Special Diets for Special Kids
Volumes 1 and 2 Combined by Lisa Lewis, PhD
What are the WHYs and HOWs behind dietary intervention? Do you know about the positive effects special diets seem to be having on children with autism, ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, sleep, behavior, etc.? After reading Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D., I would really give a gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) diet a try.
In the first many pages of Special Diets for Special Kids, Dr. Lewis does a great job of explaining why individuals with autism can be helped by avoiding gluten and the dairy protein called casein. She also touches on other diets for children with other neurodevelopmental disorders. I appreciated all the extra information Dr. Lewis added with her recipes.
Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes 1 and 2 Combined has 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! is much more than an ordinary cook book.
This high quality book is worth the price! It is very well designed and user-friendly. Most pages have colorful photos of the complete dish. Dr. Lewis and team has a winning combination of recipes and the information for parents who want to know about the foods they prepare for their family.
Lisa Lewis earned her Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from New York University. Lisa’s wealth of knowledge about diet and autism comes from her experiences as the mother of a child with autism who successfully followed a gluten-free, casein-free diet. Lisa’s first edition of Special Diets for Special Kids appeared in 1998 and Volume 2 launched in 2001. Her first two books have been helping children and adults with autism, ADHD, celiac disease, and other disorders.
Lisa also gained knowledge about this topic while working with many other parents who turned to the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI) that she co-founded with Karyn Seroussi in 1999. ANDI provides information and support to parents all over the world. Their years of research resulted in the publication of The Encyclopedia of Dietary Intervention. Dr. Lewis continues to write and speak on the subject.
The knowledge she gained these past twelve years and her changed perspective on the topic motivated her to spend the time and effort to update her two Special Diets books into one indispensable resource. Also, Lisa feels the numerous people who only in recent years have gotten to know her and who are drawn to her books should have updated information that reflects recent knowledge and research.
Why Dietary Intervention for Autism?
The back cover of her book gives a short summary of why a GFCF diet can work for some individuals. Certain enzymes are required to break down gluten and casein. If those enzymes don’t function well, or are not present at sufficient levels, problems can result.
How Is the New Edition of Special Diets for Special Kids Different?
- Combines the best of both volumes into one easy-to-use book.
- Emphasis the use of organic and locally grown foods when possible.
- Shows a healthier way of feeding your whole family by touching on everything on your plate.
- Removed recipes and added new ones containing fewer starches and more nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
- Passes along lots of tricks for doing the GFCF diet “on the cheap”.
- Has narrowed down her choice to simple foods prepared simply.
- Includes steps on the basic preparation of healthy food choices like roasting turkey or making stews.
- Knows how stressed and time-challenged parents are so she included many time and effort saving ideas.
- Annotated many recipes with “head notes” to share ideas, variations, and tips.
- Instructs on ways to adapt particular recipes for those on other diets.
- Points out the benefits of many of the specific ingredients.
Lisa writes: “If you are new to dietary intervention, I hope that this book will ease you into the GFCF diet with minimal stress. If you are an old hand, I hope you will find that there are still things you can learn to make life as delicious and nutritious as possible!”
What About the Recipes?
Lisa has compiled over 200 revised and NEW gluten-free, casein-free recipes. She also includes a free CD of printable recipes in a handy pouch in the back cover. In the Table of Contents the recipes are grouped together in 10 chapters with subheadings and are also very easy to find in the detailed index. Most recipes have a colored photo and a short, entertaining, and usually educational anecdote at the beginning. She has both the traditional way the dish was made and the variations that can be made to accommodate dietary needs or individual preferences. When a new or different ingredient is listed, Lisa includes where best to buy it, how to keep or store it, and information about it. With each recipe the yield to expect is clearly indicated at the end of each recipe.
How Lisa Makes Each Bite Count
Moreover, because Lisa knows that with our picky eaters we must make every bite count, she has notes with many of the recipes to remind parents how they can pack more nutrients by blending in veggies, fruits, etc. that the child will never notice. Lisa’s favourite “vehicle” for hidden nutrients is muffins. She shows you how to sneak in extra eggs and nuts for protein, carrots for bulk, fiber, and vitamins, molasses for iron, calcium powder and ground flax seeds to bump up the nutrition.
A Book Written by a Parent Just Like You
Parents will immediately trust Lisa and want to follow her tips because throughout the book you know she is a parent just like you. Lisa knows about parental exhaustion due to school meetings, sport events, and extra-curricular activities. She knows about the expensive and time consuming therapy sessions, doctor’s appointments, and special tutors. She lived through days when nothing seemed right. Overwhelmed parents will appreciate her numerous time saving tips sprinkled here and there among her super-easy recipes:
- Cook for more than one meal at a time to use as handy leftovers or transformed into a casserole or soup.
Think simple for snacks…nothing processed or refined but easy and quick to prepare like berries, nuts, apples, raw vegetables, eggs, muffins…
- Pack school lunches using a thermal food jar and see how your kids will enjoy those leftovers like soups, chilli, stews…
- Start your kids off in the morning with protein which kids need to start their day and succeed in school. Once more those handy leftover meals and some fruit will do the trick.
- Shop the Ethnic aisle or go to Asian, Indian, and Hispanic grocery stores for unusual or hard-to-find ingredients to vary and enliven the diet.
- Cheap Eats, The many suggestions in chapter 9 and throughout the book will show parents on a limited budget that following a special diet does not mean they have to break the bank.
- Make at least one vegetarian dinner a week for less than a dollar per serving.
- Cook your own beans, doubling the recipes for lots of leftovers, for 1/5 the price of canned beans.
- Prepare nutritious soups with leftovers many throw away.
- Buy organic for foods that are known to be routinely contaminate; for other produce, buy conventional and use a good vegetable/fruit wash.
Dr. Lewis has included a section at the end with Recommended Resources and three pages of references. She has lists of helpful books, online food retailers, links for supplements and digestive enzymes, contacts for personal nutrition counsellors, laboratories for testing, web resources, and recommended items for a GFCF kitchen.
So, if you are thinking about a GFCF diet for a special child (no, I do not mean such a diet is best and healthier for everyone), from simple recipes like Ants on a Log to Ethnic Foods like Falafel and Pad Thai, you’ll find it in Special Diets for Special Kids. The GFCF recipes are for the whole family, are fuss-free, flavorsome, and fun!
Check Lisa’s websites Specialdietsforspecialkids.net where you can sign up for her electronic newsletter.