National Nutrition Month: 10 great resources for diabetic recipes

National Nutrition Month: 10 great resources for diabetic recipes

March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, keeping taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal.  If you happen to be diabetic, this can be more of a challenge, but living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived.  The internet is full of great websites dedicated to diabetes management, food choices, and wonderful recipes.  Here are 10 of our favorites:

1. American Diabetes Association – MyFoodAdvisor®

Kid Friendly Chicken Fingers

Kid-Friendly Chicken Fingers from MyFoodAdvisor

This is the ultimate go-to site for not only recipes, but also meal planning, how-to videos, food and kitchen tips, and more.  The healthy and tasty recipes are categorized by budget-friendly, foodie & quick, featured cookbook recipes and even gluten-free recipes.  These Kid-Friendly Chicken Fingers are something the whole family will like.  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.



 2. Diabetic Gourmet Magazine™

Irish Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables

Irish Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine

This wonderful magazine features much more than recipes.  They offer diabetic news, healthy living articles, and many resources.  You can sign up on their website to get a daily recipe via email. Their recipe archive includes delicious recipes for diabetics, including dessert recipes (like cake and cookie recipes), dinner recipes, diabetic-friendly holiday recipes and so much more.  With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, how about trying their Irish Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables.  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.


3. A Sweet Life


Cookie Pizza from

A Sweet Life is so much more than a recipe website.  Created by a couple, both of whom have type 1 diabetes, this website offers lifestyle tips, news regarding diabetes, blogs by real people with diabetes or caring for others who have diabetes, and more.  Recipes are all beautifully photographed and have nutrition information.  Looking for a dessert idea?  Try this wonderful Cookie Pizza!  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.


4. dLife

amaretto dip

Amaretto Dip from dLife

Like the above-mentioned websites, dLife offers just about everything there is to know about staying healthy and living well with diabetes.  You can learn how to manage your blood sugar, prevent and treat both highs and lows, and avoid diabetic complications, and find practical solutions to the everyday issues you face in your home, workplace, and beyond.  It also has loads of terrific recipes.  Looking for a yummy dip to serve at your next party?  Check this out….Amaretto Dip With Strawberries.  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.

5. DiabeticLifestyle

chicken soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup from diabetic lifestyle

This site also has great daily living articles, blogs and gives solid advice on exercise, among other things.  Recipes are neatly organized, have full nutrition information, and easy to follow directions.  How about a nice Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup to warm you up on a cold day?  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.




6. Diabetes Forecast®

pork tostadas

Pork Tostadas – from Diabetes Forecast

Diabetes Forecast® Magazine is another great source of information for anything and everything about diabetes.   The website is full of diabetes-related news,  great articles on health, fitness, food, and more.  The recipes are beautifully presented with clear and easy to follow directions, beautiful photographs and full nutritional information.  They even have ReadSpeaker on their site, so that you can actually listen to the text, which is perfect for those with vision issues.  In the mood for Mexican food?  Try these great looking Pork Tostadas. Click here or on the photo for the recipe.

7. Diabetic Living®

chiken and corn

Grilled Chicken and Creamy Corn from Diabetic Living

Diabetic Living® Magazine online version provides not only recipes, but also articles on nutrition, weight loss, blood sugar facts, medications, diabetes-related news and tips, and more.  They’ve got lots of wonderful looking quick and easy dinner recipes, like this Grilled Chicken and Creamy Corn.  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.



8. Diabetic Connect


Dutch Oven Beef Stew from Diabetic Connect

What a great site for those with diabetes to connect with others going through the same issues!  There are discussion groups for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, medications, diabetes control, diet, treatments and much, much more.  You can even “ask an expert” something that’s bothering you or you can browse and search hundreds of already answered questions.  And so many delicious looking recipes! How about this tasty looking stick-to-your-ribs Dutch Oven Beef Stew?  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.

9. Cooking Light


Balsamic Glazed Green Beans with Pearl Onions from Cooking Light

You don’t necessarily think of diabetic recipes when you think of Cooking Light Magazine, but it makes sense.  Many low-cal and low-carb recipes that one would use to lost weight also translate into being healthy for people with diabetes.  In fact, they have a whole section devoted to diabetic recipes, everything from appetizers to salads to entrées to desserts.  There’s also a complete nutrition section with many helpful tips for the diabetic diet.  Here’s a great looking side dish; Balsamic-Glazed Green Beans and Pearl Onions.  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.

10. Information About Diabetes

Herbed Crab Cakes.news2

Herbed Crab Cakes from Information about Diabetes

Last, but definitely not least, is a resource for people with diabetes and related issues.  They provide providing concise, up-to-date information, news, articles, videos, blogs, a meeting place for diabetes patients, and they’ve got recipes galore.  These Herbed Crab Cakes look delightful!  Click here or on the photo for the recipe.



The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

National Nutrition Month: 5 foods to add to your cooking arsenal

March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, keeping taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal.  In keeping with that theme, here are 5 great foods to add to your cooking arsenal, if you haven’t already.


avocadoAvocados are a delicious, creamy superfood that are often overlooked because people think they’re too fattening.  However, this wonderful fruit contains more protein than any other fruit and is high in healthy monosaturated fats, folate, potassium, vitamin E and the antioxidant lutein.  These things can help protect your body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases,  contribute to better blood flow and reduced blood pressure.  Avocados are delicious eaten plain with salt and pepper, and can easily be incorporated into many recipes, including salads, omelets, dips, and more…including smoothies!  Add half an avocado to smoothies to add creamy texture and nutritional boost.


blueberries2Blueberries are not only a sweet treat, but they’re also packed with disease-fighting phytochemicals, flavinoids and soluble fiber.  They are rich in vitamin K and dietary fiber, and are believed to promote brain health and reduce cancer risk.  By protecting the brain from oxidative stress, blueberries may also help prevent the onset of age-related diseases.  In addition to making a wonderful snack, blueberries are often used in desserts, pancakes, muffins, jams and sauces.  Try tossing some in your salad or smoothie.


Kale-2Kale, a cruciferous vegetable, is becoming increasingly popular as a nutritional powerhouse.  Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium.  It also contains three times more lutein and zeaxanthin than spinach.  Steaming kale yields the greatest nutritional benefits, but it may also be stir-fried, sautéed or boiled, added to salads or used to replace spinach or collard greens in recipes. It is widely believed that consuming kale lowers one’s risk for cancer and aids in the body’s detoxification system.


pomegranatePomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and fiber, rich in vitamins C and K, potassium, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.  They are mainly available fresh in the fall.   About the size of an apple, the deep red fruit is filled with jewel-toned seeds held in place with a spongy membrane.   The seeds are sweet-tart and crunchy, and are the only part of the plant that is edible.  Squeeze for ruby red juice to use in sauces, marinades and dressings or eat the seeds plain, with fruits, on salads, or atop low-fat yogurt and desserts.

Sweet Potatoes

sweetpotatoSweet potatoes are popular in the south and in the rest of the country during the holiday season, but they’re packed with nutrients and dietary fiber, and should be added to your diet year-round.  Sweet potatoes top the charts in vitamin A concentration, offering up to 90 percent of one’s daily recommended intake in one serving, and are good sources of beta-carotene, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium  (Vitamin A and beta-carotene are essential for both eye and skin health).  Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme that converts most of its starches into sugars as the potato matures. This sweetness continues to increase during storage and when they are cooked.  There are myriad ways to prepare sweet potatoes.  Besides the traditional recipes (candied, sweet potato pie, whipped, fries) sweet potatoes are wonderful baked in the skins, grilled or sautéed.  You can substitute them in place of russet potatoes in stews, hashes, soups, casseroles and more.

What are you waiting for?  Start cooking with healthier foods now!

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics, WebMD, Wikipedia


St. Patrick’s Day Fun “Facts”

st patricks daySt. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner on March 17th.  Many of us will celebrate by wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage, going to parties and perhaps imbibing a little.  But what do we really know about the origins, legends and traditions surrounding this day?

Who is St. Patrick?

st patrickSt. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  He is thought to have been born in England or Scotland around the end of the 4th century AD.  He was abducted by pirates in Wales and sold into slavery in Ireland.  After some years he escaped to Britain, then France, where he joined a monestary.  When he was bishop, he dreamed that he was supposed to go back to Ireland to tell them about God.   There, he converted the Gaelic Irish to Christianity.

There are many legends associated with St Patrick. It is said that he used the clover-leaf-31001three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity; which refers to the combination of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is where the association between clover and St. Patrick’s Day began.  Legend also tells of Saint Patrick putting the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland and driving all the snakes into the sea where they drowned.

Patrick’s mission in Ireland lasted for over 20 years. He died on March 17, AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.

What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.

Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

The traditional color associated with St. Patrick was blue, not green.   Over time green took over in popularity due to Ireland’s nickname as “The Emerald Isle”, the green in the Irish flag and the clover that St. Patrick used in his teachings about Catholicism.  People started picking clover to wear in their lapel on St. Patrick’s Day and thus began the tradition of “wearing green”.

Why do people pinch you if you don’t wear green?

leprechaun-12332On the holiday, people in Ireland do not wear as much green or celebrate quite as wildly as revelers do elsewhere, although there is a legend that leprechauns will pinch anyone they can see.  It was believed that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns.  Pinching someone who is not wearing green was done as a reminder that the leprechauns might sneak up and pinch you.  This is actually mainly an American tradition.

What is a leprechaun?

leprechaunLeprechauns are a type of fairy, often described as wizened, bearded old men dressed in green and wearing buckled shoes, a pointed cap or hat and may be smoking a pipe.  The leprechaun is a roguish trickster figure who cannot be trusted and will deceive whenever possible.

Leprechauns are often thought to be shoemakers, but also associated with riches and gold. Shoemaking is apparently a lucrative business in the fairy world, since each leprechaun is said to have his own pot of gold, which can often be found at the end of a rainbow.

-What happens if I catch a leprechaun?

According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to find a leprechaun and capture him (or, in some stories, steal his magical ring, coin or amulet) can barter his freedom for his treasure. Leprechauns are usually said to be able to grant the person three wishes. But dealing with leprechauns can be a tricky proposition.

-So, how do I catch one?

iStock_leprechaun_SmallThis can be very difficult. First, you have to find one. Leprechauns can sense when they are being hunted, and hide themselves all the better. Those who find leprechauns always stumble upon them, and the leprechaun is usually more surprised than the human.  You might hear them tapping softly on a shoe or just stumble across one in the woods. You really just have to be lucky. When you find a leprechaun, all you have to do to keep him under your control is never let your eyes off him. You can set him down, and as long as your eyes never leave him, he is yours to keep. This is much harder than it seems.

A leprechaun who is caught must grant you three wishes. Almost everyone uses Pot full of golden coinsone wish to ask for the leprechaun’s pot of gold.  Carefully think of what you want your other two wishes to be.  Remember the leprechaun is a tricky fellow.  Above all, never make a fourth wish.  The leprechaun might ask you what you’d like for your fourth wish, but it’s a trick.  The fourth wish destroys the other three.

However you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, stay safe, and above all, have a wonderful time.   

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,and may good luck pursue you each morning and night.” - Traditional Irish Toast

Sources:,, The Huffington Post,


March 25th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®

Diabetes Alert DayThe fourth Tuesday of March has been declared as 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. This year, it takes place on Tuesday, March 25th.   Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round.  For every test taken between March 25th through April 25th, Boar’s Head Brand® – a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association, up to $50,000.

The theme for the 26th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day is “Take it.  Share it.  Step Out.”  The public is encouraged to take the risk test and share it, and also to start living a healthy and active lifestyle.  One way to do this is by joining one of the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® events nationwide. Step Out events happen mainly in October, but what better way to get active now than by gearing up for a walk event.

Why is this important?

Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes over 25 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them do not even know they have it.  An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even
deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke,
amputation and death.

The American Diabetes Association has made a strong commitment to primary prevention of type 2 diabetes by increasing awareness of prediabetes and actively engaging individuals in preventative behaviors like weight loss, physical
activity and healthful eating.  Alert Day is a singular moment in time in which we can raise awareness and prompt action among the general public – particularly those at risk.

What is the Diabetes Risk Test?

The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

The risk test is available on the American Diabetes Association website. Click here to begin the test online, or you can download and print out a pdf version.

You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Stay at a healthy weight, eat well and be active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

Source: American Diabetes Association


Shhh… Sneak Peek at the new Ryan Reed bracelet

RyanReedBandIn conjunction with the recent partnering with NASCAR driver Ryan Reed and the American Diabetes Association’s Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ for 2014 presented by Lilly Diabetes, American Medical ID is proud to preview the new Ryan Reed medical ID bracelet, which should become available mid-March.  As American Medical ID has done with past campaign awareness bracelets, a percentage of sales will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.

D1412SLilly-06620 year old Ryan Reed is an incredibly talented driver who never let his diabetes diagnosis slow him down.   After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2011, during the height of his racing career, Ryan’s approach in his life, career, and goals in racing changed. He found himself in a unique situation and was driven to become a role model in the diabetes community.  Reed joined forces with the American Diabetes Association, and drives the No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang.  Reed, a Bakersfield, California native, is believed to be the first full-time NASCAR national series driver with type 1 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. The Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ campaign includes awareness and educational efforts at select NASCAR Nationwide races, as well as at several off track health and wellness initiatives.

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin.  Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.

U.S. Olympian Competes in 4th Olympic Event Despite Type 1 Diabetes

Every once in a while you come across an inspirational person who achieves their goals despite adversity or chronic illness.  One of these rare people is in the spotlight right now participating in his 4th Olympics and taking on one of the most grueling events.

krisKris Freeman is on the U.S. Nordic ski team, making his 4th Olympic appearance despite having Type 1 diabetes.  He monitors his blood sugar as many as 20 times before a cross-country race, and, as he does every day of his life, Freeman secures a tubeless OmniPod insulin pump to his chest and a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor to his abdomen for races.

Freeman has completed the 5-kilometer classic and the 30-kilometer skiathlon so far in the Sochi games.  While he hasn’t won a medal in any of his Olympic events, he told Yahoo Sports “I don’t really care, because I am diabetic and this is what I am — this is who I am — and speculating about what could be doesn’t matter.  So, I try not to be resentful of the situation.  Diabetes is a huge pain.  As anyone who knows, it’s not a fun disease. It will always be with me. I’m at the Olympic Games for the fourth time, so I’m hoping that people can see that it really doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your life.”

Next he will participate in the 50 kilometer, a tough competition lasting over 2 hours, which is scheduled to take place February 23rd. Best of luck to this courageous athlete!

Source: Yahoo Sports by  .  For the complete article, including video clips, interviews  and links, click here.


The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin.  Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.




Timeless Valentine


As time goes by from year to year,

One thing is surely true, my dear;

Though decades come and decades go,

Just seeing you sets me aglow.


Time shifts my body; I start to sag,

When I pass a mirror, it can make me gag.

My joints all ache; I can hardly move;

Still a smile from you, and I’m in the groove.


Getting older can be a pain,

But with you along, I can’t complain.

Despite the things that we go through,

I know I’ll never stop loving you.


Your loving heart turns life to play,

As we laugh at time from day to day.

So I write this poem, and I’ll hang my sign,

Saying, “Always Be My Valentine.”


- Priya Shroff –

Strategies to Help Prevent Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month.  In an effort to continue the drive toward heart health awareness, the following is re-posted from the Mayo Clinic website.  For the original article, click here.  

MayoHeartBlogYou can prevent heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are five strategies to help you protect your heart.

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called “social smoking” — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don’t do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

 2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.

Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can’t meet those guidelines, don’t give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.

And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Major sources of saturated fat include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of trans fat include:

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Bakery products
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers

Look at the label for the term “partially hydrogenated” to avoid trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn’t all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

 4. Maintain a healthy weight

As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

  • Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)
  • Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)

Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

 5. Get regular health screenings

 High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.
  • Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren’t ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
  • Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren’t optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
  • Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.

Heart Disease and Women


February is American Heart Month.  Heart disease is the number 1 killer in women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.  February 7th is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

There are a several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason.

We’ve all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic.

“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, ” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesn’t get help right away.  These are the most common heart attack symptoms in women:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.  It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.  But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of the above-noted  signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

Living With Heart Disease

No matter what you call it – heart disease, cardiovascular disease, or coronary heart disease – it means there is a plaque buildup in the walls of your arteries. As the plaque builds, your arteries narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow and creating a risk for heart attack or stroke. Women are also diagnosed with heart disease when an irregular heartbeat or heart valve problems are present.

What To Do After Your Diagnosis

1. Drop the guilt. Women pride themselves on being able to do it all. But sometimes, you need to lean on others; and when you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, that’s the time to do it.

2. Realize that it’s okay to feel vulnerable. Reach out to other women who share your diagnosis and start to build a personal support team. Know when you need to let go of some control and let others take care of you. It may be a struggle at first, as it was for survivor and nurse, Eva Gomez. Eva hated feeling that she wasn’t in control as she placed her life in the hands of her fellow medical staff. But once she understood that fear and feeling helpless is normal, she welcomed the support of family and friends. And it was that support that helped her realize that she had a second chance at life.

3. Join support groups. There’s no reason to cope with heart disease on your own.  In addition to local support groups, you can also connect with other women through the Go Red For Women heart match program.  Share your story, then find someone like you.  Click here to connect online.

4. Believe in yourself.  Yes, the diagnosis is going to create feelings of depression, anger and fear. But it’s important to process those feelings and then get past them.

Heart Disease Prevention

You have the power to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Use these tips to help set you on a heart-healthy path for life.

Chose a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is yours to follow if you want it. Your diet, weight, physical activity and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level and heart disease risk — and these factors may be controlled by:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Enjoying at least 150 minutes a week moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, and more than two days a week muscle strengthening activities
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke

Know your fats - Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease. Make sure you understand the difference between good fat and bad fat.

Cook heart-healthy - It’s not hard to whip up recipes that fit with the low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan recommended by scientists to help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  There are many heart-healthy cookbooks and websites to help.

Understand drug therapy options - For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels or control your heart risk. Your doctor may prescribe medication.  You may need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs or blood pressure medications.

Avoid common misconceptions – Knowledge is a key to improving your health by knowing how to truly live a heart-healthy life. Here are a few ways to ensure your heart disease knowledge is up to speed:

Work with your doctor - You and your healthcare professionals each play an important role in maintaining and improving your heart health. Know how to talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and be sure you understand all instructions. Follow your plan carefully, especially when it comes to medication — it won’t work if you don’t take it as directed. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations. Heart risk assessments are recommended by the American Heart Association for the following individuals:

  • People ages 40 to 79 should have their 10-year risk calculated every four to six years
  • People ages 20 to 59 should receive a lifetime risk assessment

Take the Go Red Heart CheckUp - The Go Red For Women Heart CheckUp helps you on your path to improving your heart health by assessing your risk and offering healthy lifestyle information. In addition to your doctor’s examination, let us help you assess your risk for heart disease and stroke.

The facts and tips noted above are excerpts from the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women websites.  Visit their websites for more detailed information, downloadable guides and more.


Always remember, if you or your loved ones have ongoing medical conditions such as heart disease, you should wear a medical ID alert.  With the latest medical ID bracelets from American Medical ID, peace of mind never looked so good!

Allergy-Friendly Super Bowl Party

With the Super Bowl upon us this weekend, many of you will be hosting parties.  If you have any friends or family with food allergies, you know that there are sometimes challenges with menu planning to make sure the snacks are safe for everyone.  Margaret and Meredith of Plate It Safe have come up with some great ideas.   With their permission, this is re-posted from their blog.  For the original post, click here.

Holiday events revolving around food can be stressful for people dealing with food allergies and intolerances. The Super Bowl (it’s pretty much a holiday event, right?) is no exception. But, what if you could host your own allergy-friendly Super Bowl party?

Many of the traditional Super Bowl foods can be allergy-friendly. And those that aren’t can be made so quite easily. Here’s our list:

  • Popcorn: We love popcorn – it’s crunchy, it smells good, it’s snacky. It has some real benefits, being light on calories and high on fiber. And, it tastes good with just a couple of simple additions (like olive oil and salt) — perfect for the food allergic set. After all, “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is pretty much the golden rule for someone with a top 8 food allergy or gluten intolerance.For store-bought popcorn, one brand we like is Skinny Pop. It’s labeled dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, and gluten free. In regards to its manufacturing practices, an email to their corporate office received this response: “SkinnyPop is the only food manufactured in our facility as well as the only item that touches our lines. There is no peanut, tree nuts, wheat, and/or dairy at the facility.”Yay, Skinny Pop!If you’re looking for something sweet, try Divvies Gourmet Popcorn whose three flavors are safe for those with food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs.

    Or, if you like to make your own popcorn, try drizzling homemade popcorn with oil and nutritional yeast.

  • Potato Chips and Dip: Many unflavored potato chips don’t contain the top 8 allergens or gluten as ingredients BUT it’s often unknown as to what type of facility or on what type of line they were manufactured. We featured some allergy-friendly potato chip brands a few weeks back. If you’re super-sensitive, Epicurious has a simple recipe for homemade potato chips.But, no matter which you choose, potato chips taste so much better with a good french onion dip (gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and egg-free courtesy of Heidi Kelly at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom).

Allergy-Friendly Guacamole


  • Tortilla Chips and DipMake your own or buy safe tortilla chips at the store. One brand we like is Food Should Taste Good. All their products are certified gluten-free and most are certified vegan (make sure to read the ingredient labels on the package).As for dip, my husband makes a very simple dip that gets rave reviews. All he uses is cubed ripe, fresh avocado and fresh salsa. Mix to taste. It’s fast, simple, and allergy-friendly. If you want something a little fancier, we found a top 8 allergen-free Mexican 7-layer dip courtesy of Nom Yum & Free.
  • Other dips:
    • Dill dip: Great with raw veggies, this dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free dill dip is courtesy of Heidi Kelly, Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.
  • Potato Skins: With so many dairy-free substitutes on the market, tasty allergy-friendly potato skins are very doable. Here are two options – one courtesy of Young Allergies and the other from PETA.



  • Wings: What game day would be complete without tangy, saucy wings? From Food Allergy Chronicles, we discovered gluten-free and dairy-free wings and dip recipes using gluten-free Frank’s Hot Sauce.
  • Ribs: Another Game Day favorite is BBQ ribs. We’ve had delicious takeout from our local Armadillo Willy’s, which is one of my dairy and egg allergic daughter’s favorite restaurants. If you prefer to make your own ribs, choose from Inspired Eats’ dairy-free, gluten-free slow cooker ribs or Living Without’s dairy-free, gluten-free Plum Barbecued Baby Back Ribs.
  • Pizza: Pizza has been a staple at every Super Bowl party I’ve attended. Nowadays, many pizza places have gluten-free or vegan pizzas. For those in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve written about gluten-free pizza from Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and gluten- and dairy-free pizza from Patxi’s Pizza. Also in the SF Bay Area is the ever-popular Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria which is known for its gluten-free pizza and vegan topping options.Another option is to make your own pizza. We’ve written about dairy-free Daiya Cheese cheese shreds which melt beautifully on pizza. For those with gluten-intolerance, check out Gluten-Free Girl’s delicious looking gluten-free pizza crust.
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries: We had to throw in these adorable football-decorated chocolate-covered strawberries from Kids With Food Allergies. The ingredients? Safe chocolate chips, strawberries, powdered sugar, and water. Enjoy Life’s top 8 allergen-, gluten-free Semi-Sweet Mini Chips melt well — just be careful to melt them slowly so they don’t burn.

Check out our Safe Super Bowl Party Pinterest Board for images and links to these and more recipes, restaurants, and products. As always make sure to follow safe eating practices even (especially) when ordering take out food. And, for products, always read ingredients labels carefully.