The Gluten-Free Diet Was the Cornerstone of my Son’s Recovery from Autism


There, that should settle any questions.  And it should ring some bells and tick some people off.

When my son was diagnosed with autism at age 4, the first thing I did was hit the giant Barnes & Noble bookstore and walk out with a huge stack of about 10 books.  I cleaned them out of anything related to autism.  2001 was near the beginning of the tsunami and there just weren’t that many books available.  (Correction: the only book I left behind was a book on ABA because we’d been advised to skip it since my son was so rigid and do Floortime instead.)

41q1dW7nOOL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_My mom ran out and there was only one book on the shelf at Books-A-Million.  “Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and PDD” by Karyn Seroussi.

That book changed everything.

Long story not so long, I read the book and started changing my son’s diet immediately.  I pulled milk, replacing it with some organic soy milk I kept around for my niece Chloe.  He stopped running in circles.

After few false starts I was able to get gluten out. The fog started to lift.  One day my sister stopped by to pick up Chloe’s stuffed bunny that she’d left behind.  We couldn’t find it.  And we couldn’t find Connor.  We headed upstairs and stopped when we heard Connor singing.  We peeked in the door and saw him tucking the stuffed bunny into bed while I sang softly.  I looked at my sister.  “Tell Chloe sorry, but she can’t have that bunny back.”

It was the first glimmer of imaginative play I’d ever seen.  Connor named the bunny Carrots and took him everywhere.

elf-gluten-free-meme1As time went on, we tested for food allergies and sensitivities, using tests for both IgE and IgG reactions. We tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for several month, but had to stop when my son developed allergies to almonds, eggs, and coconut.

At one point, I joked that he was on the food-free diet.  It was free of gluten, casein, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, corn, coconut, seed oils, and for about two weeks, potatoes.

As all of this was gong on, we were doing other things–detox, herbs, homeopathy, lots of occupational therapy, cranial sacral therapy, etc.  Healing my son’s gut was our top priority and keeping him on a gluten-free, casein-free diet was critical.
My son was essential recovered from autism by age 12, with some vestiges of picky eating and anxiety.  Puberty was bumpy as hell–anxiety and depression. That we just rode through, keeping all his dietary restrictions intact, although by the time he was 13 or 14, he could tolerate the occasional real pizza with no issues.

images-4Then, at age 16, Connor decided he wanted to be ripped.  He switched his diet to primal–he was tolerating diary by then and was eating a huge bowl of Greek yogurt everyday–green smoothies, pastured meats, almost no grains.  He lost a ton of weight–between 40-50 pounds in a year–and has, indeed, become ripped.


He also shed the last bit of anxiety and depression. Changing his food, changed his brain. Changing his gut micro biome changed his life for the better. As he heads off for college in the fall, he and I are already discussing how he’s going to handle his gluten-free diet in the dorm so he can maintain his gains and his health.

About Jill R.

Mom, mostly tired, to 3 boys, mostly wired. Pretty much obsessed with healing foods for healthy brains.
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