woman with pretzel

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Good nutrition is essential to a healthy lifestyle. For people with diabetes, nutrition has even more critical implications, so keeping track of what you eat to make sure you get a variety of the right foods in the right amounts is an important element of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a serious disease in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are above normal. Most people with diabetes have Type 2, once known as adult-onset diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is not caused by obesity, and many people with this disease are of normal weight. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is strongly related to being overweight or obese, and losing even a moderate amount of weight can reduce the need for treating the diabetes with medication. In some cases, it can even eliminate the diabetes and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Anyone with diabetes needs to watch their carbohydrate consumption to avoid spikes in blood glucose levels.

“You are somewhat in the driver’s seat. Typically, diabetics require more medicine over the years to manage their disease. But, if you can lose weight and make dietary changes, you may be able to reduce the medicine you need.”
—Teresa Love, MS, RD, CDE

Myth: Diabetics can’t eat fruit, bread, potatoes, rice, carrots or anything white.
Truth: They can in moderation.
People with Type 2 diabetes need to be aware of the carbs in their diet, but reducing overall calories and exercising regularly are the biggest keys to weight loss success. It is important to eat three meals a day with a balance of complex carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains), healthy fats (think nuts and olive oil) and lean proteins (fish, chicken and beans). It’s also a good idea to keep some healthy snacks on hand.

Strict limiting of one particular kind of food over a long period of time is difficult for many people to stick with, so eat a well-balanced diet and get more exercise! The goal is not to eliminate all carbohydrates and sugars, but to practice moderation.

Lifestyle changes that can help you lose weight
The Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has shown that you can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by losing weight through a reduced-calorie diet and by increasing physical activity. “Individuals should aim for a seven percent weight loss over three months and 150 minutes of physical activity weekly,” said Teresa Love, MS, RD, CDE, a nutritionist at Howard County General Hospital.

Diabetic diet DOs
Our nutritionist recommends that you:

  • Keep a log of all your food and beverages using a notebook or websites and apps to track calorie intake.
  • Incorporate lima, kidney and black beans into your diet. They are a good source of iron and fiber and a carbohydrate that doesn’t raise blood sugar significantly.
  • Try not to drink calories in the form of sugary beverages or alcohol.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour or two of getting up.
  • Eat consistently – a meal or a snack – every three to five hours.
  • Don’t consume all of your food at the end of the day.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Try to have a protein-based food with each meal: lean meat, eggs, cottage cheese, or yogurt to control hunger and blood sugar.
  • Practice strategies that help control portions like using choosemyplate.gov.
  • Do not buy all sugar-free and no-sugar-added products. Instead, eat whole foods that are natural and less processed. The fewer ingredients, the better the food is for you.
  • Eat half of your meal when you eat out at a restaurant and take the rest home or share with someone. Restaurant portions are typically too large.
  • Remember that exercise not only helps you lose weight but can help lower blood glucose levels.










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Comfort foodHave you ever told yourself, “Just one more potato chip,” and then proceeded to finish off the entire bag? Or have you bought a box of cookies with the intention of eating them in reasonable portions – and later, finding yourself stressed, eating the entire box in one sitting? I have and you are not alone.

It has been proven that women, more so then men, particularly stress about what and how much they eat. Why do we feel so guilty when we overeat? Personally, some of the reasons I find myself eating more to soothe feelings of anger, boredom, loneliness, and stress (and as a result, end up feeling guilty too). This is something I struggle with on a regular basis and it becomes a vicious cycle. Once I have overeaten for the day, I feel guilty and continue to overeat thinking, “What’s the point? I’ve already eaten poorly today.”

According to Lisa Elaine Held from an article that was published in Prevention magazine in May 2012, “Media messaging doesn’t help. Women’s magazine headlines are full of “guilt-free” burgers, snacks, and desserts. The underlying message is clear: If the foods in this article are guilt-free, then those others you’re eating are guilt-y.” So, how do we distinguish between eating as a source of nourishment and emotional eating?

10 day detoxAnother important question to consider is, “Are certain foods physically addictive?” According to The Blood Sugar Solution 10-day Detox Diet by Mark Hyman, MD, “Foods that spike blood sugar are biologically addictive. So yes, food addiction is very real. It’s the root cause why so many people are overweight and sick. They are stuck in a viscous cycle of cravings.” I know that once I’ve gotten a taste of something sweet, there’s no doubt in my mind that the phenomenon of craving is overpowering and hard to shake.

“For some people giving up certain foods proves as difficult as it may be for an addict to give up alcohol or drugs. The same components of addiction are present and the brain may be affected in the same way. For many people their relationship with food is comparable to that of a drug user’s with drugs,” states Kimberly Steele, who is a bariatric surgeon at The Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery.

What can we do to separate food with emotions? Ask ourselves some honest questions. I think the best question to ask yourself is, “Am I physically hungry or am I trying to fill some emotional need with food?” What has worked for me, is maintaining a daily food diary. I’m honest in my reporting, even when I feel I have “messed up” that day with overeating or eating junk food. This helps me see just how food and my emotions are intertwined. I know that this may not work for everyone, but maybe we should cut ourselves a break and try to separate food and guilt.

Alex Hill is a Customer Service Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She has worked for Howard County Library System in the Customer Service department for more than 5 years. Alex enjoys giving movie recommendations, talking to East Columbia’s teens and in her spare time, taking pictures.

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In general, the components of a healthy diet don’t change terribly much over your lifespan. However, as people age, their vitamin needs change, which is a natural part of aging. Following are six vitamin checks for seniors to stay their nutritionally best from Alicia I. Arbaje, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Medicine, and director of Transitional Care in the Research Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


  • man taking vitamins
    Multivitamin Check: Seniors should supplement for specific vitamin deficiencies rather than take a general overall supplement. Multivitamins are not “one size fits all.” Also, taking too much of some vitamins can be toxic. Multivitamins are synthetic and not as beneficial as eating the vitamin in its natural form...food! (Photo © Steveheap | Dreamstime.com)

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As we approach the holiday season, many of us experience extra stress in our lives. Some of our stress is due to the hectic schedules that we endure, family situations, staying healthy and eating well, or traveling. So, what can you do to lessen your stress and enjoy the holidays this year?

For stressful family situations, I recommend Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin and A is for Attitude by Patricia Russell-McCloud.

happier home a is for attitude

If staying fit and eating well are bothering you, check out: Breaking the Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D., Crave by Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., and Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition.

breaking food seduction50 ways to soothe yourself without foodcraveeating well for optimum health






If travel is a concern (or while you’re waiting at the airport), try some of our new services at hclibrary.org. Zinio is great for reading magazines, while Hoopla has music, audiobooks, television, and movies available. What a stress-free way to enjoy those long hours at the airport or while riding in a car! I love getting my favorite magazine through Zinio to read on my tablet.

Lastly, try journaling. Journaling is a wonderful way to relieve stress. I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed. Every night, I write five things in my journal that I am grateful for that day. I found that it helps me to sleep better at night, reduces my stress while making me more gracious for many of life’s blessings that I experience every day.

Remember, enjoy the upcoming season while building those memories to cherish with friends, family, and loved ones. Until we meet again, happy trails!

Anna Louise Downing is a Customer Service Specialist at the Miller Branch. She is an avid reader and enjoys Disney, music and her passion for running. She has been a race ambassador for several local races, is a Sweat Pink Ambassador for promoting women’s health. Follow her journey towards being physically fit with running and healthy lifestyle choices here on Well & Wise.

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Women often think that when they become pregnant, they must eat for two, and end up consuming too many calories. Typically, a pregnancy weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds is recommended for a normal weight woman, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Women are encouraged to enter pregnancy at a healthy weight. Also, if you are significantly overweight, you should gain less during your pregnancy. Following are six keys toward making your pregnancy more healthful and nutritious.


  • nutrition and early pregnancy
    According to Teresa Love, a registered dietitian on staff at Howard County General Hospital, “To maintain a healthy pregnancy, expecting mothers should only be adding 150 calories a day and 2-3 oz. of additional protein (meat, cheese or eggs) in the first trimester. [© Michaeljung | Dreamstime.com]

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desktopAre you, like me, still recovering from the overeating, carbfest known as Thanksgiving? Rich mashed potatoes, candied veggies (only on Thanksgiving can we justify candying our vegetables) buttery rolls, whipped cream on a slice of pie… (sorry, lost myself there for a moment). After that kind of meal, the last thing on your mind is probably dairy, but let me throw an unlikely word (composed of two dreaded words) out there: Buttermilk.

Despite its name, buttermilk (traditionally, the liquid left after churning milk to butter) has fewer calories than whole milk (99 calories in a cup to whole milk’s 157) and less fat (2.2 grams vs. 9 grams per cup). So, buttermilk is generally better for you than regular milk, having just as much calcium and being more easily digestible. Buttermilk is also believed to aid in overall digestion. This is mainly attributed to the fact that it is an excellent source of probiotics. If you’ve heard “probiotic” tossed around quite a bit but were never really quite sure what it referred to, MedlinePlus explains that it’s a “preparation (as a dietary supplement) containing live bacteria (as lactobacilli) that is taken orally to restore beneficial bacteria to the body; also: a bacterium in such a preparation.” And, for those of you keeping track, probiotics are my new best friends since my run-in with C. Diff last year.

Buttermilk has things besides just probiotics going for it. As mentioned, it still has plenty of calcium (284 milligrams per cup). There’s also phosphorus, riboflavin, and potassium in there. And for those of you looking to boost energy, there’s 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of buttermilk. It has also been suggested that buttermilk consumption might be associated with reduced cholesterol. Buttermilk is also believed to be helpful against dehydration, boost immunity, and benefit skin.

hungry girl 300 under 300 breakfast lunch dinnerButtermilk frequently comes up as a replacement for richer dairy products in heart-healthy recipes. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have a dark side. It pops up in such deliciously naughty books as Fried & True: More Than 50 recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken & Sides (although I make a pretty tasty oven-fried chicken with buttermilk that I got from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything) and a lovely and tempting book simply called Buttermilk: A Savor the South Cookbook. But, to defend buttermilk’s newly won reputation, it also features in books such as Hungry Girl 300 Under 300: 300 Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Recipes Under 300 Calories and Deliciously G-Free: Food so Flavorful They’ll Never Believe It’s Gluten Free. So, unless you are dairy-free, you may want to give the deceptively named buttermilk a second look.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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