Gluten, constipation, and autism. It’s all connected! And a “Coffee Milkshake” that has changed Ashley’s life :-)

Hey everybody! This is a video where I talk about how gelatin has made Ashley regular after a YEAR of struggling with constipation and trying EVERYTHING under the sun. It’s been a month of almost daily poops (Sorry I said poop on a food blog. Had to be done.). It’s definitely a record, and lets hope it keeps working!!! If you’re wondering why I had to go there (with the poop talk and all) then watch the video. Or if you just want the recipe for the “coffee milkshakes” then here ya go…

“Coffee Milkshakes”

dairy-free, cafine-free, paleo, non-acidic

1/2 cup chilled carmel nut dandelion tea (I use 2 bags)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 soft pitted Medjool date
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons gelatin (it HAS to be THIS one or it will clump like glue)
6 cubes of frozen coconut milk (I use THESE BPA-free trays with lids)

Add everything to the blender and puree until completely smooth.

Serves 2.

How much protein is that? Well, between the chia seeds and the gelatin that’s 7 and 1/2 grams of protein per serving, and I don’t know how much protein is in the other ingredients.

The link to the multi-vitamin that I mentioned is HERE. If you have a DAN! doc or alternative doc they can get it for you for much less than this link.

P.S. I made a mistake in the video. I thought that the gelatin also had other vitamins/minerals, and it doesn’t. There is a list of the amino acid analysis which threw me off. Also, if you want to read more about Ashley click on the label below, or right HERE.

♥, Kelly


  1. says

    I love this post, thank you so much for sharing. My son is autistic and usually goes very regularly, but man on man is he a different kid if he doesn’t poop at least once a day!!
    I will be trying him on your milkshake though as it sounds delicious :)

  2. says

    Yay!!! So glad you’ve found this solution, Kelly. Constipation is unpleasant for all of us and as you’ve shared definitely affects behavior. I’m sure your post–which covers several interrelated topics so well–will help many, many folks. Just shared on Facebook. Thanks, dear!


  3. Anonymous says

    Is the coffee alternative and all the other ingredients necessary or is the gelatin the key to relieving constipation. My daughter is 4 and still has to wear diapers because she has chronic constipation where she builds up a blockage, and then “leaks” feces throughout the day. Her tummy is always bloated and she is very cranky and complains often of stomach aches. She has been seen by doctors and Miralax is the main treatment. We tested for food allergies and she is not able to have gluten, dairy or beef. I know you’re not a doctor (at least I don’t think so, but I’m new to your blog), but any suggestions? Is the gelatin from beef? I’m dying to get her regular and out of diapers and happy and comfortable!

  4. says

    Just a question…Do you use 1/2 cup of water to make the tea with 2 bags or do you make a larger amount with 2 bags and just use 1/2 cup in the recipe? I really want to try this!

  5. says

    Meagan, I have done colonics myself, and give Ashley enemas. I haven’t done other forms with her.

    Anonymous, The gelatin is from beef. You should show your doctor my video and ask about gelatin. It is the key for Ashley.

    Nikol, Yes 2 bags in 1/2 cup of tea :-)

  6. Anonymous says

    Thank you for this post! Our son has Autism and we found out 2 years ago that he has Celiac disease. We hoped that going off the gluten would help with his major digestion problems, but it didn’t. It did help in other areas though. We have been at a loss to know what to do. I am excited to try this and hope it works! How wonderful that you were able to figure this out for your daughter! Thanks again for sharing! Hannah

  7. says

    Great news! -I know how it feels to finally make a breakthrough on the constipation front! My asd son is 8 and has suffered from constipation for most of his life (since introducing solids). We also tried everything, but have recently had much success with cultured foods. So he gets cultured strawberries in his smoothies and the Body Ecology probiotic drinks in his juice. Will definitely look into gelatin. I’ve been following (and enjoying)your blog for many years now and want to thank you Kelly for your great recipes and ideas, some of which have become staples in our household. Janeen (from Australia)

  8. says

    Thank you for this! My son, 4 years, has been off and on between constipation and diarrhea for months lately. And sometimes he seems like he’s holding it, too. His behaviour changes so dramatically when he does have a BM, and I know that I haven’t been as diligent as I should about avoiding gluten/dairy in his diet. I’m totally going to try the gelatin, in the hopes that it will help him get over his own bowel issues! Thank you!

  9. says

    My son, Samuel, now in managed recovery from autism used to struggle with constipation. It started at birth. Once I put him on an elimination diet after his autism diagnosis, he started going everyday. I tell people, the more he pooped, the more he spoke. His vocabulary broke open and he started putting two words together for the first time. It’s amazing to witness the intimate connection between the bowel and brain.

    Thanks for posting this about the gelatin. I will keep this in mind for clients who are continuing to struggle. I wonder why the gelatin works.

  10. says

    Hi Kelly,
    Just wondered what you found out about making kombucha in a cermic container. I bought one a while ago to try and make continuous kombucha but haven’t started yet. Thanks. – Joyce

  11. says

    Magnesium Citrate is good for constipation too. We mashed pills with a mortar and pestle for years and put it in food, but now our child is older and can swallow pills. She gets it twice a day and is not constipated as long as she’s on it. Good for calming as well.

  12. says

    Kelly do you think the key is the gelatin or is the dandelion tea or is it the combination of everything that is working for Ashley? I am trying to figure out what components might work best for my 11 year old with hypomotility (colon doesn’t move things along as it should). We have tried many things but nothing has been 100% effective. Currently with our integrative doc we are using probiotics plus S. boulardii, DGL, super aloe, Paracid Forte, and L-carnitine for energy. He is GF and mostly CF but that does not seem to make a difference in either bowel habits or behavior (he has ADHD, ODD, and mood disorder). It’s frustrating!

  13. says

    Great post. Question: chia seed can help constipation, and so can dandelion tea. So how did you determine that the gelatin is the active ingredient? My son has a lot of food intolerances, so do yiu think giving the gelatin alone woukd help constipation? Thanks.

  14. Annie says

    Bravo, mama! My daughter had a period of time where she struggled so much with constipation. Interestingly I found homemade bone broth to be very helpful – another great source of gelatin! I always love your blog and I admire everything you’re doing for your daughter’s health.

  15. Mommy of two says

    Just wanted to thank you for your informative video. I happen to have this gelatin at home and had no idea of its benefits on digestion. I also constantly educate my little girls about the importance of regular BM. I, however, have been suffering with constipation since my husband’ s car accident four months ago. I have never experienced such prolonged period of constipation! Thank you very much for sharing your struggles and triumphs with us. I am so glad Ashley is experiencing relief.

  16. says

    Hi Kelly!
    It’s so wonderful to hear about Ashley’s improvement. I’ve been following your blog for several years now and I’m intrigued to hear yet another story of a parent realizing the connection between their child’s autism and gut health. Are you aware of the GAPS protocol and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s books on the autism/Leaky Gut Syndrome connection?

    I’ve often wondered if some of the elements of that might be helpful for Ashley, and for all the parents on here telling harrowing stories about their children’s terrible gut health. I feel for them so much, as I’ve been through a lot of the same things! The pain, discomfort, the extreme irritability. I’m healing now – finally! – and I so wish the same for everybody else who’s suffering with this, especially the kids.

    I’m doing GAPS for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which I believe is also gut related. A big part of that is meat broths high in gelatin, which heal the gut, and your experience here seems to bear that out. Have you heard of GAPS?

    Love from Australia!


  17. says

    Thank you so much for this!!! My son eats gluten, dairy, and mostly grain and refined sugar free, plus I give him probiotics, b-vitamins, and essential oils yet he is still constipated, only pooping about 1 or 2 times a week! I would have never thought of gelatin, I can’t thank you enough. I’m going to start giving it to him today and as soon as I get the ingredients I’m going to try your coffee milkshake :)

    Many Hugs,

  18. says

    Just wanted to let people know that Encopresis is the term for the constipation with leakage, so if you search for encopresis natural remedies there is a good amount of info out there. My daughter has suffered from this. Lots of fiber AND fluids are a must, and the last time around we added 250 mg magnesium (the multi has very little) a day; helps with the muscles involved, which can get out of whack from with-holding. Miralax was not helpful in our situation. Just know that even though it’s not talked about much, you are not alone!

  19. says

    Great information thank you. I have a question about the coconut milk. Are you referring to the canned type of coconut milk in your ice cube tray rather than the boxed type of milk alternative coconut milk?

  20. says

    Hello Kelly!

    I have a question you may have answered somewhere else in your blog that I haven’t seen, but where/what is the cold water cooler you mentioned? It’s cute! And I’ve been thinking about making my own almond milk but wouldn’t know where to store it.

    I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a gf/cf diet really helps ease my fatigue and I’m always willing to try new things that may help as well as additions to smoothies (like you said in another smoothie post they’re so quick!). Already ordered the gelatin and am excited to see how it helps with my CFS/ME symptoms!

    Felicia from

  21. says

    My gelatin arrives in the mail today. I’m excited to try it. I’ve also been looking for some satisfying tea I could drink on Paleo autoimmune protocol. I can’t drink the Teeccino because of the almonds, but I tried steeping carob powder, chicory, dandelion, and fig. Wow! It’s great without anything else. Thanks for that tip. And hooray for Ashley. What a trooper!

  22. Anonymous says

    Are you sure she doesn’t have borderline hypothyroidism? Every one of her symptoms, constipation, developmental delays, gluten intolerance, are related to thyroid issues. Checked for Hashimotos antibodies yet? A huge percentage of autistic children have thyroid dysfunction and many have thyroid bodies. My autistic son has antibodies to everything thyroid, they are just below threshold now because he’s on low dose naltrexone.

  23. says

    krtsinohio, Such a great point! I do think it’s the gelatin though because sometimes I make it with other tea and without chia.

    Felicia, I got the ceramic cooler at World Market.

    Anonymous, I am 99% sure that we have checked that.

  24. babs says

    Don’t forget licorice tea. Always seems to do the trick! As well as castor oil rubbed on the tummy at night. I use both.

  25. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for posting about this issue. I myself have struggled with chronic constipation (going only once a week on average). I purchased the gelatin and have been taking it every day. I am taking the amount that it says on the can which is a TBSP in the morning and one at night. I simply dissolve it in my coffee in the morning and in juice in the evening. I am thrilled to report success! I have been able to go every day since day 2 of taking it.

  26. says

    Made it! And it’s good! I used the Republic of Tea’s Good Hope Vanilla (I am obsessed with this tea right now because it smells like heaven) making this smoothie feel like a treat. Like a healthy vanilla milkshake!! Who knew those words could be in the same sentence!! Thanks Kelly <3

  27. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    I was finally able to order some of the gelatin through It didn’t seem to be available before…

    Made the Coffee smoothie twice so far (using Elana’s Dandelion root coffee), and the results have been instant! I cannot tell you how soothing and calming (and nourishing) this breakfast smoothie is for me! I cannot get over how much better I’ve been feeling these past 2 days, and the only difference is the gelatin.

    I have hypothyroidism and take daily medication for it. I was diagnosed with high gluten sensitivity about 13 years ago, and I went grain free – in addition to GF – last year. I have always been quite regular, so this was not an issue for me. Still, this gelatin is magical! I used to need a big breakfast, I’m talking home-made sausage and cauli-hash with tons of veggies to be able to go through the morning. That takes a lot of time, even when you cook in big batches.

    Yet that smoothie gives me everything I need to last until mid-morning! The animal protein makes all the difference. For some reason, vegetal protein doesn’t work for me.

    I could hug you right now Kelly! Gelatin is a big piece of my health puzzle that seemed to be missing. Looking forward to see how long-term use will improve my health, well-being (and skin/scalp)!

    Thanks again!
    Sonia from Canada

  28. says

    Just wanted to add that my husband and I have been making this every morning since you first ran this post and we have both noticed an improvement. I don’t really like cold drinks and only had the gelatin in the orange container from Great Lakes. I didn’t want to wait to order the other kind, so I make it as a hot drink in my vitamix. I use raw milk too and throw in a few almond first with the chia and coconut milk and mix that well while I am making the tea. Once the tea is made I pour it in hot and turn on the blender and then add the gelatin. Works great and it’s a nice hot drink in the morning. We both really like it. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Anonymous says

    I posted another comment under “anonymous” but I wanted to let you know that yet another person was helped by your post. That would be my mom. She, like me, only averaged going once a week. Since starting the gelatin a week ago, she is going every day. I also have a friend with an 8 year old that has been on Miralax for over a year. She has ordered the gelatin and will be trying it for him. I have no doubt it will be working for him soon! Thanks so much for the post.

  30. Anonymous says

    For the person who asked about Dandy Blend. Be aware that it has several grains in it. I was very excited to try it and didn’t feel well after drinking it. When I read the ingredients I realized what was going on. It’s easy to forget about checking the ingredients for grains when it comes to teas. :(

  31. Anonymous says

    Have you tried bone broth as a source of gelatin? Very easy to make, and when done right, sets up like jell-o when chilled. Freezes well too. A cup of broth a day might be a good option and it’s o cheap and easy to make.

  32. says

    Could you please tell me if the Great Lakes Gelatin in the Orange container that is Kosher will work for constipation like the one you show in the green container does? I just bought it a coupe weeks ago after doing research about it being the best company with grass fed cows, but I did not realize the green container was the superior one…I will buy that one next time but don’t want to waste the bottle I do have so just wondering what your thoughts are…Thanks for the post!

  33. says


    Thank you so very much for being willing to share the details of what you all go through with Ashley. It’s so helpful and encouraging. I have a friend that can especially use this information for her own son. I have a feeling that helping others in the autism community (and food allergen community) is the reason you do what you do, and do it so well. Thank you again. I’m ready to start my family on this smoothie myself.


  34. says


    Thank you so very much for being willing to share the details of what you all go through with Ashley. It’s so helpful and encouraging. I have a friend that can especially use this information for her own son. I have a feeling that helping others in the autism community (and food allergen community) is the reason you do what you do, and do it so well. Thank you again. I’m ready to start my family on this smoothie myself.


  35. Anonymous says

    Working for my husband too. He has had digestive issues for years, went gluten free a few years ago, that helped but the gelatin has really, really helped. I have a son with SPD and we love your cookbooks and blog! Thank you so much. Sending BIG hugs from Iowa!

  36. says

    Thank u so much for this… I’m so going to try this. Like your daughter, this has been a horrible issue for me and ironically, I just bought the green can, but didn’t know what to do with it

    I do have some questions, if that’s OK?

    1. Do u use the full fat coconut milk in a can?

    2. Do u reuse the Tea bags for a couple of days worth of brews? Tea can get quite expensive! If so, how many days do u re-brew it?

    3. Are chia seeds necessary?? I find they flare up my constipation and am not sure why

    4. Does she drink 2 of these a day? What else is her diet like during the Day?

    You are such a great mom… She is blessed to have u!

  37. Nancy says

    Does this need to be breakfast….might it be just effective as an afternoon snack? I generally have a green smoothie for breakfast. Does this recipe need to followed exactly, such as adding more chia or some hemp or less coconut milk for calories. I find this is a small breakfast so have been drinking the who,e recipe. Should the half the recipe accompany something else for the full meal?

  38. says

    Hi Kelly,

    I have a question about gelatin in general…my daughter is now claiming to be a vegetarian and to keep up with that I was wondering if you were familiar with Agar Agar and if this would be a vegetarian option to work in place of the gelatin in this recipe and other recipes you have or any other input you have. Thank you.

  39. Cathy says

    Hi, I am a Nurse and health educator. I have found that most people don’t eat enough fiber. If someone has a problem with constipation and already has increased their servings of fruits, vegetables, to 7-9 a day, try adding fresh or frozen raspberries. I have never seen it not work. Start off with about 1/4 cup a day and increase or decrease as needed. Added benifit is that they are high in antioxidants! Thanks Kelly for all the great recipes! By the way have you tried essential oils for behavioral problems with autism I’ve heard they work great. I use essential oils for so many things, pain, sleep, cuts, bug bites. I even make my own sunscreen.

  40. dee says

    wow that was a great insightful vlog, i never new the importance of gelatin. we are gluten free living as well for my daughter and i kept seeing recipes using gelatin but was unsure of it. i am always skeptical on which vitamins are truly gluten free because we had issue with some that i swore were safe, do you remember what the ingredient was that your friend noticed was gluten in the B vitamins? so glad ashley is doing much better. the info you talked about was very helpful, thanks for sharing!
    BTW… sometimes “poop” does need to be discussed…. good job!
    God bless

  41. Megsbee says

    Hi there! I’m so glad this is helping your daughter! Just wanted to let you know that MAGNESIUM GLYCINATE works wonders for constipation, and magnesium is incredibly important for autism and since using magnesium regularly I no longer have any issues with regularity. <3 (My brain is also a lot calmer). Kirkman OR Pure Encapsulations brands are both wonderful brands. I have Aspergers and magnesium has changed my life. :) You can read more at magnesium advocacy group online. One more note for you, what you're using there is actually collagen…! :) It's not quite the same as gelatine but it has some similar benefits. Great lakes is pretty pricey, if you google custom collagen they have really affordable collagen. I am not affiliated with either of these suggestions, they just help me and I wanted to share them. Good luck! :))

    • says

      Thanks! Yes, I’ve since figured out the distinction between “gelatin” and “collagen.” I grew up saying “gelatin” and didn’t even know collagen was a food. So it’s to use the right word when it’s technically “collagen.” It’s all made from the same source, looks the same in the container, etc. I’ll be more precise in the future :)

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