Whole Food Diet – Autism Style

November 10th, 2015

Whole Food Diet – Autism Style

Whole Food Palette

Whole Food Palette

As with every New Year, the list of dietary resolutions I routinely hear are “no sugar diet”, “juice cleanse” or “carb-free”, among others. None of those options appealed to me as I looked for something that would improve health and also be GFCFSF for my kids. I looked high and low for “whole” or “real” foods lists and found none that were compatible with the GFCFSF diet, so we’ve created our own.

We started with the book “100 Days of Real Food” by Lisa Leake and after considerable tweaking to make it GFCFSF and allergy-friendly, we’ve come up with a pretty great plan for our families to use.

This plan overlaps a mix of GFCFSF, SCD, Paleo, GAPS and many other diets that have the same end goal – healthy eating. Remember, if you put good food in, you’ll get good behavior, better sleeping habits, and the poop out! Whether you do 30 (or 100!) days of this diet, or you just add some of these foods and recipes to your normal food routine, it will result in better eating habits for your family!

This diet is also a money-saver long-term because processing food increases its cost - the more people touch your food, the more it costs per calorie. For example, buying pre-made organic GFCFSF chicken nuggets costs a lot more than buying chicken, an egg, pecan meal and a little oil to make your own. The good news is that even if you only do this for 30 days, the food items you have leftover are all still edible so there is no waste as with other diets.

What are the “whole foods” rules?

  • Whole foods usually have one ingredient – like brown rice
  • Packaged foods contain no more than five UNREFINED ingredients
  • Recipes can have more than five ingredients but processed foods cannot
  • Breads or crackers that are 100% whole grain
  • Wild caught seafood (Low-mercury fish like salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout and Atlantic mackerel)
  • Organic meats, preferably locally grown (www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org)
  • Food is GMO-free
  • Dried fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Naturally made sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, maple sugar or coconut sugar only
  • Beverages to only include water, tea, coffee, all-natural juices, organic wine and GF beerand hard cider
  • No preservatives (nitrates/nitrites, sulfates/sulfites, etc)
  • No food dyes or artificial colors
  • Oils can only include: olive oil, coconut oil (organic and unrefined), lard, unrefined cooking fats like avocado oil, sesame oil, organic bacon grease, flaxseed oil and red palm oil.
  • Organic dark chocolate is allowed (Yay!)
  • A little organic sugar is allowed when needed, but should be used sparingly (like in premade ketchup, or cured meats).
  • And for this program for people with ASD, no gluten, casein or soy


Helpful tools to keep you on track

Hundreds of free recipes on the TACA website fit this diet's criteria, you can find them on their own Pinterest board.

Whole Food Recipe List

Sample Monthly Calendar with Recipes (1997-2003 Excel Format)
Sample Monthly Calendar with Recipes (Excel Format)
Sample Monthly Calendar with Recipes (PDF Format)
*Note that the weekday meals take less than an hour to prepare and any items you will need more than once, we note for you to make extra.

Blank Weekly Calendar Template

Blank Monthly Calendar Template


Real Foods List


Premade food items allowed
These are just a sampling of items that are compatible with the whole-food diet plan. The brands mentioned may not be the only brands that offer a compatible product, they are given as an example to help you start looking.

Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo
PaleoChef Ketchup
Tessemae’s All-Natural Ketchup
Organicville - Organic Dijon Mustard
Sir Kensington's Dijon Mustard
Coconut Aminos products
Crofter's Organic Juice Sweetened Fruit Spread
St. Dalfour All Natural Fruit Spread

Frozen Foods
Cascadian Farms fruits, vegetable and potatoes
Alexia vegetables and potatoes
Earthbound Farm Organics fruits, vegetable and potatoes

Pantry Items
Lundberg Thin Stackers Crackers
Taza Dark Chocolate
Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate
Green & Black Organics Dark Chocolate

Bread, Wraps and Tortillas
Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas
Del Campo GF Corn Tortillas
Almond Paleo Bread
Coconut Paleo Bread
Paleo Coconut Wraps
Vietnamese Brown Rice Spring Roll Wrapper

Processed Meats
Applegate Farms Natural Prosciutto
Applegate Farms Natural Big Apple Hot Dog
Applegate Farms Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dog
Applegate Farms Natural Beef and Pork Hot Dog
Applegate Farms Organic Sunday Bacon
Applegate Farms Natural Deli Meats
Wellshire Farms Sugar Free Paleo Bacon


Baking/Cooking staples to keep on hand
Please note: The brands mentioned may not be the only brands that offer a compatible product, they are given as an example so you know where to start looking.




Gluten-Free Whole Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn (whole grain corn, whole-grain cornmeal or flour (aka masa harina), popcorn (not corn flour, cornstarch or (most) grits or enriched corn meal)
  • Millet
  • GF Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice (no white)
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Wild Rice



  • Almonds
  • Black walnut
  • Brazil nut
  • Butternut / White walnut
  • Cashew
  • Chestnut
  • English walnut / Persian walnut
  • Filbert
  • Hazelnut
  • Hickory nut
  • Juniper berry
  • Macadamia
  • Peanut
  • Pecan
  • Pine nut
  • Pistachio



  • Chia
  • Flaxseed
  • Poppy seed
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Safflower
  • Sesame seed
  • Sunflower


Meats should be raw, unadulterated and organic. Find farmers and farmer's markets at EatWild.com and LocalHarvest.org

  • Bison/Buffalo
  • Eggs (duck, chicken, quail, etc)
  • Duck
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Goat
  • Goose
  • Elk
  • Venison/deer
  • Rabbit
  • Lamb
  • Turkey


Oil and Fats
Choose healthy saturated fats and monounsaturated oils (NO Peanut, canola, safflower, soybean, or sunflower oils)


Wild-caught only



  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blackberry
  • Blue berry
  • Breadfruit
  • Calabash
  • Carambola
  • Ceylon
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries
  • Clementine
  • Date
  • Elderberry
  • Figs
  • Goji, goji berry or wolfberry
  • Gooseberry
  • Granadilla / Passion Fruit
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Jackfruit
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Kumquat
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Loquat
  • Lychee
  • Mandarin
  • Mango
  • Mangosteen
  • Melon, Cantaloupe
  • Nectarines
  • Olive
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Prickly pear
  • Quinces
  • Soursop
  • Star Fruit/Carambola
  • Strawberry
  • Sweetsop
  • Tangelo
  • Tangerine
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon



  • Amaranth
  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Azuki bean
  • Bamboo shoot
  • Beet greens
  • Beetroot
  • Bell pepper
  • Bitter gourd
  • Bitter melon
  • Black-eyed pea
  • Bok choy
  • Borage greens
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini (leaves / stalks)
  • Brussels sprout
  • Burdock
  • Cabbage
  • Caper
  • Carrot
  • Cassava
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Chickpea
  • Chickweed
  • Chicory
  • Chives
  • Chrysanthemum (leaves)
  • Collard greens
  • Common bean
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Eggplant / Aubergine / Brinjal
  • Elephant garlic
  • Endive
  • Fava bean
  • fennel
  • Fiddlehead
  • Garbanzo
  • Garden rocket
  • Garlic
  • Garlic chives
  • Ginger
  • Greater plantain
  • Green bean
  • Horseradish
  • Indian pea
  • Ivy gourd
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lemongrass
  • Lentil
  • Lettuce
  • Lima bean
  • Mizuna greens
  • Mung bean
  • Mustard
  • Napa cabbage
  • Okra
  • Olive
  • Onion
  • Pak choy
  • Parsnip
  • Pea
  • Pea sprouts / leaves
  • Peanut
  • Pearl onion
  • Pigeon pea
  • Poke
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Purslane
  • Radicchio
  • Radish
  • Rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • Runner bean
  • Rutabaga
  • Salsify
  • Shallot
  • Snap pea
  • Snow pea
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Spring onion / Scallion
  • Squash
  • Squash blossoms
  • Sweet pepper
  • Sweet potato (Kumara)
  • Swiss chard
  • Taro
  • Tatsoi
  • Tomatillo
  • Tomato
  • Turmeric
  • Turnip
  • Turnip greens
  • Vanilla
  • Wasabi
  • Water chestnut
  • Watercress
  • Winter melon
  • Yacón
  • Yam
  • Yao choy
  • Yarrow



  • Zucchini / Courgette
  • Turban squash
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Hubbard
  • Gold nugget
  • Delicata Squash
  • Carnival
  • Buttercup
  • Sugar pie pumpkin
  • Butternut
  • Acorn
  • Autumn Cup Squash
  • Banana squash
  • Fairytale pumpkin squash
  • Pattypan


Suggested Reading
How to start the GFCFSF Diet
Special Diets for ASD
How to Read Food Labels
What is organic?
Paleo Parents
Elena's Pantry

Recommended books for more recipe ideas
The SCD for Autism and ADHD: A Reference and Dairy-Free Cookbook for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Pamela Ferro and Raman Prasad
Every Last Crumb: Paleo Bread and Beyond by Brittany Angell
Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime by Danielle Walker
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind: Over 150 Paleo-Inspired Recipes for Every Craving by Vanessa Barajas
Make It Paleo - books 1 and 2 by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason

On Facebook
Just Eat Real Food
Paleo On A Budget
Food Matters

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