TODAY IS AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION ALERT DAY®

TODAY IS AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION ALERT DAY®

1966903_10152032890619033_316741511_nAmerican Diabetes Association Alert Day® is 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.

Today, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, is Alert Day.

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.

For every test taken, Boar’s Head Brand® – a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 25 through April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day is also nationally supported by Walgreens.

For more information on  American Diabetes Association Alert Day® or the Diabetes Risk Test, read the American Medical ID blog post dated Feb. 27, 2014 or visit American Diabetes Association.

Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test!

Type 2 Risk Test

http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/

The 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

 

March is Red Cross Month – 10 Ways to Help

AMID_RedCrossMonthMarch is American Red Cross Month.  The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S. affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; communications services and comfort for military members and their family members; the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products; educational programs on preparedness, health, and safety; and international relief and development programs.

The American Red Cross is a nationwide network of more than 650 chapters and 36 blood services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prepare for and respond to medical emergencies.

Approximately 500,000 Red Cross volunteers, including Femacorps and Americorps members, and 30,000 employees annually mobilize relief to people affected by more than 67,000 disasters, train almost 12 million people in necessary medical skills and exchange more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their family members. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals nationally and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.

As a nationwide non-profit with a rich history spanning more than 130 years, the Red Cross depends on the generous contributions of time, blood and money from the American public to support its lifesaving services and programs.

Here are ways you can help:

Donate

  1. Online – Visit RedCross.org & donate once or set up a monthly donation.
  2. Text – Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10
  3. Call – To donate by phone via credit card, call 1-800-733-2767
  4. Corporate Support – Purchase products and support programs that benefit disaster relief or other important services.
  5. Mail – Please make checks payable to American Red Cross and send to: American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018

Non-Monetary

  1. Airline Miles – You can put your unused miles to work for the Red Cross through the generosity of several major airlines
  2. Credit Card Points – Many card members can redeem points and donate them to the American Red Cross for cash donations
  3. Hotel Points – Donated points assist in providing temporary shelter for those displaced from their homes during disasters.

Give Blood

The need for blood is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply.  Donate today, you’ll feel good knowing you’ve helped change a life!

Volunteer

Every single day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies.  Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or support to a military family member, their vital work is made possible by people like you.  It is through the time and care of ordinary people that they can do extraordinary things.

In many Emergency Reference Guides, from Babysitter’s Guides to Wilderness and Remote First Aid, the Red Cross reminds people to look for a medical ID bracelet or necklace when providing emergency care.  A medical ID provides important information about a person’s condition, medications, and allergies.

To learn more, visit http://www.redcross.org

 

 

Ryan Reed to Compete in the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 presented by Lilly Diabetes

Ryan Reed will compete in this Saturday’s (March 15th) Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS).  This marks the second NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at this track for him.  Reed will be driving the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes℠  presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang.  In his other start at the .53-mile oval in the fall of 2013, Reed started 27th and finished 26th.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Bristol, Tennessee, area or go to the race, Drive to Stop Diabetes℠  (D2SD) will host an activation space in the fan midway at BMS. The display area features the No. 16 D2SD racing simulator, diabetes awareness and educational materials as well as various prizes. The display is open March 15 (8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) and March 16 (8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.).   Reed will also appear for a Q&A at the Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ display on Saturday, March 15 from 9:20 – 9:35 a.m.

Reed on racing at Bristol Motor Speedway:

“Bristol was probably the toughest race track for me that I went to last year. I was able to learn a ton and I think having that experience will help us get our first top-10 of the season. I am so excited that  Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ is going to go get so much exposure this weekend, and I can’t thank Lilly Diabetes enough for making that happen.”

About the American Diabetes Association: 

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.

About Lilly Diabetes

Lilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when they introduced the world’s first commercial insulin. Today they are building upon this heritage by working to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes and those who care for them. Through research and collaboration, a broad and growing product portfolio and a continued determination to provide real solutions—from medicines to support programs and more—they strive to make life better for all those affected by diabetes around the world.

Source: Drive to Stop Diabetes℠

 

Dexcom Supports NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed’s American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Initiative

Ryan Reed and the American Medical ID, Logitech and Playtech, along with entitlement partners American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes.

20 year old Ryan Reed – who has type 1 diabetes – teamed up with Seth Barbour in the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes Presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang in 2013. This unique collaboration uses Ryan’s story as the voice. The Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign includes awareness and educational efforts at select NASCAR Nationwide races this year, as well as at several off track health and wellness initiatives throughout 2014.

Reed takes a number of precautions each time he climbs behind the wheel of his bright red-and-white Ford Mustang. He uses a continuous glucose monitor to read his levels the entire time he’s inside the race car.  The monitor mounts on his dash, next to the rest of the gauges, so that he can monitor it just like engine water temperature or oil pressure.   One of his pit crew is trained to  give him an insulin injection if needed.  Reed also carries a high sugar, carbohydrate blend drink that he can drink if his blood sugar gets a little bit low.

“I WANT TO LET THEM KNOW THAT EVEN WHEN LIVING WITH DIABETES, ACCEPT NO LIMITS.” – Ryan Reed

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Foolish Health Beliefs

There are plenty of ridiculous health claims around the internet, and many of them seem really believable.  Some we’ve heard all our lives from family, friends, and people peddling products. How do we separate the truth from myth and misinformation?  With help from some of the most reliable health, news, science websites and magazines, we’ve tracked down the answers for you!

April Fool’s Day is  just around the corner … here’s a reminder not to be fooled by these top 10 health beliefs.

  1. Eating a lot of carrots can save your failing vision.  Vitamin carrotsA is essential for good vision — no one’s refuting that — but you only need a small amount. One half-cup of raw carrots will provide you with 184 percent of the recommended daily value. An excessive amount of beta carotene, the compound in carrots that’s converted to vitamin A, can not only make your skin turn orange, but studies show it has also been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in some people. So enjoy the crudité, but if you worry that your eyesight is failing, make an appointment with an optometrist or an eye doctor. (Source: Huffington Post)
  2. You can get the flu from the flu vaccine. This myth endures flu shotpartially because of the timing factor.  It takes a week or two for the full effect of the vaccine to kick in, so if you were unlucky enough to be exposed to the flu right before or after you got the vaccine, you’re probably still going to get sick. But James J. Turro, MD, FACP, an internal medicine physician at the Mount Kisco Medical Group, says the other reason this myth perpetuates is that it’s normal to feel a little bit sick in the day or two after your shot. The vaccine “tricks” your body into making antibodies against the flu, and that response can make you feel achy and slightly feverish. “I’ve been getting the flu shot for 30 years now, and I always feel a bit off for a day or two afterwards,” he says.  (Source: Westchester Magazine)
  3. organic-bananas-fruit-400x400

    Photo credit: Health.com

    If the label says “natural,” it means it’s better for you. The word “natural” is not defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and can mean just about anything. Even products labeled “all natural” can be highly processed and contain high fructose corn syrup, a manufactured sugar that some researchers think is a contributor to the spike in obesity. The word “organic”? Now that’s regulated by the USDA and means the food is made without most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics. (Source: Health Magazine)

  4. gum-seven_300

    Photo Credits: Holly Lindem, Real Simple Magazine

    Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years.  Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either. (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

  5. wet-hair-600x450

    Photo credit: Prevention.com

    Going out with wet hair will make you sick.   No matter what your Nana said, studies show that having your hair cold and damp doesn’t make you more susceptible to coming down with a case of the sniffles. “Researchers put cold viruses in the noses of two groups of people, and one group was then exposed to cold, wet conditions,” says Rachel Vreeman, MD, co-author of Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They”l Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked. “People who were chilled were no more likely to get sick than those who weren’t,” she says. (Source: Prevention Magazine)

  6. Microwaving food destroys nutrients.  Microwaving food does not destroy microwave-999882-mnutrients. In fact, according to Caroline Kaufman, a registered dietician nutritionist based in Los Angeles, in some cases microwaving food offers health benefits.  “A fast and convenient way to steam vegetables, microwaving can help people retain more water-soluble nutrients often lost when drowning vegetables in water and cooking them too long. Microwaving also helps preserve heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C due to a faster cook time,” Kaufman said.   (Source: Fox News)
  7. eggs

    Photo credits: Plamen Petkov, Cooking Light Magazine

    Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.  Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body.  The confusion can be boiled down to semantics: The same word, “cholesterol,” is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol—the fat-like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs—doesn’t greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Your body makes its own cholesterol, so it doesn’t need much of the kind you eat. Instead, what fuels your body’s cholesterol-making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat. One large egg contains about 1.5 grams saturated fat, a fraction of the amount in the tablespoon of butter many cooks use to cook that egg in. So, cutting eggs out of your diet is a bad idea; they’re a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals.  (Source: Cooking Light Magazine)

  8. Cold weather makes you sick. “People have studied this in so many different ways — going so far as studying all the people on an island in the MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAArctic Sea to see if they’re getting more sick than people in warmer places,” Vreeman says. “Scientists have done tests where they’ve put cold viruses right into people’s noses to see if they get sick more easily in cold conditions.” Cold, she says, is not the culprit. ( Source: Chicago Tribune)
  9. Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the eyes. Although parents tvhave been saying this ever since TVs first found their way into our homes, there’s no evidence that plunking down right in front of the TV set damages someone’s eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, so they often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television or holding reading material close to their eyes.  However, sitting close to a TV may be a sign of nearsightedness. (Source: KidsHealth)

  10. Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever.  The old wives’ tale has been a staple since Photo credit: Huffington Postthe 1500s.  “Colds and fevers are generally caused by viruses that tend to last seven to 10 days, no matter what you do,” says Rachel Vreeman, M.D., a fellow in Children’s Health Services Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “And there is no good evidence that diet has any effect on a cold or fever. Even if you don’t feel like eating, you still need fluids, so put a priority on those.”  If you’re congested, the fluids will keep mucus thinner and help loosen chest and nasal congestion. (Source: Huffington Post)

 

 

 

 

 

7 Tips to Spring Cleaning a Senior Loved One’s Home

The following is re-posted from a recent blog post on the One Call Alert website.  Click here to read the original blog post.

SeniorCaregiver

Why is spring the time of year we take a step back and do a thorough cleaning of the house? Well, I am glad you asked! A not so long time ago, dark colored grime and soot would build up over the winter months from using candles, kerosene lamps and wood or coal burning stoves. So each spring, as the days started getting longer and the temperature started getting warmer, it was time to scrub every surface and launder everything made of fabric. You opened up your windows and doors to let the winter out and you breathed in the fresh scent of spring.

Even with the modern conveniences electricity and technology have brought us spring cleaning remains a long held tradition for many families. Sure, the chores have changed and it might be more about emptying out the garage and painting a few walls, but spring is still a time to focus on cleaning and home improvements.

If you are a caregiver, it may also be time to focus on your senior loved one’s home. Is it cluttered? Is a deep cleaning in order? Are repairs necessary?

Here are seven tips to help get you started:

1. The All Important To-Do List. Write down everything you and your senior loved one would like to get done. Tasks may include yard work, fresh coats of paint, deep cleaning, and more.

Tasks to include that will reduce senior safety hazards:

  • Sort and clean out the medicine cabinet. Make sure all expired drugs have been removed.
  • Go through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to remove all expired or rotten food.
  • Replace light bulbs where needed and ensure that the bulb offers enough light.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check all electrical outlets in each room to be sure they’re covered by a plastic plate, working, and not damaged or loose.  Put your hand on the wall around each outlet to check for warmth, look for flickering lights and sniff for strange smells. If you ever see sparks or smoke, call an electrician immediately.
  • Clear clutter away from all walkways in and out of the home.
  • Throw rugs, low furniture, and other seemingly normal furniture may be tripping hazards, user your judgment and remove whatever isn’t necessary.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom for ease of use with the toilet and bath.
  • Test the medical alert system in every room of the house and make sure all emergency contact information is accurate.

2. Put it on the calendar and follow through with it. Make sure to block off an appropriate amount of time in your schedule for the tasks you want to get done. Whether you make is a full weekend of work or split it up into chunks of time over a few weeks, it is important to stick to your schedule. Don’t let it drag on week after week, just get it done.

3. Create a budget and stick to it. Just like any home repair, spring cleaning has costs associated to it and they may spiral out of control if you are not careful. Make sure you know what the fees are for local dumping and check rates on the delivery of a dumpster if one is needed. You will need cleaning supplies, bags for garbage and donations, painting supplies, and more. It is always best to understand the costs ahead of time and work them out with your senior loved one and your co-caregivers.

4. More hands make for faster work. Invite other members of the family local friends to come and help out. The more people that can help the more you can get done and the better life you will help to provide for your loved one. If you can’t convince family members to lend a hand, try hiring some local neighborhood kids to help.

5. Make your senior loved one feel useful. If you keep your loved one engaged and feeling useful, no matter what the limitations might be, you will get more done. If your loved one has a difficult time lifting things or just getting around the house, provide them with sedentary tasks that are also very useful such as sorting, polishing, and filing. If there are big decisions to be made about throwing something out or a significant home repair, make sure to consult your loved one first.

6. Focus big picture first. Instead of deep cleaning a small part of the home or planting new shrubs first, focus on the big picture stuff like getting the clutter out and making sure the home is safe. Many seniors who have accumulated a lifetime of belongings often have so much stuff that it clutters the house and make it difficult to clean. Don’t just dust around the piles, manage the problem first. Look at storage options for everything that your loved one wants to keep. Don’t just throw things out; handle the clutter in a diplomatic and straight forward manner.

7. It’s not just about cleaning. Take this time to help figure out how to make sure the home stays clean and safe. If you discover your loved one has piles of unpaid bills, expired food in the pantry or hasn’t been cleaning up after the pets, it is probably time for some extra help around the house and added weekly visits.

 

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-Diabetes-Month-2013-2

Cookie Pizza from ASweetLife.org

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

stew

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-ck-l

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, InformationAboutDiabetes.com 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.

 

 

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.

Avocado

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.

Blueberries

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

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.

Pomegranate

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: TheHolidaySpot.com, History.com, The Huffington Post, livescience.com

 

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 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