The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) promotes Diabetes Month with the theme “Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes”. Moms who have had gestational diabetes (what it is) are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. See previous post on why this is important and my previous articles for additional information!
It’s crucial to take care of yourself both during and after pregnancy. How? One way is by choosing foods you know nourish you. You can’t really pretend cookies and chips are everyday foods when you know fruit, nuts and yogurt make better snacks.
Just One Thing to do: If you have or had gestational diabetes, commit to preventing diabetes by choosing healthier snacks every day.
November is American Diabetes Month and it’s still November, so heads up!
Over 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes; that’s 9.4% of the population or almost 1 out of every 10 people. Millions more have prediabetes, but most of them do not know they have it. Untreated, prediabetes leads to type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Those are some big numbers!
Why does it matter? According to the CDC, people with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications, including vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and premature death (more here).
Just One Thing to do: Make sure you and your loved ones have all been tested for diabetes and prediabetes!
It's not my style to tell you to avoid specific foods, unless they are a danger to your health. Unfortunately, romaine lettuce is in the news for the 4th time in 2 years, identified as a source of E. coli contamination. Escherichia coli are dangerous bacteria that cause illnesses ranging from diarrhea to respiratory infections. The CDC warns us to throw out all romaine lettuce right now and avoid it until further notice!
Just One Thing to do: Skip the salad and try a vegetable platter instead. Wash vegetables, your hands, utensils, and all surface then chop up a colorful array of carrots, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, radishes, you name it!
It’s important to consider getting fit along with eating better. Adults need 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week – I think an easy way to translate this is 30 minutes every day. Are you getting your 30 minutes/day of physical activity? Do something you enjoy! If you don’t like gyms, don’t join a gym. Plan a walk before work, meet a friend for a fitness class during lunch break, commit to an afternoon workout with an exercise app, or join a basketball league. There are so many options.
Just One Thing to do: PLAN to do something active every day and follow through!
I was happy to see the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion release its new Physical Activity Guidelines, with a Top 10 list to convince you to get moving. There are many, many benefits of physical activity: improved sleep and weight maintenance along with reducing your risk of dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and 8 types of cancer. It can even help you manage pain and symptoms of conditions you already have. There is also a strong relationship between being sedentary (sitting all day at a computer, TV, or other screen – sound familiar?) and increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Just One Thing to do: Add movement to your day by standing every hour, stretching every half hour, taking the stairs whenever possible, and even doing old school calisthenics while watching TV.
I love coffee (and holiday cups!) as much as anyone, and there's a lot of evidence that coffee can reduce one's risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and dementia. But when I’m out and about, I choose to indulge in my favorite specialty drink (peppermint mocha) less than once a week. Other times, I choose a nonfat latte with no whip, a brewed coffee with ½ shot of flavored syrup, or a cappuccino with almond milk for a change of flavor. I also like adding a generous sprinkle of vanilla or cinnamon and a half packet of stevia.
Just One Thing to do: Enjoy flavored coffee drinks by creating your own healthier option.
From pumpkin spice lattes to peppermint mochas, cooler weather and holidays mean signature coffee drinks with an average of 53 grams of sugar per 16 ounces (a grande). So what? Added sugars in your diet may be sabotaging your healthy weight efforts as well as increasing your risk for diabetes and tooth decay. Health experts recommend no more than 25 to 35 grams per day, for women and men respectively, but the average intake in the U.S is more than twice that!
Just One Thing to do: Sip on unsweetened hot tea for a burst of natural flavors!
Back to the topic of ZUCCHINI! I love to make zoodles, or zucchini noodles. I use a simple hand-held spiralizer: click here (Note - I'm not being paid by them, I just really like this because it takes up so little room in my drawer.) Zucchini noodles make a great replacement for pasta, and taste amazing topped with tomato sauce or pesto. For a fancy-looking dinner, try one of my favorite recipes for pesto salmon and zoodles here (again, just sending you there because I like it!). I hope you enjoy this as much as my family and dinner guests do.
Just One Thing to do: Swap out noodles for vegetables at least once a week.
If you are swimming in zucchini this time of year, try an alternative to the typical (high fat, high calorie) zucchini bread or fried zucchini: ZUCCHINI SOUP! It’s an easy way to enjoy not only zucchini but also that limp celery in your produce drawer and cancer-fighting onions, garlic, and tomatoes. HOW: Combine 4-6 diced zucchini with 2 cups chopped celery, chopped onions and garlic as desired, 4 cups fresh or canned tomatoes, an assortment of spices such as salt, pepper, basil, and oregano, and 4 cups water or broth in a slow cooker. Simmer all day and you’ve got dinner ready when you are. (P.S. Clearly this is not a recipe blog, but you can find plenty of recipes online if you don’t favor my style of winging it 😊). Also, here is a recipe I love: Italian Zucchini Soup.
Just One Thing to do: Choose healthy options for late season vegetable harvests by making soup or even adding to ready-made soups.
After a month of taking on the biggest diet trends, I’m lightening up my nutrition advice to prepare for the upcoming holidays. Clients often tell me they go on an all-out eating frenzy between Halloween and New Year’s Day, with a “why try?” attitude. In reality, it’s an excuse to eat everything in sight and put on extra pounds you’ll regret on January 1.
Just One Thing to do: Set a goal to maintain your weight for the next 2 months. Action items this week should include putting Halloween treats out of sight, choosing to just have 1 or 2 pieces/day – or get rid of it altogether.