Gluten-free diets are often a cornerstone treatment in Autism and developmental therapy.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or G.A.P.S as it's called, relies on the idea that in healing the gut (that is, dysbiosis -- the state of microbial imbalance) through whole foods and natural lifestyle choices, many neurological conditions can be eased or cured.
G.A.P.S. diets purportedly have the potential to heal everything from depression to mental fog, dyslexia, to, of course, Autism. It is the idea that we truly are what we eat and our brain and stomach are inextricably linked.
One of the hallmarks of the diet is the elimination of common allergens like casein, soy, and gluten. For many parents of children with developmental delays, however, following a gluten-free/casein-free/soy-free diet can seem overwhelming and expensive. That's whyTACA, the Talk About Curing Autism foundation, conducted their own informal study to determine just how expensive a GF/CF/SF diet really is for the typical family of four.
By following a budget based upon what the average family of four would receive in food stamps, monthly, TACA designated $396.00 to grocery shop. Only foods that were casein, gluten, and soy-free were purchased and the monthly menu can be found here. Not only were they able to feed a family of four on the money allotted, but were actually able to come in $77 under budget. And they probably could have saved even more money by omitting the specialty gluten-free baking mixes (pancakes, bread crumbs, cornbread, bread) stuck to naturally gluten-free grains and legumes (rice, lentils, beans and peas, etc.), and avoided animal meat in favor of other protein sources. All in all, TACA's informal study is just one indication that eating gluten-free does not have to be expensive, and indeed, if done correctly is very cost-effective.