Are your bones ready to get outside and plant a garden? Go for a brisk walk or run? Bicycle to a park for a picnic? Bend over to smell June roses? After the wicked weather many parts of the country endured this winter our bones may need a little TLC to prepare them for the enjoyment of life outdoors. Diabetes affects the whole body, so it makes sense that part of good diabetes management is doing regular body checks. Of course we hear all about checking feet, but checking other natural resources such as flexibility, mobility, breathing and skin are important too. This is a good time of year to start your body check. Here are a few tricks that work for me, but check with your diabetes team to be sure they are good for you. Or, better yet, create your own routine.
Try a few minutes of flexibility exercises such as knee circles, hanging like a rag doll, gentle twisting of the waist, slow rotation of hips like you are stirring a bowl of molasses in January, and pointing, flexing and circling ankles and wrists. Take in several deep belly breaths through your nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. Try this outdoors in fresh morning air if possible.
What do you think of when you hear the word bones? Calcium probably comes to mind since it has the reputation of building strong bones. It is pretty simple to take in enough good quality calcium in the course of a day to satisfy the recommended daily dose. Eight ounces of soy milk can satisfy 50% of what is needed. Check labels though as amounts vary from different manufacturers. Choose plain or pick from the delicious variety of flavored soymilks. A nice bright ¾ cup of cooked greens, such as spinach, strengthens the bones with 12% of daily requirement of calcium. Canned salmon and sardines are big contributors to the calcium fund as are sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Many people I speak with who have diabetes complain about dry skin. There are good pure lotions and creams to use to help alleviate this annoyance. It is best to moisturize when skin is clean and moist after a shower or bath. Spend a little time massaging the lotion into the skin. It is better for absorption, plus what could feel better than a massage! Don’t forget to lather on the sun protection if you go out, especially in the 11 am – 2 pm time zone when the sun damage monsters are in hot pursuit o light into your delicate skin.
Taking care of diabetes can be a very busy and time consuming deal. By doing a body-check once a month you can, possibly, avoid accidents and damage. I like to use a certain day of the month, the 22nd, to check for bumps, bruises, changes and irritations. I always remember that day because it’s my birthday. Pick a day you’ll remember and after a few months it will become integrated as part of your standard operating procedure.
One more thing about preparing for life outdoors: avoid the terrible too’s: TOO MUCH, TOO SOON, TOO FAST, TOO OFTEN. Obviously, don’t go out and run 5 miles if you usually jog a mile or two. Be active, but be safe. You are the keeper of your body and you’ll be with it for a very long time hopefully, being kind to it will reward you with good diabetes control and good health. Now go out and treat your body to a new pair of sneakers for summer. You deserve it!
Part of body awareness is food. Today let’s see what we can come up with in Cyber Kitchen using raspberries and almonds, two powerhouse foods that taste divine while nourishing us with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
Why eat raspberries? Consider this: According to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, raspberries have 50% more antioxidants than strawberries. They are rich in vitamin C and fiber. They contain nutrients such as folate, several of the B family of vitamins and burst in the mouth with exotic flavor. They are simply beautiful to look at. They are artful and make an elegant presentation on the plate and can be combined to enhance other foods. Add raspberries to cereals, salads, baked goods, smoothies and sauces. Try to buy organic since commercial varieties are heavily sprayed. If that’s not enough, they taste simply delicious!
Wild Caught Salmon with Raspberry Vinaigrette (4 servings)
1 pint fresh raspberries
Nutritional Value: 1 fillet = 425 cal, 30 fat grams, 26 grams protein, 6 carb grams
Crunchy, fragrant, toasty, delicious! A handful of almonds, which is 23 almonds or 1 oz., contain blockbuster nutrients. Vitamin E for its antioxidant contribution, more protein and fiber that any other tree nut, calcium and phosphorus to build and strengthen bones, and a good amount of minerals magnesium, potassium and zinc …. are all tucked away in this gift of nature. One ounce of almonds provides as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk. Almonds are my favorite “easy snack” since they travel well and light, and are easy to carry in a little zip bag. They provide that energy boost we need at certain times during the day and are a sweet treat for an evening snack.
Almonds, Couscous and Garlic
1 cup whole wheat couscous
Nutritional Value: 1 cup = 170 cal, 8 fat grams, 5 grams protein, 21 carb grams, 2 grams fiber
Spicy Roasted Almond Snack (8 servings)
¾ T. olive or almond oil
Nutritional Value: 1 servings = 170 cal, 15 fat grams, 6 grams protein, 7 carb grams, 2 grams fiber