2015 Good Health in the New Year!
By: Jessica Cook MS, RD, LD/N (Director of Education)
Welcome to the first Healthy Living with Diabetes Newsletter of 2015. We hope you find new ways to help manage your health and diabetes with our useful information and tips to living a healthy lifestyle.
With monthly information from our physicians, certified diabetes educators, registered dietitians and even some great feedback from our patients right here at Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, I hope you enjoy January’s issue. And we hope you have a happy and healthy new year!
Traveling with Diabetes
By: Shital Patel M.D.
Are you planning a great getaway or visiting relatives this season? Dr. Shital Patel shares her tips on staying safe and healthy during your travels:
- Plan early!
Make a check list of all the medically necessary items.
Testing Supplies (meters/strips)
Pump supplies if applicable
Please make sure you have adequate supplies to last the entire trip.
- Flight letter if carrying sharps and injectables such as lancets and needles.
- Do not check in your diabetes supplies! You do not want to reach your destination with no medications if your bag is lost.
- If you are taking a long trip, especially cruises, please pack smartly, take some supplies in your carryon luggage for immediate use and the rest in the luggage checked in.
- Must adjust timing of medications if traveling across time zones.
- Try to special order meals at time of booking.
- Must hydrate with water during long flights or car trips and stay mobile during a long flight (exceeding 3-4 hours).
- Perform calf exercises during flight.
- If you have any questions regarding your medications during travel please call our office at (561) 513-5100 well in advance so we can help you with any questions you may have or to refill your prescriptions.
Don’t Let Food Craving Sabotage Your Wellness Goals!
By: Monika Lambertson MS, RD, LD, CDE
We’ve all experienced a food craving – a sudden, intense, and often uncontrollable desire for a specific food. It happened to me recently. I was running errands and out of nowhere I got a strong urge for a milkshake. Not just any milkshake, but a cookies-and-cream milkshake. Fortunately I got a phone call and by the time I was off the phone the craving had passed! Whether you crave milkshakes, potato chips, cheesecake, chocolate, or macaroni-and-cheese, one thing these foods have in common is they are rich in both fat and carbohydrates, making them high in calories. Food cravings can get the best of you if they are continually sabotaging your wellness goals or weight loss attempts. Research on food cravings is ongoing as we try to unravel the complex maze of psychological and physiological pathways behind them.
Food cravings seem to originate in the brain and are not always associated with hunger. Food cravings may be brought on by boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness or lack of sleep, which all appear to impact neurotransmitter or hormone levels in some way. For example, feeling stressed can trigger eating carbohydrates which increases the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has a calming effect. When blood sugar levels drop, the hunger hormone ghrelin increases and can leave you ravenous and craving sweets. Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease blood levels of the hormone leptin, which helps suppress appetite. Decreased leptin causes ghrelin to increase, which stimulates appetite. In other cases, it may be that a certain food is associated with a pleasant memory. So feeling anxious or nervous can trigger a craving for a bowl of macaroni-and-cheese like mom used to make for you as a child, bringing back feelings of the comfort of mom.
How can we prevent food cravings? Evidence on the importance of eating breakfast continues to mount as recent studies find that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one of the most effective ways to help curb food cravings throughout the day. The consumption of a high-protein breakfast compared to skipping breakfast or consuming a high-carbohydrate meal like cereal or pancakes, led to increased fullness or “satiety” along with reductions in brain activity responsible for controlling food cravings. Besides eating a protein-packed breakfast, here are other tips to prevent food cravings:
Tips to Preventing Food Cravings:
- Get adequate sleep (about 7 hours)
- Eat three balanced meals a day, including a protein-rich breakfast. No time for breakfast? Microwave a frozen breakfast sandwich like egg, turkey sausage, and cheese on a whole-grain English muffin, or grab an egg white, veggie and cheese flatbread at your favorite coffee house drive thru.
- Have healthy snacks available if a craving strikes between meals. Include a protein source like nuts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cheese. Drink water throughout the day. Sometimes hunger is confused with thirst.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise has been shown to stimulate an area of the brain that helps reduce food cravings.
When a Food Craving Strikes:
- Try to distinguish whether it’s hunger or a food craving. If it’s between a meal, you may just be hungry and a healthy protein-based snack may tame your craving. If you’ve just finished lunch and have an urge for chocolate, you are probably not hungry but are having a craving. Put if off for at least 20 minutes. Cravings are typically short-lived and tend to wane over time.
- Redirect your thoughts. Cravings can overtake your thoughts until you give into it, but research shows that performing simple distracting tasks like forcing yourself to think of something else or even tapping your forehead can successfully reduce cravings.
- Choose alternatives for your cravings. Craving chocolate cake, have a no-sugar-added chocolate pudding or a small piece of dark chocolate. Craving something salty and crunchy, skip the chips and have a small handful of lightly salted nuts or lightly salted roasted edamame. But be careful, sometimes trying other alternatives before eventually ending up eating what you crave might actually result in consuming more calories in the end.
Is it OK to give in to food cravings?
It depends on the frequency and intensity of your cravings. Generally speaking, when people follow overly restrictive diets or completely cut out food groups, cravings become more intense and can lead to a cycle of overeating, weight gain, and guilt. A diet that includes a small amount of food you enjoy will be easier to maintain over a lifetime. But for some, giving in to cravings becomes a daily affair and can develop into an addictive behavior. In these cases, I recommend eliminating those “trigger” foods from the diet completely.
If you are having difficulty with food cravings and need a meal plan and behavior strategy to control them, call us today at (561) 513-5100 for an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians or our Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Need Help Planning Healthy Meals?
Do not fear, we’ve got you covered! Palm Beach Diabetes & Endocrine Specialists are now offering a Healthy Meal Planning with Diabetes refresher course starting on Monday, February 16th 2015 from 10am – 12pm in West Palm Beach. This class will cover how to plan and prepare healthy meals, how to make healthy snacks, grocery shopping, reading food labels and you even get to enjoy a yummy snack in class! This class also comes with a free recipe booklet with delicious recipes written by our very own diabetes educators and registered dietitians.
Call our scheduling department today to make an appointment at (561) 513-5100.
At Healthy Living with Diabetes we want to ensure that you are satisfied with all services received. We also would like your input on educational workshops that you would like us to offer, information you would like to read about in Healthy Living with Diabetes Monthly or feedback on any workshop that you may have attended.
You can contact the director of education personally by email jcook@PBDES.COM or leave a message at (561) 513-5100. We would love to hear from you!
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