“Living Healthy with PWS” cookbook: spot-on with Mediterranean diet trend

When we published our specialized cookbook for the Prader-Willi syndrome community, little did the editorial team know that Latham was on the cusp of a diet trend. “Living Healthy with PWS: Cookbook and Nutrition Tips” is based on the Mediterranean diet, which US News and World Report declared “is the way to eat in 2019.”

“The Mediterranean diet got the top ranking in U.S. News’ list,” according to a CBS News article published this month. “The heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados. Research has shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.” 

Latham’s cookbook includes healthy, nutritious meals based on the Mediterranean diet, as well as tips for success for the PWS community. We implemented this diet two years ago, correlating many of the behaviors and health issues associated with PWS with the reported benefits of the Mediterranean style diet:

  • Many individuals with PWS struggle to maintain focus in the classroom; a Mediterranean diet rich in Omega 3s and healthy fats can protect cognitive health. Mediterranean style dining is a great way to preserve memory, sharpening the mind.

  • Individuals with PWS who struggle with weight gain often struggle with Diabetes; Omega 3 rich foods and natural foods contain fewer sugars and artificial ingredients. Since the menu implementation, we have noticed a reduction in insulin medication for some of our residents.

  • A common behavior issue for individuals with PWS is skin picking; a Mediterranean style diet helps to improve skin health due to the vitamin E rich menu.

These benefits barely scratch the surface of the positive outcomes at Latham since implementing our menu. We have increased many of our residents’ calorie count and have observed significant weight loss – healthily, with meals and snacks our students and adult residents enjoy.

Positive outcomes extend well beyond our programs. As of this month, Latham Centers has distributed more than 500 copies of the LivingHealthy with PWS Cookbook. We are elated with the response from around the world as we communicate with families who are benefitting from the change in diet. Parents of a prospective Latham School student who has PWS came to campus for a tour recently and brought home the “Living Healthy with PWS” guide. They tried some of the recipes in the cookbook and said that their son “loved the baked BBQ chicken, couscous, and cauliflower potatoes. We truly feel that [he] is going to flourish at Latham.”

We’ll share answers to some of our frequently asked menu questions in future blog posts. This Friday in Patrice Carroll’s “Tip of the Week” blog, she’ll answer “How can I integrate this change in diet without causing anxiety?” To learn more about Latham Centers’ Mediterranean based diet, please contact cookbook co-editor Katrina Fryklund at kfryklund@lathamcenters.org.

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