"The" Diet

by Patricia S. Lemer, MS, NCC

"Are you on ‘the diet‘? is a query commonly heard wherever I go. At my weight loss clinic "the diet" is the protein shake that allowed me to drop 25 pounds. At the health club, "the diet" could mean The Zone, Atkins or "Eat Right for your Type." Friends have used these programs to drop poundage and feel better.

Most DDR members have heard of the Feingold diet, a program that eliminates artificial colors flavors, preservatives and salicylates. It has helped many children overcome difficult behaviors.

In disability circles, however, "the diet" that probably works best is a gluten/casein-free program. I find it one of the simplest, most exciting discoveries in my 30 years in this field.

Originally, Lisa Lewis dug into diet literature looking for a way to help her son. She located the research of Paul Shattock and Karl Reichelt, who link gluten and casein with autism spectrum disorders. In 1998, she wrote Special Diets for Special Kids, sharing her findings with other families. Later she co-founded the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI) with Karen Seroussi, who popularized "the diet" further in her book, Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: A Mother’s Story of Research & Recovery (see DDR booklist).

These two courageous women have changed the lives of many families. Others have joined their bandwagon. More and more companies now produce time-saving, quality, gluten-fre , dairy-free , soy-free and yeast-free products. Lists of gluten-free products are available from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and MOMS (in the DC area). Contact two DDR sponsors, Gluten-Free Pantry (800-291-8386) and Miss Roben’s (800-891-0083.)

Whatever the diet, here are some ways to assure best results with the least amount of distress:

[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 6, Number 1 - Summer, 2000]

All material in this web site is given for information purposes only and is not to be substituted for advice from your health care provider.


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