Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your life…

By Marie Veselsky, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM

You can’t go back and start over…but you can start from here and have a better future!

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March 20, 2011 by admin

One of the things I have heard, time and time again from my clients over the years, is that they often feel that it is too late for them to make changes. I tell them “you can’t go back and start over…but you can start from here and have a better future.”

I have had clients use the excuse not to stop smoking because “they have smoked for too many years.” They have heard the horror stories about a friend who quit after 20+ years of smoking and still got lung cancer. Sure that happens to some, but many more who quit for good never go on to develop lung cancer. Research shows that within 14 years after stopping cigarettes you have the same risk of developing cancer as someone who has never smoked.

The same holds true for Diabetes Type 2. I have had many a client feel that “it is too late” to make diet and lifestyle changes as they feel they already have Diabetes and they have heard it is a progressive disease. They rely ONLY on medications or insulin to keep their blood sugars down.

The main thing to remember is that even if you are on medications or insulin to help control blood sugars, diet and lifestyle changes, such as exercise, are also important to help you prevent complications down the road. It does not have to be so strict that you feel you do not have a life. Instead, just some basic changes in diet like cutting down on total daily carbohydrate intake and starting a walking or swimming program that has been OK’d by your doctor can make a huge difference in the outcome of your disease.

If you try to make all your changes at once it could be very overwhelming. How about just making one or a few of the following changes:

  1. Just start out by cutting all your carbs in half. 1/2 banana instead of whole, 1/2 English muffin instead of whole. You can lose a pound of weight a week just by cutting your carbs in half and also help bring your blood sugars down.
  2. Keep a food  diary.
  3. Set a realistic weight goal and weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time.
  4. Talk with your doctor and think about what type of exercise program you realistically can  do.
  5. Join a weight loss or diabetes support group.

“Positive begets positive” and with each positive thing you do for yourself, you will want to do more positives not negatives. You CAN start from here and have a better future.

Circles

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

 

Good News about Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Consumption May Be Associated With a Lower Risk for Strokes

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Obviously, as a believer in eating “real food” (the caveman diet), I feel that good old fashioned dark chocolate is good for you in moderation. Research for some time has suggested that intake of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk for stroke and stroke-related mortality.

Results of 2 prospective cohort studies (http://www.aan.com) showed respectively, a 22% reduction in stroke risk for those who had 1 serving of chocolate per week and a 46% reduction in stroke mortality from weekly consumption of flavonoids in 50 g of chocolate vs no consumption. A third study showed no association between chocolate intake and stroke or death.

Chocolate contains cocoa butter, flavonoids, carbohydrates and vitamins.

Flavonoids are naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods that offer certain health benefits. They are part of the polyphenol group (chemicals found in plants.) There are more than 4,000 flavonoid compounds, which are found in a wide variety of foods and beverages, such as cranberries, apples, peanuts, chocolate, onions, tea and red wine. They help protect plants by shielding them from environmental toxins and helping repair damage. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.

Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and from environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, damage from free radicals occur and this leads to increases in LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation. Oxidized LDL hurts the arteries by forming plaque on their walls.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research indicates that flavanols have other positive influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot and lowering cholesterol.

Obviously, the darker the chocolate the better, which naturally has more of the properties that are good for you and less of the added ingredients such as sugar. 70% or higher dark chocolate would appear to be the best.

To enjoy the benefits of dark chocolate without worrying about weight gain – take a dark chocolate candy bar and break it into about 5-6 pieces – enjoying one small piece each day.

Circles

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™