As Far as Type 2 Diabetes Goes – A Stitch in Time Saves Nine!

For many people with type 2 diabetes, their inability to clear their sugars is closely related to their high body fat %. Thus, it would stand to reason, that once they lose significant body fat over time, they would also improve their ability to clear their sugars.

One thing that can be said for sure, is that significant weight loss and improved diabetes symptoms go hand in hand.

Most of us have heard the stories of people seeming to get rid of their type 2 diabetes “overnight” when the person gets weight loss surgery. You don’t necessarily have to get surgery to get rid of the body fat, and thus improve your blood sugars, but it is not going to happen overnight. There are people with type 2 diabetes who have been able to reduce or stop their diabetes medications, even insulin, that have lost significant body fat over the course of years and kept it off. One example is “Burnt-out Type 2 Diabetes.”

“Burnt-out Type 2 Diabetes” is a phenomenon that I ran across from being a consultant at a dialysis center. It is well known by health care providers that individuals that have diabetes can have damage to their kidneys over time. The current guidelines are to help prevent progression of diabetes by prescribing diabetes medications, blood pressure medicines and cholesterol lowering statins as appropriate.

What I have noticed in those guidelines is that not enough attention is paid to getting to the root of the problem. The root of the problem for many is the fact they have a high body fat % and are significantly overweight for height.

The “Burnt-out Type 2 Diabetes” phenomenon with people on dialysis has been studied. It is believed that a third of all dialysis patients with type 2 diabetes can get off all their diabetes meds, including insulin, over time. Why is this? They do have decreased renal and hepatic insulin clearance, but it appears to be more than that. What most of them have in common is they tend to eat poorly and have protein-calorie malnutrition and thus they lose significant body fat over time.

One older female dialysis patient I worked with had type 2 diabetes and no longer needed to take her diabetes medication or her insulin. She basically had only one issue 20 years earlier she weighed 175 lbs. and was only about 5’1”. She was on no medications of any kind back then, but she was significantly overweight for her height and was considered obese.

One year when she went to see her doctor, she had elevated blood sugars and the doctor put her on the diabetes medication glipizide to help control her blood sugars. Back then health care providers did not have as many medication choices as they do today. Glipizide has long been known to cause weight gain. This put this patient in a “Catch 22” situation because this medication could make it harder for her to lose weight. As the years went by more medications were added. Reviewing her extensive chart going back many years I saw that there was no weight loss, instead she gained weight. At some point insulin (which can also cause weight gain) was added along with the glipizide, as well as more blood pressure medications.

Despite all these preventative medications she still lost function of her kidneys. By the time she ended up on dialysis she was on 10 medications.

This lady went close to 20 years on preventative medications, but what she didn’t do was to get to the root of the problem and have the weight loss she needed.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine! I truly feel that if this patient had started to work on losing some weight slowly over time, in addition to taking any needed medications, she may have had a better outcome! The root of the problem was to lose weight and it did not have to be overnight. This was evidenced by the fact that in the end she was able to get off her diabetes medication and insulin. Over the course of the 2-3 years after she had to go on dialysis, she went down to 120 lbs. and kept the weight off. She experienced “Burnt-out Type 2 Diabetes.”

The cornerstone of all treatment for pre-diabetes and diabetes is lifestyle modifications. One should always use diet, exercise and weight loss first or, in addition to, any medication that is prescribed.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes and are significantly overweight it is time to make 2020 the year to get to the root of the problem. A stitch in time, no matter how slow, saves nine!

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome, or Insulin Resistance Syndrome, is a diagnosis that many of my clients claim they have never heard of when they first come to see me. Instead, they come in stating that they have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high blood sugars and abnormal cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Metabolic Syndrome is caused by an imbalance or disturbance to overall metabolism and typically the root cause of that imbalance is being significantly overweight for height. There is a direct link between ones weight or more precisely with ones percentage of body fat with the development of metabolic syndrome. The more carbohydrate a person eats causes the body to have to put out more insulin to digest or metabolize that carb and the excess gets stored as fat. All carbohydrate turns to glucose in the end and everything is basically a carbohydrate, but meat and fat. A carb is a carb is a carb is a carb!

Those who have metabolic syndrome have 3 out of 5 of the following criteria: 1. Waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men. 2. Triglycerides greater than 150. 3. HDL cholesterol less than 50 for women and less than 40 for men. 4. Blood pressure greater than 130/85. 5. Fasting blood sugar greater than 110.

At the very top of almost every health care prescriber’s medication algorithm or guidance sheet for preventative medication therapy is the statement “Healthy eating, weight control, increased physical activity and education.” This indicates that promoting and educating on healthy lifestyle changes should be included along with any medication they may prescribe.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am always going to recommend healthy eating, increased physical activity, weight loss as appropriate and education as the first line of defense, or in addition to any medication that the health care provider may prescribe. That said “if you need a med you need a med” and you should always work with your prescriber on making any changes on your medications.

So what is the treatment for Metabolic Syndrome? Research data shows that many people will lower their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars when they lose weight, gradually increase their physical activity and make healthier choices for food. Research data also shows though that it can take up to a year. So get started now!

So where can you go for help when you are ready to make some healthier choices and help prevent heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes? If you have insurance, most private insurance will cover preventative care with a Registered Dietitian and if you have a diagnosis of diabetes or renal disease Medicare will cover your visit. Insurance will only cover Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) by a licensed Registered Dietitian. You can only be licensed as a Dietitian/Nutritionist in the state of Maine or New Hampshire if you meet their intensive criteria set forth by licensure.

Use Movement, Yoga, Meditation and Massage to Improve Diabetes.

Charlotte Morgan Certified Yoga Instructor
Choice Center for Movement – Integrated Optimal Health

Typically, when people with diabetes think of things that raise their average blood sugar they often think of carbohydrates and being overweight. Stress, pain, poor sleep, depression and lack of movement can all contribute to higher blood sugar levels. The higher the average blood sugar or HgA1c, the more risk of complications from diabetes down the road.

Although watching carbohydrate intake, using diabetes medications or insulin as appropriate, and proper weight management play a big role in reducing average blood sugars there are other things that one can do as well. Stress, pain, insomnia and depression can all be reduced through movement, yoga, massage and meditation programs. The more a person with diabetes incorporates all approaches that can lower their risk for complications of diabetes the better.

Studies conducted have shown that movement, yoga, meditation and massage can lead to significant improvements in conditions including diabetes, PTSD, pain management, depression, heart rate variability and insomnia.

The job for any Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is to help get the client’s average blood sugar or HgA1c down and to help prevent long term complications such as neuropathy or loss of feeling in the feet, retinopathy or visual loss, wounds that don’t heal properly, heart and renal disease. Thus, part of our job as diabetes educators is to educate and encourage our clients to utilize all appropriate approaches that can help one lower their HgA1c.

The HgA1c is a lab value that looks at blood sugar control over time. It is used as an indicator of how well a person with diabetes is doing controlling their blood sugars. The higher the HgA1c, the greater the risk for long term complications of diabetes.

As many of my clients know, their HgA1c’s have come down significantly through cutting down on total daily carb, especially processed bready carb, and weight loss. They know that learning to better manage their own diabetes (Diabetes Self-Management) can help them stop the progression of their disease and in some cases help reduce and even get off some of their diabetes medications. Thus, I hope they consider trying one or more movement programs such as movement classes, yoga, meditation or massage to help further lower their HgA1c.

In summary, our goal as diabetes educators should be to guide patients in understanding the effects of various factors on blood glucose levels, which can help motivate them to take control and add more approaches to better manage their own diabetes. Diabetes Educators should help provide access to as many of these programs (yoga, movement classes, meditation, and massage) as possible and not just educate about diet and medications. The more a person with diabetes incorporates all the approaches that can help them lower their risk for complications of diabetes the better.

Marie L. Veselsky RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM, INTEGRATED OPTIMAL HEALTH • Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss (DSME) Choice Center for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) Choice Center for Movement 603-770-4856. 45 Washington St, Conway, NH 03818. The focus of our programs is to get back to the basics through a combination of education on an individualized diet, individualized exercise, accountability, support and other lifestyle change programs to help people reach their “Optimal Health!”

High Cholesterol? High Blood Pressure? Pre-Diabetes? Diabetes Type 2? Diet, Exercise, Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes Will Get to the Root of the Problem!

Best Plan! Follow Your Assessed Individualized Carb # for Weight Loss!

Let 2019 be the year that you start taking the necessary steps toward a healthier you!

The best way to prevent or stop progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2 , high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and even most sleep apnea, is through diet, lifestyle changes, exercise and, yes, weight loss. This should be the first step in addition to any prescription medication you are prescribed by your health care provider.

As a Registered Dietitian for over 20 years, working in various hospital settings and also traditionally educated, receiving my Bachelors and Masters from the University of New Hampshire, I consider myself middle of the road when it comes to health care approach. I know from my many years of working with patients/clients that no massive amount of “health food” supplements or any specific diet is going to cure your auto immune disease or cancer. On the other hand, I also know that many people are relying too heavily on medications for chronic diseases that diet, lifestyle changes, exercise and weight loss can help best.

I actually remember the time when the National Instuitues of Health cholesterol guidelines mandated that changing diet should be tried for three months as the first step in treating high cholesterol before putting anyone on drugs. I was reminded of these treatment guidelines from the past when I read a recent article by a Cardiologist actually trying to get some of her patients off statins or cholesterol lowering drugs. As she stated in her article, current treatment guidelines, representing the standard of care, only pay lip service to nutrition. Most preventative prescription medications are just covering up the downstream effects of poor diet and lifestyles. They will not cure or get to the root of the actual problem.

Here are some of the essentials to help you be successful at becoming a healthier you! 1) Eat more like our earliest ancestors and use more lean meats, fruits, vegetables and raw nuts and avoid processed foods, especially too much processed bready carb. Processed foods are where you are going to find the chemical food additives, bad fats and salt. 2) For weight loss, work with a Registered Dietitian and follow your individualized daily carbohydrate number assessed for weight loss and distribute the carb evenly throughout the day. 3) Again for weight loss, accurately track your carb intake using an easy method such as a carb counter. 4) Get accountability through visits, weigh-ins and measurements with a credentialed health care provider. 5) Get continued education, reinforcement and support for your specific medical nutrition therapy (MNT) needs by working with a Registered Dietitian. Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is covered by most insurance. 6) Individualized exercise as able and OK’d by your Nurse Practitioner or MD.

So again, let 2019 be your year to take the first steps necessary to reach your Optimal Health!

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. 

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! ™

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

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!






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!





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.