National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

imagesDid you know that October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month? Did you also know that children with Down Syndrome are more likely to develop celiac disease than other children? According to some studies, the number can be as high as 10%, compared to 0.7% of the general population. That’s a huge deal!  Children (and adults) with Down Syndome are at a higher risk of autoimmune disorders, the two most common being hypothyroid disease and celiac disease. In autoimmune diseases, your body gets its signals crossed and takes its aggravation out on itself. Yup- your body basically attacks, well- your body. In celiac disease, antibodies are made when we ingest gluten. They then turn and begin attacking the small intestine and prevent our bodies from absorbing important nutrients.  The only way to prevent this from happening is by following the gluten free diet.

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Now, while celiac disease is definitely addressed more frequently now by doctors, it may not be one of the first things they think about in their patients with Down Syndrome.  My point? Well, sometimes parents need to be their children’s advocate, even with their pediatrician. So, if you’re concerned that your child may have signs or symptoms of celiac disease, bring it up at your next appointment! You may be right.

Apple-icious!

ImageAnyone that knows me is well aware that fall is pretty much my favorite season. Not only do the leaves begin to change and makes everything look amazing, but the weather begins to cool and I can finally bring out my cozy sweaters and cute boots! (Oh and please note that I LOVE when the leaves change color but I may love them slightly less when I have to rake them out of my yard!)

This past weekend I was able to finally do one of my favorite end of summer activies- apple picking! Galas? Honeycrips? Oh my!  When I was a kid, my mom would end up with way too many apples in the house by the end of the season and I would be spoiled with some of the best pies and treats ever! While yes, gluten free pies are not only possible but pretty yummy too, there are plenty of other gluten free options out there as well!  This week I’m going to try to provide some recipes for you to try at home. The best part is that they are all very kid friendly- so get your little helpers out and get started!

Apple Chips

2 medium apples (use your favorite variety but gala’s are my favorite and this is seriously your only ingredient)

Directions

Preheat oven to 225 degrees

Slice apples into THIN slices. I use a mandolin to make it faster and the results are way better than if I had to use a knife. You can use a knife to push out the seeds as well. If you’re worried about the seeds you can easily core the apple first but that’s an extra step I’m too lazy to make. Plus I think the star shape center you get from slicing the whole apple looks pretty! (Oh and note the mandolin is totally not kid friendly- adults only please)

Arrange apple slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Do not overlap the apple slices or they end up sticking together

Bake for 90 minutes, then flip them and bake for an additional 60 minutes.

Remove chips and allow to cool completely. You can store them in an airtight container for 5-7 days.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chip

Prepare the same way as the above recipe but sprinkle slices with cinnamon sugar (1tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp sugar). It doesn’t add too many calories but definitely ups the wow factor of these chips!

Enjoy!

xoxo