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Study Finds Intermittent Fasting May Benefit Diabetes Patients

Some time ago, I posted this article on intermittent fasting. In the article, I stated that intermittent fasting has become popular as a weight loss practice as it allows you to reduce calories without limiting what you can eat. As a result, intermittent fasting can help you manage your diabetes.

At a presentation of the American Society of Nutrition, Kelsey Gabel, PhD, RD stated that intermittent fasting might benefit both type 1 and 2 diabetics. It was also stated that people who are obese or who are at the prediabetes stage may benefit. However, Gabel advised that although intermittent fasting may be considered safe for individuals with diabetes, evidence is “still extremely limited” and patients “should closely monitor their blood glucose.”

Types of intermittent fasting

  1. Alternate day fasting – people alternate fast and feast days. On fast days they limit their intake to 500 calories and on feast days they can eat as much as they like.
  2. The 5: 2 diet – people fast 2 days a week.
  3. Time-restricted eating – the most popular form of intermittent fasting. People choose a window for eating, usually between noon and 8 p.m. This is preferred as it allows you to enjoy dinner and other social occasions with family and friends.

Read more about the various forms of intermittent fasting here

A few things to bear in mind

  1. Intermittent fasting is not recommended for children younger than 12 years of age and adults over 70. Also, if you have a history of eating disorder or you are of normal weight, then you should not try intermittent fasting.
  2. The first 3 months is the period with the most weight loss. Monitor supplements closely – Vit. D, B 12, electrolytes and medications for blood pressure, lipids and glucose. As weight loss progresses, medications may need to be adjusted.
  3. Create an eating window that is more convenient. Drink more water during the first two weeks.
  4. If you have to take medications with meals, you should not do intermittent fasting.

As always, before following this or any healthcare advice, please consult your physician. He/she will be able to tell you if intermittent fasting is right for you, or he may be able to point you to the best way of undertaking this type of diet. For more posts like this, please sign up for the newsletter below. You can also follow me on the social media below.

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7 Symptoms of High Blood Sugar And The Causes

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes may experience high blood sugar, but even if you are not diabetic, your blood sugar may run high. This is known as hyperglycemia, and if left untreated, it can cause serious symptoms to develop. Hyperglycemia occurs when your body either does not produce enough insulin or is unable to absorb insulin properly, or develops a resistance to insulin.

Being able to recognize the symptoms of high blood sugar listed below can help you take action before this happens.

  1. Excessive thirst. This is usually the first sign that something is wrong. No matter how much water you drink it doesn’t seem enough.
  2. Frequent urination. Drinking a lot of water or juice will have you running to the bathroom frequently.
  3. Fatigue. Since your body is unable to make proper use of insulin, glucose (your source of energy) enters the bloodstream instead of being absorbed into the body’s cells. This leads to fatigue and a lack of energy.
  4. Blurred vision. Changes in blood sugar levels can cause the lens of your eyes to swell, leading to blurred vision. This can go away once your sugar stabilizes.
  5. Headaches. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, headaches may result. Most people who have diabetes also suffer from high blood pressure and that too may be a cause of headaches.
  6. Dry mouth. Another common symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although people who don’t have diabetes may also experience diabetes. Some medications used to treat diabetes may also cause diabetes.
  7. Weakness. People with diabetes can suffer from weakness in the lower leg and calf muscles which can increase the risk of falling.

All of the symptoms listed above can be avoided or reversed by making simple lifestyle changes to bring your sugar under control. Check out these articles below:

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Insufficient Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone at some point has endured the effects of a night of insufficient sleep. Some of it may have been through your doing, but for many people with type 2 diabetes, insufficient sleep is another complication of your condition and can even worsen it.

Courtesy morgue file

A dangerous practice

Some people pride themselves on being short sleepers. They go to bed at 2 .00 a.m and are up at 6.00. For those people, energy, as well as their level of concentration, begins to flag by mid-afternoon. When this happens, they may reach for the coffee pot and a donut or some other sugary treat. Do you know this is a dangerous practice?

Snacking can affect glucose levels

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders(NIDDK), some people consume excess calories in addition to their regular meals through snacking during the day and into the night. This, says the NIDDK, reduces the duration of the overnight fast and affects glucose regulation.

A risk factor for diabetes

Now, if you are wondering if insufficient sleep, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep can impact your diabetes, the answer is yes. And if you are young and healthy and not yet diabetic, you can develop prediabetes. In addition, poor sleep can contribute to obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.

If you are getting insufficient sleep at nights, Medline Plus recommends you do the following:

  1. Write down in your journal the thoughts that keep you awake. This way you transfer your worries from your mind to paper, leaving you free to sleep.
  2. Walk at least 30 minutes a day or include some form of physical activity.
  3. Reduce your caffeine intake. Cut back on smoking and alcohol.
  4. Go to bed around the same time every day, but not more than 8 hours before you expect to start your day.
  5. Avoid eating heavy meals at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  6. Turn off your computer, TV, cellphone near your bedtime.
  7. Ask your doctor about any medications you are taking that may interfere with sleep.
  8. Do not work or eat in bed. Your bed is for sleeping only.

Getting insufficient sleep can sap your energy, make you irritable and unable to perform your duties effectively. Worse yet, it can lead to you developing prediabetes or diabetes. If you are in the habit of not getting enough sleep, speak to your doctor first and follow the tips above to help you make some lifestyle changes.

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Check out this inspirational ladies’ t-shirt that comes in several colors and sizes. It’s a good way for you to affirm your faith and inspire yourself and others.

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Friday Foodie: Pecan Zucchini Bread

If you are a diabetic, you have probably heard that you should stay away from bread as much as possible; however, not all bread is created equal. The recipe below is for a bread that is not only healthy, but contains fiber that can help with weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity.

Zucchini health benefits:

  • Zucchini is rich in B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, which help to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Potassium – reduces blood pressure, protects against heart and kidney disease.
  • Anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Pecan Zucchini Bread Recipe

The cooking time for this recipe can vary quite a bit depending on the amount of moisture in the zucchini. Some recipes recommend draining the excess moisture after shredding the zucchini for more consistent results. However, if moist, delicious bread is your goal, you definitely won’t want to do that.

Instead, shred the zucchini with a box grater placed over a large, rimmed plate to collect the excess moisture. Then, bake the bread at a fairly low temperature (see notes below) and check after 45 minutes to determine your final bake time.  

Kitchen-Testing Notes: This recipe was tested at both 325°F and 350°F. At the higher temperature, the outside developed a really nice golden-brown crust long before the inside was baked through. Toward the end, the loaves needed to be covered with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. For best results, use the lower temperature and adjust your bake time as noted below.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45-65 minutes
Yield: 2 9-inch loaves

Ingredients:

2 T. unsalted butter
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ c. vegetable oil
½ c. applesauce, unsweetened
¾ c. raw cane sugar*
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed**
1½ t. real vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground allspice
1 t. baking soda
½ t. baking powder
½ t salt
3 c. shredded zucchini
1¼ c. pecans, roughly chopped and divided

*Can use regular brown sugar or Stevia instead of raw cane sugar

** I recommend leaving out the sugar if you are diabetic.

Directions:

  1. Place top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat oven to 325°F. Generously grease two 9-inch loaf pans with butter and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, sugar, brown sugar**, and vanilla extract just until blended. 
  3. Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, a little at a time, and mix to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed, to make sure the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the batter.
  5. Add the shredded zucchini and one cup pecans to the mixing bowl and fold into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans and place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top of each pan.
  7. Return to oven and bake for another 30 minutes before checking for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of each loaf. If necessary, continue baking until the toothpick comes out clean. (Depending on how much moisture is in the zucchini, it may take an hour or slightly longer for the loaves to finish baking).
  8. Remove from oven and cool for several minutes. When cool enough to handle, transfer the loaves to a wire rack or cutting board. Slice and serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap once cooled and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Amount per serving :

Calories 291 Total fat 12. 7 g Saturated fat 3.5 g Cholesterol 52 mg Sodium 433 mg Total carbohydrates 38. 8g Dietary fiber 1. 5g Protein 5.2g

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Whatever The Verdict Might Be …

Five days ago, the world watched as Derek Chauvin, a police officer from Minneapolis, MN, was convicted on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. The murder drew worldwide attention when it first occurred almost a year ago, and most people waited anxiously to see what would be the outcome.

Many unarmed black men in America had been murdered by police in the years prior and even following George Floyd’s murder. Some of them never faced trial, far less conviction, therefore this verdict rendered last week brought a sense of relief to many, especially George’s family.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and news commentator, said in an interview following the verdict that George’s family had requested that he pray with them following the verdict, whatever it might be. They said they wanted to thank God, whether the verdict was good or bad, for bringing them through their painful ordeal.

In this time of uncertainty when we are grappling with sickness, loss of earnings, and the fear of what tomorrow might bring, we would do well to take a lesson from the Floyd family. These people, who watched the video over and over of a man kneeling on the neck of their loved one until his life was snuffed out, and still wanted to thank God for bringing them through, deserve our respect and admiration.

Researchers tell us that being thankful can reduce depression and stress, boost our immune system, help us sleep better and improve our overall mental and physical health. It can be easy to slip into an attitude of bitterness and despair when things are going against us, but a thankful attitude can help us overcome many of the obstacles that block our path.

Have you been dealing with type 2 diabetes or some other condition for a long time and wondering if or when you would get over it? Do you feel hopeless at times? Take a leaf out of the Floyd family playbook. Thank God for bringing you thus far. Thank Him for all He’s doing for you now and for what He’ll do for you in the future, then watch Him work in your life.

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Lifestyle Choices Are Key For Managing Type 2 Diabetes

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Walking: Your Pathway To Happiness

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor may have told you that one of the best ways to cope with the disease is to increase your physical activity. But you may be thinking you don’t have the energy or you don’t feel well enough to exercise. Well, I have just the solution for you: Walking.

Sedentary workers

Walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more physical activity into your lifestyle. Let’s face it: the average person spends more time sitting than moving or standing. If you are a sedentary worker, you most likely spend almost eight hours at your desk. And when you leave work, you drive or ride in a bus or train for another 30 minutes, then when you get home, you eat, shower and lie in front of the television. The next day you rinse and repeat.

Sitting too much is bad for you

Studies have found that sitting for such long periods accounts for illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. You can counteract these outcomes by walking at least 20 minutes during your lunch break, taking the stairs at some time during the day and maybe walking your dog (if you have one) or engaging in some sport or enjoyable activity when you get home.

The importance of physical activity

In terms of numbers, people who spend time sitting for about 8 hours a day but are otherwise physically active have a much lower risk of death when compared to others  who sat for a shorter duration but were not necessarily physically active. This should drive home the importance of physical activity, no matter how many hours a day an individual sits.

Benefits of walking

Walking burns calories –which helps you lose weight– controls glucose levels, lowers blood pressure, promotes better sleep and makes you feel better overall. According to the American College of Sport Medicine, if you are a 175-pound male, a leisurely 30-minute walk around the block will burn 146 calories. A 135-pound female, walking the same distance at the same speed, will burn 113 calories. For a brisk walk (4mph) the man will burn 167 calories, the woman 129 calories. Walking is easy on your joints, you don’t need special equipment to do it and you can walk at any time that is convenient to you.

If you are convinced, that walking can help you control your diabetes, heart disease or other ailment, why not decide now to begin a walking routine? One way to do that is to record it in your journal. Write when you plan to start, what time you will walk and for how long. Then do it!

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Changing Your Mentality About Weight Loss

If you are diabetic and overweight, you are probably trying to lose weight in order to control your diabetes. However your mentality about weight loss will determine whether you succeed or fail in your efforts . If you have negative feelings about eating healthier or moving your body, then it’s going to be really hard to follow a weight loss plan. Then it feels like a chore that you are forcing yourself into, not something you want to do. When we are talking about mentality, it isn’t just about food but also about weight loss and your body.

Accept Your Body as it is

This can be the hardest part about changing how you think about weight loss and health, but it is also the most important. Most people who approach health from a weight loss perspective want to change their body. But if you can accept your body as it is right now and understand you don’t always have control over it, then you can actually have more success with natural weight loss. It seems counterintuitive, but if you come to a place where you accept your body, you won’t worry and obsess so much about changing it. It will still change if you continue on this journey, but you won’t stress yourself about it as much along the way.

Realize Weight Loss Won’t Make You Happier

If you ask anyone who has reached their weight loss goal, they will tell you this. Yes, you gain more confidence and boost your self-esteem, but it doesn’t actually make you a happier person or solve the issues you had before.

It isn’t going to heal your toxic relationship with food, change your attitude about your body, or cure your depression. These issues will still exist after the weight comes off. Understanding this can help you focus on changing your life as a whole, not just addressing your weight.

Focus on Health, Nutrition and Balance

Your mentality also has to do with how you approach health and what place nutrition and exercise have in your life. Balance out your healthy lifestyle changes while still enjoying your life. Moderate exercise that is good for your health and makes you stronger will do so much more for your mentality than sticking to a rigid, extreme workout schedule where you have to get up at 3.00 in the morning just to fit it into your day.

Understand What You Really Want

Really start practicing mindfulness to figure out what it is you want and what you hope to gain from weight loss. Keep writing in your journal about your struggles, why you want to lose weight, why you want to be healthier, and what benefits you are looking forward to.

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Hip Fracture Risk For Those With Diabetes

This article that came into my inbox was a very disturbing one for me. In a previous post, I told you about my husband falling in a parking lot and breaking his hip. Did I also tell you he is a type 2 diabetic? So, when I read the article about a study that stated, “diabetes was associated with a higher risk of hip and non-vertebral fractures,” it grabbed my attention.

Although the study found that those with type 1 diabetes were at greater risk for hip fractures than those with type 2, this was of little consolation to me. The article also stated that those under 65 with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes had “a higher risk for hip fracture, as did type 2 diabetes patients treated with insulin and with longer disease duration.” See why it’s not consoling? Those findings, revealed during Diabetes Awareness Week, convey to me that every person with diabetes is at danger of fracturing his/her hip if he/she falls.

Lead researcher Dr Tatiane Vilaca, from the University of Sheffield’s Mellanby Centre for Bone Research, said: “Diabetes can cause a number of well-known complications including kidney problems, loss of eyesight, problems with your feet and nerve damage. However, until now many people with diabetes and their doctors are unaware that they are also at greater risk of bone fractures.” That is so true. Now, in addition to being mindful about the problems mentioned above, you have to be careful that you don’t fall and break your hip.

So, how can you avoid the latter from happening? As an occupational therapist and health coach, I am well versed in fall prevention strategies, which we teach our patients, especially the elderly. If you are a young person, you are more likely to have stronger muscles and proper balance, however, you would do well to be aware of some of the steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling and suffering the consequences.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Exercising at least 30 minutes five times a week will strengthen and tone your muscles, helping to support your frame. You should also incorporate some weight-training aimed at strengthening your legs. If you are elderly, tai chi movements can be effective in improving your balance.
  • Watch your meds! Sleep aids, benzodiazepines, cough and cold drowsy formulas can upset your balance. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and do not walk if you are sleepy.
  • Remove the clutter. Watch out for rugs, extension cords, and other objects in your path. Even your pet can be a fall hazard.
  • Light your path. If you are coming in late at night, make sure your pathway is well lit and there are no objects-like a water hose- waiting to trip you. The same goes for indoors. As a diabetic, you may have to get up during the night to go the bathroom. Make sure you have sufficient night lights to see by.
  • Wear proper footwear. High heels, slip-on sandals, are often the cause of many falls. Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School says, “Fashion needs to take a back seat to function.” Another doctor said all shoes should have a back and a sole with good tread.
  • Discard your pride. Someone once told me she would never use a cane, even when her doctor recommended it. Using a cane or walker can save you from falling, which may even save your life. According to Dr. Lipsitz, “falls kill.” Which would you rather have, your pride or your life?

Type 2 diabetes is such a serious disease. You have to be careful about so many things. You can live a healthy and worry-free life, free of diabetes, if you get the help you need. Just fill in the form below and be on your way to a healthy and happy life.

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Monday Motivation – Can We Be Patient?

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on in the US and around the world, many are asking themselves, “how long?” How long again until we can go to the supermarket and not feel like we’re being stalked by some unseen creature about to pounce on us? How long before we can stop wiping down everything that enters our home? How long before the toilet paper we’re accustomed to reappears on the shelves? How long?

From what the experts tell us, getting rid of COVID-19 will not be a sprint, but more like a marathon. Yet, as I write this, some states are preparing to “open up” and have people return to work. Georgia’s governor gave the go-ahead to certain close-contact businesses, like hair and nail salons, to re-open on Friday, and on Monday, restaurants and movie theaters will follow suit.

Type 2 diabetics and people with underlying conditions are at great risk for contracting COVD-19. You are doing great so far. You are washing your hands, disinfecting everything, wearing your mask, and keeping your distance when you go out. Can you be patient a little longer? If you are a type 2 diabetic, I am appealing to you to stay at home as long as possible. I know some people have to work and unemployment checks are not coming in as fast as they should, but if you don’t fall into either of these two categories, please stay at home.

If you are among the fortunate few who don’t have to go out to work, try to conduct most of your business from home. Do you have a computer or smartphone? Enroll in online banking. Shop online and have your groceries delivered to your door. Stores are honoring the local distancing order so you don’t even have to see their delivery people. With all that extra time you have on your hands, you can wash your hair, give yourself a mani and pedi and soak in the tub. Do whatever you have to in order to make this time as stress-free as possible.

Many businesses –banks, utilities, auto insurance companies — and others are suspending late payment fees and cancellations on account of the coronavirus. But you must call them and make that arrangement. All is not lost. We may be under a great deal of stress right now; we don’t know how or when all of this is going to end, but there is Someone who knows.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30: 5

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose – Romans 8: 28

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer – Romans 12: 12

Take heart, dear friends. This too will pass. Drop me a line and let me know how you are taking care of yourself during this trying time. And if you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for my Facebook group.