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5 Best Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes

One of the hardest things that people with diabetes have to deal with is their diet, especially when it comes to eating sweet or sugary foods. Many people with diabetes turn to artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes in the hope they will not negatively impact their blood glucose.

According to Medical News Today, some sweeteners, such as table sugar, are harmful to people with diabetes, while others are low calorie and do not raise sugar levels. However, according to the American Diabetes Association, even though these low-calorie sweeteners may not cause your blood sugar to spike immediately, they may not help to reduce your blood sugar long- term, therefore it’s best to use low-calorie sweeteners in moderation.

Let’s take a look at 5 best sweeteners and sugar substitutes for people with diabetes.

  1. Stevia. You may have seen this one in your grocery store. It’s a natural sweetener that comes from the leaves of a plant. It is highly processed and is 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It is low-calorie and does not raise blood sugar levels, but it is more expensive than table sugar and it leaves a bitter aftertaste. For this reason, some manufacturers add other sugars and ingredients to improve the taste, thus making Stevia not really suitable for people with diabetes.
  2. Tagatose. This is not regularly seen in stores as it is more expensive than other low-calorie sweeteners. It is found in some fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and apples, however, manufacturers usually extract it from milk and use it in food production as an artificial sweetener. Some studies indicate that tagatose has a low glycemic index, making it beneficial for people with diabetes who are following a low-glycemic diet.
  3. Sucralose. This is commonly seen in stores under the brand name Splenda. It is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar but has few calories. Manufacturers add sucralose to a range of products, from chewing gum to baked goods. Sucralose is widely used for baking and sweetening hot drinks. The FDA has approved sucralose as a general-purpose sweetener, but a 2016 study found that sucralose caused mice to develop malignant tumors.
  4. Aspartame. Widely seen in grocery stores under the brand names Equal and Nutrasweet. It is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is used mainly as a tabletop sweetener and not for baking, as it does not hold up well in high temperatures.
  5. Saccharin. This sweetener is seen in your grocery stores under the brand names Sweet Twin, Sweet’N Low, and Necta Sweet. It is 200-700 times sweeter than table sugar and contains zero calories. This sweetener was found to cause bladder cancer in laboratory rats in the 70s, but after many studies, the National Institutes of Health ruled out the potential for causing cancer in humans.

People with diabetes need to be careful about their sugar intake. Low-calorie sweeteners and sugar substitutes can allow you to occasionally enjoy sweet foods, however, the key is moderation. You shouldn’t think that because something is low-calorie you can consume as much as you like. It is always best to consult your doctor or dietitian when making choices about your diet.

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The Ameo Life Promise: Product Review

Do you often wish your supplements were made from natural ingredients, free of chemicals and other harmful substances and that they produce the results they claim to give? If you want products that are gluten friendly, vegan friendly, GMO free, GMP certified and live up to their promise then look to the Ameo Life Promise, a company whose products are independently tested and manufactured in the USA to the highest possible standards.

Ameo Life offers a wide range of products from vitamins and supplements, probiotics, pH balanced gels, soaps, lozenges, and more. I received some of these products in exchange for a review and while I haven’t had them long enough to give a positive review of the multivitamins, I can tell you that they are chelated, meaning they combine 18 vitamins and minerals and are easily absorbed into the body and contain methylated folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Alpha Lipoic acid.

Some of the benefits of these multivitamins are:

  • Increase energy and stamina
  • Easy to swallow vegetarian capsule
  • Iron-free for gentle digestion
  • Boost nutrient levels

One product that I tried and absolutely love is the Silver Infused Gel with Aloe. This gel contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C and is infused with Aloe. You don’t need a lot of this gel to get that smooth, clean feel when you use it. This Silver Infused gel is designed to rejuvenate and nourish your skin.

Another product I was very pleased with is Ameo’s Charcoal Tea Tree Soap. This soap, which contains essential oil of bergmot and orange, is formulated for all skin types and naturally cleanses the skin. It is also toxin and paraben free. Since I have oily skin, I found this soap left my skin feeling clean and smooth without that harsh, dry feeling other soaps leave. I also love the charcoal smell.

The pH Balanced Alkaline Structured Silver Solution supplement is another product that has garnered a lot of positive reviews . I haven’t used it long enough to form an opinion, however the fact that it’s light, colorless and has no taste encouraged me to try it in the hope that it will help with my digestive problems. This product is designed to cleanse the gut naturally, get rid of bad bacteria, yeast and mold, and support your immune system.

Ameo Life products are all third-party independently tested for quality and efficacy. They are made from natural, organic ingredients and are safe and effective. From my experience with using these products and the rave reviews posted by other customers, I am pleased to recommend them to you.

And now you can win 4 full-sized Ameo Life products when you enter this giveaway:  https://www.blessedfreebies.com/ameo-life-giveaway.html

To purchase go to https://bit.ly/3zWgn8Z

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3 Heart-healthy Breakfasts That Save You Time

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, you know how important it is to have a healthy breakfast every day, one that gives you the right kind of nourishment without putting a strain on your heart. But with the kids heading back to school, you are probably wondering how to make the time to give them and yourself a healthy breakfast with the limited time at your disposal.

The US News Health team suggests some heart-healthy breakfasts that are quick and easy to prepare and will leave everyone feeling satisfied. Below are 3 examples:

Breakfast tacos.

Love tacos but you’ve only had them for lunch? Get some corn tortillas, fill them with black beans, leafy greens, tomatoes, and salsa and you have a delicious and satisfying breakfast.

Blueberry smoothie.

Blueberries can improve your risk of cardiovascular disease by 12% to 15%. To get a jump on your morning preparation, do this:

  • freeze 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries,
  • 1/2 of a peeled banana,
  • and a handful of spinach in a sealed bag overnight.
  • In the morning, blend the ingredients with 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt,
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter and
  • 1/2 cup of milk of your choice. Enjoy!
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Blueberry lemon oatmeal cups

To make blueberry lemon oatmeal cups, whisk together the following ingredients in a bowl:

Image by Sofia Iivarinen from Pixabay
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 1 large egg
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk – plant-based or dairy
  • 1 tsp Flax seed

Bake the mixture in a muffin tin with walnuts and extra blueberries on top. This recipe has been modified to show proportions.

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Carcinogen Found In Popular Diabetes Drug

A report published in Bloomberg US states that Januvia, a popular diabetes drug, was found to contain nitrosamine, a potential carcinogen. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was allowing Merck to continue to sell the drug which contains higher-than-allowed levels of nitrosamine “in order to avoid shortages.”

Nitrosamine in Januvia and blood pressure meds

Merck, the drug manufacturer, has also confirmed the presence of nitrosamine in Januvia, which is used to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug has been found to be contaminated with nitrosamine since 2018. Metformin, another popular diabetes medication, was among those affected, along with certain blood pressure medications.

Little cancer risk according to the FDA

The FDA allows 37 nanograms per day of nitrosamine in a drug, however, it is allowing up to 246.7 nanograms in Januvia in order to avoid shortages. According to Bloomberg, the agency states “its calculations show the difference in cancer risk is minimal.” 

As always, I advise that you should address any concerns you may have after reading this with your doctor. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes or any illness for which medications are prescribed, it is important for you to take them. Do not stop any meds before consulting with your doctor.

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Orzo Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Capers

This quick and easy chilled pasta salad is a great way to keep cool on a hot day. This delicious side dish tastes even better after the flavors have a chance to mingle, so make it a day or two in advance to take to your next backyard party or casual gathering.

orzo pasta salad

Orzo is high in carbohydrates but loaded with other nutrients that promote heart health and support digestion. It is usually made from white flour but can be made from whole-grain flour as well.

Tip: The capers and liquid add saltiness to this dish. Taste before adding additional salt.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes (includes time to cook orzo)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ c. orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1 T. caper liquid
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. fresh thyme leaves
    1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

    Directions:
  1. Add olive oil and minced garlic to a skillet set over medium heat. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic starts to develop some color.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or just until tomatoes become soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, capers and liquid, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley with the warm tomato and garlic mixture. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Stir and serve chilled with grilled chicken breasts or your favorite entrée of choice. Enjoy!

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How To Know If Your Sunscreen Is Safe

Summer is here and for most of you the outdoors holds a lot of attractions —beaches, parks, pools etc., — but if you are health-conscious you do the smart thing and reach for your sunscreen before going out. After all, you want to protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer. But before you lather that stuff on your face, you should check to see if your sunscreen is safe.

Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

Sun damage and skin cancer are not the usual content of this blog, but this morning I received an email saying that certain brands of sunscreen have been recalled. Maybe you already got the news but if you haven’t here’s the gist of what caused the recall.

Why my sunscreen may have been recalled

According to CNN Health, popular sunscreen brands Neutrogena and Aveeno recently pulled their products off the shelves after independent testing found that they were contaminated with benzene and benzophenone, two cancer-causing agents. Since they are cancer-causing, they are definitely unsafe, yet according to Consumer Lab, they don’t appear on labels. So it’s not certain how they get there, but Consumer Lab believes they may be introduced during the manufacture of the product or through chemical reactions with the product itself.

What is benzene?

CNN Health gives this description of benzene from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke and ranks in the top 20 chemicals used for production of “lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides,” as well as “plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers.”

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states, “If you spill benzene on your skin, it may cause redness and sores. Benzene in your eyes may cause general irritation and damage to your cornea.” Benzene, which is linked to blood cancers was not only discovered in sunscreens, but independent testing found it in sprays, gels, lotions, and creams. You can be exposed to benzene through inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion and skin and/or eye contact.

What is benzophenone?

It will amaze you to know that benzophenone is banned in the United States, yet it is found in some sunscreens. According to Consumer Lab, benzophenone is a carcinogen and may be formed by the degradation of octocrylene, a common sunscreen ingredient. In addition, benzophenone was originally patented as a herbicide. Some people may have a photoallergic reaction to sunscreens containing octocrylene.

Which sunscreens were recalled?

CNN Health lists the following:

  • Neutrogena® Beach Defense® aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Cool Dry Sport aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® aerosol
  • Aveeno® Protect + Refresh aerosol

CVS also stopped selling CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera and CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera Spray a day after the Johnson & Johnson recall was announced. If you have questions or to request a refund you can call 1-800-458-1673.

How safe is my sunscreen?

Because of the information above, you may be wondering whether you should stop using sunscreen altogether. Fortunately, the FDA has recognized two mineral compounds as being safe when used in sunscreens — they are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. They work by blocking ultraviolet radiation, while the chemical compounds named above absorb radiation. Consumer Lab warns that you should avoid sunscreens that mix mineral-based agents (titanium oxide or zinc oxide) with organic chemical ingredients, particularly avobenzone.

How can I protect myself?

Do not stop using sunscreen. Check your sunscreen label (I checked mine and it contains 10% octocrylene, so I’m throwing it out) and if it contains the carcinogens named above, then you know what to do. Also, exercise common sense by avoiding being in the sun during the hours when the sun’s rays are the most intense, i.e. between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00p.m. Wear a hat, sunglasses, shirt, and pants if you must be outdoors during those times. And apply safe sunscreen.

As always, the information given in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Use due diligence or consult your medical practitioner before adopting any of the measures stated here.

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How The Lack of Self-Care Leads To Unhappiness

Self-care, as the name implies, means taking care of yourself — your mind, body, and spirit. Illness, lack of time, and overwork can cause you to neglect self-care, and in so doing, it can lead to unhappiness. You may have a family to look after in addition to a full time job, and these things make it almost impossible to make time for self-care, but for your own happiness and that of those around you, you need to factor in time in your busy schedule for some self-care. Let’s look at the different ways that lack of self-care leads to unhappiness.

  1. You feel stressed and exhausted. When you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’ll often feel stressed and exhausted. This in turn can lead to burnout and a feeling of resentment. For example, it could be that you are exhausted from taking care of everyone else’s needs. Over time, if you don’t factor in self-care, you could end up resenting your loved ones. When you are constantly exhausted and stressed out, it’s impossible to maintain a positive outlook. Self-care helps to combat stress and it also boosts your energy levels.

2. Personal hygiene suffers. Neglecting your self-care can cause your personal hygiene to suffer. If you’re constantly rushing around with little time for a bath or shower, or time to visit your hairdresser, or get a manicure or pedicure, not only will your hygiene suffer you will not look your best and others may feel uncomfortable around you. The trouble is, failing to take care of yourself leads you to feel even worse. So, maintaining self-care is crucial for your mental health and personal hygiene.

3. You can gain weight. It might surprise you to know that lack of self-care can also lead to weight gain. How, you ask? Constant rushing around without having time to sit down to a decent meal can cause you to indulge in junk food, which can lead to feelings of guilt, which can lead to more bingeing for comfort. You may also turn to alcohol, which also causes weight gain, and as you gain weight, you begin to feel unhappy.

Lack of self-care can lead to a vicious cycle of poor hygiene, stress and exhaustion, and weight gain, all of which lead to unhappiness. In my next post, I will talk some more about the importance of self-care and how you can get your life into proper balance so you don’t neglect self-care.

Do you find yourself neglecting some aspects of your self-care? What steps have you taken to try to correct this? Leave a comment in the box below, If you suffer from diabetes or are taking care of someone who has diabetes, I invite you to join my Type 2 Diabetes Network group by clicking on this link.

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Study: How Diabetes Patients Can Lower Their Risk of Death

You may have heard that walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Now, a study published in Diabetes Care found that walking 10,000 steps per day can lower the risk of death for patients with prediabetes or diabetes, whose blood sugar is not controlled.

The report states that people in the study who were diagnosed with diabetes had a fasting blood glucose higher than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). People diagnosed with prediabetes had a fasting glucose of 100 to 125 mg/dL.

The people in the study wore an accelerometer around their waist for 7 consecutive days to count their steps. Over nine years, some of the subjects died. Based on those who survived, researchers concluded that walking nearly 10,000 steps a day was best for lowering the risk of death from any cause for people with prediabetes or diabetes.

If walking 10,000 steps a day seems like too much for you, the study authors suggest you speak to your doctor about giving you a routine that suits your physical ability. Not sure what an accelerometer is or if it’s right for you, how about trying a Fitbit watch? There are many styles with prices and functionalities to suit every budget and every need.

The Fitbit Charge 5 shown in the picture below not only records your steps, it monitors your heart rate, sleep, stress level and even comes with a Daily Readiness Score that shows if you are ready to workout or if you should focus on recovery. If you’re serious about increasing your physical activity and improving your overall health, you owe it to yourself to get a Fitbit.

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5 Ways To Overcome The Challenges That Come With Diabetes

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can throw you for a loop. You may ask yourself, why me? Why of all the adverse events I could be faced with I had to get — diabetes. The illness that comes with a stigma attached to it —you don’t take care of yourself —damages your organs, and leaves you feeling tired all the time. As horrendous as this illness may be, you can overcome the challenges that come with having diabetes.

  1. Surround yourself with supportive people. Some people prefer to hide their illness from others. You don’t have to broadcast it, but now is not the time to hide the fact that you’ve just been diagnosed with an illness and you need help coming to grips with it. Your family may be supportive, but they won’t know you need help unless you ask. Don’t be afraid to confide in them if you’re feeling fearful and need assistance in certain areas, like sticking to your new diet, for example.

Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

2. Follow your doctor’s advice. Take your medications as prescribed. Stay up to date with your appointments. If your doctor refers you to other healthcare professionals —endocrinologist, podiatrist, dietitian, etc.— make sure and follow through with those referrals.

3. Start investing in yourself. A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can be a wake-up call to alert you to changes you need to make. The good thing about diabetes is that it can be managed. Now is the time to join that exercise class you kept putting off, or a cooking class where you can learn to make healthy, tasty dishes or develop a new hobby.

Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay

4. Keep a journal. Writing in your journal at least once a day can help you feel better. Your journal is a private document, meant for your eyes only unless you decide to share it with someone, therefore you can pour out your emotions freely on the pages of your journal. This practice is recommended by therapists because it does have therapeutic benefits.

5. Educate yourself. The more you learn about your illness the more you will feel in control and the more equipped you will be to deal with it. Nowadays, there is so much information at your fingertips. The internet, library, blogs, and groups can provide you with all the information you need about type 2 diabetes and how to manage it.

Life is full of challenges. Some are small, others, like diabetes, are large and intimidating, but don’t let it get you down. Bear in mind that type 2 diabetes can be controlled with the right medication, and by making some healthy lifestyle changes. One thing you can do that will help you find support and interact with other diabetics is by joining my group Type 2 Diabetics Network.

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5 Best Prime Day Appliance Deals

In case you didn’t know, Amazon is having its annual Prime Day shopping event tomorrow July 12th and it goes on to the following day, July 13th. You can get almost everything on Amazon at hugely discounted prices. I have scoured the Amazon site to find five of the best deals on appliances I currently own or have used before and which I highly recommend. Take your pick from the selection below:

CHEFMAN Air Fryer Toaster Oven XL 20L

This countertop convection oven comes with 9 cooking functions: it combines the air fry function of cooking with little or no oil with baking, broiling, convection baking and convection broiling. This spacious oven can fit 4 slices of toast, a 10-inch pizza, or a whole chicken. Best of all, this convection oven doesn’t heat up your kitchen the way your normal oven would. Right now it’s 29% off.

Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 PerfecTemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with Glass Carafe

If you are one of those people who enjoy drinking coffee throughout the day, or you simply love a well-brewed cup of coffee, then this coffeemaker is sure to please. It comes in stainless steel with a 14-cup glass carafe that allows you to view the water window for accurate filling. You can also select the strength of your coffee— bold or regular — according to your taste. The price is now discounted at a whopping 59%.

DASH Deluxe Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker

Some time ago, I purchased this air-fryer and I use it practically everyday. I can now enjoy fried food without the guilt. My food looks good and tastes good. Also, the shut-off feature means you can set it and forget it. The one shown here has a 6-quart basket, perfect for large families or for entertaining. I have found no fault with my fryer and besides, it looks good on my kitchen counter. It doesn’t have a huge discount yet, but at the low price shown, you can’t go wrong.

NutriBullet ZNBF30400Z Blender 

Which kitchen does not have a blender? Years ago, I owned one of these, and when it broke, I swore I would get another one, but I never got around to it. I think now is the time. This NutriBullet seems to have some enhanced features my old one didn’t have, like the three precision speeds, pulse function powered by 1200 W to give you full control when making your smoothies, sauces, soups, and other things. It also comes with a one-year limited warranty and a decent 25% discount.

Mueller Ultra Kettle

Another of my favorite small kitchen appliances is this electric glass kettle. There are so many things to love about this kettle: the way the blue lights come on when you turn it on, the fast boiling time and the auto shut-off feature which ensures that your kettle will never boil dry. The kettle has a heat-resistant anti-slip grip handle so it won’t slip from your hand as you lift it off the base. Another feature that I love is that you can remove the kettle off the base and take it to the table without having a cord getting in your way as you pour. Right now Amazon is giving a nice 40% discount.

I hope you take advantage of these great Amazon Prime deals so you can beat the high cost that inflation is putting on all of us. If you are not a Prime member, you can get a free trial so you don’t miss out on this event. These ads are all affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, I receive a commission but it doesn’t cost you anything more.