Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes’

Eating Outside the Box

March 7, 2013

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I pride myself in being a generally healthy eater, trying to concentrate on fresh, whole foods that are low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Not my whole household does the same.

When B was a baby, she ate everything I gave her. She loved scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, fruits and vegetables. Stir-fried broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant was greeted with smiles and kicking feet. Then, something changed.

It started innocently, with a chocolate chip cookie baked as a distraction during the days that followed 9/11. She eyed it tentatively at first, then gave it a cautious lick. As a big grin swept over her face, she realized she discovered something delicious. Still, sweets were offered in only in moderation.

Next, there was the hotdog, offered unwittingly by a parent on a play date. Little by little, she was introduced to the fried, the processed and the heavily sweetened. Little by little, she balked at the healthy foods being served to her, and morphed into an average kid, with an average palate.
Now heading into her teens, her poor habits are exacerbated by her ability to go into the kitchen and help herself. I am the enabler, making sure the cupboards and freezer are stocked with foods she likes.

Last night, when I saw the wrappers from the afternoon snacks in the trash, I offhandedly voiced my concern, stating that she was going to end up diabetic if she didn’t clean up her act.

Today after school, B asked me if she is really a candidate for illness, even though she is active and far from overweight. The sad reality is that she is headed in that direction. It was a wake-up call for both of us.
Article after article discusses how sugar, and an unbalanced diet could lead to all kinds of health risks, from diabetes to cancer. Just because those Pop tarts are organic, and the granola bars whole grain and trans fat free, doesn’t mean they are healthy.

By the time we reached home, she had outlined her new eating plan.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow, instead of a toaster pastry. Perhaps moving onto oatmeal later in the week.

I have been instructed to stock up on pears, grapes and bananas, as well as cashews, carrots with dip, and the ingredients for an afternoon smoothie to be eaten as snacks or dessert.

Dinner will be a challenge, but if we focus on the foods she likes, it’s a start.

In essence, it’s time she starts eating outside of the box. Literally.

What can we offer up to the pickiest of eaters that comes from the earth, not a package? I intend to find out.

We have all heard of Meatless Monday. Perhaps we need to coin “Try it Tuesday”, “Whole Grain Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”? Even a day called “F$2k It Friday” could exist, because sometimes you just to kick back and have some pizza after a long week.

Let’s see how we do. Can she change her eating habits? Can I avoid buying food in a box? Can I get creative with the foods she likes, in order to make her fresh, healthy dinners that she can enjoy? Time will tell, and I will of course tell it here.

Stay tuned, as we set out to eat outside the box.

Soda Canned

May 15, 2012

While visiting a friend in the hospital this weekend, I was struck by a sign on a vending machine in the patient’s lounge. It read:

“The health risks associated with obesity, along with the increase in diabetes and heart disease are so substantial, that the Mount Sinai Medical Center has taken the lead and now prohibits the sale of high fructose beverages in our vending machines.”

The vending machine was filled with every flavor of diet soda you can imagine.  Do they really believe that chemically sweetened diet soda is better for you than the original versions? Many renowned researchers disagree.

A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and Harvard University found that the more soda a person consumes, regardless of whether or not it is sweetened with sugar or artificially sweetened, increases one’s risk for stroke.

A previous study, found an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular related deaths in older adults who drank diet soda.

A 2009 Nurse’s Health Study of 3,256 women, found that those who drank 2 or more diet sodas per day had a 30% drop in kidney function.  Although there is no final word on the matter yet, it is thought that artificial sweeteners may scar kidney tissue over time.

The acid content in soda has been found to be harmful to tooth enamel. Both regular and diet soda contain phosphoric and citric acids, which promote carbonation, and eat away at tooth enamel, the main barrier to decay.

Drinking soda can lead to bone loss. The phosphoric acid in soda also causes the calcium in the bloodstream to be excreted more quickly than normal. The bones give up some of their supply, to keep the blood calcium level constant. This results in weakening of the bones over time.

Ironically, diet soda has been associated with obesity, since it is thought that the sweet taste sends the brain a signal, causing it to suggest to the body that high calorie foods are en route. When they don’t arrive, the appetite is increased, as is the “sweet tooth”. Another theory suggests that people believe that they are saving so many calories by drinking diet soda, that they indulge in other fattening foods.

Given the information readily available on the health risks associated with soda intake and artificial sweeteners, it is mind-boggling and irresponsible for a hospital to supply it to their patients and visitors.

What do you think?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Fat Chance

January 19, 2012

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has recently announced that she has type II diabetes, a condition that is related to obesity and a lack of physical activity in 95% of the cases diagnosed.

Ms. Deen is known and loved for her style of home cooking and comfort foods that are high in calories and fat.  Butter, cream and sugar are key ingredients in her signature dishes.

With recipes like Fried Mac ‘n Cheese, Fisher Nutter Bacon Cheese Ball and Deep Fried Cheesecake, it seems that it was just a matter of time before her eating habits affected her health.

What is most surprising, is that Ms. Deen was diagnosed over 2 years ago, and kept doling out creations like her Lady’s Brunch Burger; an egg, bacon and a hamburger patty sitting between 2 glazed donuts, without batting an eyelash over what the consequences of eating like that might be.

This week, she came out of the proverbial pantry about her condition, when she announced a deal to endorse a diabetes drug.

She has claimed that diabetes will not influence the way she cooks in the future. Seriously?

Here is a woman who should be using her notoriety to show people how to eat more healthfully, rather than endorsing a drug to treat a disease she is perpetuating among her fans.

We are not saying that Ms. Deen caused her own condition, or that she is single handedly causing a diabetic epidemic. We are stating that diet and exercise play a major role in the cause and treatment of many cases of type II diabetes and Ms. Deen has an opportunity to embrace a healthier lifestyle and show others how to do the same. How about a cooking show where she does healthy makeovers of her own fat bombs?

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of hearing her say, “ Add a stick—a buttah,” she told us to “ Add a dollop of fat free yogurt” instead?

photo: The Guardian


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