Archive for the ‘Marie L. Veselsky’ Category

National Diabetes Month 2018 – Helping People Better Manage their Own Diabetes

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

November is National Diabetes Month and it is very common to see articles in November every year providing statistics of how wide spread diabetes has become. I’d rather talk about success stories for National Diabetes Month.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Educator (BC-ADM) I have seen many a success story when people with diabetes learn to better manage their own diabetes. When a person plays a more active role in managing their own diabetes they can make a huge difference in their own outcome. I have seen people with pre-diabetes make the necessary changes to prevent from going on to develop diabetes type 2. I have seen people with diabetes type 2 significantly reduce their HgA1c and stop progression of their disease through a combination of a lower carb meal plan, weight loss and diabetes medications. I have seen Diabetes type 1 patients who have made diet and lifestyle changes reduce their HgA1c and risk for complications.

Research shows that Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and/or attending Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes (DSME) can help you better manage your own diabetes and lower your HgA1c. The HgA1c is a blood test that can be used to track how a person is doing controlling their blood sugars. The higher the A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. I have seen the HgA1c come down significantly when a person cuts down on the amount of carbohydrate they consume daily, loses weight, exercises when ready and able and makes other lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, behavior changes and stress reduction. On a lower carb, higher lean meat diet I have seen the bad cholesterol LDL come down and the good cholesterol HDL go up.

For success stories let’s start with a female patient diagnosed with pre-diabetes who started coming to me in February 2018. She thought she was going to have to go on diabetes medications and did not want to. Her body fat was 39% at that time which is considered obese and she indicated she was active, but not like she used to be. As of October 2018 (eight months later) she has lost 18 lbs. Her body fat has gone down to 33%. She continues to follow her individualized lower carb meal plan. She indicates she is now very active and all her labs are now good. Thus, she is still not on any diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure medications. She continues to come in individually for accountability and support.

A male with diabetes type 2 who first came to me in December 2016. He was considered obese at 51% body fat and on Metformin for his diabetes. He has lost close to 50 lbs. through following his individualized lower carb meal plan and slowly increasing his walking. His HgA1c is now < 6. He no longer needs the metformin. He regularly attends our diabetes programs for reinforcement.

A male with diabetes type 2 who first came to me in June 2018 with diabetes type 2 and on both a long acting insulin at night and rapid acting with meals. He complained of episodes of low blood sugars and wanted to lose some weight and lower his HgA1c. He does not exercise, but is very active at work and has followed his individualized carb meal plan. As of October 2018 he has lost 4 inches off his waist where most his weight was. He also lost 30 lbs. He indicates he no longer needs his rapid acting insulin with meals. He continues to want to lose more weight and reduce all his insulin. He is currently coming to the Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes.

And finally, a female with type 2 diabetes and on glipizide, metformin and three blood pressure medications. She started coming to me in November 2017, after starting to have some significant health problems related to fatigue and dizziness. She quit coming because she thought she wasn’t losing weight fast enough and then came back. I told her to hang in there and she did. She has followed her individualized lower carb meal plan and is exercising almost every day. She has lost 37 lbs., dropped her body fat from 48% to 38%, is off her metformin and claims to be down to half of one pill of the glipizide. She is now off all but one blood pressure medication. She continues to come in for reinforcement and accountability.

Diabetes education, also referred to as diabetes self-management education, is performed by health care professionals who have appropriate credentials and experience consistent with the particular profession’s scope of practice. Diabetes self-management education is defined as the interactive, collaborative, ongoing process involving the person with diabetes or pre-diabetes and/or the caregivers and the educators.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), I am licensed to practice Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and can prescribe therapeutic diets. I will develop or adjust an individualized diabetes meal plan as indicated. In addition, as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a Board Certified Advanced Management Diabetes Educator (BC-ADM) I am able to educate patients on self-blood glucose monitoring, review insulins, incretins and oral diabetes medications and teach insulin administration and technique including insulin to carb ratios. In addition, I can make recommendations for initiation or changes in medications/insulin regimes based on integration of nutrition, physical activity, medication, blood glucose or CGM data. I will work with your prescriber to adjust your diabetes regimen to help you achieve your optimal health.

At Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss the focus of our program is to get back to the basics and believe people with diabetes can better control their blood sugars through a combination of meal planning, exercise, weight loss as appropriate, medications/insulin as needed and other lifestyle changes such as stress reduction. We provide education programs, support programs, stress reduction programs, yoga, massage and small group or one on one personal training. We work with other quality health care professionals in the community to utilize their expertise.

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss has been accredited as an AADE DEAP Diabetes Education Center since 2014 and our mission is to help people with diabetes better manage their own diabetes. Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes can help you better manage your own diabetes and are covered by most insurance if provided through an accredited diabetes center. On Tuesday 11/20/2018 at 12 noon and at 6:00pm, (low carb meal served) come listen to our APRN and Registered Dietitian, CDE, talk on “Know Your Diabetes Medications” to help people better understand their diabetes medications and make a more informed decision about how they and their prescriber want to manage their diabetes. Call 603-770-4856 for details. 45 Washington, Street, Conway, NH. 

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Diet and Exercise are Effective for Both Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes Education Program (DSME) has been accredited since 2014 and has recently received re-accreditation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE DEAP) for another four years! Our mission is to help you better manage your own diabetes and we like to utilize the expertise of quality professionals in the community.  Chef Amy Golino who worked on the awarding winning cooking show with Julia Childs does a program on low-carb cooking (below).

Marie Veselsky and Chef Amy Golino

Diet, exercise and weight loss are most effective for preventing pre-diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. A major study 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.

Diet, exercise, weight loss and cutting down on total daily carbohydrates (especially processed bready carbs) can also significantly lower the HgA1c’s of people who have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Reducing the HgA1c can help prevent the progression of the disease.

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 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.

At Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we know how important education, accountability and support are to help you reach your optimal health! We provide individual and group programs to help you better manage your own diabetes and lower your risk of associated long-term complications.

The focus of our program is to get back to the basics through a combination of education on diet, individualized exercise and weight loss programs as appropriate, medications as needed and other lifestyle changes to help people reach their optimal health. We will do this through educating the client on options, advocate for healthier choices and provide access to programs needed through working with other quality health care professionals in the community.

We provide individual appointments and group programs at our main location at 45 Washington Street, Conway, NH, Conway Professional Building. Our programs include: diabetes education programs, weight loss programs, yoga, massage, exercise groups and personal training geared to a person’s specific physical and fitness needs. We also utilize the expertise of other quality health care professionals in the community and provide ongoing educational programs such as low-carb and/or gluten free cooking classes, stress reduction programs and certification programs.

To continue to encourage healthier paths, Integrated Optimal Health is happy to announce Maine Center for Vital Living, LLC will be hosting a Yoga Teacher Training Program at Integrated Optimal Health in Conway, NH co-lead by Heidi L. Audet E-500 RYT and Kimberly Allen, E-200 RYT.

Call to make an appointment or register for the groups! Call 603-770-4856. Most Insurance Accepted! It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

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Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Improves Outcomes for People with Diabetes


Why are people not taking advantage of diabetes self-management education classes (DSME) when research indicates that it can help improve diabetes outcomes?

A study by the CDC reveals that only an estimated 6.8 percent of people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes received DSME during their first year with diabetes. What’s even more surprising is that the study participants had private health coverage that would cover the cost of their initial self-management education.

An estimated 29.1 million people in the United States had diabetes in 2012, and this number is projected to reach 64 million by 2050. In 2015, it was estimated that nearly 1 in 4 four adults were living with the disease.

Diabetes is a serious disease, and should not be taken lightly or ignored. The longer you wait to make the necessary changes your “gut” tells you that you need to make, the more likely your diabetes will get worse. Uncontrolled high blood sugars are toxic and people with diabetes have an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, vision loss, depression, pain, kidney disease and even amputation of toes, feet or legs. Rural populations are particularly hit hard because they have a higher prevalence of diabetes and typically have less access to DSME programs.

The good news is that even though diabetes is a serious disease, it can often be managed through diet, individualized physical activity, weight loss as appropriate and the appropriate use of insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels.

Research indicates that attending DSME classes can help you take control of diabetes symptoms such as tiredness, pain, depression and prevent the long term complications of diabetes by lowering your HgA1c.

Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) which is covered by most insurance, increases the use of preventative care services and reduces glucose levels associated with diabetes complications.

Nationally Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE’s) conduct each class @ Choice Center for Diabetes. The program teaches you how to eat healthy, be active, monitor blood sugar levels, take medication, problem solve, reduce risk for other health conditions and cope with the disease and provide much needed support.

So are you ready to bring down that fasting blood sugar? Would you like help losing that 15-20 lbs. that research shows is all it takes to help reduce your risk for complications of diabetes? How about lowering your HgA1C which is linked to risk of complications from diabetes down the road? Want to reduce some stress?

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss and Choice Center for Movement might be the place for you! We are an AADE Accredited Diabetes Education Center since September 2014. Our instructors for all programs are highly experienced, credentialed, licensed and or certified in their prospective fields.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner will provide us with a DSME referral and your baseline HgA1c and after finishing the program and follow-ups they will assess your HgA1c again. 

Choice Center for Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) in Conway, NH is a program that gets back to the “basics” and includes more fun hands-on learning including how to cook low carb meals. Each class covers some important aspect of better managing your own Diabetes Type 2!

Integrated Optimal Health’s

  • Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss
  • Choice Center for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)
  • Choice Center for Movement,

Location: Professional Building at 45 Washington Street, Conway, NH

Call to Register: 603-770-4856

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Individualized Carb Number for Weight Loss

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


There is no “magic bullet” for successful weight loss, but finding out and keeping to your daily individualized carbohydrate number for weight loss works pretty well! Your individualized carbohydrate number for weight loss is based on a percentage of your assessed calorie level for weight loss.

As a Registered Dietitian that has worked with many clients over the last 20 years, I have educated clients on just about every type of diet. From low-fat, to calorie-controlled diets and even South Beach and Dr. Atkins which are very low-carb diets. None of them really worked long term for my clients. Calorie-controlled diets stop working after a while and very low-fat diets are just unappealing and not healthy. Dr. Atkins was right that it is the macro-nutrient carbohydrate that seems most to affect weight gain, but I have never met anyone that could stay on a very strict low-carb diet for any length of time. So I started searching for a meal plan that would work!

As a Registered Dietitian, I knew that out of all the diets out there that the lower-carb diet makes the most sense and is closest to the way our earliest ancestors ate. Our earliest ancestors got their carbohydrate mostly through fruits, vegetables and nuts. They had no processed carb. I also knew that if a person feels deprived on a diet they will stop that diet at some point, so I worked on developing a lower-carb diet that is individualized to the person. This diet would allow a person to still have “a life” and have some carb and also give a feeling of being more in control when they know how much carb is right for them.

Many credentialed licensed health care professionals that believe in a “get back to the basics” approach to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and weight loss (through diet, individualized 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 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.

So what is Your Right Carb Number for Weight Loss? At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we assess each person’s carbohydrate needs individually, depending on the need for blood sugar control and/or weight loss.   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, Choice Center for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and Choice Center for Movement we are credentialed licensed health care providers advocating for a healthier 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 Level 1 and Level 2 Movement Camp, Yoga classes and Massage Therapy!  Call 603-770-4856 in NH. 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!






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FAT – Friend or Foe – for Heart Health and Weight Loss

The decades old recommendations that “fat” is bad for your heart and is the main culprit for obesity still lingers today with some of my new clients. They are still “fat phobic” even after all these years.

Some still continue behaviors like removing the skin from their chicken before cooking, avoiding red meats except three times a week, and using “egg beaters” instead of real eggs.  They still think that processed low-fat, low calorie foods like rice cakes, crackers and pretzels will help them lose weight.

I have to remind them of the results of avoiding all fat – that low-fat diets have been tied to increasingly poor health outcomes and actually increasing obesity and diabetes rates for Americans.

The truth – fat is necessary, useful and efficient, but how much do you need? The answer depends on what type of fat you are talking about.

Your body stores or makes fat because your body needs fat to function and fat is a form of storage fuel for your body in case you ever need it. Fat cells fill up by siphoning free floating dietary fats directly out of the bloodstream, but they also are capable of manufacturing fat directly from excess glucose (too much carbohydrate) in the blood. That is why the old low-fat, high carb foods like Snack-Well products probably increased the rates of obesity.

Types of fat – fats come from plants, animals and test tubes. Plant fats generally come from seeds, nuts, vegetables and even fruits. A mango contains omega-3 fatty acids (that are truly good for the heart) just like tuna does. Animal fats come from the adipose tissue of dietary meats. Dairy such as cheese and milk are animal by-products. Artificial fats (trans-fats) are produced in factories and have more in common with petroleum than with biology. They are not natural but man made.

All fats are defined as either saturated or un-saturated, a scientific classification based on the chemical structure of the fat molecules.  At room temperature, saturated fats are soft solids, while unsaturated fats are liquids.

Most experts no longer consider saturated fats the evil they were once thought to be. It used to be believed these fats would raise bad cholesterol because saturated fat triggers cholesterol production by the liver, but research is challenging that long held belief. Saturated fats are needed for the construction of cell membranes, organ padding and nerve sheathes. They also play an important role in hormone production and are required for the proper absorption of some minerals and fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, and K.

Unsaturated fats boost artery-cleaning good cholesterol (HDL), lower triglycerides, regulate blood clotting, help maintain a healthy blood pressure and are key players in proper brain function. Some examples of unsaturated fats that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and good for your heart health:  Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Halibut, Tuna, Cod, wheat germ oil, walnuts, flax meal, olive oil and mango.

There is still one bad fat! There is one fat that the body apparently does not need – a special subset of saturated fats called trans-fat and you should avoid it! Trans-fats are the test tube fats.  They have been strongly linked to an increase in heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Trans-fat wipes out healthy cholesterol (HDL) and greatly increases the bad cholesterol (LDL).  A trans-fat is manufactured by taking a healthy unsaturated fat and forcing hydrogen atoms into its molecules using heat and heavy metals such as palladium, therefore transforming the liquid into a solid. And where is it found? Mostly, in processed bready carbohydrates which causes weight gain if taken in excess of needs.

A question I get asked sometimes when I recommend a lower-carb, higher fat diet (minus trans-fats), “Won’t increasing my fat intake increase my cholesterol?”  I tell the client that it has been my experience through seeing cholesterol lab profiles improve, that for the most part eating less carb (especially processed carb) and increasing fat (especially good fats) lowers the bad cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol. This reduces risk factors for heart disease.

A research study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) compared a low-fat diet to a low carb, high-fat diet and the results showed that the group eating more fat and fewer carbs lost more weight.  Even more the low carb, high-fat diet followers lowered their risk factors for heart disease by improving their cholesterol profile even though they ate more than 40% of their total daily calories from fat!

So how much fat do you need?  None of the trans-fats, avoid them!  You should put the product back down on the shelf at the store if it has the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. Saturated fat and un-saturated fat are an important part of a healthy diet and needs should be assessed individually.

A real food diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and high omega-3 sources such as olive oil, fish and nuts and an individualized exercise program is the way to go for your future heart health. For weight loss use the real food diet as your base and follow a lower carb meal plan based on your individualized needs.  You don’t have to be on an Atkins diet with extremely low daily carb amounts to lose weight, but just get your individualized carb number for weight loss determined by a licensed credentialed Registered Dietitian.

Come learn the essentials for successful weight loss and get your individualized carb number for weight loss determined at Integrated Optimal Health, Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss, or, call 603-770-4856.

At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we provide programs that help you reach your “Optimal Health” such as individual and group weight loss programs for accountability and support, movement camps that help improve flexibility, balance, core strength and stress reduction,  diabetes self-management programs (DSME) that are covered by most insurance.  We have been an AADE accredited Diabetes Center since September 2014! Most insurance accepted!





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Spice Up Your Life and Your Health for the Holidays!

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

Spices have been used for centuries not only to give food flavor, but also for their health benefits. This was more so in the past versus modern day society. Nowadays many people may only use spices or herbs at Thanksgiving in their turkey stuffing.

So maybe it is time to “Spice up Your Life and Your Health!”

Start by trying some new recipes at Thanksgiving and Christmas that include several spices or herbs.

National nutrition guidelines stress the importance of consuming a wide variety of food. The healthy nutrition message is now one of increasing food variety and diversity to maximize the range of nutrients consumed on a regular basis. Herbs and spices naturally fit within such programs. 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.

Here are a few common spices/herbs and their health benefits:

  • Rosemary is known as a potent antioxidant. It is anti-inflammatory, and neutralizes free radicals in the body. This may give it anti-cancer fighting abilities. Add rosemary, along with your other favorite spices, to your holiday turkey stuffing.
  • Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins, including Vitamin C, B12, K and A. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system, too. Regular use of parsley can help control your blood pressure. Parsley fits in many holiday dishes.
  • Chives might help your body digest your food better and make use of more nutrients food offers. Chives work by getting rid of bacteria, yeast and fungi in your intestinal tract so that your entire digestive system works as it should. Mashed potatoes with chives and garlic added is perfect at any holiday meal.
  • Garlic may improve your heart’s health. Studies suggest that an intake of between half and one clove per day can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by an average of 10 percent. One way to increase your garlic intake is to add minced garlic and chopped cucumber to plain yogurt for a light dip or salad dressing.
  • Cinnamon has been found to help lower blood glucose and may help prevent heart disease. A 2003 study found that about half a teaspoon each day lowered blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Add cinnamon to your holiday pumpkin and apple pies.

The safety of herbs (because they are a food) is very good, but if you take any medications and use a lot of an herb or spice, you should check with your doctor to make sure there are no potential food/drug interactions.

Choice Center for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) & Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss, Integrated Optimal Health, has been an AADE Accredited Diabetes Center since September 2014.  Most insurance accepted.

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Success Is Not a Straight Line When It Comes to Weight Loss

Success Is Not a Straight Line

If there is one thing I know for certain from working many years in the health care field, it is that with most client’s quest for significant weight loss SUCCESS is truly not a straight line.

Not a day goes by that I don’t have at least one client that comes in for reinforcement and accountability that doesn’t feel that they should have done better with their weight loss that week.  I tell them that a few weight points does not signal that they are doing poorly, it is the big picture that counts. I reinforce with them that if they hang in there they will be successful!

As a Registered Dietitian, I reinforce the essentials for successful weight loss, including using a professional grade scale that tracks the client’s weight and graphs it over weeks and months for accountability. Most people do not lose weight in a straight downward line. It is more in a stepwise manner, with sometimes a few steps back before going forward again. There is nothing more satisfying for both the client and me then to look at their weight and body fat % graph after weeks or months and see the big picture of SUCCESS!

It is the same with every aspect of your health.  From lowering your blood sugars to improving your fitness level. It is those individual steps pointed in the right direction and hanging in there that really totals up to success.  It is not straight and easy, but instead remembering to start again if you take a step or two backwards, never forgetting your long term goal. You may not see success in the moment, but if you hang in there and look at the big picture, over time you will see it!

November is National Diabetes Month and research shows that for many it is their high body fat % that is causing their elevated blood sugars due to insulin resistance. It is never too late to make changes that can keep you from going on to have complications from high blood sugars, but it is not a straight line. You have to set your realistic weight goal with the help of a credentialed health care provider and keep at it and not base success on a day to day basis.  Research shows that once a person with 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!  Research also shows that if you hang in there you will achieve success. What else are you doing with the rest of your life! Accept the challenge!

The seven essentials for successful weight loss are:  1) first decide that you want to take action – that is the first step 2) an individualized lower carb meal plan that works long term 3) accountability – weigh-ins 4) reinforcement/education by a licensed credentialed health care provider 5) support 6) individualized exercise 7) food and fitness tracking.

So don’t think day to day but think of the big picture and start again!

Individual Appointments: Marie is licensed to practice Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and specializes in MNT for adults and children including: pre-diabetes, diabetes type 2, gestational diabetes, diabetes type 1, desired weight loss, obesity, metabolic syndrome including high blood pressure & high cholesterol, food allergies, gluten intolerance and sports nutrition.

Group Programs: diabetes self-management training, weight loss support, individual & group exercise/movement classes for core strength, flexibility, balance, & stress reduction.

Upcoming Diabetes Education Presentation – FREE:

November is National Diabetes Month!

Free presentation on “Diabetes Survival Skills” Tuesday 11/7/2017, 2:00pm @ Cornerstone Wellness Center Community Room, Auburn, Maine.

Starts 2:00 pm: Know Your Diabetes Medications, Carb Counting, Glucose Monitoring – hands on learning.   Low Carb Snacks.  

Marie L. Veselsky, Bachelor’s of Nutrition/Exercise Physiology,   Master’s of Adult Education/Nutrition

Call Choice Center for Medical Nutrition Therapy at Integrated Optimal Health at 207-402-3804 or 603-770-4856 for an appointment today. Most insurance accepted.  It is your health and your choice!



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“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! ™



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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

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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!




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