KRON 4 | Sugar and Diabetes; Now Potassium Too?

One out of three adults has pre-diabetes, that’s, over 84 million people — and nine out of ten don’t even know they have it. Diabetes increases your risk of death by fifty percent. Many are familiar with the link between diabetes and eating too much refined sugar, but did you know there’s a diabetes link to potassium too?

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The Battle with Blood Sugar

Your body processes the food you eat and turns it into a sugar called glucose. Diabetes is marked by high levels of glucose in your blood (hyperglycemia). This happens because glucose is ‘locked out’ from getting into your cells and starts to build up in your blood.

Blood sugar is a precious fuel for your body, but when it’s persistently high, glucose can damage nerves and vessels. Since glucose circulates throughout your entire body, high levels can cause damage anywhere.

Diabetes-related complications include:

  • Blood vessel damage that increases your risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Nerve and vessel damage to your eyes (retinopathy), feet, and kidneys

What is Insulin?

Insulin (produced by the pancreas) is the hormone that’s needed for the glucose in your blood to enter your cells. Think of insulin as the ‘key’ that unlocks the cell door and lets glucose in. Without the ‘key’, your organs are starved of essential energy and can lead to cell death.

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Insulin is the “key” that unlocks the cell door and lets glucose in. 

Types of Diabetes

The two most common forms of diabetes, known as Type 1 and Type 2, are distinctly different:

1. Type 1 diabetes mellitus: You DO NOT PRODUCE INSULIN and are unable to control the sugar in your blood. This form of diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells of your pancreas.

2. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): With this type, you DO NOT USE INSULIN efficiently and are unable to control the sugar in your blood. 

  • 90% of diabetes cases are type 2.
  • In T2DM, your cells become resistant to insulin. Your pancreas goes into overdrive producing more and more insulin in a futile attempt to get the glucose into your cells. As a result, your pancreas can eventually wear out (become permanently damaged) and can no longer produce enough insulin. 
  • High blood sugar levels can erode your cells’ ability to make insulin. T2DM is preventable whereas Type 1 is not.

Waist Size and Diabetes

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A waist size that is over 40″ increases risk for type 2 diabetes 12X.

People who are overweight or obese, particularly with visceral fat (i.e., belly fat), are more likely to develop T2DM, but even normal weight individuals can develop diabetes.

  • If you’re a man and your waistline is over 40 inches, your risk for diabetes is 12 times higher than someone with a normal healthy size waist. 
  • Normal waist size is half your height in inches. Therefore, weight loss is the primary goal in treating this form of type 2 diabetes.

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an electrolyte and mineral that helps keep your bodily fluids at the proper level. If your fluids are at normal levels, you can:

  • Contract your muscles without pain
  • Keep your heart beating correctly
  • Keep your brain functioning at its highest capability

Muscle cramps to more serious conditions, such as seizures, are symptoms of potassium deficiency which also means fluid imbalance.  

Low Potassium Linked to Diabetes

  • One 2011 study found that people taking thiazides (diuretic, a.k.a. “water pill”) to treat high blood pressure experienced a loss of electrolytes, such as potassium. 
  • Researchers noted that potassium loss might increase a person’s risk for developing diabetes.
  • Researchers have also linked low potassium levels to high blood pressure.

NOTE: Even though low potassium may increase your risk of developing diabetes, taking potassium won’t cure your diabetes.

How Much Potassium Do You Need?

An adult needs 4,700 milligrams per day. Even if you’re getting the right amount potassium each day, levels may still be deficient or excessive due to fluctuating potassium levels.

Causes of Fluctuating Potassium Levels   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Sugar and Diabetes; Now Potassium Too?”

KRON 4 | 10 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

If you pledged to get healthier this year with yet another New Year’s resolution (or maybe even two or three resolutions), know that typically 80% of them fail by February. If you want to increase your odds of success this year though, here are some tricks to help make your new habits stick!

1. Commit to Thirty Days

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Consider the first 30 days as the foundation for creating a new habit. It takes time to make a new behavior stick, but you’ll increase the chances of achieving your new pledge if you commit to making it through these 30 days.

To get inspired, watch this lighthearted TED talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days” as a new way to think about setting and achieving goals.

2. Do It Daily

Whatever your goal — whether it’s to go to the gym or eat three fruits a day — then do it DAILY for the first 30 days. It’s easier to nail down the habit if you do it everyday versus once every few days. The goal is consistency.

NOTE: If you pledged to go to the gym, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work out vigorously every day. Just get yourself to the gym for 30 consecutive days — even if it means walking in and taking just a few spins on the bike. The key is to get in the habit of getting up and going.

3. Mingle with Role Models 

Make a point of seeking out people whose habits you want to imitate because when it comes to becoming fatter, obesity spreads through social relationshipsA 32-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that you’re more likely to become obese if you spend time with close friends that are obese. That is, according to researchers, obesity can literally spread from person to person, much like a virus.

Therefore, if your close friend is obese, eats junk food, and doesn’t exercise, then it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to stick with your pledge to create new healthy habits. Although you cannot change your friend’s habits, YOU can still change yours. Seek out and spend time with your role models.

4. Negate Negatives with “But”

But“But” is a very powerful word. When you use it, it negates everything you said preceding the word “but” in that sentence. (Did anyone ever say to you, “Say, I love your new hair color, but….” Stop the negative self-talk. It can lead to overeating to relieve those negative emotions.

When you catch yourself saying, “I can never stick with my New Year’s resolutions,” follow it with, “but I have the skills to help me this time.” Use “but” to stop negativity in its tracks.

5. Own It

Resolutions fail because they’re created based on what someone else (such as your spouse, doctor, or parent) is telling you to change. Be sure your New Year’s resolution is something YOU want to achieve. That is, be sure your resolution is NOT based on what you “should” do.

A part of owning your goal is watching your language. The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” are negative words, and you surrender control when you say them. Negative thinking and negative self-talk lead to negative emotions, such as feelings of defeat and depression, and thus, emotional eating.

The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” imply something is wrong with you. That is, something is ‘broken’ and needs to be fixed. For example, notice the difference in how you feel when you say, “I have to exercise” or “I need to lose weight” versus, “I want to exercise because I love walking vacations” or “I choose to lose weight, so I won’t have knee pain” which puts the control, motivation, and power to change back on you.

Healthy Living

6. Relish the Reward   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | 10 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick”

KRON 4 | Last-Minute Restorative Gifts for $25 and Less

Don’t stress if you still have gifts to buy for Christmas! I shared some of my top last-minute restorative gifts yesterday with Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News weekend anchor. They’ll help ease active minds, increase well-being, and relax tight muscles  — all for $25 or less. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to one (or all seven) of these super health solutions. 😀

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1. Gaiam Restore™ Multi-Point Massager – $10

Your muscles adapt to the demands you place on it. If they’re chronically tight and you don’t do anything to change that, your body will tend to stay that way. Eventually, your posture changes (i.e., your head jets forward, your shoulders hunch, your abdomen sinks in, and your legs tighten up).

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Massage should be a routine part of your self-care.

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This massager targets trigger points in small muscles with deep pressure depending on how much you “dig” in. If you prefer a more relaxing session, just lighten up on the amount of pressure you apply.

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The Multi-point Massager has six outer prongs and one longer center prong. This allows you to easily “tilt” it and hit multiple pressure points at the same time. Especially good for massaging the tight upper chest muscles if you have poor posture (rounded shoulders). A great massager for partners!

Found this at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section), but Target and most sports/fitness stores carry products from Gaiam (pronounced “Guy-um”).

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you carry your stress in your shoulders, turn the massager upside down and place the KNOB of the massager into the “knot” at the top of your shoulder, hold it there while you add pressure, then roll your shoulders backward in small continuous circular motions while you work out the knot.

2. Whole Foods™ Aromatherapy Travel Fan Diffuser – $14

This compact (2 in x 4 in) diffuser is perfect when you want the benefits of aromatherapy while you’re on the go. No water or heat needed to operate. It also has a continuous soft color changing light. It’s truly portable — no electricity needed. Includes five 1″ round absorbing pads which are refillable when needed. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section).

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Use it at your computer, in the car, airport, hotel room, wherever and whenever you need to restore.
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Powered by a USB cable or 3 AAA batteries.
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Just add a few drops of essential oils on the absorbing pad, then turn it on. 

3. Everyone Essential Oils Blend (Relax) – $14 

Pair these pure essential oils with the diffuser. No synthetic fragrances. This soothing aromatherapy blend contains essentials oils that can help you relax: Lavender, Vetiver, Lavandin, Ylang Ylang, Orange, and Frankincense. Includes a dropper inside. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section).

4. Gaiam Restore™ Pinpoint Back Massager – $25

I LOVE this back massager!! Yes, love it! I’ve tried different brands and varieties (including the larger S-shape style) of this type of back massager, and this one is a winner. The material is strong, yet it still has some flex. (The flexibility factor was problematic with some I tried — either too much or not enough.) What I love most is its size. The “hook” can fit in a carryon, laptop bag, even a backpack. That means, when you start to tense up at the office, on a plane, train, BART, wherever, you can relieve pain in your neck, shoulders and back on the spot before it becomes unbearable.

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Found this at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section), but Target and most sports/fitness stores carry Gaiam products.

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Includes a downloadable exercise guide.

KRON4_HealthyGifts10 Continue reading “KRON 4 | Last-Minute Restorative Gifts for $25 and Less”

KRON 4 | Beware of “Drinksgiving”

Did you know that Thanksgiving Eve has skyrocketed to be one of the biggest binge drinking days of the year? Some call it “Drinksgiving”, or “Blackout Wednesday”, and it’s become an extraordinary night for the bar industry. I explain to KRON 4 Morning News weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, the why’s and why not’s of this big drinking holiday.

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Drinkers and Drivers Beware!

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, high-risk binge drinking and DUI- related injuries increase by 33 percent. In some cities, there are more DUI’s and hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption during Drinksgiving. According to MADD, more people are KILLED during the Thanksgiving holiday than the Christmas holiday.

Habitual Homecoming 

Since around 2012, Thanksgiving Eve has become known as one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year — right up there with St. Patrick’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and July Fourth. Why? Thanksgiving Eve is a big holiday homecoming party. A lot of people are visiting their parents for the long weekend and kick off the event by meeting up (and drinking) with old friends.

Some bar owners say their business goes up as much as 400% compared to an average Wednesday. It’s considered the “holiday before the holiday”.

Most Popular Drink During Thanksgiving

  • Wine – about 65% of drinkers 
  • Beer – 20%
  • Mixed liquor drinks – about 15%

What is a Standard Drink?

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One standard drink is defined as 0.6 fl. oz. of “pure” alcohol.

In the U.S., one “standard” drink is defined as 0.6 fl. oz of “pure” alcohol which equates to:

  • 12-oz regular beer (about 5% alcohol; light beer about 4.2% alcohol)
  • 5-oz. glass of wine (about 12% alcohol) 
  • 1.5-oz. shot of distilled spirits (gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whisky, etc. — about 40% alcohol)

What’s Considered Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as having the following within a two-hour period:

  • Women: 4 or more drinks
  • Men: 5 or more drinks

One bottle of wine = 25 ounces (five 5-oz servings)

On the average, 2 people can finish a full bottle of wine in about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Long-Term Health Dangers from Binge Drinking

  1. Heart Disease: Binge drinking can cause weakening of the heart muscles (“alcoholic cardiomyopathy”) even in 20- and 30-somethings and results in congestive heart failure.
  1. Blood Pressure: There is a definitive link between blood pressure and the amount of alcohol consumed. Binge drinking, in particular, has been                associated with dangerous surges in blood pressure.
  1. Cancer: Alcohol is a known carcinogen for areas of the head and neck — the mouth, esophagus, throat. Long-term binge drinking may also increase the risk for cancers of the liver and breast.
  1. Brain Damage: Binge drinking impacts the developing brain whereby a person in their 20’s is especially vulnerable to long-term memory loss and an inability to learn new skills in the years to come. That’s because the brain is continually changing and alcohol can interfere with those changes. Alcohol in large quantities is toxic to the delicate cells within the brain.
  1. Alcohol Poisoning (Death): From 2010 to 2012, alcohol poisoning was responsible for approximately 2,200 deaths each year, or six deaths per day. Most people who die from alcohol poisoning are white men ages 35 to 64, according to the CDC.
  1. Injuries: Per the CDC, binge drinking is responsible for 80,000 DEATHS in the U.S. each year.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink. Know your limits, watch your intake, and consider the immediate and long-term health risks.

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KRON 4 | Tailgating 101: How to Party and Picnic Safely

Football and baseball are synonymous with tailgate parties, cooking outdoors, and picnics. That means you’ll need to pay special attention to menu planning, preparation, and safe food handling practices. Since you’re without a refrigerator and running water, here’s how to keep your food safe all day.

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What to Pack

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  1. Lots of clean utensils for preparing and serving safely cooked food.
  2. Insulated coolers to keep food protected and cold OR hot.
  3. A meat thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are cooked at high enough temperatures to destroy harmful bacteria and foods are reheated to safe-to-eat temperatures.
  4. fridge and freezer thermometer for coolers.
  5. An oven thermometer for hot insulators.
  6. An instant-read thermometer for reheating leftovers.
  7. Clean, wet, disposable cloths, hand sanitizer, and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
  8. Disposable gloves for cleaning or touching raw meat.
  9. Smaller containers or foil for leftovers.
  10. Water for cleaning.

Danger Zone for Cold Foods – Above 40ºF

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Fridge and Freezer Thermometer
  • Place a fridge and freezer thermometer in your cooler. Be sure your food stays at 40ºF or below.
  • Cold food should be stored in a well-chilled cooler.
  • Do not leave the food out for more than two hours (one hour if weather is above 90ºF).
  • Keep food in the shade and out of the sun.
  • Keep perishable cooked food, such as luncheon meat, cooked meat, chicken, and potato/pasta salads “refrigerator cold”, so keep it next to the ice.

Danger Zones for Hot Foods – Below 140ºF

  • Do NOT partially cook meat or poultry at home ahead of time, then transport the half-cooked food to the party/picnic. Doing so allows harmful bacteria to thrive and multiply.
  • Hot foods like chili, soup and stew need to stay hot (140ºF or above).
  • Eat hot food within two hours.
  • To transport and store piping hot foods, use an insulated container* like a cooler.
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Your cooler can become a hot insulator.

*How to prepare a hot insulator:

  1. Heat up some hot bricks. Wrap them in heavy-duty foil first, then heat up in a 300 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, warm up your insulator (e.g., a cooler):  Fill it with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, and empty.
  3. Place newspaper and brown paper grocery bags on the bottom to insulate.
  4. Add your hot bricks.
  5. Oven thermometerLine the insulator with thick towels to further insulate and prevent melting the plastic if inserting a hot pot off the stove.
  6. Place an oven thermometer in the insulator to ensure it stays hot enough.
  7. Keep the insulated container closed and the food should stay hot (140º or above) for the whole game.

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How to Cool Large Pots of Hot Food

If you’re cooking hot food the night before (e.g., a pot of chili), it needs to be refrigerated after cooking. WARNING: Food needs to chill quickly to avoid bacteria growth during the cooling process. To do so, separate into smaller containers and set the containers in an ice bath. When cool, refrigerate.

Handling Raw Meat, Poultry and Fish

    • Cooking raw meat is risky unless all food handlers are diligent about keeping utensils, hands and surfaces clean to prevent cross-contamination.

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  • If transporting perishable raw meat (e.g., hamburger patties, sausages, chicken, fish), place it in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of ice.
  • Wrap raw meat securely to prevent juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat food. Ideally, keep these raw foods in a separate cooler.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure internal cooking temperatures.
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Use a meat thermometer when cooking raw meat.

Remember… a cooler is not a refrigerator. Keep the most perishable items next to the ice.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, roasts, and chops (145ºF)
  • Ground meats (160ºF)
  • Poultry (165ºF)
  • Leftovers (165ºF)

NOTE! If cooking marinated raw meat at the tailgate site, be sure not to reuse the marinade unless it’s boiled first to destroy harmful bacteria. Be sure cooked food is placed on a clean platter free of any raw meat juices.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you can’t keep the food hot while transporting it to the picnic/tailgate party site, cook the food the night before, and cool it in the refrigerator. On the day of the party/picnic, pack the food in a well-chilled cooler and reheat it to 165ºF on a camping stove.

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