Apple a Day for Blood Sugar Delay?




Well, maybe not an apple a day year round but this time of year when apples are fresh picked I can eat at least one apple a day without a problem. And just yesterday I discovered a new apple that I LOVE! In fact right now I am eating my second one for the day and will be going to the store to get more tomorrow.

It’s called SweeTango. What a great name! My son’s reaction after his first bite was “That’s incredible!”  I describe it as juicy, crispy and a combination of sweet and tanginess.

How are apples good for diabetes?
Natural chemicals in apples work together with the fiber to help slow the digestion and absorption of the sugars so you get a slower rise in blood sugar. These nutrients also help to lower cholesterol. You can read more about how that works at World’s Healthiest Foods   You can also read more about a study where women who ate dried apples had a 23% drop in cholesterol!

For an apple dessert try my favorite apple crisp recipe in the Helpful Resources page!

5 Questions on the Diet Soda Debate

A Harvard University recent study says diet soda does NOT raise the risk of diabetes.    What?

Didn’t they just say a few weeks ago that drinking diet soda was bad for us?

Well, here’s my take on it. Ask yourself these 5 questions and see if it helps you decide for yourself.

1. Maybe the question is not which one is better but HOW MUCH?

How much soda am I drinking?
Many of the bad effects from food and drinks come down to how much and how often we have it.
The FDA has set the Acceptable Daily Intake of aspartame at a level equal to drinking 17 cans of diet soda daily.  Really?   I don’t think you need me to tell you that is not healthy and should not be acceptable.

2. How does it affect MY blood sugars?
Start checking before and 2 hours after drinking your favorite soda and see for yourself if it is a problem! Your blood sugar at 2 hours without diabetes would be under 140. If it is over 180 that means your insulin, whether you take it or make it, is not able to keep up with the quick rise in your blood sugar.

3. How do I feel physically if I drink diet soda?
I have had many clients that get headaches or body aches from artificial sweeteners. Personally I get a terrible stomach ache if I drink any regular soda, or other sweetened beverage. Diet soda does not do that but I do have to go the bathroom more urgently – which suggests to me that my body is trying to get rid of it faster. Probably not a good sign. Not scientific – but one of those Listen to your Body therapies.

4. Have you read the ingredients?

Which sweetener is in there?
Usually it is a combination but some are sensitive to aspartame but not sucralose, or vice versa.

5. What can I drink that would be a healthier alternative to either diet OR regular soda?
Try coffee, tea, water, milk, 100% juice diluted or in small 4-6 oz portions, or water flavored naturally with fresh or frozen fruit.

My own personal and professional experience tells me that I should probably avoid both diet and regular soda. Do I? . .. . Not completely.  I have a diet soda occasionally and I have prevented diabetes for 15 years now after having gestational diabetes. I do not suspect diet soda to be increasing the risk of diabetes by itself  . . but overall unhealthy eating habits? . . . and not enough activity . . .  Yes.

Kicking Off National Nutrition Month with My 100th Blog Post!

Since I have been away from my blog for a while I thought it fitting to start posting again in celebration of National Nutrition Month, and as I pulled up my blog I realized this would be my 100th post!

So to kick off this month I would like to share some interesting tidbits from an article in the issue of Diabetes Forecast I just received.  Christy L. Parkin, associate editor, talks about a lecture Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, gave at the annual meeting for diabetes educators last summer.

The topic was the genetic influence on aging and how we can prevent diabetes or diabetes complications.

Here are my two favorite quotes from this article . . . .

  • By the time you reach 50, lifestyle dictates 80% of how you age, and only 20% is genes
  • Four factors cause 75 percent of chronic diseases and they are all within our control . . . tobacco, food choices/portions, inactivity, and stress

What I take away from this is that since I am now 40 something with a family history of diabetes, it is even more important for me to stay active, control portions, make healthy food choices and practice stress management. Yet our tendency as we age is to get less activity and gain weight. Guess this gives me another reason to get on my treadmill tomorrow!

Stay tuned for more

Dairy and Dark Chocolate

Dairy and dark chocolate is today’s lunch! Most people would probably consider this a weird and disgusting combination but I have discovered one of my favorite snacks is honey flavored Greek yogurt with dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s not low fat but I can have 1/2 cup yogurt with 2 Tbsp chocolate chips mixed in for around 300 calories. Very tasty and I get the health benefits of the good bacteria, fatty acids and calcium . . . plus the blood pressure lowering benefit of dark chocolate!

Dairy Prevents Diabetes?

My quick thoughts and observations on this recent story about fatty acids in dairy products possibly preventing diabetes are that . . .
1. Many women are not drinking milk – some because they just don’t like it and some they have switched to diet soda to save calories and carbs.
2. People are choosing low fat or fat free cheese and yogurt instead of the less processed version because they have been led to believe they are healthier.
The most useful point of this study may be that eating more of a whole foods diet and fewer processed foods may be the key to preventing diabetes. Let’s keep working toward that!

Read the story about dairy and diabetes prevention here.

Do You Have a Holistic Health Vision for Diabetes Wellness this New Year?

Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Well, most people don't and I guess I don't either but I do find it inspiring to sit down and put on paper my life goals, if you will , for the year ahead. I think most of us are afraid to make resolutions because we know they usually don't last and then we feel like a failure. However, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays I do find it energizing to get out the new calendar and look ahead to what I want to accomplish in the coming months.

You might not call them New Years Resolutions but if you have diabetes or prediabetes you might have ideas in your mind of wanting to lose weight to reverse diabetes, or reduce medications, or start eating better and exercising so you have more energy to do certain things. These thoughts can be very useful as part of a diabetes health vision for the new year.

Most diabetes health goals may be related to weight loss, food and exercise but don't forget the that other areas of our life affect our health and diabetes as well.

Consider these questions and thoughts as you think about your health and diabetes wellness goals for the New Year.

  • How is my emotional health? Are my relationships with spouse, family, and friends strong? This is an important part of happiness and wellness and if these relationships are suffering it will also affect our physical health. Do you have someone you can talk to when the stress of life is overwhelming? Are you spending time in hobbies or activities you really enjoy? My emotional health activities include gardening, tennis and hiking in the nice weather months and cooking or reading in winter months.
  • How is my financial health? Diabetes can be a very costly health problem. There are several cost saving strategies for diabetes supplies and medications that are available. Exercise and healthy food can also fit into a tight budget. These are topics that I often discuss with clients as their diabetes nutrition coach, but beyond diabetes and health costs, getting control of our overall financial health can also take a big stress off our mind and help us focus on physical wellness.
  • How is my spiritual health?  When everything else is falling apart, having a strong spiritual foundation is often what gets us through tough times.  Faith and hope are very powerful healing elements. For me this past year has been very challenging emotionally with my family experiencing job losses, health challenges and just a few weeks ago the sudden death of one of my sisters. My faith in God and knowing she is in a happier peaceful place brings comfort and helps me accept the loss.
  • How is my job/career/work health?  I have to admit that I am often guilty of working too much and the past few months so much that it has started to have a negative affect on my physical and emotional health. One of my goals for the new year is to get this back into balance and focus more on doing the work I enjoy – coaching, teaching and writing for people searching for a better life where diabetes is not taking away their health.
  • How is my physical health? We all know we are supposed to eat healthy and exercise, right? It's not the knowing WHAT to do.  It's finding the answers to HOW to get it done. If you have been trying to find those answers but are just frustrated and are afraid to even set goals for fear of failure, maybe I can help. My focus this year will be on coaching individuals toward that diabetes wellness vision. I will be working on tools and articles to add to my website but if you would like to talk about how I might be able to help you reach your vision of diabetes health, send me an email and we will set up a phone call to discuss what type of program might fit your needs.

Now, go grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and sit down to plan your holistic health vision for the new year!


A Dozen Diabetes Prevention Steps for a Healthy December

Instead of waiting for January to start getting back into healthy habits, why not start now and feel good about your efforts going into the new year!     

Here are a dozen things you can choose from to get started on your diabetes prevention or reversal plan.  My challenge to you is to choose 3 of them and start practicing them this month, this week, and even today!

1.      Choose a power breakfast to start your day off on a positive note. Choose from whole grains, fresh fruit, boiled egg, or yogurt.

2.      Use smaller plates and bowls. You will eat less of everything without counting calories!

3.      Check the portion size on labels and compare that to what how much you are eating to become more aware of what you are putting in your body.

4.      Limit starch (bread, rice, potatoes, pasta) to 2 servings or 1 cup per meal.

5.      Satisfy your sweet tooth by including a small serving daily. Dark chocolate or fruit make healthy desserts.

6.      Get your potassium, magnesium and vitamin C and more powerful nutrients by eating your favorite fruits daily.  

7.      Enjoy the non-starchy vegetables at meals and for the munchies between meals!

8.      Eat fish high in omega-3 (salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel) twice a week to lower inflammation.

9.      Make a soup or salad with lentils or beans each week.

10.    Enjoy nuts for snacks, on salads or in recipes.

11.   Save eating in front of TV for special movie nights.

12.   Move more!   . . . . Start with 10 minutes daily exercise.


Will Our Kids Be Suffering from Diabetes in 40 Years?

 I usually don't pay too much attention to diabetes statistics because they don't help me change diabetes in any way. But after reading the latest CDC statistics about how the rate of diabetes could double or almost triple by the year 2050 it made me think . . . not about how I will be in my 80s and could be suffering the effects of diabetes . . . but  . . . will my kids be struggling with diabetes?

In 40 years they will be in their 50s and considering the very strong family history of diabetes, their chances of getting diabetes at a younger age are much higher.

How do we turn this diabetes train around? We know from studies that healthy food choices and activity are very effective in preventing or slowing down diabetes. Every day I talk about this to my clients but am I doing enough for my kids to really help them prevent diabetes?  With the fast paced world we live in today I have teenagers that are constantly on the go and I know my family eats too much processed food. In my professional opinion I feel the two biggest problems leading to Type 2 diabetes today are processed foods and portions too big. So what can I do about it?

One thing I will commit to this month is cooking more meals at home with few processed foods. I will also share my thoughts, experiences, and more diabetes tips with you along the way.

What can you do this month to change your life in the direction of reversing diabetes for you, your children, or grandchildren? I know it is not an easy task but every small step we can take will be a step in the right direction. I would love to hear your comments or what you are doing with food or activity to help your family prevent or reverse diabetes!

Quick Links for Winter Weight Loss with Great Soup Recipes!

Feels like winter here in Minnesota today with temps in the 40s, wind, and rain turning to snow! Nothing tastes better on days like this than a warm bowl of soup!

Two quick links for soup ideas  -  read my previous post Why Are Soups Great for Your Weight 


Check out these waistline friendly soups at dLife!

If you try the recipes be sure to come back and share with me your favorites and if they work for your weight loss plan!