Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds

by Jacquie Lewis-Kemp, Author & Health Coach for Living life with diabetes and organ transplants, rather than limiting life because of them.

Browsing Posts tagged hypertension

 

There are so many observances throughout the year that several of them happen simultaneously. However April’s pairing of National Minority Health Month and National Donate Life Month is not pure happenstance.

National Minority Health Month

African Americans and other ethnic minorities are plagued by a number of chronic illnesses that may not be an immediate threat to life itself; however neglect of these chronic and often preventable conditions can surely lead to an early death. Perhaps the biggest of these chronic illnesses that disproportionately plague African Americans is hypertension and diabetes. According to the National Institute of Health,

“The most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, together accounting for about 70 percent of new cases.”

That bears repeating, 70 percent of new cases of chronic kidney disease is caused by uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension—both controllable conditions. Controllable in large part by good decision making: diet and exercise, and medication prescribed by a doctor. And this brings us to the next April observance.

National Donate Life Month

National Donate Life Month promoted largely by the Gift of Life Foundation encourages people to make the decision to become organ donors, either living or at the time of death so that those waiting on the transplant list, can live. There are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. Millions of organs are wasted daily when people die without donating their organs. It is a simple process to sign up on the national organ donor registry: http://donatelife.net/register-now/

In the case of kidneys, while African Americans make up 12% of the population, we make up 32% of those on dialysis.

In April and beyond, join with me to make smart and healthy decisions to improve minority health, and please “Donate Life”—my brother Jeff (my kidney donor) and another individual (my pancreas donor)’s decisions to donate life are why I live today!

Share

Chronic diseases or conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypoglycemia, asthma, kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease and transplant living all require a regimen that requires strict adherence. Not following these regimens or staying within the guidelines can cause serious problems, long term complications or even sudden death. Almost all of these conditions require a special diet or dietary restrictions.  Some of them can be controlled with diet alone. Others also require medicines and test procedures.

This can seem overwhelming for someone first diagnosed with a chronic illness, and it can continue if the patient doesn’t develop a regimen to accommodate the medicine schedule, the dietary restrictions and timing, and exercise requirements. The restrictions that a chronic condition requires can feel overwhelmingly restrictive, but consider the alternative. If a diabetic doesn’t develop a regimen to consistently take medication, follow a low glycemic diet with the prescribed carbohydrate restrictions and exercise as suggested, then blood sugars can dip too low and cause a severe hypoglycemic reaction resulting in loss of consciousness or even death. Other chronic conditions can result in similar serious conditions as well as sudden death.  This is why a regimen to prevent these severe reactions is important.

How do you manage diabetes? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

In other words, you break down what needs to happen and put it up against your usual daily schedule.

  1. 1. List the things that must be done for proper management of your condition. In the case of diabetes, you would list your dietary requirements and restrictions, your medicine doses and times, your test and exercise requirements/suggestions.

  2. 2. List your normal daily activities and job travel and/or timing requirements. For instance if you work 8am until 5pm, and you travel 10%  of the time, typically Tuesday through Friday.

  3. 3. Now blend the lists by figuring out what the breakfast requirements translate into as far as a meal; what you will eat for lunch (whether purchased at a restaurant or packed in a  brown bag lunch) and how you will complete dinner requirements. When you will test and if you will gets some midday exercise walking outside or to lunch.

  4. 4. You should also write down when you will test during these hours and at home.

  5. 5. Finally look over the list of requirements and make sure that you determine what supplies you need to make this regimen work. For instance, if carrying blood testing supplies and the machine is not convenient, then you might want to consider keeping an  extra set at work in a locker or in your desk. If that means keeping medicine at work as well, make sure to consider the storage requirements of the medication. For instance, insulin doesn’t need to be refrigerated; however it shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight either.

  6. 6. Schedule time for exercise so that it is not an afterthought that is not done regularly.

The key is to make sure that what your condition requires, you make available and convenient so that it is easy to be compliant to your doctor’s orders.

Share

Soul Food has been the blame for Type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes for years.  One of the reasons that it has not been quickly eliminated from the diet of African Americans is because of the social role these foods have played throughout history.  Much like the movie “Soul Food”, the Sunday Diner and family contribution to its preparation is what has historically kept families together.  Therefore for the sake of the African American family, we must find a way to uphold this ritual and at the same time reverse the effects it has on diabetes and heart disease.

Many of the foods are in fact healthy and nutrient filled at the start.  It is often the preparation styles that rid the foods of their cancer fighting and sometimes blood pressure lowering nutrients.  Adding excess salt and fat also cause some dishes to be unhealthy. With a few slight changes, soul food can become not just good to you, but good for you.

Low-Sodium Selections

Traditional soul food is high in sodium or salt. Replace
table salt with sea salt. This type of salt has a strong flavor, and you won’t
need to use too much of it to get the flavor you desire. Select foods that say
“reduced” or “low-sodium” on the labels. Include dried or fresh herbs and spices
in your favorite soul food recipes to add flavor without adding
salt.

 

Low-Fat Diet Options

Traditional soul foods can be high in unhealthy fat,
such as saturated and trans fat. Soulfoodandsoutherncooking.com suggests
replacing traditional soul food ham hock with smoked turkey and using turkey
bacon instead of pork bacon. Breading and frying meat and poultry are typical
soul food preparations. Select a lean cut of beef or skinless chicken breast,
which are low in saturated fat. Coat the protein with flour, egg wash and
crushed-up corn-flake cereal. You can add your favorite seasonings such as sea
salt or dried herbs. Spray a cookie sheet with a nonstick spray and bake the
meat until done. This cooking method cuts out the fat from battering and
frying.

Balanced Carbohydrate and Veggie Options

Soul foods include starchy vegetables such as corn,
potatoes and peas. You can still enjoy these foods while having diabetes, but
you need to balance them with some nonstarchy vegetables. Enjoy steamed green
leafy vegetables alongside your starchy veggies. Prepare collard greens, spinach
or kale in a hot saute pan with a splash of red wine vinegar. Drizzle the cooked
greens with heart-healthy olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt to finish.
Black-eyed peas are a staple of soul food. Pair these simple carbohydrates with
complex carbohydrates such as brown or wild rice. Simple carbs break down
quickly and may cause a spike in your blood sugar. Pairing them with complex
carbs may help to stabilize your blood sugar since foods with complex carbs take
longer to break down.

Replacements in Baked Goods

When baking biscuits or cornbread, replace fatty
buttermilk with a reduced-fat milk. Whipped cream is a delicious addition to
homemade apple pie. Replace half the heavy whipping cream with reduced-fat milk
to shave some fat. Use 1 percent or skim milk in recipes that traditionally call
for whole milk.

Different Fats and Oils

Fill your diet with heart-healthy fats, such as
monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega fatty acids. Use healthy oils such as
olive, vegetable and corn oil in your cooking. Replace butter with margarine.
Include some nuts that are high in monounsaturated fats, such as almonds,
cashews and walnuts.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/328360-soul-food-diet-for-diabetics/#ixzz1lf3mTmIx

 

Share