Welcome to Thriving GFCF

Welcome to Thriving GFCF

Welcome to my Thriving GFCF blog. I am doing this for two reasons. First to share information and resources with other GFCF people but also to document and share my GFCF journey. Therefore, sometimes I will post about the past but other times, I will post about something current so bare with me. I hope you find it all interesting and inspiring.

A GFCF diet has changed the quality and course of my life and that of my son, Sammy (now five years old). For those who are new to GFCF, I will start by explaining the diet. “GF” stands for “Gluten Free” – gluten being the protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and spelt. “CF” stands for “Casein Free” casein being the protein found in milk. For us, the casein in cow’s milk and other dairy products, is difficult to digest. For some reason, Sammy and I can both tolerate goat’s milk/cheese. So, “GFCF” basically means no wheat, no dairy.

Here’s the beginning of our GFCF story…about four years ago, I was horribly depressed. I was obese (fifty pounds overweight), in chronic pain, anxious, experiencing insomnia and nightmares and was suffering with heartburn, indigestion, heart palpitations, asthma and allergies. I was a mess. I knew something had to change. While reading a magazine, I ran across a small article about a book called, The Ultra Simple Diet by Mark Hyman, M.D. I’m not sure what attracted me to the article besides the fact that I had all the symptoms listed on the page but I ordered the book and read it in one night. It seemed like a healthy diet so I decided to give it a try. It changed my life. I discovered through this elimination diet that I was allergic or intolerant to many things including wheat, milk, food colorings, MSG, nitrates, flax seed, sugar, artificial sweeteners, mold, additives…and the list goes on.  I could not believe how much better I felt once I removed all these items from my diet. Within weeks many of my symptoms began to dissolve. Over the course of the next two years, 50 pounds melted away. People could not believe how much better I looked. I had lost six dress sizes. My skin was glowing. My eyes were brighter. I literally looked ten years younger. Blissfully following the diet and feeling so much better than before, I had no idea what lie ahead of me, just around the corner.

About one to two years into the diet, my son Sammy was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. At the time, I knew very little about autism. I was actually the one who asked the doctor about the possibility of it. I had noticed several things about Sammy when he was an infant. He was very sensitive to noise. Even the crinkling of the plastic on the diaper wipes packaging would make him startle. He became hysterical when the door bell would ring and/or when the dog would bark. As a young toddler, he would very often cover his ears. He also would make unusual noises and would play oddly with toys such as overly focusing on the wheels of something or lining objects up. When he was awkward on the playground during play dates (standing too close to other children while just staring at them and not saying anything), I wondered if it was just his age and something he would possibly out grow. The final straw for me was his speech delay. When we went into the pediatrician for his two year old visit, he had less than 20 words that he used one at a time. He was about one year behind in development. Kaiser preformed an initial autism screening at his “Well Child” check up and then referred us to the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) department in San Jose, California. Within a couple of weeks, I was able to secure an appointment due to someone’s cancellation. Normally, it can take up to six months to get into Kaiser’s ASD department.

The evaluation took almost all day. They were very thorough, asking many questions and performing many tests on Sammy. By the end of the day, I was tired and worn out. At the end of the evaluation, they sat down with me in an office and started talking about therapies. They spoke as though I understood he was on the autism spectrum. At one point, I put up hand and said, “Wait…are you saying he does have autism?” They gave their heads a nod and began explaining the autism spectrum to me. I barely heard any of it because I felt as though I was free falling down a bottomless black hole. At that moment in time, I could not fathom what Sammy’s future would look like. I was fighting back the tears as I listened to the doctors. I just wanted to grab my little toddler up and leave the office fast and pretend none of this had happened. Since I was the one who suspected a problem and started this whole process, my reaction kind of shocked me. I guess suspecting something and actually realizing it’s true are two different journeys. As I sat in the car driving home, I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw my little Sammy sitting in his car seat looking out the window oblivious to the drastic turn our lives had just taken. I felt the need to hold his hand so I reached back and he happily took my finger wrapping his chubby little fingers around mine. I thought to myself, “I’ve got you, Sammy. Mommy’s got you and I’m not letting go…not ever.” I guess it was in that moment I became a “warrior mom.”

Stay tuned for more of our GFCF story…


  1. Your story is very touching and inspiring Kim. I have no doubt God is trusting you with Sammy because he knows your strength.

  2. Thanks Kim for sharing your story! As I wipe away tears, I know that I am warrior mom too. You got me with your thoughts, “I’ve got you Sammy. Mommy’s got you and I’m not letting go…not ever.” Thank you for being a strong mom and doing what needs to be done for your son and then sharing what you have learned with others.

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  1. TodaysMama.com - Gluten and Your Child's Brain Function - [...] diagnosed on the autism spectrum at two and half years old.  You can read my first blog post about…
  2. Sammy’s Gluten-Free Lunch Box » Thriving Gluten-Free - [...] below, I tear up and think about how I felt the day of Sammy’s diagnosis (read more here, Sammy’s…

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