Friday, July 24, 2015

Save Money and Your Health When Eating Out

Do you like to eat out?   Do you think you eat too much when you eat out?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are not alone. 

A few facts about eating out in America
 The average American eats out 4-5 times weekly, spending an average of $12 per meal.  The average restaurant or fast food meal provides 1200-1400 calories.  Since most of us need to lose weight, this one meal of 1200 calories equals 67% to 100% of what we may need in an entire day! A healthier meal would provide 500-600 calories total.

How can you start to make changes? Follow the 4 tips below and get an early start on your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and save money:

1.      Cut portions in half!  A healthy portion at any restaurant is about half of what is typically served.  In the 60’s, a healthy portion for an adult at McDonald’s was a small fry, a small hamburger and a small drink.  In other words, a healthy portion for an adult was a Kids Meal. At 600 calories, it still is a healthy portion for an adult (even if the foods aren’t the healthiest)!  You can save money and your health by: sharing a meal with your companion or ordering a few individual items, like soup and a salad, rather than ordering a whole meal. Or order off a “light” menu if available.

2.      Stop drinking your calories.  One of the healthiest habits you could get into is ordering a non-caloric beverage with your meal, like water.  The average beverage provides 400 calories and adds significantly to the cost of the meal.

3.      Avoid the extras.  Did you know the average appetizer is 800 – 2300 calories?  Dessert is typically 500-800 calories. If you really love the pie or other dessert, consider occasionally just getting dessert for your meal! 

4.      Focus on the enjoyment of eating. Many people eat out partly to experience the ambiance and pleasure of good food in an attractive setting with company. Choose a restaurant because you like their food and plan how to cut your portions in half.  Then slow down, relax and enjoy eating less because it is delicious, it is enough, and you are with friends.

For more tips about improving your health, join one of our weight loss classes starting soon at the Topeka Pharmacy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Do You Know the Diabetes ABCs?

When we were children we learned our ABCs, because knowing the ABCs is an essential part of managing language skills.  When a person develops diabetes, there is another set of ABCs to learn, and these are essential to the management of the disease, in order to help prevent long-term complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke or limb amputation.

A is for the A1C test.  This test shows what your blood glucose has been over the last 3 months.  The A1C goal for most people with diabetes is below 7%.  A high A1C reflects high blood sugar levels which can cause damage to the body in many ways.

B is for Blood Pressure.  The goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/80 at rest.  High blood pressure will damage blood vessels and stress the heart.

C is for Cholesterol.  The goal for people with diabetes is less than 100 for their LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and more than 50 for their HDL (the “good” cholesterol).

D is for Dental Exam.   Diabetes increases the risk for gum disease to develop which can then cause the blood sugar levels to be more out of control.  A yearly or twice-yearly dental exam is important to avoid gum disease.

E is for Eye Exam.  High blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels of the eye, and over time this can lead to partial or complete blindness. However you may not ever feel the damage being done until it is too late to repair it.  If you have diabetes, do not take a chance with your eyesight.  Have a dilated eye exam every year, as problems caught early can be treated.

F is for Foot Exam.  Since 60% of people with diabetes will develop some level of neuropathy (nerve damage), it is essential to have a comprehensive foot exam each year.  Your doctor can assess if there has been any nerve damage since the last exam.  Diabetes shoes which give good support are available to help keep your feet healthy.

G is for GFR.  Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is a blood test used to screen for and detect early kidney disease and to monitor kidney status.  Ask your doctor every year about the health of your kidneys and know your GFR number. A normal GFR is over 60.

A Diabetes Education Program, like the one at Topeka Pharmacy, will give you practical help in reducing your risk for developing any of the problems listed above. Insurance will usually help pay for the classes. Take care of yourself and know your ABCs- you are worth the effort!