Individuals on the autism spectrum have shown minimum to dramatic improvements in communication, behavior and social interactions after they began gluten free casein free (GFCF) diet. The GFCF diet is based on the theory that individuals on the spectrum have sensitivity or allergy to gluten or caseins which form peptides. These peptides can then alter how an individual responds to their environment and exacerbate autistic symptoms.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, grains, vegetable proteins, starches and other flavorings & artificial colors. Casein is the protein found in milk and milk products such as cheese, ice cream and butter.
Some research studies have suggested that a GFCF diet can improve behavior and GI symptoms in some children on the autism spectrum. A recent study in 2010 published in Nutritional Neuroscience shows that a GFCF does have benefits for some kids with autism. “Our results suggest that dietary intervention may positively affect developmental outcome for some children diagnosed with ASD,” according to the study.
Changing a child’s eating habits can seem like a lot of work not to mention the added expense of “specialized food.” Fortunately we have Chef Tom Dickinson who is determined to make the GFCF diet affordable and accessible to all individuals on the spectrum. Chef Tom aims to redefine the public’s perception of a gluten and casein free diet from boring and bland to a cuisine that he calls GFCF-Fusion.
See chef Tom create wonderful meals for your family that are affordable in a minimal amount of time on Autism TodayTV. Chef Tom also has two cookbooks available “Where There’s A Meal, There’s A Way” & “Cooking With Class” with a third on the way “Affordable Eats.”
GFCF Salami and Basil Pizza
Here is a recipe from one of Chef Tom’s cookbooks. It was featured on Episode 2 of Autism TodayTV. Everything you need to make this wonderful pizza is listed here, and if you’d like, you can watch Chef Tom make it first and then give it a try yourself. I have personally tasted the pizza, the sauce is just fabulous. It’s a great tasting fast dish everyone will love.
“My firm belief is that every child on the Autism spectrum should not have to be deprived of the simple pleasures in life like being able to have a slice of pizza like any normal kid, so what I did is created this wonderful recipe and the key to this pizza isn’t the toppings or the sauce, but the technique and the use of a cast iron pizza pan to make this pizza from good, to awesome. Hope you enjoy.” -chef Tom
For The Sauce
- 3 Roma or San Marzano tomatoes
- ¼ cup of sundried tomatoes
- Half of a red onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- One tablespoon of agave nectar
- Salt and pepper to taste
For The Crust
- 2 cups of pre mixed gluten free all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon of guar gum
- 1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
- 1 tablespoon of aluminum free baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup of water
For The Toppings
- 1 package of daiya mozzarella cheese
- 8 basil leaves
- 1 package of Applegate farms uncured salami
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Using some oil that is safe for your child and your own preference, drizzle some oil onto your cast iron pizza pan and place in the oven to get it nice and hot.
- For the sauce, place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree on high speed. The sauce should be a little bit chunky, but that’s okay.
- For the pizza dough, place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together so everything is incorporated. Add the one cup of water and begin to mix together with a rubber spatula. IF the dough is too dry, add water to it one tablespoon at a time. Mix well until the dough is moist but not sticky.
- One a floured cutting board, floured with gf flour of course, roll out your pizza dough with a rolling pin to desired shape and width. Now it’s time for toppings.
- Place the sauce on your pizza, followed by half the daiya cheese, then the salami, and the rest of the cheese on top.
- Take your basil leaves, stack them on top of each other, and then roll them into a roll. Using your knife, cut the basil into fine ribbons, this is called chiffonading the basil, a classic cutting technique.
- Place the ribbons of basil on top of your pizza and slide the pizza of the cutting board onto your cast iron pizza pan. Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and the crust is fully cooked. About twenty minutes.
Makes 4-5 servings *See Chef Tom Create Delicious, Mouthwatering and Affordable Dishes on each Episode of Autism TodayTV