Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Five Favorites: Special Diet Cookbooks

One thing that often accompanies a special needs diagnosis is the recommendation of some type of special diet.  It seems like Bird has been on some kind of dietary regimen since the age of three.  We started with the gluten-free/casein-free diet, then moved to a modified Feingold diet, and now we are on the paleo diet.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% sure that any of these diets have given us the kind of results that many people claim to witness in their kids.  But I will say a couple of things regarding diets:

1.  The one positive change I know I saw in Lily that was totally the result of a food restriction was when we removed dyes from her diet.  I saw a marked difference in her behavior.  She was more calm and focused on tasks.  I highly recommend that if you do nothing else, you consider eliminating dyes and see if you get the same results.

2.  Since beginning the paleo diet about eight months ago now, I know that I myself feel better.  Ryan has lost about 40 pounds and has kept the weight off without starving or feeling deprived.  While neither of us has celiac disease, I don't think we realized how wheat and whole grains were affecting us, from feeling bloated around the midsection to the ups and downs in our energy levels.  I'm going to assume that if the both of us feel better, than Lily must, too.

3.  Lastly, while I may not be seeing miraculous results like removing wheat then hearing my child speak her first word, I am confident that I am healing her from the inside out by making smart food choices that will set her up for a healthy life.

Now, on to the cookbooks.

Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone is one of those unique cookbooks where not one of the recipes I've made has been bad.  Filled with lots of gluten-free/casein-free treats, this is one cookbook that you won't regret purchasing.

Special Diets for Special Kids - Volumes 1 & 2 by Lisa Lewis was the first cookbook I purchased when we decided to try the gluten-free/casein-free diet for the Bird.  Not only does it have good recipes, it also thoroughly explains why the GFCF diet works for well for so many special needs kids.

Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes 1 and 2 Combined: Over 200 REVISED and NEW gluten-free casein-free recipes, plus research on the positive effects for children with autism, ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, and more!

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan is a great book for those embarking on the Paleo diet.  In the first few pages of the cookbook, Melissa explains her time saving "weekly cook-ups" and that alone is worth the cost of the book.  

The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam is another good option for "paleo people".  While there are recipes for entrees, my favorites are the baked goods.

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook: Breakfasts, Entrees, and More

If you'd like to try a special diet but are a little confused on where to begin, this book just might be the perfect starting point.  Eating for Autism - The 10 Step Nutrition Plan to Help Treat Your Child's Autism, Asperger's, or ADHD by Elizabeth Strickland lays it all out in an easy to follow format, allowing time between steps so you determine what works and what doesn't work for your child.

So what about you?  Do you have a cookbook that you turn to over and over again to help with a special diet of some kind?  Please share!  I'm always on the lookout for great recipes.


  1. My partner has been gluten free due to Coeliacs for about 10 years now, and by far the best recipe book we own is Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson. A lot of the recipes are dairy free, too for those eating GF/CF. Seriously, it's worth the purchase just for the bread recipes.

    Her blog's here: http://glutenfreemakeovers.com/

    1. Thanks for the share! Going to check it out now.

  2. We're doing the CF thing right now - soon to be GFCF - and we've been using

    Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults, Second Edition by Connie Sarros

    Which has been great for quick items - and we've been substituting dairy free on our own.

    The Kid-Friendly Adhd and Autism Cookbook: the Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet

    I haven't gotten as deep into this second one but I have really liked it so far and would definitely recommend it :) Thanks so much for sharing - I'm definitely going to look into one or more of your suggestions once I have conquered the ones I'm working through now!


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