Special diets for Special kids – a review

As soon as we decided to give the dairy free a go as well as our gluten free diet I knew I needed a recipe book to keep the variety going……otherwise we’d be eating rice or gluten free pasta every night for dinner and I’d be stuck for lunches. Special Diets for Special Kids had lots of reviews on Amazon and they had combined 2 volumes into 1 with over 200 recipes. And it’s a big book with 375 pages full of information and recipes.

Chapter 1 is devoted to Why Special Diets. A question I often get asked. Chapter 2 is about testing and nutritional supports which is what we’re going through now with our paediatrician and Chapter 3 is How and What to feed your child. For most people getting the gluten and dairy out of our diets is a massive change and we have to rethink how we cook.

The recipes in the book are family friendly and easy to make. You won’t need loads of fancy ingredients but you will need to overhaul your pantry to get the regular flours out and the gluten free ones in as well as dairy substitutes. The baking section of the book is great with bread recipes including yeast free, maple rice bran muffins, blueberry muffins, rolls, a tortilla recipe and cookies. A few recipes that I’ll be making straight away include gluten free spring rolls, honey buckwheat pitas, world’s easiest chicken dumplings, mac and cheese, crispy baked drumsticks, gingerbread people, a jewish cookie recipe (there is a section of the book with several jewish recipes), zebra cake, choc chip cookies and granola. There are also some recipes to make your own dairy free milk, sauces and condiments too.

This really is a book that helps you get started and maintain a gluten free casein free diet in your home and for me helps me feed lots of little people and keep everyone in the family happy with variety and foods that they love. The book also comes with a CD of printable recipes and I found the best price on fishpond in the end. There are fancier books out there which I also have like Cooking for Isaiah, The dairy free and gluten free kitchen and Against All Grain but I just know that this one is going to be my go to book during the week when I need to get dinner on the table or make elodie’s lunchbox as everything is easy and what she will eat.

So keep an eye out for this one if you’re new to special diets and give it a go. I’m really happy with it and about to sit down and do some meal planning and list writing and try out some new recipes on the family tonight.


  1. Sounds wonderful. I have been experimenting with our diet to see how certain foods affect the mood and behaviour of one of my kids and have been astounded by what we have seen. I don’t see many obvious signs in my other 5 kids, but certain foods really set her off so big changes in her lunch box. All of the changes I have been making are healthier ones so we are all doing it as a family. I have a friend who has also recently found out she is Coeliac so I will definitely be telling her about this book. I will be curious to find out how you go with Dairy, that has to be a hard one to cut out.

    • yep the dairy is a challenge as I love my cheese, not so much milk but cheese and yoghurt I love. So far so good mind you only a week in and definitely seeing results with our little miss. I must find some coconut yoghurt as think that could help the yoghurt side of things

      there is definitely something in changing diets for our kids and ourselves, we just get into such habits and don’t want to change or think that it could be affecting our health:)

  2. OMG Corrie, I literally just sent you an email asking you this exact question, then decided to read some blogs from my reader, lol. Thanks, this book sounds perfect.

  3. Corrie, I’m interested in the changes you have noticed since changing your family’s diet. Also, how soon after cutting out gluten did you begin to notice the changes?

    • oh lots! better behaviour, less tantrums, better concentration and eye contact, more consistent nappies (without going into TMI), less bloating so her tummy went down and just a happier little person. It’s good to actually put a bit of gluten back in to see if that was the culprit, I did it twice and it was crazy how obvious it all was and we had to get back on the gluten free:)

  4. This book looks amazing….changing diets can be hard socially or even at school to eating differently to everyone else but my friends have found success in certain diets and the amount of attention, focus and irritability with their special kids. It’s a worthwhile venture but needs to be done properly before deciding that there is no improvement. However we were told that a gradual withdrawal of food was fine over a period of months but during the testing for reactives we needed to be 100% on the diet to get true results

    • well I was just thinking that today by me giving up the gluten I’ve confirmed that I react to sulphur in food like dried fruit and grapes. very interesting. It always seems hard to totally change diet but is worth it

  5. This sounds great. My daughter is gluten, lactose and soy free so I love finding fun new recipes that she loves :)

  6. This book looks really interesting. I look forward to hearing reviews of the recipes. There’s so much about the gut and the immune system that isn’t really clear yet. Hopefully more scientific research will be focused on these areas. There must be some explanation behind the rising rates of autism, anaphylaxis, etc etc. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. Books like this are fantastic. I have a couple which remain in the top drawer of my kitchen because they are used so much – my go to books for meals and snacks for my family of hungry eaters. Going gluten free is making an amazing difference for one of my sons so I’m trying to make it a habit as a family, thus requiring a lot of relearning for me. I’ve always cooked a lot, now I’m trying new things which is fun.

    • it is fun but it’s also a lot of work rethinking the shopping list and what you can and can’t have and I’m still reading labels and thinking something is ok and then it’s not! but worth it. What is your fave book if you don’t mind me asking

  8. Perfect timing! Your recent blog posts about Elodie’s sensitivities got me thinking about what I should do for myself.

    Junk food got me through decades of confusion and challenges, but now that I have my diagnosis, and assuming that food sensitivities come along with it, I should be looking for a better way to deal with life.

    I’ve been googling this issue this week was even thinking about asking you to point me in the right direction … and now you have done exactly that! Thanks so much.

    • my pleasure, it really is fascinating and I think they are just ahead of us in america with all of this and it was my internet searching late at night that got me to try gluten free and not a dr or anyone we see here. There is definitely something in it and this would be a great book to start. Also try out Against All Grain because I find that just has a great range of recipes with easy to find ingredients and we love them here:) Lovely to hear from you Joanne

  9. I have recently changed to a grain free and dairy free diet.
    My skin is great, I’m sleeping better, my mind is clear, no more bloating (I used to gain 2-3kg during the day, now it’s 500g and so on.

    I am grain free as evidence shows the gut can get a bit “confused” -you can be gluten free but your body thinks you are still taking gluten in as it reacts to other grains (cross-reactivity).
    My journey began about 12 months ago when I started to read Sarah Ballentyne (www.thepaleomom.com). Her knowledge is astounding and she backs everything up with peer reviewed journal articles.

    Good luck with your journey.

  10. hi Corrie,

    Firstly congratulations ! I have been inspired by your blog to go dairy free and wheat free, can you recommend any book that would be useful, its just me at the moment as hubby wouldn’t try it and I want a good grip on it myself before getting the children involved !

    thank you fiona

  11. Amazing timing – just popped over to your site to check the latest and there was this book on the top banner. My youngest son is anaphylactic to peanuts and now we are on the testing track with learning problems. He is struggling more than ever this year and I don’t know why, so I’ve decided to try diet first to see if that helps with his inattention and concentration. I’ve just ordered this book through Fishpond, so thank you very much.

  12. I will def have to look out for this book. My son was recently confirmed to be severely allergic to egg and dairy, so cooking ideas and tips are a must for me!

  13. Hi, as I write to you I am in tears. My little girl had allergy tests done because she was under GA for an op to insert grommets and have her adenoids out. She only 2. I took her off wheat and dairy. Dairy she sneaks every now and then and I don’t notice too much but she snuck some pastry on the weeknd and I have had 3 days of intermittent back throwing tantrums. It’s hard! Wheat definitely affects her badly. She still isn’t talking and I wonder if any other readers have similar experiences that they could share. Feeling very tired and frustrated. She’s a fussy eater at best.

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