Angela Taylor, MS, CNS, LDN is Board-Certified in Clinical Nutrition and is the author of The BrainFood Cookbook. She successfully recovered her son from autism using the SCD/GAPS/Paleo diet. She resides in Baltimore, MD and holds three degrees from John Hopkins University. Angela is a Licensed Clinical Nutritionist and works with clients via Skype and in-person in Baltimore. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University teaching Clinical Nutrition.

#5 How do I get my kid to eat this stuff?

thumb_james-in-chair_1024I advise seating your child in a high chair – or booster seat with a clip-on tray – at mealtimes. It’s hard enough to change your child’s diet, without him constantly wandering away from the table.

Since we can’t eat typical “starches”, we need to eat a LOT of vegetables to get enough carbohydrate calories for a balanced diet. (Eating a diet too high in protein is hard on your kidneys.) Our strategy was to control the plate, and insist on “First peas, then steak” for example. So we would alternate bites, for the entire meal.

As a further incentive to eat the whole dinner, dessert can be set in the middle of the table, out of reach, until the dinner plate is empty. (I found even a simple apple could be
a great dessert motivator.)

But my child hates vegetables…

Click to download blank veggie chart
Our child only liked 5 vegetables, so we would serve them often: carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, and green beans. Researchers have found that it takes 15-18 exposures to a new food for a child to accept it, so we would always insist that James try one small bite of “new” vegetables when they were served. (And, we would generously coat new vegetables with ghee and sea salt.)

We even kept a chart, and eventually, we added some new veggies to our repertoire.

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#6 – GAPS Menu Planning

One secret to doing GAPS (without losing your mind) is just doing some simple planning so you’re never “stuck” with nothing legal to eat. I always keep snacks in my purse and in the trunk of my car. Snack boxes of organic raisins and bags of nuts are good choices.

Just to give you an idea of how we do GAPS, pretty much every day we eat:
(those on “rotation diets” may cringe, but this works for us)
Breakfast – kefir smoothie (see The BrainFood Cookbook p. 119) or French Toast made with walnut bread (see The BrainFood Cookbook p. 80)
Snacktime – raisins or a baked good
Lunch – cucumber, turkey sandwich on walnut bread (see The BrainFood Cookbook p. 80), fresh fruit
Snacktime – fruit, baked good, or crunchy snack
Dinner – planned for all 7 days on Sunday. Typically we have only 3 items per meal: raw veggie, then a main course and one cooked veggie.
Dessert – fruit, or something fun from The BrainFood Cookbook
Beverages – exclusively spring water, except 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed (unpasteurized) juice per day

menuplanningI like to write on a weekly calendar what we’re having for dinner that week, then make one big grocery store trip on the weekend. Dinner is not always a fancy affair – for busy nights I’ll plan to have Scrambled Eggs and Petite Peas, or Hamburgers and Green Beans for example.

Please remember that no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#7 – Saving Time and Saving Money on GAPS

Clock face and American currencySome parents question the value of the time consuming/expensive GAPS diet as many doctors dismiss GAPS as being “unproven”. Until then, be assured that every parent I have spoken to – who has properly implemented GAPS without cheating – has seen huge improvements in their child’s cognition and behavior.

Please also know that I am pushing hard to launch a scientific research study to validate
the effectiveness of GAPS in a clinical research setting. I will continue to post updates on my efforts at

When the going gets tough, just remember that untreated Autism/ADHD is also expensive and time-consuming – and heartbreaking.

Here are some assorted tips to help you save time and money:

• Cheapest food staples are bananas, eggs, carrots, frozen petite peas, ground beef, homemade pumpkin purée. Also beans, but ONLY if they are tolerated.
• Obtain a stand-alone freezer.
• Buy a quarter-cow and freeze. We choose to have the butcher turn the toughest cuts into ground beef rather than keep them as roasts.
• Buy nuts directly from the grower in bulk and freeze.
• Soak/Sprout/Dehydrate a great quantity of nuts at one time, so you always have some nuts at the ready.
• Soak/Sprout/Slowcook a quantity of beans (or lentils) at one time, and freeze them in recipe-sized portions.
• Form a neighborhood buying group with Frontier Wholesale to buy various organic spices/staples in bulk.
• Unfortunately most warehouse clubs sell woefully few grass-fed/organic products. There is a brand new mail-order “warehouse club” called that may be of some usefulness to you.
• Bake double batches of recipes, and freeze.
• Buy bananas 2-3 times per week so you always have ripe bananas on hand. When bananas get overripe, peel and freeze until you have enough for a recipe.
• Buy organic produce in season, and “can” in glass jars, dehydrate, or freeze.
• Save leftover carrot pulp/apple pulp from juicing, and freeze. (Use later for baking).
• Try to grow whatever is easiest/most expensive (i.e. tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, butternut squash).
• Pumpkin has twice the fiber of oatmeal, so it will help you feel full. Many of my baked good recipes contain pumpkin.
• Buy honey directly from the beekeeper.
• Buy raw dairy directly from the farmer.
• Join an organic CSA for fresh veggies in season.
• If at all possible, obtain the following appliances to save time in the kitchen:
KitchenAid Food Processor
Omega Juicer
Excalibur Dehydrator
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Strong Blender (If you don’t have a Vitamix, a Blendtec or Braun may be sufficient for your needs.)
• Ask friends/family/church members to help out with cooking. Hire a personal chef or culinary student to come help out once a week if your budget allows.

Please remember that no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#8 – How do I keep my kid from Cheating on GAPS?

L'enfant et le vase de bonbonsHere are several tips to help you keep your child away from harmful foods while he is on his healing journey:

  • Put everyone in your house on the diet. Give away all your illegal food.
  • Pack a “lunch bag” for your child whenever he leaves the house: for school, playdates, sports, outings with Grandma, you name it.
  • Inform the school in writing and verbally – to every single teacher – of dietary restrictions. Although I provided printed and emailed legal/illegal lists to his teachers, I didn’t count on them to do much with it, as I sent in all of his food from home every day.
  • Also provide all friends and relatives with printed and emailed legal/illegal lists.
  • Ask the teacher to keep a stash of your frozen GAPS cupcakes – clearly marked with your child’s name – in case there is a treat day.
  • Provide allergy blood test results (igG tests) to the school if you have them.
  • And the obvious: serve delicious food, that he likes.

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#9 – Troubleshooting GAPS: Lab Testing

nutrient_deficiency_in_autism_and_addSome critics of the GAPS diet say that it will lead to nutrient deficiencies. I would argue that most kids eating the Standard American Diet already have nutrient deficiencies! The best way to know – for sure – is to do Micronutrient Testing from SpectraCell Laboratories. This is far more accurate testing than typical blood testing done at your local Qwest or LabCorp. SpectraCell has developed highly specialized Micronutrient testing (requires a blood draw) to measure 33 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your body, and evaluates how well your body actually absorbs and utilizes each nutrient. Once detected, deficiencies can be corrected either with foods high in the nutrient, or supplements. In disorders like Autism and ADD, the potential improvement of symptoms when even a single deficiency is corrected can often be quite dramatic.

SpectraCell – Micronutrient and Omega-3 Testing

Good news – it is possible for you to order this test directly from the SpectraCell website without needing a doctor’s note, but it costs $390 if ordered this way. However, if your health practitioner sets up an account and charges you his actual cost, the practitioner cost is approximately $190 US (submitted with your insurance card) or $290 self-pay. (FYI – as a courtesy I offer this test at-cost ($190) to my Health Coaching clients) It’s recommended to retest every 6 months to track your Micronutrient status.

Be sure to also add-on SpectraCell’s Omega-check ($40 if ordered as part of the CardioMetabolic Panel) to find out EPA/DHA levels.

GI-MAP stool test - sample lab reportDiagnostic Solutions – Gut Parasite Testing

Most Autistic/ADHD children have dysbiosis caused by pathogens in the gut. Diagnostic Solutions’ GI-MAP is a DNA stool analysis – it is state-of-the art testing for gastrointestinal pathogens ($179 insurance deposit or $359 cash pre-pay). Be sure to add-on the Zonulin test to identify and track intestinal permeability ($29 insurance deposit or $64 cash pre-pay).

Mold Testing

Many homes unknowingly harbor mold. The toxins given off by the mold can make us physically and mentally sick. To detect hidden mold in your home I recommend hiring a mold detection service that uses a specially trained mold detection dog. You will then need to eliminate the mold from both the body and the home. Mold remediation is an extensive topic which I will cover thoroughly in a future blog post.

Lyme Disease

A large percentage of people get bitten by Lyme-carrying insects each year. If the immune system is in good shape, it can handle the Lyme with no problem. However if the immune system is brought down by a pre-existing problem (including mold), it gives the Lyme an opportunity to take hold. If you are curious to order a lab test, the best one is the Western Blot.

Please remember that
 no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#10 – Troubleshooting GAPS: Withdrawal, Die-off and Glutamates


I’ve already discussed withdrawal in my previous article Ease into GAPS. Remember to change the diet gradually:
• Go dye free
• Eliminate sugar and “sugar substitutes” (honey & fruit still allowed)
• Go gluten free
• Go pasteurized dairy free (GAPS raw dairy allowed: Yogurt & Kefir)
• Start making most of your meals GAPS-compliant
• Full GAPS
• Do the GAPS Intro / Stages
• Full GAPS


Die-off is when candida and other bad bugs die, leaving behind toxic waste products. Uncomfortable die-off reactions can include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, constipation and skin eruptions or rashes. Die-off is induced by consuming probiotics (or anti-fungal prescriptions), and by switching to the GAPS diet (which deprives candida/parasites of their favorite food source: starches and sugars). These die-off waste products affect brain function, making you irritable. Remedies include:
• Drink more water
• Sleep more
• Take an epsom salt bath
• Take an activated charcoal capsule on an empty stomach
• Use a castor oil pack on your liver
• Do a detox footbath if you have access to one


I think everyone knows by now that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is bad for you. It is a known excitotoxin – it literally excites brain cells to death. But you may not know of hidden sources of glutamates. Long cooked beef/chicken bone broth (say, 24 hours) creates a higher concentration of glutamic acid and glutamates, which potentially can flare up ADD, seizure or tic issues. To be on the safe side, make shorter cooked beef/chicken stock made with meat, connective tissue, and bones. And if you purchase packaged foods, be on the lookout for hidden sources of glutamates, including: Autolyzed Yeast, Calcium Caseinate, Gelatin, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Hydrolyzed Protein, Monopotassium Glutamate, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Yeast Extract, Yeast Food, Yeast Nutrient

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#11 – Get Started with GAPS Today – Perfection not required – Hopes & Dreams

An image of a road to the horizon with text START

How strict to be on GAPS is each family’s personal decision. I would rather see a family do “good-enough” GAPS rather than give up because they can’t do “perfect” GAPS. So you may want to cut yourself some slack the first month when initially changing your family’s diet. When you are making your initial transition, if your child will only eat GAPS chicken nuggets and carrot fries for a week, well then so be it.

I will strongly suggest however, that you allow NO gluten, ever! Example: Our extended family was out at a restaurant, and I went to the bathroom. When I came back a few minutes later, James was flapping and stimming. I asked what happened? Grandma had given James a bite of her chicken soup, which apparently contained gluten.

By now you’ve read 10 tip-filled articles. And hopefully you’ve already downloaded my free gift of the first 2 Chapters of The BrainFood Cookbook. I hope you’ve been enjoying these tips, and that you’re ready to start the road to recovery with your child. If you’ve not already done so, you can purchase The BrainFood Cookbook (in print or pdf) from Or if you prefer a Kindle version, it’s available from

If you find you need additional help beyond the book, I am available for one-to-one health coaching. You can learn more at

We all have hopes and dreams for our children, including:
My child will talk
Eliminate digestive distress
Sleep through the night
Get potty trained
Go out to dinner without creating a scene
Reduce the time and money for therapy
Attend a regular school
Dissolve his IEP
Get good grades
Become a talented musician
Be a sports star
Get into a good college
We can go on a family vacation
Mom can return to work
My child can someday live on his own, and get a good job
He’ll get married
We’ll have Grandchildren
And many more!

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or challenges, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.



essential oils and medical flowers herbsAromatherapy is the art of using essential oils to help balance health. Three methods of application include:
Aromatically – Inhale directly from bottle, diffuse (with a diffuser), or from the palms of your hands.
Topically – Massage the oil into desired location. Depending on the oil you can do this neat (undiluted) or diluted with an organic carrier oil.
Another topical method is to fill a small spray bottle (1 oz or 2 oz) with 1:1 distilled water:witch hazel (alcohol-free) and add a few drops of essential oils. Shake bottle before each spritz.
Internally – Drop oil into an empty capsule and swallow with water. (This is the method I use with Oregano oil for parasites)
Or add a drop of oil to a small glass of water and drink.

I have discovered that quality varies from brand to brand. Some high-ranked companies include Doterra, Young Living, and deSensua.

For more information here is an excellent book: Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends by Valerie Ann Worwood

ATEC – Autism Evaluation


I recommend keeping records (pre and post-intervention) so you can monitor your progress.

Autism Research Institute (ARI) offers a free Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) in several languages. You can print out the paper ATEC form (here’s the paper ATEC in English), or take the online ATEC (available in several languages) which tabulates the score for you.

I created this ATEC scoring guide to help you tabulate your score.

Total scores of less than 30 – Indicate that the child possesses somewhat normal behavior patterns and communication skills and has a high chance of leading a normal and independent life.
Total scores of less than 50 – Indicate that the child will most likely be able to lead a semi-independent life without needing to be placed in a formal care facility.
Total scores of 104 or higher – Indicate that the child would fall into the 90th percentile and would be considered severely autistic. He or she will likely need continuous care, perhaps at an institution, and may be unable to achieve any degree of independence from others.

If your child is a toddler between the ages of 18-24 months and you suspect they may have autism, please use the M-CHAT screening test.

It is also helpful to shoot video along the way, so keep your camcorder/phone handy!

SpectraCell Nutrient Testing


Click to download nutritional considerations fact sheet
Overwhelming evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies may be a contributing factor in Autism and ADD. SpectraCell Laboratories has developed highly specialized Micro Nutrient Testing (requires a blood draw) to measure 33 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your body and evaluates how well your body actually absorbs and utilizes each nutrient.

Even if you decide not to try GAPS, I would recommend you RUN to the nearest lab and get this testing done. In disorders like Autism and ADD, the potential improvement of symptoms when even a single deficiency is corrected can often be quite dramatic.

Practitioner MNT wholesale cost is approximately $199 US (with insurance submission) or $290 MNT patient self-pay (w/o insurance).

As an Integrative Nutrition Heath Coach, I will typically order the Micronutrient test along with a few other panels to get a complete picture of the child’s nutritional status. (+ CardioMetabolic, Thyroid, CBC, CMP, Iron, Lead)

It takes time and expertise to achieve repletion – which is achieved through diet and supplements. Retesting is recommended every 6 months until all deficiencies are corrected. (regular retesting is key because it takes most clients 2-3 years to fully correct all nutrient deficiencies.) And, regular testing will give you peace of mind to know as you are doing GAPS (which is obviously a restricted diet) you aren’t inducing any new deficiencies.

Below are example test results to give you an idea of what to expect:
Micronutrient Test Results
CardioMetabolic Test Results

1 4 5 6 7