8 Foods To Keep Diabetes Away

Articles November 15, 2018

8 Foods To Keep Diabetes Away

Yesterday(11/14/2018) was World Diabetes Day. Help your shoppers keep their blood sugar balanced

Diabetes is caused by an imbalance in blood sugar and impairment of insulin use, often called insulin resistance. Insulin is similar to a key that opens the door to let much needed fuel (glucose) into our cells. When we have too much blood sugar, due to diet and stress, insulin does not respond as well, and can lead to increased blood sugar readings and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is very inflammatory, and people with diabetes may develop serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and premature death.

Here are eight foods that help balance blood sugar.

Apples. An apple a day may not only keep the doctor away but may also keep insulin balanced. Apples are also loaded with quercetin, known for it’s ability to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Beans. They may just be the ideal plant based food: protein, fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats. In addition, the fiber in beans helps you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits.

Berries. One of the most blood sugar friendly fruits, berries are an excellent source of quercetin, a flavonoid, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. Berries are also rich in fiber.

Chocolate. Yes, you read that right! Cacao, raw unsweetened chocolate, improves insulin sensitivity. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. When shopping, look for raw cacao beans, nibs or powder. You can use it in a smoothie, or instead of coco powder in recipes. Get creative!

Cinnamon. Real cinnamon called Ceylon cinnamon has been clinically proven to stabilize blood sugar and to have a healing effect on the pancreas.  Studies have shown that eating just a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon a day can make cells more sensitive to insulin and convert blood sugar into energy more easily.

Oatmeal. A breakfast favorite, and for good reason. The fiber in oatmeal helps curb appetite, decreases risk for both colon cancer and high cholesterol, can help balance blood sugar.

Sweet potatoes. These spuds are deceivingly sweet, but are a rich source in complex carbs. Complex carbs help to slow the release of glucose in your blood stream to even out the spikes and dips that cause mood and energy imbalances and ultimately more sugar cravings.

Vinegar. This pungent liquid is not just for salad dressing (or cleaning the house), it actually does appear to help with blood sugar control. Arizona State University’s Nutrition Program Director, Carol Johnston PhD has been studying apple cider vinegar for years and believes it can have pronounced affects on blood sugar. Johnston says that the vinegar prevents at least some dietary starches from being digested and thus raising blood sugar.

Keep in mind that having a diet rich in all fruits and vegetables will help contribute to a healthy blood sugar balance!

Author Phil Lempert -Supermarketgurur®

Trends In Sweeteners


Natural spells sweet success for beverages

Today, educated consumers are scrutinizing their beverages for sources of sugar to cut back on the sweet stuff. Packaged Facts reported nearly 70 percent of consumers are actively scaling back on sugar consumption, and 66 percent of consumers consider sugar content when making a purchase.
Nov 14, 2018

One of today’s biggest considerations for food and beverage manufacturers is the worldwide prevalence of obesity, which has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. More than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight in 2016. Of these more than 650 million adults were obese. Overall, about 13 percent of the world’s adult population were obese in 2016.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports nearly 40 percent or 93.3 million U.S. adults and 18 percent or 13.7 million children and adolescents are obese.

The food industry can play a significant role in in promoting healthy diets. In 2012, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report outlining five goals for preventing obesity—one of which was making healthy food and beverage options available and affordable.

Though cultures around the world differ widely in their cuisines, music and traditions, there is one thing they all seem to have in common: a bit of a sweet tooth. Of the five basic tastes—sourness, saltiness, bitterness, umami and sweetness—the last one is the only one that is regarded as pleasurable across most, if not all, cultures, reported Packaged Facts in its April 2016 “Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid, 2nd Edition” report.

Where preferences for sweetness have become a problem, though, is in developed countries where added sugar is now in the hot seat as one of the main drivers for obesity and cited as a cause for many health concerns.

According to the USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), added sugars contribute almost 270 calories per day to American diets, with the highest counts reported in children, adolescents and young adults. While sweet baked goods and candy often have been blamed for increased sugar consumption, the truth is consumers aren’t eating their sweets as often as they are drinking them. Packaged Facts reported beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, and flavored waters, account for almost half (47 percent) of all added sugars consumed by the U.S. population.

The problem? While added sugar has been known to increase risk of diabetes, obesity and cavities, new research has linked increased sugar consumption with a range of other health issues like heart disease, hypertension, stroke, gout, periodontal disease, fatty liver disease and more, noted the University of California. Plus, unlike sweet baked goods and candy, which are known indulgences, added sugar has historically lurked undetected in beverages perceived to be healthy like juice, tea and flavored water. No longer.

Today, educated consumers are scrutinizing their beverages for sources of sugar to cut back on the sweet stuff. Packaged Facts reported nearly 70 percent of consumers are actively scaling back on sugar consumption, and 66 percent of consumers consider sugar content when making a purchase. In all, almost three-quarters of U.S. consumers are concerned about the amount of sugar they consume, and one-third is extremely concerned.

As a result, sales of “sugary” drinks like soda and juice are suffering. According to data from SPINS, sales of shelf-stable soda and carbonated beverages remained flat during the 52 weeks ending Aug. 12, 2018, posting 1 percent growth. However, the category’s stability is largely thanks to the excitement surrounding sodas sweetened with a blend of stevia and other natural alternatives, which posted 30.4 percent growth in sales during the same period. International brands such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are adapting, launching varieties like Coca-Cola Life and Pepsi True, both reduced-calorie colas sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia.

Juice is having a similarly rough go of it, posting 1.3 percent sales declines, thanks to subpar performances by orange juice (down 3.2 percent) and other conventional offerings. The silver lining, though, is when SPINS segments out the natural juices on the market, those sweetened with stevia posted 11.4 percent dollar increases.

Despite this, juice still has some ground to make up with consumers. The sugary stigma of juices plagues the category, as Mintel reported 41 percent of U.S. consumers who don’t purchase 100 percent fruit juice say they don’t buy it because it’s high in sugar. Of the consumers who will purchase such beverages, more than half say they read the nutritional labels. As it turns out, sugar content is rising steadily in the minds of clean label and conventional beverage shoppers as a topic to consider at retail.

Food Insider Journal’s 2018 Digital Magazine “Natural spells sweet success for beverages.”

Cognitive health

Mainting Brain Health and Cognitive Function with Minerals

Cognitive health: A lifelong opportunity


Most U.S. adults say healthy cognition is important, yet few are satisfied with their cognitive abilities, showing opportunity for natural product brands.

Steve French | Nov 16, 2018

When considering various aging topics, such as overall physical health, retirement funds, health care expenses, sufficient energy and maintaining weight, one issue consistently ranks as the most important matter among American adults: mental/brain health.

Over the past 12 years, the importance of cognitive health has grown more than 20 percent (from 61 percent in 2005 to 74 percent in 2017) among all American consumers, according to data from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Cognitive Health a Lifelong Concern for Adults

While conventional wisdom may hold that brain health is a concern reserved for later in life, NMI’s Healthy Aging Database® (HAD) revealed that recognizing the importance of cognitive health is not limited to older generations; in fact, cognitive health is important to all generations. While matures (aged 71 and older) place the highest level of importance on cognitive health (84 percent), millennials (ages 20 to 39)—even more so than Generation X (ages 40 to 51)—also exhibit high levels of concern (73 and 70 percent, respectively). And 66 percent of Boomers state that mental/brain health is a very important issue.

Put in perspective, cognition issues are the top concern among U.S. adults after heart problems. Concern over cognitive health in the general adult population is higher than concern over Alzheimer’s Disease. Whereas Alzheimer’s is generally accepted as a genetic disease primarily affecting seniors, cognitive health is perceived as lifelong health maintenance that has the potential to be maintained or improved.


With the proliferation of brain games, smart foods and cognitive dietary supplements available on the market, consumers have ample options from which to choose their personalized plan.

The Fear Factor

Just under half the American population (46 percent) fear losing mental/brain capacity as they age. The level of fear has remained relatively consistent during the past dozen years, suggesting that fear of losing cognitive capability is being more accepted (or just something that will have to be dealt with if an issue arises). Fear of cognitive decline increases with age, with 42 percent of millennials fearing such loss, compared to over half of Boomers and matures.

Triple Threat—the Relationship Between Cognitive Health, Stress and Anxiety

Management and treatment of memory, concentration and cognitive function remained stable over the past decade among most adults, however it is steadily increasing among millennials, up almost double from 2007 to 2017. Currently, millennials (7 percent) and Gen X (8 percent) report the highest levels of managing memory, concentration and cognitive functions, compared with fewer than 6 percent of Boomers reporting that they currently treat these cognitive functions. Not surprisingly, millennials and Gen X also claim to manage significantly more stress and anxiety than Boomers. According to NMI’s 2017 HAD, one-quarter of millennials and Gen X treat stress, compared to less than 13 percent of Boomers. Similarly, anxiety is treated by 27 percent of millennials and 22 percent of Gen X, significantly more than Boomers (12 percent). Could there be a link between stress, anxiety and cognitive health, especially among younger generations that may be feeling the pressure to prove themselves and/or perform in the workplace and among their peers?

Opportunities for Change, Disrupting Deterioration

Eight out of 10 adults feel they are taking more personal responsibility for their health now compared to 10 years ago. Of those, two-thirds agree one reason they are taking more responsibility is so they can be in their best mental health; Boomers (71 percent) and matures (73 percent) are only slightly more likely to agree than their younger counterparts.

Millennials and Gen X think proactively regardless of whether they act on their beliefs. Forty-one percent of millennials and Gen X are significantly more likely than other generations to strongly agree they desire a nutritional supplement or ingredient to keep memory and brain function healthy. Given that those under 40 are looking for solutions, this makes them a receptive target market for cognitive supplements or fortified food and beverage products. This compares to one-third of Boomers, suggesting either their lack of belief in supplement efficacy for cognitive health, or concern that it may be “too late” to effect a meaningful change.

Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of U.S. adults feel mental/brain health is important. Compared to satisfaction levels, a wide gap is clear. On average, only one-third (32 percent) of adult consumers are very satisfied, creating unmet need states and respective opportunities across the supply chain.


Lack of satisfaction compared to perceived importance is consistent across all age groups. Millennials (43 percent difference), Gen X (42 percent), Boomers (43 percent) and matures (39 percent) all show large gaps between importance of and satisfaction with cognitive health. Based on these gaps, consumers may benefit from products and services geared toward mental performance at all stages of their adult lives. With the addition of their proactive beliefs, consumers under 40 are prime targets for many companies to provide new products and ways for consumers to maintain cognitive health and fight mental deterioration.

Cognition is clearly a lifelong challenge, which in turn creates opportunities for a health benefit platform with innovative solutions for all.

Steve French (steve.french@nmisolutions.com) is a managing partner at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI). NMI is a strategic consulting, market research and business development firm specializing in the health, wellness and sustainability marketplace.

The Truth Behind Emotional Eating

You’re stressed about the work you see piling up around you, so you grab a bag of chips and prepare to pull an all nighter. It has happened to the best of us, but what triggers a late-night junk food eating session, and how can you put a stop to it? 

The first way to cut the junk food habits is to acknowledge when the fall outs occur. If they tend to happen late at night, a study published by Brigham Young University may explain why. 

According to the study, the brain’s response to food is lower the later it is. This means that those chips you decided to have as a late-night snack because you had a stressful week will not seem super satisfying.

Travis Masterson lead author of the study explains what the research concludes, “It may not be as satisfying to eat at night so you eat more to try to get satisfied.”

Recognizing that food will not stimulate your brain in the same way and therefore will seem less satisfying can help you become self aware. You may think you are hungry, but step back, drink some water, or choose a healthier option — believe us your body will thank you. 

If you find yourself slipping at other times of the day, you may be eating less because you are hungry and more because you are stressed. 

Read more: http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/the-truth-behind-emotional-eating.html/?a=viewall#ixzz3l3oOAZHy


A recent study from Cornell University shows how people who are in high-stress situations or in a negative mood reach for junk rather than a healthy snack. The reason behind emotional eating comes from your body desiring immediate satisfaction rather than recognizing long-term goals and needs. 

While stress and negativity triggers the immediate concern of turning a frown upside down, happier emotions trigger long-term goals and overall satisfaction. 

How does this translate through food, you ask? Well, junk food is usually richer and results in immediate satisfaction. By creating pleasure through sweets and junk food, you are deciding to eat based on how you feel right then and there.

Reaching for food when you are in a positive mood, triggers the opposite. When you reach for a snack when you are happy, you usually prefer healthy foods because a positive mood puts weight on long term goals and healthiness. 

According to the study, “When making a choice between indulgent or healthy foods, a positive mood will result in healthier food choices due to greater consideration of long term or abstract goals.”

We know everyone needs to indulge in a guilty pleasure once in a while, but being aware of not only when you are eating, but also why you are eating, could prove to make a huge difference in your habits. 

Overall, both studies show that taking a step back from the kitchen, having a glass of water, and really contemplating why you are eating and what you are eating can make a huge difference in your overall diet and strategy. Self awareness is at the root of both studies and shows that sometimes eating healthy comes down to mind over matter.
Read more: http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/the-truth-behind-emotional-eating.html/?a=viewall#ixzz3l3qUkht8

BMI and Body Fat Percentage – Not Created Equal

How to Measure Body Fat Using a Tape Measure

Many of us are familiar with BMI (Body Mass Index) charts which tell us, supposedly, if our body mass is healthy, underweight or overweight.    

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “BMI is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height and is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. While BMI does not measure body fat directly, research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).” BMI is an easy-to-calculate method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems. The Internet is rife with BMI calculators. Here is a link to the CDC’s calculator for adults and children/teens: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/

The chart, below, lists the standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults:


BMI Weight Status
Below  18.5 Underweight
18.6 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.0 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese


The problem with relying only on BMI is that it is a very one-dimensional picture of a person’s body composition. For example, there are people who may have a BMI in the Normal range, but are actually fat as determined by body fat testing. Conversely, there are people who are deemed obese or overweight, who, in fact, are very lean with minimal body fat. This is because BMI does not take into account how much body weight is muscle and how much is fat. 

This is why it is important to consider body fat percentage in addition to BMI. Body fat percentage is calculated by dividing fat mass by body weight. This calculation can lead to results that not only don’t match the BMI categories, but in some cases, if not made known to the affected individual, could lead to undiagnosede health problems.  

For example, two women are both 5 feet 4 inches tall with a BMI of 24. But if woman #1 has 42 pounds of body fat and 98 pounds of lean mass, she has 30% body fat. This is what is often refered to as normal weight obesity. If woman #2 has only 28 pounds of body fat and 112 pounds of lean mass, her body fat is only 20%. Same weight + same height does not always equal the same composition of fat to lean mass.   

On the other side of the coin, you have people who are incorrectly labeled as overweight or obese according to a BMI chart, especially athletes. My 16-year old son, who works out regularly as a high school football player, is a prime example. According to a BMI chart, he is Overweight. But after measuring his body fat with calipers (which was not easy to do because the kid has almost no fat on him) he falls into the Athlete range on the Body Fat chart (see below). By the way, is there some reverse genetic engineering process that will allow him to pass this trait to his mother? Just asking.  

Body Fat Categories

Classification Women Men
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

While the ultimate way to test body fat is via underwater weighing or x-ray absorption as mentioned above, unless a friend or neighbor has x-ray vision or is an expert with his or her own water tank and highly sensitive equipment, and you don’t mind being stark naked – which is required for the water test, these means of measurement are not practical for the majority of people. However, you can measure your body fat, albeit somewhat less precisely, in the comfort of your own home by simply using a tape measure or body fat calipers (you can purchase basic calipers online for a few dollars – check out amazon.com). Body fat calipers require a bit of practice and unless you are a contortionist, someone to assist you with  measuring certain locations, like your lower back.  

Here’s a link on how to measure body fat using a tape measure: http://www.ehow.com/how_4869405_measure-fat-using-tape-measure.html  

If you want to use body fat calipers, you might want to visit this web site for information on how and where to take measurements: http://linear-software.com/online.html 

For many of us, BMI is a good indicator as to whether or not we are at a healthy weight, underweight or overweight. But, if you are more athletic or simply want a more precise indication of your ratio of lean tissue to fat, I recommend taking a few minutes to take your measurements. The results might prove comforting or might motivate you to make changes to improve your overall health and fitness.

And We Wonder Why We Are Getting Fatter

The headlines in recent days paint a very bleak picture:

USA is fattest of 33 countries (USA Today)

Obesity epidemic ranges on (Washington Post)

Unhealthy eating and inactivity are  leading causes of death in the US
(US Department of  Health & Human Services)

Leon's getting larger.

According to health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, U.S. obesity rates have increased in the past 10 years even though the government set a goal of reducing obesity rates to 15% of the population by 2010. Fail.

Obesity rates inched up 1.1% between 2007 and 2009, according to a new report released by the CDC. In just the past two years, 2.4 million people have joined the ranks of the obese. About 72.5 million U.S. adults are now obese, the report found. That’s 26.7% of the population, compared to 25.6% in 2007.

“The prevalence of obesity and abdominal obesity remains disturbingly high among adults in the United States, and our trend analysis shows that both may still be increasing among men,” the CDC researchers said.

To top it all off, Americans now have the dubious distinction of being the fattest nation among 33 advanced nations. Fail.

And some people scratch their heads and wonder why this is happening. There are several possible answers but, in my humble opinion, there is one very simple one: we eat too much (and much of what we eat is junk) and we don’t exercise. Check out this video from ABC News. It’s only 2-1/2 minutes long but says so much about what/how much we eat in this country and demonstrates how easy it is, if you’re not engaged in maintaining your well being, to go completely overboard when it comes to calories and fat. You can actually see and hear the immediate physical results of eating this disastrous “meal”. Seeing the fat content in the reporter’s blood sample is amazing and scary at the same time.

What Exactly Does a 6,190 Calorie Lunch Do to Your Body?

And this is just lunch! What happens when you eat breakfast and dinner? While this story aired in 2009, things haven’t improved much at many chain restaurants. The most recent assault on our health: fried lasagna from the Olive Garden, described as Parmesan-breaded lasagna pieces, fried and served over Alfredo sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese and marinara sauce. This heart-attack-waiting-to-happen includes 1,030 calories and 63 grams of fat (that’s 97% of your recommended daily intake), not to mention 121 grams (105%) of saturated fat and 150 milligrams (67%) of sodium. And this is just an appetizer!

Olive Garden does have a couple of less life-threatening items on the menu, but why are they offering food that should only be found at a state fair? Is this responsible behavior? Who thinks up these concoctions? Is there a group of sadistic chefs out there who are trying to kill us with inhumanely large portion sizes, fried in fat and soaked in salt with almost zero nutritional value? It seems like a very poorly thought out business plan—if you kill your customers, how do you expect to stay in business? Perhaps menus should come with warnings like cigarette packages do: This product is known to cause diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Or maybe there should be a rule: if you create a meal-time monstrosity, you must create a nutritious meal to keep the balance.

Restaurants say they are giving customers what they want. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who wants to die early from heart disease, diabetes or any other obesity-related disorders. How about caring enough about customers to help them lead healthy lives. You can leave the Alfredo sauce and chocolate chip cookies on the menu, just post the nutritional info and keep the portion sizes reasonable. And for those of us who don’t want to see fat floating in our blood, give us a nice piece of fish, chicken or lean meat prepared with delicious herbs and spices—not fried in fat and drowned in sodium.

It’s time we start taking accountability for what we put in our bodies. It’s so simple. Watch your portion sizes, count your calories, read nutritional labels, and get some exercise. And let your favorite restaurants know that you want healthier food in healthier portions. Your dollars matter—exercise your voice and your wallet, too.

Officials at the CDC are now developing targets for reducing obesity by 2020. Let’s hope we get a passing grade the next time.

MyPlate is Full

About a month ago, I decided to research the various calorie counter applications available for smart phones and computers. I experimented with a couple of different applications, but they all seemed very limited when it came to both the food database and functionality. Then I discovered MyPlate on the LIVESTRONG web siteMyPlate is available for free online and you can upgrade to a Gold membership to get some additional functionality. The mobile application, Calorie Tracker, is available for several smart phones for $2.99. I’ve been using both versions for about one month and have been especially pleased with the web site.

The Web Site

The web site has a clean design and is easy to use (unlike other sites which were so crammed with information I didn’t know where to start). You begin by entering your personal information (height, weight, etc.), goals such as weight loss, and activity level. You then log in your food and fitness activities each day. The food and activities databases are excellent! MyPlate boasts the largest food (700,000 foods and beverages) and fitness (1,500 activities) databases online. I would have to agree. It also allows you to enter new products into the database, assemble ingredients into a recipe so you don’t have to log in individual items each time you have a particular dish, and you can manually log in your food and fitness activity in the event you can’t find a match in the database.

I have found the chart, below (part of the free web site program), to be very motivational. It really helps with my accountability. When I originally started the program I used a standard 2,000 calories-per-day goal, but just recently changed it to meet my specific goal (maintaining my current weight) so it now reflects a 1,756 calories-per-day requirement.  As you can see, the Calories Over Time function allows you to view your recommended daily calories, actual calories consumed and net calories, which is calculated when you input your fitness activities for the day, for the past 10 days. This visual cue has proven very helpful in reminding me of what and how much I am eating and exercising. I have two names for this chart: Doh! or Yes! About four weeks ago I had a Doh! moment when I saw just how many calories I had eaten in one day – 3,500+! It’s amazing how quickly calories can sneak up on you – even when you are eating what you think is a healthy salad. If I was smart, I would have asked for the nutritional information for the wolf in sheep’s clothing salad before I ordered so I could have made a better choice. Such is the gift of hindsight. We are all entitled to occasional “fun” days when we let ourselves indulge a little, or, on this particular day, a lot. Looking at the chart reminds me when I need to get back on track.

my plate calories

Calories Over Time

While losing weight is not one of my goals, I have lost 2 pounds in the last month by simply being aware of what I am eating.

The online version is a very robust application and the vast majority of functionality is free – but you do need to put up with advertisements. However, the ads are offset by the large amount of information and health and wellness tools available – too many to list in this blog post – on MyPlate as well as the LIVESTRONG web site in general. There’s even a MyPlateD for diabetics.

If you sign up for a Gold Membership ($45/year or $29.95/6 months) you get a few added benefits including the ability to export your information (so you can share it with your doctor or trainer), no ads, priority support and some additional functionality, including:

  • Set Custom Nutrient Goals: maybe you are watching your sodium or cholesterol, or need to load up on carbs for a big race.

  • View your Daily Nutrition Chart: choose calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, calcium, vitamin A, sodium, cholesterol, sugars, or dietary fiber. The chart below is a personal example of my dietary fiber intake for today.

nutrition by day
Nutrition Breakdown by Day – Fiber

There is also a feature called Week at a Glance where you can see what you ate for the past seven days in a menu-style format. Honestly, I don’t see the value in this feature. If anyone from LIVESTRONG happens upon this post, please contact me and tell me what I am missing.

The Smart Phone Application

I can only speak to running the app on a BlackBerry Tour – it is difficult to navigate and easy to make mistakes (I couldn’t figure out how I was up to 1,170 calories from a banana and yogurt. Apparently, I had input 10 servings of yogurt instead of one). It does sync with your desktop, so that’s good. While $2.99 is certainly not a huge expenditure, I recommend saving your money and using your phone’s notepad to jot down what you ate and then enter the information when you get to your laptop/desktop. The experience is likely quite different on different phones so perhaps it’s worthwhile for others. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post – I looked at several other web sites and applications but found nothing as robust and easy to use as MyPlate. Plus, you get so much more, for free, on the LIVESTRONG web site. I can’t imagine using anything else. I hope you will give it a try and that it makes a difference in helping you to achieve your nutrition and fitness goals.

Places to Find Races

cypress runners

City of Cypress 5k/10k Run/Walk

One of KeepWell’s core philosophies is participating in community events where we can talk with our customers, promote health and wellness, and support causes that are close to our heart. To accomplish this we research events in the Southern California area to determine where and when we can participate. We use several online resources to help with this task and I thought you might be interested to learn how you can find events in your community.

There is one site in particular, active.com, that serves as a nationwide database for all sorts of events: from ultra-marathons and 100-mile bike races to fitness expos and 2k dog walks. You can search by city to locate events in your area. In addition to races, active.com also has information on team and individual sports and is an excellent resource for training, nutrition, injury prevention and many other fitness-related topics. Many event promoters use active.com to handle event registration, too.

There is also bikeride.com and runningintheusa.com (I think the names speak for themselves). There is some duplication between each of these sites and active.com, but there are several events that are only listed on one site so it’s good to check more than one list. Another good resource is your local parks and recreation department as they typically list city-sponsored events.

If you’ve never participated in a fitness-related event, don’t be intimidated. While many events are labeled as a “race” you absolutely do not need to compete against anyone other than yourself to reap the benefits. And if a race is very physically demanding, such as 10k trail run for elite runners, the event web site will let you know so you don’t get in over your head. What’s important is that you get out there and exercise. Set a reasonable goal for yourself. For some people, this may be running a half-marathon in under 90 minutes, for others it might be walking a 5k without stopping. We all have to start somewhere. Pick an event that sounds like fun – maybe it’s a bike ride along the coast or a mud run where you get covered in muck. Or support a cause that is meaningful to you. Whatever makes you happy will make it more enjoyable and meeting your goals easier.

KeepWell is very fortunate to be able to take part in community-based events and we hope to see you out there enjoying yourself. Please check our web site, Facebook page and this blog for details on KeepWell’s participation in these upcoming events:

Lap the Lakes 5k Fun Run
Saturday, September 18
Santee, CA

Malibu Canyon Dirt Dash
Saturday, September 25
Calabasas, CA

Rubber Boot Race
Saturday, October 2
Tustin, CA

Promenade on the Peninsula
Sunday, October 10
Rolling Hills Estates

Change Is Good – Until It Gives You a Blister


Protect Your Tootsies

I belong to a gym that offers several different types of group exercise classes. While many of these classes are of interest to me, the schedule never seems to work in my favor so I haven’t had a chance to give any a try. But due to a one-time hiccup in my usual schedule, I was able to attend a turbo kick boxing class this week. I was very excited to try something different from my usual gym workout.

While the class was more of a hyper-speed aerobic workout (with a few punches thrown in for good measure) than a traditional kick boxing workout – it was an effective cardio workout nonetheless. Just when I started getting the hang of when to cross and when to jab, I realized the ball of my right foot was starting to get sore. A few minutes later, I knew I was starting to form a blister. Apparently, all of the bouncing and pivoting on the balls of my feet, which I am not used to, combined with my thicker workout socks, was my body’s way of saying thank you for changing up my workout routine.

While the blister isn’t too bad, nothing like the cringe-inducing, fluid-filled behemoth in the film Run, Fat Boy Run (excellent movie, by the way), it still needs to be dealt with so I did some research on blister prevention and treatment. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following treatment:

Don’t puncture a blister unless it’s painful or prevents you from walking or using one of your hands. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, call your doctor before considering the self-care measures below.

To relieve blister-related pain, drain the fluid while leaving the overlying skin intact. Here’s how:

  • Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
  • Swab the blister with iodine or rubbing alcohol.
  • Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use the needle to puncture the blister. Aim for several spots near the blister’s edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover with a bandage or gauze pad.
  • Cut away all the dead skin after several days, using tweezers and scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Apply more ointment and a bandage.

Call your doctor if you see signs of infection around a blister — pus, redness, increasing pain or warm skin.

Active.com suggests the following preventative measures:

  1. Spread petroleum jelly or talcum powder over areas which develop blisters frequently. This will cut the friction.
  2. Change socks, shoes or road surfaces that cause the problem.
  3. Pad areas of your foot which protrude with foam padding, moleskin, or other products made for this purpose.
  4. For chronic problems, you can relieve pressure points with shoe modifications or orthotics.

The gift of hind sight is 20/20. The next time,  if there is a next time, I will try a little petroleum jelly and wear my running socks which are thinner and form fitting . I’m off to sterilize my needle now. Wish me luck!

You Can’t Judge a Food by Its Color – or Can You?

cheese puffs

This color should raise a red flag, or at least an orange one.

I remember the first time I heard about artificial food coloring. I was about 8 years old, and my friends and I had been told that Bubble Yum bubble gum (only THE best bubble gum on the planet) was going to be pulled from the shelves because it contained Red Dye No. 2, a suspected carcinogen. It was a chance we were willing to take, especially since we really didn’t understand the chance we were taking. We just wanted to blow bubbles the size of our heads. The FDA banned Red Dye No 2. in 1976 but, thankfully, Bubble Yum lived on.

So what is artificial color? According to the FDA, artificial colors, or color additives, are synthetically produced (or human made) and used widely because they impart an intense, uniform color, are less expensive, and blend more easily to create a variety of hues. Well, if you put it that way, I’m just fine with food manufacturers using artificial, petroleum-based (yum) colors instead of natural colors like paprika, beets, carmel or blueberries <insert sarcasm here>.

There are currently 9 synthetic dyes that the FDA has approved for use in food. The list includes: Blue 1, Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. There have been several other dyes that were once on the approved list, but with additional testing, they were delisted as they were found to be hazardous in some way. For example, at one time specific red and orange dyes were used to make oranges more orange. But these specific artificial colors were taken off the market.

So why would someone want to color and orange more orange? Well, to sell more oranges, of course. Would you rather buy a perfectly orange orange, or one that was slightly yellow? The more appealing and attention getting, the more likely you are to purchase. This is often why you see so many brightly colored candies and drinks in products targeted at children. But ask yourself, when is the last time blue raspberry was a color found in nature? And if you’ve ever made macaroni and cheese from scratch and compared it to the bright orange powder that comes out of the box, I think you get my point.

It’s important to remember that just because a label says “natural” doesn’t mean ALL natural. There may be only one natural ingredient in the product. Several of the ingredient flavors and colors may, in fact, be artificial. Artificial colors are prevalent in so many foods, even foods you might associate with being healthy. I was shocked to find artificial colors used in my super model-endorsed yogurt. I’ve decided to look for another brand. All you have to do to check for artificial food colors is read the label.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the possible ties between ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children and artificial colors. There have been two large scale studies conducted in Britain to study the effects of artificial colors on children. While there is not conclusive evidence to prove a connection, there was enough concern that a European Union regulation was passed requiring a warning statement (“may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children“) on foods that contain at least one of six dyes. According to John E. Huxsahl, M.D. with the Mayo Clinic, “There’s no evidence that food additives cause attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but an increasing number of studies show that certain food colorings and preservatives may cause or worsen hyperactive behavior in some children.”

With regard to the current 9 artificial colors that are allowed by the FDA, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) believes there could be serious flaws with some of the testing. While all food colors (natural and artificial) must be approved by the FDA, artificial colors must pass tests to show that they are safe and don’t contain cancer-causing substances. But the FDA tests don’t always work as intended. According to CSPI, “Fifteen years ago, FDA and Canadian government scientists discovered that most of the carcinogen benzidine that can contaminate Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 is bound to molecules in the dyes. So routine FDA tests, which look only for “free” benzidine, fail to detect it. And the dyes are sometimes contaminated with 100 to 1,000 times more bound than free benzidine.” Yikes!

Fortunately, the world of natural colors is starting to grow. As more consumers raise their voices and demand healthier products, manufacturers are starting to utilize new, natural flavor sources like purple sweet potatoes, cochineal insects (yep, ground up bugs), and blue gardenias (which are not yet approved for use in foods in the U.S.).

Like you’ve read so many times before on this blog – it is VERY important to read labels. While you’re reading the label for nutritional information, be sure to read the list of ingredients and look for artificial flavors and colors. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want to eat it. Remember, the natural color of mint ice cream is not kermit-the-frog green and there is nothing natural about neon orange cheese puffs.

February 2019
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