.

What is the gluten-free casein-free diet?

For those unsure, gluten and casein are food products found in an awful lot of foods. Gluten is found in grains, most notably wheat, and includes stuff like rye, barley, oats. Casein is a word that is not as easily recognizable as gluten, but is just as common in your standard diet. Casein is based in milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and butter. Now, interestingly enough, it wasn’t the idea of the what has become a popular gluten free diet that gave me the idea to try the GFCF diet for my IBS. I have struggled with stomach ulcers in the past and it was made it known to me that yogurt and milk were no bueno for ulcers. When my ulcers settled down, I went back to eating my yogurt because I thought the probiotics would be good for my IBS. Well…no.  I noticed my IBS symptoms got worse the more yogurt and milk products I consumed. So, I cut them out and things got a little better (I got my probiotics in pill form instead). Nevertheless, between the success my son had with the GFCF diet and the knowledge that milk product (casein) was bad for my IBS. I thought that I would incorporate the base aspects of the GFCF diet with my FODMAP diet.

It’s important to note that a lot of food companies will indicate that there is gluten or casein on the package of a given product. However, many don’t, so please do some research so that you can determine on your own whether or not certain products contain gluten or casein. For example, gluten can be something labelled as Malto-dextrose, fillers, binders or excipients. Yup…excipient. Sounds tasty doesn’t it? Code words for casein can be whey, caseinate or HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein).

I feel I may be on to something with my new diet…I feel quite cleansed. I am always experimenting to find the best balance of diet, nutrition, exercise and care for my mental health, so as to prepare my body and mind for when the IBS get’s bad. GFCF is my latest discovery. I learn something new everyday ;-).

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  • Rosie
    7 months ago

    No milk products and reduced gluten diet without caffeine (and low fat meats/fish) is quite a do-able change and I have adopted the same diet with good results. The FODMAP diet is good for some people. Small meals help too. Glad to hear your son has a good life! And you feel better!

  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    7 months ago

    Thanks so much for sharing Rosie! So glad to hear that you are feeling better with the changes you’ve made to your diet. We appreciate you being part of our community. Wishing you continued relief. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

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