Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

March 27th, 2012

In America, almost 26 million people are quietly living with diabetes and almost five million are African American. Researchers tell us it’s reached epidemic proportions.

Compounding the problem, approximately 57 million people have pre-diabetes—a condition that puts them at great risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Today is the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day®— a one-day, “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by answering a few simple questions.

Are you at risk? If so, you’ll want to read Four Easy Ways to Prevent Diabetes.

Already have diabetes? Then you’ll want to learn how to Live Well With Diabetes. Remember, you don’t have to claim it – but you do need to manage it!

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions by Lauren Maksym Dietetic Intern

January 18th, 2012

Accentuate the Positive

If you’re feeling discouraged about not being able to keep your new year’s resolutions, here are some strategies that can help. If you associate a diet with “all or nothing” and deprive yourself of the foods you love, it may be harder to follow a diet.  You have to encourage yourself and make realistic goals. Try making a list of why you want to reach your goal, maybe it’s to be healthier, to feel good about yourself, to help prevent diseases or to try to control them.  Keep this list in an easy to access place, so you can always go back and look at it – especially when you feel like you need a little motivation.  Here are five other strategies that can help you keep your New Years resolutions. 

5 tips that can help you reach your goals:

Accentuate the positive. Remember to give yourself credit for positive health behaviors.  If you overeat at one meal it doesn’t mean that you failed at keeping your diet.  It just means that you should keep trying to eat healthy at your other meals during the week.  If you eat three meals everyday then that means that you eat 21 meals a week.  If you have a dietary indiscretion at one or two of them then you still have 19 or 20 meals that you ate a balanced healthy meal.  This means that you are still on the right track to meeting your health goals. 

Find joy in the moment. The key to staying healthy is to have fun doing it.  Exercising can be fun you just have to find something that you enjoy doing.  If you don’t like the thought of going to the gym, maybe you would enjoy going to the pool, playing tennis, bowling or going to a yoga studio instead.  If you still are not sure maybe just going for a walk outside to get some fresh air and clear your head will do the trick. 

Eat what you love. Meeting your health goals does not mean that you have to give up all of the foods that you love.  It just means that you should have them in moderation or once in a while is okay.  If you don’t enjoy eating celery sticks try to find fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating.  The secret to losing weight is to eat less than you usually do.  Try controlling your portion sizes, if you usually use a 12-inch plate try using a 9-inch plate instead and don’t go back for seconds.  You can also try to fill your plate with ¼ protein, ¼ starch and half of it as vegetables. 

Don’t set yourself up for failure.  If you make gradual changes it is easier to stay consistent than making drastic changes.  If you have not worked out in months, it’s not reasonable to think that you can start back up where you left off.  Instead you should gradually work up to where you left off try to do 10 minutes of walking or jogging.  According to research it can be more beneficial to have three 10-minute bouts of exercise than one 30-minute workout.  Try taking 10-minute walks after each meal to help increase your stamina, stretch your muscles and adjust your metabolism.  Gradually start doing a little more and eventually you will meet your fitness goals. 

Find your inspiration.  You have to find healthy practices that you are able to follow and that you can stick with.  Try to see what inspires you to keep on going on the right track to meeting your health goals.  Try keeping track of how long you workout for each day and when the amount of time increases each day it might encourage you.

A Time for Enjoyment Not Guilt
Guest Post by Christina Sabatino

December 7th, 2011

The holiday season should be a positive experience. It’s a time to spend with loved ones, to reflect spiritually, and to embrace family traditions. However, the holidays can bring about numerous tempting foods, many of which remind you of your childhood and the traditional celebrations you’ve shared. There’s no reason why you can’t take part in holiday festivities as long as you’re mindful of what you’re eating. The best way to take on a challenge like holiday food temptations is to be prepared. Keep in mind some of the following eating strategies. They will enable you to take pleasure in the foods you enjoy without feeling as if you’ve strayed too far from your diet plan. Remember, you’re in control.

Don’t go to a party starving. Before you leave, eat something light like a piece of fruit or low fat cheese and crackers.
Don’t sit directly next to the buffet table. Make the decision beforehand to distance yourself from the food once you’ve made your plate.
Don’t pass up favorite foods or deprive yourself. Moderation is the key.
Examine the buffet. Choose your favorites and skip your least favorites. Include vegetables and fruits to keep a balanced plate.
Bring your own healthy creation. This way, you’ll know for sure that there will be a healthy option and others can try it too.
Eat leisurely. There’s more to the holidays than the food alone. Enjoy your company and take a breath before each bite. This will help your body to know when it’s full to avoid overeating.
Got diabetes? If you happen to have diabetes make diabetes friendly choices. Be mindful of the carbohydrate content of foods. If you’re eyeing that slice of pie for dessert, designate a certain amount of carbohydrate for each course so that the slice of pie fits into your carbohydrate allowance.
• Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can reduce inhibitions, cause overeating and unexpected low blood sugar. Drinks like eggnog are calorie dense but if this is something you really like, limit to one glass.
Plan time for physical activity. Organize an activity at holiday gatherings to get both kids and adults involved.
Be realistic and don’t fret! If you overeat at one meal go easy on the next. It takes 3,500 calories to gain one pound.

Taking on holiday temptations with a plan will help to keep the experience enjoyable. Being prepared and eating mindfully keeps you in control without allowing temptations to take over.

Christina Sabatino is a dietetic intern from CW Post LI University.

National Diabetes Month

November 7th, 2011

November has been set aside as National Diabetes Month - a time to bring awareness to the seriousness of diabetes. Of course as a reader of this blog you’re well aware of diabetes, what it is, how to manage it and even how to prevent it. If you’re not a regular reader please feel free to look through previous post to learn more about diabetes.

The one area that I’ve not blogged about is diabetes terminology. Listening to diabetes experts can be like hearing a foreign language. So, I invite you to  Living Well With Diabetes  on Facebook.  There you’ll find the definitions and pronunciations for all the diabetes terms you might have read on this blog or heard from your diabetes healthcare provider.

Then, last be not least, please read my interview with Mother Love on Mother Love, the co-host of dLiveTV granted me a very open and honest interveiw on her life with diabetes.

Are you Living Well with Diabetes? Mother Love didn’t have positive role models for Living Well with Diabetes – but you can be a role model for readers of this blog. Share your story here!!

6 Simple Ways to Create
Good for You Pizza

September 5th, 2011

When you got your diabetes diagnosis, what was the first thing you thought? If you’re like many of my patients, the first thing that came to mind was: Will I be able to eat pizza?  That’s because most people equate pizza with food that is off limits, especially if you’re trying to eat healthy and manage carbohydrate intake.

The good news is, having diabetes does not mean the end of good eating or the end of eating pizza. Sure you may need to be a little creative – eating less crust and adding more veggies. But the bottom line is most people with diabetes can eat a slice of pizza – especially if you make your own.

With the array of new ingredients available including whole wheat crust, pre-cut vegetables, reduced sodium sauces and shredded part-skim and reduced-sodium mozzarella cheeses, making a nutritious pizza at home is now easier than ever.

Below are some simple tips for creating your nutritious pizza:

  • Use whole wheat flour for homemade crust or purchase whole wheat breads like pitas, tortillas and focaccia. A whole wheat crust boosts fiber content by 50% and fiber can help control blood glucose levels after meals..
  • Use canned crushed tomatoes for a quick homemade sauce or look for reduced sodium sauces in the supermarket.  Tomato sauce is an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help to prevent some chronic diseases. And you get all that benefit for just 10 grams carbohydrate per half cup.
  • Add oregano, garlic, and/or crushed peppercorn to sauce for added flavor.
  •  When it comes to cheese, there are many low-fat and reduced-sodium varieties available.  For ease, purchase pre-shredded options. Cheese is nutrient rich providing an excellent source of calcium, protein and phosphorus.
  • Sneaking in a serving of vegetables on a slice of pizza can be easy. Try pepper strips, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, asparagus or zucchini. Soften vegetables by par boiling for a few minutes or microwaving before adding to pizza. One half cup of these pizza toppers averages only 5 grams carbohydrate.
  • Lighten up toppings by substituting traditional meat toppings with grilled chicken or seafood like shrimp or tuna.

Need more help? Click here for a variety of carb friendly, nutritious pizza recipes. Already have a great pizza recipe? Share it with us!

Bon appétit!

Test! Don’t Guess

July 27th, 2011

Test! Don’t Guess – that was the rallying call at Walmart’s new Health and Wellness Stage at the Essence Music Festival July 1 – 3.

Mother Love and I on the dLife Wellness Stage

Recognizing that one in two African Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes, Walmart partnered with dLife and Johnson and Johnson to bring the fight against diabetes to the Essence Music Festival. What better place to empower African Americans to live healthier lifestyles and learn how to prevent and manage diabetes.

dLife, For Your Diabetes Life, the #1 diabetes lifestyle resource, pulled together the diabetes all stars that shared their personal stories of life with diabetes, provided tips for prevention of diabetes, and offered advice on how to live well with diabetes. Test! Don’t Guess was the mantra used by dLife to encourage attendees to take advantage of the free blood glucose screening offered onsite.

During the three days of the Health and Wellness Stage activities,   1255 attendees heeded the call – Test! Don’t Guess and were screened for diabetes.

If you have diabetes Test! Don’t Guess is particularly important for you as well. Testing helps you to see how certain foods, physical activities, and even stress levels may impact your blood glucose levels. It can also help you and your diabetes dream team understand how well your diabetes medication is working.

Generally, blood glucose should be checked two to four times a day, either before meals or two hours after meals and at bedtime. How often are you checking your blood glucose? Did you ever feel like your blood glucose was high, only to find out it was actually low? That’s why it’s so important to Test! Don’t Guess.

Diabetes Ed at Essence Music Festival

June 20th, 2011

Spicy Cajun prawns with rice and tomato salsa

The Essence Music Festival welcomes the biggest names in R & B to the New Orleans Superdome during the July 4th Holiday weekend.  Hailed as one of the largest and most influential African-American entertainment festivals, over 400,000 people flock to center stage to hear performances by Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Boyz II Men, and Fantasia… just to name a few!

And guess what? I’ll be there too!

In addition to musical entertainment, Walmart has a new Health and Wellness Stage in partnership with Johnson & Johnson and dLife. That’s where you’ll find me serving as resident diabetes expert and guest. I’ll be interviewed by dLife Co-Hosts Mother Love and J. Anthony Brown about the role of a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and my book, The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes. Also, you’ll be able to purchase an autographed copy of Living Well With Diabetes.

The Festival runs from July 1-3 and I’ll be on the Health and Wellness Stage daily from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM.  Joining me will be a host of other experts in the field of diabetes, along with celebrity guests, who will provide educational sessions and entertainment throughout the day.

So, if you’re attending the festival, please stop by the Health and Wellness Stage!

Be Careful What You Ask For

June 11th, 2011

Sound familiar?  Or perhaps “be careful what you pray for because you just might get it” rings a more familiar tone. That’s what church folk often say. And believe me it’s really something to think about. I know.

Joy & Gratitude

I prayed for a successful career and my prayer was answered – big time! That’s one of the reasons I haven’t posted anything in over a month.

For the past six months I’ve been overwhelmed with opportunity. I’ve traveled across 10 states, speaking to thousands of healthcare professionals. Sandwiched between those trips I traveled to Dublin, Ireland. There I had the opportunity to attend a food summit with the thought leaders in the food and nutrition world.

Now don’t misunderstand. I have nothing but Joy and Gratitude. I just wanted you to understand why my blog has not been updated.

Going forward, my goal is to add a blog post at least twice monthly.

But for daily health and wellness related information, you can follow me on twitter and “like” The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes on Facebook.

April – National Minority Health Month

April 28th, 2011

April is National Minority Health Month - a time set aside to bring attention to health disparities that exist in the minority population. I started Minority Health Month with an on camera interview by Brand New You host Karen Taylor-Bass. You can view the interview Living (and Eating) Well With Diabetes on

Then I had the opportunity to share my passion for creating opportunities to spread the word about health and nutrition with Avis Ward, host of The Avis Ward Show, Devoted Housewives™.  I also spoke about developing educational tools which shorthen the cultural distance between patients and caregivers. Culturally relevant educational tools are the corner stone for the elimination of health care disparities.  You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. So, how are you celebrating National Minority Health Month?

Eat Right with Color for Breakfast

March 14th, 2011
Breakfast in Dublin

This breakfast truly exemplifies the National Nutrition Month theme, Eat Right With Color.

Thanks to my friend and fellow registered dietitian, Bonnie Taub-Dix, I can share this colorful breakfast with you. The picture was taken during our recent trip to Dublin.

Creamy scrambled eggs, over grainy Irish brown bread, red vine tomatoes, and rocket salad (arugula), make for a delicious, healthy breakfast. What color is your breakfast?