Cindy’s mom watched her daughter gain significant weight in a short period of time during high school. This concerned her as it would any parent. Her mom urged her to attend Camp Jump Start, a summer residential healthy lifestyle/weight loss camp. Cindy refused until she saw her weight continue to rise and her health continue to deteriorate as she began to develop signs of diabetes.
Cindy is not alone. According to a study published last year by JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 50% of adults living in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes and many do not even know it. The journal Pediatric Obesity predicts by 2025, if no preventative measures have been able to combat childhood obesity, there will be 91 million obese children in the world; which will also increase all obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes, to catastrophic levels. No mother wants this for her child!
Diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce and use its own insulin well enough to control the sugar in your blood. When you have high blood sugar then your smallest blood vessels are damaged and this leads to:
- Heart disease
- Vision loss
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Infections and amputations
Cindy came to camp at age 17, weighing over 200 pounds. In her 8 weeks in the program, she lost 30 pounds, and gained the education and life skills she needed to continue her healthy lifestyle at home. Her signs of diabetes disappeared. Over the following year at college, she lost another 50 pounds.
Cindy returned to camp as a camp counselor, eager to inspire other kids and teens to eat right, get vigorous exercise, and feel good about themselves. She has maintained her weight loss for almost half her adult life now and has a healthy attitude about her lifestyle.She reversed her diabetes and it has never returned!
It started with a mom’s concerns, a teenager’s resistance and ended happily with a commitment to learn and make lifestyle changes that have improved her life and give her control of her future.
These kinds of lifestyle changes can help you prevent diabetes:
- Lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you are overweight
- Portion control what you eat to the actual serving size
- Read food labels for serving sizes – Be careful as they DO try to trick you!
- Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in sugar and fat
- Include at least 30 minutes of “Push Yourself Activity” every day
- It helps you lose weight
- Lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- Helps you use insulin by getting the blood sugar to the muscle instead of harming the blood vessel
Did you know in just health care costs…
- A child on the verge of being a diabetic can have additional medical bills of $6,000 per year?
- A child diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can have additional medical bills of $20,000 per year?
Another way to understand what is going on in your body:
Think of it like your car. You notice the gas gauge is close to empty so you pull into the gas station. You notice that the diesel fuel is six cents a gallon cheaper than the gasoline. Not knowing any better and wanting to get the most for your money, you pull up to the diesel pump and you fill up with diesel. You turn on the ignition and the car coughs and sputters. You put the car in gear and it shutters and jerks along then stops. You get out of the car and you see black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. Your car has to be towed to the garage and you tell the mechanic, “My car broke down right as I left the gas station.” The mechanic asks, “What are you using for fuel?” and you say, “Diesel.” He says, “I have an idea, try gasoline.” So he drains the diesel which is kerosene out of the gas tank. They clean off the spark plugs and fill the tank up with premium gasoline. Now you turn on the engine and it runs great. “Oh, that mechanic is so smart. He fixed my car.” The car was not broken. The engine was clogged up then malfunctioned because the diesel fuel was not the right fuel source.The car’s fuel system was not designed to run on the cheaper fuel and it caused the car to breakdown.
Thus goes the human body. The standard American diet (SAD) is the wrong fuel for our bodies. We will not see a change in our health until we eat the right fuel then our body will run efficiently. To change the diabetes epidemic we must change the way we eat BEFORE we get the disease. Historically we treat the symptoms of diabetes, isn’t it time we take care of the cause?
Hippocrates, a Greek physician in the 4th century, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” It was true then and it is just as true today.
This is easily noted when in the 1700’s sailors recognized that those who ate citrus fruit were able to avoid the disease known as scurvy and those that missed out on the citrus fruit developed scurvy. When those sailors with scurvy were given citrus fruit, they became well again. It was the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the citrus fruit that was needed by the body to function properly. It seems so easy in hindsight to be the detective in the scurvy case but at the time it was not so obvious.
We learned from this history that there is a definite link between nutrients in food and disease. Given our Standard American Diet (appropriately called SAD) it is no wonder that heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia rates are skyrocketing!
- Did you know that 75 percent of children ages 7 -11 already have beginning signs of heart disease in their blood vessels? Yes you read that correctly–3 out of 4 children are already sick!
- Did you know that 79 million people live with prediabetes? The numbers are growing with 25 million people in the U. S. already having the disease and 7 million of these do not even know they have it yet!
- Did you know that a woman has a 38 percent lifetime risk of developing cancer and if you are a man that risk increases to a 45 percent chance in his lifetime?
- Did you know that the projected number of people suffering from dementia in 2030 will be 75.6 million people and it is expected to triple by 2050 to 135.5 million people?
Do you understand that this is not normal? Our modern lifestyle is making us sick!
We sit too much and eat without thinking. Then we wonder why we are sick. The only way to reverse the trend is to change our choices and we do that by informed decision-making. We have to choose to eat healthfully and be fit through activity or exercise. We have to educate ourselves through reliable sources on how to be smart consumers. Personal responsibility is key for a positive outcome with your diagnosis.
Good nutrition is our foundation to a healthy life. Foods such as fruits and vegetables have a bountiful number of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals in them all working together. These nutrients keep our bodies functioning normally and help fight off disease.
Nutritional scientists are trying to identify and understand how each one works and the effects they have on the human body. There are thousands of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables and we understand only a few of them. For instance lycopene is the best known phytochemical in tomatoes. We know lycopene is a carotenoid and it helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer by activating phase II enzymes. Yet, lycopene is just one of thousands of phytochemicals in a single tomato.
Yellow and red onions also are powerful in the fight against cancer. They are considered an allium vegetable and contain organosulfur compounds. When the cell walls of this vegetable are broken – by chewing or chopping – then the chemical reaction begins. This reaction appears to detoxify cancer cells and halt their growth. So if you eat onions everyday then you may have stopped a cancer in its tracks without ever even knowing you had it!
Educated food selection is your first line of defense in maintaining your health or improving your illness. Modern medicine and medications have their place in your treatment AFTER YOU have done your part! According to the listed disease trends, you may be fighting for your life and not even know it yet.
Halloween is almost here and if you are like most households, candy sits in a big bowl, ready for trick or treaters. Each time you pass the bowl, you pick up one item thinking just that one little piece cannot hurt, right? Think again!
Eating just a few “extra” calories a day or skipping a workout adds up to energy imbalance. This imbalance will sneak up on you quickly, as the scale continues to go up and you are getting heavier and heavier.
Each summer our campers get to plan their own snacks on occasion and the trail mix snack is a highlight. The campers order their individual, special order mix days in advance. They measure each option and tally up their order sheet, so their snack is under 150 calories. They may pick from pretzels, nuts, cheerios, raisins, M & M’s and marshmallows to name a few options. We all have different preferences and we all like choices.
At camp they do not get the choice to opt out of activity though. We work off those “extra” calories. To get this point across we walk the track for 30 minutes on trail mix nights. Calories in versus calories out is not an exact scientific equation but they get the message.
It is true if you have already eaten enough calories to sustain yourself during the day, your body will store those “extra” calories as fat. Those “extra” treats do not have to be candy either. It can be just one cookie, a small soda or a bag of chips. Although a snack may be small, it is the repetition of having it every day over and over that gets one into trouble. Those “extras” can add up very quickly as the scale creeps upwards.
Do the math. We know there are 3500 calories in a pound, if you have an “extra” 150 calories each day and there are 7 days in a week then in one week you have 1,050 extra calories. In one year (365 days x 150 calories per day) you will have over 54,700 extra calories! This means you will have gained over 15 pounds in one year’s time eating just a little something extra. Now that is significant!
How can you avoid being tricked by treats? Try something new this Halloween.
- Put your spare change (coins) in a bowl and give out money.
- Give out small toys like whistles or candy-scented markers.
- If you must have candy, then buy a kind that you do not like!
- Buy treats on Halloween itself so it is not in your house for long.
- Get the candy out of the house–put it in a laundry basket and leave it outside your front door.
It can also be scary going to Halloween parties knowing treats will be there, so plan ahead.
- Eat before you go to the party and take your own treat to share. See Pinterest for Halloween themed fruit trays, vegetable trays or low-calorie punch.
- Take small decorated plates and tall thin glasses as a hostess gift and use these so you do not over-indulge.
- Position yourself away from the food and keep yourself busy socializing with friends. Share a few spooky stories and enjoy the Halloween costumes. Focus on laughing with friends instead food.
Remember: Halloween is over at midnight so get rid of any leftovers! Take the treats to the fire station, police station or send to a soldier overseas. Some dental offices will even “buy back” candy.
Keep your home a safe space so you are never tricked by treats again!
By Jean Huelsing (Author)
Divorce: Did You Even Think About Me? Letters of Hurt and Healing is a book that explores the effects of divorce on children, from their point of view. Through the eyes of children of divorce, a new perspective emerges showing how their lives are affected, often more than the lives of the people who are divorcing.
This book will help a child realize that they are not alone. Many children are in the same position and feeling the same emotions. Many children find their emotions are normal and may find comfort from one of the responses. This book will also help adults hear the voice of their child when they consider divorce. Divorce must be a last resort after all else fails in trying to solve adult problems. Hopefully one of these stories will resonate and give guidance during this difficult period in life for all involved. We must always remember it is not the child s fault and they need the parent to take care of them, and if the parent cannot, then the parent needs to find someone who can. The ending of this book also comes from the children s collective thoughts when divorce is necessary.
Thirteen year old Daniel’s four weeks at Camp Jump Start have turned into much more than the pounds and inches he lost. They have turned into a roadmap to better health for Daniel and his entire family.
In his four week session this summer Daniel lost 17 pounds and 13 inches off of his body. His fitness improved as well. When he first arrived he ran a mile in 17:22 minutes but on the last day of camp he had shaved almost 5 minutes off his time. His confidence grew and his smile got bigger.
Once he returned home he could not wait to go clothes shopping for school. This year he would not have to shop in the husky department and could wear what his classmates were wearing without feeling fat. Well fitted clothes also gave him a way to gauge when he was veering off course. His family vowed not to buy bigger clothes if the new clothes became tight, so when the clothes began to feel uncomfortable Daniel recognized that he had to up his commitment. He would have to exercise more and skip the foods that were causing the weight gain. The feel of how his clothes fit was a practical reminders and motivator to stay on course.
Daniel’s changes led to bigger changes at home; he was eager to share what he had learned. Daniel took the lead in helping his family make lifestyle changes. To be successful they would have to work together. Daniel was their role model and he inspired everyone around him because he had worked hard ant that hard work paid off in reaching his goal.
While this new way of living began at camp, his parents were serious about helping Daniel so they completed their own homework. They cleaned out all the junk food from the kitchen cabinets and bought smaller plates and tall, skinny glasses. They re-set their kitchen by replicating the Camp Jump Start system. They had prepped foods for quick meal assembly in the refrigerator. They bought measuring cups to keep the family honest with portion control. They centralized all electronics in their family room removing televisions and computers from the bedrooms. They also set up the charging station for cell phones in the family room so that no one slept with phones next to their bed any longer.
Daniel came home and helped meal plan. The family began making a shopping list before going to the store and then stuck to buying only the items on the shopping list. This saved them money. They would have 4 days worth of food with mainly fruits and vegetables readily available. This would mean an extra trip to the grocery store in a week but they were willing to make this habit change. It was a surprise when they became efficient at shopping and stopping for groceries became a quick trip saving them time for other activities. They would also prep the food once they returned home so that it was ready for busy nights. They had their own “fast food” always ready which really cut down on family stress. They began to realize that they had been over-scheduling the family with activities that really were not as important as their own family time.
Soda became a thing of the past in this household. Each family member had a water bottle that they took with them everywhere they traveled. The beverage of choice was always water with green tea a close second. When water became boring then they added some fruit or vegetables in it to add a little more flavor which can be refreshing. They no longer missed or craved the soda that they once automatically chose.
The family rule was three meals and one snack.
〈 Breakfast was always steel cut oatmeal with a tablespoon of milled flaxseeds and some berry on top. Soy milk was their dairy of choice.
〈 Every family member took a bag lunch to work or school which always included a salad. Instead of feeling like a freak, they became the example of healthy living. People began to copy them when they saw it was an easy switch to something that tasted good and was easy.
〈 Dinners always began with a soup or salad. The plate was covered in ½ cooked vegetables. They began slowly with one meal a week being meatless. As time went on and meal planning with new plant-based recipes was made easy then these meatless meals became more common. They had no idea how good it could all taste!
〈 That ONE snack either came from the fruit bowl after school or they all saved it for a dessert that they all shared following dinner.
〈 Special occasions–which the family defined together–allowed for an extra snack.
It was important that the body had time in between meals to rest and repair instead of constantly digesting food. Grazing became a thing of the past for Daniel’s family. They would all brush their teeth after dinner signaling that eating for the day was over. Then the body really had time to concentrate on time to heal itself.
Every Friday the entire family weighs themselves in front of each other before breakfast. They keep a chart hanging in the bathroom closet. This keeps them accountable to their new lifestyle. If they maintain their weight, they celebrate with mini-rewards from a goody bag containing small coupons for outings and family events that they had brainstormed together. The coupon might be redeemable for a pick a game night, a trip to the theatre or a park outing. All the coupons are family-based activities. If they lose more weight, they receive TWO coupons that week. The weigh ins evolved from seeming like a punishment to a time for anticipation with reward for hard work. The family also has a long term goal which includes a family get-away if they all maintain their success for a year.
Every day they track their activities on a family calendar.The rule is that no one goes to bed without having 10,000 steps listed on their pedometer. Sometimes that means climbing the basement steps over and over. They each decided out to fulfill their fitness requirements whether it meant going to the gym or playing on a sports or dance team. Steps were non-negotiable and everyone agreed to this. Peer pressure for not letting the family record slip was a great motivator because no one wanted to be known as the “slacker”.
Daniel has now lost 33 pounds total. He has no signs of heart disease or diabetes. He has energy and a newfound zest for life. He is looking forward to the school year instead of dreading it like so many overweight or obese kids do. He has friends. He has what all parents wish for their child—health and happiness.
To date, the family of four has lost a total of 112 pounds. They are feeling better than ever and are a tight knit family. They are enjoying life. Whenever they start to return to old habits, they simply have a family meeting at breakfast on Friday morning following weigh-in. They make a toast with their big glass of water in the tall, skinny glasses to health and happiness. They are immediately back on their healthy lifestyle roadmap and this one healthy choice will lead to other healthy choices throughout the day. They know that the only time you fail is when you quit trying and they committed to make today count.
2cloves garlic, minced
½ small white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
1 – 24oz jar spaghetti sauce (no salt added)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium zucchini
15oz Fat Free ricotta cheese
¼ cup Fat Free grated parmesan cheese
2 cups Low Fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T fresh basil
Heat a 10-inch skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of water. Saute garlic and onion in water about 5 minutes or until soft. Add more water as needed (do not add too much water or you will be boiling your vegetables not sautéing) Add bell pepper; cook 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in pasta sauce, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.
Cut zucchini into 1/8 inch slices using a knife or mandolin. Put zucchini in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Don’t squeeze so hard to mash zucchini, you want it to stay intact.
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Place zucchini on grill over high heat. Cover grill; cook until lightly charred on both sides. Again, use a paper towel to blot excess moisture.
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 13×9-inch (3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan and egg.
Spread some of the red sauce in bottom of baking dish; layer with enough zucchini to cover. Next, spread with half of the ricotta mixture; top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up, making sure to top off with sauce and mozzarella. Cover with foil.
Bake about 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil
Nutrition: Calories: 272 Fat: 9.33g Sodium: 411mg
Black Bean Chicken
½ cup Corn, roasted (fresh off the cob or frozen and thawed)
4 Chicken breasts
1 cup Dry Black beans
½ cup Red onion
2 Limes, juiced
2 Lemons, juiced
1 T Garlic, minced
1 t Cumin
1 t Coriander
1 Jalapeno pepper (finely chopped, seeds removed)
Hot Pepper Sauce, to taste
2 T Cilantro, chopped
- Soak black beans all night. Drain. Place beans and enough water to cover in a pot and cook until tender, adding water as needed.
- Roast your corn. Place kernels on a nonstick cookie pan and Bake at 425 degrees F until browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add all ingredients except chicken and cilantro in a food processor and blend until semi smooth. Leave a little chunk if desired. Set aside.
- In a deep nonstick sauté pan, sear the chicken breasts on one side over medium-high heat until brown.
- Flip chicken over and add blended food. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes at low heat. Chicken’s internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
- Add the cilantro. Cook for 1 minute more. Serve hot with a slice of lime on the side.
Calories – 308
Fat – 3.83g
2 large Chicken Breast, cooked and cut into bite size pieces, and chilled
1 teaspoon dry chopped onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup long grain rice
1/3 cup dry wild rice
2 cup water plus 1 tbsp low sodium chicken boullion granules
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain, no fat
1/3 cup Orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sliced Celery
½ cup sunflower kernels
11 oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
2 ½ cups Grapes, washed and halved
1 cup Craisins
1 – Cook chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, and set aside to cool.
2 – Combine all of the spices in a medium saucepan and mix thoroughly. Add the both types of rice, the water/bouillon combination. Bring mixture to a boil and stir to combine. Cover saucepan with a lid, turn down heat to a simmer and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to chill.
3 – When chicken and rice are thoroughly chilled, combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl, tossing very gently. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
4 – Serve on a bed of Romaine lettuce.
Serves 6 Main dish servings
4 cups Chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups Spring Mix
1 Granny Smith apple, cored but unpeeled, and cut up
½ cup Raisins
1 cup Mandarin orange slices
1 small Red onion
1 Brown pear, cored but unpeeled, and cut up
Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 T honey
¼ cup Canola oil
¼ cup Lemon juice
1 T Poppy Seeds
1 ½ t Dijon mustard
Put romaine and spring mix in a bowl. Add raisins, mandarin oranges, apple, onion, and pear. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or a jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour over salad just before serving.
Serves 4 main-dish servings
Calories – 284
Fat – 14g
Sodium – 56mg