Happy Holidays!

If you blinked, you may have missed it, but we are already well into the month of December. The holidays are upon us. ‘Tis the season for family, festivities, and FOOD!holiday blog Here at Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine, we want you to enjoy every moment of the holidays, while also maintaining a high level of health. So as the holidays draw near, let us take a moment to outline a few strategies to prepare you for your family, friend, and work-related get-togethers.

Game Plan

Close your eyes and think for a second about your favorite holiday dish. What are you picturing? Sweet potato casserole with a mountain of gooey, lightly browned marshmallows on top? A golden-brown turkey baked to perfection with just the right flavor? A juice prime rib or ham? Or is it the classic pumpkin pie, made from a recipe that has been passed down for generations? And, what about holiday cookies? I for one am a fan of all! But before those dishes are in front of us, mentally preparing and having a game plan will help make dinner more enjoyable with no regrets! A game plan could be as simple as deciding now what you really want to enjoy instead of piling on every dish in the line.

Portion

Our body has numerous ways of telling us that we are full. One of them is by signaling to our brain that we have eaten enough food to satiate us, or satisfy us. For example, when you fill your car with gas, the pump shuts off when the optimal amount is in the tank. The more common way our body tells us to stop eating, eyesbiggerthanstomachspicespecially at a big holiday meal, is when the stomach stretches because it is too full, it tells the brain to stop eating because there is no more room. Think about how much you usually fill up your plate the first time through the line. Remember that we can always go back for more if we are still hungry. This is one of the times where quantity is not necessarily better than quality. Let’s not let our eyes be bigger than our stomachs!

Time

As you sit down to eat, look around and savor the time you have with your family. As you chew, savor each bite because it may be a whole year before you have that favorite dish again. Slowing down while you eat also gives your body time to tell you if you are satiated, or satisfied, rather than full to the brim.

Activity

Get moving! The weather, especially here in Texas, is usually still really nice through December. So get outside and throw around the football or basketball, or sign up for a festive run or take your family to walk through local light displays.

Options

As wonderful as holiday food is, not all of it would be considered healthy. Take some time to look on Pinterest or your favorite search engine for healthy alternatives to traditional dishes. To get you started, here is a healthier pumpkin pie recipe, and here is a pumpkin spice latte recipe. If you’re craving peppermint, try this Skinny Peppermint Mocha.

Andrew Kester FNP Portrait Main web version

 

About the Author

Andrew Kester, FNP-C, is a certified Nurse Practitioner on the Family Medicine team at Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine.

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Happy Diabetes Awareness Month!

NovemberNationalDiabetesAwarenessMonth1

November is national diabetes awareness month, so now is a great time to ask why this matters and why screening is important.

So, why the awareness, and what exactly is diabetes?

In 2015, over 30 million American’s were living with diabetes, which was also the 7th leading cause of death in the United States [4,2]. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is anticipated to continue growing, so providing awareness helps to shed light on the disease and the importance of screening.

Before we can understand the disease, let’s talk about blood sugar (also called blood glucose) and insulin. Every time you eat you are giving your body fuel so that it can perform all your favorite daily activities, just as filling your car with gas allows you to drive around to your favorite places. As your food gets broken down in your stomach, one of the important byproducts is blood sugar. Blood sugar is a vital component of energy for your body, but too much can cause major problems. This leads us to insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps to lower our blood sugar when it gets too high.

There are two types of diabetes, and we will talk briefly about each. In short, type 1 diabetes is caused because the pancreas can’t make any insulin, which results in high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes, however, is caused because the body is not sensitive to the effects of insulin anymore, which results in high blood sugar. The overwhelming majority of American’s have type II diabetes.

What are some of the risk factors for diabetes?

The following are some of the things that may put you at risk for developing diabetes [3]

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being age 45 years or older
  • Being of African American, Native Alaskan, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having a history of gestational diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

What kinds of problems can diabetes cause?

The following are some of the problems that uncontrolled diabetes can cause [1]:

  • Blindness
  • Limb Amputation
  • Kidney Failure
  • Vascular and Heart Disease
  • Nerve Problems
  • Delayed Wound Healing

So, diabetes can cause some major problems. Is it treatable? And what can I do to see if I am at risk?

The great news is YES! Diabetes can be treated and well controlled! The easiest and most important way to know if you are at risk for diabetes is to talk with your healthcare provider here at Cedar Park Pediatric and Family Medicine. As part of your annual wellness visit, we will look at your whole picture of health and screen you for diabetes by checking your fasting blood sugar. If you haven’t yet, take a moment today to advocate for your health by scheduling your annual wellness visit!

About the Author

Andrew Kester FNP Portrait Main web version

 

Andrew Kester, FNP-C, is a certified Nurse Practitioner on the Family Medicine team at Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine.

 

References