Archive for the ‘Lifestyle Changes’ Category

“Fat” is not a bad word when it comes to diet and nutrition.

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



Your body must have “fat” the healthy kind, for many processes and to maintain overall good health. Good fats are anti-inflammatory and most disease processes start with inflammation.

Good fats are a “functional food.” What are functional foods? Functional foods are foods that also provide some health benefit. Whatever was meant to sustain us or benefit us was put on this earth to begin with. So examples of functional foods would be herbs, spices, fresh fruits, vegetables and yes, “fats,” such as meats and plant based fats such as raw nuts, avocado and coconut.

Fat is a macronutrient necessary for many body functions such as maintaining healthy skin and hair and yes…even a healthy brain and heart. Unfortunately, “fat” has been made the villain for years by many health care professionals.

Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found primarily in plant foods – nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils as well as fish. These fats are good for your heart; they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol). Diets high in Omega fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that help ward off disease.

Even “saturated fat” has been unfairly vilified. Saturated fat which is found naturally in animal products is actually part of a healthy diet. It is when you over do the saturated fat that it becomes a problem. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I feel that the epidemic of obesity and especially Diabetes Type 2, is actually linked to eating way too much carbohydrate (processed carb) and avoiding fats of all types. I can’t even count the number of times I have had clients say “I can’t eat nuts or eggs they are high in fat!” Some fat is a very important part of a diabetic diet to help control blood sugars as well as any weight loss diet. You actually need some fat “to stick to your ribs” to help slow down the absorption of glucose. This allows you to go longer without feeling hungry and thus you avoid overeating.

Trans-fat is truly the “bad” fat and has been linked to a higher risk of serious chronic illness. This fat increases LDL cholesterol which contributes to small-particle plaque formation in the arteries and results in occlusion that restricts blood flow to the heart, brain and other organs. Industrially produced trans fats found in processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the hydrogenation process turns the oils from liquid to solid) is linked with abnormal cholesterol levels and a higher risk of heart disease and is considered the unhealthiest type of fat. A company can claim something is trans-fat free if it is less than a certain percentage per serving, but if it says the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list, it has trans-fats in it. There really is truly no safe intake of trans-fats.

Thus, when it comes to making a choice for fats to combine with your “healthy carbs” (fruits, vegetables) there is always a 1) worst 2) better 3) best. Worst would be trans-fats and should be avoided. Better would be saturated fat and should be used in moderation. BEST would be the good fats! Sources of healthy fat or good fats are: olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish (salmon, herring, and trout) walnuts, flaxseed (ground) and flaxseed oil.


It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™



Tags: , , , , ,

No Comments

The Cornerstone of All Treatment for Pre-diabetes and Diabetes is Lifestyle Modifications

At the top of any diabetes care guideline sheet your health care provider uses to help determine the best treatment for elevated blood sugars, is some variation of the following statement:

Counsel on lifestyle modifications, such as consuming a healthy diet, weight loss and the importance of exercising.

Research shows that lifestyle modifications work best for stopping the progression of your pre-diabetes or diabetes type 2, so that is why it is the cornerstone of any treatment regime. Lifestyle and diet modifications should be used as the first line of defense for pre-diabetes and in addition to any medications or insulin your healthcare provider may prescribe for you for diabetes type 2.

There are 29.1 million people in the United States that have diabetes and 8.1 million are undiagnosed. The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 adult Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

Pre-diabetes or diabetes type 2 is when the pancreas is producing insulin, but the amount is not adequate, or the insulin is not effective in lowering blood glucose because the cells are resistant.  Being overweight plays a role in many cases. With insulin resistance, the pancreas produces more insulin than usual, but the cells are unable to use the insulin because there are fewer receptors. Diabetes type 2 onset is possible at any age, but is more commonly diagnosed after age 30.

The treatment for diabetes type 2 is done in phases or stages; nutrition therapy and exercise, and oral medications and/or insulin.

Research shows that once a person with pre-diabetes or diabetes type 2 starts exercising, reduces their carbohydrate intake and loses some weight, it can take up to a year to see a significant difference in blood sugar levels! People need to be reinforced that they will see many good changes right away, but that they will need to hang in there to see all the changes they need. It is not easy but worth it!

I tell my clients that “I need to keep them accountable” by having them come in every 1-2 weeks in the beginning for reinforcement, further education and weigh-ins. We track their progress on a professional grade scale and software program and even measure them so that they can see that the combination of diet and lifestyle changes does work if they hang in there.   We have one-on-one personal diet and fitness training to keep them motivated.

Finding out your individualized carb number for weight loss and better blood sugar control (15 grams of carb can raise your blood sugars 30-40 points), replacing trans-fats with good fats such as olive oil, avocado, raw nuts, fish (all anti-inflammatory) and finding an exercise program that is individualized for you (walking 30 minutes can lower your blood sugars 30-40 points) is the way to go.

Choice Center for Nutrition & Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss, Integrated Optimal Health, has been an AADE Accredited Diabetes Center since September 2014.  Most insurance accepted. Locations in New Hampshire at 30 Pleasant Street, Conway, NH & in Maine.

Marie Veselsky, MS, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM is the owner and coordinator of Choice Center for Nutrition and the accredited diabetes center, Integrated Optimal Health, Choice Center for Diabetes.

Call “Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss” at 603-770-4856/1-888-444-1204 or on-line

Tags: , , , , ,

No Comments

Functional Foods.

Marie L. Veselsky, Licensed Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator; Dustin Forrest, MSN, RN, Nurse Practitioner.

Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

National nutrition guidelines stress the importance of consuming a wide variety of food.  Good old fashion oatmeal is an example of a functional food because it naturally contains soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels. Spices are examples of functional foods. Spices have been used for centuries, not only to give food flavor, but also for their health benefits.  The spice Turmeric is a functional food because research shows it is naturally anti-inflammatory and a slight blood thinner.

Here are 12 Functional Foods that Boost Immunity!

  1. Yogurt – live active cultures found in yogurt help keep the GI tract free of disease causing germs.
  2. Oats and Barley – these grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities.
  3. Garlic – this potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin which fights infection and bacteria.
  4. Shellfish – selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines – proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in Omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation.
  5. Chicken Soup – home made – can help you get over a cold sooner – the amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, may explain the results.
  6. Tea – people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink in a Harvard study.
  7. Beef – zinc deficiency is one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American adults, especially vegetarians. Zinc in your diet is very important for the development of white blood cells.
  8. Sweet Potatoes – for your skin to stay strong and healthy, your skin needs Vitamin A which sweet potatoes are known for.
  9. Mushrooms – our earliest ancestors ate a lot of mushrooms. For centuries people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch!
  10. Turmeric – a spice that has been found to be anti-inflammatory in general and is a slight blood thinner.
  11. Cinnamon – has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. In one study 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day was found to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
  12. Ginger – ginger’s most well-known medicinal use is as a digestive-aid to relieve stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, but just like cinnamon and turmeric, it is also an anti-inflammatory.

And guess what?  All the above are food and are considered safe. As always if you are on any prescription medication check with your MD before adding anything new into your diet.  There can be food/drug, herb/drug interactions.

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Nutrition and Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss approach the patient as a whole for diabetes, weight loss and other chronic illnesses. We provide education on options, advocate healthier choices and provide access to programs needed to help each person better manage their own disease state and reach their optimal health.

Call 603-770-4856 in NH and 888-444-1204 in Maine!




Tags: , , ,

No Comments

Accountability is an Essential for Successful Weight Loss in 2017!

challenge accepted.

Having a licensed, credentialed health care provider weigh you on a consistent basis can help you be successful in achieving weight loss in 2017!

You need more than just one visit to be successful. You need ongoing accountability through weigh-ins, education, reinforcement and support!

Recent research indicates that 1/3 of Americans are considered obese. Being significantly overweight can increase your risk for many chronic diseases and some cancers. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines indicate that even a 3% weight loss among overweight and obese individuals can improve risk factors for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and diabetes type 2.

As a Registered Dietitian that practices a more holistic approach, I am not a strong proponent of gastric bypass surgery unless the benefit far outweighs the risk. That said, there have been a lot of good studies that have come from data on gastric bypass patients.  The American Medical Association Analysis of 136 gastric bypass studies where the patients lost significant weight indicates that 77% of participants eliminated their elevated blood sugars, 62% eliminated their high blood pressure, 70% eliminated their high cholesterol and 86% eliminated their sleep apnea. This shows weight loss is key in improving outcomes of many chronic illnesses.

The most successful weight loss treatments include elements of monitoring as a means to increase self-awareness. Especially powerful is having a licensed, credentialed health care professional weigh you on a consistent basis and provide reinforcement of healthy choices.

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Nutrition and Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight will help you achieve your weight loss goals through providing education, reinforcement and ongoing support as well as group and individual exercise programs. It is easier than most people think. There is no “magic bullet” for weight loss, but knowing your individualized carb number for weight loss, which we determine for you, and getting the education and support you need is pretty close!

Many people do not realize that their health insurances covers preventative care.  It is Your Health and Your Choice. Choose Health!

Call 888-444-1204 to find out about the group and individual programs. Most insurance accepted!

Tags: , , , , ,

No Comments

Exercise Boot Camp



This exercise program is designed to provide you with aerobics (movement), strength (weights), flexibility (stretching), balance (yoga), and stress reduction (guided meditation).

Not just an exercise program but includes ALL the essentials for a successful weight loss program such as low carb diet instruction, support, accountability, weekly weigh-ins with weight, BMI, and Body Fat tracking.

Mondays & Wednesdays, 4:30pm (very low impact), 5:30pm (regular).

The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you are no longer willing to stay where you are!

It is Your Health and Your Choice!  Choose Health!

2014-10-06 03.20.09 (7)

Tags: , , , ,

No Comments

Always Weigh the Risk with the Benefit of Any Drug You Take!

Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or what many refer to as heartburn/acid reflux drugs may be linked to long-term kidney damage, according to a study published online January 11 in JAMA…and this study suggests that up to 70% of these prescriptions are without indication and that 25% of long-term PPI users could discontinue therapy without developing symptoms.  As a Registered Dietitian, I am always going to recommend a more holistic approach to GI issues such as diet and lifestyle changes. If you need a drug you need a drug, but you should always be on the least amount of meds possible.

While study can't prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage seen as dose rises

While this study can’t prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage is seen as dose rises. Researchers found that PPI users were more likely to have health issues, such as obesity and hypertension. Use of the medications was associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) over 10 years. The researchers also compared patients using the medications once a day with those who used them twice a day. They found that twice-daily use was associated with a 46% increased risk of CKD, versus a 15% increased risk in those taking on daily dose.

Please work with your doctor on any changes of medications that you would like to make. There are some people who may need these drugs to help prevent severe damage to their esophagus.

After talking to your doctor about this and the decision is to wean off the PPI what can you take?

DGL Licorice chewable form is a good natural alternative, especially to help you wean off the PPI.   You can buy it in most health food stores, and unless you have significantly high blood pressure, taking other medications that may interact with it, or have a specific intolerance to licorice itself, it is considered relatively safe in the amounts you would be taking. Licorice helps to soothe irritated mucous membranes and stimulates mucus secretion to coat the stomach wall.  Always check with your MD and your Registered Dietitian to investigate any possible interaction between licorice and any medication you may be on.  A good brand would be chewable, gluten free, and with no added or artificial sugars. In addition, Ginger is a good spice that will help with stomach upset.

Image result for pictures of DGL chewable licoriceImage result for pictures of ginger



Tags: , , , ,

No Comments

Turmeric is a Functional Food!

Turmeric – A Functional Food…


Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

Turmeric is derived from the plant Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family, and its rhizome (root) is the most useful part for culinary and medicinal purposes. Curcumin is one of the principal healthful components of turmeric and gives the spice its characteristic yellow color.

Recent research indicates that chronic inflammation initiates and promotes many disease states, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and inflammatory bowel diseases. Curcumin exerts a protective role against inflammatory diseases by scavenging free radicals and suppressing inflammatory mediators.

Researchers have found that phytochemicals from natural foods, including spices and herbs, are safe and effective therapies to help reduce inflammation and prevent and treat disease. Curcumin one of the components of turmeric has been found to have not only anti-inflammatory properties but also cholesterol lowering, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties.

Turmeric and Obesity/Diabetes Type 2

Obesity and insulin resistance in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are associated with chronic low-grade systemic inflammation, resulting in increased inflammatory markers. Adipose tissues is the main origin of this inflammatory response. Evidence from cellular and animal studies supports the beneficial effects of curcumin on obesity and related metabolic disorders. Clinical studies support curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on obesity, leading to outcomes such as weight loss, improved blood lipids, increased basal metabolic rate, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of atherosclerosis.

Turmeric is a food and thus should be taken by mouth. You should always add turmeric to food that includes fat for the best absorption.

1/2 teaspoon of powdered Turmeric is about 1 gm (1000 mg) of turmeric,

As always, check with your MD or health care provider before adding any new item into your diet even if it is a food. There can be food/drug interactions.

Tags: , , ,

No Comments

Diet & Exercise are Most Effective for Treating Pre-Diabetes!

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


Diet and exercise are most effective for preventing pre-diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. A major study in 2002 found that the combination of diet and exercise reduced the odds of pre-diabetes becoming diabetes by 58%, compared with 31% among those using the common diabetes drug metformin.

Last year, sales of diabetes drugs reached $23 billion, according to the data from IMS Health, a drug market research firm. That was more than the combined revenue of the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. But from 2004 to 2013, none of the 30 new diabetes drugs that came on the market were proven to improve key outcomes, such as reducing heart attacks or strokes, blindness and other complications of the disease, per an investigation by MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Diet, especially carbohydrate reduction, exercise, weight loss and lifestyle changes should always be used as the first line of defense for elevated blood sugars associated with insulin resistance and being overweight for your height. If your doctor feels you need a diabetes medication, then diet, exercise and weight loss should always be used in conjunction with the medication.


Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss an AADE Accredited Diabetes Self-Management Training Program knows how powerful nutrition therapy can be for managing obesity, diabetes and lowering the risk of associated long-term complications. Since pre-diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by impaired insulin sensitivity, often related to being overweight for height, it seems that controlling dietary carbohydrates, the main nutrient that directly influences blood sugars, would be a logical dietary approach.

At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we are credentialed health care providers practicing a more holistic approach to diabetes, weight loss and other chronic illnesses. We provide individual appointments and group programs to help you reach your optimal health.  Most Insurances accepted.

Call to make an appointment to get your individualized carb amount for weight loss and blood sugar control! And don’t forget our very popular All-In-One Boot Camp!  Call 770-4856 in NH and 207-783-6800 in Maine. Let today be the first day of the rest of your life! You can’t go back and start over, but you can start from here and have a better future!





It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

What is Your Individualized Carb Number for Weight Loss?

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


What type of diet should you be on for desired weight loss?  Current research indicates that reducing the total amount of carbohydrates that you take in daily can help not only with weight loss, but also help reduce your risk for future chronic illnesses such as diabetes. If you think of our earliest ancestors, the only carbohydrates they had were fruit, vegetables, raw nuts and occasionally honey.

Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet.  The USDA recommends 130 grams of carb each day for male and female adults, but according to some nutrition researchers, the daily carbohydrate requirements recommended by the USDA can be defined as a high-carb diet. Nutrition researchers Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek, authors of “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living,” explain that many people, especially overweight and diabetic women, as well as those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, benefit from reducing their carbohydrate intake below daily recommendations.

Many credentialed health care professionals that believe in a more holistic approach to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and weight loss (through diet, exercise, carb counting and other lifestyle changes such as stress reduction) may recommend carbohydrate intakes below 130 grams a day depending on the patient. According to research, low-carb diets can help stabilize blood sugar levels and facilitate weight loss. Integrated Optimal Health’s AADE Accredited Diabetes Center can help you determine if you are a good candidate for this type of supervised meal plan on its own, or in addition to your diabetes medications as per your MD.

A typical low-carb diet would include some form of animal protein at each meal with non-starchy vegetables and fat from sources such as olive oil, avocado and nuts. Participants usually are instructed to avoid or restrict grains, sugars and legumes, and to reduce starchy vegetables and fruits to keep their carb count within the established target range. A typical day may include a cheese and broccoli omelet for breakfast with a small tangerine, a chicken salad with a low-carb salad dressing for lunch, grilled salmon with non-starchy vegetables stir-fried in coconut oil for dinner, and almonds, walnuts and olives as snacks. Worst, better, best for carb would be bready processed carb (worst), fruits and starchy vegetables (better) and non-starchy vegetables (best) respectively.

So what is Your Right Carb Number for Weight Loss? At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we assess each person’s carbohydrate need individually, depending on the need for blood sugar control and/or weight loss.  Total daily carbohydrate intake needs can range 33-50% of the total daily calories assessed for weight loss. It works! We can figure your carb number for weight loss without exercise through an individual appointment. Then we provide exercise programs and stress reduction programs to get you fit and strong! One step at a time!

At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we are credentialed health care providers practicing a more holistic approach to diabetes, weight loss and other chronic illnesses. We provide individual appointments and group programs to help you reach your optimal health.  Most Insurances accepted.

Call to make an appointment to get your individualized carb amount for weight loss! Don’t forget our very popular All-In-One Boot Camp!  Call 603-770-4856 in NH and 207-783-6800 in Maine. Let today be the first day of the rest of your life! You can’t go back and start over, but you can start from here and have a better future!


It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

What are Functional Foods?

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


Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. Oatmeal is a familiar example of a functional food because it naturally contains soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels. Some foods are modified to have health benefits. An example is orange juice that’s been fortified with calcium for bone health.

Spices have been used for centuries, not only to give food flavor, but also for their health benefits. Generally, the leaf of a plant used in cooking is referred to as an herb, and any other part of the plant, often dried, as a spice. National nutrition guidelines stress the importance of consuming a wide variety of food. Herbs and spices naturally fit within such programs.  Turmeric is an example of a functional food because research shows it is naturally anti-inflammatory and a slight blood thinner.

Another example of a functional food is chocolate. 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.

Obviously, foods such as twinkies, diet and regular sodas, processed carbs such as pies, cakes and cookies, would not be considered functional foods.

Where can you find functional foods?  Whatever was meant to sustain us or benefit us was put on this earth to begin with.   Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, raw nuts,  spices and herbs.

So remember the best bet to help promote good overall health is “healthy choices, healthy life,” which would include increasing the amount of “real foods” or functional foods into your diet and cut down on processed food especially processed carbs.





It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™




Tags: , , , , , , ,

No Comments