By Terah of terahbelle.com
Meet Indy Llew. She is 10 months old and has Down syndrome.
When Indy was born, I quickly took to researching Down syndrome and the effects of having an extra 21st chromosome. I wanted to give my girl the best possible outcome, so I needed to learn what I was dealing with. How does Down syndrome affect the body?
The greatest problem for people with Down syndrome is that they have a difficult time detoxifying their cells. Extra genetic material on chromosome 21 leads to a build-up of hydrogen peroxide and other free radicals that damage cells. The free radicals & toxins present in Down syndrome lead to enhanced cognitive disabilities, advanced aging, a burdened liver, and early onset Alzheimer’s. These individuals have a hard time processing gluten and casein (dairy) proteins, and are at increased risk of developing celiac disease. The proteins from gluten and casein affect more than just digestion, they also negatively affect the brain and cause changes in behavior and cognition.
So how could I use this information to help my daughter? After learning about the effects of Down syndrome, I knew the best way I could support Indy’s health every day was through a diet rich in whole foods and free of gluten & dairy.
Healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, make up about 60% of our brains. To improve the function of the brain our diet needs to consist of plenty of healthy fats and omega’s, particularly omega-3. Healthy fats and the sugar from fruits are what give brain cells energy. Food sources of these fats include avocado, coconut, nuts & seeds, olives, and wild fish. We eat avocado, coconut, or nuts everyday. Every morning I blend 1-2 tablespoons of Chia seeds in our fruit smoothies which gives us our daily allotment of omega-3’s. I use flax and hemp seeds in my baking and cooking.
The nice thing about a whole food diet is that everything works together to provide the nutrients the body needs. Because we avoid processed and packaged foods, our diet has to be full of fresh whole foods. Because we avoid gluten and dairy, our diet is full of healthy fats as we find replacements for baking and cooking. A whole food diet can help fight off common nutritional deficiencies, like Vitamin C, A, B12, folate, and zinc, which are of concern in Down syndrome.
Indy has done incredibly well with her development and has exceeded all expectations and limitations that were placed on her. Her bone structure and muscles are strong. She was rolling over at 8 weeks, sitting up on her own before 7 months, can almost stand by herself and is practicing walking. Babies with Down syndrome tend to have low muscle tone, so physical milestones usually take longer. Indy is very intelligent. At an early age she was turning the pages in her books, playing the itsy-bitsy spider, and more recently using her pincer grasp as age appropriate and helping feed herself. She is thriving, and surprising us all.
When it comes to Down syndrome and Indy, a whole foods diet is making all the difference.
If you would like to follow our journey you can find us at Terahbelle.com
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