Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are you gluten & dairy free:

We initially went gluten and dairy free for the well being of my son who is in the autism spectrum. The proteins in gluten and dairy that are commonly hard to digest and get “leaked” out of the gut are called peptides. The peptides react with opiate receptors in the brain and mimic the effects of opiate drugs like heroine and morphine, which block pain and cause our kids to act “out of it” or “high”. They are not necessarily allergic to these foods, but they cannot digest them and they cause a morphine-like effect on the brain. Opiates also cause constipation, which is why many kids in the spectrum have constipation.  If you are skeptical of starting your child on a gluten and dairy free diet and you want to know for sure that you child is unable to digest peptides, you can have their urine checked for gliadorphin (or gluteomorphin), which is a peptide derived from gluten and casomorphin, which is a peptide derived from casein. If your child is unable to digest peptides, these levels will be high. Additionally, gluten and dairy commonly cause digestive upset and inflammation in the body and everyone in my family has benefited from this diet.


Q: What is the Paleo Diet and do you follow it?

A:  We loosely follow the Paleo diet because it is a healthy way of eating that helps to further heal leaky gut when going gluten free isn’t enough. The focus is on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as grass-fed meats, fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, and healthy fats while removing processed foods. There are no gluten, grains (oats, corn, rice, etc…), legumes, or soy allowed. Grass-fed dairy is allowed if you can tolerate it. We are not 100% Paleo but try to eat that way most of the time. The GAPS diet and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet are 2 other diets to help get your digestion on track. Also, the Elimination Diet can help you find out what foods you are reacting to so you can eliminate them.


Q: What is leaky gut?

A: This is where gaps are formed between the intestinal cells (think of the gaps in a fence as opposed to a wall), allowing contents of the intestines to leak into the body. This can happen from toxic overload, Celiac disease, chronic stress, poor diet, antibiotics, nutritional deficiencies, infections, or too much harmful bacteria and not enough good bacteria.  When this happens, our bodies launch an attack against the “invaders” that have leaked into the body and causes the immune system to attack them leading to food sensitives because the food that is being leaked has now been “red flagged” by the immune system. This not only causes the immune system to act up and can eventually lead to all kinds of auto-immune disorders, but now you can also have a build up of toxins and yeast in your body along with not absorbing the nutrients from the food that you need.

In many people, especially kids with autism, gluten and casein are often hard to digest and are “leaked” into the body. The gluten and casein can effect the brain in the same manner as an opiate (think of morphine) and causes many symptoms. When Lance has gluten especially, he acts “out of it”, obsessive, has a higher pain threshold, can’t concentrate, and just acts different.


Q: Are there any substitutions for almond flour?

A: Because almond flour is higher in fat and is lighter (in weight) than other flours it is very hard to substitute. While I have not tried either, I’ve heard you can use grapeseed flour as a 1:1 substitute or finely ground sunflower seeds as a 1:1 substitute. Almond meal is not ground as fine as almond flour and doesn’t always yield good results in baked goods. I always use the Honeyville brand when baking (see my Pantry Essentials page).

*Note that sunflour seeds contain chlorophyl and when mixed with baking soda can turn your baked goods green! To maintain the proper color you could try reducing the baking soda and adding some lemon juice.

You could try sunflower seed flour and grapeseed flour, but I have not tried either of them. I also found THIS PAGE on how to make your own sunflower seed flour, but I have not tried this either.


Q: Are there any substitutions for arrowroot flour?

A: Yes. Arrowroot can be substituted with cornstarch or tapioca flour.  If thickening a sauce with cornstarch instead of arrowroot remember that it will take longer for the sauce to thicken. You may need to stir for up to 10 minutes. If you are thickening a milk product (and sometimes milk substitutes) arrowroot can result in a gross, slimy substance so you may want to stick with cornstarch or tapioca. Also, arrowroot looses it’s thickening power under prolonged heat so cornstarch or tapioca may be a better bet for casseroles. I hardly ever use cornstarch since it is not Paleo and corn is almost always GMO and hard to digest.


Q: Are eggs dairy?

A: I get this question all the time! The short answer is no.  While eggs are an animal byproduct (so they are not vegan) they are not dairy. Dairy refers to any food coming from a milk bearing animal such as cows, goats, sheep, or the like.


Q: Does coconut oil have a coconut taste?

A: If you buy refined coconut oil it will not impart a coconut taste, unrefined will.


Q: Are oats gluten free?

A:  While oats themselves do not contain gluten they are usually grown, harvested, and processed with wheat. Because of the cross-contamination I always buy certified gluten free oats. The protein structure in oats is very similar to wheat (this is also true of coffee, yeast, and dairy) and some people react to oats the same as gluten. If you buy certified gluten free oats and still have a reaction you may need to steer clear of oats altogether.


Q: How do you measure your flour?

A: I use the scoop and sweep method. If you spoon the flour into the cup, it fluffs the flower and your cup will be too light. Alternatively, if you pack the cup it will be too heavy. I always scoop the flour out with my measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.

Using this method 1 Cup of blanched almond flour = 4 oz.


Q: Why do you mainly use almond flour?

A: Mainly, the taste. I find it has the perfect taste for baked goods and is not gritty at all. Also, it is high in protein, good fats, minerals, low carb, and is grain free. See also my pantry essentials page.


Q: Why are most of your recipes a combination of almond and arrowroot flour?

A: I find that the combination makes the most tasty baked goods. While (obviously) I love almond flour, I don’t like all of my food to taste like almonds. Also, the addition of arrowroot makes for less dense baked goods while still remaining grain free.


7 responses to “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Sara

    Hello Cassidy,
    Thank you for this website. I am starting to go gluten free just for the health benefits.
    I am somewhat stuck with information. Some websites said I can substitute regular flour for gluten free flour 1:1 and add 1 Tablespoon of xanthn gum. But I haven’t found this to be the case. Is it the gf flour I use to substitute or is it not that easy to sub the flours? Not knowing which gf flours to use for breads cookies, or pasta doesn’t help the problem either.
    I see from your recipes you use almond and arrowroot flours a lot. Can those be substituted at a 1:1 ratio?

  2. Jamie

    Cassidy I’m looking for a good pasta recipe that is GF, DF, and yeast free any suggestions. Thank You.

    • Cassidy

      Hi Jamie, what kind of pasta recipe are you looking for? Are you looking to make homemade pasta or just a pasta dish?

      If you’re just looking for a pasta dish, I recommend buying Tinkyada brand – it’s the best – or using zucchini noodles for grain free I have instructions for this on my paleo pesto pasta recipe). If you look under the “Search By Type” section on the bottom right hand side of my site and click on “pasta” you will see some of the recipes that I like. I don’t have a ton of pasta dishes, but I plan on making and posting more throughout the summer 🙂 I hope this helps

      Hope this helps!

  3. Cathleen Krepps

    I have tried three times to make non-gluten oatmeal yeast bread and could use the results to build a small house! We live at 4200 feet altitude. I am interested to try the yeast free sandwich bread and am wondering if the altitude would make a (bad) difference?

    • Cassidy

      Hi Cathleen, I’m sorry about your oatmeal yeast bread 🙁

      I really don’t know anything about high altitude baking except I thought you were suppose to increase the baking temperature by 25 degrees??? So I don’t know if my sandwich bread would be affected by the altitude or not, sorry I can’t be of more help. If you give it a try let me know how it turns out!


  4. Kb

    We are new to gluten free dieting and now have to include dairy free. Trying to find the best tasting gluten free and dairy free foods is quite expensive. Thank you for all your suggestions. 2 questions
    What is your family’s favorite gf/df sour cream, butter and cheese ( for quesadillas, cheese fondue, pasta, pizza)?
    When creating a meal for your family, does everyone eat the same selections or do you sometimes make two versions-one item (gf/df) and the other “regular” ? (we eat a lot of chicken, fish, veggies and fruit but…( 2 of my teens that “don’t have” to eat gf and df are not so willing and don’t seem to enjoy gf/ df versions)
    Thanks so much

    • Cassidy

      Hi Kb, those are good questions!!!

      A lot of people like the Daiya cheese, but I think they are just OK, and usually omit the cheese or use them sparingly. For sour cream I usually open up a container of SO Delicious plain Greek yogurt and add lemon juice to it (you can find my recipe here). It does have a very slight aftertaste but is perfect for cooking or used in small amounts on Mexican food. A lot of people use a cashew sour cream, but I have a terrible blender and the yogurt sour cream is easier.

      When I cook I only cook what the entire family can eat but I do keep “regular” bread, milk, snacks, and the like around the house for my husband and daughter.

      I hope this helps and all the best to you, hang in there it gets easier!!!


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