Special Diets for a Variety of Disabilities & Disorders
Usually, I mainly write about the Gluten Free/Casein Free www.gfcfdiet.com, www.puttingyourkidsfirst.com or Feingold Diets www.feingold.org for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ADHD/ADD. Today, however, this column will be about some other specialized diets for children and adults with other disorders and disabilities.
This information will get you thinking about how to help your child thrive and what is best for your child and your family when it comes to proper nutrition. There is a lot of research out there regarding how food is responsible for causing harm by way of allergies, intolerances, and more and how changing one’s diet can improve, remove, enhance, and correct behaviors, symptoms, illnesses, aches and pains, digestive systems, respiratory systems, immune systems, circulatory systems, nervous systems and other systems within the body.
Another passion of mine, and one I also write about is discussing details concerning healthy, wholesome, natural, and organic foods that are devoid of pesticides, hormones, additives and chemicals.
An excellent book on this subject is Robyn O’Brien’s, The Unhealthy Truth. Her book speaks about the toxins in foods and how damaging they are to the human body. Her research began when one of her daughters had a horrific allergic reaction to eggs. She learned about all of the poisons put into the food in America, causing horrific diseases, disorders, ailments and harming all of our children, including those who struggle everyday with disabilities.
Food can make a huge difference in who we are, how we act and how we feel. Many other countries have banned toxins in foods, while the good ‘ol USA continues to use harmful chemicals to “enhance” our food, making for a very sick and ailing country.
The first and most important step is to READ LABELS. Stay away from anything you do not understand. Stay away from all chemicals, artificial ingredients, pesticides, nitrites, aspartame and other harmful ingredients. Focus on REAL food!
Here is some special nutritional advice that might help you and your family:
For: Seizure Disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Epilepsy, infantile spasms, Rett syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, and GLUT-1 deficiency
This diet is usually recommended for children, rather than adults, and requires foods that are low in carbohydrate and high in fats. The word Ketogenic means ketone-producing. Ten to fifteen percent of children who utilize this diet can become seizure free! More than fifty percent show a vast improvement in seizures. This diet is prescribed by a physician and must be followed closely by a dietician.
Ketones are formed in the body when fats are used for energy. The body uses carboyhydrates, which can be found in breads, sugar and pasta, etc. for its fuel. When on this diet and carbohydrates are lowerd, fats then become the primary source of fuel for the body.
The dietician will provide the calorie intake and amount of required fats and carbodyrates, based on the weight of the child.
Fats that are usually recommended on the Ketogenic diet are: butter, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, and oils.
For more information: The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Children and Others with Epilepsy, by Drs. Freeman and Kossoff. The Charlie Foundation www.charliefoundation.org and Matthew’s Friends at www.matthewsfriends.org
For: Bipolar Disorder, Depression
Certain foods and supplements have been found to help those with Bipolar Disorder to lessen their symptoms. By adding Omega 3 fatty acids to one’s diet, studies have shown stress to be lessened and better focus occurs.
Many people with Bipolar disorder take MAO inhibitors to treat depression. If this is the case, foods with tryamine should be avoided. These foods are: aged or mature foods such as: cheeses and wines, sour cream and yogurt, caviar, dried fish, fermented sausages, game meat, liver, non-fresh canned meat, pickled herring, salted fish, eggplant, Italian green beans, lentils, lima beans, sauerkraut, snow peas, soy beans, avocado, bananas, figs, raisins, raspberries, red plums, ale, beer, alcohol-free and reduced alcohol beer and wine, caffeinated colas, coffee and tea.
Those taking Lithium need a balanced salt intake, as too much or too little can effect the way this medication works on ones system. Caffeinated beverages should be avoided as well, as they can affect sodium levels.
This article discusses various nutrition aspects for children with autism, ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and other disabilities or disorders. http://www.healthresearch.com/special.htm. It was written by a Robert Theil, PhD, who helps children with special needs achieve great success. This article lists many resources to further investigate nutritional implications that could assist your child in improving his or her behavior and physical and mental health.
Some studies have shown that adults with CP have difficulty in metabolizing calcium in their bones, thus causing low bone density, which could cause broken limbs. These studies have shown that this is due to long-term use of anticonvulsant medications. Children with severe CP have developed osteopenia, which is the beginning of osteoporosis.
Many studies have found that a large percentage of children with Down Syndrome have Celiac Disease; an inability to digest gluten (wheat, rye, barley and oats) and thus must be on a gluten free diet or life. Some studies have also shown that children with Down Syndrome should avoid cow’s milk. Adding certain minerals and vitamins to the diet of a child with Down Syndrome could assist with improving cognitive deterioration, growth and facial features.
Consult with your health care provider before beginning any new dietary treatment plan. Bring articles to show your provider and if you do not like what he or she comments, you should look into getting a second opinion, if you believe this is something you want to attempt to help your child.
Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is: www.puttingyourkidsfirst.com
- Ways to Advocate for Yourself While on a Special Diet
- Self-Advocating While on a Special Diet
- Staying Healthy with a Proper Diet
- Ditch The Chemicals Start The Year Off Healthy
- Most Popular Gluten Free/Casein Free Products and Where to Find Them
- Taking Care of Your Child’s Special Food Needs
- Eating Breakfast When You Are on a Special Diet
- Family Fun Doesn’t Have to Stop Because of Special Diets
- Handling a Special Diet at School
- Special Diets: Food Allergies
- How To Achieve A Healthy You
This post originally appeared on our March/April 2013 Magazine