With all the conversation about the need for health care reform, there are no better places to focus our efforts and energy than on the prevention and better management of diabetes by supporting people's and society's work on living healthier lifestyles. Both obesity, often the predecessor to pre- and type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes eat up a massive piece of the healthcare dollar pie. A focus on prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes could offer us big benefits for our bucks!
A key, yet woefully underreported, conclusion to many health behavior change studies in the areas of weight, diabetes and/or blood pressure management; point to the importance of consistent and continuous support over time. This has evolved to be an essential component to help people achieve their health goals and support their efforts to continue practicing new found healthy lifestyle behaviors.
On Sept 30 California’s governor signed the first state-wide legislation to require chain restaurants with more than 20 locations to offer up key nutrition facts, such as calories, saturated fat, carbohydrate and sodium, at the point of purchase (right next to the price of the item on menus or menu boards). No longer will the availability of this information on websites, on posters or in brochures be sufficient. The legislation goes into effect July 2009 and takes full effect in 2011.
When it comes to food scales, there’s low-scale and up-scale. The low-scale ($5 - $10) type postage or “diet” scales simply help you figure a food’s weight. That’s valuable information. For example, when you weigh meats, you not only zero in on the portion you should eat but you also 'see' what certain amounts of food look (and should) look like. This improves your guestimating (as I call it) skills both at home and when you eat out.
Myfoodadvisor tm (www.diabetes.org/myfoodadvisor.html), just released by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), offers people with diabetes, and those looking to eat healthier, a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate nutrient database with a bundle of tools. At its core, it's a nutrient database for 5,000 commonly eaten basic ingredients, fresh and frozen foods, packaged foods and restaurant foods from a few large chains.
Now back home from an extended (and delightful) camping vacation in the great and grand National Parks out west, I'm pleased to note that one can still tank up on those 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables even when food selection is narrowed down to what fits in the cooler and the dry box. As they say, where there's a will, there's a way!
A few discoveries along the trail:
Key learnings from my recent attendance at the American Diabetes Association meeting are sinking in. One clear take away on the nutrition front is the push to eat more fiber for all its health benefits including disease prevention, increased satiety, help with weight control and more.
Fresh, crisp and dirt-laden salad greens, crunchy baby bok choy, red radishes with the greens still attached and garden green snow peas…a sampling of items in my bag of goodies delivered by a local Virginia farmer. We’ve begun to enjoy the harvest from a share in community supported agriculture. Our local farmer sends an alert with the items to expect along with recipes and preparation pointers. Each week will be a surprise and will teach us the growing seasons for varied produce. Best yet, we'll relish the tastes of just picked.