Today marks my 8th anniversary with type 1 diabetes. It’s been an interesting journey, one that ultimately led me to study nutrition and become a registered dietitian. I’ve had the unique privilege of experiencing diabetes as both a patient and a healthcare provider, and it’s taught me a lot. Here are a few important lessons I’ve learned over the past 8 years. I hope you find them helpful.
1. Find an awesome doctor, even if you have to shop around. It makes a difference.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have 2 great doctors over the past 8 years. My first endocrinologist made it a point to assure me that I could avoid all the scary side effects and complications if I managed my disease well and made available any resource she could find to help me out. She prescribed new forms of meds (lantus pens, etc) as soon as they became available and was quick to turnaround an expired prescription or return a call. She warned me early on that hypothyroidism could develop later on, but that it was easily managed and not something to fear. This turned out to be a huge comfort when I was finally diagnosed 2 years ago. My doctor in Boston has also been awesome.
Type 1 diabetics are dependent on insulin and, because we don’t make any insulin, can be subject to changes in blood sugar due to things beyond our control. Look for a doctor who responds to requests for prescription refills, returns calls in a timely manner, and spends time answering your questions. Continue reading 8 Lessons in 8 Years
Motivation can be tough. It can be hard to find your way to Motivation-land, and once you get there, it can be even harder to stay. It takes at least a month to turn a behavior into a habit, and that month will typically be rife with challenges. Because, you know, the minute you decide to give up sugar or beer the next three social outings your friends plan are a baking pot luck and outing to your favorite craft beer bar…
On top of that, some research suggests it can take up to 3 years to reset your body’s homeostasis (sense of balance) at a new weight. What this means is, if you lose 20 pounds, it can take 3 years before you body recognizes this as its new and healthy weight.
Organic” means the food was produced with agricultural methods that facilitate cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and maintain biodiversity. Organic production does NOT involve pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering. Continue reading Organic Foods
Food marketers these days are on their game. Everyday we buy foods with labels like “natural” and “7 grain” and “high fiber” because these words indicate that something is good for us. But oftentimes food products can be wolves in sheep’s clothing, or not so awesome for us foods disguised as health food. In this post I’ll go over a few commonly misnamed “healthy foods” and discuss why we think they’re healthy, why they aren’t, and what to eat instead. Continue reading Wolves in Sheeps Clothing – Healthy Foods That Aren’t So Healthy!
Iron deficiency anemia is a relatively common problem among athletes, especially females and teens. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 9% of adolescent and adult women have iron deficiency anemia. In addition, a small study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association from 2005 found that 36% of recreational female athletes (and 6% of male athletes) were iron deficient. In this post I’ll explain what Iron does, how much of it you need, and why you need it. Continue reading Get Some Iron!
OK, I’m not really going to tell you HOW to fail, but I will talk about a few ways you might have in the past, and how you can fix it. This may surprise a few people, but you can be overweight or at your ideal weight on any diet. I have seen a vegan patient who was very obese, while on the other hand a professor in Kansas lost 27 pounds eating nothing but Twinkies, Oreos, Doritos, and sugary cereal. While I don’t recommend this “Twinkie diet” – professor Haub was doing it to make a point about energy balance – I will say that maintaining a healthy weight and getting the best performance out of your body is based on many factors. Research has shown a variety of eating patterns including the Mediterranean diet, Paleolithic diet, and low fat diets can help people lose weight and improve health markers like cholesterol and blood sugar. No matter what type of nutrition plan you follow, there are a few key things that will help you maintain optimal weight and perform at your best. In this post, I’ll talk about some of the common mistakes people make, and how you can fix them. Continue reading How to Fail at ANY Diet – Even Paleo!
If you use facebook or twitter, I guarantee you’ve heard one “super food” claim or another. Acai berries, blueberries, pomegranate, garlic, red wine… all have at some point been reported to have magical health benefits above and beyond your average health food. Do you think there is such a thing as a “super food”? Share thoughts to comments, and read on to learn more about what a super food is and what the research says about some of the most famous foods! Continue reading Superfoods!
Have you heard…a very old diet, the Paleolithic diet, is regaining some popularity. It’s been covered by Shape Magazine, The New York Times, and ESPN Page 2, just to name a few. The first articles on this diet were published in the mid 1970’s in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. It’s been widely popularized by the CrossFit community and bloggers around the world. This post will explain the Paleo diet, discuss some of the research, and go over the pros and cons.
The Paleo diet – also known as the “caveman diet” – is a way of eating inspired by the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, the men and women who lived 2.5 million years ago, before the agricultural revolution began about 10,000 years ago and provided mankind with a steady supply of grains, corn, dairy, and domestic meat. The theory behind Paleo eating is that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat certain foods, and that many modern health problems like obesity result from the introduction of grains, dairy, and other processed foods, which wreak havoc on our metabolic systems. The diet, and it’s “allowed” and “restricted” foods, are based on anthropological research providing insight into what pre-agricultural humans ate. Continue reading To Paleo or Not to Paleo
Different seasons mean different things: fall is college football, summer is beach season, and winter is marked by the Holidays. Food used to be the same way. Have you ever noticed that Strawberries are best in the summer, that all of a sudden come September there are about 10 more varieties of apples available in the super market, and that pears are everywhere in November? Nowadays you can get most fruits and vegetables year round, imported from almost anywhere in the world, but once upon a time different seasons meant different fruits and vegetables, and if you wanted Strawberries in December, you’d better can them or make some jam. Here are a few reasons why the old way was better, why eating seasonal produce, preferably locally grown, is better for both you and the environment. Continue reading Eat in Season!
Once shunned due to its high saturated fat content, coconut has been regaining favor recently. There was a New York Times article on coconut oil last year, and it has been embraced by vegans and followers of the Paleolithic (caveman) diet alike. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut fruit and its variety of products can heal or prevent a slew of medical conditions. So can coconut really be this awesome super food or is it all hype? Continue reading Coconut – Magic Healer or Major Hype?