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January 2010


Complementary Corner
Another New Year, Another Opportunity for Success

Lentil Barley Stew

Find an Answer
- Is it safe to say that a diabetic can have any sugar-free food item?
- Will metformin cause kidney problems?
- Does glutamine affect the pancreas?


Dear Diabetes Action Supporter,

Rather than making New Year's resolutions which always seem destined to be broken, set goals instead and see the new year as another opportunity for improvement. Dr. Bradley's article offers inspiration and ideas for success.  

Wishing you a very happy 2010,
Pat DeVoe, RN, BSN

Complementary Corner

Another New Year, Another Opportunity for Success 

Ryan Bradley, ND

The New Year is an excellent opportunity to plan a strategy for successful change throughout the year - including how best to align resources for change. For many, the New Year is a time for making resolutions about things we are not happy with in our lives; for some, these resolutions are about family and relationships, for many others, especially those people who manage diabetes, resolutions are about health-related goals and commitments. I tend to think New Year’s resolutions are over-rated. Let’s face the truth: it is difficult to address many years of living behaviors and habits and change them in a lasting manner overnight! Also for some, breaking a resolution equates to not being successful in a commitment, and this can lead to a spiral of guilt and negativity. So, in this New Year of hope -and challenge- for us all, I’ll leave aside the technical descriptions of nutritional supplements, herbs and drugs, and focus instead on the number one element for successful management of diabetes: planning to successfully reach your health goals!

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Lentil Barley Stew

small soup mugsA bowl of this stew satisfies hunger and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.  It is also high in protein and water soluble fiber. 

8 cups water
1 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped fine
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy stew pot.

Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.

Makes 4 servings
Per serving:

270 calories
50 g carbohydrate
20 g fiber
0 g fat
16 g protein

Recipe View the recipe

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Find an AnswerFind an Answer

Three of the most recent questions and answers from the Ask Your Questions pages

Q: Is it safe to say that a diabetic can have any sugar-free food item?
A: With any food, with or without sugar, it is the amount that is important. Be careful of the term "sugar free". Even foods that make this claim may still have calories or carbs. A light yogurt, for instance, has fewer carbs than a full flavored yogurt, but still has enough carbs to add up to a serving. It is important to read labels and pay attention to the amount of carbs in a food. Also, artificial sweeteners are not necessarily the benign substitutes we may think. They can send false signals to the brain that carbs are on the way down, so the body thinks that insulin needs to be released. Since no food comes, the insulin removes existing sugar left in the blood stream, which may lead to headaches and low blood sugar. This can also contribute to fatiguing the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. The best route is to eat unrefined foods as much as possible, monitor your blood sugars, and eat any artificial foods sparingly. Of course, staying very active is a key to successfully keeping the lid on rising sugars.

Q: I am on metforim for type 2 diabetes. It has improved my glucose levels from but I am wondering if this is too much medicine and if it might cause kidney problems!?
A: All medications have potential side effects. When on metformin, you should be getting you liver enzymes checked every 3 months, at least initially making sure you are stabilized. This is a great time for you to truly start a Healthy Lifestyle Plan, working towards reducing excess body fat if that is an issue. It is possible to reduce/stop medication and there are those who have successfully been able to keep blood sugars in range without medication. Get whatever assistance you need here if you are unclear about whole foods eating and an active lifestyle. There are nutritional supplements that are also helpful. What is best for you will depend in part on any other health conditions/medications you may be taking. With patience, focus, and time spent to learn about your condition, you should certainly make progress.

Q: Does glutamine affect the pancreas?
A: Glutamine, one of the most abundant amino acids found in the body, is a factor in muscle building and gut health. It is found in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, miso, and parsley. It is not detrimental to the pancreas; it is certainly a positive factor for any organ function. The questions and concerns always arise where one takes supplements to supply this amino acid in greater abundance, hoping for the "miracle muscle bulk up". Too much of anything may have an adverse effect. Protein powders are best used with professional guidance, especially when one has a chronic condition such as diabetes.

see more answers See more answers

Information on the "Ask Your Questions" pages should not be relied on for medical or technical advice. Always consult your healthcare team. Diabetes Action and Jane DeVane cannot be responsible for errors or wrongful use of the information available on this website. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician/medical team.

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