Enjoying A Party With Diabetes

Here is a question that I have recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has pre-diabetes.  New Year’s Eve we always have a large celebration with cocktails and lots of food.  We are growing weary of the party this year given my new diagnosis.  Any tips on how we can still enjoy the party?

It is important to realize how important it is for your wife as well as you to be eating a healthy, nutritious diet together. In order to reduce the risk of your wife developing diabetes it’s important for both of you to follow a new lifestyle by encouraging each other to eat foods high in fiber and watching your portion control as well as exercising regularly. Legumes are a good source of protein and are high in fiber to help keep your hunger down. Eating black beans, garbanzo beans or split peas are all tasty ways to incorporate legumes into the diet. Also, planning ahead and measuring out foods before eating them is an important step to realize how much you are supposed to be eating and keeping foods at a safe level. It’s also important to realize that eating small meals every 3 to 5 hours is important in order to help you not overeat and feel fuller throughout the day. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat and calories can also help your wife lower her risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes. Green leafy vegetables are ideal for a pre diabetic diet.

Simple carbohydrates should be avoided because they can lead to food cravings and weight gain in most people. Including complex carbohydrates are important because they provide energy levels to the body and help keep you feel fuller after meals. Examples of complex carbohydrates are spinach, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, tomato, oat bran, oatmeal, brown rice, multi-grain bread, low fat yogurt, and skim milk. Refraining from “junk” foods and high calorie desserts and snacks is important. IF you choose to drink alcohol, it should only be consumed occasionally and when blood sugar level is controlled. Small amounts of sugars are fine as long as it’s part of an overall healthy diet. Most individuals with diabetes believe that they can’t consume any sugars or enjoy any of their favorite foods, when it is acceptable as long as calories, carbohydrates, and other key components are monitored, especially blood glucose levels.

So, successful ways in enjoying the party is to eat a healthy diet throughout the day and plan ahead for what you want to eat at this party. Although food is a big part of what brings us together to celebrate, you have to learn to stick to a healthy diet to succeed in keeping diabetes under control. Eating a nutritious meal before the party is a smart idea to help you keep fuller throughout the night and keeping an eye on each other knowing your in this together is also key. Allowing your friends to know what is going on and the condition you are both in is also important so you don’t feel pressured to consume things that your body doesn’t need. If you need to, there is always the option of bringing your own healthy snacks and food and sharing it with everyone else to realize there are healthier alternatives and teach your friends something new too!

Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.

Cancer is a group of diseases that are characterized by cells that reproduce spontaneously and aren’t inhibited by the boundaries of tissues and organs. Therefore, they can invade tissues and organs far away from those where they originally formed. Most forms of cancer result in one or more tumors. Tumors are newly formed masses of cells that are immature and have no physiologic function.

Heredity can play a role in the development of cancer, but does not guarantee that you will get it. This just means that you are at an increased risk and should take all preventive actions, because many are modifiable.

The American Cancer Society describes how five modifiable factors can have a great impact on cancer risk:

  • Using tobacco increases the risk for cancers of the lung, larynx, mouth and esophagus as well as cause heart disease, stroke and emphysema.
  • Consumption of substances like alcohol, dietary fat and compounds found in cured meats can increase the risk of cancer. Antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals are all nutritional factors that can protect you against cancer. Diets high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables increase the risk of the esophagus, colon, breast and prostate. So it’s important to increase your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and decrease the amount of red meat and fatty meats while maintaining a healthy weight to prevent cancer.
  • Infectious agents are about 18% of cancers worldwide. For example Helicobacter pylori is linked to ulcers as well as stomach cancer and Human papillomavirus is linked to cervical cancer which is caused by a sexually transmitted virus.
  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US and is about half of all cancers diagnosed each year. Most are linked to exposure of UV rays from the sun or indoor tanning beds. UV rays damage the DNA of immature skin cells and reproduce uncontrollably. Exposure to tanning beds before age 35 increases by 75% your risk of developing skin cancer. Limiting exposure to the sun for 20 minutes between 10 AM and 4 PM can reduce the risk of skin cancer while getting the adequate amount of vitamin D.
  • A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of colon cancer and may increase the risk of other cancers. So get moving!

Antioxidants are important for enhancing the immune system assisting in the removal of cancerous cells from the body, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and tumors, and preventing the oxidative damage to the cell’s DNA. Eating whole foods that are high in antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have been shown to lower your cancer risk.

Source: Thompson, Janice, Melinda Manore, and Linda A. Vaughan. The Science of Nutrition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2011. Print.