Do you ever feel like regardless of what you do, your blood sugar is still all over the board?
Once you received the diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should have been told to check your blood sugar several times each day to prevent complications that can develop from elevated blood sugar over a long time. Striving for normal blood sugar readings can feel extremely elusive and frustrating, but it doesn’t need to be. Checking your blood sugar level is like checking the speedometer on your car. It gives you information and tells you if you need to make adjustments. Blood sugar levels do not reflect personal character or intelligence.
There are many factors that affect your blood sugar. What you do or don’t eat has a huge impact on your blood sugar level, but it is not the only factor involved. Here are some other factors that can affect your blood sugar.
We may not be attacked by predators nowadays, but we seem to be under constant lifestyle attack. Stress produced by a lion or your lifestyle will cause an increase in the hormones glucagon and cortisol, which increases blood sugar. Sleep deprivation also causes stress and increases cortisol levels. The good news is exercise, relaxation, meditation, and adequate sleep can reduce stress and lower blood sugar levels.
Insulin sensitivity is increased with exercise, which means your cells are better able to use the sugar in your bloodstream. Thus lowering your blood sugar level. Is your blood sugar high? Vacuum the floor, mow the lawn, clean out the garage, wash the windows, go for a walk or bike ride – these are all free, effective treatments to lower blood sugar.
Are you tired of hearing the long litany of foods you shouldn’t eat because you have diabetes? Are there foods you might want to eat more of to improve your health and lower your blood sugar?
Carbohydrates (“carbs”) are to be managed, not eliminated. Your body breaks down carbs into sugars (mostly glucose) and then insulin helps your body use the sugar for energy. When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails and blood glucose levels can rise. A dietitian can assist you in identifying the appropriate amount, distribution, and type of carbs to manage your blood glucose. You need complex carbs at least for a third of your carb intake. If you are taking insulin, your dietitian can also calculate the appropriate carb-to-insulin ratio so you can be pro-active and determine how much insulin to take based on how many carb grams you ate at your meal.
Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, has been shown to improve blood sugar management. Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are a great source of soluble fiber. Incorporating these foods in your diet would be very beneficial and effective for your blood sugar management. It is a balancing act to determine the appropriate amount because each of these foods also contributes to carbs.
Consult a dietitian who is also a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) to find the answers tailored to your specific health needs and goals. CB
Did you know the “non-dieting” approach has been around since 1995? Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD, CEDRD, FADA were the first to develop and publish this concept in their book, Intuitive Eating: The Revolutionary Program that Works. Intuitive eating is not a diet, but an approach to improve your relationship with food, exercise, and body image. Through this, studies have shown this method can additionally help improve blood pressure, cholesterol, decrease depression, enhance self-esteem and often result in weight loss for chronic dieters. Information below is a highlight of each principle and directly from the Intuitive Eating book:
|REJECT THE DIET MENTALITY
Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
|HONOR YOUR HUNGER
Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust with yourself and food.
|MAKE PEACE WITH FOOD
Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.
|CHALLENGE THE FOOD POLICE
Scream a loud “no” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under a thousand calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The food police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the food police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
|FEEL YOUR FULLNESS
Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or snack and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.
|DISCOVER THE SATISFACTION FACTOR
The Japanese have the wisdom to keep pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough.”
|COPE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS WITHOUT USING FOOD
Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your emotional issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may provide comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
|RESPECT YOUR BODY
Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect realistically to squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size. Respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body shape.
|EXERCISE – FEEL THE DIFFERENCE
Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, like being energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the booze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
|HONOR YOUR HEALTH – GENTLE NUTRITION
Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency, or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
This book is a great read! If you are wanting to implement these principles in your life, and would like guidance/one-on-one counseling, the “BN” Dietitians are in your corner. We understand the role diet culture has played on one’s mind and body. Get back to the basics and learn to listen to YOU! LN
I don’t know about you, but sometimes 24 hours a day is just not enough. With school and work, some days I struggle to find the time to eat nourishing meals because I don’t have the time to make a meal and any prepared options are usually not the best choices. I started meal prepping can help free up some time during the week by cooking meals ahead of time!
Set a Day for Meal Prepping
First, set a designated day to cook your meals. I like to cook on Sundays and Wednesdays making meals for three to four days so I don’t get tired of the same meals every day. Also, most of the time food only says good for about three to five days or so. This is also a great way to get the family into the kitchen. Getting kids to help out can spark their interest in healthy food and cooking. Plus, they are more likely to eat the food that they helped cook.
Plan Your Meals
Once you have set a day to make your meals, plan what you are going to make and write a list of food you need to get at the grocery store. Planning your meals in advance can help make grocery shopping much easier as you already know what to get. This way you only need to go to the grocery store once a week. When planning your meals, think about ingredients that could be cooked in multiple ways. For example, you can make spinach into a salad, put it in some soup, or sautee it with other veggies!
Don’t limit your meal prepping to just lunch and dinner. You can save time in the morning by portioning out your smoothie ingredients in mason jars or pre-making pancakes and cut fruit for an easy breakfast for the kids.
Having pre-made snacks make it easy for you to grab and go. Cut up and portion fruits and veggies! Portion out cheese, lunchmeat, and crackers for homemade Lunchables! Pre-package trail mix or cereals! The combinations are endless.
Utilize your kitchen to the max!
- Make sheet pan meals by roasting multiple items on the same sheet pan. That’s one less dish to wash at the end of the night!
- Multi-task. Whether that be boiling some pasta while sauteeing some greens or baking chicken and roasting potatoes, make use of your time cooking.
Portion Out Your Meals
After making all your meals, portion out your meals. This makes it quick and easy to grab your lunch when you are on your way out the door! If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator, pack your lunch and dinner the night before so you have it ready to go in the morning.
Mason jars are a great way to put salads in. Place your dressing in first and then put hardier vegetables like chickpeas or tomatoes or protein. That way your salad is not soggy when you eat it. It’s also great to use if you want instant noodle soups. Just cook your favorite noodles and shock them in ice water before adding it to the mason jar with other ingredients you want. Add miso, tum yum paste, a bouillon cube, or any other soup flavoring. When you are ready to eat, just add hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. And voila you have soup!
If you want to meal prep way far in advance, you can freeze the extra meals you made. You can marinate meat, cook vegetables, or make soup and freeze it! Making and freezing family meals can be a huge time saver when you are running short on time to make dinner. You can make lasagna, oven bakes, or casseroles in a disposable pan and freeze them until you need them.
Fast food can be healthy. Meal prepping may require taking some time out of your week, but you can have ready to eat meals that you know are nutritious! You can make it as easy as you want it by simply putting everything in the oven or have fun making different meals. Not only does it save time during the weekdays, but it can save you money and unnecessary stress. Try meal prepping this week and comment below how you did it!
What better way to kickoff Kids Eat Right Month than to take a closer look at one of the newest toddler food and beverage trends hitting the shelves!
If you haven’t heard of “toddler milk” yet, you soon will. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), toddler milk is the fastest-growing category of break milk substitutes currently on the market. As a parent or caregiver, you may be wondering what exactly toddler milk is and if this product is a good choice for your child. To help answer this question, the WHO, the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) are all weighing in and the answer may surprise you.
What Exactly is “Toddler Milk”?
Toddler milk, also known as “growing up” milk, is a category of products marketed to children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. They can be found alongside infant and transition formulas and are often made by the same manufacturers that we as consumers know and trust. Their nutritional make-up consists primarily of powdered low-fat milk, corn syrup solids or other caloric sweeteners, and vegetable oil. They often have added nutrients such as DHA, vitamin E, and probiotics, to name a few, and many come with statements such as “no artificial growth hormones”, “organic” and “non-GMO” that consumers may be intrigued by.
Current Nutritional Recommendations for Toddlers
So how do toddler milks stack up against current nutritional recommendations? Presently, the recommendation for children 12 months and older is plain whole cow’s milk and the introduction of healthy and appropriate solids. Whole milk provides an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones as well as protein and fat for overall growth and brain development. In addition, the American Heart Association recommends avoiding added sugars (including the corn syrup solids in toddler milks) for children under the age of 2 years.
What’s the Big Deal?
Compared with plain whole cow’s milk, research is finding that a large majority of toddler milks on the market today contain added sugar, more sodium, and less protein. One concern that experts share is in regard to the development of long-term taste preferences. This comes from the idea that the first 1,000 days of life are the most important in terms of the development of healthy eating patterns and preferences. Because of this, children may be more inclined to consume sweetened beverages, which may result in negative outcomes for weight down the road. In addition, packaging may contain claims, such as ‘probiotics to help support digestive health’, which are not supported by scientific research at this time.
Additional Food for Thought…
As breastfeeding rates have increased, the demand for infant formula has dropped dramatically. Because of this trend, many formula manufacturers are turning to alternative products to make up for the lost revenue. In terms of marketing, toddler milks tend to look very similar in color, branding, logo, and graphics compared to infant formulas and often cost less by volume. Interestingly, the U.S. has a regulatory body responsible for food labeling and policy-making for infant formula, but unfortunately has no laws specific to toddler milks at this time. Based on research published in April of 2020 from the Journal of Public Health Policy, one can see that “advertising spending on toddler milks increased fourfold during a 10-year period (2006-2015) and volume sales increased 2-6 times”. As a result of less demand for infant formula, increased marketing of toddler milks with lower prices and unfounded health benefits, the question is raised as to whether or not parents of infants may opt to purchase toddler milk instead of formula, putting infants at risk for inadequate nutrient intake.
Lastly, while the AAFP notes that toddler drinks hold no “advantage” over whole milk and a nutritionally adequate diet, food sensitives and allergies may cause one to turn to alternative milk products. In this case, we suggest talking with your Pediatrician and Registered Dietitian about the best options for you and your family. For more information on nutritional recommendations for toddlers and children, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
How are you taking care of yourself? Taking care of yourself directly impacts your ability to care for others. Think – are you getting the sleep you need, managing stress in a positive way, meeting your nutritional needs, getting in physical exercise?
Which came first? Are nutrient shortfalls secondary to lack of sleep or lack of sleep secondary to nutrient shortfalls?
The answer – either one can cause an impact on the other. There are some common nutritional deficiencies that may prevent us from getting adequate sleep and/or caused by lack of sleep. Ideally, we should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. However, less than 1% of the population falls into the “exception” category of needing less or more than this. If you are not meeting this guideline, you are likely putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies and causing your sleep to be worse.
Adults with less than 7 hours of sleep at night have been found to have nutrient shortfalls in vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K, potassium and omega 3s.
- Did you know 96% of Americans don’t eat enough vitamin D?
- Vitamin D plays an important role in lung health, insulin secretion, bone health, brain health, heart health, inflammation, muscle health, and our immune system.
- Did you know 55% of Americans don’t eat enough magnesium?
- Magnesium plays an important role in our bones/teeth, regulation of heartbeat, muscles, nervous system, metabolism, and cellular energy.
- Did you know 95% of Americans don’t eat enough omega 3s?
- Omega 3s play an important role in eye health, maintaining healthy triglycerides, healthy blood pressure, brain health, heart health, and inflammation.
Having a balanced diet with a variety of produce and protein sources can help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Nutrient-dense food sources include:
- Vitamin D: Egg yolk, mushroom, fatty fish, cod liver oil, fortified foods/beverages (cereal/orange juice/milk)
- Vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, fatty fish, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, spinach, butternut squash, olive oil, kiwi
- Vitamin C: Kale, broccoli, green chili pepper, bell pepper, coriander, kiwi, strawberry, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, papaya, tomato
- Vitamin A: Liver, cod liver oil, spinach, butternut squash, mustard greens, tomato, fatty fish, carrot, sweet potato, cantaloupe, red bell pepper, parsley
- Vitamin K: Kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, asparagus, kiwi, avocado, cheese, eggs, chicken, butter
- Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, quinoa, beans, dark chocolate, peanuts, edamame, cashews, cacao powder, oatmeal, avocado, broccoli, banana
- Calcium: Milk, cheese, yogurt, fish, spinach, kale, collard greens, beans, lentils, walnuts, edamame, fortified drinks (almond milk/orange juice), chia seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, broccoli, tofu
- Potassium: Pistachios, beet greens, salmon, white beans, potatoes, milk, mushrooms, avocado, tomato, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, peanuts, almonds, banana, acorn squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, watermelon
- Omega 3s: Fatty fish (anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna), basil, chia seeds, flax seeds, spinach, walnuts, edamame, brussels sprouts, avocado
Whether lack of sleep causes nutrient abnormalities or nutrient abnormalities causes a lack of sleep, it is important to make both a priority to help the body function properly. They both play a key role in overall health. Speak with your Dietitian about ways you can improve stress, sleep, and nutrition. LN
IBS is a stressful and oftentimes debilitating condition. Patients are put through exhaustive testing to understand the onset of their symptoms. IBS is the diagnosis given when symptoms fit the Rome IV criteria, although commonly no other intestinal damage is apparent.
ibs–smart™ test was developed by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The test was designed to diagnose post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS), which produces the same symptoms but is developed after an episode of foodborne illness. The test measures antibodies produced by the body following a viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection of the GI tract. It is about 98% accurate. A simple blood draw can reduce unnecessary and invasive testing for patients.
There is still research needed to understand how foodborne infection can lead to PI –IBS, but some ideas include:
- Alterations in the gut lining
- Changes in gut motility (movement)
- Immune system activation
- Decreased enzyme activity
Though this test is promising, it still has some potential drawbacks.
There are still questions about how broadly applicable this test is for IBS sufferers. Not all IBS stems from foodborne illness. IBS with constipation (IBS–C) doesn’t present with the same characteristics as IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) or IBS with constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M). Unless patients can attest to developing their GI symptoms following foodborne illness, it is unclear whether the ibs–smart™ test will give insight for all patients.
So what is the takeaway?
The ibs–smart™ test is a great first step in diagnosing IBS in a more timely and cost-effective manner, but should not be used as the sole diagnostic tool. Talk to your doctor and see if the ibs–smart™ test is right for you!
I recently attended an Instant Pot Cooking Workshop. My eyes were quickly opened to a world of meals without losing flavor or texture. I purchased a pressure cooker soon after. While I love to cook, when the days grow shorter I find solace in the fact of simply preparing a few ingredients and having a meal ready for my husband and me within 30 minutes or less.
When the cold front moved through this past week, I made an easy vegetarian chili in our pressure cooker. It was savory and satisfying. I adapted this recipe from Dinner at the Zoo.
2 pounds Beyond beef, or protein alternative
1 small onion finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
28 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
3- 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
3/4 cup vegetable broth or miso broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
15-ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
15-ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsedInstructions
There is much to be learned about your relationship with food when you track or monitor your food intake. Monitoring your food intake can be beneficial for everyone, but especially if you have diabetes, weight concerns, an eating disorder, disordered eating, or GI issues.
Monitoring food can answer the following questions:
- What do I eat?
- Do I restrict particular foods?
- Is there a pattern to my eating? ie. Do I eat a certain way during the week vs weekend, or when I’m alone vs with company?
- Are there any “triggers” for my eating? ie. Am I eating late when I’m tired?
- What are my emotional triggers? ie. depression, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or anger.
- Does my eating provide emotional benefits—is it calming, entertainment, an escape, or relief?
Just as a choir cannot improve their harmony if they don’t recognize the current dissonance, it is impossible to change anything if you are not aware of your current situation.
It is important to monitor your intake to help you recognize your behaviors, emotions, feelings, and exercise habits. Being honest with yourself is the only way to make progress.
Track your food intake as soon as possible after consuming. This will help you become more aware of your behaviors, emotions, feelings in real-time then you can start exploring further into your intake.
We encourage our patients to use a food intake record and not electronic devices. Electronic devices often lack the ability to make notes of the very important aspects of your food intake, such as family circumstances, emotions, and feelings. A food record can include time, place, with whom and degree of hunger during intake.
The dietitians at BN will support your monitoring efforts. Together, you will brainstorm various pathways to changing your thinking, behaviors and reaching your health goals. It’s a rewarding journey to realize you can make changes you never thought possible. Your trek to a healthy, peaceful relationship with food is far more than “eat this not that.”
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, improve your health, and gain self-confidence. There are many reasons why people might not want to exercise like: “I don’t have time”, “I am too out of shape”, “I don’t know what to do when I am at the gym”, or even “I don’t want to workout alone”. All these problems can be solved with a little effort and motivation. Working out does not have to take place anywhere specific either. You can workout in your neighborhood, your living room, a local gym or park. The hardest part is getting started, once you have a routine it is easier to keep it up and make time for yourself and your health. Here are a couple ways to get yourself started:
A little goes a long way. There is no need to start off your exercise journey spending hours in the gym every single day. Add a 15-20 minute walk or run into your routine a couple times a week then go from there. Starting small will better ensure that you don’t get burnt out and you stick to your exercise goals.
Stop making excuses. If you don’t like running or lifting weights, find something that you do enjoy. There are many options like yoga, dancing, or hiking. If you don’t believe you have the time, make the time. This is your life and your health, so make it a priority for yourself to set aside even 5 minutes of exercise.
Be kind to yourself. If it has been awhile since you’ve had any physical activity there is no better time to start than right now! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t look like a body builder after a week of hitting the gym. Your exercise journey is about YOU and YOUR health. Focus on making yourself better and reward yourself for sticking to your exercise goals.
When you do decide to get back in the gym, get a good warm up and cool down with walking and some light stretching. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. It is time to put your health at the top of the list! Happy exercising ?