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What am I supposed to give my kids to drink?

September 24, 2012 in diabetes, lifestyle, nutrition

Water is the short answer, I know.  But my three teenagers hurl accusations of child abuse when I suggest a “water only” policy at home.

So we drink lots of juice. I don’t buy soda, although the kids do with their own money.  Last week one of my sons started comparing the sugar content in soda with some of the juice in our fridge. Call me stunned.  OK, I’ve been watering down juice (I aim to dilute by half) for years (which the kids also hate) because it’s too sweet.  Still, I had no idea that they were drinking 8 teaspoons of sugar or more in a cup of juice if they got to the bottle before I watered it down.

FYI – sugar on most nutrition labels is measured in grams.  Four grams are roughly equal to one teaspoon.  There are some good visuals here:

Several studies posted online by the New England Journal of Medicine last week compared sugary and non-caloric beverages.  The sugar free or diet stuff is out for me, too many chemicals. And, as I said, water is a tough sell.

So what am I supposed to buy?

A colleague suggests lots of seltzer and persuading my kids to mix a spritzer – that’s worth a try.  Any other suggestions?

Testing out diabetic-friendly recipes

September 4, 2012 in diabetes, Member Stories, nutrition

One day, I hope to educate people about how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. To get an understanding of what it’s like to live with this condition, I thought I’d try cooking a meal a diabetic might prepare at home. I scoured the internet for diabetic-friendly recipes that were simple, included reasonably-priced, natural ingredients that would be easy to find and weren’t too far of a stretch from the food I would regularly eat. The end result: Finding the recipe and ingredients was pretty easy, but getting the taste right was not. It may take a little more creativity to put together flavorful carb-conscious meals, but there’s information out there to make it possible.

For recipes, I stuck with Diabetic Living magazine’s website, which had loads of options whether you were looking for breakfast, dinner, a quick snack or a family-sized meal. Each recipe comes with nutritional information and diabetic exchange values- important details for diabetics when planning out their meals. When choosing a recipe for this experiment, I realized that cooking with fresh fish can be expensive and most people are turned off by the idea of a tuna casserole. So, for the sake of appealing to a wider audience, I choose the chicken taco casserole.

Diabetic-friendly dinner (Cristina Cruz)

Diabetic-friendly dinner

When I made the casserole, I subbed low-fat cheddar for the monterey jack cheese, but mostly stuck to the recipe otherwise. I felt like I ate more vegetables from this dish than I normally would prepare, which made me realize this recipe is a good way for diabetics to add fresh vegetables to their diet without feeling like they have to eat salad at each meal. Although, leftovers re-heated in the microwave were not as good. I’d recommend re-heating this dish the next day in a toaster oven, if possible, to relive the “fresh out of the oven” experience. Read the rest of this entry →

A Look at Online Communities for Diabetics

June 24, 2012 in diabetes, Member Stories

William Bartholomew/Flickr

The obesity epidemic has been kicking people into action. Mayor Bloomberg recently created legislation limiting New York City’s consumption of sugary beverages a few weeks ago. Disney has re-vamped its nutrition standard for all food products promoted on its networks and in their parks. With everyone caught up in ways to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes, we decided to look at what’s out there to help diabetics manage their symptoms now, outside doctor’s office visits.

One option is to join a social network. Like Facebook, members of these sites can share photos and comment on each others’ posts in discussion forums. But even better than that, patients can learn new ways to manage or cope with their symptoms that they may not think to ask about at the doctor’s office.

In looking at social networks for diabetics and the people helping with their care, I found that these sites offered information on methods to manage blood sugar or weight gain. Members can ask questions or share stories in discussion forums while staying tuned to new developments in medical research and treatments. Some sites even have a corresponding mobile app! Here are some social networks for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics I found in my research that were user-friendly and offered interesting features: Read the rest of this entry →