Definition: BUN (blood urea nitrogen) is a marker of kidney function, that doctors use to identify the progression of kidney failure. Kidney failure is a complication of diabetes. One of the examinations used to assess kidney function is a straightforward blood test that shows the BUN (blood urea nitrogen) level in the blood. BUN is a waste product of cell metabolism. As quickly as blood flows through the body, protein circulates to cells. Cells use the protein and excrete the waste that they don’t need. This waste is called urea. Urea additionally contains nitrogen. Normally urea is filtered from the blood by the kidneys. If the kidneys are damaged and not functioning properly, urea and nitrogen are not filtered fully from the blood. A BUN of over 20 mg/dl is an indicator of decreased kidney function.

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During the autumn and winter months, type 2 diabetics can not only enjoy the taste and aroma of cooked pumpkin, they can likewise reap the nutritional benefits of this winter squash. One cup of canned pumpkin provides only 83 calories and 20 grams of carbohydrate, while giving you 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 763% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. Pumpkin can add deep flavor and nutritional value to sometimes-bland diabetic breads, soups and low-sugar desserts.

For a simple edge dish that packs much more nutrition than mashed potatoes, try heating a can of pumpkin in a skillet and seasoning along with ginger, curry, or pumpkin pie spice. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar substitute and a dash of salt. The About.com Guides to Low-fat Cooking, Low-carb Diets, and Vegetarian Cooking likewise provide some fairly diabetic-friendly pumpkin recipes. I’ve compiled twelve of those ideas here and separated them into breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snack ideas for your diabetic meal plans. All of these links provide serving size and carbohydrate information, so take note to work the correct portion size into your meal plans.

Diabetic Pumpkin Recipes: Breakfast Ideas

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Bites

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Diabetic Pumpkin Recipes: Lunch and Dinner Ideas

VegetarianPumpkin Soup

Low-Fat Pumpkin Soup

Baked Pumpkin Pasta

Ground Beef and Pumpkin Skillet Meal

Diabetic Pumpkin Recipes: Dessert and Snack Ideas:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie

Low-Carb Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Squares

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pudding

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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  • Soup/Sandwiches: watch out for the cream soups and skip the bread bowls. Look for soup/sandwich/salad combo meals. Choose broth or tomato-based soups, whole grain breads along along with mustard instead of mayo, and remember to ask for your salad dressing on the side.

  • American Fare: Start off along along with a salad along along with dressing on the side, or vegetable soup. Look for grilled chicken or poached fish entrees — avoid fried and battered options. Don’t eat the skin if the chicken comes along along with the skin still on it. A burger without cheese and along along with tomato and lettuce is a good option; additionally look for turkey or veggie burger options. Add on 2 vegetable edge dishes (eg., steamed green beans, broccoli, or spinach) and up to 3 servings of low-fat carbohydrates (eg., steamed brown rice, baked sweet potato, whole-grain bread, corn, fruit, low-fat milk). Avoid mayonnaise, cheese, “special sauces,” bacon, deep-fried foods of any kind, club sandwiches, ribs and fatty cuts of meat, french fries and gravy. Don’t be afraid to ask if foods can be steamed instead of fried, or cooked along along with much much less fat.

  • Italian Fare: Skip the bread basket. For appetizers, avoid bruschetta, garlic bread, antipastos that are marinated in oil, deep fried calamari, stuffed clams or mushrooms, and stuffed artichokes – instead, ask for grilled calamari, salad along along with the dressing on the side, or a caprese salad. Choose dishes served in a broth or tomato-based sauce rather than a cream sauce. Ask for much much less butter to be added to dishes like chicken picatta or chicken marsala – sauces for these dishes can have actually actually added fat. Ideal to additionally skip the heavier dishes like risotto and lasagna. The most effective bet for entrees at an Italian restaurant is to stick to the grilled fish and meat specials, and to ask for veggies on the edge instead of pasta.

  • Mexican Fare: Good appetizers might include salad or black bean soup. For main courses, order grilled fajitas along along with beef, chicken, seafood, or the grilled fish or meat special along along with rice and black beans on the side. Avoid extra cheese, sour cream, fried hard taco shells and chips, nachos, chimichangas, creamy chowders, chili con carne, refried beans and fried ice cream.

  • Asian Fare: For appetizers, choose miso, wonton or hot and sour soup, salad, edamame, or steamed dumplings. For entrees, try teriyaki chicken breast, sushi and sashimi, stir-fried beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu, and steamed rice and vegetables. Avoid fried spring rolls or dumplings, vegetables and meats, tempura, and breaded cutlets of meat. Peanut sauces additionally may pack more fat. Most establishments will undoubtedly additionally allow you to request that any entree be steamed (if it is usually cooked along along with oil), and the sauce can be served on the side. Brown rice is additionally usually an option.
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Diabetes food exchanges can help you plan your meals. When you use the exchange system for keeping track of your carbohydrate intake, 1 carb exchange equals 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Foods that contain carbohydrates include starches, such as bread and pasta, fruit, milk and milk products, and some desserts.

If you don’t have actually an exchange list handy, it can be difficult to know how much food equals 1 exchange.

What does a 15 gram carbohydrate serving look like?

1. Starches



Photo: Titus / Getty Images

Bread – 1 slice

Cereals (cold) – 3/4 cup

Grains – 1/3 cup

Pasta – 1/2 cup

Legumes – 1/3 cup

Potatoes – 3 oz.

Corn – 1/2 cup

Pretzels – 3/4 ounces

Popcorn – 3 cups

2. Fruit



Photo: George Doyle / Getty Images

Apple, banana, orange, nectarine – 1 small

Peach – 1 medium

Grapefruit – 1/2

Berries – 1 cup

Melon – 1 cup

Juice, unsweetened – 1/2 cup

Jelly, jam – 4 teaspoons

3. Dairy



Photo: Photodisc / Getty Images

Milk – 1 cup

Yogurt – 3/4 cup

4. Desserts



Photo: John A. Rizzo / Getty Images

Cookies – 2 small

Ice cream – 1/2 cup

5. Sources

Food Exchange Lists. Retrieved May 7, 2009, from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – Obesity Education Initiative Web site: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/fd_exch.htm#1

Kulkarni, Karmeen D., MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE (2005 ). Carbohydrate Counting: A Practical Meal-Planning Option for People Along with Diabetes . Retrieved May 7, 2009, from Clinical Diabetes Web site: http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/23/3/120#TBL1

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Exercise is an effective way to improve the body’s ability to use insulin and help control blood sugar levels — important goals for people along with diabetes. But how much exercise does it take to achieve these benefits?

Starting a Diabetes Exercise Program

Anyone who has actually diabetes should get the OK for a brand-new exercise program from his or her diabetes care team. Topics to discuss include what activity level is appropriate and what (if any) special precautions to take, based on the type of diabetes, medications, current fitness state, complications, glucose levels and other factors.

How Often to Exercise

Researchers have actually discovered that when a muscle is exercised, it draws glucose out of the bloodstream for fuel, helping control levels of sugar in the blood. This effect continues not just during exercise, but for 24 to 72 hours afterward.

For this reason, experts recommend people along with diabetes exercise at least five days per week, otherwise every day. This ensures that the muscles draw sugar from the bloodstream continuously.

How Long to Exercise

While science hasn’t produced a definitive answer to how much time is enough for people along with diabetes to exercise, here are some useful observations:

  • Many studies of diabetes and exercise have actually looked at the benefits of walking (or, in some cases, biking or jogging) for about 30 minutes per session. This amount has actually been found to be very effective at controlling blood sugar.
  • A group of Italian researchers followed a large number of people along with diabetes for two years. The results of their study, published in 2005 in Diabetes Care, found that people who got 38 minutes of exercise per day saw substantial blood sugar benefits. Those who got about 83 minutes per day did even better.

So what does all of this mean for people along with diabetes? It means that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity — like brisk walking five to seven days per week — is a great goal for people trying to control blood sugar. If people along with diabetes can extend any or all of those sessions to 45 to 60 minutes or more, they’ll get additional benefits, including a better possibility of losing weight.

Starting a Diabetes Exercise Program

There’s no need to start off immediately along with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Anyone who hasn’t exercised in a while or isn’t in good shape should start off slowly to avoid injuries or discouragement.

It is important to begin along with only as much exercise as is comfortable, even if it’s just five or 10 minutes. A minute or two should be added to each session and — within a few weeks — the exercise should last for a continuous 20 minutes to half an hour.

Diabetes Exercise Alternatives

Any physical activity that engages the large muscles and elevates breathing — known as aerobic exercise — will benefit somebody along with diabetes.

Activities like mowing the lawn, doing housework, dancing, pushing a stroller or walking nine holes on the golf course are just as effective as more focused fitness-oriented activities.

Results to Expect From a Diabetes Exercise Program

somebody who has actually diabetes, is overweight and is just starting up an exercise program will probably lose weight. Even if they don’t, though, studies have actually shown that exercise helps control blood sugar regardless of weight loss.

Most people find that regular exercise gives them more energy; reduces some aches, pains and other minor health problems; helps improve sleeping and can even boost mood.

Diabetes, Exercise and Blood Sugar Levels

Exercise additionally affects blood sugar levels. How much? Everybody’s situation is different. Heath care providers usually recommend that people along with diabetes take and record their blood glucose levels before and after exercise so that the timing of exercise, medication and meals can be adjusted if necessary.

As exercise sessions increase in length, the risk of hypoglycemia — a condition in which blood sugar drops dangerously reasonable — increases. People along with diabetes should be sure to discuss this along with members of their diabetes care teams.

Some people along with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes are able to control their blood sugar levels solely through their exercise programs.

Sources:

Di Loreto, Chiara. “Make Your Diabetic Patients Walk: Long-term impact of different amounts of physical activity on type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 28(2005): 1295-1302.

“Diet and Exercise: The Keys to Triumph along with Diabetes.” The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center. 7 Sep 2007 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation <http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/1600/1669.ASP>.

“Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes.” Diabetes Care. 2002. American Diabetes Association. 3 Sep 2007 <http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/27/suppl_1/s58>.

“What I Need to Know About Physical Activity and Diabetes.” National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. June 2004. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health. 3 Sep 2007 <http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/physical_ez/>.

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Diabetes interesting? As a person who has actually had type 2 diabetes for almost 20 years, I have actually heard lots of interesting facts about diabetes that have actually made me raise my eyebrows along with surprise. The interesting facts below are fun to share.

20 Interesting Facts About Diabetes

  1. An early blood testing method called Clinitest introduced by Ames Diagnostics in 1941 entailed mixing urine and water in a test tube and adding a little blue pill that caused a chemical reaction that could cause severe physical burn injury due to extreme heat. The color of the liquid would certainly indicate whether there was glucose in the urine.
  2. In 1969, the first portable blood glucose meter was created by Ames Diagnostics. It was called the Ames Reflectance Meter (ARM). Ames later became a part of Bayer. The device looked a lot like the tricorder devices used in the original Star Trek series. They cost about $650 and were only for doctors to use in their practices or hospitals. Portable blood glucose meters for house use by patients were not sold in the U.S. until the 1980′s.

  3. Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of the popular book Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, was the first person to use a portable meter to check his blood sugar levels at home. He was an engineer at the time and in bad health due to Type 1 diabetes. He obtained an ARM meter meant only for physicians. Since he wasn’t a physician at the time, he talked his wife (who was a psychiatrist) into obtaining the device for him. His diabetes condition drastically improved. He then campaigned for portable house blood glucose meters for patient use at home. He was unable to get medical journals to publish his studies, so at 43 years old he went to medical school and became an endocrinologist.

  4. India has actually the highest population of people along with type 2 diabetes, more than any other country in the world.

  5. The country along with the highest percentage of people along with type 2 diabetes is a tiny island in the South Pacific called Nauru. It is the world’s third smallest country after the Vatican City and Monaco.

  6. The earliest known written record that likely referred to diabetes was in 1500 B.C in the Egyptian Ebers papyrus. It referred to the symptoms of frequent urination.

  7. Diabetes symptoms such as thirst, weight loss, and excess urination were recognized for more than 1200 years before the disease got a name.

  8. The Greek physician Aretaeus was credited along with coming up along with the name “diabetes” in the first century A.D. and believed a snake bite caused diabetes.

  9. Dr. Thomas Willis (1621-1675) called diabetes the “pissing evil” and described the urine of people along with type 2 diabetes as “wonderfully sweet, as if it was imbued along with honey or sugar.” He was also the first to describe pain and stinging from nerve damage due to diabetes.

  10. Diabetes is a Greek word that means “to pass through.” It was observed that urine quickly passed through patients along with diabetes. The word mellitus is from Latin and means “sweet like honey.”

  11. In ancient times, doctors would certainly test for diabetes by tasting urine to see if it was sweet. People who tasted urine to check for diabetes were called “water tasters.” Other diagnostic measures included checking to see if urine attracted ants or flies.

  12. In the late 1850′s a French physician named Priorry advised his patients along with diabetes to eat large quantities of sugar. Obviously, that method of treatment did not last.

  13. Dr. Elliott P. Joslin, founder of the Joslin Diabetes Center, was the first doctor to specialize in diabetes and to encourage self-management. He became interested after his aunt was diagnosed and was told there was no cure and little hope. She died of diabetes complications not long after. His mother was diagnosed the year he started his practice in 1898 (a few years after the death of his aunt). He helped her manage her diabetes and she lived 10 more years which was quite a feat for the times.

  14. Dr. Elliot P. Joslin said diabetes is “the very best of the chronic diseases” on account of it being “clean, seldom unsightly, not contagious, often painless and susceptible to treatment.”

  15. Dr. Priscilla White pioneered treatment for diabetes in pregnancy. She joined the practice of Dr. Elliott P. Joslin in 1924 when the fetal triumph rate was 54%. By the time of her retirement in 1974, the fetal triumph rate was 90%.

  16. Before 1921, the treatment of choice for type 2 diabetes was starvation or semi-starvation.

  17. In 1916, Dr. Frederick M. Allen developed a hospital treatment program that restricted the diet of diabetes patients to whiskey mixed along with black coffee (clear soup for non-drinkers). Patients were given this mixture every two hours until sugar disappeared from the urine (usually within 5 days). They were then given a very strict low-carbohydrate diet. This program had the very best treatment outcome for its time. Allen’s work drew the attention of Dr. Elliot P. Joslin who used it as a basis for calorie-restricted diet study and treatment.

  18. In 1922, the pancreas was discovered to have actually a role in diabetes. Researchers studying digestion removed the pancreas from domestic dogs in a lab. An assistant noticed a large number of ants attracted to the dog’s urine. The urine was tested and was found to have actually an extremely high level of sugar.

  19. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes were officially differentiated in 1936. However, the difference had been noted in the 1700′s when a physician noted some people suffered from a more chronic condition than others who died in less than five weeks after onset of symptoms.

  20. In 1942, the first oral type 2 diabetes medication was identified, a sulfonylurea.

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A Diabetes Diet?

There’s no diabetes diet, per se, however healthy eating habits are indeed a major part of managing diabetes. however just what exactly does a healthy diet mean? It can take a little time to figure out how and just what to eat when you are initial diagnosed along with diabetes, however catching on fast is an essential part of staying well.

A diabetes diet isn’t a prescriptive plan. It’s more about portion control, controlling your blood sugar, and eating a wide variety of nutritious foods.

A dietitian or certified diabetes educator can suggestions you figure out an eating plan that fits your needs.

As you’re learning how to manage meals and meals, there are some basic guidelines you can follow:

  • Try to get a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat whole grains rather than refined, processed grain products.
  • Eat lean meats, like chicken and turkey. Limit red meats to once a week.
  • Try to eat more fish, as it has actually heart-healthy fats.
  • Use monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil, for cooking
  • Limit sweetened beverages. Drink water instead.
  • Reduce the amount of fats and sugary foods you eat.

These tips, plus regular exercise, can suggestions you gone weight, and keep your blood sugar levels under control.

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Diabetes is a disease that can cause you to have feelings of desperation and hopelessness. Unfortunately, there are people who would certainly like to profit and take advantage of those feelings. Here is a list of some common diabetes scams, how to be smart, and what to look for to protect your pocket book as well as your health. If you know someone with diabetes who is not internet savvy, print out a copy of this information to help them know what to look out for.

The internet is a great resource for research, community, and information about living with diabetes. However, it can also open the door for people who would certainly like to take advantage of you. Scams can be found on websites, through email, on social networks, and forums. The internet can also make it possible for others to reach you offline through postal mail and phone solicitations.

We all hope to find a cure or perhaps discover a hidden miracle treatment. Some herbal or alternative remedies might actually help, but they are often not well-researched. Without that research there is not enough knowledge to make good dosage recommendations. We all have different circumstances, physiology, and lifestyles. What might work for one person might not work for you. Furthermore, without good study there is not a lot of knowledge about any possible harmful effects, both immediate and long-term. People who are trying to scam you might rely heavily on personal stories, mention studies that have not appeared in reputable publications, or try to blind you with slick salesmanship.

What Scammers Are After

Most scammers are after your money, social security number, Medicare number, financial information or a combination of these things. Also keep in mind that if they obtain your email address, you open up another way people with dishonest intentions can try to contact you.

Red Flags for Diabetes Scams

  • How the product is presented. Be careful if the website or advertisement shares characteristics with an old-time snake oil salesman or a modern-day infomercial. Look for websites that make outrageous claims, have miraculous testimonials, lack hard facts, and have paths that lead to aggressive ordering prompts or ask you to enter personal information.
  • No reputable, verifiable research. If there are references to studies or research, do they give detailed information? Can you find more information and verify the claims made? Make sure the information comes from peer-reviewed journals or respected organizations.
  • Prompts to act now. You might be encouraged to act now or the product or service will increase in price, and you will miss out on out on a once-in-a-lifetime deal. There may also be scare tactics employed that make you believe that your health will be worsened or doomed if you do not purchase immediately.
  • Money is asked for up front before you get any real information. The site or advertisement might be all claims and no real solid information. Perhaps the product and how it works is shrouded in mystery. If you are asked to pay in order to receive more information, that is a good clue that it is a scam.
  • Too much interest in your personal information. If you are asked to give your personal information, especially before ordering or in exchange for special deals or freebies, be suspicious. Newsletters or informative emails might be offered, but these may allow scammers to get your email address and sell it to someone who wants contact information for people with diabetes.
  • The product is too good to be true. If the product is so good, why hasn’t news spread like wildfire? If the product really works as claimed, they should be getting a lot of free word-of-mouth advertising. Do some research on the product outside of their website. While doing this, keep in mind that it is quite common for monetary incentives to be offered to others to sell the product or service. If you research and find testimonials, look to see if they are offering links to buy the product. Look for a link to an “affiliate program” on the product website. Often this can be found in the small links on the bottom of the page.
  • Mistrust is sold. Breeding mistrust of doctors and the government is a good way to feign credibility when your product or service isn’t well known or lacks good research. Most of us already have a healthy dose or mistrust and cynicism and we don’t need someone else trying to use that to their advantage.

Common Diabetes Scams

  • Bottled or packaged diabetes cures. These can come in the form of pills, vitamin or mineral supplements, food products, and drinks.
  • Natural or alternative treatments. These can include cinnamon pills and herbal teas to magnets. There are fantastic alternative and integrative medicine doctors today, but be smart and do your research especially if you are buying an unproven product or service from a website or you don’t know anyone reputable who can vouch for them.
  • Cures in a book. Remember there is not currently a cure for diabetes. While lots of of these books offer great information that could help with your diabetes management, do not let the claim of a cure persuade you to spend money you cannot afford to spend. The author might offer products or services to enhance their program, check to see if they are asking for more than the purchase price of the book.
  • Phone scams. Beware if someone calls you offering free or very low-cost supplies or medications. They may say they are from a reputable diabetes company or government entity, but how can you know for sure? It is not hard for someone to lie and misrepresent themselves when the goal is to con you. If you do actually receive any supplies, they might be very low quality or counterfeit. In addition, you may later be faced with the headache of receiving supplies you did not order and erroneous billing. Hang up if they ask for Medicare numbers in exchange for free supplies or other products. In fact, the federal government recommends hanging up on these calls altogether.
  • Email scams: Email scams are getting more convincing and clever. The emails can look professional and appear to come from reputable entities or websites you deal with regularly. They might warn that you need to fix something on your account immediately or your service will be terminated. The email might appear to reference an order, delivery, or bank transaction carried out in your name. It could also look like a personal email from someone wanting to share a miracle cure or product. The email will likely provide a link for you to get more information, fix the problem, or log into your account. The link may lead to a fake login page therefore exposing your login information. Clicking a link in the email might also lead to a virus, malware, or spyware being installed on your computer. Don’t be fooled into clicking a link if the web address is one you trust. There are ways to hide a fraudulent web address. If you are worried about your account, open up your browser and access the site as you usually do.

Quick Takeaway Tips

  • Protect your social security number, Medicare number, and financial information. Your social security number could be used for identity theft and your Medicare number for someone else to get medical care under your name.
  • Be wary of providing your email address to a website that is not well known and respected.
  • Check your Medicare billings and notices. Look for items you did not order and for multiple billings.
  • Send back or refuse delivery of items you did not order. Take note of the date and the sender’s name and notify your health care provider and the Office of the Inspector General if you suspect a scam.

If you Suspect Fraud

Go to the Office of Inspector General website to report fraud. You can report online, by phone, fax, TTY, and mail.

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Avocado Benefits

Aug 24, 2014

A closer look at avocado benefits may have actually you deciding to incorporate more avocados into your diet. Avocados are free of transfats, cholesterol and sodium. They are high in monounsaturated fats (which have actually been shown to lower blood cholesterols when used in place of saturated fats) — elevated cholesterol levels are often a secondary issue in individuals along with type 2 diabetes. Avocados are additionally a good source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, lutein, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

A two-tablespoon serving of avocado is roughly one-sixth of a medium-sized avocado. Each serving provides 5 grams of fat, 55 calories, and negligible carbohydrates. One teaspoon of butter packs around the same amount of calories — yet all in saturated fats, so avocado is a good substitute for spreads on breads and sandwiches.

Avocados are easy to discover in the grocery store, yet often they aren’t ripe. Placing them in a paper sack for a day or two will certainly encourage them to soften. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it dents slightly when squeezed. Once ripe, they must be used right away.

A chef I used to job along with me taught me his technique for slicing avocados: using a large, sharp kitchen knife, slice into the avocado all the method around – from top to bottom down to the pit. Then twist and pull the two halves apart. Hit the exposed pit along with the kitchen knife, digging deep enough to grab hold of the pit along with the knife so that you can twist it out (being careful not to cut yourself). Then pull the pit off of the knife and discard it. Score the “meat” of the avocado along with the tip of your knife in a grid-like pattern — a few rows up and down and a few rows adverse to side. Then scoop the sections out along with a large spoon. You can then toss them in a salad, or mash them up to use in a guacamole or spread.

After you slice an avocado, they turn brown quickly due to oxidation. To minimize this, sprinkle any unused portion along with lemon juice, wrap tightly along with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until use.

Avocados job well in meal plans, yet they additionally are helpful for a snack. If you know you’re going to have actually a later dinner than usual, try this for a snack: mash an avocado, and then stir in one small diced tomato, about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of salt. Snack on this along with some baby carrots and celery sticks to keep the carbs low, or a few brown rice tortilla chips if you can spare the carbohydrates.

Here are some links to recipes that use avocados:

Summer Salads

Avocado And Mango Salsa

Avocado Mayo

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Food is getting bigger. Americans are getting bigger, too, according to recent statistics. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and pre-diabetes is exploding. Is there a correlation? It appears like it to me.

Back when I was a kid in the 1960s, a muffin was a smallish affair, usually house baked. A homemade blueberry muffin, using a regular-sized muffin tin, is about 100 calories and 6 grams of fat, depending on the recipe. It’s about the size of a tennis ball.

In 1990, I was doing house catering and baking for farmer’s markets. I remember when the “Texas”-size muffin tins came out. To compete in the baking business, I had to upgrade my muffins from regular to “Texas” size. Suddenly, my recipes for 12 muffins were only making six. Yet I felt the stress to make the bigger muffins, because other bakers were having great victory selling them. And the other bakers were trying to compete along with the grocery stores and coffee shops, who were additionally making bigger muffins. So, my 100 calorie, 6 fat gram muffins became 200 calorie, 12 fat gram muffins virtually overnight.

Shortly after that, I left the catering business to pursue a nursing career. Yet I still noticed the trend towards bigger and bigger baked goods. Bagels were growing to twice their size. Cookies were literally becoming Frisbees. Individual servings of brownies and cakes were expanding to the size of bricks.

Why was this happening? Maybe it’s a way to capture consumers. If the muffin is a good value for the price, people will buy it. More bang for the buck. The danger is that oversized portions begin to look normal to us. And we feel obligated to complete what we buy so we don’t waste money. We feel like we must be able to complete a huge muffin because it’s marketed as a single serving.

Taking a look at the calories and fat in the food portions we buy can be a reality check and help us gauge whether that huge muffin or slab of brownie is worth half the calories and fat we’re supposed to eat for an entire day.

A blueberry muffin from a well-known coffee/bakery cafe can be as much as 510 calories and 19 grams of fat. I’ve seen giant muffins in grocery stores that have actually 28 grams of fat. For people who are watching their weight, that can be damaging to their diet.

What can we do to help our health? How do we fight the giant muffin? The easiest way to stay on a healthy track is to be aware of how several calories and fat are in the portions that we buy and eat. Keeping track every day can help us not eat so much. Split that muffin along with a friend… or maybe two.

Sources:

“National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).” National Diabetes Statistics. Nov 2005. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). 22 Oct 2007.

“Muffins.” Calorie-count Plus. About.com. 22 Oct 2007.

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