Saturday, December 14, 2013

5 things people with type 2 diabetes should discuss with their doctor.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects about 20 million Americans and is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack. Visiting a primary care physician is one of the most important things you can do to prevent complications from diabetes. Here are some topics you should discuss:

1. Flu shot
A flu shot is the best way to protect against the flu. It does not prevent you from getting the flu, but it can help to prevent serious complications of influenza that people with diabetes can develop. The virus is different every year, so ask your doctor every year about a shot – usually in the fall.

2. Annual foot exam
Performed by your primary care physician or a podiatrist, a foot exam includes looking for nerve changes, skin health and toenail issues. People who have diabetes have microscopic damage that occurs with elevated blood sugars to the small blood vessel – especially in the foot and eyes. Have your doctor check your feet and toenails every year, and wear shoes and cotton socks to protect your feet as much as possible.

3. Eye exams
Get an eye exam yearly to look for changes to your retina and blood vessels in the eye. Blood sugar changes can cause damage to your retina, so see an eye doctor periodically for a dilated exam. Catching these changes early can save your vision.

4. Baby aspirin
It is generally recommended that a daily regimen of 81 mg of aspirin is good for those who have diabetes because they have higher risks of heart disease and stroke. However, for people who don’t have diabetes, aspirin may not be necessary for cardiac and stroke prevention.

5. Medication for kidney protection
A small dose of a blood pressure medicine is important for people living with diabetes. Taking something now, while your kidneys are healthy, can prevent long-term kidney damage. Get your kidneys checked annually with urine and blood tests by your primary care physician.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Got Jicama?

Jicama (prounounced HIH-ka-ma) (sometimes called “yam bean” or the Mexican potato) is a large root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh. The texture is somewhere between an apple and a raw potato. But, Jicama is not at all starchy.

Jicama is rich in various nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. The highest vitamin in Jicama is vitamin C. But it also contains the minerals phosphorus, iron, and calcium.

It provides one-quarter of what’s needed daily in fiber per serving. But not just any fiber – jicama’s fiber is infused with oligofructose inulin, which has zero calories and doesn’t metabolize in the body. Inulin promotes bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods, protecting against osteoporosis. Inulin also has a probiotic role in the intestine – it promotes “good” bacteria growth that maintains both a healthy colon and balanced immunity. Because it has a very low glycemic index, jicama is a great food for diabetics, and low in calories for those interested in weight reduction.

Jicama is also an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C – 44% of the daily value per serving – and a powerful antioxidant that zaps free radicals to protect against cancer, inflammation, viral cough, cold, and infections.

Besides healthy amounts of potassium, this little powerhouse can help promote heart health, since high-potassium vegetables and fruit are linked to lower risks of heart disease. Jicama contains important vitamins like folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and thiamin, and the minerals magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.

Some of the health benefits of eating Jicama Include:

1. Lowering Cholesterol Levels
2. Boosting the Immune System
3. Controlling diabetes
4. Improving digestive health
5. Promoting bone health

As you can see, Jicama is a highly nutritious vegetable, and can provide you with many health benefits. So why don’t you give it a try? ~ Jicama is just what the doctor ordered!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Black Bean Spaghetti

Black bean spaghetti? What next? I know it sounds a bit weird, but it's true! 
I made this delicious pasta dish with spaghetti made from only two ingredients: organic black beans and water. I saw this package of Organic Black Bean Spaghetti by the brand Explore Asian sitting on the shelves of my local Whole Foods market. 

When I read its nutritional profile on the back of the package, I was sold. Each 2 ounce serving has about 180 calories, 2 grams of fat, 4 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of dietary fibers, and 25 grams of protein. Even more impressive is the fact that each serving supplies 36% of your iron and 13% of your daily calcium requirements. 
Furthermore, it is gluten-free, vegan, Kosher Parve, and USDA Certified Organic, and is healthy, versatile and simple to prepare. 


Why not give it a try? It could become your new staple food

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Metabolic syndrome (Insulin resistance syndrome) Are you WellAware? Do you know your numbers?

Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Causes and risk factors

Metabolic syndrome is becoming more and more common in the United States. Researchers are not sure whether the syndrome is due to one single cause, but all of the risks for the syndrome are related to obesity.

The two most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome are:

Extra weight around the middle and upper parts of the body (central obesity). The body may be described as "apple-shaped."

Insulin resistance. The the body uses insulin less effectively than normal. Insulin is needed to help control the amount of sugar in the body. As a result, blood sugar and fat levels rise.

Other risk factors include: Aging, hormone changes and physical inactivity (lack of exercise).

People who have metabolic syndrome often have two other problems that can either cause the condition or make it worse:

1.  Excess blood clotting
2.  Increased levels of blood substances that are a sign of inflammation throughout the body

Signs and tests

Metabolic syndrome is present if you have three or more of the following signs:

•. Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 mmHg

•. Fasting blood sugar (glucose) equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL

•. Large waist circumference (length around the waist):
Men - 40 inches or more
Women - 35 inches or more

•. Low HDL cholesterol:
Men - under 40 mg/dL
Women - under 50 mg/dL

•  Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL


The goal of treatment is to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes or medicines to help reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar.

Lose weight. The goal is to lose between 7% and 10% of your current weight. You will probably need to eat 500 - 1,000 fewer calories per day.

Get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, 5 - 7 days per week.

Lower your cholesterol using weight loss, exercise, and cholesterol lowering medicines, if needed.

Lower your blood pressure using weight loss, exercise, and medicine, if needed.

Some people may benefit from daily low-dose aspirin.

People who smoke should quit.

Expectations (prognosis)

People with metabolic syndrome have an increased long-term risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and poor blood supply to the legs.

Call your health care provider if you have signs or symptoms of this condition and get screened!  Being WellAware of your numbers and what they measure is the first step in putting together your plan to get healthier or stay healthy.


Inzucchi SE, Sherwin RS. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 237.

Monday, November 4, 2013

An Apple (Cider Vinegar) A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

There is a lot of truth in the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a powerful healing elixir that has been used for thousands of years to fight disease and maintain good health.

For over a thousand years, vinegar has been used for a multitude of reasons; as healing elixir for numerous ailment like fever, cough and colds, as antibiotic, natural detox cleansing agent, energizing drink, as preservative and condiment, antiseptic-disinfectant in cleansing wounds and instruments, for polishing armors, and even as a deodorant.

Apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals, like potassium, sodium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, and trace minerals, like, copper, fluorine, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and E, bioflavonoids, and pectin.

Testaments of its use and scientific studies prove its many and varied healing properties.  Apple cider vinegar has been reported to:

Relieve sore throat, colds, and sinus issues
Lower high cholesterol levels
help clear skin conditions and blemishes, like acne and age spots
Help eliminate toxins
Prevent allergies
Increase strength and improve stamina
Strengthen the immune system
Improve metabolism which aids weight loss
Promote digestion and help promote bowel movement
Relieve joint pain and stiffness
Treat bladder infection

Apple cider vinegar is often looked upon by natural wellness enthusiasts as a remedy for many ills. Taking a tablespoon or two of it every day is said to cure everything from gout to allergies and more. 

Here are some of the best documented and strongest health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

1. It Helps Ease Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

This is a proven apple cider vinegar cure. The probiotics in the vinegar help ease diarrhea and the pectins from the apples in the vinegar ease stomach cramps. Mix a tablespoon or two in water or your favorite juice to get the best results.

2. It Prevents Indigestion

Another proven health benefit is its ability to stop indigestion before it starts. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and sip it slowly a half hour before you eat something you know will cause you indigestion. You'll be surprised that you feel fine after eating!

3. It Helps Ease Nighttime Leg Cramps

This old folk remedy has a long history of proof to its effectiveness. Simply mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey to taste before going to bed and drink it slowly. Those nighttime cramps shouldn't bother you anymore. Do this every night before bed for continuing results.

4. It Drains Your Sinuses

Do you have a stuffy nose due to allergies or some other reason? Fix it with a teaspoon of straight apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. The harshness of drinking the vinegar without any flavoring will help drain your sinuses and clear your nose.

5. It Helps Energize You

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for beating exhaustion. The amino acids it contains counteract the buildup of lactic acid you can get after exercising or other intense physical activity. It's also full of electrolytes that help eliminate that tired feeling. Electrolytes are the same thing that are in sugary sports drinks. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in chilled water has the same energizing effect without the sugar and artificial colors and flavors.

Apple cider vinegar is also good for treating heartburn, easing the pain of arthritis, whitening teeth, and much, much more. There are entire books written on the miracle of apple cider vinegar. Even though many of its supposed benefits only have folklore to back them up, there is enough concrete evidence of its many benefits that many people take it every day as a general health tonic. Anyone looking to maximize their health could definitely benefit from a daily dose of this amazing amber liquid.

The saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is truly exemplified by the use of apple cider vinegar!

Learn more:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Mighty Mushroom

Want to improve your health and enjoy some delicious food? Then pile on the mushrooms. This superfood fights off viruses, keeps your immunity up, and adds an extra layer of flavor to any meal.

Among an estimated 100,000 varieties of mushrooms, four stand out for their potent healing properties: maitake, shiitake, reishi, and the common white button. The first three have been used in Asia for 2,000 years to treat various ailments, and the last has antioxidant levels as high as the rest. Initial findings suggest that all four support heart health and fight cancer. Maitake, shiitake, and white button mushrooms are rich in dietary fibers, including cholesterol-lowering chitin, and immunity-boosting beta-glucan. Reishi, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, is also known for boosting immunity, and for enhancing mood, relieving altitude sickness, supporting liver function, and lessening asthma symptoms.

Most people don’t associate mushrooms with muscle building should! For the muscle minded, I want to briefly focus on the anti aromatase effects of mushrooms. Aromatase (Estrogen synthase) is a dreaded word in the bodybuilding community. It is an enzyme produced by the body responsible for the synthesis of estrogen (for those who are not muscle minded, estrogen is's breaks down muscle and turns it into fat).  Mushrooms have estrogen suppression properties which have made them a popular anti-breast cancer food as well. Bodybuilders should consider stocking up on mushrooms too, the higher your testosterone to estrogen ratio, the more likely you are to build muscle and recover faster!

So if you haven’t already, fight off winter colds, build muscle, and recover faster by adding mushrooms to your plate.

Learn more at and 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where Do You Get Your Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a role in how our bodies function. Protein is an important nutrient for growth and good health. Enzymes, hormones, antibodies, collagen (used to build bone, muscle, teeth, and healthy skin) are all made from protein. As long as calorie intake is adequate, it can be easy for those who consume a plant based (vegan/vegetarian) diet to meet protein recommendations.

RDA recommendations for protein range from 0.36-0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or about 15-20% of calories. That’s roughly 48-60 grams of protein per day.

Many of us who consume a plant based diet get tired of this question…Where do you get your protein?

Here are some of the top sources of vegan (plant based) protein:

1. Vegetables- the proper foundation for all diets.
• 1 avocado – 10 grams of protein
• 1 cup of broccoli – 5 grams of protein
• 1 cup of spinach – 5 grams of protein
• 2 cups of cooked kale – 5 grams of protein
• 1 cup of boiled peas – 9 grams of protein
• 1 cup of sweet potato – 5 grams of protein

2. Legumes (also vegetables) specifically, lentils and beans, the foundation of many diets for centuries.
• 1 cup of soybeans – 28 grams (1 cup of tofu -22 grams, 1 cup of tempeh – 30 grams)
• 1 cup of lentils – 18 grams
• 1 cup of refried beans – 15.5 grams
• 1 cup of garbanzo beans (and hummus) – 14.5 grams
• 1 cup of pinto, kidney, black beans – 13-15 grams
• 1 oz. of peanuts – 6.5 grams

3. Nuts and seeds- a staple in most vegetarian and vegan diets.
• 1 oz. of cashews – 4.4 grams
• 1 oz. sesame seeds- 6.5 grams
• ¼ cup (2 oz.) of walnuts – 5 grams
• 1 oz. pistachios – 5.8 grams
• 2 tbsp. almonds – 4 grams
• Nut butters- peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter – 2 tablespoons ~ 8 grams

4. Non-dairy milk – Soy, almond, Hemp, ancient grain (rice milk) coconut, 1 cup gives you approximately 7-9 grams of protein.

5. Grains- Ancient grains, sprouted grains, multi-grains- a major part of the plant based diet.
• 1 cup of cooked Quinoa (versatile and delicious) – 9 grams
• 1 cup of cooked Amaranth (gluten-free/oatmeal alternative) – 9 grams
• 1 cup of cooked brown rice – 5 grams
• 1 cup of cooked oat bran – 7 grams
• 1 cup of cooked bulgur (used like rice in Mediterranean countries) – 6 grams
• ¼ cup of cooked wheat germ – 8 grams

6. Convenience foods- There are vegan protein powders and bars that fill in the gaps on the go.
• Hemp – 30 grams (2 scoops) of hemp powder in your smoothie give you 15 grams of protein.

7. Supplements – spirulina and chlorella are often used by vegans and vegetarians for their rich nutrient content, and protein content.

There are lots of cookbooks and websites with meal plans and inventive recipes, including many on how to make traditional dishes substituted with vegan ingredients.

Whether it’s a long term lifestyle or a short term meal plan for cleansing, eating vegan can be enjoyable and rewarding. As with any diet, it is possible to be an unhealthy vegan. The best nutritional plans, vegan or otherwise, center on raw, fresh, organic vegetables.

Still wondering where I get my protein?