Healthy dining out with diabetes

Yes, it’s possible!

Preparing your own meals is a great way to stick to your diabetes-friendly diet. Realistically, though, you probably won’t feel like cooking for yourself every day. Like most Americans, you’ll likely eat out — at least once in a while!

Dining out doesn’t have to be tough if you have diabetes, and it doesn’t have to be off-limits. With a bit of planning and some smart choices, you can eat out without worry.
For people with diabetes, eating the right foods helps keep your blood sugar in your target range and provides needed nutrients — all critical parts of managing your condition. Individual meal planning can help you get the nutrients you need from the right foods.

That’s why it’s important that you stick to your healthy eating plan.

Try these five tips to do just that:

Know what’s on the menu.
Many restaurants post menus online. If one doesn’t, call the restaurant and ask if they can accommodate your needs. If they can’t, choose another place where you can more easily follow your eating plan.

Eat at the same time you usually do.
If you take insulin shots or diabetes pills, you need to eat about the same time every day.
Schedule dining plans close to your normal eating times.

Make reservations so you won’t have to wait.
If you can’t make reservations, bring a snack in case you have to wait. Avoiding high-volume times may help.
Watch portion sizes.

Many restaurants serve large portions. Try ordering an appetizer for your main course, or splitting an entrée with someone.
Or you can eat half of your meal and take the rest home.

Be vocal.

Ask for substitutions if you need to. For example, order veggies instead of fries. Or ask for sauces and dressings on the side.

Be careful of your drink choices.
Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, with free refills. Stick with water or other unsweetened beverages.

Reprinted with permission
Medica CallLink® 24-hour Health Information and Education
1-800-962-9497

Heather Vasquez

Heather has worked for the City for 13 years, starting at age 19. She is currently an Office Assistant III for Public Works in the Street Maintenance Division. In her job, she does a little bit of everything so much so that she has been called the “Swiss army knife of Public Works”!

Heather admits that in her teen years she wasn’t into exercising or watching her diet. She was in for a shock when at age 20 she stepped on a scale at a doctor appointment. She felt she had really let herself go and decided then that she would do something about it.

She began by making little changes to her diet. Up until then, she had been eating whatever she wanted which included a lot of fast food. So, for example, instead of taco shells, she substituted lettuce wraps. She gave up greasy cheeseburgers. She began doing her own research into healthy eating. Changing her diet was hard for her but it paid off. Heather saw the weight come off and people starting asking her about it. This motivated her to keep going.

Heather decided to add exercise to her life, beginning with short walks. She then added working out to exercise videos at home. By doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred she lost 30 lbs. in 6 weeks. The lifestyle changes that Heather made ultimately resulted in a 60 lb. total weight loss that she has been able to keep off. Her motivation to continue wasn’t just about losing weight, however. She wanted to lower her risk for diabetes, which runs in her family.

Two years ago, Heather joined a gym. To help her stay accountable. she takes a selfie when finished with her workout and posts it to Snapchat.

She is committed to going to the gym as often as she can. Her office is a 24/7 operation so she often works odd shifts and very long hours. When this happens, and she can’t make it to the gym, she works out on a break in the conference room, doing squats or using a workout video. She religiously wears her Fitbit, making sure she reaches 10,000/day. If she is short, she will even walk around her house or go up/down stairs to hit the goal. The Fitbit also calculates the number of calories she is burning when she works out. She logs those burned calories into the MyFitnessPal app along with logging pretty much anything she eats. That helps her to stay at least in the ballpark for her daily calorie goal. Heather said the use of the MyFitnessPal app really helped her realize how many calories she was eating. It has been a huge aid in weight loss for her.

Last year, Heather injured her back and was out of work for a month. She couldn’t exercise at all and or even make her own food. Heather pushed on though, not letting the pain and injury totally derail her lifestyle. With the help of a vigorous physical therapy program, Heather was able to slowly get back to a regular routine. She now pays more attention to using good form when exercising to avoid another injury. She keeps her workouts fresh by getting inspiration from social media.

For Heather, slow and steady wins the race. By changing her lifestyle, not only has she lost weight and reduced her risk for disease, but she feels a whole lot better too.

Hoa Young

Hoa Young has worked for the City for over 25 years, starting out as an aide in the Mayor’s office. Since then she has worked as a Project Management Technician for PED in the Annex.

Hoa has grown to appreciate the importance of staying active and eating well as she ages. She doesn’t have an extreme exercise program but rather does what she describes as low impact, age appropriate exercise which anyone could do.

To start with, Hoa lives in Lowertown and walks home approximately one mile from work most days. She participates in the free, lunch time Pilates class offered at City Hall. She may not do the whole hour but she finds 15-20 minutes helps clear her head and reduces any stress she is feeling. The instructor, Anca Sima, supports her in doing what works for her, saying doing anything is good. Hoa feels that – you have to move it or lose it.

Three years ago, Hoa began taking T’ai-Chi Qigong class. She goes most Sundays along with her husband to the Saint Paul Yoga Center for these classes. The philosophy behind Tai chi Qigong is based on the concept of five elements with (metal, wood, water, fire and earth) each element representing certain organs in the body. The exercise consists of deep breath, flowing movements and meditation to draw the Chi (energy) to the body to keep the organs healthy.

In terms of eating, Hoa strives to maintain a healthy weight by just watching what and how much she eats. She aims at eating simple, balanced and healthy food. She mostly cooks Vietnamese food that consists of rice (blending white and brown), meat and fresh vegetables. In the morning, she may have a half bagel with cream cheese or a yogurt. A small handful of nuts will serve as a snack during the day and before bedtime, or cheese, crackers and fruit. Tofu is a staple in her kitchen.

Recently Hoa started teaching cooking classes at Mississippi Market’s Eastside location. She likes to share her passion for cooking simple and healthy food and mostly authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Her next class is in October, “Vietnamese Chicken Three Ways”. You can find out more here: msmarket.coop/event/vietnamese-chicken-three-ways.
Hoa is also adventurous in trying other cuisines of the world. She cooks Thai, Chinese, Italian, French, Korean. Her favorite thing to do is to watch cooking shows early Saturday morning.

Hoa understands that keeping a healthy lifestyle can take discipline; but after a while it becomes a habit. She also feels that emotional health is also important to living a long, healthy life so Hoa tries to focus on the positive things around her. She reminds herself daily of the good fortune of having a good family with a husband of 48 years, three well-adjusted children and seven grandchildren. She believes there is really no reason to complain but be thankful for all she has.

Fish Consumption Guidance

Put Fish on Your Plate!

Fish are a great choice for serving up lean protein with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Fish also are a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids – a good kind of fat!

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are called EPA and DHA. Our bodies cannot make EPA and DHA. Eating fish is the main way to get these important fatty acids that you do not find in other foods. (Supplements may not be as beneficial.)
Here is the best part:

  • DHA is a building block of the brain and eyes.
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms can eat fish to give DHA to their babies.
  • Eating fish can lower the risk of heart disease.

The benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks when eating fish low in mercury and other contaminants. Young children (under age 15) and fetuses are more sensitive to mercury. Too much mercury can cause lasting problems with understanding and learning. But studies show children benefit developmentally when moms eat fish low in mercury during pregnancy.

What to do?

  • Eat fish!
  • Follow the guidance linked below to prevent mercury and other contaminants from building up in your body.
  • Contaminants take time to leave the body, so spread out your fish meals.


Statewide safe eating guidelines

For general guidelines to help you make decisions for yourself and your family about your fish-eating habits, visit: www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/metals/ucm115644.htm. For recipes and information about eating fish, go to www.chooseyourfish.org.

Site-Specific Meal Advice:
Consumption guidelines for lakes and rivers where fish have been tested for contaminants. Guidelines are also searchable by lake at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind.

Reprinted from the Minnesota State Department of Health.
www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/fish/index.html

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It causes inflammation or swelling, and a narrowing of the airways making it more difficult to breathe. During normal breathing, air flows freely in and out of the lungs. However, during an asthma attack or episode, swelling of the airway’s lining increases, muscles surrounding the airways tighten, and thick mucus clogs the tiny airways making it difficult to breathe.

Who gets asthma? Asthma affects people of all ages and while it can start in adulthood, it most often starts during childhood. Young children who wheeze a lot and have frequent respiratory infections that continue beyond 6 years old are at greater risk. Genetics can also play a role in developing asthma. Having a family history of eczema, allergies, or having parents or siblings that have asthma increases risk. We aren’t exactly sure what causes asthma, but we do know exposure to certain things can trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and can flare up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include:
Wheezing – Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe out.
Coughing – Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep. Sometimes coughing can be the only symptom.
Shortness of breath – Some people feel like they can’t catch their breath or feel breathless, as if they can’t get air out of their lungs.
Chest tightness or pain – This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

Asthma symptoms vary from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week and over months and can vary from mild to life threatening. Having symptoms may mean your asthma is not well controlled.

See your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms or are using your quick-relief inhaler (rescue) more than two times a week.
  • You have symptoms that wake you up two or more times a month.
  • You refill your rescue up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include: inhaler prescription more than two times per year.
  • Your asthma is getting in the way of your usual activities like going to school or work.

Don’t ignore asthma symptoms.

Symptoms that are not easily relieved by using a rescue inhaler or that reoccur should be evaluated by your health care provider, or you should go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. TAKE ASTHMA SERIOUSLY.

Police Officer Fitness Test

Each year, Saint Paul police officers undergo fitness testing. This testing provides valuable information to the officers regarding their ability to respond to the physical demands of the job. The officers’ results are compared to population standards for age and gender.

This year changes were made to the testing process to keep current with the latest research and trends in law enforcement fitness testing. Officers now have two testing options from which to choose for their annual fitness test.

Testing option #1: Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Listed below are the fitness components that are measured and the tests used to assess that component.

Aerobic endurance:
1.5 mile run (the 12 minute Navy bicycle test or one mile walk are also provided to those who have an injury or medical condition preventing them from safely completing the run.)
Body composition: Waist measurement or body fat percentage test using either skinfold pinch test or a body fat scale.
Explosive power: Vertical Jump. Standing with one arm raised overhead, that height is noted; the score is then the number of inches above that point the officer can reach with jumping.
Muscular Strength/endurance: choice of maximum number of pushups or 1 repetition max bench press (ratio of weight to lbs. pressed one time)

Testing option #2: 2000 meter row
This test is new this year and specifically requires the use of a Concept 2 Rowing machine. A 2000 meter row tests the aerobic capacity, as well as the muscular strength and muscular endurance of the entire body all at once. Strength, overall power and the ability to continuously apply power play a key role in rowing performance. Rowing also requires strong core musculature to brace the midsection to use both the lower and upper body together to row. Nearly all of the body’s muscles are used during rowing. Scoring for the test is based on gender, body weight and time to complete.
Upon completion of a fitness test, the Physical Fitness Specialist for the department, Jim Hensrud, can then recommend a training program to improve the officers’ fitness if needed.

Run Club

This month, we are featuring employees who run Saint Paul – at least that is what their t-shirts say! These employees are the members of Run Club which was started this year by OFS employee Bridget Morales. It includes employees from a variety of City departments, all of whom have different paces and abilities. It provides motivational support, an opportunity to explore different running routes and an outlet for those who share their same interest. They like the team atmosphere and the opportunity to meet and network with other department employees. For some, it feels safer running in a group rather than alone. They see it contributing to a Healthy Saint Paul.

Below is what three members had to say about Run Club.

Marissa Peterson, OFS. “I love Run Club because it is a great way to be active with other people from around the City. I usually run on my own, so it is fun to be able to exercise in a group environment. It definitely pushes me to work harder! I also love the way I feel when I come back to work after Run Club – I always feel like I have more energy to get through the rest of the workday.”

Brett Hussong, Parks and Rec. “I’ve found that it is difficult to exercise when I get home from work, so I typically run 4-5 days each week over lunch. I run to get outside, and to mentally take a break from work. I find I’m more productive in the afternoon if I get away from my desk during the day. I joined the running club as a way to network, and to meet new people both inside and outside of the city. I stay motivated because we run a different route each week, and we generally get to experience the river corridor!”

Mary Guerra, OFS. “I started running in the last 5 years or so. Nothing competitive, just recreational. I’m likely the slowest runner in Run Club . The farthest distance I’ve ever run is a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) this last Halloween. It took me two and a half hours to complete. I felt so proud! I’m currently training for my first Ragnar relay race this August (200 mile race from Winona to the Twin Cities). I’ll be running Ragnar with Run Club mastermind Bridget Morales. Many of the runners in the Run Club have done one or more marathons, so it’s very inspirational and encouraging. Everybody is welcome in the Run Club, runners of all speeds. What keeps me coming to Run Club is the ability to run with friends. I usually run on my own wearing my headphones, so it’s nice to do a group run where I can run while connecting with others too.”

All employees are invited to join Run Club. It meets every Wednesday in the first floor lobby of the Saint Paul Athletic Club/Hotel, 340 Cedar Street. There is a restroom that can be used for changing and there is also a place to store a duffle bag if needed. To store a bag, label the bag with your name and “Run Club”. For more information, contact Bridget at bridget.morales@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

Do you have questions for our featured employee?
Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

Don’t fall for some of the latest misleading ads

by Jolene Mafnas

As long as there’s Madison Avenue, companies will twist the truth to pitch their products as healthy, real, essential, or name-your-buzz-word-du-jour. So they play up nuts or protein rather than sugar, “energy” to get you going, veggies no matter how minimal, and more. Here’s a handful of some current misleading ad claims. You don’t have to look too far to find plenty of others.

“Looking for lower carb feasting?”

asks the ad for the Cauliflower Crust on California Pizza Kitchen’s YouTube account. “No problem…Cauliflower crust (oh so deliciously) plays well with carbconscious connoisseurs.” Yes, CPK’s Cauliflower crust is about a third lower in carbs than its Hand-Tossed Original crust. But with 85 grams of carbs in each (individual) crust, it’s anything but low. And the Cauliflower crust’s 560 calories is just a smidge lower than the Original’s 580. That’s because CPK adds rice flour, tapioca starch, and cheese. Of course, it’s “no problem” if those carb-conscious connoisseurs think it’s just cauliflower.

“You bring the egg,”

says the TV ad for Ore-Ida Just Crack an Egg. “We bring the Ore-Ida potatoes, chopped veggies, melty cheese, and hearty meat for a hot scramble ready in less than two minutes.” Yup, you bring the egg (carefully, if you’re heading to work). Ore-Ida goes to the trouble of filling a plastic cup with three tiny plastic bags—with 2 or 3 tablespoons each of ham, cheese, and diced potatoes, green peppers, and onions. All that plastic, just so you can add something to an egg, which you microwave in the plastic cup? Surely, people can microwave an egg in a glass bowl or Pyrex cookware with their own chopped veggies (or fresh salsa). Who needs the processed meat and white potatoes?

“The honey sweet, clustery, crunchy taste of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds now has more almonds…25% more almonds,”

boasts the TV ad. Yes, but the cereal still has more sugar than almonds…or honey, for that matter. And it’s got more corn than oats or anything else, despite the name. “Sugary Bunches of Corn” just doesn’t have the same ring. You call that essential?

“Not having a good breakfast can make you feel like your day never started. Get going with Carnation Breakfast Essentials High Protein Drink,” says the TV ad. “It has 21 vitamins and minerals, with 15 grams of protein to help you be your best.”

Yes, get going with a 220-calorie bottle of water, corn syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrate, vegetable oil, cocoa, calcium and sodium caseinates, soy protein isolate, gums, salt, artificial flavor, and more. You call those “essentials”? Want 15 grams of protein? Try a non-fat plain greek yogurt instead. It’s only 80 calories, so you can add fruit and still come out ahead.

“When your battery is running low, grab a sugar-free, vitamin-packed 5-Hour Energy,”

urges the TV ad. “It’ll get you back to 100 percent fast.” First of all, those vitamins are there just to give your caffeine shot a health halo. They won’t “get you back to 100 percent.” And there’s no way to read the tiny disclosures at the bottom of the screen: “Not proven to improve physical performance, dexterity or endurance. Limit caffeine products to avoid nervousness, sleeplessness and occasional rapid heartbeat.”

Find this article interesting and useful? Read the full article here: www.nutritionaction.com/daily/what-not-to-eat/dont-fall-for-some-of-the-latest-misleading-ads/ Nutrition Action Healthletter subscribers regularly get sound, timely information about staying healthy with diet and exercise, delicious recipes, and detailed analyses of the healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets and restaurants.

Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

FEB 15, 2017 1:25 PM EST Time Magazine

Below are excerpts from an article written by entrepreneur Joshua Steimle. While he speaks as a business owner, this can apply to anyone who finds exercise losing out on importance when life gets busy. It is a good reminder that your health has to come first and regular exercise is necessary component for good health.

“On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all; as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.

If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.

For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit. For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.”

Makes sense, but how do you start? Go to “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Priority” for ideas to get you started. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/6-ways-to-make-exercise-a-priority?page=2

Rachel Handren

Rachel Handren began working for the Parks and Rec Center daycare program about six years ago. As a child, Rachel’s family moved around a lot. As a result, she made friends with children from many different cultures. Her childhood also included being involved with dance. She began lessons in fourth grade, participating in dance competitions and public performances. Rachel’s Northwest Como Rec supervisor, aware of her dance background and her ability to connect with children from many different cultures decided she would be the perfect person to develop and direct a dance program for children at this center.

Rachel began with creative movement classes for children aged 3-5; for elementary aged children she created jazz, ballet and hip hop classes. Classes were held once per week from September through May. As the program grew in popularity, Rachel expanded with more classes. During the summer when classes aren’t typically held, she began holding dance workshops to keep the momentum going. Last year, she added a dance competition league. This league competes in local competitions against private dance studios. Their competitors come from studios that are designed for dance with mirrored walls, ballet bars, etc. as opposed to the Rec Center gym used in Rachel’s classes. To help cover the cost of competition entrance fees, they have a fund raising booster club, set up snack tables, etc. They plan to have a fund raising chair for next season. There are 90+ students now involved in Rec dance classes and the competition league.

Besides teaching children to dance, Rachel’s goal is helping them become more fit. The competition league dancers took a baseline fitness test at the beginning of the year and then set their goals. Each class spent 15-20 minutes on strength, conditioning and flexibility exercises. They were required to practice routines and exercise outside of class as “practice makes progress”. By the end of the first year, every single dancer beat their own personal goal while also growing in the intricate skills it takes to be a competition dancer. The valuable skill of working as part of a team was also learned.

Rachel says she is so incredibly proud of how hard her students work especially on their own personal fitness goals and how they encourage each other to do better. She has dreams of having a real, dedicated space for the dancers in the future. We recognize Rachel for sharing her enthusiasm in bringing the joy of movement and fitness to so many kids, making a difference in their lives.