I Passed!

August 26, 2010

I haven’t been posting on the blog lately because I have been so busy studying day and night for the Registered Dietitian Exam and I am happy to say I passed!! I am now a Registered Dietitian!! My journey to become a RD has been a long one, but I am very excited that I have reached my goal. My next step is to get my resume together and see what opportunities await me!

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Travel Troubles?

July 16, 2010

Here’s the latest question from foodpicker.org:

I have type 2 diabetes and travel quite a bit.  My eating & exercise are unpredictable at best when I travel and I’m having a difficult time managing my diabetes.  What do you suggest?

Plan, plan and plan! Get the idea? But seriously by planning ahead you can be successful. First of all bring a small cooler or insulated lunch bag full of snacks and water. Try to avoid eating in the airport- there tends to be a lot of greasy fast food and sweets and they cost a small fortune too- just the cost of a bottle of water is staggering! Next call or look up the hotel online and see if they have a gym or pool. If they don’t then get creative. Weather permitting walk outside. If that’s not an option then walk the stairs for a workout. You could also bring some exercise bands and do some resistance training right in your hotel room. Research the area around the hotel a bit and see what restaurants and grocery stores are around so you don’t have to call room service. Next make sure you pack enough medication and testing supplies for your trip and it’s a good idea to bring extra just in case you get stuck in bad weather or have other travel delays.  Bon Voyage!

Take Control!

July 14, 2010

Here is a question I received from foodpicker.org:

I have just been diagnosed with diabetes.  Doctors say I have uncontrollable diabetes any tips on how I can get my sugar level down?

The good news is that through diet, exercise and medication diabetes can be managed very effectively which means you can take back control of your blood sugars! One of the first things I would recommend doing is start educating yourself about diabetes. Meet with a Registered Dietitian and/or a CDE- Certified Diabetes Educator who can help you come up with a meal plan and explain how to test your blood sugars and when and how to take your medication and/or insulin. See if your local hospital offers a diabetes class for newly diagnosed diabetics. There are a lot of resources out there for diabetics! Next, start implementing what you learn including watching your carbohydrate intake, taking your medication as prescribed, checking your blood sugars daily or as often as your health care provider suggests and start an exercise routine. By losing weight you will have better control of your blood sugars.


Move That Body!

June 28, 2010

Here’s the latest question from foodpicker.org:

I have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.  The doctor has not put me on any medication, but would like me to lose weight and watch my diet.  I’m not sure how much or how often I should be exercising.  Could you give me some tips?

Basic exercise recommendations would be 30-60 minutes 5 days a week. This should include aerobic activity which raises your heart rate like walking, jogging, biking, etc and anaerobic activity such as strength training. Strength training should be done 3-4 days a week with a day of rest in between. You never want to work the same muscle group 2 days in a row because muscles need to time to repair and grow. Every exercise routine should include a warm-up for about 5 minutes and a cool down at the end which includes stretching. If you currently do not exercise or have not exercised in a long time then you want to slowly build up to this. For example start with a 15 – 20 minute walk 3 days a week. As this gets easier increase it to 5 days a week, then increase the time to  30 minutes and so on until you are walking for 45-60 minutes 5 days a week. If you are short on time you will get the same benefits by breaking up your activity into blocks of time. The best exercise to do is something you like, that way you’ll stick with it! Happy sweating!

Candy vs. Fruit

June 21, 2010

 

Here is the latest question from foodpicker.org:

I have type 2 diabetes.  I’m kind of addicted to jawbreaker candy (especially fireballs).  How harmful is it to eat these candies and what alternatives should I try… Is fruit a good alternative?

Fruit is a great alternative to candy! Candy is high in sugar and low in nutrients. Fruit is also high in sugar, but loaded with nutrients and fiber which makes it a better choice. Even though fruit is great for you watch your portion sizes because it will raise your blood sugars. One serving of fruit has 15 grams of carbohydrate. When it comes to fruit fresh is best, but if you choose canned pick fruit packed in its own juice or “light” options. Also read the nutrition label because it may have more than 15 grams of carbohydrates. Enjoy some summer fruit!

A Better Breakfast

June 14, 2010

Here is the latest question from foodpicker.org:
I have type 2 diabetes and am having trouble with breakfast.  It seems so many breakfast foods are high in carbs.  Could you give me some breakfast ideas that are diabetic friendly?

You can have cereal, toast, waffles, pancakes even muffins, but make sure you choose whole grain versions of them and watch your portion sizes. For example choose a high fiber cereal like raisin bran or oatmeal. Try whole wheat waffles and pancakes with sugar free syrup. Have half a bran muffin. Include some protein like low fat cheese or an egg to round out the meal and make it more satisfying. A great way to get more veggies in is to make a vegetable omelet. To cut down on the fat and cholesterol use egg whites and add in any veggies you have in the fridge- add a piece of whole wheat toast and you’ve got a delicious, healthy breakfast that any diabetic could feel good about eating!

Too Much Sugar?

June 6, 2010

Here is the latest question from foodpicker.org:

From: Amy D. (e-mail not disclosed for privacy)
To: diabetes@foodpicker.org
Date: 5/31/2010
Subject: orange juice and diabetes?

I am worried because I was just diagnosed with diabetes.  I drink freshly squeezed orange juice three times a week.  Does orange juice contain too much sugar and is it advisable for a diabetic to drink juice?

Thanks for the question. First of all let me say that it is completely normal to be worried when given a diagnosis such as diabetes. It can be really scary when you find out you have a health condition, but let me reassure you that through diet and exercise diabetes can be managed very effectively! You are already taking the first step in being proactive about your health by asking questions and educating yourself. Good for you! Now on to your question.

Juice of any kind is not the best choice for a diabetic because it is very high in sugar. As a result juice will cause your blood sugars to rise. It’s always best to have fresh fruit rather than it’s juice. To put it in perspective 6 fl. oz of  juice has 84 calories, 15 grams of sugar and .4 grams of fiber. A medium size orange has 62 calories, 12 grams of sugar and 3.1 grams of fiber. Both provide plenty of potassium and vitamin C, but as you can see the fresh orange has less sugar, but more fiber. This is very important because fiber can actually help prevent spikes in blood sugar, help you feel full longer and help lower cholesterol. Chewing a piece of fruit is also more satisfying than drinking it’s juice.

If you still want juice then try an alternative such as a “light” version which will have less sugar, but still watch your portion size because “light” or “reduced sugar” does not mean sugar free. Another option is to water down juice by adding half water, half juice. Water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange is the best option!

Low Carb and Low Sugar

May 31, 2010

Here’s the latest question from foodpicker.org:

I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and a friend told me I should eat low carb and no sugar.  What is considered to be low carb and low sugar in specific numbers?

Some claims that you see on a food package must meet a certain standard, for example in order for a food to claim it’s  “low fat” it must have less than 3 grams  of fat per serving.  There is no standard for low carb. A product can claim it is “sugar-free” which means it has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. “Reduced Sugar” means it has 25% less sugar than the original item.

You ask a very good question, because it would seem to make sense that if you are trying to avoid diabetes then you want to avoid sugar so why not follow a low carb, sugar-free diet? Well the answer to that is  we need carbohydrates in order to live. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose which equals energy. In fact glucose is the primary energy source for the brain so if we didn’t take in carbohydrates we would not be able to function at all! The key is how much and what type of carbohydrates to eat. Focus on complex carbohydrates which include whole grain breads, pasta, cereals and fruits and vegetables. In general complex carbs have about 15 grams of carbs per serving. Based on the Food Guide Pyramid 6-11 servings of whole grains are recommended per day. Limit or avoid most simple carbohydrates such as soda, cakes, cookies and candy.

Kick Those Cravings!

May 24, 2010

Here’s the latest question from foodpicker.org:

I am very new to the diabetes lifestyle.  I have started working out and so far have dropped 8 pounds (I have about 100 pounds still to lose).  I am excited about the weight loss so far, but I am scared that I won’t drop the weight and that I will slip somehow.  Can you offer any advice in regards to cravings (I have a big sweet tooth and enjoy greasy foods such as burgers and fries)?

First of all, congratulations on your weight loss so far! That’s a big accomplishment. When faced with a craving remember how hard you worked to get where you are now and you’ll think twice about caving in! If you do give into a craving don’t beat yourself up! Everyone slips up now and again and that’s OK as long as you don’t make it a habit. Just vow to make your next bite healthier!

Here are some other tips to help you fight cravings:

  • Instead of indulging in a high calorie treat try a lower fat version. Instead of fast food french fries make your own baked fries by cutting a potato in strips, lightly drizzle with olive oil and pepper and bake in the oven. Yum! Try lighter versions of sweets too like low-fat or fat-free ice cream or pudding. Buy pudding in individual servings to keep your portions in control.
  • Eat every 3-4 hours to keep your blood sugars stable. If you let yourself get too hungry you are more apt to make a poor choice.
  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! It’s great for getting those endorphins flowing and it can help take your mind off those  fries.
  • Drink lots of water- it will help you feel full.

Good luck!

Fruit & Sugar?

May 16, 2010
Here’s the latest question from foodpicker.orgI have pre-diabetes and am trying to learn about carbohydrate and sugar.  Does the sugar in fruit count as sugar?

Great question! I can’t tell you how many times a person with diabetes has told me they can’t eat fruit because it has too much sugar. Not true! Fruit can and should be part of a diabetic’s meal plan, but you do need to watch the amount of fruit you eat and count it towards your total carbohydrate intake.

Fruit gets it’s sweetness from a natural sugar called fructose. There are 2 types of sugars: simple sugars and complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars are usually processed foods that don’t offer much nutritive value such as candy and soda. Complex carbohydrates consist of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables which provide vitamins, minerals and fiber.  The fiber in fruit helps prevent blood sugars from rising too quickly. So as you can see fruit is an excellent food to incorporate into your meal plan!

Instead of focusing on the amount of sugar fruit has  pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates it has. This is because all carbohydrates are broken down into sugars during digestion. An average size piece of fresh fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrates in it. Fresh fruit is always the best choice because it has the most fiber and nutrients. If you choose canned fruit opt for juice packed in its own juices, not in syrup. Some fruits tend to be higher in starch than others like bananas so choose small ones or eat just half. It’s a good idea to check your blood sugars frequently when adding fruit into your diet to see its effect and adjust accordingly. Enjoy!