I have been begging my dietitian friend Melissa for some time to write a guest blog entry at BalanceofFood.com. She is whip smart, very educated on these matters, and communicates well in print and television about the messages that people need to hear. And she always seems to do so in the right tone: knowledgeable but not condescending.
I first met Melissa on Election Night in 2004 when I was still in the early stages of my struggle to eat better. She has been a professional and personal resource for me since then.
So Melissa finally agreed to share some of her wisdom with us, and it comes at an appropriate time, given that today is the last day of National Diabetes Month, and we are in between Thanksgiving and Christmas:
As November comes to a close, I want to make one last shout out for National Diabetes Month. For people with diabetes, every month, well actually every day, is a reminder to focus on diabetes in some way.
Sometimes it's thinking twice about what or how much you're about to eat, or checking your blood glucose to see how your last meal affected it, or trying to decide if you need to make any adjustments in food or medications before you exercise, or simply remembering to take your medications in the first place.
The longer I work in the field of nutrition, the more I come back to the reason I chose to become a dietitian 20 years ago: When it comes to food, I have a passion for helping people be informed and unafraid. As a certified diabetes educator, I love helping people with diabetes make those everyday decisions and get more involved in their diabetes management.
To help inform and motivate people, I created a "roadmap" for managing diabetes for my recent TV segment on ABC 7 (WLS-TV) Chicago. Check out the video and the Web copy to learn how you can be in the driver's seat.
My friends and family asked me a few questions about that TV segment and so, here's a sneak peak behind the scenes:
What made you decide to check Ben Bradley’s blood glucose during the segment?
I really wanted to show how quick and easy it is to do, and that people with diabetes do this daily. I wasn't so sure about showing the blood, but I guess that is the reality of checking blood glucose! Ben was a good sport about it.
The food looked so good. How did you decide what food to display?
As always, I wanted to choose visuals that would be meaningful in just a blink of an eye. I wanted viewers to be able to see that you can still have appealing and satisfying meals when you have diabetes or are just trying to eat healthfully. So, I pulled out an 1800 calorie sample menu and made a few adjustments such as choosing bran cereal instead of corn flakes and apple slices instead of ½ cup of juice to get more nutrients, especially fiber, into the meals.
The segment seemed so short — did you get to say everything you wanted to say?
TV segments are always painfully short — you are lucky if you get more than 3 ½ minutes. You need to boil your information down into soundbites and useful tips. We did run out of time before I got to talk about Continuous Glucose Monitoring, a cutting-edge technology that some people with diabetes might find to be a useful tool. This device measures your blood glucose every 5 minutes so it can provide much more information than traditional blood glucose monitoring and may therefore improve your diabetes control.
The American Diabetes Association now recommends the A1C test as a way to screen for pre-diabetes. Since this is a simple blood test that does not require fasting, people may be more willing to take this test. I'm all for anything that is going to encourage more people to get screened for diabetes or pre-diabetes and help us catch the disease earlier so that we can treat it earlier and help prevent or delay long-term complications.
What current diabetes and/or health goals are you working on? Preventing weight gain over the holidays? Stepping up your exercise level? Drinking more water? Let us know if you have any challenges or tips to share! Weigh in (pun intended) with your thoughts in the comments section below.
Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RD, CDE is the Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Midwest Dairy Council, and is also a National Dairy Council spokesperson and an Illinois Dietetic Association spokesperson. Check out Melissa’s blog at TheDairyReport.com and follow her on Twitter @MelissaJoyRD.
We want to thank Melissa for her time and information. And we hope she won't be a stranger to the pages of BalanceofFood.com.