A Vegetable Adventure

25 Oct

Here is a question I received from Foodpicker.org

I was just diagnosed with pre-diabetes.  The nurse told me to eat lots of vegetables.  Could you tell me what “lots of vegetables” means and what type of vegetables to consume?  Also, how should I prepare them?

Receiving a pre-diabetes diagnosis sounds alarms and whistles for your future health. Pre-diabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnoses. Implementing a healthier diet and starting an exercise regimen will help decrease blood glucose levels and may prevent the real diagnoses of diabetes.

The statement ‘eat lots of vegetables’ is much too vague.  A registered dietitian would be a better source for dietary recommendations.  The amounts of vegetable servings in your diet are dependent on your calorie needs. Calorie needs are based on an individual’s age, sex, size, and activity level.  In general, a healthy daily vegetable intake includes at least 2 to 3 servings of non-starchy vegetables, and 6 servings of grains, beans, and starchy vegetables.  A single non-starchy vegetable choice is equal to 1 cup of raw vegetables or ½ cup of cooked vegetables or vegetable juice.  A single starchy vegetable choice is equal to 1 ounce by weight.

Vegetable type falls into two categories; non-starchy and starchy. Non-starchy vegetables contain 5 grams of carbohydrate and 25 calories per serving. Starchy vegetables contain 15 grams of carbohydrate and 80 calories per serving.  Non-starchy vegetables contain less sugar than starchy vegetables; hence portion size must be kept in check when consuming starchy vegetables.  The table below contains some examples of these two types of vegetables.

Preparation techniques are important to keep in mind when consuming vegetables.  Absorption of nutrients, into the body tissues, from vegetables is dependent on the way the vegetable is prepared.

Raw, cooked, frozen, or canned vegetables may affect the nutritional value of your produce. Non-starchy vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked.  If you prefer to cook your vegetables, the best way to retain water-soluble nutrients is to steam them.  Starchy vegetables are best consumed cooked because of the process of gelatinization of the starches from the food.   Cooking starchy vegetables improves the digestibility and percentage of nutrients and energy available to your body tissues. There is a variety of frozen vegetables and they can be blanched in hot water or steamed. When consuming canned vegetables, be wary of the sodium content, avoid dented or swollen cans, and always check for expiration dates. Keep in mind that canned vegetables lose several nutrients in the process of preservation.   Nevertheless, all vegetables are nutritious and healthy and should be incorporated into your daily diet.


Diabetes and Bread

9 Oct

Here is a question I received from FOODPICKER.org

My husband has diabetes and we always eat whole wheat bread but wanted something different for a change. Is rye bread or sourdough bread as good of an option as whole wheat?

Answer: Whole wheat bread is a great source of carbohydrates for an individual with diabetes. But, it can get boring eating the same type of bread day in and day out. Rye and sourdough breads are great alternatives to whole wheat breads because they both help keep glucose levels stable and offer several nutrients.

Rye bread imparts a sweet flavor with a dark-colored crumb due to the continuous steam that cooks it. The denser quality of the bread is due to the smaller number of pores and greater concentration of starch particles. When eaten, the rate of digestion from starch into sugar is slow because of the bread’s firmer matrix. Sourdough bread is known to have a distinctive, tangy flavor and chewy texture, which is due to the lactic acid bacteria and lower pH levels. The lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid and increases the dough acidity, which prevents reproduction of unwanted micro-organisms and increases the nutritional value. When eaten, the acid slows the emptying of the stomach, thereby slowing the delivery of glucose to the bloodstream.

Wrapping it up, no pun intended, remember to always pay attention to your carbohydrate count for starches and keep it within the recommended range of your calorie needs. Incorporating a variety of these breads in the diet is important. Stave away from the mundane and mix it up to keep your taste buds blissful. A reminder of one starch serving is: 15 grams of Carbohydrates, 0-3 grams of Protein, 0-1 grams of Fat, and 80 calories.

AIDS Walk Phoenix (Oct. 3, 2010) for AGAPE Network

19 Sep

I am walking for AGAPE Network in the AIDS Walk (Oct. 3) and I am asking for donations (as little as $5.00) and/or registration ($25.00) to walk with us. It would really help us reach our goal if you are able to help out. Thank you 🙂


19 Sep

I am a Nutrition Editor at Foodpicker – a website designed
to help people with diabetes.