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Food With High Cholesterol to Avoid

What is cholesterol? 

You’ve probably heard the term cholesterol numerous times in your life. Cholesterol levels are commonly tested at the doctor and it’s on your food labels, but what is it really? And is it always bad for you?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the cells of our body. It’s crucial for the normal functioning of our body, but too much can build up in our arteries and lead to health problems such as heart disease. There are two main places it comes from: our liver and the food we eat.

What’s the difference between good and bad cholesterol? 

Though it seems complex, cholesterol can be divided into two categories: good (HDL) and bad (LDL).

Good cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood and carry it back to the liver, where it can be broken down and removed. Bad cholesterol can build up in the walls of our arteries, leading to the formation of plaque.

Cholesterol is not always a bad thing, but it’s important to recognize what food items are high in LDL so that you can limit or avoid them in your everyday diet.

High Cholesterol Foods 

Here are eight foods that are high in LDL:

  1. Fatty Meats: Beef, pork, and lamb are all high in saturated and trans fats.
  2. Processed Meats: Deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon are high in saturated and trans fats, as well as sodium.
  3. Fried Foods
  4. Butter
  5. Cheese
  6. Ice Cream
  7. Baked Goods: Cookies, cakes, and pastries are often made with butter, which is high in saturated fat.
  8. Fast Food

It can seem daunting to avoid these foods, but limiting them can help decrease LDL levels on your next blood panel. There are tips and tricks you can follow to make healthy fast food substitutions, as well as lessen cholesterol in your baked goods and cooking. 

Here are eight foods that are high in HDL:

  1. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can increase HDL levels.
  2. Nuts: almonds, walnuts, and peanuts
  3. Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds
  4. Avocado
  5. Olive Oil
  6. Whole Grains: oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
  7. Legumes: beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  8. Fruits and Vegetables: fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that can help increase HDL cholesterol levels. Some good options include berries, citrus fruits, apples, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

Healthy Ways to Lower LDL Levels 

Cholesterol levels have to do with diet as well as exercise.

  1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet: avoiding foods high in LDL is a great start; furthermore, there are also tons of recipes for heart health that you can follow at home.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can help lower LDL levels and increase HDL levels. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
  3. Quit Smoking: Smoking can lower HDL levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
  4. Manage Your Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase LDL levels. Losing weight through healthy eating and exercise can help improve lab results and overall health.
  5. Limit Saturated and Trans Fats: Saturated and trans fats can increase LDL levels. Limit your intake of these fats by choosing lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Instead, choose healthier fats like those found in nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil.
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Healthy Options for Fast Food

Can Fast Food be Healthy? 

It’s possible to enjoy your favorite fast-food restaurants without compromising your healthy lifestyle or health goals. But, this requires making wise choices when ordering off the menu. Fast food options are often high in calories, sodium, unhealthy fats, and sugar, which can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.

Fast food vs. Eating at Home 

Eating at home is generally considered to be healthier than eating fast food because you have more control over the ingredients in your meals.

Fast food is often high in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar. Meals prepared at home can be made with whole foods and lean protein and can be tailored to meet your nutritional needs. However, you can customize your order at most fast-food restaurants to control the ingredients you’re ingesting.

There is also a cost factor. Fast food can be convenient and inexpensive, but eating at home can be more cost-effective in the long run. Planning your meals and buying ingredients in bulk is the key to saving money.

Fast food portions are often larger than what you would typically eat at home, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Cooking at home allows you to control your portion sizes and avoid overeating.

The cooking methods from eating fast food to eating at home are different. Fast food is often fried or cooked with unhealthy oils while cooking at home allows you to choose healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling, or steaming.

Overall, while fast food may be a convenient option, eating at home offers numerous health benefits and allows for greater control over the ingredients in your meals. Incorporating a variety of whole foods and cooking at home can help ensure a well-rounded, healthy diet.

Easy Substitutions for Healthy Eating

If you want to eat at your favorite fast-food restaurants, but want to eat healthier there are easy substitutions.

The first substitution is to choose grilled or baked options. Fried foods are high in unhealthy fats; instead, go for grilled or baked options like grilled chicken, baked potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

Secondly, opt for salads. Salads can be a healthy option if you choose the right ingredients. Aim for salads with plenty of vegetables, and lean protein like grilled chicken or fish. The dressing is an essential part of the salad, aim for a light or low-calorie dressing.

If you’re craving fast-food, but are trying to make healthy eating choices, you can choose smaller portions. Many fast food restaurants offer smaller portions or kid’s meals, which can be a healthier choice than a large burger or sandwich.

Another great substitution is to exchange sugary drinks for water, unsweetened tea or other low-calorie drinks. Sugary drinks like soda and sweetened tea are high in calories and sugar, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Always remember you can customize your order. Many fast food restaurants allow you to make substitutions, so you can ask for extra vegetables, hold the cheese, or choose a whole-grain bun or wrap.

Things to Avoid 

As discussed in the substitutions, here is a short list of items to avoid when eating fast food:

  1. Fried foods like chicken tenders, french fries, and onion rings are high in unhealthy fats, calories, and sodium.
  2. Sugary drinks like soda and sweetened iced tea
  3. Extra cheese and sauces like mayonnaise, ketchup, and ranch dressing can add unnecessary calories, fat, and sodium to your meal. You can ask for these items on the side and use them sparingly.
  4. Large portions
  5. Processed meats like bacon, sausage, and pepperoni are high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and preservatives.
  6. High-sugar desserts: Fast food desserts like milkshakes, cookies, and pies are often high in sugar and calories. Opt for fresh fruit or a small serving of a lower-sugar dessert if available.

How to Improve Your Health

In conclusion, making healthier fast food choices can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being. By choosing grilled or baked options, opting for salads, avoiding sugary drinks, customizing your order, and limiting high-calorie extras. However, it’s important to keep in mind that fast food should be consumed in moderation, and incorporating a variety of whole foods and cooking at home can help ensure a well-rounded, healthy diet.

When cooking at home, check out our recipes and join our community for healthy eating encouragement.

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Heart Attack Signs For Women

When we imagine a heart attack it can often look like clutching your chest and falling to the floor, but the symptoms don’t always present this way. When women are having a heart attack they often think they are experiencing flu symptoms or acid reflux. Understanding the complexities of heart attack symptoms and how they can be different between men and women is a necessity for keeping your heart healthy.

Are heart attack symptoms different between men and women? 

Yes, women and men have different heart attack symptoms. You might not have been taught the differences in school because most heart disease research in the past was primarily focused on men. Women’s symptoms are important to know because women often ignore the early signs of a heart attack, thinking it’s a sign of something else, and wait much longer to seek help which can be dangerous.

Heart Attack Symptoms 

The most common symptom between men and women is chest pain.

Symptoms of a heart attack for women:

  • Pressure or pain in the center of your chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Gas-like pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Throat pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Unusual fatigue lasting several days or sudden unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety

Symptoms of a heart attack for men:

  • Intense chest pain/pressure
  • Upper body pain and discomfort
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweat

In recent years, researchers have found specific symptoms women over 50 may experience, including:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating

If you’re experiencing heart attack symptoms consider going to the doctor immediately.

Risk factors and Causes for women 

Obesity, inflammatory diseases, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors affecting both men and women. There are other factors that may play a bigger role in the risk of women developing heart disease such as:

  • Menopause: lower levels of estrogen equals an increased list of diseases in blood vessels.
  • Diabetes: women with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than men. Another reason this is dangerous for women is that they may mistake heart attack symptoms for diabetes symptoms and wait longer to seek help.
  • Emotional stress and depression
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy complications: high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy may lead to a long-term risk of heart disease.
  • Family history of early heart disease

The causes of a heart attack are very similar between men and women. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the main cause, to learn more about CAD check out our article about the symptoms of heart disease.

When to see a doctor

If you are at high risk for heart disease, it’s important to regularly go to the doctor and track your health.

If you think you’re having a heart attack or are experiencing symptoms, call 911 immediately.

How to improve your heart health

There are universal things everyone can do to improve their heart health, such as:

  • Managing stress levels
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Knowing your blood pressure
  • Know your cholesterol
  • Check for diabetes
  • Quit smoking
  • Be physically active
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink

Making big lifestyle changes starts with changing daily habits. Eating healthier, exercising regularly and lessening smoking and drinking alcohol are changes you can implement daily. Going to the doctor regularly is also very helpful to know if you have one or several risk factors.

Check out our website to learn more about heart health and heart-healthy recipes.

Heart palpitations visual

What are Heart Palpitations?

If you experience heart palpitations, it can be worrisome, but knowing how to prevent them can make life less stressful. Heart palpitations refer to the feeling of having a fast, fluttering or pounding heart. The good news is they are usually not a sign of a more serious condition and simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in improvement.

Symptoms of Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations can have several symptoms, including:

  1. Rapid, fluttering, or pounding heartbeats
  2. Skipping, fluttering, or jumping sensations in the chest
  3. Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

The palpitations can be felt in the neck as well as the chest. These symptoms can be experienced as a single episode or as a recurring pattern. It can also range from a few seconds to a few minutes.

Causes and Risk Factors of Heart Palpitations

There are numerous factors that can cause palpitations:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
  • Fever
  • Low blood sugar
  • Medication use

There are also several risk factors, including:

  • Age
  • Medical conditions (overactive thyroid, low potassium levels, and heart disease can increase your risk)
  • Certain medications
  • Substance use (caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine)
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Family history
  • Hormonal changes (women may be more likely to experience heart palpitations during pregnancy or menopause)


Potential complications of heart palpitations include:

  1. Arrhythmias: Heart palpitations can be a symptom of an irregular heartbeat if left untreated.
  2. Blood clots: An irregular heartbeat can cause blood clots to form. This can increase the risk of stroke or other conditions.
  3. Decreased quality of life
  4. Cardiac arrest
  5. Heart failure

When to see a Doctor

You should see a doctor if your heart palpitations are:

  • Frequent
  • Severe
  • Accompanied by other symptoms
  • New or different
  • Persistent

Furthermore, if your palpitations are accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness, consider going to the doctor.

When at the Doctor’s Office

There are specific tests that your doctor may recommend based on your symptoms and medical history, but the most common are:

  1. Physical examination
  2. Electrocardiogram (ECG): records the electrical activity of your heart and can help detect any abnormal heart rhythms.
  3. Holter monitor: a portable device that you wear for 24 to 48 hours to continuously monitor your heart rhythm.
  4. Event monitor: a portable device that you wear for an extended period of time and that activates when you experience symptoms.
  5. Blood tests: Your doctor may want to check for underlying conditions contributing to your symptoms.
  6. Echocardiogram: a test that uses ultrasound to produce images of your heart and identify any structural abnormalities.
  7. Tilt table test: a test that helps determine if your heart palpitations are related to changes in your body position.

It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to properly diagnose and treat your condition.


In some cases, surgery may be helpful to reduce or stop palpitations. However, the main treatments are lifestyle changes and medication.

The lifestyle changes needed are reliant on stress management. Simple changes in your everyday routine such as improving sleeping habits and avoiding caffeine and alcohol may reduce palpitations and lead to increased heart health.

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Heart Disease: What are the Symptoms? 

Heart disease describes a range of conditions, making it difficult to understand; however, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms in order to improve your heart health. Though there are uncontrollable factors like genetics and age that contribute to the risk of heart disease, there are also preventative measures to improve heart health. Two of the most common preventable heart diseases are:

  1. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is defined as getting blockages in the vessels that supply blood to your heart.
  2. A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood to the heart. The blockage is usually due to a buildup of cholesterol or fat.

Causes of Heart Disease 

Causes can vary between the different diseases; however, they are very similar between coronary artery disease and a heart attack because complications from CAD can lead to a heart attack.

Coronary Artery Disease

Cholesterol deposition or inflammation of the inner walls of the arteries is the main cause of CAD.

Factors that can damage these inner walls include:

  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Increased stress
  • Genetics

Heart Attack shares all the same causes as above as well as:

  • Heart surgery
  • Extreme stress

Risk Factors 

There are three main risk factors for heart disease:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. Smoking

There are also uncontrollable risk factors like age, diabetes and family history.

These behaviors can also increase the risk of heart disease:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Consuming a diet high in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Tobacco usage

Symptoms of Heart Disease 

Those with CAD may experience:

  • Chest pain that spreads across the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • A heart attack can happen if there is a complete blockage in the coronary artery
  • Nausea
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Those having a heart attack may experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the upper body
  • Stomach pain
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations

When to See a Doctor 

If you believe you are having a heart attack, do not hesitate to call 911. If you have many of the risk factors listed above, it could not hurt to go to a doctor and get testing for CAD as it can become dangerous if unchecked and untreated.


There are many life-long complications associated with a heart attack or CAD, which is why it’s so important to prioritize heart health.

Those with coronary artery disease may experience:

  • Heart attacks
  • Blood clots in the artery
  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Chest pain

 Those with heart attacks may experience:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Inflammation of tissue surrounding the heart

How to Improve Your Heart Health

Eating healthy, exercising, quitting smoking and abstaining from excessive drinking are great steps toward improving your heart health. It’s also extremely helpful to schedule regular checkups to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

Smoking can increase your risk of numerous heart diseases, including the ones mentioned above. The sooner you can quit the better. Within four years of quitting, your risk of a stroke drops to the same levels as someone that has not smoked at all. Excessive drinking can also lead to heart disease as well as other medical problems, but what exactly is an excessive amount? Studies show only one drink a day is drinking in moderation and will not negatively impact your health.

With exercising, consistency is key. Find a workout you enjoy, whether that is joining a community like a cycling class or taking some alone time to put on your favorite music and go for a walk. Start slow with something like a 10-minute walk. The key is to take that first step.

Eating healthy can sound like a daunting challenge, but substituting foods in your daily routine goes a long way. The major foods to avoid are those high in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats. Cholesterol is in a lot of food that we eat every day, such as shrimp, fast food and cheese. Saturated fats are high in fatty or processed meats, butter and coconut oil. Lastly, trans fats are high in fried foods and desserts.

A great first step to eating less of these items is being aware of the cholesterol and fats in your groceries by researching and also reading the nutrition facts on the back of the items. It may sound like everything delicious is off limits, but the goal is to eat fast foods and processed desserts in moderation and to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grain items. Overall, if you are interested in improving your heart health check out our website to gather ideas for healthy recipes and join our motivated community on our social media.

High blood sugar can seem scary, but it is often manageable through maintaining a healthy diet and keeping a regular workout routine.

The Signs of High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar can seem scary, but it is often manageable by eating healthy and regularly working out. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is a common problem among those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Frequent spikes or prolonged periods of high levels can lead to long-term health complications. It is important to recognize the symptoms and prevent them before they worsen.

Risk Factors of High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar affects diabetics, those with hormonal disorders and people with long-term medical conditions.

However, there are other factors that play a role, such as: 

  • Genetics
  • Age 
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Prediabetes
  • Being overweight 
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Infections 
  • Trauma
  • Stress after surgery

In someone with diabetes, constant uncontrollable high levels can be a sign to change medication, start taking medication or possibly increase the dosage of insulin. If changes need to be made make sure you talk to your doctor. 


Diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin and insulin is key in fighting rising blood sugar levels. 

Many factors contribute to high blood sugar, but a leading one is a poor diet. The body breaks down the consumption of carbohydrates into mostly glucose which elevates the levels. Carbohydrates are foods like white bread, cake and cookies. It is important to recognize foods that are high carb and try to replace them with healthier foods. 


The most common symptoms are:

  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Increased appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in extremities 

When to see a Doctor

Consider getting your blood sugar levels checked if you identified with the previous symptoms. It is important to note that the symptoms listed above can also be indicators of diabetes.

There are more serious symptoms to look out for that might indicate an immediate trip to the doctor or an emergency room such as nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, severe fatigue and stomach pain.

Having high blood sugar for a prolonged time is dangerous for diabetics and non-diabetics alike because it can lead to:

  • A heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • A stroke
  • Eye damage
  • Skin problems

How to prevent high blood sugar

Those with Type 1 need insulin to lower their blood sugar and certainly can benefit from eating healthy and regular exercise. For people with Type 2, levels can be managed with medication, insulin, dietary changes, weight loss or exercise depending on a doctor’s recommendation.

Maintaining a regular workout routine doesn’t have to be a chore, making your workout an enjoyable part of your day can be the key to continuity. Upholding healthy eating habits like eating fewer carbs is recommended. Instead, eat more foods that are high in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, the hormone cortisol rises causing blood sugar levels to rise with it. Cortisol also secretes when stress occurs. Though stress can feel unavoidable, exercising and allowing time for relaxation can help to reduce this.

Overall, keep in mind what causes high blood sugar as that information is essential to prevent it. Simple changes in your diet, sleep schedule and everyday routine can go a long way. 

Check out our website for healthy recipes and join our community to receive motivation to form new eating habits.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be worrying to notice. Diabetes is when the body cannot use sugars in the blood properly for energy. This causes a buildup of sugar, which leads to other issues such as vision and heart problems. It is crucial to know what type of diabetes you may have in order to receive proper treatment and preventative measures. 

Types of diabetes

Prediabetes: Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

Type 1 Diabetes: This is when the pancreas develops little to no insulin. People of any age can develop this, but it is most common in children, teenagers, and young adults. This type cannot be prevented but is treatable.

Type 2 Diabetes: Like type 1, this is when the pancreas develops little to no insulin. This primarily occurs in adults over the age of 45 but can develop in children and teens. Type 2 diabetes is preventable with lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and dietary changes to manage blood sugar. 

Gestational Diabetes: This form of diabetes develops during pregnancy without previously having any form of diabetes. Changes in hormones during pregnancy with weight gain may cause insulin resistance.

Knowing the different types of diabetes, we can now look into the risk factors. 

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Some risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

Having prediabetes 

Being overweight 

Being over the age of 45

Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Family history of type 2 diabetes

Being sedentary

Knowing the risk factors are will hopefully make you more aware of your health and prevent type 2 diabetes. However, it is also crucial to understand the symptoms if you are unsure about seeking treatment. 

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Some symptoms of type 2 diabetes include: 

Frequent urination 

Excessive thirst

Unintentional weight loss 

Dry skin 

Blurred vision


Slow healing sores and frequent infections

Type 2 diabetes usually develops over time and people can have symptoms for years without noticing. While self-diagnosing is not a good idea, it may be good to visit a doctor if many of these symptoms apply to you. 

When to visit a doctor 

As stated previously, if you are experiencing many of the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, then you should see a doctor. When visiting a doctor, they will perform tests such as a fasting blood sugar test and a glucose tolerance test. Knowing the risk factors and symptoms of type 2 diabetes will help you prevent future issues. 

Preventing type 2 diabetes

Weight loss: Losing weight, even just 5% to 10% of your bodyweight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Dietary changes: It is crucial to eat nutritious filling foods that are low in calories. It is good to incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and high fiber foods into your diet. 

Increasing physical activity: A good amount of physical activity to aim for would be around 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes per week. Getting enough physical activity does not have to be a big deal like going to the gym. A light walk around the block or even household chores such as cleaning and doing laundry is a great place to start. 

Preventing type 2 diabetes depends on making proper lifestyle changes and maintaining those new habits. Drastic changes to your lifestyle may work in the short term but will not help in the long term. For this reason, it is crucial to make small changes over time to maintain long term prevention. 

Diabetes Management in Winter

Diabetes Management in the Winter

With the winter coming up you can look forward to the holidays associated with it. Or you can look towards the coldness and shortness of each day. Whatever your opinion of winter is, it is important to focus on your diabetes management in the winter.

Make sure to keep warm

Along with making sure to keep warm. You will need to check and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Having higher blood sugar may make you feel warmer than you actually are which can lead to problems like nerve damage. You can make sure to stay warm by dressing properly for the temperature outside. Also by consuming warm items like coffee or soup. Along with keeping yourself warm also follows doing your best to not get sick.  

Do your best to not get sick

By keeping yourself warm, you will need to prevent yourself from getting sick. First, you can practice proper preventative measures such as washing and sanitizing your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom. Along with avoiding touching your face. Second, be up to date with flu and covid shots. Getting sick may make diabetes management in the winter more difficult to properly take care of yourself or use your diabetic supplies at the same consistency. Along with using your diabetic supplies consistently, it is also important to take proper care of them. 

Keep diabetic supplies at the right temperatures

It is important to keep diabetic supplies at the right temperatures. An example would be insulin and blood glucose meters and strips. Keeping insulin in a cold place like your car may cause it to freeze if temperatures drop below 32 degrees. Also, blood glucose meters and strips usually do not work below 40 degrees, so make sure to keep them out of cold places such as your car. Keeping your supplies functional will allow you to check your blood sugar levels consistently. 

Check blood sugar levels

As stated before, elevated blood sugar levels may make you feel warmer than you actually are which means it is important to keep your supplies on you and functional. The cold weather may cause cold hands which makes it more difficult to draw blood. This issue can be avoided by warming up your hands prior to testing. One way you can keep your hands warm is by carrying gloves or mittens along with hand warmer packets and if available, washing hands in warm water is a good idea as well. This will help make the process of checking your blood sugars a bit more pleasant and keep you from having to experience medical emergencies during the holidays. 

Stay active 

 Staying active will help keep you warm as well as help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Even though the weather is cooling down, days are getting darker earlier, and the weather may not be optimal, this should not stop you from staying active. If you have a gym membership, you can use that to quickly and easily avoid the darkness and coldness. If not, you can start by finding ways to stay active at home or you could look for large indoor areas such as an indoor mall or even just a grocery or department store to walk around in for a short time. Choosing to stay active means you will be on your feet often, this makes it important to check your feet and other extremities. 

Check your feet

Persons with diabetes may develop nerve damage especially along the extremities such as the feet. It is even more important to check your feet during the winter as the cold weather will draw blood and warmth away from places like the feet and hands first. Some ways to prevent any feet problems is to make sure to check your feet daily for any changes or damage such as cuts, bruises, or blisters. Making sure to wear properly fitting shoes and warm socks made of wool Lastly, ensure to check for any small objects like pebbles that can be lodged in your shoes or socks. 


Diabetes management in the winter involves a few extra steps and it is important that you follow them so you can be healthy and safe.

DIabilities awareness

Diabetes and Persons with Disabilities

There are many persons with disabilities

International Persons with Disabilities Day is on December 3, 2022 this year and has been as of 1992. At this time, a lot of people around the world have a form of disability which makes it important to talk about it.

  • More than 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability.
  • More than 100 million disabled persons are children.
  • 50% of disabled persons cannot afford health care.

These statistics come from the UN. Also, around 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. However, not all disabilities are clearly identifiable. For this reason, It is important to know which ones are visible and non-visible.

Visible and Non-Visible Disabilities 

Persons with visible disabilities can be identified by looking at them and some examples of visible disabilities include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Persons who have non-visible disabilities affect how they perceive the world, act, or interact with the world. It also affects their abilities to do daily tasks such as school, work and other tasks. Some examples include:

  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Aspergers

Persons with visible or non-visible disabilities struggle throughout their lives. For that reason, it is important to address challenges they face.

Challenges faced by persons with disabilities

At the present time, persons with disabilities are considered to be “the world’s largest minority“. Since most of these people live in developing countries, they may not have access to resources or opportunities. Also, they may face negative societal attitudes regarding their disabilities. As a result, children with disabilities and adults with mental health issues are four times more likely to face violence. Not to mention the barrier they may face with employment or receiving assistance. So, we will now focus on disabilities related to diabetes.

Disabilities associated with diabetes

At this time, 1 in 6 persons with disabilities in the United States have been diagnosed with a form of diabetes. Because of diabetes it can lead to further complications such as: 

As shown above, untreated diabetes can lead to many complications and result in other disabilities such as loss of vision or amputation. That is why it is important to know how to address these complications. 

Ways to address disabilities associated with diabetes

Firstly, it is important to make proper lifestyle changes such as improving your diet and adding adapted exercises if possible to your weekly routine. Even though we are in the middle of the holiday season, these tips can help and can still be useful at any time during the year. Also it is important to see your doctor regularly to discuss how to treat your diabetes symptoms and to watch for any worrying symptoms such as changes in vision or numbness or tingling and to tell your doctor right away to prevent any further complications. Seeing that diabetes can lead to further issues, it is important to help spread awareness regarding these symptoms and issues. 

How you can help bring awareness 

Seeing that November is Diabetes Awareness Month, you can continue to educate yourself regarding diabetes and other disabilities and also share this blog as well as other information to help spread awareness. In order to reduce the stigma and violence surrounding disabilities we need to educate ourselves as well as share information to others regarding visible and non-visible disabilities. 

DIabetes Management during the holidays

Diabetes Management during the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and also it is Diabetes Awareness Month this November. The holidays coming means there will be more than plenty of food to eat. If you have diabetes it may be a little troubling having to navigate yourself around all the food. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the holidays with proper diabetes management! 

Make sure to eat normally

You may consider skipping meals or restricting how much you eat because of holiday foods. This is not a good idea since it is not healthy to skip meals or restrict food intake too much. Skipping meals or restricting food intake may also cause you to overeat later on. This makes it important to plan what you will eat. 

Plan what you will eat

It is important to plan what you will eat. You will be surrounded by a lot of unhealthy holiday foods and will probably eat some. It is important to know how much of what foods you will have before eating. An example would be to say you will only have one or two slices of pumpkin pie and no seconds. It is also necessary to eat foods with the right nutritional value for you and practice portion control. 

Pick veggies and practice portion control

Even though it is the holidays, it should not be a free-for-all with what you eat. Picking veggies and other healthy items will help you with managing your diabetes during the holidays along with proper portion control. As stated before, if you properly plan what you will eat you can practice portion control and be able to indulge a little without having to worry. Making sure to stay active is also a key factor in your diabetes management during the holidays. 

Continue being active

It may be difficult to find time to be active during the holidays but it will help with managing your diabetes. You do not have to do anything crazy like go on long runs or hit the gym, you can enjoy a light stroll with your family members. Adding in a little bit of activity even for just a 30 minutes, will help you manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. 

Make sure to check blood sugar

Make sure to not overindulge or forget to check your blood sugar levels during the holidays. As previously mentioned, not skipping meals or restricting food intake too much will prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too low. Planning what you eat as well as adding in some exercise will help with keeping blood sugars at healthy levels. Even with all this, you may just want to relax during the holidays which is okay. 

Practice good Diabetes Management and dont be too hard on yourself

Its the holidays and you will be spending time with your family and friends. It is okay if you want to relax and not be too hard on yourself if you do end up eating too much or not exercising enough. 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Awareness Month

Each November since 1975 has been declared as National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM). “According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), National Diabetes Awareness Month was established 40 years ago in 1975” (Healthline). The prevalence of all forms of diabetes has only been increasing for the past 20 years. There are millions of Americans that may not be aware that they have a form of undiagnosed diabetes. The rise in occurence of diabetes will lead to more people being undiagnosed. Diabetes awareness is important because knowing could save you or a loved one. 

Why Diabetes Awareness is important

  • Undiagnosed Diabetes: According to the CDC “7.3 million adults aged 18 years or older who met laboratory criteria for diabetes were not aware of or did not report having diabetes” (CDC)
  • Preventable: Some types of diabetes such as type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can be prevented with proper lifestyle changes.
  • High death rate: In 2021 there were over 100,000 deaths associated with diabetes (Reuters).This makes it the second year in a row that there were over 100,000 deaths related to diabetes.
  • Diabetes and prediabetes are becoming more common.

As I mentioned before, all forms of diabetes have been increasing over the past 20 years. Bringing awareness to diabetes is very important for those who may have a form of undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. 

Common Types of Diabetes

  • Prediabetes: This is a form of diabetes that develops and causes your blood sugar to be high and increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes among other things and more than 80% don’t know they have it.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: This is when the pancreas produces little or no insulin which helps the body use blood sugar for energy. Previously referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes as most cases developed in children, teenagers, or young adults. (CDC)
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This is also when your body is unable to produce enough or any insulin for your body to use as energy. This develops more often for adults over 45 predominantly but we are seeing more cases develop for younger people as well.
  • Gestational Diabetes: This is a form of diabetes some women develop during pregnancy without having had diabetes before. 

Early detection of diabetes will be possible with diabetes awareness. Knowing risk factors can help people discuss the possibility of developing diabetes with their doctors.

Risk factors and early detection

  • Having Prediabetes (Type 2)
  • Not physically active during the week (Type 2 and Prediabetes)
  • Are Overweight (Type 2 and Prediabetes)
  • “Are an African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk.” (CDC)
  • Are 45 or older (Type 2 and Prediabetes)
  • Family History and Age (Type 1 and Type 2)
  • Previously had Gestational Diabetes during pregancy
  • Gave birth to a baby weighing 9 or more pounds
  • Over 25 years old and Overweight (Gestational Diabetes)

Now knowing some information about the types of diabetes as well as the risk factors, how will you be able to spread awareness?

How you can help during Diabetes Awareness Month

  • Wearing blue.
  • Share diabetes information on social media.
  • Participate in a funding event such as a walk.
  • Donate to diabetic research. 
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Continuing to learn about diabetes.
  • Joining or supporting diabetic support groups.

As the amount of people that may develop diabetes grows, we will need to put more resources into bringing awareness to this issue. Early detection will help prevent any futher diabetes complications. Spreading awareness will allow people to understand their risk factors and prevent it early. If you or a loved one is seeking additional help click here Yumlish to find out how you can join a diabetes prevention program with one of our coaches or find additional resources related to preventing type 2 diabetes.

Glasses on Snellen Eye Test Chart

What is Diabetic Eye Disease

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic Eye Disease, also known as Diabetic Retinopathy, this is when problems from diabetes cause damage to your eyes and vision. “Diabetic retinopathy is caused when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina” (CDC). The higher levels of blood sugar can cause blood vessels to swell or leak and can cause damage to your vision.  These can cause long term problems but can be prevented or treated.

Risk Factors

  • How long you have diabetes: Having Type I or Type II diabetes for longer periods of time will increase the chances of developing vision problems. The damage can start early if you have Prediabetes.
  • Pregnancy: If you have diabetes during pregnancy (also known as gestational diabetes). So, this increases your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes which from the previous point can make it more likely for you to develop Diabetic Eye Disease. (How Gestational Diabetes can impact pregnancy)
  • Using tobacco and Increased blood sugar levels: Using tobacco can raise your blood pressure and add more strain on the blood vessels in your eyes. The increased amounts of blood sugar will also cause damage to those blood vessels and will increase the chances of developing Diabetic Eye Disease.
  • Race/Ethnicity: Individuals who are Black, Hispanic, or Native American have a higher risk of developing vision problems related to diabetes (MayoClinic).

Diabetic Retinopathy is only one of many vision problems that can occur from diabetes. Diabetes causes other visions issues as well.

Other Vision Problems Associated With Diabetes

  • Cataracts: “A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens in your eye.”(CDC). So, people with diabetes are at higher risk of having cataracts at an early age because they will have more blood sugar which can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes and speed up the development of cataracts.
  • Glaucoma:”Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve—the bundle of nerves that connects the eye to the brain.”(NIH). Those with diabetes are two times more likely to end up having glaucoma and with the most common type being open angle glaucoma.

Even if you have Diabetic Retinopathy or any of the other visions problems. Treatment options are available.

How Diabetic Eye Disease is treated

  • VGEF Inhibitors: Medicine used in order to slow down or reverse problems from diabetic retinopathy.
  • Eye Injections: Used with laser treatment.
  • Laser Therapy: This treatment builds scar tissue and will slow down the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
  • Eye Surgery: Used if it is too difficult to remove things with a laser.
  • Vitrectomy: This removes tissue from the front part of the eye which can include blood, wrinkled scar tissue, or any other object in the front of the eye.

Fortunately there are many ways to prevent DIabetic Eye Disease early.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease Early

Managing your diabetes is very important in order to avoid any issues, here are some ways to manage it:

  • Getting more exercise.
  • Stopping any tobacco usage such as smoking, vaping, or using chewing tobacco.
  • Having healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Having healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Making sure you have healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Making sure to stay at a healthy weight.
  • Make sure to seek help early on.
  • Get an eye exam if you notice any changes in your vision.Also, It is also important to be aware of any redness or pain in your eyes.

Treatment and prevention for diabetic retinopathy is possible if detected early. Therefore, keeping your diabetes under control is also very important. So now, here are some healthy recipes to help get you started with managing your diabetes.

Healthy Recipes for diabetes management

Better Breakfast Tostada with Avocado and Eggs

Cheese and Vegetable Frittata with Fruit Salad

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

 Broccoli Beef Stir-Fry

polycystic ovary syndrome

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

In our recent podcast, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness, we speak with Sue-Ellen Anderson-Haynes about what PCOS is and how it can affect people’s health.

Affecting 6% to 12% (as many as 5 million) of US women of reproductive age, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility (CDC).

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome also known as PCOS, is a problem with hormones that happens during the reproductive years.

With PCOS, many small sacs of fluid develop along the outer edge of the ovary called cysts. These small fluid-filled cysts contain immature eggs called follicles. The follicles fail to regularly release eggs.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may lower the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (Mayo Clinic).

What are the causes and effects?

The exact cause is unknown, but usually weight and genetics can contribute. The effects of PCOS, are that it can cause multiple health problems;

Diabetes – more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40

Gestational diabetes (diabetes when pregnant) – which puts the pregnancy and baby at risk and can lead to type 2 diabetes later in life for both mother and child

Heart disease – women with PCOS are at higher risk, and risk increases with age

High blood pressure – which can damage the heart, brain, and kidneys

High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol – increasing the risk for heart disease

Sleep apneaexternal icon – a disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep and raises the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Stroke – plaque (cholesterol and white blood cells) clogging blood vessels can lead to blood clots that in turn can cause a stroke

Types of PCOS

Insulin Resistant PCOS: About 70% of all people diagnosed with PCOS have this type. Insulin resistance is characterized by the body’s inability to use glucose from your blood, this causes an increase in insulin levels and blood sugar over time.

Post-pill PCOS: This occurs after stopping the use of oral contraceptives. Coming off contraceptives will follow with a surge in androgens that may cause PCOS symptoms such as acne and increased hair growth.

Adrenal PCOS: This is the least common type of PCOS occurring for only 10% of cases. This occurs because of the body’s abnormal response to stress from a period of increased stress.

Inflammatory PCOS: Chronic inflammation will cause an increase in testosterone which will cause an imbalance of hormones. These imbalances can cause problems with ovulation and the increased testosterone can result in physical symptoms such as acne and frontal balding.

How is  PCOS  treated?

The first treatment method that is recommended is lifestyle changes such as increasing your physical activity and improving your diet to reach a healthy weight. “Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5% of your body weight — might improve your condition.” (Mayo Clinic). Medications can also be used to treat symptoms related to PCOS

For regulating periods, you may be prescribed:

Combination birth control pills

Progestin therapy

To help with ovulation, you may be prescribed:





To address acne and excessive hair growth, you may be prescribed:

Acne Treatments

Birth Control Pills

Although there is no cure for PCOS, there are many ways to help treat it. Lifestyle changes can also begin with a healthy diet. Below you will find some healthy recipe options that are featured on Yumlish!

Healthy Recipes for people with PCOS

Baja Shrimp Tacos

Broccoli Beef Stir-Fry

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

Chicken and Roasted Pepper Long Leaf Wrap

cultural competence

What is Cultural Competence?

Personalized Healthcare

So, for our upcoming podcast, Personalizing Health in a Diverse Setting. We speak with Wendy Mobley-Bukstein about how medical professionals can personalize healthcare to a patients sociocultural background and the goals of cultural competence.

“A higher proportion of African Americans and Latinos, compared to Whites, report that they have at least one of seven chronic conditions — asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or anxiety/ depression. These rank among the most costly medical conditions in America (HPI).”

That is why having cultural competence in healthcare will provide services that can be able to meet the cultural and social needs of patients. Meeting these needs will address issues in healthcare for these patients.

What is Cultural Competence ?

This is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes (NPIN).

Principles include:

  1. Define culture broadly.
  2. Value clients’ cultural beliefs.
  3. Recognize complexity in language interpretation.
  4. Facilitate learning between providers and communities.
  5. Involve the community in defining and addressing service needs.
  6. Collaborate with other agencies.
  7. Professionalize staff hiring and training.

“Health and human service organizations are recognizing the need to enhance services for culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare services requires an understanding of cultural competence” (NPIN).


what prediabetes means

What Prediabetes Means?

In our recent podcast, Prediabetes Awareness, we spoke with Dr. Aleem Kanji about the symptoms and causes of prediabetes.

According to the CDC, approximately 96 million American adults, more than 1 in 3, have this condition. More than 80% did not know they have it (CDC).

Not knowing about prediabetes can cause great health risks over time. Creating awareness could help people know the warning signs sooner rather than later. In addition, bringing awareness to this can keep us in tune with our bodies, therefore creating the space for better lifestyle choices.

What is Prediabetes? 

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (CDC).

What are the signs and symptoms

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Being overweight
  • Blurry vision
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Family with type 2 diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Having had gestational diabetes
  • Age

Usually, individuals ignore these signs due to some of them can be caused by natural causes such as blurry vision. It is important for you to check with your doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms to make sure there isn’t an underlying cause. If your doctor suspects there may be another cause he or she will ask to go through a series of medical tests discussed below to rule out the possibility of prediabetes.

What tests are needed to be considered prediabetic?

There are 3 tests needed to be diagnosed with prediabetes.

  1. Average Blood Glucose

A blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. An A1C below 5.7% is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates you have prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher indicates you have diabetes (CDC).

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose

This test measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast. Fasting blood sugar between 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates having prediabetes (CDC).

  1. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose. You’ll fast (not eat) overnight before the test and have your blood drawn to determine the fasting blood sugar level.

The test is performed as follows: you’ll drink a liquid and have your blood sugar level checked for 1 hour, 2 hours, and possibly 3 hours afterward. At 2 hours, a blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL or lower is considered normal, 140 to 199 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes (CDC).

Regardless of what test your doctor prescribes you, if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, there are steps you can take to reverse prediabetes which we discuss in the next section.

How to prevent or reverse prediabetes?

First, reversing prediabetes is always going to begin with a lifestyle change. This includes maintaining a healthy weight and having regular physical activity throughout your weekdays.

Other ways you can help prevent prediabetes are;

  • Working alongside a lifestyle coach
  • Working with a dietitian/ nutritionist to learn about healthy eating
  • Finding ways that can help manage stress, such as yoga
  • Researching resources and programs that surround you with people with similar goals

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes make sure to get connected with organizations that are approved to provide the CDC’s national diabetes prevention program.One of those organizations is Yumlish. If you need more information on how to get started please click on this link Yumlish and one of our team members will reach out to you and connect you to our program.







what is the definition of obesity

What is the definition of Obesity?

In our recent podcast, we talk with Dr. Ivana Rizo about the relationship between obesity and diabetes.

According to Trust for America’s Health, the U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent. This is the first time the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark demonstrating further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis which has increased by 26 percent since 2008. Now we will go into what exactly is the definition of obesity.

What Is the Definition of Obesity

The definition of obesity is a weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height. This is usually measured by using the Body Mass Index. “It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers” (Mayo Clinic).

What Causes Obesity 

Many different causes can lead to obesity.     

“Demographic trends and the conditions in people’s lives have a large impact on their ability to maintain a healthy weight. Generally, the data show that the more a person earns the less likely they are to have obesity. Individuals with less education were also more likely to have obesity. Rural communities have higher rates of obesity and severe obesity than do suburban and metro areas.

Socioeconomic factors such as poverty and discrimination have contributed to higher rates of obesity among certain racial and ethnic populations. Black adults have the highest level of adult obesity nationally at 49.6 percent; that rate is driven in large part by an adult obesity rate among Black women of 56.9 percent. Latinx adults have an obesity rate of 44.8 percent. The obesity rate for white adults is 42.2 percent. Asian adults have an overall 17.4 percent obesity rate” (Trust for America’s Health).

Other factors such as diet, lack of exercise, and genetics can also cause obesity. These factors can also aid in developing Type 2 diabetes along with other health conditions.

How Are Obesity and Diabetes related? 

Also known as, diabesity, “Having obesity makes you more likely to develop diabetes, the condition of having too much glucose (sugar) circulating in your bloodstream. Obesity also causes diabetes to worsen faster” (Cleveland Clinic).

Not everyone with obesity will develop Type 2 diabetes, although it creates a greater risk. This is due to the excess glucose having nowhere to be stored because of the fat surrounding the liver. “Your pancreas becomes overworked, and as a result, it wears out. It starts producing less insulin. Diabetes develops and then quickly worsens if the fat resistance remains” (Cleveland Clinic).

What Are Ways to Help Prevent Obesity 

  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Limiting television/screen time
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Limit sugar
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Drink more water

Preventing obesity starts with creating a healthy lifestyle, such as, cooking at home, avoiding take-out food and sugary drinks. As an article by Very Well Health expresses, “Studies looking at the frequency of home meal preparation have found that both men and women who prepared meals at home were less likely to gain weight. They were also less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes” (very well Health). In other words making lifestyle changes can drastically reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Solutions 

There are ways to prevent obesity and reverse type 2 diabetes. It all begins with living a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy relationship with food. Seeking education about nutrition, exercise and diseases can create greater awareness about the health condition. It is also a great way to help children learn about obesity and help them develop healthy relationships with food. It is always important to speak with a healthcare professional when seeking medical help or information. Regular physical activity, healthy eating, limiting unhealthy food options, and getting a good amount of sleep can greatly help the prevention of obesity and therefore Type 2 diabetes. There are resources available that can help such as local support groups or consulting with a dietitian.

pregnancy with diabetes

Pregnancy with Diabetes

In our previous podcast with Dr.Elizabeth Widen, we talk about the nutritional needs during pregnancy and what can be some causes of not receiving these needs.

“In the United States, about 1 to 2 percent of pregnant people have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and about 6 to 9 percent of pregnant people develop gestational diabetes. From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of pregnant people with gestational diabetes increased by 56%, and the percentage of women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes before pregnancy increased by 37%” (CDC).

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

  • Known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition. The pancreas produces little to no insulin. Different factor such as genetics may cause type 1 diabetes. “Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults” (Mayo Clinic).

Type 2

  • A chronic condition that impairs the way the body regulates and uses sugar as a fuel. The pancreas does not produce enough insulin and cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar. It is more common in adults but can develop in younger people as well (Mayo Clinic).

Gestational Diabetes

  • Diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. It affects how your cells use sugar and causes high blood sugar that can affect pregnancy. Usually, after having gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the blood sugar returns to normal after delivery. However, it is still a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Mayo Clinic).

How Diabetes can Affect Pregnancy 

Hormonal and other changes in the body can affect blood glucose levels. Pregnancy can worsen long-term problems such as high blood pressure, vision loss, and kidney disease (CDC). Risks also include;

  • Preeclampsia – high blood pressure that can damage the liver and kidneys
  • Insulin resistance – when insulin is less effective at lowering blood sugar
  • Macrosomia – a larger than average baby, which can lead to a difficult delivery
  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Low blood sugar
  • Early (Preterm) Birth

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy with Diabetes

  • Plan for pregnancy
  • Visit your doctor early
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take medication and Insulin as directed
  • Treat low blood sugar quickly
  • Monitor blood sugar often

A healthy pregnancy is still possible when having diabetes. “Today, most individuals with diabetes can have a safe pregnancy and birth, similar to that of individuals without diabetes. This improvement is largely due to good blood glucose management, daily glucose monitoring, and insulin adjustments” (UpToDate). Knowing your glucose levels, getting regular checkups, staying on top of medication, and even creating a meal plan. These are all ways that can help in staying healthy during pregnancy with diabetes.

Healthy Recipes to Consider



disordered eating

The Differences between Eating Disorders vs Disordered Eating

In our upcoming podcast, we speak with Dr. Heather Eicher-Miller about disordered eating and the causes that lead to it. Food insecurity, a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, heathy life, play a major role in disorderly eating. According to the USDA, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, experience food insecurity in the United States (Feeding America).

However, other than disordered eating, there is also another major concern for not eating healthy, which are eating disorders. Disordered eating and eating disorders can both cause great health risks for people, but it might be hard to know the differences and how they affect the body. In this blog, we will discuss those differences, the causes that lead to the disorders, and ways to prevent their development in life.

The history of eating disorders dates back to the medieval times. “Around this time, purification through the denial of physical needs and the material world became a cultural theme” (VeryWell Mind). There was also a time where Romans would feast at parties and then throw up the food that they could eat more (Eating Recovery Center). In the movie, Hunger Games, they show this as a scene with the rich people in the capital at a party.

What is Disordered Eating? 

Disordered eating sits between normal eating and an eating disorder. It includes unhealthy food and body behaviors that usually develop for the purpose of weight loss or health promotion, that may put the person at risk for harm (Emily Program). Though, another reason that disordered eating happens is due to food insecurity in minority communities.

Examples of Disordered Eating

  • Fad diets
  • Cleanses
  • Skipped meals
  • Diet pills
  • Under-eating or overeating
  • Heightened focus on appearance

What is an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are serious and life threatening brain based illnesses. It is a condition defined by abnormal eating habits that impair health and an individuals ability to function (VeryWell Mind).

Most common types of eating disorders

  • Anorexia Nervosa – a type of eating disorder that is defined by intense fear of gaining weight, restriction of food intake and a distorted body image.
  • Binge Eating Disorder – having instances of binge eating followed by feelings of shame, guilt and distress. This is the most common type in the United States.
  • Bulimia Nervosa – having instances of binge eating followed by purging behaviors, such as vomiting or using laxatives. It also involved a distorted body image and fear of weight gain.

The differences between eating disorders and disordered eating 

Traits of an eating disorder

  • obsessive thoughts about food
  • extreme concerns about calories
  • major changes in weight

Traits of disordered eating

  • eating for reasons other than hunger
  • eating to deal with stress
  • only eating certain foods

How to seek help

Seeking help for unhealthy eating habits can be a challenge. Some people may not believe that they have a problem with their eating behavior. It is said that early intervention is the best, “Working with a dietitian who has a background in counseling patients with eating disorders can help a person get the help they need for their disordered eating and prevent it from progressing to an eating disorder” (VeryWell Mind).

Alternatives for Medicine

How alternatives for medicine can benefit you

In our upcoming podcast, Spirituality in Medicine, we talk with Dr. Turya Nair about how her patients are beginning to take interest in alternatives for medicine. There are many reasons why a patient may want to try this approach. For example, the patient may be looking for something natural, they may be doubtful of medication, or they may want the freedom to choose their own treatment in addition to medicine.

This history of alternative medicine dates back to the 18th century with Homeopathy, founded and practiced by Samuel Hahnemann in Europe. This form of medicine provided remedies taken from plants, minerals or animals. Other alternative methods came from traditional Chinese medicine, originating in ancient China. As well as,  Ayurvedic medicine, originating in India more than 3,000 years ago and Native American Traditional Healing. Native American healing focused on the balance of mental, physical and spiritual wellness (Gumberg Library).

What is alternative medicine?

Alternative medicine is any form of medicine or healing that does not fall into accepted medical practice. (Medical News Today). Most alternative therapies are not subject to testing by law and hold no scientific evidence that they work. There are many types of alternative medicine that have been around for thousands of years. Although they have small differences, there are other terms to describe non-traditional medicine;

  • Complimentary medicine – Nonconventional medical approaches as an additional treatment to traditional medical treatment.
  • Integrative medicine – An approach to medicine that combines traditional medicine such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes
  • Holistic medicine – A form of healing that considers the whole person, body, mind, spirit and emotions, in the quest for optimal health and wellness (WebMD)

What are the types of alternatives for medicine

Some types of alternatives for medicine include;

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbals
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Yoga
  • Prayer

How alternatives for medicine can benefit you and those with Diabetes

  • Lower Stress and Anxiety
  • Relaxation
  • Help sleep
  • Help balance
  • Change mindset
  • Reduce symptoms of chronic conditions
  • Reduce physical pain

Each alternative for medicine can benefit people in different ways. There are positive effects in some approaches that can help in addition to medication. This gives the patient a chance to choose a treatment for themselves. It can help them take control of their health condition. Their treatment also becomes more than a prescription.

Why are patients becoming more interested 

Medical mistrust has been well known throughout history. It has also been the topic of many discussions today. From a past of testing medicine in harsh ways, the doubt some patients have in medical growth can be expected. Especially in minority communities, “Black and Hispanic Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes” (American Bar).

With more options to treat health conditions, people are able to add their interests into their care. Patients are becoming more involved in how they want to feel better and be healthier.

Why knowing how alternatives for medicine can benefit you is important

There are many reasons why a patient may want to try alternatives for medicine in addition to their treatment. Therefore, doing research and talking with your physician about alternatives for medicine can help with a treatment plan that works best for your interests. Every person has their own personal beliefs, priorities and goals when it comes to their health. As a result, alternatives for medicine can create a positive mindset and a sense of independence. In conclusion, they can be a great way to have more options that can help with your healthcare. (The Atlantic).








Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure

What Foods to Avoid when you have High Blood Pressure

Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure (Physiology.org). High blood pressure is known as a silent killer, as there are no obvious symptoms. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Knowing what foods to avoid when living with high blood pressure can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

The history of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, began with the development of medical equipment and the appropriate techniques for measuring blood dating back to the mid 20th century (AHAJournals). It is estimated that by 2025 there will be more than 1.5 billion people with hypertension, making hypertension the most common noncommunicable disease, as stated in the journal, The Discovery of Hypertension (Physiology.org).

What Foods to Avoid when you have High Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure is known to be a cause of heart disease and other serious health problems. Though high blood pressure is a common condition, there are ways to help control it. One way to help control high blood pressure is by avoiding certain types of food that can make your blood pressure increase. Following High Blood Pressure awareness month, we want to highlight certain foods to avoid and how they affect high blood pressure. Having diabetes along with high blood pressure also creates a higher risk of developing heart disease.

What is High Blood Pressure?

As defined by Mayoclinic, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.  The more your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Hemoglobin A1c Control for Patients with Diabetes (HBD) forces the heart to work hard to pump blood in the rest of the body.

High blood pressure can cause many health problems over a long period of time if not diagnosed or treated. Hypertension, HTN usually has no symptoms, so it is important to regularly get checked by your doctor or self check at home. Since it is a common condition, it is best to practice healthy habits as early in life as possible. Healthy habits would be exercising regularly, eating a diet that is low in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats (Healthline).

Complications of High Blood Pressure

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Hypertension can also have no symptoms

Effects High Blood Pressure can have on the body

  • Chest pain
  • Memory loss/Dementia
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart Attack/Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Blood clots
  • Hardening of arteries
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart failure

How to control High Blood Pressure

  • Eat a healthy diet*
  • Regular Exercise
  • Reduce Sodium intake
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • No Smoking
  • Limit caffeine consumption
  • Reduce Stress
  • Monitor blood pressure at home

What are some foods to avoid?

When trying to control high blood pressure we want to look at the types of food going into the body. Food is the core of nutrition and the starting point of having a healthy body. According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating foods that are lower in fat, salt, calories along with using spices, herbs, vinegar, lemon or fruit juices instead of salt, can help control high blood pressure as well as avoiding;

  • Regular salad dressing
  • Butter and margarine
  • Fatty meats
  • Whole milk dairy products
  • Fried Foods
  • Salted snacks
  • Fast food
  • Deli meats

Foods that help reduce high blood pressure and are good for diabetes

According to MayoClinic, eating foods that are rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure along with reducing sodium in your diet. For example;

  • Skim, 1% milk, greek yogurt
  • Lean Meat
  • Skinless turkey and chicken
  • Low salt
  • Low fat and low salt cheeses
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Plain rice, pasta, and potatoes
  • Breads

Incorporating these healthy food options into your diet can be a challenge, that’s why Yumlish offers great guidance with our recipes. Check out a few recipes below;

Cauliflower Cabbage Slaw

Chicken and Roasted Pepper Long Leaf Wrap

Baja Shrimp Tacos

Sweet Potato Nachos

Why knowing which foods to avoid is important

By 2025 there will be more than 1.5 billion people with hypertension (Physiology.org). The awareness of which foods avoid when you have high blood pressure will help with how you order food and grocery shop. Incorporating this knowledge, with other healthy habits like regular exercise and no smoking, will help with the overall health of the body over time.

soda 20oz

Soda 20 oz

Brands like Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper are just a few of the many soda beverages on the market. Soda is a popular drink that the average person consumes worldwide. These beverages come in different flavors like grape, orange, and cherry to name a few. At first, these drinks may taste good due to their high sugar content, but drinking too much soda can lead to many health problems down the line. A 20 oz soda found in a vending machine contains a total of one-third of a cup of sugar which is a total of 65 grams of sugar as it is explained by an article Silive.

What is soda?

Soda was first introduced in the 18th century as a medical agent for sickness. Today, soda is used for consumption as a beverage. Soda is a carbonated drink full of sweeteners, corn syrup, and artificial flavors. Corn syrup is for baked goods, jellies, and candy. It helps create volume and texture and it prevents crystals from forming in food. While this syrup may seem as an essential ingredient, its use in soda beverages has many negative health outcomes. According to  Mayo Clinic, “ High fructose corn syrup can contribute unwanted calories that are linked to health problems such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and high triglyceride levels”.

Health effects of soda 

Drinking large amounts of soda can contribute to negative health effects including:

Type 2 Diabetes:  Lifestyle factors, like obesity and poor diet, can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The CDC explains that high sugar intake in a short period of time can cause insulin resistance, which increases glucose levels in the blood. According to Harvard T.H Chan it states, “ People who consume sugary drinks regularly 1 to 2 cans a day or more have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks”.

Heart Problems: The heart is a vital organ in our body and it is part of the circulatory system. Without the function of a heart, we would not receive oxygen and nutrients in our bodies. In, Harvard Health Publishing , Dr. Hu  expresses that, “The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.”

Weight Gain:  Weight gain is defined as the increase in the amount of weight over a period of time. Sodas contain empty calories as they provide minimal nutritional value. “ Drinking one soda a day could lead to a pound of weight gain every 13days or about 38 pounds a year of weight gain,” explained by City Smiles St. Louis.

What are some alternatives?

Drinking water is always the best choice but occasionally, you may want to enjoy a sweet drink. Soda contains large amounts of sugar and, over time, it can cause the development of  health problems. The following are some alternative drinks that are good for your overall health:

Sparkling Water

Sparkling Water, also known as soda water, can help you stay hydrated. In fact, soda water helps with dehydration and digestion. Well-known sparkling water brands found in the grocery store include San Pellegrino, Bubbly, and Spindrift.

Seltzer Water

Instead of drinking soda, you can substitute your drink for seltzer water, which is a carbonated drink. “You can purchase seltzer water infused with syrups to add flavor. Flavored seltzer water may contain additional nutrients, vitamins, and minerals” according to Nourish by WebMD. However, these drinks are different from sparkling water because the carbonation is artificial, while in sparkling water, the bubble comes straight from its source. Popular Seltzer water brands that you can enjoy are Polar Seltzer and LaCroix.

Infusion Water

Infused water is a blend of berries, ginger, lemons, and cucumber in water. On the internet, this drink can be found in a glass like a bottle.  Infused Water has many health benefits from blood sugar control, immune defense, hydration, and weight loss as explained by PVAMU University. Infused Water can be made easily in the comfort of your home with water, fruits, and leaves of your choice.

To learn more about soda and health, you can listen to our podcast here focusing on Type 2 diabetes and Sugary Drinks.


health disparities

What is health disparities?

Health disparities are economic drawbacks that affect racial and ethnic groups. The lack of access to healthcare, poverty, income, and substantial factors causes disparities. Therefore, health disparities are an issue that needs awareness. By improving disparities, we can improve the healthcare system’s cost and equality worldwide.

Minorities and the healthcare system

Minorities experience a difference in treatment and service in healthcare. People of color often endure volumes of mistreatment. As a result, this leads to mistrust among their physicians and the healthcare system. This mistrust creates an issue because minority groups are more likely to develop chronic diseases. “People of color face higher rates of diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, and cancer than whites,” According to Health Affairs.The following are a list of common disease and health problems found in different minority groups: 


Diabetes is a chronic disease formed by high blood sugar levels. There are three main types of diabetes Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, and this causes elevated blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body creates insulin but does not use it, causing elevated sugar levels. Gestational diabetes is the diagnosis of diabetes during pregnancy. According to the USCF, South Asians and Pacific Islanders have higher rates of diabetes. These high rates in this ethnic group are due to increased abdominal fat and less body muscle.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when your blood pressure is higher than average. Hypertension is a prevalent disease found in adults. In addition, this disease occurs in pregnant women called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia often occurs in pregnant women of color at a higher rate explained by the Preeclampsia Foundation. Stress, genetics, obesity, and high salt intake can cause high blood pressure.

Heart Disease

According to the CDC, every 36 seconds, a person dies from heart disease. Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease. This disease can lead to heart failure and even death when left untreated. Obesity, cholesterol, smoking, and family history cause heart disease.


Cancer is a commonly known disease that involves abnormal growth in cells. Various cancers affect different parts of the body. African Americans are more likely to get breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer, while black men are likely to die from prostate cancer explained by the American Cancer Society.  


According to the National Institute of Health, “obesity and overweight are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.” Obesity is a health issue involving excessive body fat in the body—obesity results when the intake of calories is higher than the number of calories burned. Over time, uncontrolled obesity can lead to many health problems, including stroke, heart attacks, and other forms of chronic illness.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic Kidney disease(CKD) is when the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter waste or fluid out of the blood. There are five stages in the chronic kidney disease process. CKD stage 5 is also called the end of the stage renal disease. At this stage, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to survive. Pre-existing conditions, family history, and age put you at risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

What are some solutions?

Health disparities are a common issue in our society today. Unfortunately, racial health disparities often affect minority groups in the healthcare system. However, we can take proper steps to target disparities in our communities.

Here are some ways to improve racial health disparities, with one step at a time:

More Health Coverages

Minorities have lower quality and less access to health insurance. Yet, health insurance is vital to cover expenses and emergencies. Without proper coverage for health costs, this causes minorities who don’t have money, to avoid medical treatment and physicians. The expansions of health coverages will help and produce less of a burden among minority groups.


Different interventions can help battle racial health disparities. Certain areas with minorities often lack resources in terms of health. As a result, they are creating health problems and chronic diseases. Socioeconomic play a role in the divide among people of color and disparities in America. Therefore, targeting issues such as lack of resources, healthy foods, health care, and physical activities can help disparities.

You can listen to our podcast here to learn more about Race, Ethnicity, and Diabetes: Intra- Ethnic diabetes disparities.





Diabetes Early Signs

Diabetes Early Signs

Recognizing the early signs of diabetes can help prevent a life and death situation. It’s essential to be aware of any physical and significant changes in your body. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and amputation. Often known as the silent killer, diabetic patients often have no symptoms in the beginning stages. With a better understanding of diabetes and its signs, you can take appropriate actions and maintain your disease.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases the body’s blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Genetic factors influence type 1 diabetes, and Lifestyle factors control type 2 diabetes. In addition, one less known form of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which occurs in pregnant women during their third trimester.

Who is at risk?

Many factors can contribute to the increased risk of diabetes; some uncontrollable risk factors include age, race, and family history. In contrast, controllable risk factors include weight, high blood pressure, inactivity, and high cholesterol. Knowing your risk factors can be helpful to avoid any health problems and conditions.

What are the early signs?

Many signs of diabetes can be detected; however, many can also go undetected. A total of 88 million adults who are 18 or older have prediabetes; on average, 1 in 4 people do not know they have diabetes. According to the National institute of diabetes and digestive,” An estimated 26.9 million people of all ages have been diagnosed with diabetes (8.2 percent of the U.S. population). Of the people diagnosed with diabetes, 210,000 are children and adolescents younger than age 20 years.”

The following are different types of early signs that can be found in a diabetic patient:

Change in taste

Increase in Thirst: Excessive thirst is often a common sign of early diabetes. Polydipsia, or increased thirst, results from the body attempting to bring glucose levels back to normal by eliminating excess glucose through the urine.

Excessive Hunger: A common early sign found in type 2 diabetes is the increase in appetite. Insulin resistance prevents glucose uptake by the cell. Due to glucose not entering the cell for energy, the body signals food intake for energy, therefore increasing hunger.

Change in body

Numbness: A feeling of tingling, sharpness, and burning in your hand or feet is a numbness sensation.  A rise in blood sugar causes irreversible damage to the nerve.

Vision Change:  A sudden form of blurry vision is an early sign of diabetes. High amounts of sugar can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to shift, and without treatment, it can cause vision loss.

Infections: Chronic infections can be an early sign of diabetes, such as UTI and yeast infections. Elevated glucose feeds the bacteria and can make it challenging to resolve the infections.

Fatigue:  Fatigue is another symptom of diabetes. Insulin resistance interferes with the body’s ability to use glucose for energy and, as a result, leaves us feeling tired.

Dry skin: Dry, itchy, and poor wound healing skin is an early sign of diabetes. In addition, someone with diabetes is more prone to rashes ranging from blisters, dermopathy, and sclerosis.

Urination: the excessive use of urination four to seven times a day is a common sign of diabetes. The kidneys are overworking due to trying to get rid of sugar in the bloodstream, which causes a change in urination.

Why is it important?

Diabetes is a commonly known disease that affects people worldwide. This disease can lead to many complications such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. Noticing and identifying early signs can help you take appropriate steps for proper treatments. Treatments include monitoring, medication, healthy eating, and exercise. Above all, noticing early signs and bringing awareness to these symptoms are just one step into improving your overall health.

To see examples of healthy meal options for someone with diabetes, you can visit our website here.





Insulin price increases

Insulin price increases

Following your medication regimen is vital when managing your diabetes. Skipping your medication can worsen your diabetes and overall health. But what happens when the cost of your medicine is too high, and you are unable to afford it. The price of insulin is drastically increasing each year. “The average retail price of insulin rose 54% from 2014 to 2019,” according to GoodRx Health.

Why is insulin so expensive?

Insulin was first introduced in the 1920s at the price of $1. Today insulin prices have significantly changed over the years. In the United States, insulin is more expensive than in other countries around the world. “The average US manufacturer price per unit across all insulin was $98.70, compared to $6.94 in Australia, $12,00 in Canada, and $7.52 in the UK”, according to Pharma News Intelligence. This article further expands by saying, “Most higher-income countries, a long insulin accounted for over 80 percent and in some cases 100 percent of volume and sales”.

Many possible factors contribute to insulin prices: manufacturers, patents, and health plans. In addition, Below are other reasons why insulin is so expensive for the average consumer:


Biologics are a form of drug that is specific to a particular area of the body. Animal and plant cells are living organisms that form this drug. Examples of biologics are fusion proteins, vaccines, insulin, and blood products. This drug is one of the most costly forms of treatment because a lot of money goes towards facilities and testing.


Only three leading companies around the world manufacture insulin. In the United States, the government does not regulate the prices of drugs. As a result, this gives companies the authority to set their own prices. This issue is a common debate where some people argue that the United States should not control costs to avoid experiencing shortages and excessive spending.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the pancreas that helps your cells utilize the glucose you consume. People who have Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes make little to no insulin and often depend on insulin injections to help their bodies utilize glucose. Common injection of insulin sights includes your thigh, buttock, upper arm, and abdomen. Constantly monitoring blood sugars and insulin dosing can be complicated, so people with diabetes need the assistance of insulin devices to manage their blood sugars better. The following are different types of insulin devices that patients can choose from:

Insulin pumps: These are small devices attached to your body; this pump can be worn on the go.  Pumps can detect high and low blood sugars levels and release insulin to bring those blood sugars back to normal levels.

Insulin syringe: A insulin syringe is a traditional device with a needle, plunger, and barrel. Insulin syringes are injected manually by patients. With the removal of the cap, the syringe is pushed into an insulin bottle and injected into the skin.

Insulin pens: are the most popular insulin device that uses injections with a needle. They come in two different forms disposable and reusable. Insulin pens come with pre-filled medication and combine the vial and syringe together. To inject a pen, you pinch the skin and insert the pen by pushing the plunger down.

What’s next?

Even with insurance, insulin devices are only partially covered by health companies. As a result, diabetic patients rationalize or avoid taking their insulin due to the high expenses needed for their medication. Insulin is an essential medication for people with diabetes, and it can lead to many complications if not taken when needed.

Bill Back Better Plan is a policy that aims to rebuild middle-class households. President Joe Biden Is rebranding this bill to include health care benefits. Some possible changes include money for Medicare, prescription drug reform, and the price of insulin. The Bill Back Better Plan has already passed in the House of Representatives and is currently in the Senate before becoming an official law.

To find out more information about insulin regarding cost, affordability, policies, and insurance. Please listen to our podcast here.





chronic kidney disease?

What is a chronic kidney disease?

The human body is the most complex system, with 78 organs. Each organ plays a vital role in the functioning of the overall body. For example, the kidney may not always seem like an essential organ, but they play a critical part. The organ’s general functions include filtering any waste material from the blood. When the kidney fails and can’t produce or filter blood, this forms a condition called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This disease is silent and can advance without proper care over time. According to the National Kidney Foundation, a total of 37 million American adults have CKD, and millions of others are at increased risk.

What are the causes?

Several risk factors and conditions exist that can contribute to CDK development. Risk factors of CDK include family history, ethnicity, and pre-existing conditions. Other conditions that may impact kidney functions are:

  • Diabetes: a chronic disease known for elevated blood sugar levels. Diabetes causes kidney disease due to the excessive amount of sugar in the blood that can cause kidney damage.
  • High blood pressure: a condition that occurs when the blood vessels in your body are at a high level. When high blood pressure is not controlled, it can form near the kidneys’ artery and not receive enough blood.
  • Polycystic kidney disease: a disorder inherited through genetics that causes cysts to form in your kidneys. When these cysts grow excessively, they can cause complications to the kidney that can eventually lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
  • Urinary tract infection: a bladder infection primarily found in women caused by bacteria forming in the urinary tract. When a urinary tract infection is left untreated, it can lead to bacteria spreading to different areas in the body, including the kidney.
  • Glomerulonephritis(glomeruli): an inflammatory disease that affects the kidney’s filter; when the kidney is damaged, it can filter and get rid of waste. As a result, it can lead to kidney issues.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease won’t be noticeable at first, especially in the early stages. However, these symptoms can develop anywhere throughout the body, from the cardiovascular, respiratory, neurologic, and reproductive systems.

A person experiencing chronic kidney disease may experience the following:

  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling (located on your legs, ankles, and feet)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Uremic Breath (breathe smells like urine)
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulties sleeping (frequent urination)
  • Itchy/dry skin
  • Change in urine (color, foam)

These are just a few of many conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease. To see a complete list, you can click here. 

What are some preventions?

Research has shown that kidney disease causes more deaths than breast cancer. In addition, when left untreated, kidney disease causes kidney failure and death. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware and take the proper steps to detect and contact a physician. Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for CKD, but you can take the following steps to help maintain or prevent this disease:

Eating healthy

Balancing a healthy lifestyle can be challenging but, it’s essential to practice healthy dieting. Eating healthy can be as simple as adding fruit and vegetables or substituting foods for healthier options. By maintaining healthy eating habits, you will be receiving valuable nutrition and prevent many health complications.

Laboratory Test

Laboratory Testing is a significant factor at the doctor’s office; this helps early detection and possible diseases. If you know you are at high risk or have a family history of chronic diseases, it’s essential to inform your doctor. By doing this, chronic kidney disease can be tested through urine samples and blood work.


The thought of getting up early or taking time out of your day to head to the gym can often be exhausting, but it’s very beneficial. By simply exercising a couple of times a day, you improve your blood circulation, overall health, and any chance of chronic diseases.

Please listen to our podcast here for more information regarding proper health choices with kidney disease.








Risk of diabetes because of policy

How do government policies and media affect the risk of diabetes?

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are major health concerns in today’s society. And minorities are a known high-risk population for diabetes. So, not surprisingly, the government would create some policies to address this major issue. Sadly though, while some policies do decrease the risk of diabetes many of the policies do nothing or very little. The media does not help this situation out when they portray people with diabetes in a negative or comedic light. This causes less public support for potential government programs to help with diabetes. Attention needs to be given to the media and government policies so more programs that will greatly decrease the risk of diabetes can be created.


What government policies decrease the risk of diabetes?

More than 1 in 3 adults are prediabetic. The majority of these people are minorities. And many minorities are uninsured. One great way for people to prevent diabetes is to visit a doctor or medical provider to get medication or find a good prevention or management plan. This is less likely to happen for an uninsured person. This explains when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed for more insured people, it lowered the overall risk of diabetes.

Another government program is the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) which funds programs to improve public health. One program this fund invested in is the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP). This program was created to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. As well as promote lifestyle changes like eating and exercise to manage and reduce the risk of diabetes for people with prediabetes. This program is implemented through the partnership of public and private organizations so help can reach more people effectively.


What government policies increase the risk of diabetes?

Not all government programs are good for diabetes prevention and management. While most policies have good intentions, they sometimes either have no impact or a negative impact. Alyshia Gálvez, in her podcast episode with Yumlish, mentions the unintended consequences NAFTA has on the Mexican population, such as the increase in diabetes among the Mexican population among other negative impacts. She also speaks about the link between globalized economies and chronic illness. Basically, if countries sign a trade deal, then chronic illness increases in one of the countries that benefit from the trade deal. To learn more check out her podcast episode.


How does the media affect diabetes?

In film people portrayed with diabetes embody certain characteristics, weird outcasts with extreme symptoms who experience an offscreen magical cure at a later part of the movie or television series. This is obviously not how diabetes is in real life. This portrayal in the media has negative consequences because it creates a stereotype of diabetes. This negative perception makes it less likely for people, especially children, to take diabetes treatment in public. It is less likely for the creation of programs helping with diabetes management and prevention because of the negative perception the media creates. It is also less likely for people to accept that they have diabetes and get help.

Another way the media negatively impacts diabetes is through advertisements. Marketing does not portray diabetics badly, but they make foods that are not beneficial for diabetes management or prevention desirable. This increases the risk of diabetes in people because of the unconscious suggestion the marketing creates.


What needs to happen?

In the end, the media needs to stop using people with diabetes as a tool for fear or humor. This will decrease the stigma around diabetes and allow for more people to get help. The government is continuing to create legislation that will help with diabetes like the Build Back Better Bill. This bill currently proposes a $35 cap on insulin which will make diabetes management easier and more affordable. More information about this bill will be discussed in the next blog post.


Myths of diabetes

What are some myths of diabetes?

Like with many things there are a mix of facts and myths of diabetes roaming the internet and being talked about. Many myths are thought of as a truth and it can be hard to figure out what is true or not. Diabetes is a major health concern, so it is important to figure out the myths and see the facts to better your diabetes prevention and management.


Common Myths of Diabetes

This blog post will look at some of the common myths of diabetes and address the real truth the myth covers up.

Myth: Everyone overweight will have diabetes

Overweight is one of many risk factors that contribute to diabetes. Weight is not the only risk factor to diabetes. There are many other risk factors that are just as influential such as age, physical activity, genetics, and ethnicity. The CDC breaks down the list of risk factors here.

Myth: Diabetics need to eat special food

Even though some packaged food might have the label “diabetes friendly”, there is not a set of special foods that diabetics eat. That said it is important and highly recommended for a diabetic to eat healthy. This healthy diet does not look different from a healthy diet for anyone. There are some diets and foods that are better for a diabetic, discussed further in this blog post, but there is nothing special needed for a diabetic’s diet other than eating healthy.

Myth: Diabetics need to avoid starchy food or carbs

Starchy foods and carbs are not bad. Starchy foods can be eaten in moderation, try the plate method for an easy way to monitor starch. Carbs as well do not negatively affect diabetes. In fact, eating the right combo of carbs, proteins, and fat can help manage blood sugar levels. It is all about moderation. As long as you do not eat too much of one thing and have a balanced diet, starchy foods and carbs can be eaten.

Myth: Diabetics can not eat sweets or junk food

As stated above moderation is key. As long as sweets or junk food as not the majority of your diet but just a small part then they can be eaten. The best way to eat sweets is to save them for special occasions so you are not likely to eat them too much.

Myth: Diabetics are more likely to get sick

Diabetics are not more likely to get sick than the average person. The reason why it is important to be healthy while diabetic is because getting sick will make it harder to manage diabetes.

Myth: Diabetics will always go blind or have other major health complications

These usually only happen when blood sugar levels are not properly managed and left uncontrolled for long periods of time. If properly managing your diabetes it is possible to go your entire life without the major health complications. For some examples of common health complications and advice on how to prevent them visit this blog post.

Myth: Diabetics can’t live an active life

In fact, exercise is necessary for managing diabetes. Diabetes is not a chronic illness that limits an active lifestyle or a normal lifestyle. It just requires a person to be a healthier version of themselves. Exercise is a part of it.


In Conclusion

There are many myths of diabetes floating around which give information that can be harmful for diabetes management. As well as make diabetes worse than it is. Diabetes is a serious chronic illness, but it is not as limiting as these myths make it out to be. It is up to the community and health care professionals, and policymakers to challenge and correct these myths. Which will allow for more accurate information to be spread about diabetes. For more information of this check out this podcast here. Listening to the facts instead of the myths of diabetes will allow someone to have better control of their diabetes management and prevention because they will not have so much fear and misinformation of their diabetes.

Diabetes health complications

What are Common Diabetes Health Complications?

Many different health complications come from diabetes. Specifically, the blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. Most of the health problems come from poor diabetes management. This is why good diabetes management is so important. Great diabetes management like eating well and exercising can prevent most diabetes health complications. For these diabetes health complications, it is good to know what can be done to limit the chances of them happening. As well as know what can be done to limit the pain for you to continue living a great and active lifestyle.

What are the most common diabetes health complications?

Uncontrollable high blood sugar levels can cause a multitude of health problems which can cause anywhere between a minor inconvenience or death. Again, this is why good diabetes management is important because while diabetes alone will not cause most of these health complications, uncontrolled diabetes is still the root cause.


This is just a more technical term for nerve damage. This is a very common diabetes health complication and over 50 percent of people with diabetes have it. The nerve damage mainly occurs in the hands and/or feet with symptoms that include tingling, numbness, and pain. While there are many different causes of this one of the major causes is long periods of high blood sugar levels. Regular exercise such as walking can help with the pain caused by this complication.

Kidney Disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, high blood sugar levels cause the kidneys to work too much to filter blood. Therefore, the kidneys build up waste faster causing the kidneys to not work. For more information on treatment visit ADA’s page here.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is another technical term that just means vision problems caused by diabetes. This is caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. The symptoms are blurry vision and if left untreated a loss of vision. To learn more about this complication and learn about some possible treatments listen to this podcast here.

Heart Disease

There is a link between diabetes and heart-related conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This is because high blood sugar levels damage the heart and surrounding arteries. This is why diabetic people are 2 times more likely to have a stroke or heart disease. Too much glucose in the body can lead to clogged arteries. So, while you are monitoring your blood sugar levels it is a good idea to also monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Sleep Apnea

This is a common problem among people with type-2 diabetes especially if they are overweight. This is when breathing is interrupted multiple times when sleeping. This can cause loud snoring or a person to stop breathing. A healthy diet and exercise to lose weight is a great way to prevent sleep apnea.

Skin Conditions

People with diabetes are more likely to develop a skin condition and there are some diabetes-related skin conditions over the more general skin conditions. These skin conditions are noticeable because there are usually colored bumps or raised skin are developed or blisters. Skin conditions are caused because high blood sugar levels increase dry skin and lower the ability to fight off bacteria. Therefore, it is best to keep skin moisturized, dry, and clean. As well as check feet every day because they are a high risk for skin disease.

How to prevent diabetes health complications?

Have a good diabetes management plan. Of course, this may sound simple, but by managing your blood sugar levels you can prevent the health problems listed above.  Uncontrolled blood sugar levels cause most of the diabetes health conditions. So, the best way to prevent the complications above is to make sure to keep the blood sugar levels at a safe level. Make sure to eat healthily, check out this blog post about great diabetes diets, stay active, and monitor yourself or go to a health professional.


Image of a diet for diabetes

What is a good diet for diabetes?

The month of November is American Diabetes month, celebrated by the American Diabetes Association, CDC, and other organizations. This is why this week’s blog post is about a major question associated with diabetes. What is a good diet for diabetes?

What food should I eat?

Choosing a good diet for diabetes can be difficult because it can be hard to know what foods should be eaten or avoided. The basic answer people get when asking how to eat is to eat healthy. Of course, most people know that fruits and vegetables are healthier than pastries but other foods are just as good.

  • Non-starchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, squash, and leafy green vegetables like spinach.
  • Fruit without added sugars like fresh, drained, and rinsed canned fruit, and frozen fruit. Some good examples of fruit are strawberries, avocados, and apples.
  • Whole-grain foods like whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
  • Legumes like black, pinto, and kidney beans. Fat-free refried beans are also a good choice.
  • Lean meats and plant-based proteins like chicken, seafood, eggs, and cheese. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are also a good choice.
  • Good unsaturated fats like omega 3. Some examples are flax seeds, olive oil, and nuts.

Some great examples of recipes can be found on this page or on Yumlish’s recipe page here.

What food should I avoid?

It is important to remember what food should be avoided for a diet for diabetes. It is fine to eat the foods on this list as long as they are in small amounts and the majority of your diet contains foods from the list above.

  • Sugary drinks like regular soda and fruit punch.
  • Refined grains like white bread and rice. These can increase your blood sugar quicker than food with whole wheat.
  • Fried food.
  • Alcohol because when consumed on an empty stomach can increase the risk of low blood sugar.
  • Processed meats like bacon and cold cuts. These meats are high in salt and can increase the chance of heart disease.
  • Candy and sweet desserts like pastries.


What are the different diets for diabetes?

There are many different proposed diet plans for diabetes. There is not necessarily one best plan because each plan has its pros and cons. Ultimately it depends on which plan works best for an individual. Diet plans do not have to be strictly followed either but can be adapted to fit your lifestyle and culture. That said, diet plans are a good place to start and get inspiration from.

Plate Method

The plate method is the diet suggested by the American Diabetes Association. A basic overview of the plate method starts with a 9-inch plate or serving size. The plate is divided into ½ vegetables, ¼ starch, and ¼ protein for a meal. For example, ½ of the plate is a salad, ¼ is rice, and ¼ is pozole de pollo. The benefits of using the plate method are the focus on eating vegetables and that it is relatively simple. All that is required is to section off food on your plate.

Carb Counting

Carb counting is another popular method to manage blood sugar levels. Carbs have a high impact on blood sugar levels which is why counting carbs can be used to control blood sugar levels. When deciding to count carbs it is best to visit a dietician or doctor to find out how many carbs you should eat in a day. Some benefits of using this method are that insulin injections and exercise can be adjusted to fit the number of carbs counted to give better control over diabetes management.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is another diet for diabetes. With this diet, foods are ranked low, medium, and high based on how much the food can raise blood sugar levels. So with this diet, it is best to eat foods ranked low or medium and limit the amount of high-leveled foods. The benefits of this diet are that the risk of eating certain foods is labeled and a list of less harmful foods can be found.

In Conclusion

The 3 diet options discussed are not the only diets for diabetes. There are many different diets with many different methods. One other diet is whole-person integrated eating, more information can be found here. The best way to find a diet that works for you is to start with one diet then modify it to fit your lifestyle and culture or contact a dietician.

Diabetes cause mental illness

Can Diabetes Cause Mental Illness?

In short, yes, having diabetes can cause mental illness. In fact, it goes both ways, having a mental illness also increases the chance of becoming diabetic. Taking care of diabetes management can be stressful. You have to check blood sugar levels, plan what to eat, make sure to take insulin, and exercise. Everything needed to be healthy is a lot of work. Even diabetes prevention is stressful with the planning of meals, staying active, and worrying about becoming diabetic. This post will discuss the common mental illnesses associated with diabetes as well as some helpful tips for prevention and/or coping.

Denial and Anger

A mental illness is any mental condition that affects your mood, thinking, and behavior. Before talking about major mental illnesses, it is important to discuss the common feelings associated with being diagnosed with diabetes which are anger and denial.

Short-term and controlled anger can be an empowering and natural reaction. However, it is out-of-control anger that is a contributing factor to depression and high levels of stress. If you feel like your anger is overpowering you, take a breath and try to identify why you are angry. Is it the loss of control, anger towards yourself, or something else? If you are feeling angry try these tips.

  • Take a breath, then take an even bigger breath
  • Get a drink of water
  • Sit down
  • Lean back
  • Shake your arms loose
  • Take a walk

Denial is also a very common and natural emotion to have when diagnosed with diabetes. You might wonder, “why did this happen to me?” or “there must be a mistake”. Overcoming this denial is important because it can lead to not following your treatment plan. These are some common phrases of denial listed by the American Diabetes Association.

  • “One bite won’t hurt.”
  • “I’ll go to the doctor later.”
  • “I don’t have time to do it.”
  • “My diabetes isn’t serious.”

If you have these thoughts don’t worry, denial is common and you can work with your family and friends to help you stick with your treatment plan.

Diabetes Burnout/Diabetes Distress

Burnout is very common and can happen even to the best people. Usually what happens is a person is following their treatment plan but they might not be seeing any results or they had a diabetic-related health problem. Either way, they start to slip, stop checking their blood sugar levels, eat unhealthily, and/or not going to the doctors. When this happens talk to your doctor, a diabetes educator, a mental health professional, or your family to try and help you focus on your goals again. Remember that you do not need perfect blood sugar levels, so try to focus on your smaller goals versus the larger ones. Talking with other people who are in the same situation as you can be beneficial, such as the American Diabetes Association’s community page.


Diabetes can cause the mental illness of depression. According to the CDC, people who have diabetes are 2 to 3 more times more likely to become depressed. Of those people who are depressed, less than half get diagnosed and treated. If you are depressed, it is important to get treated. Being depressed can lead to lower diabetes management which increases the risk of diabetes complications such as nerve damage and heart disease. These are some symptoms of depression. If you think you are or may be depressed, please contact your doctor to get help so you can stay healthy.

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Losing interest in favorite activities
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling very tired
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Having aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death

To learn more about the link between diabetes and depression, check out this podcast.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a normal emotion to have but overwhelming or constant amounts of stress are harmful to your health. High-stress levels are caused by many factors such as work, family, and diabetes care. Constant stress can contribute to poor diabetes management and high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can also cause the mental illness of anxiety. A person with diabetes is 20% more likely to have anxiety. Possibly because diabetes is a long-term condition that needs constant management. These are some tips for lowering your stress and anxiety levels.

  • A cardio routine or a simple walk can calm you down and release endorphins, “happy-feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
  • Relaxation exercises such as yoga helps center you in the present moment.
  • Talk to someone who understands you like a friend or family member, not someone who will cause you more stress. Sometimes it is good to just vent to someone.
  • Grab some “you” time. Take time away from what is stressing you out to refocus. Try reading a book, cooking, or something else fun you like to do.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, eat healthy food, and make sure to get enough sleep.


Physical therapy benefits in action

What are Physical Therapy Benefits for Diabetes Management?

What is Physical Therapy?

A common misconception of physical therapy is that it is only beneficial for people who are injured. However, physical therapy can also help other people, like those with chronic illnesses or aging. This is because physical therapy can help with movement and preventative care for multiple conditions. Some physical therapy benefits can improve mobility, reduce the need for drugs, and reduce a person’s pain. Physical therapists work very closely with their patients so their treatment plans are personalized as well.


How Physical Therapy can help with Diabetes Symptoms

Medication, diet, and exercise are 3 common and great ways to manage diabetes and should not be stopped. However, physical therapy can also manage the symptoms of diabetes and is a great add-on to your normal routine.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a symptom of diabetes when a person damages the nerves in their body caused by high blood sugar levels. While there is no cure for this symptom, physical therapy offers an alternate way than medicine to offer pain relief. Even though it can be painful to move, going to physical therapy will improve the balance lost, restore mobility, and some of the sensations lost.


Physical therapy requires a person to move which means you are exercising. Exercise can help you lose weight, which helps in reducing the symptoms of diabetes. A physical therapist can instruct a person on the best and safe ways to exercise to manage their diabetes. Also, physical therapy, specifically resistance training, tends to target the muscles and the muscles burn more glucose than fat which can make it easier to achieve blood sugar level goals. Resistance exercises also allow the body to better use insulin to soak up sugars that would otherwise stay in the bloodstream.


Overall Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy offers other benefits outside of helping with diabetes management.

  • It can improve your range of motion and athletic performance. Typically done through strength and flexibility exercises.
  • Can help manage and cope with symptoms of aging.
  • Improve balance and reduce the risk of falling.
  • Manage heart and lung disease through strengthening, conditioning, and breathing exercises.

Of course, physical therapy is also used when a person is sick or injured, as a recovery tool. Physical therapy helps eliminate pain and/or heal from an injury. In fact, there are some injuries that would normally require surgery but can be healed with physical therapy, which saves money.


Can You do Physical Therapy at Home?

Yes, you can do physical therapy at home but there are some aspects to keep in mind. After seeing a licensed physical therapist, you should be able to get a program that can be done at home and is personalized and safe for you to do. If you want to skip the licensed therapist step and look up routines and exercises on the internet, here are some tips.

  • Try to be gentle and find gentle stretches or easy exercises.
  • Don’t try aggressive or complicated exercises because they might cause damage to your body without proper instruction.
  • When looking up different exercises on the internet, find trusted sources like this one.
  • Try to stay away from social media and message board advice.
  • Also, keep in mind not to push past the pain, a physical therapist will make sure home exercises will not cause you extra pain. So, any routine that causes pain will not help your body but damage it.


In Conclusion

Physical therapy offers many health benefits for overall health and diabetes management. Physical therapy is a great add-on to a good diet, exercise routine, and medication already used for diabetes management. For more information and tips on physical therapy check out this podcast.

Traditionally meal with salad for diabetes care.

Barriers to Diabetes Care for Hispanics

Minorities are already at a disadvantage concerning diabetes prevention and management. Hispanics, in particular, have a high risk of becoming diabetic. Gaining awareness about the barriers to diabetes care can help prevent/manage your diabetes.

Economic Status Barriers

Many of the barriers to diabetes care come from a person’s economic status. The lower a person’s economic status, the more barriers to diabetes care that person has. This puts minorities at a disadvantage because they make up most of the lower socioeconomic population.

One common barrier in this category is citizenship status. If a person is an illegal citizen, then they are less likely to seek help for their diabetes or prediabetes because they fear deportation. The same goes for their family, even if a family member is a US citizen, they may be hesitant to seek help out of fear of putting their family at risk.

Another barrier to diabetes care in this category is access to health insurance. Many people in the lower economic classes do not have access to health insurance. Hispanics have one of the highest uninsured rates among other races and ethnic groups. Not being insured limits the places a person can go to seek treatment or preventative treatment. If you do not have health insurance, you can:

  • Try going to a free health clinic that accepts people without insurance. List of free health clinics in Dallas, Texas can be found here. You can also go here to search nationwide.
  • Join free community programs that help people with diabetes or people wanting to prevent getting diabetes. An example of one community program is offered by Yumlish and is a free one-year nutrition program for diabetes prevention that can be found here.
  • Make lifestyle changes like dieting and exercise.

Culture and Tradition Barriers

Not every barrier to diabetes care is related to economic status, culture and tradition also contributes to creating barriers.

Cultural Misconceptions

Some people in Hispanic cultures have misconceptions concerning diabetes. One frequently cited is that diabetes is out of a person’s control. Since diabetes is out of their control, they cannot do anything to prevent it. One example of this is the misperception that a traumatic event causes a person to have diabetes. While a traumatic event can increase the chance a person has to get diabetes, they can help prevent getting diabetes by making lifestyle changes. Here are some examples of lifestyle changes.

  • Try to eat using the plate method. You do not have to stop eating your favorite traditional foods but simply adjust the amounts you eat. A basic overview of the plating method suggested for a 9 inch plate or serving size is to eat ½ vegetables, ¼ starch, and ¼ protein for a meal.. For example, ½ of the plate is a salad, ¼ is rice, and ¼ is ropa vieja.
  • When possible, choose healthier food options like brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Start exercising. You can take a dance class, do an exercise for 10 or 15 minutes a day, or just walk for 30 minutes a day. There are many good exercise routines found on YouTube. Also, there are quiet exercises for people living in apartments or who don’t want to bother the other occupants living with them.

Another common misconception among Hispanics is the idea of a miracle cure for diabetes. While there are some foods that can help prevent or control diabetes, there is not a miracle cure for diabetes. A person with diabetes needs to take medicine and/or make lifestyle changes to prevent and manage their diabetes.


Around half of the Hispanic population have low English proficiency. This makes it hard for them to go to a doctor who does not speak Spanish, which is another barrier to diabetes care. When English is not a person’s first language, it can be difficult to understand the medical lingo doctors might use. Tips for going around this barrier are to try and find a doctor who speaks Spanish or take a family member who speaks English with you to the doctors.


Hispanic culture is very family-oriented but family can be both an advantage, because of family support, and a disadvantage concerning diabetes. Often families show their love for each other through food and cooking. You can still cook for your family and show your love by making healthier versions of your favorite traditional meals. One way to do this is if a recipe calls for ground meat use lean ground turkey or ground sirloin beef. Some other ideas of healthy food recipes can be found on Yumlish’s recipe page. Feeding your family healthier meals will help make your family healthier.

Leafy greens with folic acid

Folic Acid and Diabetes

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a man-made version of vitamin B. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B. Folate is needed to form healthy cells and DNA. For reference, our hair and nails need new cells to grow. When a person does not have enough folate in their body, they develop folate deficiency which can cause a type of anemia. Thankfully, when a blood test diagnoses a person with folate deficiency, it is usually easy to treat. The treatment for folate deficiency is usually remedied by eating foods that are high in folate or taking a folic acid supplement.


General Benefits of Taking Folic Acid

Taking folic acid is associated with many health benefits. One is that it helps prevent changes to DNA that could cause cancer. Second, according to studies, folic acid helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Third, it also promotes healthy gums because it preserves the gum tissues. Fourth, folic acid helps maintain healthier skin because it repairs human skin cells which can promote anti-aging results.


Benefits of Folic Acid for Diabetes


Studies show folic acid proven to prevent defects in newborns specifically in preventing neural tube defects. Another study by the CDC showed that mothers who have preexisting diabetes and took folic acid during their pregnancy decreased the risk for birth defects. The American Diabetes Association and the CDC recommend women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily if they are or planning to be pregnant. During pregnancy the body needs more folate which is why the CDC recommends folic acid. Also, women taking folic acid during and before pregnancy have a decreased chance of developing gestational diabetes.

Heart Disease

Folic acid or eating a diet with high levels of folate can decrease the homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine levels are used to monitor heart disease, high homocysteine levels are linked to having a higher chance of heart disease. Studies have also shown that taking folic acid can decrease the chances of getting a stroke. 

Preventing Diabetes

Folic acid can help increase the breakdown of fat cells by accelerating hydrolysis, the chemical breakdown of fat because of a reaction to water. This may help prevent someone from becoming obese and/or developing type-2 diabetes.

Endothelial Dysfunction

Endothelial function maintains the proper dilation of blood vessels. When a person has a health condition such as diabetes or hypertension there is often a dysfunction of the endothelial function. Folic acid can prevent endothelial dysfunction by helping promote the dilation of blood vessels which lowers blood pressure. 

Diabetic Neuropathy

This type of neuropathy is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This is nerve damage caused by consistently high blood sugar levels. Taking folic acid may decrease the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy because it promotes nerve repair, increases myelination, protects nerves from damage caused by diabetes, and can reduce nerve pain. 


Where to find Folic Acid


Diet is an easy way to get healthy amounts of folate. Leafy green vegetables, legumes, and citrus fruits contain folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. Fortified foods like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta also contain folate. You can tell that a food is fortified because the word enriched will be on the packaging. Because of FDA regulations, enriched foods needed to have folic acid as a way to lower the risk of defects in newborns. This is why, with a balanced diet, a person should not need to find other sources to get folate.


Folic acid supplements that are less than 1,000 micrograms are usually non-prescription so you can get them at most stores that sell over-the-counter supplements. Folic acid supplements that are over 1,000 micrograms are prescription-only. Talking to a doctor is necessary to get a high dosage of folic acid.


In general, taking folic acid is not necessary if you maintain a balanced diet eating foods with high folate. Folic acid is a beneficial supplement to take especially when pregnant. The recommended folic acid intake is 400 micrograms daily. A person should not take more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid unless prescribed by a doctor. It is always a good idea to consult a doctor before taking any new supplements, especially if you have any chronic medical conditions. 

Contributing factors blog post image

What are Contributing Factors of Childhood Obesity

Understanding the contributing factors of childhood obesity is important in helping prevent children from becoming obese. Although not all of the factors that contribute to childhood obesity can be controlled, lifestyle and dietary changes can reduce the likelihood. Three categories, socioeconomic, biological, and behavioral, divide up the contributing factors of childhood obesity.


Socioeconomic Factors

A parent can not easily control the socioeconomic factors that contribute to childhood obesity.  These factors are especially harmful to minorities, specifically Hispanics and African Americans, who largely make up the lower socioeconomic status. In terms of obesity prevalence: compared to 16.1% of white children, 25.6% of Hispanics and 24.2% of African American children are obese. Data taken from the CDC.


Income may be a contributing factor of childhood obesity. High energy, low nutrient foods tend to be less expensive than foods with high nutrients. Think the dollar menu at McDonald’s; food on that menu, while inexpensive, is low in nutrients but will still fill a person up.  Compare that to fresh produce from the supermarket which can be double or triple the cost of the dollar menu meal but is high in nutrients and less likely to contribute to childhood obesity. Income determines what food options are easier to obtain.


Where a child lives can also be a contributing factor of childhood obesity. For example, there are some areas or neighborhoods where access to supermarkets or places to find fresh food is scarce or nonexistent; these places are called food deserts. If a child lives in a food desert, then all they might have access to are low nutrient foods like what can be bought at a fast-food restaurant. Food deserts are typically found in lower-income areas.


Biological Factors

Not all factors that cause childhood obesity can be avoided, some are inherited. Some children who are obese have inherited genes from their parents that make them gain weight quickly and/or have a slow metabolism.


Behavioral Factors

Behavioral factors that contribute to childhood obesity may be the easiest factors to change compared to all the other factors discussed.


Technology is a great help in our lives and is an easy way to distract a child or get them to stay in one place. However, when a child is on technology, they are not moving which means they are not burning many calories. Being stationary can lead to weight gain. One way to prevent this is to limit the amount of time a child spends on technology a day. This will encourage the child to spend more time each day playing, which will help prevent weight gain.

Sleep Deprivation

When sleep deprived a child can crave high-calorie food to compensate. To prevent this, try to make sure your child has a regular bedtime routine, aiming for 9-11 hours of sleep. Another way to get your child to sleep is to take away all their technology at least an hour before bedtime which will encourage the child to be able to fall asleep faster.


Work from both the child and parent lowers stress which is a contributing factor in childhood obesity. Parental tension, strained relationships, and/or negative life events can lead to stress in a child. These stress factors increase the chance that a child uses the coping mechanism of stress eating which may lead to obesity.


Eating unhealthy food is a contributing factor of childhood obesity. Fattening and sugary foods increase dopamine levels. Dopamine, known as the “happy feel-good” hormone, triggers the reward center of the brain leading to excessive eating. Choosing to eat fresh produce can lower the chance of becoming obese.



In conclusion, there is not just one factor that contributes to childhood obesity. Some factors are uncontrollable, like the biological and socioeconomic factors. Other factors, like behavioral, are controllable with lifestyle changes. For more resources and information on how to prevent childhood obesity please visit the CDC website. Also, visit the previous blog post and listen to our podcast for more information.


How Gestational Diabetes can impact pregnancy

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. Around 2%-10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes every year. Managing this harm diabetes can help make sure a pregnant woman has a healthy pregnancy and baby.

What causes Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in the body for use as energy. During the pregnancy, the body makes more hormones and goes through similar changes. While the body goes through these changes, the cells that use insulin become less effective.

Problems of Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancies

An extra large baby. Unmanaged diabetes can result in the baby’s blood sugar to increase.
C-Section (Cesaran Section). A diabetic woman has a higher chance of needing a C-Section to deliver the baby, which causes a longer recovery from childbirth.
High Blood Pressure (Preeclampsia). Preeclampsia is condition that needs to managed by a doctor since it could be harmful to both the mother and the unborn baby.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia). An unborn baby can quickly develop a low blood sugar after birth if the mother’s diabetes was not well controlled.


This diabetes typically does not have any symptoms and a medical history or risk factors may suggest gestational diabetes, but a woman should consult a doctor to know for sure.


Go to all prenatal appointments and follow a treatment plan, including:

  • Checking blood sugar to make sure levels stay in a healthy range.
  • Eating healthy food in the right amounts at the right times.
  • Being active. Regular physical activity that is moderately intense lowers blood sugar.
  • Monitoring the baby while checking regularly with a doctor can result in the baby’s growth and development.

The Fourth Trimester

The Fourth Trimester is the postpartum period, defined as the 12 weeks after delivery, an important time for a new mother and her family. Not everyone has heard of this term, but every mother will go through it. It is a time of great physical and emotional change as the baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and the mother adjusts to motherhood.
Complications of pregnancy such as hypertensive disorders and gestational diabetes can affect a woman’s long-term health and require specific attention. It is advised by doctors that women diagnosed with diabetes should receive a 75-g two-hour fasting oral glucose tolerance test between four and 12 weeks postpartum but 20%-40% of women do not get to that appointment as they neglect their own health after a baby’s birth.
For more information regarding Gestational Diabetes, please listen to our podcast episode here!

Childhood Obesity

What is Childhood Obesity?

What is Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is considered a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It is troubling due to the start of health problems to children at an early age that are considered adult problems such like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Not only that but it could lead to poor self-esteem and depression. In order to avoid child obesity, one of the best strategies would be to improve the eating and exercise habits in the family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect a child’s health now and in the future. 


Many children carrying extra pounds are not considered overweight. Some children have larger than average body frames and can carry different amounts of body fat at various stages of development. The body mass index (BMI) provides a guideline of weight in relation to height. This method is the accepted measure of overweight and obesity. A child’s doctor can use growth charts, the BMI, and other tests to help figure out if a child’s weight could pose health problems. 


Many lifestyle issues contribute to childhood obesity. Too little activity and too many calories from food and drinks are the main contributors. However, genetic and hormonal factors play a role as well. To learn more, check out the next blog post here.


Childhood obesity often causes complications in a child’s social, physical, and emotional well-being. 

Physical complications: 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Joint Pain
  • Breathing problems

Social/Emotional complications:

Children who are considered overweight or obese could experience teasing or bullying from their peers. This can result in loss of self-esteem and increase the risk of depression and anxiety. 


Here are a couple of ways to help prevent excess weight gain in a child:

  • Set a good example: By making healthy eating choices and maintaining regular physical activity could benefit the family.
  • Have healthy snacks available: Options like fruits with low-fat yogurt, baby carrots, whole-grain cereal, and low-fat milk.
  • Ensure children get enough sleep: Studies indicate that too little sleep can increase the risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to increasing appetite.
  • For a more prevention tips please visit here.

For more information, please visit our Podcast Page


What is Type 1 Diabetes?

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. Cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed and the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps body cells use glucose for energy and allows the glucose to pass into the bloodstream into the body cells.  The following is information regarding the chronic disease:


The exact cause of this disease is unknown. However, it is thought to occur in the autoimmune system where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks beta cells in the pancreas. The Beta cells in the pancreas are the cells that make insulin and that is why it is known as a chronic disease.


The following are symptoms of Diabetes:
  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive thirst 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Fatigue 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Dramatic weight loss in a short period of time 
It is highly advised that if one suffers from any of these symptoms to visit a doctor.

Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes 

There are two different main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Although they both have very similar symptoms, both can lead to a variety of complications over time.  Type 1 diabetes is the result of the body not producing insulin on its own. It is vital for the body to take insulin, to move the glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. Type 1 diabetes develops really quickly and symptoms are noticed easily.  Type 2 diabetes is the result of the cells unable to respond well to the insulin. The body struggles with moving the glucose from the blood into the cells, despite the levels of hormones. This type of diabetes can take years for it to develop or become noticeable. 


Treatment includes: 
  • Taking Insulin 
  • Frequent blood sugar monitoring 
  • Eating healthy foods 
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining weight
When it comes to blood sugar levels, it is important to maintain it as close to normal as possible.

Is there a cure?

There is currently no cure for diabetes. Treatment for diabetes has been mainly focused on managing the disease. However, there have been clinical trials underway for treatments to reverse the disease and restore the body’s ability to produce insulin naturally. According to http://diabetesresearch.org, researchers are currently working toward a biological cure for the disease. This research focuses on a process called islet transplant, which takes healthy cells from the pancreases and inject them in a person who suffers from the disease. However, there is not a solid cure for every person who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes as different gene’s could be a role for the cause of diabetes.
healthcare costs increasing in America

Why Are HealthCare Costs in the United States increasing?

After the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 and 2021 have become dynamic years for the United States healthcare policy. However, the number of uninsured of Americans is rising every year. At the moment, healthcare costs in the U.S are among the highest in the world in all categories. The COVID-19 pandemic, which placed historic stress on an already strained system, has placed stress on the affordability towards healthcare plans to a significant amount of Americans.

Here are a few questions to understand the increase of healthcare costs:

Why does HealthCare cost so much?

The price of medical care is the biggest factor behind U.S healthcare costs. The costs reflect on those with medical conditions, the aging population, and the increased costs of new medicines, procedures, and technology. Not only are healthcare costs higher in the U.S than in other countries, there is a significant difference in what citizens in the U.S pay for the same drug or medical procedure. For example, the average cost in the U.S for an MRI scan was $1,119, compared to $811 in New Zealand, $212 in Australia, and $181 in Spain. While costs are a reason for healthcare costs increasing, so is the higher costs of living. According to a few researchers, the idea that the U.S has a higher cost of living is a reason why the drive up healthcare costs are a fallacy. In 2018, the United States was placed 21st, which was two places ahead of U.K.

Why is healthcare spending increasing in the United States?

The costs of healthcare services have grown significantly faster than the costs of any other goods and services in the economy. There are a variety of reasons for the increase in healthcare prices:
the introduction of new innovative technology that can lead to more expensive procedures and medicine.
The complexity of the U.S healthcare system which leads to waste in the insurance and payment systems.
The lack of competition in hospitals, which grants providers the possibility to increase prices.
The mergers of health insurance companies have facilitated anti-competitive pricing behavior.
According to the National Health Expenditure, Hospital spending represented a close 31%, prescription drugs counted for 10%, and clinics an estimated 20% of total healthcare spending.

Why does it matter?

While spending on healthcare is not a bad thing, it does affect the lives on american citizens who do not have the financial stability to afford healthcare insurance. However, the United States lags behind other countries despite the healthcare costs. A consistent rise towards healthcare costs is important towards the United States economic well-being. If healthcare costs were to continue to rise, the consequences of the acceleration would include a growing national debt; strained federal, state, and local budgets; stagnant wages; and increased insecurity for Americans. Health Affairs has projected that spending on healthcare will grow 5.8% per year until 2026, which will make up 20.1% of GDP.

toddler daughter being held by mom while reaching for yellow rubber duckie in dad's hands

Healthy Eating On A Budget


You may have heard of this, “Eating healthy is very expensive.” While it may sound true, it does not always have to be!

Based on our last blogpost on “Positive Food Language for a Healthy Relationship with Food”, positive food language reduces categorizing foods into good/bad or healthy/unhealthy and instead an “all foods fit” approach. By avoiding labeling, the focus shifts to the flavors of food or reason for food. Similarly, there could be reasons to why you may think healthy foods are expensive. Other than cost, many people perceive food as ‘healthy’ based on the health claims and labels on the packaging of various trendy food products. This is why people would often think otherwise of other food products that may be just as nutritious but are not marketed the same way.

Many food products are created and sold based on current food trends due to the rise in consumers’ interest in healthy eating. It’s no wonder you find various trendy food products with health and nutrition claims on their fabulous packaging. But they all come with a heavy price tag! Here’s the bright side. This does not necessarily mean that these products are healthier than the generic brands. There are tons of nutritious foods that very affordable.

As you may know, cost is the main barrier to eating healthily for the average person. The authors in this study concluded that healthier foods cost twice as much as unhealthier foods per serving on average. What if I told you that you can eating healthily within your normal budget range? Well, is it possible? The answer is yes!

Here are the top three ways that will help you eat healthy on a budget:

1. Buy non-perishables in bulk

A common recommendation for healthy eating is to shop within the perimeter of the grocery store to avoid heavily processed foods found down many of the aisles. However, if you only shop within the grocery perimeters, you are missing out on lots of nutritious foods! Whole grains, cereals and dry pasta, dried or canned beans and frozen fruits and veggies are examples of nutritious foods that stay fresh for a long time. Plus, they are much more affordable than fresh produce, which are normally seasonal and more expensive. The more you buy in a serving, the cheaper the cost per unit of the food you bought.

2. Buy seasonal produce by the bag

When you buy produce that are in season, they not only taste the freshest but they are also at their cheapest price and are high in value. In season, produce will also be higher in nutrients! Here’s a tip: choose to buy your favorite produce or staple ingredients by the bag. For example, a bag of onions should last you a whole week if you cook from home every day.

3. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables

Did you know that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious or if not more nutritious than their fresh counterparts? This is because of the flash freezing process helps them to retain their nutrients even better and prevent them from being lost. If you opt for more servings in a bag, you would be able to save more money too!

4. Buy conventional versus organic products

Organic products are significantly more expensive than conventional. The term “organic” may be used as a buzzword to increase sales and try convince you a product is healthy, but don’t let this fool you. There is not enough evidence to say that conventional fruits and veggies are harmful. So if the cost of buying organic items prevent you from purchasing produce, then definitely stick to conventional items.

Final thoughts

While there are many ways to reduce your food costs to make healthy food affordable for you, there are other factors that impact the ability to eat healthy. One example is low socioeconomic background, in which fresh foods are limited. With that being said, there are alternative ways for those with lower income and access to fresh foods to eat healthy.

If you enjoyed reading this topic on healthy eating on a budget, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Tami Ross is an nationally recognized registered dietitian, diabetes care and education specialist, author & spokesperson with over 25 years experience. She was named Diabetes Educator of the Year and served as the 2013 President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Tami has co-authored 11 books, including the bestseller, What Do I Eat Now? now in its 3rd edition.

Latino family photo of four

Balancing family tradition and positive food language in Latino communities

To celebrate food positivity among diverse cultures, one should bear in mind the culturally relevant foods when talking about food with friends and family. Embracing culture diversity not only supports individualistic perspectives and shared common beliefs, but also makes space for food positivity. 

How positive food language can help with mindful eating

In our last blog on Positive Food Language for a Healthy Relationship with Food, we discussed how positive food language is a way of talking about food that reduces guilt around foods based on their perceived “health” or “junk food” content. For example, instead of labeling certain foods as “unhealthy”, reframe your thoughts so that all foods can fit in a healthy diet. Moderation is key to mindful eating. As much as diet quality is important to health, being too strict about your eating may not be healthy even if your nutritional needs are met.

Practicing mindful eating can help you enjoy the foods you eat without feeling guilty. It allows you to be fully present in the moments of eating. Mindful eating not only allows you to focus on the value of food beyond calories but also make peace with food. So, it is a good idea to reframe your food perspective from being either “good” or “bad” to enjoying your favorite foods in moderation.

Importance of Family and Food in Latin Culture

In the same way, positive food language can help bridge family tradition and cultural acceptance within the latino communities. Traditionally, food represents a strong symbolic component in latino communities. It brings connections to their roots, cultural heritage, and identity. Food brings families together in unison as eating with family is valued in the latino culture. Therefore, food brings a sense of togetherness as it cues the importance of family.

No need for food restrictions with balanced eating

Whatever your health goals are, being open to eating traditional foods with family does not hold back your health goals. A healthy lifestyle entails a balanced way of eating with every food in moderation. Therefore, you do not need to restrict foods in order to enjoy family traditions to reach your health goals. After all, we do not eat the same foods every day. Here is where positive food language in the Latino community, especially around family and friends, can come in handy.

Positive food language can help you engage in family conversations about eating traditional foods in moderation, while still being respectful.

Here are some tips for engaging in conversation with your Latino families: 

  1. Un-normalize comments based on appearance. 

The Latino culture is family oriented thus shared opinions are thought to show as a way of concern. For example, giving comments based on appearance or lecturing about the amount of food you eat. Body comments oppose the idea of positive food language because this brings on shame and makes one feel targeted. Instead, talk about how delicious the food is and be present in the moment of eating; mindful eating.

  1. Respect differences in food choices and preferences

Traditional foods in Latino culture are commonly passed down from past generations. It is important to Latino families that the authenticity is preserved. Thus, it can be challenging to alter the recipes to suit your own liking without being seen disrespectful. However, positive food language can restore the balance between family tradition and respecting individual food preferences. Communication and being open-minded can bring a long way in strengthening your family bond. 

Overall well-being starts with positive food language. It helps you overcome any food boundaries and makes you feel your best around food. 


Health At Every Size

Health At Every Size

Did you know that health looks different on everybody? Health At Every Size (HAES), as a movement supports size diversity and challenges the weight bias characterized by diet culture. HAES emphasizes that health does not have a certain look, therefore health cannot be determined based on your body weight. Instead, HAES promotes healthy behaviors such as healthy eating and exercising instead of focusing on body weight. Therefore, this movement creates a safe and positive environment for people to not feel judged on the basis of how they look.

The importance of the HAES movement

In our last episode, we talked about food language for a healthy relationship with food while keeping up with family traditions. Individuals should practise responding to their hunger cues or practise mindful eating rather than being in control of your food. While food and exercising are important for overall health, emotional and mental health are equally important. Health does not only comprise physical attributes but the mental and behavioral health of individuals as well.

This is where Health at Every Size comes in handy. HAES promotes healthful behaviours for the inherent health benefits gained from those behaviors. Examples of healthful behaviors are exercising, practising yoga, jogging at a park, preparing wholesome meals at home and the list goes on!

HAES have helped many people by engaging them with healthful behaviors. This positive approach as opposed to weight bias, adds motivation and encouragement for others to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether you have a naturally bigger or smaller body frame, everyone deserves mutual respect and to eat delicious and nutritious foods. Therefore, health at every size supports all body types and body positivity for all while promoting health effectively.

Why is weight bias in society a problem?

Weight bias is a negative perception and a social stereotype that individuals tend to internalize.  Research have shown that overweight individuals often have the same eating habits as their leaner counterparts. Yet, the public singles out based on their body weight and size. People who are either overweight or obese commonly experience weight bias. However, one’s size does not reflect one’s eating habits nor overall health.

Weight bias has become normalized in society for many decades now. People start assuming that the basis of one’s health is tied to their body weight when science based evidence document the various health complications arising from obesity. At the same time, the prevalence of social media users that promote “thinness” as the ideal body type gave rise to the hallmark of beauty standards. The popularity of social media encouraging unrealistic body goals skewed the public to frown upon those who suffer from obesity and believe that obese individuals brought the disease upon themselves from overeating. Therefore, many people internalize the preconceived idea that losing weight is a health benefit. This had led to common societal assumptions that justify weight bias against heavier weighted people as a tool to motivate them to adopt healthier lifestyles.

How effective is dieting for weight loss?

Society emphasizes dieting the ultimate tool to improve one’s health. On the contrary, this study demonstrated that the restrictive lifestyle of dieting and the weight bias towards being overweight has shown to have the opposite effect on individuals. The authors explained how weight bias may result in psychological issues. Namely, higher stress levels, anxiety and eating disorders are the few known side effects from weight bias and dieting. This is because increased psychological stress influences negative eating habits leading to the development of eating disorders and other mental issues.

The idea of “healthiness” eventually circles back with dieting. The pursuit of weight loss goals through dieting have proven to be unsustainable and will ultimately lead to food obsession. Therefore, not only is weight bias ineffective but counterproductive to those who are trying to improve their health.

Positive Food Language

Positive Food Language for a Healthy Relationship with Food

Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed when consuming certain foods? Do you usually perceive food as healthy or unhealthy? These feelings towards food can be eliminated using positive food language.

What is “Positive Food Language”?

It is a way of talking about food that reduces shame or guilt around foods based on their perceived “health” or “junk food” content. Positive food language reduces categorizing foods into good/bad or healthy/unhealthy and instead focuses on the food and its flavors or reason for the food. This can sound like: “I’m excited to go to my friend’s birthday party and enjoy some cake.” There is no categorizing the cake as “good” or “bad”, and there’s no shame or guilt following the statement. Instead, it focuses on the excitement of the celebration and the food that will be enjoyed.

Why is it important to use Positive Food Language?

It can help you feel better about your food choices and will encourage you to have a healthy relationship with food without promoting restrictions of any kind. As mentioned in our last blog, “Eating Healthy During the Holidays: A Holistic Approach”, food has a strong connection to emotion. So, shifting towards a more positive language will help you develop self-compassion when making food choices. If you label or categorize foods as good or bad, it will usually lead to a cycle of restriction and bingeing, and ultimately guilt, shame, and a feeling of having no control over your food choices. By allowing all foods to fit and improving your food language, you can develop and sustain a healthy relationship with food.

How can you start using Positive Food Language?

It is very simple! You can begin with reframing our your thoughts on food. Words that highlight positive aspects of food, like “satisfying” or “energizing” can be a good place to start. Part of this shift in language is truly believing all foods fit and nothing is off limits. You can incorporate foods that you previously considered “bad” and use positive food language to describe them in a different way. For example, if ice cream is not allowed in your house because you’ve been told it’s a bad food and you feel you can’t control yourself around it, bring a small pint into your home and allow yourself to eat it and however much you want. You can use language like, “I am glad to have this ice cream in my house on a hot day. It really helps me cool down.” Here are other ways to promote positive food language:
  1. Not separating foods into “healthy” or “unhealthy” categories
  2. Not commenting on other peoples’ food choices (either positively or negatively)
  3. Using words like “nourishing” or “satisfying” to describe foods
  4. Allowing yourself to enjoy a variety of foods to promote overall wellness
  5. Discussing exercise in a way that promotes health, and not for the reason to be “allowed to eat more”.
Positive food language can help you promote overall health and wellness. Additionally, it will reduce your anxiety around food choices and encourage you to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet.
Healthy eating during holidays

Eating Healthy During the Holidays: A Holistic Approach

Eating healthy during the holidays can be quite a challenge. Holiday seasons are usually characterized by social gatherings, often surrounded by delicious foods that are linked back to different cultures and traditions. However, you must not get discouraged by the endless amount of foods over the holidays. As long as you don’t use this season as an excuse to overindulge, but rather focus on balance and moderation, you can eat and enjoy whatever your body wants! Taking a holistic approach to nutrition and acknowledging a whole mind-body relationship, here are a few tips to eat healthy during the holidays.


Balance is all about maintaining a healthy diet most of the time. A useful rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule. It encourages us to eat healthy, nutritious foods 80% of the time, and eat whatever our body wants for the remaining 20%. Maintaining a balance, rather than restricting ourselves from eating certain foods, is key to eating healthy during the holidays and will reduce binging.


 Are you concerned about eating your favorite foods during the holidays? Do you often feel you need to restrict yourself from eating them? Well, there is no need to restrict. Forget the cheat days, it’s all about balance and moderation! There are no good or bad foods. You can enjoy all the holiday treats if you focus on limiting portion sizes. The truth is that all foods are okay in moderation, which is key to eating healthy during the holidays.

Practice mindfulness

Remember that cleaning your plate is not important. Listen to your body, and try to avoid eating when you are not hungry. Food has a strong connection to emotion, so sit and enjoy it. Limit distractions, control your portions, and choose a smaller plate if you can. This can help with calorie control, plus your plate will look fuller, so you’ll feel more satisfied during your holiday meal! Focus on slowing down, truly think about what you’re eating, savor every bite, and chew food thoroughly to enjoy the whole experience.

Staying Active

Staying active over the holidays will help you balance those extra calories and reduce stress and anxiety. Plan your activity by putting it in your calendar, and decide what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. If you have a busy schedule, short spurts of exercise can counterbalance the endless foods and help you keep healthy over the holidays. If you haven’t chosen an activity yet, you may consider popular choices including yoga, pilates, HITT (high intensity interval training), or even walking, jogging, biking, or dancing.

Healthy Eating Tips

The 80-20 rule should help you get through the holidays without impacting your health. Besides, you can always swap out little things to make recipes healthier and better for you. Recipes are not set and stone. They are more of a guide that can be adapted and changed. One great way to start is by cutting sugars, or swapping refined sugars with healthier alternatives such as stevia or agave nectar. You can also limit saturated fat, mostly from animal products like meat, poultry, and dairy, and substitute it with healthier fats, such as avocado, olive, and canola oil. Check out our healthy recipes at Yumlish for more alternatives. Don’t forget to watch out for the extra calories in alcohol. As in food consumption, you should drink in moderation during the holidays (usually one drink for women and two for men), and have plenty of water. Additionally, you can take advantage of the holiday season to make your own food with the people you love, rather than having pre-prepared foods. In this way, you can actually control what is going into the food. Substitutions and swaps are very fun! It doesn’t really change the product in the end.

You can do it!

Remember that it is possible to eat healthy during the holidays through a balanced, moderate, and whole mind-body approach. It is not necessary to restrict yourself, just don’t overindulge, or save calories for one meal. Rather, control your portions and enjoy the food, aiming to add color to your plate, loading it half way with greens/fruits, ¼ carbs, and ¼ protein. A balanced, nutritious plate will always help with calorie control, even if you are eating all the food in it. So, eating healthy during the holidays is in fact possible if you focus on this plate method and choose the healthier food alternatives whenever possible.    
people sitting around a dinner table with the a large salad serving bowl at the center of the table and the focus being on one woman on the right who is picking up food with a fork

Personalized Nutrition Therapy in Diabetes Management

In our last blog, Why Prioritizing Minority Health is a Smart Business Move, we discussed how addressing diabetes and chronic illness is critical for minority employees, and for the success of your business. But what exactly are the best ways to address diabetes? Diabetes care can be costly, so you want to make sure the services available to your employees are affordable, as well as effective. So what methods of diabetes prevention,  management and treatment will be cost-effective for your business? The answer to this is personalized nutrition therapy. Personalized nutrition therapy is one of the best ways to manage diabetes in minority populations. Luckily, this is the kind of therapy that Yumlish provides in a virtual format, which is even more attractive to patients during these pandemic times. Keep reading to find out the reasons why our personalized nutrition therapy saves costs for your business!

Managing Diabetes

The costs of managing diabetes, no matter what kind of intervention is used, may seem expensive up front. However, the cost of treating diabetes is less in comparison to the cost of leaving it untreated. Diabetes management requires lifestyle changes, controlling blood glucose levels, usually medications, and consulting physicians on a regular basis. Thus, when it is not managed, the costs of diabetes complications highly increase. 

The total costs of diabetes in 2017 were $317 billion. The estimated cost of direct medical expenses  was $237 billion, and reduced productivity was worth roughly $90 billion. Indirect costs due to early mortality and loss of work from diabetes and its comorbidities were valued at $20 billion and $38 billion, respectively. Unmanaged diabetes costs the nation almost $60 billion dollars, not including the actual medical costs of its complications. Therefore, you are saving your business money by ensuring that your employees are in control of their health through diabetes prevention and treatment programs such as those provided by Yumlish. 

Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy is a very cost effective way to manage diabetes. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is associated with a reduced utilization of hospital and physician services, which are direct costs of diabetes care. The Institute of Medicine discovered and presented to the US Congress, that individualized MNT, provided by a registered dietitian with a physician referral, [should] be a covered Medicare benefit as part of the multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care.”

MNT services for populations over the age of 55 are speculated to save more money that is spent in providing MNT. However, usage is low, as it is not often covered by employers, or private health insurance. Therefore, it is highly recommended to increase coverage for services of this kind, in order to benefit both the patient and business.


Yumlish saves your business from the economic burden of diabetes by providing patients with personalized nutrition therapy. Diabetes management must be personalized to effectively meet the individual needs of each patient. Therapies become feasible and sustainable when  culture, gender, religion, health beliefs, and other unique aspects of a patients’ life, are taken into consideration. One study reports that the patient’s willingness to participate in lifestyle changes increases with personalization, while another states that the provision of culturally relevant, personalized nutrition therapy is critical for the management of diabetes among low SES women in pregnancy.

Virtual Format

Other challenges of diabetes management include physical access to nutrition therapy. Finding the time to travel to see a dietitian is not always an option for people with busy schedules and families to look after. The novel COVID-19 pandemic adds another complication to in-person health services. Luckily, Yumlish offers personalized nutrition therapy through a mobile app. Research shows that patients “desire interventions with less person-to person contact” and that “technology-based programs represent an alternative approach to minimize in-person interactions.”

The Yumlish app provides excellent nutrition and lifestyle advice from registered dietitians. Additionally, it offers virtual connections with other patients with diabetes for support. In this way, your employees are more likely to continually manage their diabetes, which saves you costs in the long run.

Choose Yumlish

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating pathways to lower costs and improve the quality of life of your workforce with Yumlish. Take action now and learn more about how we personalize treatments with our registered dietitians and motivate our patients to make sustainable dietary changes that lead to positive health outcomes. 

Hispanic Women Preparing Food

Why Prioritizing Minority Health is a Smart Business Move

Investing in the health of your employees is an investment in your business. Maintaining a healthy workforce plays an important part in allowing businesses to thrive, grow, and innovate. Addressing minority health specifically is an excellent way to make equity a priority in your business, and the economic benefits are worth the investment. As of 2018, racial and ethnic minorities comprised 22% of the labor force in the US; projections indicate that by 2050, minorities will comprise over 50% of the working-age population. With the increase in minority populations living and working in the US, it essential that their health needs be addressed, considering the major health disparities that exist among racial and ethnic minorities. Minority populations in the US are burdened by higher risks of morbidity and mortality from health conditions that are preventable. Barriers to accessing healthcare or obtaining health insurance are also challenges for minorities. Investing in minority health, and providing a pathway for employees to access culturally relevant and high-quality healthcare has benefits that are invaluable to the health of the US population, but that is not all. We’ve compiled the data, to show you how addressing minority health, and helping individuals combat type II diabetes will benefit your business in both the short and long term. 

Decreased Direct Costs

The total cost of diabetes in the US was estimated at around $327 billion in 2017, $237 billion of which were allocated to direct medical costs. The early prevention and management of diabetes has never been more important for employers, in order to reduce the development of the serious health complications of diabetes that increase the need for (and cost of ) care. However, to reduce direct costs of diabetes care most effectively, targeting minority populations has never been more important.  Minorities are disproportionately burdened by diabetes in the US. While diabetes only affects 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites, 11.7% of non-Hispanic blacks, 12.5% of Hispanics, and 14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives are burdened by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Numerous studies have reported that minorities are also more likely to have worse control over their condition, and higher rates of diabetes related complications, such as renal disease, blindness, and heart disease. Thus, targeting minority health specifically in the prevention and treatment of diabetes reduces the prevalence of these conditions among racial/ethnic minority groups of the workforce. This further leads to lower employer expenditures associated with high prevalence.

Decreased Indirect Costs

When diabetes goes undiagnosed or is poorly managed, the consequences for individuals, as well as businesses, can be severe. Indirect costs such as absenteeism, reduced productivity, inability to work and mortality accounted for a combined cost of $90 billion in the year of 2017. Given the disproportionate burden of diabetes on minorities in the US, and the severity of complications, access to adequate screening, prevention and management among minority workers is essential to reducing employer costs. Additional indirect costs that may arise for employers include disability benefits, and the hiring and training of new employees. Both are attributable to poor management of diabetes, and can be avoided by early prevention and management of minority health conditions. 
According to the National Business Group on Health: “Large employers, then, have a vested interest in ensuring that health care treatments and services, for which they are paying, are of the highest quality and deliver the greatest value”. 
  • Workforce Retention

Providing quality healthcare and nutrition guidance for the prevention and management of diabetes in minority groups is crucial for the professional growth and retention of your minority employees. Investing in their health not only translates to their physical and emotional well-being, but minimizes the indirect costs resulting from employees having to leave the workforce due to health complications. 
  • Ensuring Healthy Future

Health disparities among minority groups are not limited to your employees. They include their children and dependents, who also suffer from lack of quality healthcare for diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Since most employers cover employee dependents, it is beneficial to your business to invest in the health of minority employees and their families. In this way, you can reduce the direct and indirect costs associated with the disproportionate burden of minority health complications and ensure the well-being of your future workforce. Ultimately, this will increase employee productivity, professional growth, and retention. An investment in minority health is an investment in the future: a brighter, more sustainable future for businesses and employees everywhere. By creating pathways to lower costs for innovative, culturally-relevant services like Yumlish, together we can improve quality of life of minority employees, and build a healthier work community. Take action now and help your employees achieve the best version of themselves with our personalized nutritional therapy plans!