SUGAR FREE DOES NOT MEAN CARBOHYDRATE FREE!

4 Foods People Forget Contains Carbs. 

Unlimited amounts of sugar free cookies is not advisable.

Unlimited amounts of sugar free cookies is not advisable.

Don’t trust what you see. Even salt looks like sugar
— Unknown

At my day job we serve our clients with diabetes regular plain ice cream. Now before you start to gasp let me remind you a serving of plain ice cream contains 23 grams of carbohydrates and a serving of sherbet contains 30 grams of carbohydrates.

What?  So why are people with diabetes encouraged the eat sherbet instead of ice cream?

The answer is simple. Ice cream contains more fat than sherbet and most individuals with diabetes need to watch their fat along with their carbohydrate intake because of their increased risk for heart disease.

Managing diabetes is a delicate balancing act. Eat too many carbohydrates and your blood sugar goes wack. Eat too much fat and you heart is in danger. I often see people avoid healthy carbohydrate foods like fresh fruit, sweet potatoes and peas to eat what they think are sugar free processed food. 

Here are four foods most people with diabetes think they can eat in ample amounts and why they still should be watching their carbohydrates:

1. Milk

I remember one day when I was counseling a woman who had an average blood sugar of over 300mg/dl. When we reviewed her diet she looked like she was taking in the proper amount of carbohydrates. Then a little voice inside me decided to ask her if she drank sodas or juices instead of water. She proudly told me she avoided these beverages and drank milk because it was "healthy". When I asked her how much milk did she drank in a day she told me one GALLON.

BINGO!

Milk contains 12 grams or carbohydrates or one carbohydrate exchange per 8 ounce glass.  What I have noticed in recent years is the 8 ounce drink is becoming obsolete. Please remember to include milk as part of your carbohydrate intake to avoid excessive sugar spikes.

2. Diabetic Liquid Supplements.

This is a tip for people who enjoy liquid supplements. Most popular diabetic liquid supplements contain 16 to 26 grams of carbohydrates depending on the flavor. Now most standard supplements contain between 33 to 44 grams of carbohydrates. What the commercials and salespeople fail to tell their clients with diabetes is these supplements also contain more fat. The diabetic supplements contains 7 to 9 grams of fat per 8 ounce bottle compared to 2 to 4 grams of fat in the standard liquid supplement.  Fat decreases the absorption of carbohydrates and this would be no problem unless the person with diabetes has heart problems. Also, diabetic supplements are more expensive so drinking less of the regular supplement may be a better choice. 

3. Diabetes cookies and candy.

I recently went to a shopping website to look at the cost of sugar-free cookies. These cookies average about $10.00 per box. Like the diabetic liquid supplements diabetic cookies still contain carbohydrates and have more fat than regular cookies. If you absolutely crave cookies, spend a a little extra time and make your own cookies from scratch. Your pocketbook and your waistline will thank you. 

4.  Sugar-Free yogurt.

Yogurt contains a naturally occurring sugar called lactose and just like the above items, yogurt contains carbohydrates.  A carton of plain yogurt typically has the same amount of carbohydrates as sugar-free fruited yogurt. If you love fruited yogurt try adding extra fruit to plain yogurt. If money is an issue you can eat 4 ounces versus 8 ounces of regular fruited yogurt giving you the same amount of carbohydrates.

If you find this information confusing, the best advice of the day is to read the label. The label will tell you the total carbohydrate and total fat content. The label will also tell you the serving size of the product. From that point, you can decide if investing in specialized diabetic food is worth it.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to leave your comments below. Your questions can help others. As always I am here to help.

 

 

Best,

 

 

 

Allison  

 

 

EXERCISE CAN ACTUALLY BE FUN!

Several Tricks to Sneak in Some Exercise. 

 

Bust out your best moves!

Bust out your best moves!

We go to the doctor and are reminded by the "E" word.  

What is the "E " word?

We all know the word as exercise. About 45% of Americans avoid the "E" word like the plague and this is a shame.  Half hour of exercise most days of the week will help people with diabetes improve their blood glucose and relieve stress. One hour a day of low impact exercise such as walking can promote weight loss.

Now that you know WHY exercise is important, let's focus on the HOW. Most people automatically associate exercise with hard work but there are plenty of other ways of getting fit besides joining a gym. Here are some tips:

1. For half an hour a day dance to your favorite music.

Taking dance lessons is a fun form of exercise. However, if time or modesty is an issue just dance around the house when nobody is watching.  Find music that inspires you and mix up the songs so you don't get bored. 

2. Finally grow the garden of your dreams.

Working in your yard helps connect you to nature while at the same time burning extra energy.  Use a rake instead of a blower and a push mower versus a power motor to build up a sweat. 

3. Take your dog or your kids for a walk.

Walking your dog and exercising with your children is an excellent time to connect with the ones you love. Childhood obesity is on the rise so it is never too early to be a role model for your children. 

4. Visit the roller or ice skating rink.

I grew up in the seventies where roller skating was king. The roller derby has made a comeback so many women are rediscovering their inner child on the rink. Joining the roller derby may not be your forte but lacing up some skates is an optimal means of working out.  Ice skating is also an option in the winter. 

5. Head to the beach or pool in the summer.

I don't know about you but sand between my feet at the beach is bliss. Swimming in the water also distracts me from eating. Just make sure to wear some good sunscreen and don on some solid shades to protect yourself. 

6. Rake leaves  or play a round of flag football in the fall. 

Fall is a great time to exercise. First, the temperatures are mild. Second, there are plenty of leaves to rake.  Get together with some friends and start a flag football team for fun. If you are not the competitive type just throw the leather skin with children as  a bonding activity. 

7. Bobsled in the winter. 

Exercise is not limited by the weather. Learning how to ski or bobsled can burn calories during the winter. Also, shoveling the driveway daily instead of paying somebody else can help you feel empowered while knocking down the waistline. 

These are just seven ideas to get your body moving. If you have any questions or tips you would like to share feel free to comment. Your comments could help others. 

 

Best,

 

 

Allison 

 

TOMATO TIME!

Time to Celebrate this Summer Harvest

Connecting with my inner country girl!

Connecting with my inner country girl!

I grew up in the seventies. A time when convenience foods were King. Television would advertise to busy housewives how to save time by getting packaged macaroni with cheese or instant spaghetti. My mother like most women at the time "believed the hype", especially when the pressure of maintaining a job and a family became the norm.

On the other hand, my grandmother Ida, who grew in rural Louisiana made everything from scratch. When my mother had a near fatal car accident my grandmother lived with us for a year while my mother recovered. During this time we had the pleasure of homemade chicken with dumplings, teacakes and biscuits even as my grandmother was watching her calories.

In 1988, my grandmother died and with her passing many of her recipes died with her. My mother is a good but not PASSIONATE cook like my grandmother. Besides, she thought great cooks were born not created so she never insisted her children learn her family recipes. 

 Fast track to today where I am learning how to preserve food. I found out UC Davis offered basic canning classes monthly. The classes are only $20.00 and during the four hours I could connect to my inner cook screaming to come out. They also feed us a light snack and lunch. 

What does a canning class have to do with diabetes? Plenty! Preserving you own food gives you a chance to control what you are putting into your body. While fresh fruits and vegetables are always ideal minimally processed canned food can get you through a rough winter. 

I am going to share a Chili Salsa recipe courtesy of UCCE Master Food Preservers of Northern San Joaquin Valley by way of Salsa Recipes for Canning. Enjoy.

Chile Salsa II

2.5 cups or 1.5 lbs peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes

1.5 cups  seeded chopped peppers (mixture of mild and hot recommended)

1 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup vinegar (5%)

3/4 teaspoon  salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Caution: Wear plastic of rubber gloves when handling peppers and avoid touching your face.

Wash and rise canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's direction. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat. Stir frequently until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes occasionally stirring. Ladle hot mixture into clean, hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space if need. Wipe rims of jars with a damp clean paper town. Apply two piece metal canning lids. 

Immerse salsa in boiling canner with  1 to 2 inches of water above the top of the jars. 

Salt and pepper can be adjusted for taste and BOTTLE lemon juice can be substituted for vinegar, but always, FOLLOW THE RECIPE.

 

Best,

 

 

Allison

 

 

DIABETES; DON'T DEAL WITH IT ALONE

How Family and Friends are Eager to Help. 

People are willing to support you in your journey if you ask.

People are willing to support you in your journey if you ask.

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it.
— Unknown

It started with a phone call from my aunt. She told me she called to find out how my mother was doing. My mother at times socially isolates herself from others and that particular day she was not answering her phone. As I was explaining tomy aunt the frustration with trying to get my mom to open up about her feelings, my aunt revealed to me her struggle with depression. 

As many of my readers know I have family members diagnosed with diabetes.  Both my grandmothers and many members on both sides of my family had diabetes. My dad died from complications from this condition. I worked with one of my cousins to find the right diet and medication regiment. She was having difficulty with the side effects of Metformin so I suggested she ask her doctor for Metformin ER(extended release) to relief her symptoms. I figured cousin must have called my aunt and urged my aunt to call me. My mom was just a Segway for my aunt to talk about her diabetes.

My aunt is a caregiver. For years she took care of my uncle with Parkinson's disease until he recently died and she also has a husband with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). She stated sometimes she "forgets" to take her medications. She mentioned she just needs someone to remind her to take her pills in the morning until she can get into a routine. I told her I would remind her.

My aunt lives on the other side of the state. Luckily, phone service is cheap. Every morning I send her a text at 8:00am reminding her to take her medications. Since we both have smart phones I send her pictures of my cat, Pinterest quotes and You Tube videos to cheer her up. I am human so sometimes I send the text later than I anticipated because I overslept or became caught up in my work but I make sure she hears from me at some point of the day.

She texted me last week telling me her doctor reported her HbA1c has lowered but most of all she feels supported. She probably does not know this but people with diabetes tend to have higher rates of depression than the rest of the population and stress could also cause her blood sugar to increase.

If you have diabetes don't be afraid to ask for help. If you know someone with diabetes who is struggling with depression ask what YOU can do to help them. Sometimes the individual with diabetes just needs someone to listen without judgment.

If you have diabetes what cheers you up? If you know someone with diabetes what step have you made to help them deal with diabetes? Please leave your comments below. Your input could help others. As always you can schedule an appointment with me.

 

TOO TIRED TO THINK: DIABETES AND SLEEP APNEA

How to Deal with These Two Related Conditions.

Getting enough rest can help you deal with your diabetes

Getting enough rest can help you deal with your diabetes

Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains.
— Shakespeare

The majority of American adults fail to get enough sleep at night and adequate sleep seems to be especially a problem for people with diabetes. Many people with diabetes suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where the person breathing pauses during sleep due to  obstruction of the individual's airway.  

Part of the problem is many people with type II diabetes are overweight. The excess tissue around their neck interrupts the airways causing a blockage. Lack of proper sleep raises blood sugar levels making it difficult to manage the sleep deprived person's diabetes. Sleep deprivation also elevates  blood pressure increasing a  person with hypertension and diabetes risk for stroke.

Here are some tips to treat sleep apnea:

1. Lose Weight.  Overweight people who lost an average of 22 pounds  were able to have significant improvements in their sleep apnea. In some cases, the condition COMPLETELY resolved. Also, as most of you know, weight loss improves blood glucose and high blood pressure giving the person with diabetes THREE benefits in one. 

2. CPAP Therapy.   Some people will need more than weight loss to resolve their sleep apnea. For those people they may need a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy to improve their sleep. A CPAP machine blows air through a mask the person wears at night to keep the person's airways open.  

In most cases, doctors will need to send their clients to a sleep center to find out if they are a candidate for a CPAP machine. However, if you just want to sleep sounder at night avoiding caffeinated beverages after lunchtime,  watching television or surfing the internet no later than 9:00pm and learning how to manage stress can help. 

If you have any other questions or suggestions about sleep apnea please leave your thoughts in the comment section. Your input could help others. Also, if you would like to work with me to help deal with YOUR diabetes please leave your contact information below.

 

Best,

 

 

Allison 

 

 

SAVE OUR PRODUCE!

Solutions for the Cosmetically Challenged Food

Stir-frying can turn ugly vegetables to sexy creations. 

Stir-frying can turn ugly vegetables to sexy creations. 

It's that time of year! The time of the year when the sun gives us a bounty of ripe fruit and vegetables.  However, sometimes our garden delights don't look as sexy as we would like.  It might also be fair to say some of produce may be called, "ugly".  

So what do you do with your cosmetically challenge summer harvest? 

First of all, understand when you find produce in your garden or Farmers' Market realize just like you can't judge the taste of plum by it's shape. Just like people some of the best fruits and vegetables may be have a less than stellar looks. 

Second,  implement the slogan of "making lemonade out of lemons." Instead of letting your fruit rot on the ground learn how to preserve.  There are books,  community extension courses and internet courses teaching anyone who is interested how to freeze, can and dry produce. Learning how to preserve is a  chance to have healthy food available when the weather changes and you could even give your creations as gifts.  Sauces, salads and stir fry dishes are always an option. 

Finally, see cosmetically change produce as an opportunity to save some money. Usually, the food is marked down because let's face it most people are superficial.  Why not cash in on their ignorance?

Here is a stir fry sauce I found in Pinterest that should get your creative juices flowing. 

If you have any other suggestions regarding ugly fruit please leave them in the comment section below. Your comments could help others.

Best,

 

Allison

 

VEGETABLE POWER

The Most Underrated Tool to Manage Your Blood Sugar. 

Vegetables can be sexy and delicious. 

Vegetables can be sexy and delicious. 

Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
— Bob Bitchin

"Eat your vegetables!"  This phrase is  touted by nutrition expects and our mothers to improve our health. This may be exactly why we may resist eating them. What we fail to realize is vegetables are a powerful tool  for optimal health. Recently, researchers conducted studies proving why vegetable intake is so imperative to managing type 2 diabetes. 

A new study published in the Journal of Medicine College of Nutrition found individuals with type II diabetes who ate a plant-based diet lost twice as much weight and reduced muscle fat than individuals who ate the standard diabetic diet that included meat. Both diets contained the same amount of calories and all participant had the same exercise regimen.  The only animal product the vegetarian group ate was 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt a day. 

If you still are convinced maybe you need a little  motivation. Researchers at Stanford University Department of Psychology found one simple tool to get people to eat their vegetables; make it sexy!  Researchers  offered food to college students using terms such as "slow roasted caramelized " and "citrus infused"  versus "low-fat" and "low-calorie" to describe the same vegetables. All things being equal, when the researchers used the more descriptive name on the menus, student ordered the vegetables with the sexy names 41% MORE often. 

Maybe part of the reason people avoid vegetables is because they think it is boring? 

Mixing vegetables in your smoothies, sneaking vegetables into your casseroles and trying new recipes are tactics you can use to get more vegetables in your diet. 

If you have any other tips or have any opinions regarding this subject please leave a comment in the section below. Your input can help others. As always you can schedule an appointment with me.

 

Best,

 

Allison

DIABETES AND HEAT

KEEPING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR AND TEMPERATURE UNDER CONTROL

Staying in the shade will protect your skin and your health. 

Staying in the shade will protect your skin and your health. 

Summertime. The living is easy and obviously hot. A little sun gives us our needed vitamin D. On the other hand too much sun can be harmful, especially for  folks with diabetes.

There are several reasons why the heat severely affects people with diabetes.

Nerve Damage or Neuropathy compromises the sweat glands making the body less efficient at cooling down. The result is heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Another reason heat adversely affects people with diabetes is their increase risk for dehydration. Poorly managed blood sugar causes the body to lose excessive water resulting in dehydration. Also, some blood glucose medications along with medications to treat the complications of diabetes such as diuretics for high blood pressure causes water loss. 

Finally, the body uses insulin differently when temperatures are high and sunburn increases your blood sugar. 

Here are some tips to protect yourself during the hot weather.

  1. Drink plenty of water BEFORE you feel thirsty.
  2. Avoid high caffeine and alcoholic beverages. These drinks increase fluid loss. 
  3. Wear sunscreen, loose fitting light clothing and hats when outside.
  4. Do not go outside barefoot, even at the beach or pool area. 
  5. Exercise indoors . If you must exercise outsidedo it BEFORE the temperature rises.
  6. Check your blood sugar, before, during and after exercising.
  7. Keep your medications in a cooler.

These simple tips should help you deal with your diabetes during the summer.

If you have any other questions or suggestions please post them in the comment section below. Your input could help others. As always, you can schedule an appointment with me.

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

Allison

Diabetes Foot Care

It's more than a good manicure.

Keeping your feet soft and supple is essential to good diabetes care. 

Keeping your feet soft and supple is essential to good diabetes care. 

Our feet. Sometimes we forget how much we need them to get where we are going along with the wear and tear they take to get our destination.  Most of us need to take better care of our digits, especially individuals with diabetes. 

Why?

 Poor blood sugar(glucose) control for people with diabetes impairs blood circulation and causes nerve damage in their feet. Also, small sores on their feet can lead into infections and eventually amputations.

Here are some top tips to proper foot care for your diabetes.

1. Be proactive, keep your blood sugar under control.

Sounds obvious but it never hurts us to remember. Keeping your fasting blood glucose to 80-130mg/dl and your 2 hour post-meal(postprandial) blood sugar under 140mg/dl helps to prevent problems from occurring. 

2. Wash and lotion your feet daily to keep them clean and soft.

Dry cracked smelly feet are not only unattractive they are a haven for bacteria.  Too much bacteria can cause infections. Wash your feet and invest in lotion to keep your feet clean and soft. However, avoid adding lotion between your toes since this can create environment that favors fungal growth. 

3. Avoid over-the-counter products or sharp products for removing corns and callouses.

Over the counter medications to remove  foot warts  or corns are not recommended for people with diabetes. If you have neuropathy or nerve damage to your feet have a podiatrist or foot nurse provide foot care. 

4. Wear well fitting shoes and socks at all times.

Most foot specialists recommend padded socks made with acrylic and acrylic blends for people with diabetes. Change your socks daily and rotate your shoes daily to reduce wear and tear on your feet.  Also, make sure your shoes are actually comfortable to avoid corns and callouses.

6. Protect your feet from extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Wearing shoes at the beach and hot pavement, wearing socks at night when your feet are cold, never testing bath water with your feet and avoiding heating pads on your feet will protect your digits from potential problems. 

7. Exercise regularly and avoid any movement that restricts blood flow to your feet.

Try to get in at least 30 minutes of movement daily.  Wiggle your toes and move your ankles for 5 minutes several times daily.  Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of times. These are actions you need to take to keep proper circulation in your feet. 

The National Institute of Health or NIH has more detailed information and resources to provide for foot care.

If you have any comments or questions please share them in the comment section below. As always your input could help others.

 

Best,

 

 

Allison

 

Solving the Mystery of The Glycemic Index

Popcorn has a glycemic index of 55-89 depending on how this snack is prepared. 

Popcorn has a glycemic index of 55-89 depending on how this snack is prepared. 

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.
— Robin Sharma

Every so often  someone will ask me about Glycemic Index.

"What is glycemic index?", you ask. 

Glycemic Index(GI) was invented in 1981 by researchers  Dr. Thomas Wolever and Dr. David Jenkins who were able to prove certain carbohydrates raise blood glucose(sugar) levels higher than other carbohydrates. 

Participants were given 25 grams of carbohydrates and based on the results foods were ranked from 0 to 100. High Glycemic Index(GI) food made blood sugar spike faster and low GI food absorbed carbohydrates at a slower rate. 

According to glycemic professionals, people with diabetes should aim for food with a glycemic index of 55 or less.  Fat and fiber helps decrease a food's glycemic index so don't be afraid to add either to decrease your blood sugar(glucose) load.  Many people with diabetes, hyperlipidemia and who  just want to lose weight have food success using the glycemic index . There are many websites with tips on how to decrease your glycemic load and look for foods labeled GI for more information. 

If you have any questions about the glycemic index or would like to share your experience using this technique to deal with your diabetes,  please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Your comments could help others. As always, you can schedule an appointment with me.

 

Best,

 

 

Allison