My family’s Favorite Gluten-Free and Casein-Free Resources

Half marathon finish

By Gina Musielski, Parent Liaison CFC #6 (05/10/2005)

The following resources are for information purposes only. This public information should not be considered, in any way, medical or legal advice by Clearbrook ,Child and Family Connections #6, or the Parent Liaisons.

If you are receiving this personal tip sheet you have probably been wondering about your own child’s food sensitivities. Or, you may be exploring a treatment approach for your child that is commonly called the GFCF Diet, the Gluten-free and Casein-free diet. Our family has many food allergies and sensitivities and we follow the GFCF diet in our home.

Gluten is the protein in certain grains, which is some people cannot be properly digested, and can cause a variety of problems and symptoms. Casein is basically milk, and milk-based products, which can cause similar problems. “Dairy- free” in this case refers to milk products, rather than other ‘dairy’ foods, such as eggs.

Over the last few years I have talked with many families about food sensitivities and about implementing such a diet in their home. We often talk about how to get started, what foods to buy and where to buy them.

To help you in your quest, I have put together this list of some of my family’s favorite books and resources. I have included some of our favorite GFCF foods and places where you might shop for them in your neighborhood.

I hope this helps you as you begin to explore a special diet for your family. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have questions about the GFCF diet or food sensitivities in general, or if you would like to share resources that you have found! I look forward to talking with you.

Gina Musielski, Parent Liasion
Phone: (847) 385-5093, or


  • Kids With Celiac Disease -  A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Children by Danna Korn, published by Woodbine House 2001 . This is an excellent book for understanding and living with Celiac disease. 
  • Special Diets for Special Kids – Understanding and Implementing a Gluten and Casein Free Diet to Aid in the Treatment of Autism and Related Developmental Disorders by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D., published by Future Horizons Inc., 1998. This is a must-have recipe book when implementing the diet. Lisa Lewis explains the use of special diets as treatment approaches, allergy vs. intolerance, and testing. In addition to wonderful GFCF receipes, this book includes other information such as GFCF resources, food substitutes, and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids – 150 Family–tested Recipes, by Sheri L. Sanderson, published by Woodbine House, 2002. Just great family recipes to satisfy the pickiest kids. Includes tips on handling the ever important party foods, and managing meals away from home. Also lists GFCF resources, organizations and support groups.
  • The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook – Over 350 natural food recipes, free of all common food allergens. Corn- free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Wheat-free, Egg-free, Milk-free, Soy-free, and Yeast-free recipes. By Marjorie Hurt Jones, R.N. Published by Rodale 2001. This book is a wonderful resource for information about common food allergens. The section on exploring new ingredients is extremely helpful in understanding how substitutes for the usual ingredients can be used. She offers information about cooking and baking with alternative grains, milk substitutes and the like. For someone who wishes to alter favorite family recipes this book is terrific resource to have on hand.
  • The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast  and Healthy - Wheat-free Recipes with Less Fuss and Less Fat, by Bette Hagman, published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 1996. Bette Hagman is also author of two other books on the topic: The Gluten Free Gourmet, and More From the Gluten Free Gourmet. Bette answers 22 of the most often asked questions about Celiac disease and her chapter on the weird world of gluten free backing explains much about the various alternative flours and how to use them in recipes. Also includes sources for gluten-free products.
  • Recipes for the Ones You Love - A ring bound compilation of 25 GCFC recipes by Carolyn Lewis. Her proceeds go toward the HOPE fund.  Available through the PfiefferTreatment Center in Naperville, IL.
  • Sully’s Living Without  Magazine - This magazine is a lifestyle guide for people with allergies and food sensitivities. It discusses a wide variety of health issues including allergies, food sensitivities, multiple chemical sensitivities, wheat, gluten, and lactose intolerance, autism, ADHD, eating disorders, asthma, diabetes, dermatitis, etc. It is published four times a year by President /Publisher, Peggy A. Wagener. To subscribe contact Living Without, PO Box 2126, Northbrook, IL 60065, or visit:


  • Grocery Chains - We buy many of our foods at the newer grocery chains, such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods, which offer a variety of health and gourmet type foods. Both of these chains carry an extensive variety of gluten-free and dairy- free foods. They also carry organic fruits and vegetables, both fresh and frozen and a variety of meats which are hormone, steroid, and nitrate-free.  Ask for assistance the first time you go as the staff is willing to help you locate items that will meet your dietary needs. Also ask for a listing of products that they carry. TJ’s has separate specialty lists available for free. Some of the longer established grocery chains such as Dominick’s and Jewel, are building their alternative diet sections and offer several pre-packages items.  You may also find some organic foods and hormone-free meats. Items vary by store. Treasure Island is a smaller version of the two types of grocery chains combined. They carry many flours and pastas, organic foods and hormone-free meats. Asian markets are also a good source for rice based items in wide variety.
  • Health Food Stores - We also shop at health food stores. Look in your phone book for listings of heath food stores in your area and call to ask what they may stock. Since health food stores are generally small, many of the items you will find there are pre-packaged items such as cookies, crackers, cereals and baking mixes. Most stores have a freezer case where you might find breakfast food items and fruits and vegetables. The Fruitful Yield is a health food chain in our area that offers a good variety of GFCF foods.
  • Some of Our Favorite GFCF Items -
    • EnviroKids Cereals - Gorilla Munch, Koala Krisp, and Panda Puffs - Just like regular kid cereal only healthier and even in a fun box!
    • Enviro Kids - Rice Bars, available in chocolate and peanut butter
    • Trader Joes’s Rice Milk and Soy Milk – many flavors
    • Tortilla Chips (without coatings) - we love the organic varieties, especially blue corn chips.
    • Savory Thins - a rice cracker great for dips, parties, holidays
    • Blue Diamond Growers’ Co-op Nut thins - several varieties, great crackers
    • Cybros Mock Rye Rolls and Rice Rolls (available at Fruitful Yield) -  tastes just like rye bread
    • Trader Joe’s Gluten Free French Rolls – great hamburger bun substitute or sandwich bread if sliced
    • Trader Joes Brown Rice Bread - not chalky sandwich bread
    • Imagine Soups - Cream of Broccoli, Corn, Creamy Portobello Mushroom, Potato-Leek, Sweet Potato and Tomato 
    • Soy Delicious Soy Ice Cream – TJ’s carries chocolate and vanilla. Also available in other flavors.
    • Double Rainbow Soy Ice Cream - Caution: Read the label. To be sure you have the soy ice cream. They also make regular ice cream and the labels are very similar.
    • TJ’s Creamy Tomato and Red Pepper Tomato Soups – like Imagine foods, also terrific
    • Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread - Non genetically modified, expeller- pressed oils (TJ’s)
    • Canoleo 100% Canola margarine (TJ’s)
    • TJ’s Almond Butter - Creamy, Crunchy and Raw varieties (many sensitive systems can’t tolerate peanut butter)
    • TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter - nice alternative to other nut butters
  • A Word About Bread - Many GF breads are chalky and crumble or break easily. Or they may be heavy and gluey. We like the varieties listed above for their overall taste and consistency. There are many others available including bagels and raisin breads, etc. Try several to see what you like. Freeze GF breads or use them quickly. Defrost, slice and toast the rolls for best use. We always keep the sliced loaves of GF bread in the refrigerator rather than freezer. It can be very difficult to break apart a frozen loaf without ending up with a pile of crumbs.
  • Pastas - Pasta may be your first venture into GF foods. It is an easy way to start. You can make your own sauce or use a favorite from a jar. If you are making meat balls and add bread crumbs be sure to use a GF bread crumb mixture found at health food stores, or try crumbling one TJ French Roll, as we do. It works wonderfully. There is a wide variety of gluten-free pasta available. We like quinoa and brown rice pastas the best.. They are very nutritious. You will also find corn and white rice pasta in all your favorite pasta shapes and sizes, even as lasagna and manicotti noodles, as well as spinach and tomato flavored pastas.
  • Our Favorite Pastas - Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta (available almost everywhere) Trader Joes Organic Brown Rice Penne Pasta TJ’s Thai Rice Noodles Tnky’aya pasta Joy Brown Rice Pasta with Rice Bran (health food stores)
  • Dairy Substitutes - Our family drinks a variety of milk substitutes in place of regular milk. My children both like rice milk by the glass. We all enjoy soy milk in strawberry or chocolate flavor on our cereal, or rice or almond milk. For baking we have found that almond milk or soy milk yield much better results than rice milk. These milk substitutes have a slightly heavier consistency than rice milk.

    A decent milk substitute for morning coffee is Soy Silk. It has a nice consistency and flavor. If you like cream in your coffee, Soy Silk also makes a coffee creamer for just that purpose.

    I am, admittedly, an ice cream hound, so I have tried many ice cream substitutes to fill my ‘void’. One thing I do miss is the wide variety of flavors available in regular ice cream. However, I have found a few soy substitutes that are quite good. My favorites are Soy Delicious and Double Rainbow brands of soy ice cream. Soy Delicious is available in several flavors. Chocolate Soy Delicious is dark and rich and Vanilla Soy Delicious is terrific with fruit sorbet. Double Rainbow makes a vanilla/mango sorbet combo and Very Cherry Chip soy ice cream that is as close to Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia as I think I will get. My son loves Tofutti brand Chocolate Fudge Treats, as an occasional fudgesicle-like dessert. They do however contain aspartame as the sweetener.

    For many, substituting cheese will be the bigger trick. We find that we have can easily live without cheese. Our family has tried pizza made with soy cheese and a gluten-free crust. I personally find it so different than that of my Italian roots that I would rather just not eat pizza. My children, however, do like the GFCF pizzas as well as any. Others I have spoken with on the GFCF diet have said that Tofutti brand cheese substitutes are most like regular cheeses, and they offer many different varieties of cheese substitutes.  

Basic Staples

To get started you must have basic cooking staples covered to implement the diet. Many of the canned or package gravy mixes aren’t gluten free. Many have wheat products in the ingredients. We use the soups listed above to make gravies and sauces for dinner. Combine mushroom and tomato with some spices and you have a great brown gravy base. Butter and most margarines are casein based. We use canola margarine, olive and canola oils for cooking and baking.

I hope these tips for getting started are helpful to you. Please let me know how they work for you. Thanks! Gina

Do people with Down syndrome have feelings?

Yes. Just like everyone, people with Down syndrome have feelings. They can feel happy, silly, sad, sorry, or upset - just like you. People with Down syndrome enjoy friends and family and can be hurt when someone teases or makes fun of them - just like you.

Can I help my Friend?

Yes! Play with and talk to people with Down syndrome. If they are having trouble playing a game, give them time and a little extra help or ask them what game they would like to play. Be clear in what you are saying. Find out what your friend likes to do. Just hang out together and see what happens. You are more alike than you are different.