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Diabetic weight loss

Weight loss for a diabetic often feel stymied by this challenge that’s very hard to meet.

Especially those told repeatedly by physicians or nutritionists that their daily diet is the problem.

Diabetic weight loss in five steps

Here’s a step-by-step method that targets the underlying effects of diabetes that are really causing weight gain. This approach can work for almost every type-2 diabetic, and is not a roller coaster ride on the branded, pre-packaged diets that never work over the long run.

This Five Step Plan has been shown to be very successful when tied together and followed in this logical order:

  • Education
  • Medication
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle

Meeting the challenge of diabetic obesity and even keeping a desired weight in check requires defeating a set of roadblocks — metabolic disorders — that have to be treated properly. The Five Steps are successful because each focuses on eliminating the biological risks and reducing the effect of personal risk factors. In turn this helps maintain glycemic balance and fewer calories are consumed.

Step one: education — the more you know the more you can lose

One key reason why so many people who are type-2 diabetics have lost control of their weight is that they do not understand their “risk factors” that were in play while they were pre-diabetic which led to full fledged type-2 diabetes. Learning all you can about the underlying roots and causes of your diabetic or pre-diabetic condition is a critical starting point to preventing over-eating and weight gain. Lengthy and in-depth medical history and work-up to determine the presence of both genetic diabetic and cardiovascular risk should be done by your physician before attempting any weight loss program. Knowledge gives you power, fortitude and greater ability to control your condition and to attack the metabolic roadblocks that diabetes has created.

Diabetics trying to lose weigh often face “metabolic syndrome” a combination of lifestyle and “food-style” factors including:

  • Visceral Adiposity — the belly fat, or roll of fat around the waist
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Elevated blood glucose levels causing organ damage.

Other weight loss roadblocks:

  • Inability to burn fat because of metabolic changes
  • Fluctuating insulin and glucose levels that provoke hunger cravings.
  • Fatigue.
  • Musculoskeletal problems often are secondary to diabetes and obesity
  • Post-prandial hyperglycemia — a rise in blood sugar after a meal
  • Gastroenterological side effects
  • Carbohydrate addiction
  • Food allergies
  • Fluid retention
  • Low testosterone and low libido
  • Pulmonary
  • Cardio and peripheral vascular complicationsÂ

Step two: medication — follow the doctor’s orders

Diabetes medications are not a stand-alone solution for weight loss or glucose control, but they play an extremely important role in achieving your primary goal — diabetes management leading to weight loss. One new approach is called the Triple Therapy Protocol to reduce elevated sugars, insulin resistance and beta cell preservation and regeneration using Metformin, TZD and Byetta. In general, all treatment decisions are geared to the spectrum of severity of the disease. Hormone treatments, testosterone, thyroid and adrenal function also should be discussed with your physician.

Step three: nutrition — eat well and lose weight

Any diabetic weight loss program requires a sound nutritional program including targeted supplements and proper foods based on a modified Mediterranean diet. By seeking help from a specialist in diabetic diet you gain:

  • The benefits of a complete nutritional evaluation.
  • Development of a meal plan designed to stop weight gain and reduce it through a balance of proteins and carbohydrates
  • Control of glucose and insulin levels
  • Concentration on a wide range of proteins
  • Varied, moderate, low-carbohydrate meals
  • A correct level of carbohydrates/starches in each meal (grams per day)
  • The strong use of nutraceuticals (supplements and vitamins) to control appetite
  • Feeling satisfied/full without overeating or eating the wrong things
  • Enhanced thermogenesis (fat-burning effect)
  • Reduced beta-cell stress syndrome
  • Learning the value of high-fiber foods
  • Use of foods with high nutrient density
  • Identifying low-glycemic foods
  • Making a sound meal plan and stick to itÂ

Step four: exercise — building mind and body

Exercise using the patient’s own environment to improve both mind and body are essential to a stress reduction program aimed at ridding the patient of stressors at home and in the workplace. A structured program featuring low impact exercise, some weight work but also meditation, yoga and personal development activities (i.e. adult education) to improve lifestyle overall are essential.

There is definitive proof that if you are in a pre-diabetic state, exercise can keep you from becoming a diabetic — even if all you do is some very moderate form of exercise on a regular basis. Other studies have indicated that even limited periods of exercise (e.g., two months) will have a positive effect on your A1C value and it can be significant. In one study A1C levels dropped from 8.31 to 7.65, despite the fact that there was no appreciable weight loss in the two groups of participants in the study.

Exercise, except in people who have injuries or severe health problems such as advanced heart disease, pulmonary conditions, or orthopedic restrictions, is always beneficial, no matter what level you can manage. For diabetic patients, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week. Exercise has one other great benefit — it does wonders for mental health.

Step five: lifestyle — change is never simple (but it does make a difference)

For anyone who is at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease, making lifestyle changes is the final critical step in the five-step plan for diabetes control and weight loss. Lifestyle changes have been proven repeatedly to be one of the best ways to reduce the potential of pre-diabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes. Studies show that a better lifestyle can actually help you modify, reduce, and control the genetic roadblocks and risks you were born with.

Your own contribution to behavioral change may be the make-or-break factor. This doesn’t mean you will be sent home from the doctor’s office with an unbreakable list of do’s and don’ts, rather a lifestyle plan you create together and that you implement, with a support system in place.

©2009 Frederic Vagnini, M.D., FACS, and Lawrence D. Chilnick, authors of The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes

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Overcome supermarket roadblocks by shopping defensively

Shop defensively to help you overcome Supermarket Roadblocks and fight diabetes.

This is one of the steps proposed in The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes (Fair Winds Press/ October 2009 / $21.99 paperback), leading expert Dr. Frederic Vagnini addresses the challenges and explains how to remove all of the metabolic roadblocks that diabetes creates. Dr. Vagnini draws from the latest clinical studies and provides specific recommendations for overcoming weight loss problems and managing diabetes based on a patient’s medical history and risk factors. His five-step program of diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, medication, and lifestyle modification creates weight loss through a sort of biological chain reaction as patients become healthier through proper diabetic treatment.

Shopping defensively

Here are some specific hints for defensive shopping:

  • Prepare ahead. If there’s one rule to follow, this is it: Don’t to go to the supermarket “on the fly.” We’ve all run out for a few things and ended up buying twice as much as we needed. Often, something in the store tempts us to do just that. For example, how many supermarkets position the bakery right where you walk in, with the wonderful smell of newly baked bread or cakes perfuming the air? It’s not an accident.
  • Consult your cookbooks and create a weekly menu. Write down all of the ingredients you need for it.
  • Know what you are going to make, and make sure that most of what you buy fits into your overall meal plan.
  • Check the fridge and pantry so you know what you don’t  need to buy.
  • Shop weekly. Shopping too often or stretching your shopping trips to every two weeks will make sticking to your meal plan more difficult.
  • Learn the store layout. The fewer tempting products you see and the less time you spend browsing, the easier it will be to avoid buying the wrong foods. The healthiest fresh foods are in areas against the store walls. Don’t spend time in the central aisles with things you don’t need.
  • Look up and down. The most attractively packaged food is on shelves at eye level.
  • Stay away from the areas where store employees are offering free samples of high-carb and fatty foods.
  • Eat before you shop. A hungry shopper buys more food and makes worse food choices, plus with diabetes, you need to eat at specific times and amounts that ensure stable blood sugar.
  • Shop alone and without the kids. Although research claims that men are more likely to stick to their list only, the levels of obesity in both genders suggests otherwise. Going to the supermarket should be a directed, time-limited event. You are there to buy certain things you need; you don’t have to review every single one of the store’s offerings. If possible, shop for food when the kids are in school because they are special targets for marketers.
  • Make healthy choices. This doesn’t only mean buying fresh vegetables from local farms or good produce in the supermarket. A healthy choice is a meal you make at home — not take-out or prepared foods. Over the past decade, sales of prepared foods at the deli counters and throughout the store have risen steadily. Americans now spend over $15 billion per year on prepared foods in supermarkets and in shopping mall food courts.

While sales of starchy, fat-dripping fast foods are dropping, prepared take-out foods aren’t much better. The choices are often “family friendly”: fried chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken wings, baked potatoes, egg rolls, tacos, and creamy “comfort food” soups. Did you know that much of the prepared supermarket food is made by the same giant food companies that make the fast foods? If you buy prepared foods, avoid those with heavy mayonnaise or breading and high calories. Dodge items featuring rice or mashed nts that ensure stable blood sugar.

Some experts suggest you take a close look at how much of your diet comes from the prepared choices. If prepared food makes up more than half of your diet, you have a problem. While one solution would be to learn to cook more or better, some people simply don’t like to cook or have too little time to make meals at home. But this isn’t an insurmountable problem.

Making the Supermarket Your Support System

If you are truly going to make a change that will bring your glucose under control and help you lose weight, you will have to take control of what you and your family eat. It is less difficult than you think. The secret is in your commitment to change.

There are scores of healthy-eating-oriented cookbooks in bookstores, supermarkets, mega-stores, and online recipe sources. These books help you follow some basic rules that will help meet the requirements of the Five-Step Plan.

Doing your own cooking will help you control what you eat, control your glucose, and lose weight. You will still go to the supermarket, but buying fresh vegetables in season, certain fruits, and good protein sources such as fish, chicken, turkey, and other lean meats will make your diet more interesting and flavorful. You might even discover that cooking can be fun, and you can make it a group activity. As you lose weight, you will feel better physically and mentally because the food you eat will be better for you. Your body will thank you.

Another good tip is to ask questions at the market. You’d be surprised how much help the people behind the counters can be, and not only at high-end supermarkets.

The desire for certain foods has been studied and reported on over the years. It’s often been noted that people fantasize more about food than any other pleasure, including sex. After all, food gave us our first pleasure as children, and eating habits last a lifetime. Given the level of obesity in the country, is it any surprise that many adolescents who do their “hunting” in front of the computer or video game are following in their parents’ footsteps?

The above is an excerpt from the book The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes by Frederic Vagnini, M.D., FACS, and Lawrence D. Chilnick. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Frederic Vagnini, M.D., FACS, and Lawrence D. Chilnick, authors of The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes

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In search of America’s best red velvet cake

In search of the America’s best red velvet cake was an enterprise of Laura Dave.

Laura is the author of the acclaimed novels The Divorce Party and London Is the Best City in America. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer.

By Laura Dave,
Author of The Divorce Party: A Novel

A little over eighteen months ago, I undertook a crazy person’s assignment: I set out to find the Best Red Velvet Cake in America. I began tasting cakes everywhere from Seattle to Springfield to Santa Fe. And I began working on a list of criteria for judgment: something a little more refined than my normal “yum” scale. I contacted a lot of chefs, bakers, bakery managers, and various Red Velvet experts (AKA: Mom and her friends) in order to develop a list of qualities to assess. Sadly, for me, their answers were so wide and varied as to what was most essential to an ideal Red Velvet, I began longing for the “yum” scale. How could all these things matter — and matter so much: The benefits of using cherries versus beet juice, the amount of red food coloring, the precise ratio of buttermilk to sugar to vinegar. I have baked (and eaten) my fair share of cakes, but I was learning quickly that Red Velvets were not an eye-it type of operation. James Beard’s American Cookery references three distinct types of Red Velvets. And don’t get a Red Velvet baker started on the complications of frosting. I can now write, with full confidence, a thesis paper on the advantage of cream-cheese frosting over a pure butter icing; and one on why a butter icing is more authentic than its sugary-vanilla counterpart. 

But, perhaps, I should first explain what has spurred this mission. In my latest novel, The Divorce Party, Red Velvet Cake plays a pivotal role. The novel focuses on a family on the Eastern end of Long Island — who have lived in the beautiful town of Montauk for generations — and who now are struggling to hold themselves (and their home) together during a defining weekend, in which the oldest son brings his fiancée to visit for the first time. An unconventional party is at the center of the weekend. And, at the center of the party, is one pristine and delicious Red Velvet Cake. 

But people’s passion for the cake has shown me that I can’t think about the cake as just part of The Divorce Party’s story. In my search for The Best Red Velvet, I’ve learned that this cake has it’s own story . . . and it is an emotional one.  

There is an urban legend that, mid-century, a baker at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel baked the very first Red Velvet Cake. According to the legend, a customer at the restaurant requested the recipe for the unique cake, and was billed hundreds of dollars. In retribution, she spread the recipe to all of her friends. It is a charming story, but a legend from start to finish. The real history of the cake’s origin seems to begin somewhere in the 1920s in the American South. Exactly who was responsible? That is still a matter of debate. And all versions I’ve heard are full of emotion. My favorite — and the one I utilized in my novel — revolves around a Southern baker who wanted to create a cake that symbolized the contrast between good and evil: the good represented by the lily, white frosting, the evil represented by the red cake. She wanted to make a cake that would have an emotional impact on those who ate it, even if they didn’t completely understand why. 

And while I’m afraid to name a current front-runner in my own search, I will say that I keep that first baker in mind as I try different options: like the wonderful piece of Red Velvet I recently ate at a quaint restaurant in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles called Auntie Em’s Kitchen. 

Can I tell you why I enjoyed it so much? Maybe not. But I’m working on it. And I promise it’s not just a yum thing. It’s an emotional one.

©2009 Laura Dave, author of The Divorce Party: A Novel

Author Bio
Laura Dave is the author of the acclaimed novels The Divorce Party and London Is the Best City in America. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesGlamourSelfRedbookESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer. Dave graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In August, Cosmopolitan magazine named her as one of the eight “Fun and Fearless Phenoms” of 2008. She lives in California. 

For more information, please visit Laura Dave

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Eco kitchen counters

Counter tops play an important role in your kitchen.

You want the kitchen counter tops to be functional and beautiful; think of making them eco-friendly, as well.

Best eco-friendly kitchen counter tops

The better the counter top, the higher the value of your kitchen and your home. In fact, some homes are purchased because of their kitchen. However, as people become more and more environmentally conscious, they want counter tops that are more than beautiful and functional, they want eco-friendly kitchen counter tops.

Here are the best eco-friendly kitchen counter tops to choose from:

Recycled Glass – Recycled glass counter tops are gorgeous. You can choose any color or color combination you desire. It is fairly expensive, $50 to $55 per square foot; however, it meets all of the requirements for a gorgeous, durable, eco friendly kitchen. Recycled glass is mixed into a cement, concrete or resin base and installed.

Bamboo – Bamboo is an amazing material. Because bamboo grows so quickly, it’s a very renewable resource. You can make flooring, dinnerware and cookware out of it, furniture and yes, kitchen counter tops. Bamboo is an inexpensive alternative running about $20-$25 per square foot. While it is gorgeous and eco-friendly, it can be dented and scratched. However, many people like this weathered look and the wood can be sealed to prevent staining. All in all, bamboo is a good choice for a counter top.

Recycled aluminum – Stainless steel has been all the rage for a while now. It’s sleek in appearance, durable and easy to clean however it takes a lot of resources to create a stainless steel counter top. Recycled aluminum offers the same sleek and durable look as stainless steel and it’s made from recycled materials so it’s environmentally friendly. The only drawback to this option is the cost, which is about $100 per square foot. However, if you don’t need a custom install and can manage a prefabricated piece of aluminum the cost can be dramatically reduced.

Concrete – Concrete, believe it or not, can actually be a gorgeous counter top addition to your kitchen. Concrete can be stained in a solid color or designed to resemble granite and other stone counter tops. Concrete is durable and easily sealed. Price can range from $65 per square foot to $135.

Ceramic tile – In order for ceramic tile to be considered eco friendly, it must be made from recycled materials like light bulbs, porcelain or bottles. Ceramic tile is extremely cost effective and prices start around $10 per square foot. It’s easy to install so if you’re a do-it yourselfer it’s a great option and when the grout is sealed, it makes a fairly durable option. Additionally, ceramic tile comes in just about every color imaginable.

Eco-friendly counter tops come in just about every style, durability and price point. You’re sure to be able to find exactly what you need to create your dream kitchen while at the same time, conserving resources and showing your appreciation for the environment.

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Spicy personality

Do you have a spicy personality? See what your favorite spices and condiments say about you.

Apparently, we all have one. Your choice of condiments reveals your personality, according to Dr. Allan Hirsch, from the Smell and Taste Research Foundation, author of the book “What Flavor Is Your Personality?”

There is no doubt smell has a strong influence in taste – it has been said only 10% of our taste experience is due to taste buds and we owe the remaining 90% to our smell receptors – and it can trigger emotions. We tend to like or dislike only those flavors that tickle our brain, the scents prompt both rational and emotional responses. Dr. Hirsch suggests in this book that there are basic reasons for preferences among aromas and tastes that connect to personality and behavior patterns.

See if your personality profile coincides with your flavor profile by choosing a favorite spice group.

Hot – cayenne, red pepper, curry and chili powder

People who prefer hot spices like to take charge, are not afraid to express their opinion and go for what they want.

Pungent – garlic, cloves, sage and saffron

People who like pungent condiments on their food are loyal friends and strong advocates for the causes they believe in.

Zesty – lemon peel, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme

People who like a little zest with their food are social, spirited, full of energy and fun to be around. They like people and people like them.

Comforting – parsley, paprika, cinnamon

People who have a preference for comforting spices are easygoing and considerate. They fit well no matter where they go.

Savory – onion salt, celery seed, pickling spice

These savory condiments are a must for creative people, the kind that avoids routine, trust their intuition and themselves; probably like traveling.

As probably don’t rely in a single condiment when you cook and usually add a few of then, you’ll find there is more than one flavor in your profile.

The book “What Flavor Is Your Personality?” has more quizzes relating flavors and personality. It is light, entertaining, and raises some curious theories. Although food cannot tell the whole story, it is a good way to start. It would also be interesting to see if adding a hint of your favorite spices to your surroundings – color and texture – makes you feel better.

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A recipe with a picture 2009

Contestants were asked to send a recipe with a picture of the finished dish for their chance to win one of the prizes. We received great recipes and beautiful pictures. So much, that we will be wanting pictures with the recipes for the contests from now on.

The panel of judges was in a Mediterranean mood when they selected the winning recipes as both, the winning recipe and runner up, have an decided Mediterranean flavor.

Congratulations to both winners!

A recipe and a picture contest

Contestants sent their best recipes to All Foods Natural for the chance to win.

This contest was opened to all visitors. The winning recipes and pictures were published at All Foods Natural and Food Naturally newsletter.

This competition was live on the spring season, from 21 April 2009 to 21 Juen 2009, and entries were accepted from from 21 April 2009 to 1 June 2009. Apart from the book offered as a first prize, there was another offered as runner up.

The winners

The judges were clearly in a Mediterranean mood. The winning recipes for this recipe contest were mozzarella meat balls in vegetable sauce, from Vicky, as the recipe than conquered the panel, and eggplant Mediterranean bake, from Chris, as runner up. Both recipes are delicious.

Meet now Vicky, the winner, at the stove.

Q: Tell us about your background: Where and when did you learn to cook?
A: I have been cooking since I was 12 years old. I like cooking. I cook everyday. I learned to cook from various sources like TV, recipe books from friends and family.

Q: Which one is your favorite food? Which dish is the one you cook best?
A: Sweet and sour pork.
Q: Who does the cooking at home? Do you cook for one or two, or a family?
A: I do all the cooking at home for the who family.

Q: Which ones are your favorite recipes/dishes at home? Eating out?
A: Chinese and Thai seafood dishes are always my favorite. I like fresh steamed seabass with a bit of oil and soy sauce dressing.

Q: Please, share with us a typical menu you serve when you entertain friends.
A: Roast chicken with stuffing and bread and butter pudding.