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The Role of Healthy Eating in Diabetic Self-Care

“The majority of patients with diabetes can significantly reduce the chances of developing long-term complications by improving self-care activities.”

This is a quote from the article The Role of Self-care in Management of Diabetes Mellitus published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders .

This statement should be taken seriously by every individual suffering from diabetes as it holds the key to making their illness manageable. This article focuses on the role of healthy eating as an aspect of diabetic self-care.

Grilled summer vegetables

When someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one of the first questions he/she may ask is “what can I eat?” Some well-meaning friend or relative may say, “cut out all carbs,” or, “don’t eat meat.” According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there is no “magic diet” for diabetes. However, the ADA does recommend that you eat more non-starchy vegetables than starchy ones.

Why are carbs so important?

Most of us eat meals that are loaded with starchy carbs. Think of your breakfast foods – toast, bagel, muffins, pancakes — and your lunch —burgers and fries, rice, potatoes, pasta — and you get the picture. Carbs are important because they provide your body with energy. There are three main types of carbs — starches, sugar, and fiber.

Foods containing non-starchy carbs

These are whole, unprocessed, non-starchy vegetables. Lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans have a lot of fiber and very little carbohydrate, which results in a smaller impact on your blood sugar. If you are using the plate method, this will form the largest division of your plate.

Foods containing starchy carbs

These are your starchy carbohydrates and include whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin and plantains; fruits such as apples, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe; and beans and lentils such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and green lentils. If you are using the Plate method, these would occupy about a quarter of your plate.

Highly processed carbs

These are the ones the ADA recommends you use sparingly. They are refined, highly processed carbs such as white bread, white rice, cakes, candy, and cookies; sugary drinks, sugary cereal, candy, and chips.

What happens to carbs in your body

When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into sugar or glucose to be used by your cells for energy. Your pancreas then releases insulin to help your cells convert the sugar into energy, but if your body is not managing your insulin well, then the excess sugar ends up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia; low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia.

How the Diabetes Plate Method helps you control carbs

A registered dietitian can help you plan your meals so that you get a healthy balance of carbs or starches, but if you are not working with a dietitian, you can use the Diabetes Plate Method to help you stick to a reasonable amount of starchy vegetables. The amount of carbs you need is determined by your size and activity level, which we will talk about in the next post.

Remember, there is no magic diet if you are suffering from diabetes. Many times your body will tell you if you have eaten something that was not right for you. By following the Plate Method of healthy eating you should be able to master this aspect of your self-care and be well on your way to controlling your diabetes.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Skipping Dinner To Lose Weight? Think Again

You may have heard you should not skip breakfast if you are trying to lose weight. Now there’s a new study that shows that skipping dinner might make you more likely to gain weight.

A study published in Insider states that researchers at Osaka University found that not eating dinner is a “significant predictor of weight gain. The report goes on to say that those who skipped dinner all the time were more likely to be older, more overweight, a smoker or drinker, and to sleep for a shorter period of time.

Although skipping dinner is much less prevalent than skipping breakfast, it has a stronger association with weight gain and overweight/obesity than skipping breakfast. The reason? Skipping dinner makes you more hungry so you end up eating more during the day.

Another possible reason, the study says, is that dinner is more likely to consist of nutritious foods such as lean meat and vegetables, so if you skip dinner you could be consuming a less healthy diet.

In recent times, intermittent fasting has become a popular method for losing weight, with the eight-hour window (eat from 8.00 to 4.00) being the most popular. However, researchers warn that diabetics should not attempt intermittent fasting without first consulting their doctor.

Related posts:

Do you suffer from type 2 diabetes? Would you like to know how to control or even reverse your diabetes through proper diet and exercise? Then fill out the form below for a free discovery session. Contact me.

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how to prepare for freezer cooking success

Some time ago I posted an article on what foods are suitable for freezing. You can read that post here.

If you are serious about making lifestyle changes to your eating habits, you will do well to cook a batch of food and freeze it so when you are ready for a meal, you will have healthful dishes and not be tempted to go back to your old way of eating. Make sense?

Today, I want to talk a little about preparing for successful freezer cooking. When you decide to try freezer cooking for the first time it’s important to learn from people who have experienced failure before you. There are some tried and true tips to make sure you have a successful freezer cooking experience that you should follow.

1. Be prepared

It’s important to get prepared for your cooking session if you’re going to cook several freezer meals at once. Even if you are just doubling your nightly meal to “feed the freezer” you want to get everything prepared, make sure you have all the ingredients, the storage containers, and everything set up in an assembly line to make it easier.

2. Get comfortable

This isn’t the time to wear your good clothing or pearls and certainly not uncomfortable shoes. In fact, you probably should wear a good pair of shoes that are meant for standing for long periods of time to make it easier on your feet and back. If you can invest in a comfortable standing mat for your kitchen floor all the better. Have a snack before you start to avoid snacking as you cook.

3. Shop with a list

You definitely do not want to shop for a freezer cooking session without a list. It’s a good idea to plan out everything that you do, and a shopping list is a must for successful freezer cooking. You need to know exactly how much and what to buy so that your recipes turn out perfect each time.

4. Cook what you like

Most families actually rotate the same 8 to 10 dishes, and rarely try anything new. It’s important to understand what you and your family like and work within that parameter to truly be successful with freezer cooking. Try only one or two new things in any given month and you’ll be a lot happier with the outcome.

5. Get organized

Before you start, make sure you begin with a clean kitchen and an organized workspace. Get out the pans and supplies that you need in advance and set them out like you work in a factory so that they’re at the ready. The same goes for measuring cups. It helps if you have several sets of measuring cups so that you don’t have to wash anything while you’re cooking. Stick dirty things in the dishwasher as you go to keep your area neat.

Freezer cooking can help you save time and money and make it easy for you to reach your goal of healthy eating faster. Follow the tips above and you will be on your way to achieving that goal.

The utensils and other equipment are given you as a guide to make your cooking experience more comfortable. I especially like the standing mat and the shopping organizer that holds your list and your smartphone . These links are all affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

Want to know more about freezer cooking and other healthy lifestyle changes? Sign up for my newsletter by filling in the form below.

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Have A Tea Break And Boost Your Health

It may be mid-morning or mid-afternoon depending on where you are, but any time is a good time to have a cup of tea. The English know it, the Orientals know it, and here in America, we seem to be now catching on. Research has shown that drinking tea can provide several health benefits, especially to women.

Tea, whether it’s green, black, red or white, is rich in flavonoids, chemical compounds found in plants and said to contain many health benefits. Researchers have found that tea may help fight cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other conditions.

Let’s look at some benefits of green tea:

1. Brain boost. Green tea contains caffeine, a known stimulant, also found in coffee. However, unlike coffee, green tea doesn’t make you feel nervous and jittery, but you do get the increased mental alertness that caffeine provides. Some studies have found that green tea may also prevent Alzheimer’s.

2. Weight loss. Some studies have shown that the weight loss experienced by some individuals is insignificant, while other studies show increased energy expenditure and fat burning as a result of drinking green tea.

3. Cancer fighting. Because of the powerful antioxidants in green tea, researchers have found that you can lower your risk of developing several types of cancer.

4. High cholesterol. Green tea has been found to lower your LDL and total cholesterol numbers and as a result protect you from heart disease.

5. Diabetes. You can bring this crippling disease under control by drinking green tea regularly. It improves insulin sensitivity and helps lower blood sugar levels.

If you are heading for your coffee break, why not have a cup of tea instead? But like everything else, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle. That means healthy nutrition and regular exercise. If you load your tea with lots of dairy and sugar, you would counteract the healthful benefits of the tea. So, buy the best possible brand you can get, brew it yourself, add a squeeze of lemon, a teaspoon of honey and enjoy. You may have it hot or cold.

Here are some brands you may be interested in. These are affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. Thank you!

Want to learn how you can easily achieve your health goals? Just fill in the form below.

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Should You Take Vitamins?

You may have a hung jury on this one. Some people never leave home without taking their daily dose of vitamins, while others either ignore them completely or take them on a haphazard basis. But before we arrive at a verdict, let us examine
what vitamins are.

Vitamins are essential micronutrients –substances an organism needs in small quantities for proper functioning.

Can you get vitamins from food?

The answer is yes. Your body needs 13 vitamins:

Vitamin A – found in eggs, meat, dairy products and green, leafy vegetables.
B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) – found in bread, cereals, fish, milk. lean meat, green leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, beans, legumes, shellfish and poultry.
Vitamin C – strawberries, tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes, broccoli
Vitamin D – Cheese, butter, margarine, fortified milk, fish and the sun
Vitamin E – Green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil, corn, nuts, olives and wheat germ
Vitamin K – Green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage and cereals

When are supplements needed?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that eating a well-balanced diet will provide you with the recommended amount of most vitamins. The exception is Vitamin E, which the NIH says cannot be obtained from food alone and a supplement may be needed. Also, for those persons who live in cold climates where they don’t get enough sunshine – at least 10 to 15 minutes 3 times a week – and they don’t eat dairy products, they may need supplements to boost their nutrition.

From what you read above, you can tell whether you need vitamins or not, or your doctor will tell you if he notices deficiencies when you do your blood work. Vitamin advocates say we should all be taking supplements because our food may not contain all the vitamins by the time it gets to us. That may be true, but to be safe, consult your doctor before you rush out and purchase vitamins.

Does anyone need vitamins?

There are some people for whom a doctor may prescribe vitamins:

1. The elderly – they may have difficulty absorbing Vit. B 12 from food.

2. Vegans and vegetarians – because they don’t eat dairy products and meat, they too may lack Vit. B 12

3. Pregnant women – doctors may prescribe folic acid for this group because it is so important for the proper development of unborn babies.

4. People in cold climes – as mentioned above, people who don’t get enough sunshine may be low in Vit. D.

So, do you need vitamins? The verdict is, consult your doctor if you feel tired, get colds easily or feel something is wrong. You may or may not need vitamins.

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How To Incorporate Healthy Eating In Your Daily Lifestyle

According to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions, healthy eating is one of the top five resolutions made each year. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 75 percent of all New Year’s resolutions will end in failure.
So, if we’re determined to change at the beginning of a new year, why do so many fail at following through? Temptations! They lurk everywhere: sweets at work, fast food for lunch, potato chips calling your name when you walk past them in the grocery store. The good thing is, you are not alone and it’s never too late to get back on the right track.

Maybe you dropped the ball on your New Year’s resolution and with half of the year gone, you figure, why bother? If this is you, here are 4 ways to incorporate healthy eating into your daily lifestyle:

1. Don’t sacrifice a nutritious breakfast. You’ve probably heard the old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and it’s true. But not just anything will do. Skip the sweet Danish for a more nutritious breakfast. Keep plenty of healthy breakfast foods on hand.
2. Enjoy easy, healthy snacks. Healthy snacks keep you from getting too hungry and overeating at your next meal. Keep foods such as yogurt, nuts, fruit and veggies such as washed apples, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes, cottage cheese or sliced turkey on hand for a quick snack.
3. Cook more than you can eat. This tip saves you time and money while allowing you to eat healthier. Cook extra to refrigerate or freeze for your next day’s lunch or dinner. When you know you already have a nutritious meal waiting for you, you’re less likely to grab the high-calorie, high-fat junk food at the drive-through on your way home. Some good options include chicken, veggies, soups, and grains, including quinoa and brown rice.
4. Eat as many colors as you can every day. Opt for a range of nutritious vegetables and fruits every day. Keep a variety of colors on hand and make it a point to see how many different colors you can eat a day. Eat red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes and blackberries one day and the next eat green peppers, yellow squash, blueberries and bananas.
It takes time to make these changes, but if you keep trying every day, you’ll eventually begin to see it’s become a habit to eat healthier.
Need more advice on following a healthy lifestyle? Fill out the form below.


A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.