Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays and Diabetics

Below are some tips, that are not only good for diabetics, but for all of us. I hope they will help make your holidays healthier.

Holiday Help for Diabetics

1. Prepare a dish for the party - consider bringing your own festive, seasonal dish for everyone to enjoy. This will not only allow you to have a dish you know is within your diet but it also allows others to see just easily foods can be converted and still be delicious.

2. Drink in moderation. Alcohol and diabetes can be a dangerous mix if you aren't careful. Drinking on an empty stomach directly after administering insulin or shortly after taking glucose-lowering medications can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a condition that can cause confusion, dizziness, or even loss of consciousness. (These are also symptoms of drinking too much.)

Be vigilant about only drinking with food to slow the absorption of alcohol, and be sure not to exceed the American Diabetes Association's recommended amounts of alcohol: one drink a day for women and two a day for men. Also, people with complications stemming from diabetes, such as neuropathy (nerve damage) and high triglycerides (fats that circulate in the blood), should speak with their doctor about whether they should abstain from alcohol altogether. Finally, if you're taking medications to control diabetes, check with your doctor or pharmacist about whether the two can be safely mixed.

3. Stress less. For some, the frenzy of the holidays causes stress. And stress, while harmful for healthy people, is particularly detrimental for those with diabetes. Hormones released in response to stress may inhibit the body's ability to produce insulin, which, in turn, causes blood-sugar levels to soar. Manage your anxiety by carving out time for a relaxing activity — something as simple as flipping through a magazine or taking a walk may be enough — and prioritizing your "to do" list so you don't take on too much at once.

4. Get enough exercise. The time constraints of the holidays can make squeezing in a workout a challenge. Still, getting regular and consistent exercise — a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio interval training or core exercises most days of the week — is especially important if you have diabetes. If you're really pressed for time, make several short bouts of activity the goal.

5. Monitor your condition. Making healthy eating decisions is important for weight loss and maintenance, but as a diabetic it's especially important to make other healthy choices to maintain your blood-sugar levels. As always, be sure to monitor your blood sugar — especially before and after a big holiday meal — to ensure it's in the optimal range.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scrambled Eggs with Cheese

2 tsp. olive oil

1 whole egg

4 egg whites

1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Fresh ground black pepper

Lightly beat together egg, egg whites, tobacco and black pepper. Fold in cottage cheese. In a sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil. When hot add egg mixture. Cook eggs until firm but still moist. Serve with fresh fruit. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional Info.

Calories 132; total fat 7 grams; saturated fat 1 gram; % calories from fat 49%; cholesterol 92 mg; carbohydrate 2 grams; protein 14 grams; fiber 0 grams

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diabetic Apple Pie

One or two pie crusts for 9 inch pie
8 medium apples
1/2 c Splenda or 1/4 c Sweet n Low
1/2 c dried raisins or cranberries
Peel and slice the apples; line the first layer in pie crust. Sprinkle with half the dried fruit and half the sweetner.
Repeat with second layer of apples, dried fruit and sweetner. Top with pie crust or nutty crumb topping.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Recipe submitted by Melanie Read
Author of Face of Destiny

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dry Skin and Diabetes

A great article even if you don't have diabetes.

Learn how to soothe dry, itchy skin, especially during the cold winter months.

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

Itchy, dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a distraction we can all do without. It's uncomfortable and the cracked, flaky, red skin can be unattractive. If you scratch a lot, bacteria can invade those cracks and then you might even develop an infection.

The good news: You can manage dry skin even if you can't control the environmental conditions that cause it, such as cold weather or central heating.

Skin Care for Dry Skin

First, cut back on washing. "Overwashing, particularly long, hot showers, is the number one reason for dry skin," says Bruce Robinson, MD, Manhattan-based dermatologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

His recommendations for people with dry skin? "Decrease their frequency of bathing, use a mild soap, and don't soap the whole body every day. And, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize."

With so many different types of moisturizers available, finding the right one for your needs can be a challenge — should you choose a lotion, a cream, or an ointment?

Dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in New York, recommends moisturizers that contain ceramides, natural lipid molecules that contain fatty acids. "Ceramides have a natural moisturizing factor. If you add ceramide to lotions and cleansers, you replace them in the skin. That's the newest twist on moisturizers," she explains.

Besides looking for a moisturizer that contains ceramides, Dr. Taylor, who is also a spokesperson for the AAD, says it's wise to choose an ointment or cream over lotion. In fact, good old-fashioned petrolatum (petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline and similar store brands) can be the most effective choice.

"The oils in petrolatum trap moisture in the skin and provide a barrier from the outside environment," Taylor says. "As long as you're not acne-prone, I don't have a problem with using petrolatum."

Dry Skin Care in Winter

It can be particularly difficult to maintain soft, pliant skin in colder weather. Take these steps to keep your skin in good shape during the winter:

  • Take brief, lukewarm showers or baths. Pat dry and then immediately apply moisturizer.
  • Try using a humidifier to relieve the dryness in the air. Be sure to clean it regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions to avoid mold.
  • Protect your skin from the elements. Shield yourself from extreme cold and wind with layered clothing, hats, gloves, and warm shoes. Don't forget to use petrolatum-based lip balm to avoid chapped lips.
  • Always use sunscreen. Regardless of the season or the weather, exposure to the sun can lead to not only dry skin, but also early aging and skin cancer.
  • Apply moisturizer several times a day if needed. Older adults need to pay even more attention to their skin to keep it supple, attractive, and comfortable. As part of the normal aging process, our skin tends to lose some natural oils, making us dryer, according to Taylor. "Make sure you apply a moisturizer several times a day, particularly as you mature," she says.

Dry Skin Care: Other Considerations

In addition to what you should do, what not to do is also important when you have dry skin. There are products that you may want to steer clear of:

  • Any health and beauty aid that can be very drying to the skin, like regular, non-moisturizing face and body bar soaps. Unless you are otherwise directed by your doctor, look for a mild, pH balanced soap-free cleanser instead.
  • Acne-fighting chemicals, like benzoyl peroxide.

How your skin reacts, and what you should avoid, is very unique to each person. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about your skin care regimen and see if any of the products you’re using contain ingredients that could be making your dry skin drier.

If you can't seem to get a severe case of dry skin under control, and certainly if you develop an infection, see a dermatologist for an evaluation and treatment. A fresh look at how to care for your skin might give you the improvement you’re looking for.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Diabetic Spaghetti Sauce

1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb. lean ground round
3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
Dash of garlic

Brown onions in oil; add meat and brown. Drain fat; add rest of ingredients. Simmer 1 hour uncovered.

Chef Tom Cooks