Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Parent's Guide to Coping with Diabetes

Guest post by the team at Nutricia

CC Photo by Lauren Grace Picture Place on Flickr
Diabetes is a condition we usually associate with the older generation who take a large amount of pills and 10 sugars in their coffee, against their doctor’s advice. When we hear of diabetes in a child, it often shocks us. But should it?

Diabetes affects approximately 17 in every 100,000 children under 16 years of age. Most of these (around 90-95 percent) have type 1 diabetes. This is where the body does not produce the insulin that is required to break down sugar in the blood. However, the increase of childhood obesity has seen type 2 diabetes become more prevalent, where it was previously extremely rare in young people.

Is My Child Diabetic?


The causes of it are unclear. Some children are born diabetic, where others develop it later, many in their teens. It is common for children with Down’s syndrome to be diabetic, and occasionally a premature baby may have it too. Fortunately, for the premature infant, the diabetes often resolves itself as their premature organs begin to function properly.

For those who develop it, they may experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, thirst, or regular trips to the toilet. Diagnosis can be confirmed by a blood or urine test.

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were traditionally treated differently. Children with type 1, previously named IDDM (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) are usually treated with insulin, as the body cannot produce it. Type 2 is usually controlled solely by medications which help the body to do what it already does, but more effectively. A controlled diet is essential, and some children may be treated with medical nutritional supplements until their condition is better controlled.

What's a Parent to Do?


The best thing for a parent to do is get organised. Get to know your child’s condition. It may feel like a complete head-bust at first, and rightly so. When we care for ourselves, we may find we are a little forgetful sometimes. If it is only us affected by our decision, it may not matter to us as much, but caring for a diabetic child demands that we are super focussed and know what to do. If diabetes isn’t managed effectively, it can have serious consequences.

Everyone who cares for your child, including family members, childcare, teachers, or nursery staff, should know about their condition. It may help you to sit down one day and prepare a sheet with your child’s routine, do’s and don’ts, and medication doses if it needs to be administered when you aren’t around. This way, the pressure isn’t just on you, and if anything should happen while they are in someone else’s care, they know how to handle it.

Explaining this to a child may be frightening for them, but it is important to be honest with them about things, while keeping it light. Most of them are terrified of needles or injections, as are many adults, so it is very important not to make a big deal of their insulin, but instead to place emphasis on how good they are and how good they will feel if they take their medication properly.

What Should My Child Do?


Children may feel like you control their condition, so give them some of the reins when they are old enough. Let them help you to choose their food, or take them with you to pick up their medication if possible. For those who have a home blood glucose test, teaching them how to test themselves (with supervision) may help too.

It can be frustrating for a diabetic child when they cannot have sweets like their friends. Thankfully, food manufacturers caught on a few years ago and sugar free lollipops and ‘diabetic’ chocolates are now widely marketed. There is no harm in the odd treat (although fruit is better!), but slip a sugary snack in their bag for use in case their sugar drops unexpectedly.

An increasing number of children that have diabetes are also diagnosed with an allergy such as a cows’ milk allergy, this makes it difficult for the child to consume a nutritional diet that is necessary for a healthy growth. However many sugar free nutritional supplements are now available for children that have been diagnosed with a mixture of allergy’s such as cow’s milk allergy and diabetes.

As a parent, making things easy for you is essential. Search online or ask your GP about support groups for parents like yourself. Having a child is a big challenge, but managing a medical condition can be demanding. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Diabetes is a completely controllable condition that should not scare anyone, and once you are on top of it, your child can have an otherwise normal life.

Nutricia specialize in the delivery of advanced medical nutrition for the very young, the old and the sick. As well as being the largest specialist nutrition company in Europe, Nutricia is the market leader in the UK. They supply high quality feeds, systems and support services to patients and health care professionals. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Heart of Thanksgiving



Last year, I counted 50 Reasons I'm Thankful (After Thanksgiving) — and all still ring true this season. This year, I feel like I've experienced a true growth spurt in my spirituality, and I'm truly thankful for it.

A year and a half into marriage, I'm learning that even though I pray to be a good wife, I need to pray more to be a good woman of God — for me to receive strength, protection, peace and joy from the Lord instead of praying to receive it from my husband.

In my low's, I've been humbled. When I've felt stuck or broken, I've received a new understanding of what it means to truly need God ... to need him because even when I try my best, I really can't do life without him.

This year, as usual, I thank God for my family, good food and a blessed life full of provision. But, this year I also thank God for bringing me through hours of tears and moments of fear. I thank him for revealing the insecurities I had buried deep within my heart and pouring his Gold all over them to fill in my gaps*.

For it's in our darkest times that we're able to see God's light the most, even when it's just a small glimpse of hope. Whatever you're going through today or later on in life, rest assured that no matter how things appear on the surface, we all experience grief, sorrow and brokenness. It's a part of being human. And it's more reason to be thankful — today on Thanksgiving and forevermore.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your heart and in everyday life?

*Read an inspiring article on letting God fill your gaps by Christian blogger and writer Chris Kratzer over in FaithVillage.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Stay Trim During the Holidays

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the mere thought of another feasting holiday like Christmas might weigh you down. Doesn't it seem like Santa always leaves a few too many gifts (in the form of cookies, candies and second helpings) behind — even after the New Year?

CC Photo by dotpolka on Flickr
If you follow a few pointers on healthy living, the holiday season doesn’t have to totally shatter your diet or fitness routine.

Let Yourself Eat ... A Lot


These holiday get-togethers usually center around a meal — or if your family's like mine, the whole day is one big grazing-feast. Either way, these meals can turn into all-day events. In this case, don’t try to starve yourself after your one meal. You’ll end up breaking down and binging on a big slice of pecan pie. Instead, try to keep snacking on raw veggies such as carrots, broccoli, celery, and bell peppers. 

Rather than allowing yourself to eat one big meal, indulge a little more than normal. Just continue to make healthier choices.

Bring a Dish You Can Brag About


Food is often the true centerpiece during the months of November and December. However, food shouldn’t be something you dread when you’re getting ready to celebrate with your friends and family. There are strategies for maintaining that summertime body in this sweet and savory season.

Volunteer to bring a side dish or two, and prepare them the healthy way. The more food you prepare yourself, the more options you will have to choose from at the family dinner table. Make sure there will be a vegetable dish. With a plate of greens, you can fill yourself up before plowing into the traditional treats.

Peachy-Keen Cobbler
But don’t assume that your grandma’s famous green bean casserole is a healthy platter. Casseroles and even salads are often soaked in butter and oil. You can be sure you know what you’re eating if you bring a similar yet healthier dish. Other guests won’t even tell the difference.

Want to bring a healthy dessert you can really pig out on? Try my low-fat, low-sugar Peachy-Keen Cobbler (email me for a free, fun recipe card). Here's another one I want to try:

Holiday Harvest Kale Salad (from Hungry-Girl.com)


1/6th of recipe (about 1 1/4 cups): 102 calories, 2g fat, 126mg sodium, 20g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3* (Makes 6 servings)

Still skeptical of the kale craze? This insanely tasty, light 'n fruity flavor-fest will win over even the most die-hard doubters out there!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups chopped kale leaves 
  • One 10.5-oz. can mandarin orange segments packed in juice, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup light raspberry (or other fruity) vinaigrette
  • Holiday Harvest Kale Salad | Hungry-Girl.com
  • Optional seasoning: salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to mix.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Mix well, and enjoy!

Choose from the Other Dishes Carefully


The main course is usually some kind of meat. Whatever it is, steer clear of the red meat or fried chicken, and pile your plate with lean, white turkey. Full of protein and very low in fat, all white turkey is a great choice for the Christmas meal.

Pumpkin Pie Bars | SarahFit.com
Don’t dwell too much on what you should eat and what you should not eat. If your mind is consumed with matters of food then food is all you will think about. Feel free to indulge in your own healthier, leaner dishes that you make and share with your family. It will be the best gift you get all Christmas!

I'll be indulging in Sarah Dussault's low-fat pumpkin pie bars. Watch the video how to make them in FaithVillage.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest Keeps Me Motivated

One of my favorite things to look for on Pinterest is either a new quote or inspirational photo that pumps me up for my next workout. However, in absolutely no way do I condone comparing yourself to the some of the sleezy and unrealistic photos of body builders and sometimes surprisingly unhealthy fitness models. That's why it's extremely important to establish boundaries for yourself and to not get too caught up in appearance, but focus on total body health.

Any way, here are some of my most recent fitness finds on Pinterest. I just love them!

Pinned by Lexie Badali
When I shared my story on comparing my body to other pretty girls' bodies, I had to think deeper about why I'm passionate about healthy living — food, fitness and faith. Do I sometimes slip back into that mode of comparing myself to others? Yes, all the time. The difference is now I can take those thoughts captive and remember that God loves me no matter what I look like. Sure, he wants me to have the desires of my heart (which include a lean body and healthy spirit), and sure, he wants me to take care of the gift he so graciously gives us. Our bodies. 

When you work hard, you learn to appreciate the results you get from eating right and exercising your butt off. And you stop looking at everyone else's body and start thanking God for your own.

Pinned by Katy Fink
This one really perks up my day. Sometimes, I have rockin' workouts where I feel like I could go all day. Other times, I'm like, "What happened? Why am I wheezing after 15 minutes?"

Remember that as long as you get a good sweat in, you're better off than the majority of America. 

Pinned by Jen Chesnut
Yep. This is why I like to work out with my husband. It's always nice to catch your hubby checking out your bum when you're doing squats on the bosu across the gym. I'm pretty sure the idea to line the walls of every gym with full mirrors came from a man ....

Pinned by Jen Chesnut
Do you ever have those days where you just can't stop sweating? It's especially bad in the summer months. This reminds me that the more I sweat, the more my body is purging toxins. The fat cells are crying, but my body is crying tears of joy.

Pinned by Jen Chesnut
If anyone knows where to buy this tank, please let me know. More than anything, you must keep your body as a whole strong — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

And to make sure we're all motivated to have rockin' bodies for the right reasons, I'll leave you with this Bible verse.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." (Galatians 5: 16-17, ESV)
What do you like on Pinterest to stay motivated? How else do you stay motivated?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yoga, Breathing & Meditation

I recently learned how much my body appreciates my new exercise supplement: PiYo. For years, I resisted yoga or anything close to it. Honestly, I thought it was for sissies. 

I'd take my boot camp, booty-burning, total body conditioning, kill-me-now-because-I'm-about-to-die-I'm-so-tired workouts over that slow stuff all day, every day.

I think my problem had to do with not having the time to figure out what kind of low-impact meditative exercise was best for my body. That and the fact that ever since I graduated college (and stopped Baylor Cheer), my flexibility began to slowly disappear. After researching some new workouts on YouTube, I thought I'd give it another try.


Let's just say that after a few workouts that included these low-impact, stretching, meditative exercises, I've never been more sore. I also learned that it's best for me if I add yoga, Pilates or PiYo to my exercise routine rather than replacing one of my workouts. 

In turn, I wanted to share the benefits that these exercises can bring to your body — especially for those of you who are resistant to it like I was.


Restore Your Insides

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)
It's especially important to supplement your weight and cardio workouts with some form of yoga or Pilates (or a combination called PiYo), where you focus on breathing, stretching and body position. One of the biggest challenges to yoga is understanding the importance of deep breathing. Slow, deep breaths inhaled and exhaled deliver oxygen to all your different body parts, as well as ridding them of waste and toxins. It's kind've like getting a massage from the inside out.

These breathing exercises strengthen your respiratory system just like high intensity cardio does. More oxygen flows through your blood to your lungs and brain, thus increasing your body's overall functioning. Just like any other exercise principle, it's important to understand you must diversify your workouts to strengthen different muscles and work them in different ways. Slowing down and concentrating on holding a pose while breathing works your mind as much as it works your body.


Relieve Stress and Anxiety

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." (Psalm 123:39, NIV)
As your brain receives oxygen from the deep breathing involved in low impact stretching, yoga and/or PiYo, your nervous system relaxes, often giving you a sense of calm. When your body is relaxed from the inside out, you'll experience stress reduction and even emotional balance. Not only will you improve your physical body's balance, but you'll also experience a mental and emotional (and even spiritual) balance if you want to bad enough.

Meditating (or focusing) on bettering your body, mind and spirit is key. If you can learn to do that, you can reduce body fatigue and pain, while also improving your concentration, focus and attention.


Reinforce Harmony between Your Mind and Body

"Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." (Philippians 2:2, NIV)
Although there are many variations of yoga breathing, they usually involve taking a deep breath through your stomach and then chest. Then, you release that breath slow and controlled through your mouth and down to your core. These breaths are much more controlled than the shallow panting breathing we often experience in our cardio/weight workouts.

Learning how to control your breathing whether you're standing up straight or in Reverse Pyramid Pose  can really help improve your self-control. If you can do that, your mind and body will be more at ease. When you're in tune with your body, you can identify how you're feeling. You can express your emotions because you can see truth in your spirit.


YouTube Channels I Subscribe To For Meditative Exercises:


Remember, there are a thousand little things you can do to improve your health. Don't get overwhelmed with how the media portrays being healthy or all the fad diets you "have" to do in order to lose weight and feel good. God created you in His image, perfectly. Get in tune with your body and figure out what you can do with it to glorify Him.

How do you feel about yoga, Pilates and PiYo? What other forms of mediation do you do get your mind and body in tune with God?

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Love My Body (Even Compared to Yours)


This is a guest post on Renee Fisher's blog, Devotional Diva. She blogs about marriage, body image, and inspirational devotionals for young women. Check her website out and find my guest post along with others in her "I Love My Body" series.

CC Photo by Charlotte Astrid on Flickr

Cheerleader. Softball player. National Honor Society. Top 5 percent of class. Homecoming princess. Voted Most Spirited. Prom queen runner-up. All of these phrases described me in high school. Sounds pretty stellar on the surface, right?

Lonely. Insecure. Tired. Disappointed. Scared. Those are words that also described me in high school, despite the fact they were less noticeable. Sure, I had lots of friends and made good grades. What did I have to complain about?

In high school (and still to this day), I struggled with comparing myself to others. It's like the thing inside all of us — the one that tells us to be good and do good — gets out of balance. It fools me into thinking I have to be the best or even more so, be perfect.

Being a cheerleader and athlete, I quickly learned about fitness and nutrition. I learned how to take care of my body. But it seemed like no matter how hard I worked at it, there was always someone skinnier or smarter or friendlier or prettier . . . .

Read more at Devotional Diva >>
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