Wearing a Diabetes Medical ID On-The-Go!

Medical ID Bracelets

Living life on-the-go can be fun and busy, however, doing so with a chronic illness requires a few extra steps and planning along the way.

 

Hi, my name is David and I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 10 years now. I was diagnosed at the age of 11 and let me tell you… I have been through a lot. In living with this disease, I have been able to experience so much and learn from my mistakes. In doing so, I have come to realize that as a diabetic, I am one of those who should wear a medical ID and why it’s important for all life’s experiences.

For years on end, I never wore a medical ID bracelet. I could never find a bracelet that I simply liked or wanted to wear daily. When I became a part of the Diabetic Online Community (DOC) back in 2014, I was exposed to several different people who shared the same struggle. I also saw a variety of amazing brands and companies who understand this struggle and have found ways to make ID bracelets, dog tags, necklaces, and more so much nicer and pleasing to the eye and the patient. I own several different medical ID bracelets, I think when one finds their style with Diabetes, it’s always nice to have options and create your own look, which is why owning multiple forms of emergency ID that go with different looks is a great idea!

I have mentioned several times on my Instagram, @type1livabetic, that when wearing my personalized Paracord bracelet from American Medical ID, I felt so very safe. I felt as though if anything Diabetes related could go wrong, I would be prepared. On my engraved bracelet, my name, condition, and emergency contact information were all located on a small piece of metal, attached to the Paracord bracelet. At a recent trip to Disneyland with a large group of people who also had Type 1 Diabetes that could vouch for me if there were to be an emergency, I still encountered times in which I was alone at the park (walking to and from my car, walking to meet the attendees, or simply stepping to the side to grab a snack), rest assured, I was confident with my Diabetes at the time.

So why is it so important to wear a form of medical alert jewelry for Diabetes? Well, not to get too dark or technical, however, the fact remains that we do have Type 1 Diabetes that does come with some symptoms and consequences. If our blood sugar drops significantly low, we could pass out and become unconscious or go into a coma. Same with high blood sugar, if we are severely high and go into DKA, we could in fact experience some symptoms that could limit our ability to function, which can prevent us from acting in the moment to get help. Say you were in public, alone, and you experienced one of these symptoms, if you were wearing a medical ID, someone nearby would mostly likely come to check for various hints or signs on you if something doesn’t look entirely right and search for an alert jewelry in particular sites on the body: wrists, around the neck, tattoos, etc.

In being diagnosed with any chronic disease and being told you have to take extra care of yourself can be a lot, however, allowing yourself some relief by wearing a form of ID can truly reduce a lot of the stress surrounded by various diseases. One should never leave the house without some form of ID as you never know when these emergencies could happen.

American Medical ID Healthy Packing List

The CDC includes having a form of medical identification such as alert bracelets, necklaces, or wallet cards as part of a healthy travel packing list.

I believe that some may also feel safe in knowing that they have a medical ID card in their wallet as well, for added peace of mind. One should also wear a form of ID at home, just in case. For those who live alone, I understand that it may feel as though you are not in need of wearing an ID at home as you will be alone, but that could just be the very tool that can keep you alive, say you have an emergency, it could be that neighbor walking by and seeing something isn’t right that could barge in and save your life and being able to identify you have a particular medical condition that needs attention.

We each have our own busy lives that takes up so much time and mental focus away from our health, which is why wearing medical alert jewelry can protect us as we are on the move, daily. School, work, the playground, a coffeeshop, wherever you may be, ID is necessary. No matter how old the patient is, whether a child, teen, adult, or elder, wearing a medical ID all the time can protect us from the dangers of our diseases and more.

 

Live well,

David

Real Talk with Dave: Trusting Your Gut

When first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we are told how we will feel. Doctors and nurses come in and tell us what we may experience when we are faced with a low or a high blood sugar, but that’s about it. Mind you most of these medical professionals are NOT Diabetic, which means that they don’t truly know what Diabetes “feels” like. Not only are we not able to fully know what symptoms of T1D feel like until we experience them on our own, but we are never actually mentally prepared for how life is going to feel like from now on, from the good times, to the not so good moments. How we know how Diabetes is exactly like is by simply living with it and experiencing all the possible situations on our own time.

For example, in the hospital, a doctor would typically educate you on low and high symptoms (shakiness, headache, fast heartbeat, etc.), but that doctor doesn’t actually know what it genuinely feels like. When we are faced with our first low blood sugar as a Type 1 Diabetic, it can be a real shocker in the sense that we are not expecting it to feel the way it actually does.

I can remember my very first low when I was essentially “on my own”. I had just gone back to school (6th grade) two weeks after being diagnosed and hadn’t fully understood how important carbohydrates were when on Insulin. I went to lunch that day and didn’t like the bread on the sandwich I was eating, so I decided to not eat the bread and eat the protein inside the sandwich instead, as I thought I was being healthy. Of course, shortly after lunch and having not eaten the carbs I took Insulin for, I had a very bad low. The sweats, shaking, and fast heart beat were so prominent in that low of mine and I needed a friend to walk me to the nurse’s office, where I was given some apple juice to quickly bring my sugar levels back up. Scary, I know, but that was necessary as I then learned why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Trusting your gut is key in living with T1D. You may have just checked your blood sugar minutes before and had a good number. Minutes later, you feel a bit funny but don’t think you could have gone low (or high) in such a short amount of time, but then, you do. You listen to your gut and trust your feelings and, you guessed it, a low. Had you not trusted your own gut, you could have been in for a really bad experience. This can happen in a variety of different situations as a Type 1 Diabetic. You can feel low symptoms when you are actually just fine. You can feel as though your blood sugar is high, when actually, you’re low. Knowing your body and how you feel when certain situations arise can be the thing that saves your life.

Nowadays, we have Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) that tell us what our blood sugars are and where they’re headed, which can give us peace of mind as we go about our day, but can also create anxiety as we can see when we may be going severely low or high at a bad time (work, school, meetings, etc.). Though we can see our blood sugar readings being updated every few minutes, we should not rely on the level of accuracy 100% of the time. Often times, the readings on our CGMs can be way off. That is why we must trust our gut and know our bodies. Every now and then, I may find my CGM readings to be about 100 points off of what my actual blood sugar is, which is extremely dangerous. That just comes to show, always be the one in control of your body and your feelings. You can only depend on yourself to determine how you are truly feeling, and when you do, there is a level of peace in knowing that you were able to catch a bad Diabetic feeling before it caused an emergency.

 So always remember, YOU are in control of how you feel. Not your CGM, not your Doctor, but you.

Live well,

 

Dave

Real Talk with Dave: It’s a Spooky Time for Spooky Blood Sugars!

It’s finally fall and most people are especially excited that October is here, which means Halloween time is present! Everywhere you go, there are Halloween themed decorations and pumpkin spice latte creations, making everyone excited for the holidays and the exciting festivities that come with them. Many people get into the spirit of Halloween, the costumes, the candy, and the fun times with friends, however, being a Type 1 Diabetic comes with just a few extra things to plan and prepare for.

I think it’s safe to say that us Diabetics work hard each day, so the one night where candy is the star of the show, I believe it is okay to enjoy some Halloween treats in moderation.

Planning ahead is key as you begin to make arrangements for Halloween.

I get it, Diabetes is not fun, it can be scary and have it’s ups and downs, however, it shouldn’t stop you from celebrating a fun holiday! For example, most Diabetics try and avoid unnecessary sugar throughout their day and watch out for things that can complicate their lives in terms of their blood sugar levels, BUT, if you plan on walking from door to door on the night of Halloween, you will be getting in some exercise, which may potentially drop your blood glucose levels, so go ahead and enjoy a piece of candy or two (and some insulin, of course). Don’t over do it though, because you don’t want to come back home that night or shorten your trick-or-treat experience due to severe high sugar levels and a stomach ache. That’s why, in moderation, eating a few pieces of candy throughout the night and finishing the rest of it over the course of the next few days is a better alternative in managing your numbers. Halloween is a fun-filled holiday where people go out dressed as their favorite characters and hang out with friends, eating candy all night, and T1D should not limit that, just be responsible in your choices as you decide how much candy to eat and when.

As you go from door to door, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backpack or purse with you that has all your emergency medical supplies, your blood glucometer, and some extra insulin, because you never know what could happen and not being at home with access to these supplies can be dangerous, so always prepare for the worst, just like you would at school, work, or on a vacation. Also, make sure you are walking with a group of people who know of your Diabetes and limitations, as in certain situations, them knowing can potentially save your life, say if you were to go severely low or high that night.

Always surround yourself with a trusted group or people (or at least one person) who is willing to help you out in any way possible if needed.

As for carb counting and sugar contents, most Halloween candies are familiar and of common brand names, so just be sure to check the nutrition facts on the back of the wrapper or do a quick google search on your phone for nutrition facts on the candy of your choice, this way, you can effectively and safely give yourself the right dose of Insulin needed for what you choose to eat!

In terms of costumes (that’s right, I’m discussing costumes), if you are unsure of where you may place your Insulin pump or carry your Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) if your costume is a little out of the ordinary and has no waistline or belt clip, you can always wear a strap, band, or garter underneath your costume, which provides a place to clip and secure your devices, and don’t be afraid to show off that beautiful site of yours! You can even decorate your sites for the occasion or to match your costume if you’d like!

            So don’t stress the holidays, take part in all the activities your heart desires (within reason, of course), and enjoy this life you were given! T1D has nothing on you.

Enjoy some Halloween candy responsibly, because yes, even Diabetics CAN eat candy! With smart choices and planning ahead, you can do the holidays, life, and just about anything you would have done had you not had T1D!

Live well,

Dave

Unbox Happiness

The room is engulfed in a warm sweet scent. There is that familiar aroma of melted butter and caramelised sugar that is always a treat for the olfactory sense. A couple of tactful hands are at play kneading the dough while some others sprinkle tiny bits of candied fruit. The massive ovens hum along in the backdrop as if indicating that they are ready to assimilate the prepared mixture. After a seemingly long wait, the doors are opened to reveal the baked goodies. Golden brown with generous portions of a maroon confectionery, the much-in-demand Karachi Bakery fruit biscuits are ready. This and much more is a customary exercise at the 60-year-old baker’s factory unit near Shamshabad in Hyderabad that produces three to four tonnes of biscuits daily. The franchise is fondly known as the ‘True icon of Hyderabad baking’.

As good as new
This bakery enterprise was the creation of Khanchand Ramnani, a native of Karachi in Pakistan, who chose to settle in India after the Partition. At a time when the scarcity of fuel for cooking resulted in deaths due to starvation, Ramnani ventured into the bakery business and he began making rusk and bread with his three sons: Hassaram, Narayandas and Ramesh. In 1953, brothers Narayandas and Hassaram chose to take a bigger leap and diversify the business into biscuits, cakes and pastries. Thus, Karachi Bakery’s first outlet was set up in Moazzam Jahi Market, one of the busiest markets in the city of Charminar.

The bakery today, offers a wide range of products ranging from biscuits, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, rusks, sweets, pastries, chocolates, snacks and artisan varieties of bread. It is managed today by the third generation of the Ramnani family — Rajesh, Harish and Vijay Ramnani — who are eager to take forward the legacy of the franchise. “In 1953, we did not have a manufacturing unit; we procured material from other bakeries and sold it. Then, in the 1960s, we started our own small production unit and eventually discovered our signature product (the fruit biscuits),” recalls Rajesh Ramnani, director, Karachi Bakery.

However, defying conventional business beliefs, this little bakery store decided to deliberately go slow when it came to expansion. The trio had bigger aspirations and they wanted to concentrate on improving their limited product base and build a strong regional brand first. And the recipe was indeed delivering expected results as its five-product strong brand in 2006 was gaining popularity not solely for the legacy but also for its quality. Karachi Bakery’s biscuits are hand-made and carry the claim of being fit for consumption for a month. Quality remains a cornerstone of the brand’s policy. Rajesh adds how his grandfather would say, “If you want to do good business, you have to retain the quality at an affordable price and thus expand your consumer base”. Today, its signature products — including the hugely popular fruit biscuit, Osmania, and cashew variants —account for 40% its revenue. The biscuits are priced between 125 and 499 for a 400 gm pack.

Once the ingredients for growth were identified and the brand was established, the company shifted focus to profitability. In 2006, Karachi Bakery set up outlets in different parts of Hyderabad — Banjara Hills, Madhavpur, Secunderabad and Gachibowli. “Hyderabad was and is a typically biscuit consuming market. Just how Mumbai is famous for its vada-pav and Kolkata for its fish, Hyderabad, after idlis, is famous for its rusks and biscuits. The Nizami food culture encouraged the creation of rich, dried fruit biscuits from which this market emerged and continues to follow a similar pattern,” explains Harish Ramnani, co-director of the company. In an effort to cater to this demand, Karachi Bakery’s biscuit collection includes butter, choco-cashew, badam-pista, coconut, and chocolate biscotti variants. Today, the stores in Hyderabad attract an average daily footfall of 1,000-1,500 people and registers an average ticket size of 800.

Spreading evenly
Once the city of Hyderabad was conquered, the bakery chain wan- ted to stake claim to the national market share. The southern brand tied up with marquee retailers such as D-Mart, Big Bazaar and also with a few local retailers across the country. “We launched new flavours and introduced the concept of British, Italian and US cookies…

Ten signs of uncontrolled diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes can be fatal. It can also lower quality of life.

People who do not manage the condition well may develop uncontrolled diabetes, which causes dangerously high blood glucose. This can trigger a cascade of symptoms, ranging from mood changes to organ damage.

People with type 1 diabetes, a disease that causes the body to attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, are diagnosed, typically, in childhood. However, as many as a third of adults with the most common type 2 diabetes variant of the disorder, do not know they have it. Without taking measures to treat it, these people can develop uncontrolled diabetes.

The following 10 symptoms are signs of uncontrolled diabetes. Anyone experiencing them should consult a doctor promptly.

High blood glucose readings are the most obvious symptom of uncontrolled diabetes.

As diabetes raises blood sugar levels, many people with diabetes think it is normal to have high blood glucose. Normally, however, diabetes medication and lifestyle changes should bring blood glucose within target ranges.

If blood glucose is still uncontrolled, or if it is steadily rising, it may be time for an individual to review their management plan.

FREQUENT INFECTIONS

Diabetes can harm the immune system, making people more prone to infections. A person with diabetes who suddenly gets more infections, or who takes longer to heal from an infection they have had before, should see a doctor.

Some of the most common infections associated with diabetes include:

• skin infections, such as cellulitis
• urinary tract infections
• yeast infections

Yeast feeds on sugar, and so the combination of lowered immunity and high blood glucose makes people with diabetes particularly at risk from frequent yeast infections.

INCREASED URINATION

Increased urination is known as polyuria. Most adults urinate 1-2 liters per day, but people with diabetes urinate 2-3 liters per day, and sometimes more.

People with diabetes urinate more frequently because the body tries to rid the blood of excess glucose. With uncontrolled sugars, people also drink more frequently, causing them to produce more urine.

A rare form of diabetes not related to blood glucose, called diabetes insipidus, can also increase urination.

INCREASED THIRST

People with diabetes sometimes experience polydipsia, a form of extreme thirst.

High blood glucose can make people with diabetes very dehydrated, so that they feel thirsty. It also undermines the body’s ability to absorb water. A person may feel an overwhelming need for water, may have a chronically dry mouth, or may feel dizzy.

Even though people with polydipsia drink more fluids,…

Good-for-you chocolate chip recipes for National Chocolate Chip Day

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day (There’s also a National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on Aug. 4, if you’re keeping track of such things), so we figured that was as good a reason as any to spotlight a few of the healthier chocolate cookie choices on shelves.

Not surprisingly, that’s much easier said than done.

It’s pretty much impossible to find a truly healthy cookie on store shelves – real cookies – not protein bars flavored or shaped like cookies. We’re not saying they’re not out there; they’re not in the many New Orleans grocery stores that we visited.

Plenty are marketed-as-better-for-you chocolate chip cookies, however, but each has its drawbacks:

The seemingly diabetes-friendly Murray’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are still essentially just white flour and artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium and sucralose) – and cookie-for-cookie, they’re about the same calories and carbs as a Chips Ahoy cookie, which has 160 calories and 22g carbs for three cookies.

Vegan chocolate chip cookies may look promising, like those by the Alternative Baking Company, but feature white flour, sugar and a host of other not-exactly-nutritious-yet-still-vegan ingredients, such as potato starch, salt and an oil blend. And the stats for each are staggering: 460 calories and 34 grams of sugar in a single cookie.

Another vegan cookie showing up more often on stores shelves is Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie with “baked nutrition” (whatever that means). Labeled as non-GMO with no dairy, no soy and no egg, each vegan cookie crams in 360 calories and 28 grams of added sugar. With more than a day’s worth of sugar, these aren’t much better than the Alternative Baking Company.

I was hopeful when I saw Munk Pack’s Gluten-Free Protein Cookie (available online), as it has more protein (9 grams) than sugar (8 grams). Problem is, each cookie is two servings – which translates to 16 grams of sugar (and 380 calories) for a single cookie. But of the brands and stats I’ve seen so far, this is among the better of the options. They’re individually packaged, too, which helps with portion control.

Build a better (for you) mac and cheese

A step-by-step guide to build a better mac and cheese, plus 3 nutritious pre-packaged options and 3 good-for-you recipes

I’ve run across two store-bought chocolate chip cookies that are a little better in terms of carbs, calories and sugar: Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies, both at natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods Market.

Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with a blend of refined and whole grain spelt flour (spelt is a gluten-containing grain that can be easier for some people to digest, compared to traditional wheat), with no sugar added. Sweetened with maltitol, each crispy cookie has just 60 calories, 0 sugar, and 5.5 grams of net carbs.

Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies are more like cookie dough than baked cookies – and you’ve got to like coconut. Gluten free and vegan, these grain-free “cookies” are made with coconut, agave, chocolate chips, almond flour, and coconut oil. Each cookie bite has 100 calories, 8 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar. Our informal group of taste testers agreed that they could do the trick to satisfy a hankering for a chocolate chip cookie.

5 ways to build a better, healthier Eggs Benedict

Five easy ways to build a better-for-you Eggs Benedict, plus a recipe for the delicious and nutritious Smoked Salmon Benedict from The Ruby Slipper.

We couldn’t find just what we were looking for on shelves, so we tested out a batch of recipes, and narrowed it down to the three below so we could build a better chocolate chip cookie ourselves.

All are made with little or no added sugar and fiber-rich whole grains, flours or legumes; all three are gluten-free, and one is vegan….

This 5-Ingredient Blueberry Zucchini Smoothie is a Creamy, Low-Sugar Superstar

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Smoothies will (hopefully) never go out of style, but what goes in them will. These days, the smoothie ingredient du jour isn’t an unpronounceable herbal powder, exotic fruit, or Amazonian super berry – it’s a humble vegetable that can be found in the grocery store year round. Here’s how to game change your smoothie with this five-ingredient (and low-sugar) blueberry, coconut, and zucchini recipe.

Yes, zucchini.

zucchini smoothie

Secret Smoothie Star: Zucchini

Known to grow like weeds in the summertime, zucchini is a type of summer squash with impressive nutrient properties. These vegetables, also known as courgettes, are low in calories and glycemic value, yet high in fiber and water content.

They’re also bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals including B vitamins like folate, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

The trick to using zucchini in smoothies is to first cut and freeze the vegetable. Although there are a million and one uses for fresh zucchini, frozen zucchini is ideal in creating thick smoothies filled with substance.

zucchini smoothie

Zucchini Smoothie Ingredients

Unlike using frozen bananas to thicken a smoothie, frozen zucchini works like magic to provide delicious and creamy texture once blended. If you are looking for a smoothie lower in sugar, or simply cannot tolerate bananas, adding frozen zucchini should be…

5 healthy, sugar-free homemade dips, dressings and sauces to spice up your meals

Businessman having a vegetables salad for lunch, healthy eating and lifestyle concept, unrecognizable person
Businessman having a vegetables salad for lunch, healthy eating and lifestyle concept, unrecognizable person (demaerre)

Many restaurant and store bought dips and dressings are high in calories, fat and added sugar. A salad at Mcdonald’s may not always be better than the quarter-pounder with cheese once you factor in the dressing that comes with the salad. You’re always better off ordering a salad without the dressing and making your own at home. If you are eating at the restaurant, you can get the dressing on the side and dip your fork first in the dressing and then in the salad. Here are some healthy dressings and dips that will add a ton of flavor to your salads without all of the extra calories.

Carrot ginger dressing:

To make this easy and low calorie dressing, simply blend cooked carrots, minced ginger root and roasted garlic with unsweetened cashew milk until a smooth consistency is achieved. It will give an Asian flair to any salad or dish. Ginger has a strong flavor so start with two tablespoons to large carrot. Ginger has numerous health benefits and this is a great way to work it into your diet. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger also helps with nausea, lowers blood sugar levels, helps improve various heart disease risk factors and has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.

Greek yogurt dip:

Greek yogurt is a great substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream in dips and dressings due to its thick consistency…

Meet the mum who became a social media star

Hippie Lane author Taline Gabrielian.
Hippie Lane author Taline Gabrielian.

SHE is a social media star with 495,000 Instagram followers and is a businesswoman who has turned her own battle with food sensitivities into a successful app and now a cookbook.

Taline Gabrielian, 36, created Hippie Lane after she built a successful social media following. The cookbook author started out by posting recipes she created on Instagram, following her doctor’s diagnosis that she had sensitivities to gluten, dairy, soy products, egg and refined sugar.

“After having my son Seb, I wasn’t feeling quite right,” she said in an email Q&A.

“In order to heal, I’d need to remove the offending foods from diet and find alternatives.

“It felt difficult at first – the no-no list felt long and limiting.”

However, Taline started visiting health food stores and experimenting in the kitchen – and sharing her results with the world.

“The demand for my recipes grew strong within the first six months on my social media journey which led me to create my recipe app, Hippie Lane, in 2015,” she said.

A year on, she was approached by a handful of publishers to create her first cookbook, which was released this month.

Taline shares two recipes from the new cookbook with Weekend, plus more of an insight into her food choices and family life.

How long have you been choosing this whole food or raw foods diet?

It’s been seven years since I changed my lifestyle to a gluten-free and dairy-free organic whole food diet.

What initially seemed like a major hurdle was in fact a blessing in disguise. Through my journey to healthy whole foods, I was able to establish my business, Hippie Lane, help myself to feel and look my best, whilst inspiring the worldwide health community with appealing healthy recipes.

How old are your kids now and do you ever face issues with them in public or at parties if they want to try a non-whole food? If so, how do you overcome that?

Seb is 7 and Camille is 4. Party food is definitely an obstacle for mums who are trying to steer clear of additives, preservatives and added sugars.

Although it pains me to know what’s in those party foods, I let my children choose one ‘not so healthy’ option at parties. Either it’s a piece of cake, a lolly, some chocolate, a fruit drink – whatever it is they prefer – they get to have a choice of one from the party table.

I want them to be able to join in on the celebrations without feeling deprived or different from the other kids. My belief is that deprived children rebel and seek out their cravings in other ways. I think it’s about balance and I’m keen on the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time, and be more relaxed about your choices for 20%. Same applies to adults and children.

If someone wants to make changes to their diet but is unsure where to start, what is your biggest tip?

Don’t overwhelm yourself with…

9 Deliciously Sweet Summer Treats Even Diabetics Can Enjoy

Homemade frozen yogurt

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Courtesy ChobaniThe best part of a froyo cup is usually the sweet toppings like crushed cookies, gummy worms, or chopped candy bars you can pile on top. Unfortunately, they add more than a fun twist to dessert—extra calories, carbs, fat, and sugar can quickly add up to unhealthy levels, especially for people with diabetes who need to be critically mindful of what they’re putting in their body in order to keep blood glucose levels in a safe range. “People with diabetes can still enjoy a sweet treat on occasion when their blood sugar levels are well controlled. Try to keep portions small and limited to 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate per serving,” says Melissa Matteo, MSRD, LD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Instead, freeze Chobani’s blended Greek yogurt, which comes in seasonal flavors like watermelon and kiwi. Each cup has about 13 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, and just 15 grams of carbs, the nutrient that raises blood sugar levels the most. Choose healthy toppings like a small handful of chopped nuts, which are filled with healthy fats, fiber, and protein; a small square of crushed antioxidant rich dark chocolate; or a sprinkle of sugar-free cocoa powder.

Pie pops

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The tasty JC’s Pie Pops may have been created by accident (a bowl of Italian custard accidentally froze solid instead of setting), but turns out they’re a sweet treat even diabetics can eat. The line of “nudies” are the best option, with just 18 grams of carbs, four grams of fat, and 120 calories a pop. If you’re indulging in a sweet treat, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels extra carefully and keep careful track of your sugar and carbohydrate intake to ensure you’re not overdoing it the rest of the day or week.

Granita

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Oksana Mizina/ShutterstockA balanced diet is important for everyone to follow, but especially for people with diabetes. Keep things under control by turning your daily serving of fruit into a refreshing frozen treat. “Make a granita…

Are non-dairy milks as good for you as they sound?

Milk does a body good. So goes the old, familiar ad slogan for cow’s milk, which your parents have told you for years builds strong bones and teeth and boosts your energy.

But what about all the non-dairy milks (or “mylks” if you will), that keep gaining in popularity and shelf space? Ranging from almond- to quinoa-based, from horchata- to chocolate-flavored, they’re welcome options for anyone who can’t or won’t drink dairy and supposedly chock full of nutrients. (They’re also a source of controversy over what we should call them. Not “milk,” insist some lawmakers and the dairy industry.)

Are these alt-milks all they’re cracked up to be? How do they stack up against their dairy equivalent? If you’re not making your own, what should you look for when choosing between cartons? We talked to two nutrition experts to sort it out.

What good is milk, anyway?

One 8-ounce cup of lowfat milk has 102 calories, 2 grams fat, 8 grams of protein, and 13 grams of sugars (naturally occurring, not added).

Among other essential nutrients, milk provides nearly a third of the calcium and Vitamin D we should be—but often fall short of—consuming on a daily basis.

Fortified, but with what?

Many non-dairy milks have as much or more calcium than cow’s milk, which is good, and they’re typically fortified with other vitamins and minerals, which is good in theory.

“The problem is, they often don’t use the best-quality supplements or it’s not enough or not the right form of it,” says registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Take Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is the form used in most non-dairy milk—you’ll see it on the ingredients list on the carton—but it’s less effective than Vitamin D3, the active form in our bodies that’s also present in dairy, says Angelone.

Some vitamins have a synergistic relationship with other vitamins that might not be in the fortification mix. There’s even such a thing as too much calcium. “Higher [calcium] is not necessarily a good thing because the more you get of it at once, the less you absorb,” says Angelone.

The takeaway? Make sure what you’re buying is indeed fortified, but keep in mind that no milk, plant-based or otherwise, will provide all the nutrients you need.

Where did all the carrageenan go?

To replicate the creamy texture of cow’s milk and prevent separation, companies add thickeners and stabilizers such as sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, and carrageenan.

You might notice more brands declaring their products “carrageenan-free.” It’s worth checking the ingredients list to be sure.

Derived from seaweed and used in all kinds of foods, from deli meat to ice cream, carrageenan has been linked to gastrointestinal problems, which is why companies are increasingly phasing it out. “Some experts say it irritates the gut lining and…

So long, sugar coma: healthy Easter options outsell traditional treats

Rebecca Kerswell, from Coco Chocolate, makes sugar-free eggs.
Rebecca Kerswell, from Coco Chocolate, makes sugar-free eggs.

Watch out Easter bunny, the sugar-free craze is coming for you.

Traditional chocolatiers are reporting a massive swing towards sugar- and sweetener-free Easter confections, as consumers look for healthy and more ethical options.

Rebecca Kerswell, of Kirribilli’s Coco Chocolate, makes an extensive range of European-style chocolate treats, using hand-tempered organic chocolate, but said that her sugar-free Easter egg, made from cocoa mass, vanilla and freeze-dried raspberries, outsold every other product in her online store.

The shop's sugar-free Easter egg has been their biggest seller.
The shop’s sugar-free Easter egg has been their biggest seller. Photo: Edwina Pickles

“It’s unbelievable, ever since it launched three years ago, the audience jumped on it straight away, and it’s still consistently been our biggest seller,” Kerswell said. “People want something without palm oil, high sugar or high fat content, and they know that the higher the cocoa mass, the higher the flavour.”

Kerswell, who hosted a private class for superstar Adele during her Australian tour last month, has now developed five other flavours in her sugar-free range, including blackberry and lime, and…

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