1 cup white wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar substitute or sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 (15-ounce) can solid packed pumpkin
2 large eggs
¼ cup oil
1 (2½-ounce) container pureed baby food prunes
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
4 ounces nonfat cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons sugar substitute or sugar
6 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In medium bowl whisk together flours, sugar substitute/sugar, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
- In large bowl stir together pumpkin, eggs, oil, prune puree, molasses and brown sugar. Mix in flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Spoon into pan, smooth out evenly in pan, and bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack.
- In small bowl beat together cream cheeses and sugar substitute/sugar. Spread topping onto cooled cake and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cut into 24 squares.
1 large (2½ lb.) squash, such as butternut or acorn
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
4-5 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth or stock
¼ cup pesto
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a roasting pan, toss together the squash, onions, garlic and apples with olive oil to coat. Season with pepper. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables and apples are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 30-40 minutes.
- Put half of vegetables, apples and 2 cups of broth in food processor. Puree until smooth. Repeat with remaining vegetables, apples and broth. Place pureed mixture in soup pot. If too thick, thin out with more broth, Add pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Serve in bowls. Top with a dollop of pesto on each serving. Makes 4 servings.
We have chatted this month about various aspects of diabetes since it is Diabetes Awareness Month. And as you know, the bottom line if you have diabetes is to obtain good control of your glucose levels in order to minimize physical side effects that can occur. One problem, and it is a little unusual – well, at least different from the more common side effects of diabetes-related blindness or kidney or feet problems – is a problem with the emptying of the stomach, called gastroparesis.
Symptoms of gastroparesis:
filling up quickly when eating (can’t eat as much as you used to eat), and
nausea, pain and bloating right after eating. It is all very uncomfortable.
Why does gastroparesis happen? The stomach does not work as well, probably from nerve damage (neuropathy) that often comes with diabetes. Food stays in the stomach longer than normal, and it can often still be in the stomach by the next meal.
If you think this is a problem, talk to your doctor. You might be referred to a gastroenterologist for an assessment, which may include a gastric emptying test. Then, dietary changes are important. You may be referred to a Registered Dietitian (like me) to learn how to make food adjustments.
Common dietary adjustments that can help with digestion and reduce symptoms:
very small meals and snacks,
LESS fiber - yes, LESS fiber
soft cooked foods.
In other words, small amounts of easier-to-digest foods helps to take the stress off of the stomach.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. And if you have diabetes you are probably keeping an eye on your diet, and hopefully carbohydrate intake. The carbohydrate foods such as starches, fruits and sweets are what make your blood glucose levels rise after eating. Grains provide carbohydrates, and selecting those that are whole-grain might give you better control of those numbers.
What exactly are Whole-Grains? They are grains that are less refined and have the bran, germ and endosperm. They have the same carb content as refined grains but much more fiber with a lower glycemic index.
Whole-Grains include stone-ground whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole-grain oats, whole rye, barley, millet, buckwheat, and whole-grain cornmeal. Dietary Fiber is found in whole grains, including soluble fiber in oats and barley, and insoluble fiber in whole wheat, whole rye and wild rice.
A Harvard Study of 74,000 female nurses, followed for 12 years, found that those who consumed the most whole grains had the least weight gain than those who consumed those most refined grains. And we know that gaining weight can increase your risk for developing diabetes, and/or make it more difficult to keep your diabetes in control.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. And this begs the question – do you know if you have diabetes? Do you regularly get your blood glucose checked with your health care provider at least once a year? There is value to having a regular check-up because it so much easier to get control of glucose when you first see the numbers moving up, rather than waiting until you have a diabetes diagnosis.
Have your Hemoglobin A1C checked if fasting glucose is out of range (normal glucose is 70-99 mg/dl). The A1C reflects the average of your glucose over the past 3 months.
Normal A1C is 5.6 or less
Pre-Diabetes A1C is 5.7-6.4
Type 2 Diabetes A1C is 6.5 and higher
What is your A1c?
Pre-Diabetes rarely has symptoms so you have to get the blood work done for it to be picked up. If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes but just sit on it, making no lifestyles changes, it will almost certainly develop into type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
What to do if your glucose is up? Assess your lifestyle – is there anything that might affect your risk for developing pre-diabetes?
- An unhealthy diet with a lot of processed refined foods that spike your glucose levels?
- No daily activity or exercise?
- Do you carry excess weight in the mid-section?
These all increase your risk for pre-diabetes, AND they are all changeable.
If you receive the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, don’t panic. There is so much that you can do to reverse this diagnosis. And it does not take drastic changes – but, you will want to do something! Do you go to the gym three times a week? That leaves 4 other days to be active because you do have pre-diabetes 7 days a week. Do you eat a lot of refined carbohydrate foods? Just cutting back can be a benefit. Or make a switch in the form of carbohydrate, for ex. from apple juice to a fresh apple. The small changes add up to big health improvements!
Halloween is this week, and if you have young ones, there is probably excitement in your household. With millions of kids out trick-or-treating, and millions of pounds of candy given out n just a few hours on Thursday evening, it might be good to have a few safety reminders to keep the evening fun and healthy.
Halloween safety tips:
have costumes that fit (less likely to trip)
put reflective tape on everything (costumes, foot wear and trick-or-treat bags)
bring a flashlight
go in groups – not alone
do not go into homes unless you know the folks
use the sidewalks and crosswalks
no tasting or sampling until home
keep only the factory wrapped treats but look them over for tampering, holes, tears or discoloration
Be sure to serve a healthy Halloween dinner before the family goes out for treats. Plan it around orange-colored foods for a fun and festive atmosphere: stuffed orange bell peppers, sweet potato fries and mandarin orange-blackberry fruit salad.
Do you have lots and lots of Halloween candy leftovers? Take the candy out of the wrappers, cut or chop into small pieces, and freeze to use later as an addition to cake and brownie batter, cookie dough or as a topper for ice cream.
Our intake of calorie-containing sweeteners and different sugars has steadily been on the rise in this country. Sweeteners are added to foods and beverages during processing and preparation, and then we add sweeteners again at the table. Lots of added sugars: table sugar (sucrose), high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses and syrups.
Top sources of dietary sugars (in descending order): sodas (No. 1), fruit drinks, bakery desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, etc.), frozen desserts (ice cream, etc.), candy and cold cereals.
Is there a Sugar-Health Link?? Research suggests yes with an excessive intake of sugars. This can cause oxidative stress in the body, and this in turn may be involved in cancer cell growth. The strongest link seems to be with increased colon and breast cancer risk.
What is the High Fructose Corn Syrup link to our health? Research again suggest that with a HIGH intake there may be an increase in lipid production in the liver, an increase in belly weight, and thus, insulin resistance (linked to type 2 diabetes).
A modest intake of different forms of sugar really does not matter health-wise. But we consume 300 more sugary calories each day than 30 years ago! So, the answer? Dial it down, if you can. Have more foods prepared at home from scratch, because you can limit the sugar added and control the type of sweetener. A muffin mix has lots of sugar already added. If you make a batch from scratch, you can decrease the sugar and add in more natural sweeteners through the addition of fruit like diced apples, applesauce, crushed pineapple and blueberries. You are in the driver’s seat for sugar intake.
You might think that everyone who has some cardiovascular event – like a heart attack – would make dramatic lifestyle changes. But that is not the case. Even after a life-threatening event, thousands of people make very few, if any, changes. A recent study of over 4000 adults with no heart disease followed these folks for more than 10 years. Of those who eventually experienced a heart attack, researchers made some interesting discoveries.
Study Results: Those who had a heart attack and made the most lifestyle changes had the lowest death risk from all causes AND the lowest death risk from heart disease.
Dietary changes made by study participants included
reduced intake of processed meats,
consumption of fewer sugar drinks, and
less use of the salt shaker.
Dietary changes made by study participants included eating
MORE vegetables & fruits,
MORE whole grains,
MORE nuts, and
MORE healthy oils.
This study points out that making lifestyle changes can be a challenge for many folks, even with the greatest motivation – having experienced a heart attack and possible death. But this study also indicates that the more dietary changes that you make, the lower your risk of dying. So replacing unhealthy fats for liquid oils and nuts is great, but in addition, working more vegetables into your menus is even better. There is a cumulative effect that is positive. This study is also a reminder that the foods that we bring home to create our own food environment are important for our health.
If you remember from your high school health classes, there are three major nutrients in the foods that we eat and they provide us with all our daily calories: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Let’s talk about protein because it is an important piece to our health and well-being.
Protein is found in every cell, tissue and organ in the body. It’s in our hormones and enzymes, it helps to build muscle, and protein fights off viruses and bacteria. So, we want to get in the protein that our body requires each and every day.
How much protein do you need? It’s simple: multiply your weight in pounds by 0.37, and you’ll have the grams of protein that you require each day. So a 130 lb. woman needs 48 grams and a 180 lb. man needs 67 grams of protein.
Animal sourceof protein: fish, poultry, red meat, game (a 3-ounce serving = 24 grams); Greek yogurt (6 ounces = 18 grams); milk (1 cup = 8 grams); cheese (1 ounce/slice = 7 grams), and eggs (1 egg = 6 grams).
Non-animal sources of protein: veggie burgers (1 pattie = 10 grams); legumes: black beans, pinto, etc (½ cup = 8 grams); nuts (¼ cup = 5-8 grams); nut butter (2 Tbsp. = 8 grams), and quinoa (½ cup = 5 grams).
There are certain folks who require MORE protein:
the frail elderly,
those who have infections or burns,
anyone who is malnourished,
and anyone recovering from surgery or a major illness.
A reminder: end-of-the-day family meals are important. It’s not always easy with everyone’s schedule to fit them in, but eating together may be one of the healthiest things you do as a family. A recent study from the U. of Minnesota shed light on the protective nature of family meals.
Researchers found that the average family meal:
was 20 minutes in length,
83% had at least one parent there,
50% ate in the kitchen or dining room,
and 70% ate the meal family style.
Note: 35% had the TV on during the family meal.
From this family meal study, meals featured a meat, and had several sides: starch (rice, pasta, potato, etc.) + bread, 75% served a vegetable and 60% served either milk or water for beverages.
From this family meal study, healthy family meals included good communication among family members with face-to-face interaction. There were meal time rules and boundaries for behavior. This is where kids learn table manners (please and thank you), improve listening skills, and help with setting the table and cleaning up. Gosh, family time sure is great!
The bottom line in this study: in those families where there was parent-child interaction, good communication and mealtime boundaries, the kids had a lower BMI or weight, and they ate more vegetables. These positive results were not based on the complexity of menus or dishes served. The important part is that they were sitting together with face-to-face time, and interacting. And you can do that over grilled cheese sandwiches and a bowl of soup, or a pizza and side salad.
Rita P. Smith, MS, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has worked in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for 35 years, working with patients and their family members to help guide healthy food choices.