American Diabetes Association Alert Day

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There are 25.8 million people (children and adults) in the United States, or 8.3% of the population, who have diabetes.  Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies.  In those under the age of 20, 1 in 400 have diabetes.  What’s even more staggering, the statistics show that 7 million cases go undiagnosed! Although this may seem alarming, we do not have to become a part of these statistics.  This month you could join many others on a quest towards awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and live a preventable lifestyle.  March 26th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day and in honor of this day I am sharing some tips to help you and your loved ones live a life free of diabetes.

  • Take the test! It doesn’t hurt to know where you stand. All it takes is 1 minute.
  • Get moving! We all know we should be active on most days of the week for 30-60 minutes, minimum.  So grab the kids and bikes and get moving! Too chilly outdoors? Get some indoor activity by doing jumping jacks, planks, bear crawls and squats.
  • Choose nutrient dense foods.  You know them! Those amazing dark colored foods from nature!  Here’s a great dark, smoothie recipe packed with antioxidants and calcium!
  • Reduce highly processed foods (eliminate if you can!)
  • Keep your weight in check.  This is one of the most important ways to ward off diabetes and many other diseases as well.

Let’s go back to what may matter the most for you, gestational diabetes.    At or around 24 weeks, your doctor will test for diabetes.  If you pass, that’s great! If not, where do you turn and how will the remaining portion of your pregnancy change?

As always, listen to your doctor first.  They will inform you on special meal planning, physical activity, and other blood glucose testing you may need as well.  Then make your close friends and family aware of your condition so as to make life a bit easier during fun gatherings.  It is vital to your health and your growing baby to keep that blood glucose in check!

The American Diabetes Association website is a great resource and they even suggest chatting with other women who have been through it.  One great tool they provide on their website is a chat forum where other pregnant woman go to and discuss their personal concerns.

Is your child at risk of diabetes, now that you have gestational diabetes? If you take good care of yourself the likelihood is low.  If the care is not taken, it could lead to macrosomia.  This is a condition where the baby is significantly larger than normal.  As should be expected, when a child is larger, it is at a higher risk of many health problems after birth and later in life.

That being said, yes, when dealing with multiples (although I do not know the statistics) the babies are lower in birth weight, so it’s likely you will not need to worry about macrosomia.  The risk of gestational diabetes is still there though, and there are still complications that could arise if your condition is not treated properly.

Considering I am not an expert in this area, I would love to hear of your experience with gestational diabetes.  How many babies did you have? Did your doctor need to put you on medications or did you do daily glucose testing at home? Did they set you up with a registered dietitian to help guide you through the process?

If there is anything this information does, I hope that you are better informed as to how to prevent the disease.  –Don’t forget to take the test!

 

My webpage of choice in creating this article was American Diabetes Association.  Read on! There are great tools there!

~Jackie

In Health: The Power of Food

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Image Credit: www.wellnessdenver.com

I know by now, you are all tired (or scared!) of the word: FLU.  Even still, I cannot help myself but to bring it up this month for the sake of fighting back.

Yes, fighting back!

How?

Through the amazing power of food!

Hippocrates was not kidding when he said this powerful quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Proven many times over, food naturally and synergistically works within our bodies to boost immunity (and of course many other amazing things).

Each day’s choice of food can only affect your health a little, but over a course of time, those daily choices become amazing rewards or detrimental consequences.  Let’s see what some of the experts say are the best food choices in the fight against the flu and other illnesses and disease.

David Grotto, RD, LDN authored a book called, “101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.”  Of those foods he addresses, I have found the following to be repetitive amongst other experts regarding the power of food and fighting the flu.

Mushrooms – They are packed with selenium.  Selenium helps white blood cells produce cytokines and beta glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber.  Both Cytokines and beta glucan help in the fight against infections. (Read more on the potential power of mushrooms here).

Garlic – It contains a phytochemical called allicin, which is an antimicrobial compound.

Yogurt – It contains good bacteria that can help destroy infections naturally.  In addition, it will help with gut integrity and with a healthy gut, you are more capable of fighting off illness.

Salmon – This power food can provide you with 360 IU of vitamin D with only a 3.5-ounce serving! Vitamin D has been found to be effective in fighting respiratory infections.

Men’s Health magazine has a great article regarding 5 fruits that will help fight the flu.  They are:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Papayas
  • Cranberries
  • Grapefruit

What’s the key component to these foods? Antioxidant power!! And a lot of it!

A local news channel in Dallas, Texas, highlighted a dietitian giving nutrition tips to ward off the flu and the common cold.  Again, the mentionable foods were grapefruit and mushrooms, but she also spoke about the power of ginger and pure cocoa powder.  You can see that segment here.

Yes, food is powerful in and of itself, but let’s not forget about proper hydration and regular exercise.  And of course, we should already be aware of keeping our hands clean and getting enough rest.

So, as a nutrition and fitness expert, and even more importantly, a mother of two school-aged children, what are my final thoughts?

  1. Eat a variety of veggies and fruit daily.
  2. Drink a lot of water, more than your typical ‘8 glasses.’
  3. Get plenty of rest.
  4. Remember, our babies need a healthy momma in order to stay healthy themselves.

For more tips on health and fitness as a busy momma, visit my blog or leave me a comment here.

 

In addition to the links I provided, I also used the book titled Understanding Nutrition, 8th Ed, by Eleanor Noss Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes, for referencing.

5 Ways to Get Your Child To Eat Their Veggies

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Resolutions-It’s all the hype right now.  Of course one of the most popular is weight loss and all that is tied to it; exercise, eating more at home, cutting back on sugar…you get the idea! So many people are caught up in the hype of eliminating too, and that can surely become a burden.  So why not try this year by adding something!
Recently I wrote an article about our kids and how to get them to eat more veggies.  http://blog.floridablue.com/five-ways-to-get-your-child-to-eat-their-veggies/ So give it a try with my simple steps and along with your kids eating more veggies, you too, will reap the benefits by adding more nutrient dense foods to your diet.  You will soon be feeling more energized and healthier! All fabulous keys to keeping up with your children.  Let me know what you think, back here on Multiples and More and feel free to link this to your blogs! Here’s to an amazing, happy, healthy New Year!
In Health,
Jackie Vega

Holiday Gift Guide –the healthy way

Were you aware that “almost 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese, and more than half don’t get enough physical activity?” (from Clemson Cooperative Extension, Healthy Holiday Gifts)

As a health and fitness professional and mother of two, I place great value on living a life full of physical activity and healthy eating! So why not join my mission of sharing and giving the gift of health to those who are special to you! Here are some ideas that I hope will jingle your gift-giving thoughts!

Food gift ideas:

  • Fruit and Vegetable Basket – What a colorful, healthy idea! If you want to make this yourself, here are some ideas: green and red grapes, apples, oranges, kiwi, colorful peppers, broccoli and some sprigs of mint and parsley! And with the recommendations at 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies a day, this will surely be a great treat!
  • Healthy Snack Jar-I just love this idea and I have to give credit to Clemson Cooperative Extension again! The idea is to take a clear, covered container and fill it with packages of healthy snacks such as: little boxes of raisins, non-fat snack bars, trail mix, 100 calorie pack crackers, dried fruit or pretzels.  Don’t forget a cute bow and gift tag to make it extra special!
  • Sweet-Tasting Spices-This is especially great for those who are sugar sensitive yet still love the sweet tastes! Grab a festive container appropriate to fill with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, anise, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and mace.  Find a great recipe online that uses one or a few of these spices to get the healthy, creative thoughts rolling!
  • New Cooking Utensils/Tools- You may even find something that you would like to add to your healthy kitchen! Some ideas are: extra cutting boards (especially to have separate ones to avoid cross-contamination), extra set of measuring spoons, universal pan lid (This is new for me too!), pinch bowls (Super fun while cooking with the kids!).

Fitness-Related Gifts

  • Pedometer-I hope you have all heard that it is recommended to walk at least 10,000 steps a day! These great little gadgets are great to keep track for running, while shopping, chasing the kids, or even in the office! How many people do you know in the medical field, who say they don’t have time to exercise? Well, they may be surprised to find out just how many steps they are (or not) taking during a busy work day.  This is a great tool for them to begin gauging!
  • Stability or Balance Ball-This has to be one of my favorites! I have used mine (3 sizes to be exact!) from before, during and after pregnancy! I used to get some of my best workouts and baby time while sitting on one and bouncing with my baby! (Be cautious of baby’s age before going ahead with this fun activity).
  • MP3 Player-I know nature is beautiful, but for many a run or walk is much more energizing with some great tunes to pass the time! There are some great mixes that will bring your step more upbeat and then bring you back down to a proper cool down.  Oh! And now there are audio books too so this gift could spark interest in almost anyone on your fit-gift list!

Some other quick ideas:

  • For kids: bikes, scooters, balls of all kinds, hula hoops, jump ropes, and yoga kits
  • For moms: bikes, running shoes (Especially great gift if the kids are getting bikes then mom can run with them!), sports gear, hula hoops (Yes! Even for you moms!), jump rope, polar watch

So remembering that everyone always has a resolution involving improvements with fitness and body physique, this is a great way to help them get started on a successful, Fabulously Fit New Year! On a side note, always keep in mind that this may not be the proper gift for everyone, so choose with care!

Happy, Healthy Holidays!!!

~Jackie

(A super special thank you to UNL Food: Food, Nutrition & Health.  This blog post was created with their great ideas at hand!! So check them out! There are many great ideas that I was not able to include.  In addition, the product links are only for ideas.  I personally do not endorse them nor use them).  

Have Yourself a Healthy Holiday!

Yes, you can!! With a little planning you can go through this fun season enjoying everything you love and avoid the extra pounds!

• Start an exercise plan now!! It does not have to be a mega-marathon in the gym, just commit (key word here fabulous moms & dads!) to some form of activity on most, if not all, days of the week! This can be as simple as running around playing in the back yard with the kids for 20 minutes. If you live in a colder climate, grab some blank paper, and have school age kiddos help you design an indoor hopscotch game…and YOU join in!! And an additional thought here, you can begin a holiday tradition of getting outdoors after family meals! Play a game of ball or just go for a walk! Being originally from upstate NY, I used to love walking outdoors in the falling snow! So there really is no excuse!

• Keep the healthiest choices of foods on hand! When you can, grab raw fruits and veggies as a snack and add them to all of your meals! YES! I said, add!! It is a much better word to hear nowadays, especially with all of these diet books telling us to cut things out! (Many times we are cutting out great nutrients!)

• When heading out to the grocery store or any errand for that matter, plan it after a healthy meal to avoid stopping for unhealthy fast food choices and impulse buying at the supermarket!

• Before heading out to the parties (because I know those invites have likely started rolling in and the office treats are being put out) eat something healthy and filling! This can be a half cup of Greek yogurt with a sprinkling of granola, half of a banana with your favorite nut butter or a half serving of your favorite fruit smoothie! (What?!?! You don’t have a favorite fruit smoothie? Check out my blog! In honor of trying to be better at keeping it current I posted a green fruit smoothie recipe today!)

• Limit the holiday dessert to one, and be mindful of serving size. Maybe try sharing with someone too! What is great that I see at many restaurants now, are the dessert minis! So think on those terms and enjoy your sweet!

• Build your own plate! Add more fruit and veg, avoid sauces, and use a dessert plate! –It’s much smaller!

• Bottom line; remember this time of year is a time for joy! So get out there (especially since you likely are having a moment away from the craziness of home!) and chat with friends, old and new!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

In Health,

Jackie

In Health: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In honor breast cancer awareness month, let’s talk about the benefits of good nutrition and an active lifestyle on cancer prevention, as well as with cancer survivors!

Estradiol and estrone are two kinds of estrogens that are reduced by low fat diets, lots of fruits and vegetables and daily exercise. So, how does this relate to breast cancer awareness? Well, overexposure of estrogen can lead to breast cancer. –and not to mention, physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet may also lead to other cancers such as colon, endometrial, and kidney cancersl!

In the event that you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you can surely benefit from daily physical activity and a healthy diet as shown in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study reported that exercise reduced mortality from all causes in breast cancer survivors by 50%, when combined with a healthy diet.

Furthermore, a study done by the University of Texas/MD Anderson Cancer Center with ovarian cancer survivors found that many were not meeting the recommended guidelines for dietary intake. And a cancer survivor (breast cancer in particular in a study done for the Womens Healthy Eating and Living Study Group) may benefit from increased levels of carotenoids. We can attain higher levels of carotenoids through an increase in fruits and vegetables! (It was shown how this may be attained with the study done at the University of Texas/MD Anderson Cancer Center).

In regards to physical activity, even something as little as walking, may reduce your risk of breast cancer, as well as keep you cancer free after treatment. (This has been found in many studies and one such study is the Nurses Health Study, where a large focus is on cancer prevention!)

Considering the readers of Multiples and More, are parents, or parents to be…you should also know that even during the prenatal stages, it is important to maintain the healthiest diet in order to keep the DNA healthy! Research done at Georgetown University had shown that breast cancers may arise from what mothers eat while pregnant!

So why not begin with our unborn babies? We may greatly reduce the incidence of ALL cancers just by making the best nutritional choices while carrying our unborn children! And let’s not stop there! Continue on that healthy, cancer free life by teaching your children to get at least one hour of physical activity on most days of the week, and choosing fresh fruits and vegetables over high-fat, overly processed foods!

As Dr. William Sears says, “Your endothelium functions as your body’s internal pharmacy.” And in order to keep our endothelium healthy, we need physical activity and lots of fruits and veggies! Dr. Sears goes on to add that natural medicines are found in our endothelium! (Check out the link! It’s amazing!)

So what do I mean by adding this? Well, if you eat mostly fruits and vegetables, and make physical activity a staple in your everyday life…you CAN ward off illnesses and disease! We individually may have the way to fight off many health ailments…IF we take better care of ourselves, our unborn children, and educate our little ones to do the same!

As always, I love the challenge of questions…so please ask away!

Follow me on Twitter @FitFab2bRD -email me at livingfitnesslife@yahoo.com

In Health,

Jackie