“What the Health?”

This is the title to a film that logically explains what is one of the largest consumer covers ups ever, and is largely unknown by the majority of people.

It is driven and supported by the corporate owners of such entities as Subway, Hormel, Oscar Myer, The Meat and Dairy Association and of course the U.S.D.A. just to name a few. The organizations that are direct beneficiaries of this cover up are just as varied they are for example Susan G. Komen, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association all of whom most of us are aware of or familiar with in some way. All of whom we believe to be working to improve our lives and to aid those who may be affected by Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer. These are the organizations that we as consumers are encouraged to utilize in order to understand, and base wise health decisions utilizing the information we are lead to believe is to our benefit.

I am asking everyone to take 92 minutes out of your busy day to watch this film. Then it is up to you as to what to do afterwards.

Let me know what you think I would love to discuss.

 

The Best Bread for People With Diabetes

This article is a great read for the simple fact that although the title infers its relativity to those of us with Diabetes, really the information is beneficial to all.
I have recently discovered a Kroger store brand at my local grocery that is really tasty and is sugar free, with only 80 calories per slice and Whole Wheat.
I love Sourdough so Yaaaaay.
Updated November 22, 2017

Learn What You Should Be Looking For and What to Avoid.

Whether you’re new to diabetes or have had it for a long time, you may have heard that bread is “off limits.” For some people, this makes managing diets easier—ditching bread eliminates the need to worry about or decide what kind to eat.

Understandably, though, you don’t want to feel restricted and would rather learn what types of breads are best and what you should look for when shopping for a store-bought brand.

The good news is that if you have diabetes, you can eat bread—and there are plenty of healthy choices! Whole grain breads, such as whole wheat, rye, sprouted breads, and organic whole grain varieties are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein. These types of breads are superior to refined, processed breads, like white bread.

The tricky part is sifting through the grocery store inventory and locating a tasty and nutritious brand. With many options to choose from, you can certainly get lost in the bread aisle. Having an understanding of what you should look for and what you should avoid can help you make better choices.

Analyze the Nutrients

It’s important to take a stance on what your focus is. For example, are you looking for a bread that is strictly low calorie and low in carbohydrates? If that’s the case, you may find some really good options, however, these choices may contain artificial ingredients, flavorings, and other additives.

Or are you looking for a bread that is organic, free of GMOs and has a good amount of fiber and protein? These options are available too, however, you may have to spend more money on breads like this.

Whatever type of bread you are looking for, sticking to some guidelines can help you make an informed decision.

I’ve also included some good choices, many of which have been recommended by people with diabetes as well as other certified diabetes educators. There is something for everyone. And if you aren’t sure if your bread is the best for you, ask your dietitian or certified diabetes educator.

For people with diabetes, there are things to consider when purchasing a bread. When reading labels, you’ll want to look at the calories, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, and sodium. You’ll also want to read the ingredient list and make sure your bread is whole grain.

Calories

It’s best to keep your bread around 90 calories or less per slice, especially if you plan on eating two slices. Breads that contain nuts and seeds can be a good choice as they contain some healthy fats, protein, and fiber, but they will be higher in calories. If you’d like to choose a bread like this and the calorie count is high, you’ll want to keep your portion to one slice.

Carbohydrate

When you have diabetes, watching your carbohydrate intake is very important. Carbohydrates are the types of nutrient that impact blood sugar the most. Depending on your meal plan and how many carbohydrates you aim to eat per meal, most people benefit from choosing a bread that contains 15 to 20 grams or less of carbohydrate per serving.

Always make sure to read labels and adhere to the serving size. If you decide to purchase bakery bread that does not contain a label, you can weigh your bread to calculate your carbohydrate intake. For example, 1 ounce of bread contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate, therefore if your bakery bread weighs in at 2 ounces it contains about 30 grams of carbohydrate.

Fiber

Fiber is an important nutrient in the diet, especially for people who have diabetes. Fiber helps to slow down how quickly blood sugars rise, increases feelings of fullness, pulls cholesterol away from the heart, and helps to keep bowels regular.

Aim to find a bread that is a good source of fiber and contains at least 3 grams in a two slice serving.

Fat

There are different types of fat—saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat. People with diabetes want to eat a diet that is low in saturated and trans fat and contains adequate amounts of unsaturated, heart healthy fat.

Most breads aren’t very high in fat (unless they have seeds or nuts). However, you’ll want to choose a bread that has 0 grams trans fat and less than about 1.5 grams saturated fat.

Sodium

Diets rich in sodium can contribute to elevated blood pressure, especially in people who are sensitive to salt. Aim to keep you bread to about 150 mg or less per slice.

Analyze the Ingredients

Look for a bread that is 100 percent whole grain. This means that the bread has not been refined and the grain is still intact. Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In order for something to be a whole grain, the first ingredient should say “whole.” You can also confirm a bread is a whole grain if it has the whole grain stamp.

Ingredients to Avoid

In a perfect world, we would all make our own bread using the highest quality ingredients. But, realistically this isn’t possible for everyone. Commercial breads use many additives to help flavor bread, maintain shelf-life, and shorten dough rising time. Additives are deemed safe by the FDA in the amounts they are presented in the bread, but that doesn’t make them ideal.

Some ingredients you’ll want to shy away from include high fructose corn syrup (which is associated with obesity and other health issues), partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fat), and dough conditioners such as azodicarbonamide, DATEM, and artificial colors.

Available Bread Varieties

Note this article does not address wraps or breakfast muffins.

Whole Grain Bread

A bread that is 100 percent whole grain is a bread that is made with the entire grain intact, which increases its nutrition profile and typically lowers its glycemic index (how quickly blood sugar rises after consuming it).

Whole grain bread is not limited to whole wheat. Other whole grain breads may include rye, barley, oat, quinoa, amaranth, and millet. To make sure your bread is whole grain, look at the ingredient list. The first ingredient should read whole.

It’s important to read labels carefully. Don’t get tricked by labels that read multi-grain or seven-grain—this doesn’t automatically make it a whole grain bread. When in doubt, check the ingredient list or look for the whole grain stamp.

Sprouted Breads

Sprouted breads contain no flour—they are made from sprouting grains, beans, and seeds in water and combining them with freshly sprouted live grains. Next, they are mixed into dough and slowly baked into bread.

This process helps to lower the glycemic index of the bread and increases the nutrition profile. Most sprouted grains contain all nine essential amino acids and are rich in protein and fiber. They can provide a tougher texture and should be stored in the freezer for optimal freshness. Ideally, you’ll want to toast them and eat them right away. Therefore, they may not make the best sandwich to take on-the-go.

Sourdough Breads

Some people just cannot get used to the texture of whole grain bread or other sprouted grains. If that is the case for you then perhaps trying sourdough bread is an option.

Traditional sourdough bread is made by slowly fermenting water and flour so that it yields wild yeasts (or good bacteria) that is used to help the dough rise. There is an increasing amount of research being done on the benefits of fermented foods. Consumption of fermented foods increases good bacteria in the gut and may benefit your immune system while reducing the risk of inflammation and allergies.

Keep in mind though that most commercial sourdough bread is processed. To get the most benefit from sourdough bread, purchase from a bakery or make your own.

Organic Breads

Organic breads are made with organic ingredients and produced without using conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation, which means they do not contain any pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified ingredients. These may be a bit more expensive and not offer much benefit carbohydrate-wise.

Gluten-Free Varieties

Just because something is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily make it healthier. But, some people with diabetes also have celiac disease and must avoid gluten. If you have Celiac disease or avoid gluten because you are sensitive to it, finding a healthy gluten-free bread can be a struggle. Gluten helps to give bread it’s elasticity, therefore manufacturers often use alternative ingredients, such as refined starches, to help replicate the texture.

When looking for a gluten-free bread, stick to the calorie, carbohydrate, fiber, and fat guidelines mentioned above as best as you can. You’ll also want to try to choose one that contains whole grains, such as, brown rice, millet, and quinoa.

Recommended Brands

Below you’ll find some top bread picks from people with diabetes, dietitians, and other certified diabetes educators. They’ve been chosen based on likability and nutrition profile. You’ll find whole wheat varieties as well as rye, sprouted breads, and organic varieties.

Remember, when in doubt discuss your bread choice with your dietitian and if you are wondering how your blood sugar responds to a certain bread, you can test your blood sugar two hours after ingesting—if you are at goal, it’s a good choice for you.

100% Whole Wheat

Whole Grain Bread

Sprouted Breads

Gluten-Free Breads

A Word From Verywell

If you have diabetes, bread can still be part of your meal plan if you choose wisely. When searching the grocery aisles, make sure to read the labels and check for things like calories, carbohydrates, and ingredients. Aim to choose whole grain varieties that are low in added sugars and rich in fiber. Whether you are choosing whole wheat, another whole grain variety, organic, or gluten free, there is something out there for everyone.

Sources:

American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2017. Diabetes Care. 2017 Jan; 38 (Suppl 1): S1-132. 

Ye EQ, et. al. Greater whole-grain intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. J Nutr. 2012 Jul;142(7):1304-13

Diabetes and Fast-Food Choices

Healthy Food Choices on the Go

Updated August 31, 2017

Ideally, fast food is not the first choice for people with diabetes. However, in real life, we run around and get hungry away from our kitchens. We need to eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable and to avoid the bad choices that being ravenous can lead us to. If you remember these simple rules when you have diabetes, fast-food choices don’t have to throw you off the path of good management or be void of good nutrition. People with diabetes have many different diet philosophies, beliefs, and practices. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Some people can have a considerable amount of carbs. Some can’t or don’t want to. Some can eat smaller servings of just about anything. Some can’t. If you take insulin or any medication that can make your blood sugar go too low, make sure to get enough carbs to counteract the medication so you don’t go too low.

You can make food choices according to “levels.” Try to stick to the top level as much as you can. Keep options from fast-food drive-through windows, convenience stores, and ready-made grocery items in mind.

Use these choices to tide you over until you can treat yourself with healthier food. If you make choices that are further down the choice list and that are not very heavy on nutrition, make sure to try to eat healthy foods the rest of the day if possible.

Try to avoid large servings, too many calories, fried foods and fatty or sweet sauces. Calories, fat, and carbs can hide in the sauces and toppings. Try to look up what you eat. Sometimes, restaurants have nutritional pamphlets you can have. You can look online, carry a food count book, or use a phone app that lets you look food up quickly and see entire menus.

First Level Choices

First level choices are dark leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, low-glycemic fruit, lower-fat grilled proteins, legumes (beans), nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), seeds (such as sunflower seeds), good monounsaturated fats and sea vegetables.

I personally try to avoid wheat and fatty cheeses. I am intolerant to both, especially when they are served together. They upset my stomach. Many people with diabetes have this problem and may not be aware it is causing digestion problems.

Most of the time, eating at this level means there are no carbohydrates to count or at least not that many. Watch out for sauces and toppings. Remember that fruits, beans, and starchy vegetables contain carbs. Stay within your goals for carbs per meal.

First level choices could be:

  • Grilled chicken salad. This can be found at most fast-food restaurants. Remember to check the nutrition label on the dressing and other add-ins they may offer.
  • Salad with nuts or beans. Some fast-food restaurants carry these types of salads. Sometimes their “Southwestern” salads include a scoop of beans. Watch out for fried additions, cheese, and heavy dressing.
  • Apple with nuts. These can be found in grocery stores and some convenience stores. If you can tolerate cheese, a cheese stick goes well with an apple.
  • Beans with lettuce, salsa, and guacamole or sliced avocados. These are staples in most Mexican restaurants. It is even better if you can find boiled whole beans rather than refried beans.​
  • Stir-fry with vegetables and protein. Stir-fry from a drive-through? Order a Panda Express bowl and ask for it to be served over mixed vegetables instead of rice or noodles. It does have a semi-sweet and spicy sauce that has 13 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Seaweed salad and a protein. Many grocery stores carry seaweed salad near the deli counter with other Japanese sushi selections. Unfortunately, the nutrition label is often absent. On average 1 ounce of seaweed salad has about 5 grams of carbs and 4 grams of sugar. However, some restaurants have counts as high as 41 grams of carbs and 18 grams of sugar. Pair it with grilled meat, deli meat, a boiled egg, or whatever they might have on hand.
  • Skinless chicken and green beans. This combo can be found at Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Second Level Choices

Second level choices would be the choices listed above plus whole grains or grains that are high-fiber, low-carb, and don’t make your blood sugar level rise very high. We are all different. For many, corn tortillas are not too evil.

Second level choices could be:

  • Beans (as above) with a corn tortilla or two. If you can find a place with whole-grain flour tortillas, those may be an even better choice.
  • Grilled tacos with corn tortillas. Do not get fried tortilla shells. The best protein choices would be grilled chicken or fish.
  • Grilled sandwich or wrap. Some fast-food restaurants offer whole grain buns or wraps with grilled meats. These restaurants include McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Sonic, Carl’s Jr., and Chic-fil-A. If you are trying to limit starchy carbs, take off half the bun and eat the meal as an open-face sandwich. Some places also serve meats in a lettuce wrap.
  • Pita sandwich. Jack in the Box has offered the chicken fajita pita with a whole grain pita for a long time, and it’s one of my favorites. It is a bit higher than what I would like for fat and sodium, but it can be made better by ordering it without the cheese. Regularly, the item has 326 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 987 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar and 23 grams of protein. Go without cheese, and the sandwich is 234 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 842 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar and 17 grams of protein.

Third Level Choices

If you simply cannot find a meal that fits into the first two choice categories, then you may have to count carbohydrates. Another option would be using exchange lists. This requires looking up nutritional information. Also look at the sugar and calories and try to keep them as low as possible. Work with a dietitian to find out what works best for you, your diabetes management, and your goals.

 

Cannabis and Cannabinoids

I want to begin by stating that I am definitely “PRO” Cannabis!!

I’m writing today to share information I discovered regarding a report that was issued by the National Academies of Sciences-Engineering and Medicine on January 12, 2017. Described as one of the most comprehensive studies of research since 1999, at which time the National Academies released the report “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.”

Utilizing literature databases an extensive search to identify relevant reports and research materials that have been published since the 1999 report was executed, more than 10,000 scientific abstracts were considered. The Committee moved forward based on the abundance of information published addressing Cannabis, the task statement, and other specified study parameters.

The steps involved were determined at the onset by the committee to cover detailed examination of “Health Topics” which demonstrated the most pressing affect to Public Health.

Nearly 100 different research conclusions were organized into 5 categories of the use of Cannabis or Cannabinoid and Health. Ultimately four recommendations outlining research priorities to be included in a research agenda were determined.

  • Addressing current research gaps
  • Identify actionable strategies
  • Highlight potential to improve data collection and enhance surveillance capacity
  • Introduce strategies to plug away at the existing obstacles currently inhibiting Cannabis research

This reports release occurs during a critical period of time for the use and benefits of Cannabis.

I admit my use of cannabis has been a part of life for a long while. So some may say I’m biased, however I know from personal experience that cannabis enables me to be more productive and provides greater pain management than occurs when I take prescription meds by themselves.

I definitely support the Federal re-categorization of marijuana from having no medical value to a position of valued medical benefit. This action would thus encourage study of the benefits derived from consumption of this wonderful plant.

Do not however take my word for it, check it out for yourself and by all means read the full report at nationalacademies.org/CannabisHealthEffects

 

What’s the Best Yogurt for People With Diabetes?

Greek Yogurt: Nutrition Benefits for People With Diabetes

Yogurt, typically made from cow’s milk (however, nowadays there are many alternatives), is a source of carbohydrate which is also full of good bacteria, calcium, and protein. If you have diabetes, yogurt can be a smart food choice; however, the trick is to know which kind of yogurt to choose and which to skip out on.

What to Look for in a Yogurt

In the best kinds of yogurt, you get a good balance of protein and carbohydrate, along with calcium and healthy probiotics.

You also don’t get a lot of added sugar, additives, food coloring, or saturated fat. Choosing a low-fat  or non-fat yogurt version can help you to reduce your total calorie intake as well as keep your saturated fat (the type of fat that increase bad LDL cholesterol) low. In addition, since yogurt is a source of carbohydrate, you’ll want to choose a yogurt that is low in added sugars such as fruited yogurts or those yogurts with added granola, or other toppings that are rich in sugar. Therefore, it’s best to choose plain, low-fat yogurt. If you need to add sweetness, top your yogurt with some berries or peaches. Frozen varieties can make your yogurt seem “syrup-y”, too, for more fiber and less added sugar.

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that’s been strained, removing some of the whey and leaving behind a thicker, more protein-rich yogurt. Greek yogurt is readily available in regular grocery stores; find it in the refrigerated dairy section.

Regular yogurt provides 5 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving, while Greek yogurt provides up to 20 grams, depending on the brand. Because it has more protein, Greek yogurt has about 1/3 the carbohydrate of regular yogurt.  And, because lactose is a source of carbohydrate in dairy products, this means that many people find Greek yogurt easier to digest than regular yogurt.

 On the other hand, Greek yogurt has less calcium than traditional yogurt, so keep that in mind if you’re eating yogurt for calcium.

For people with diabetes, plain, low-fat, or non-fat Greek yogurt is an exceptional meal and snack option due to the low carbohydrate and high protein content. Avoid those Greek yogurt varieties that have added syrups, fruit preserves, and sweeteners on the side.

How to Have Yogurt in Your Diabetes-Friendly Meal Plan

Yogurt for breakfast: For a great, filling, and nutrient dense breakfast, try 6 to 8 ounces of plain low-fat Greek yogurt topped with one serving of fresh or frozen seasonal fruit (like berries, sliced peaches, chunked apples, etc.) and top it with 1 tablespoon nuts, such as, chopped almonds for crunch, additional protein, and healthy fats. If you like, add a sugar-free sweetener, cinnamon or vanilla powder for added flavor.

Traditionally, Greek yogurt is sweetened with honey, which is a simple sugar that could add calories and spike your blood sugar. But, if you can spare the carbohydrates, then you could try a teaspoon of honey instead of a sugar-free sweetener. However, a better idea for people with diabetes whose meal plan calls for more carbohydrate would be to stick to the sugar-free sweeteners and then perhaps to add another serving of fruit or a slice of whole wheat toast instead of the simple sugar found in honey.

Fruit and whole grains has some fiber and protein which will increase your nutrition and help to achiever fullness. Adding a serving of fruit and a sugar-free sweetener, your yogurt containing breakfast would be around 24 grams of carbohydrate. With an additional serving of fruit or whole grain toast, the meal would contain 40 grams of carbohydrate.

Yogurt in dips: Plain low or non-fat Greek yogurt can also be used almost exclusively in place of sour cream in dips and recipes since the texture and flavor are so similar. You can also sub out some mayo in coleslaw recipes. Lastly, you can use Greek yogurt it in baked goods that call for sour cream, such as cookies, scones or cake.

Yogurt in smoothies: Add some low-fat Greek yogurt to your smoothies for added thickness, texture, and protein.