Category Archives: pregnancy

Are we fans of “fat”?

LA Times posted a most interesting article yesterday on celebrities and the battle of the bulge. Rather than shamefully hiding weight struggles from the public eye, celebrities are using their weight struggles as a means to cash in…the big bucks.

Kristie Alley, anyone? Carnie Wilson, yeah?

Great points were made in this article:

1. Even the rich and famous are not immune to the obesity epidemic taking place in our nation — trainers, dietitians, personal chefs, and all.

2. Bariatric surgery does not produce miracles.

3. The traditional “eat less, move more” is…well, boring. Boring in the sense that it won’t earn prime time television airing, but it sure gets the job done.


Reading this article was timely — my first bariatric patient was implanted with the Lap Band® yesterday. I’m anxious and excited to see the patient’s progress and wish them all the best!

And if you watch trashy TV like me, you may watch Kendra (but probably not, because it is really, really bad reality TV). And you may have found ex-Playboy Bunny’s post-baby body struggles easy to relate to. I really appreciate Kendra for her “no fuss…take me as I am” approach to…everything! Especially her weight.

Question: Do you tend to “respect” or “disrespect” (for lack of better terms) celebrities for making public their weight struggles? Do you find it easier to relate to those who struggle with their weight or leading a healthy lifestyle?

Thanks for all your anniversary love! 🙂

Happy day,



Filed under diet, dietitians, entertaining, news, obesity epidemic, pregnancy, Uncategorized, US health care, weight gain, weight loss, work

the last of diabetes & a garden update

I know, I’m kind of on blog diabetes over-load lately. I got a great reader question, however, and I thought I’d answer it here, as well. Diabetes is a complex disease and with the Western diet we consume, I believe we are ALL at increased risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

If you’re sick of diabetes, you can skip on down to my garden update. Things were a’growin’ while I was in San Jose! 😀

Heather of Get Healthy with Heather: Could you write about the different types of diabetes and ways to treat them with food and exercise? At my work diabetes is a big problem and we want to start taking steps to reduce it and help improve employee’s health. Thanks!

Prevention RD: Great question, Heather! Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is characterized by insulin resistance. Insulin in the hormone in the body which acts as the carrier for glucose (energy) into the cell for proper metabolic processes. When insulin resistance appears, insulin is no longer working effectively due to the cell’s decreased sensitivity to insulin or a glucose (energy) load, particularly from carbohydrates, that exceeds the capacity of the body’s needs. Muscle cells are more receptive to insulin and for this reason, insulin resistance is more common in overweight and obese individuals.

Type 2 diabetes is attributable to both genetics and lifestyle factors such as overweight and obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure, and poor diet high in total carbohydrates and/or simple carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Screening for diabetes is being performed much earlier in the US because symptoms often times take years to develop. Common symptoms of diabetes (all types) include: excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, weight loss, and fruity-smelling urine.

Type 2 diabetics are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to other complications such as retinopathy leading to blindness, neuropathy (loss of feeling and sensation in the extremities and digits) which can lead to amputations, nephropathy leading to kidney failure and dialysis, and erectile dysfunction. Depression is also common in many diabetics.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease which requires insulin therapy due to the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in the younger years with most type 1’s being diagnosed before their 20th birthday. A strict insulin and diet regimen are required for proper health.

Gestational diabetes is commonly coined a “carbohydrate intolerance” and is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include: obesity, family history of diabetes, non-Caucasian descent, and older maternal age. Most women resolve their carbohydrate intolerance after giving birth, but they are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future. The baby of a gestational diabetic is more likely to become overweight or obese and have impaired glucose tolerance and/or diabetes later in life.

While there are several types of diabetes, they are all treated the same. I am an advocate of eating like a diabetic to avoid diabetes. A diabetic meal regimen focuses on regular meal times and macronutrient balance. Diabetics should be counseled on basic carbohydrate counting techniques and aim to consume a carbohydrate-controlled diet of approximately 45 grams per meal, and a 15-30 gram carbohydrate snack (plus protein) before bed. Ideally, 2-3 ounces of protein (or more) is included at each meal.

General rules of thumb for diabetics and carbohydrates:

  • Emphasize complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates (complex carbs include fiber)
  • Increase fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet
  • If lower carbohydrate intake is good, less is not better. The brain needs glucose!
  • An evening snack should be consumed no more than 60 minutes before bed. Include protein!
  • Check labels! Look for portion size, servings per container, grams of total carbohydrate, and fiber content
  • Do not check sugar on a label! Sugar on a label cannot differentiate between lactose and sucrose, so it is not an accurate means of determining the effect on blood glucose
  • Fiber and protein help blunt the curve of the post-meal glucose spike – they are important to include at every meal.
  • If you include snacks throughout the day, aim for high-protein and healthy fat snacks (2% cheese, nuts, seeds, etc.)
  • Increase exercise! Activity helps to lower blood glucose and increase muscle mass which is more sensitive to insulin than adipose (fat)

What are some examples of balanced 45 gram meals?

  • A meat and/or 2% cheese sandwich on 2 slices of whole grain bread, a side salad with light dressing, and a piece of fruit
  • 3-4 ounces of meat with 2/3 cup rice or noodles, 1 cup of mixed vegetables, and 1 dinner roll
  • 2 chicken or beef tacos with 1/3 cup rice or ½ cup beans

45 grams gone and you’re still hungry?

Some meals are a “rip off” in terms of carbohydrate grams for portion size (ex: rice and pasta). These foods can still be consumed, but they will require smaller portions. If these portions are not enough to feel satisfied, consider increasing the amount of protein and non-starchy vegetables on your plate. There are lots of ways to add bulk to your meal without adding additional carbohydrates.

What fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates?

Technically, all of them. All fruits are carbohydrates and need to be counted. Starchy vegetables that contain significant proportions of carbohydrates include: potatoes, peas, corn, and squash. All other vegetables are very low in carbohydrates and don’t need to be counted until the portion has exceeded 3 cups (that’s a lot!). So, more or less, they’re freebees…eat more!

Heather, I recommend…

If I were you, I would create a free, anonymous survey on Survey Monkey and send it to your co-workers. Find out how much of a problem diabetes is for your co-workers and their families. Ask questions that relate to diabetes (i.e. How many fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? How many times a week do you regularly exercise? Do you have a mother, father, brother, or sister with diabetes?) to find out what needs the most attention.

Most people don’t know much about diabetes and how to prevent diabetes. More individuals than we can estimate are walking around with advancing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Early intervention is extremely important! The longer diabetes goes undetected, the grimmer the future is for diabetics as far as complications and pre-mature death. Diabetes is a progressive disease and gets worse over time, requiring more to control its effects. Education is so important!

I wish you lots of luck in your endeavors to inform and help your co-workers live long, healthy, and happy lives!

Diabetes is preventable if we do something about it before it’s too late!



The squash (bottom) hadn’t even sprouted when I left on Sunday!

Critters are eating my potatoes…need to address! Any advice???

Kale! Looks like Christmas holly to me 🙂

“I was just thinking how much I missed my mommy and how I hadn’t been photographed in several days…”

And for the Lily lovers out there: Lily is feeling much better it seems! Another week to go til we find out about surgery. Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes for our baby girl! 😀

Question: Do you limit your carbohydrate intake at all? If so, why? What do YOU consider to be a low-carbohydrate diet? Do you think low-carbohydrate diets are advisable? Why or why not?

I think everyone has a different take on this, so I’m curious to hear what you guys think!

Random Question: Over dinner with Andrea the other night, we talked about how important it is to keep posts concise. I am not good at this always (see above!), but I try to be. Do you find that you enjoy blogs that are less time-consuming to keep up with? Or does length not really deter you from reading a blogger’s posts?

Have a great day!


Filed under blog, blog topic request, blood glucose, BMI, carbohydrates, chronic disease, diabetes, diet, dietitians, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garden, genetics, heart health, hormones, low-carb, meat consumption, obesity epidemic, pets, physical activity, pregnancy, protein, travel, weight gain, weight loss

Vodka Sauce & Pregnancy

…not together, obviously!

Penne alla Vodka adapted from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

2 tsp butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 shallots, minced
3 4 oz prosciutto, trimmed and chopped
1/8 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup vodka
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
12 oz uncooked (6 cups cooked) whole wheat penne

In a large sauté pan heat butter on a low flame. Add garlic and shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add prosciutto and red pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, vodka, salt and pepper and cook on low, covered about 20 minutes. Add basil and half and half, mix well and cook another 5 minutes. Serve this over pasta and top with grated cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving — approx. 1 cup): 405 calories; 7 g. fat; 19 mg. cholesterol; 450 mg. sodium; 61 g. carbohydrate; 11.2 g. fiber; 15 g. protein

Today’s NNM Topic: Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an important time to focus on nutrition — both macronutrients and micronutrients. Pregnant women require adequate folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. Check out last week’s Q&A for more specifics on AMOUNTS of folic acid required.

During pregnancy, the amount of weight gain is dependent upon the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight. The more overweight a woman is at the time she conceives, the less weight she should gain (with a minimum weight gain of 15 pounds for overweight/obese women). Women with a BMI of 19.5-24.9 should look to gain 25-37 pounds during pregnancy. During the first trimester, no additional energy (calories) is needed. During the second and third trimesters an additional 300 calories are needed each day to support fetal growth. While 300 calories may sound significant this is less than a 10% increase for most women or the equivalent of a large snack each day, or 2 glasses of milk with a piece of fruit. Woman who breast feed, however, have their energy needs drastically increase to 700 additional calories each day — a good-sized meal for most individuals.

Poor diet and/or excessive intake during pregnancy not only results in excessive weight gain, but also puts the woman at increased risk for gestational diabetes, back pain, leg pain, high blood pressure, extreme fatigue, varicose veins, and cesarean delivery.


National Nutrition Month Theme: Nutrition From the Ground Up

The ADA is requesting bloggers to define the NNM theme in their own words, so I wanted to take a stab. The theme this year, Nutrition from the Ground Up, is consistent with the latest trends in nutrition. As of late, there has been a large movement to consume locally grown and organic produce, as well as a stronger emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as staples in the diet. And of course, these items come from the ground and are packed with nutrition — fiber, vitamins, minerals, and low caloric density.


Question: Were you breastfed? Do you believe in the benefits of breastfeeding? If you are mother or some-day-hope-to-be-a-mother, did you or do you plan to breastfeed your baby?

Interesting fact: When I interned at WIC during my dietetic internship, I learned from the lactation consultant that the benefits from breastfeeding are maximized during the first 6 months of breastfeeding. She explained that there are no additional benefits (nutritionally-speaking) to breastfeeding after 6 months of age.

And Faith of An Edible Mosaic…you win! I burned 844 calories hauling that dirt to my garden! You were only 11 calories off! Send me your address, girlie! I’ve got a Chobani coupon for you!

And a picture of one sleeeeepy puppy to brighten your day… 🙂

Have a great day-before-Friday! 😀


Filed under alcohol, Gina's WW Recipes, National Nutrition Month, pregnancy, recipe, weight gain