Designer bottles are everywhere. They have catchy sayings, are ecofriendly and have cool features to keep your water cold for longer. But are you drinking enough? Everyone has heard the ‘8 glasses a day’ rule. There is more to it than just the number of glasses you drink because mom says so. read more →
It is well known that even 1/2 a grapefruit or one glass of juice can reduce an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP 450) by 50% for up to 24 hours. This is important because some medications such as atorvastatin, amlodipine, carbamazepine and one of our newest medications for rheumatoid arthritis, tofacitinib (Xeljanz) need this enzyme to be eliminated from the body. read more →
The holiday season can be a really tough time to stay on top of your exercise routine. It’s cold out, and there are fun places to go and friends to see. Plus, managing your already-busy schedule can get tricky as you try to fit in holiday shopping, parties and family visits.
But considering the amount of rich and sugary food that are so common around this time of year — cookies, candies, eggnog, you name it — it’s especially important to keep moving. Here are some things I recommend this time of year to keep you going, even when all you want to do is curl up with more hot chocolate:
- Look for every opportunity to squeeze exercise in
You may feel like you don’t have time to manage your normal workout routine in between travel, shopping, family visits and friends’ parties. But you don’t necessarily need to carve out a full 30 minutes every day. Instead, take any spare moment as a chance to squeeze in a few crunches or planks. Take an extra lap around the mall on your next shopping trip, or walk home from a party with your friends instead of taking a cab. Even if you can only get a 10 minute brisk walk in twice a day, that’s better than nothing!
- Fire yourself up
This is something that I do to get me excited and motivated for the day ahead. It’s really simple — I make a checklist in the morning of the 10 things I want to accomplish that day. It’s amazing how gratifying it is to check tasks off that list as you get things done. Make your workout part of that list and don’t let yourself end the day without marking off that box.
- Follow through
Recruit others to help you stay accountable. Talk with a friend or your partner about your holiday fitness goals, and have them help you stay on track. Maybe you’ll get a workout buddy in the process, or just someone to text you reminders and motivation. Knowing that there’s someone else out there keeping tabs on your progress may spur you to keep up!
Some of my patients with diabetes ask me what’s the big deal if their blood sugar levels go up a little or they gain a few pounds over the holidays. They say they can always lose the weight afterward and get their sugar levels under control.
To an extent, that could be true. If you’re in good overall health, doing well with your diabetes control and manufacturing reasonable amounts of insulin, a day or two of indulging a bit more than usual in holiday food shouldn’t be a problem.
How long that overindulgence goes on, and how many times, though, are important factors. The holidays can easily extend well past New Year’s. If you slip into bad eating habits, you can do long-term damage, raise your blood sugars and gain weight.
You can keep your weight and blood sugar levels under control during the holidays using these tips.
- Maintain your schedule
If you overeat, trying to catch up by skipping a meal afterward may cause you to overeat when you have your next meal or if a snack is available. Even on your holiday and days away from work, try to get up, eat, exercise and take your diabetes and any other medications about the same time as you usually do.
- Check your blood sugar frequently
If you are taking insulin or medications that lower your blood sugar, check your blood sugar more frequently during the holidays, especially before driving a car or adjusting your insulin doses. Make allowances for the changes in your work and exercise schedules as well as your eating opportunities.
- Budget your sweets and treats
To keep your blood sugars from skyrocketing, include sweets and treats as part of your carbohydrate budget — not in addition to it. Choose the meat and side vegetables and salad at dinner. Your carbohydrate for dinner could be Aunt Emily’s nut roll that she only makes during the holidays.
- Watch your alcohol intake
Moderate alcohol intake can have a blood sugar-lowering effect, so don’t drink on an empty stomach. The amounts of calories and sugars vary significantly among drinks so it can be useful to search nutrition information about your favorite drinks. Recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. (One drink equals 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of distilled spirits.
- Download mobile tools
You can download mobile apps to your phone, including apps that help you count carbohydrates of certain dishes, and let you know how much insulin you need to take (if you use it before meals).
- Order smart in restaurants
You’d be pleasantly surprised how many restaurants offer healthy options not mentioned on the menu. Ask for options with less saturated fat, fried food and sugars. Substitute olive oil with fresh pepper for butter. You can also substitute sides. Ask for a baked or boiled potato (skin on) or fresh, steamed or stir-fried veggies instead of mashed potatoes.
- Cook light, healthy dishes to take with you to parties.
If you’re going to a holiday dinner, ask if you can bring a dish — one lower in calories and fat — such as a vegetable tray or vegetable-based appetizer. There are many delicious, diabetes-friendly recipes, like low-sugar pumpkin mousse parfait, that you can bring to holiday parties. You can find low-sugar recipes from the American Diabetes Association.
- Be ‘party smart’
At the party, enjoy some of the vegetable-based appetizers first, then the meat or cheese appetizers. Place your appetizers on your napkin instead of a plate and you’ll be less likely to overfill it. Another tip: don’t stand near the buffet table or food when talking at a party. It’s also important to stay hydrated. Drink water or club soda with a lime or lemon twist. Keep a calorie-free drink in your hand to keep your hands busy.
- Stay active
If you can’t stick to your usual exercise program during this busy time, do some fun activity with family or friends. If 40 minutes a day at one time isn’t possible, break your exercise up into 10- to 15-minute segments, two or three times a day.
- Remember the reason for the season
Put the focus on family and friends and not on food. Enjoy what you do eat. Savor each bite! Most important, remember to include time for exercise, meals and relaxation. The holidays will only be great if you’re in good health to enjoy them.
Bring out the fruits and vegetables
Focus on pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes or other orange vitamin-packed vegetables. Greens such as broccoli, spinach and collard greens all pack vitamin power too. Serve colorful raw veggies with low-fat dip as an appetizer.
Make smart substitutions
Use fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to moisten dressing. Use olive oil in place of butter or margarine. Mash potatoes with nonfat sour cream and low-fat milk. Use fat-free non-dairy creamers or evaporated skim milk instead of cream when you bake.
Don’t starve yourself until dinner
Have a healthy breakfast so you don’t load up at the big meal. When you sit down to eat, try just a little bit of everything and go easy on second helpings and dessert.
The benefits of exercise
Take a walk after dinner, or exercise sometime during the day to offset meal calories. Several studies have shown that moderate exercise after a fatty meal helps prevent fat from affecting your arteries. Take a 45-minute walk two hours after a high-fat meal, or three 10-minute walks over a three-hour period. But always check with your doctor before you increase your activity level, especially if you have medical problems or have been inactive. So, enjoy your meal, but prepare it with less fat and walk it off afterwards. Your arteries and your waistline will thank you.
Stress serves a solid purpose in human biology, but our modern lives have brought about a surplus of causes that haunt us from day to day. When we are faced with a challenge, or a threat to our well-being, the body experiences stress. Whether you’re dealing with a job that puts you under tremendous pressure, or face struggles in your life or relationship that leave you in a state of constant worry, stress can be a real killer. Stress Awareness Day was set aside as a time to be aware of the tension in our lives and how it affects us.
History of Stress Awareness Day
Stress Awareness Day was established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help provide information on stress, and strategies on how to address it for both companies and individuals. The organization is focused on helping employers and employees help each other by providing comprehensive guides to establishing a program within their organization, and individuals by looking after their health and well-being on a day to day basis.
Stress Awareness Day is your opportunity to start looking after yourself and your life and break down the individual stressors in your life. Failure to deal with the strain in your life effectively can lead to serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, susceptibility to heart disease, and a decline in your immune system. Once you start experiencing these symptoms they can landslide into each other, resulting in growing sickness, and by extension, more stress. It’s truly a self-feeding problem and a cycle that is necessary to control to enjoy our lives.
How to Celebrate Stress Awareness Day
The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to remove the stress from your life for the day. Take the time to examine your life and find out where all the stressors lie and start looking into taking steps to remove them or find ways to mitigate them. Removing stress from your life can start off as a taxing experience, so it can help to get the assistance from organizations like ISMA to look into strategies and support in how to manage those things in your life that cause tension.
Whatever you choose to do, take the time to take a day off and let yourself have a day of freedom. If it’s sickness, do something to help you focus on something other than that sickness. Stress can be a killer, don’t let it take one more day off your life, act now and start living a stress-free life!
World Diabetes Day (WDD) is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the world and keeps this disease firmly in the public and political spotlight. read more →
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer can include:
- a change in size or shape
- a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
- a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
- redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
- your nipple has become inverted (pulled in) or looks different (for example changed its position or shape)
- liquid (sometimes called discharge) that comes from the nipple without squeezing
- constant pain in your breast or your armpit
- a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.
Many symptoms of breast cancer, such as breast pain or a lump, may, in fact, be caused by normal breast changes or a benign (not cancer) breast condition. However, if you notice a change, it’s important to see your GP (local doctor) as soon as you can. read more →
When you put good in, you get good out, so start shopping with your heart in mind. By following this grocery guide, you’ll lower the number on the scale and decrease your heart disease risk.
If you love your heart, you’ll start shopping smart. Otherwise, you’re putting your body at risk of diabetes and high cholesterol by ignoring this organ—and it’s not as if your risk isn’t sky-high already. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States has heart disease to blame.
So don’t be a statistic; beat the odds and set yourself up for success with a disease-fighting diet. Heart health is made in the kitchen and in the gym, but we’re beginning with the basics. Here are the foods that don’t belong in your grocery cart, followed by those that definitely do. read more →