Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: National Diabetes Education Month

It is November.  It is also National Diabetes Education Month.  Every year, we are reminded to have conversations about diabetes with our families, perhaps also with our doctors.  There are opportunities all around us to learn more about how we can protect our health by taking action. 

Let me share a conversation I had tonight...As part of a new partnership, Growing Healthy Kids was recently asked to create a four week nutrition class for mothers living in north Fort Pierce, Florida.  A small church with a big heart, St. Simon the Cyrenian Episcopal Church was founded in the 1920s by Bahamian immigrants.  A major church renovation was just completed and we were invited to use the church's new kitchen to bring health literacy into the community.  One of the women in the class told me at last week's class she was taking insulin and pills for diabetes, yet when I spoke about the most important lab test for people who have diabetes (the A1c), she had no idea what I was talking about.  That was my first sign that her doctor is treating her but not teaching her. 

Tonight’s nutrition class featured lentils (because they are such a great source for dietary fiber, the good kind of carbohydrate).  While we were talking about the recipe we were about to prepare together, I talked about some of the problems that come with diabetes, like heart attacks, strokes, and nerve damage to the feet.  Immediately, this same woman said, “That’s what’s bothering me now!  My feet are starting to burn all the time.”  Over and over again, she asked questions, great questions.  The more we talked, the more aware I became that she has had diabetes for years, yet she still knows so little about what she can control, such as the foods she eats. 

I am looking forward to seeing this woman next week at our next Wellness Wednesday adventure at the little church with the big heart nestled just north of Avenue D in Fort Pierce.  For me, bringing education about diabetes and empowering mothers and grandmothers about how we make choices every day about our own health and the health of our family, is why wellness matters.  The best way you can support our health ministry work in Fort Pierce and other medically underserved communities is to click here and purchase several copies of Nourish and Flourish: Kid-Tested Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes for your own family and church.  

In case you would like to try the delicious recipe that had everyone's attention (including the children's) at tonight's nutrition class, here is the newest recipe from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen:

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection

PLACE in a medium pan with 3 cups water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer:
  • ·         1 cup lentils

COOK for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Drain off excess water.
WHILE lentils cook, sauté over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes:
·         2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ·         1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ·         1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ·         2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ·         Freshly ground pepper
  • ·         Sea salt
HEAT on a griddle (1 minute each side):
  • ·         Corn tortillas
SERVE tortillas with a spoon of lentils and top with sautéed vegetables, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.    
Makes 4 servings.

  •           Lentils are packed with dietary fiber (the good kind of carbohydrate).
  •      Double this recipe and store the extra lentils and vegetables in reusable containers and use for delicious, healthy lunches for your kids to take to school and for you to have at work.  Mix with cooked brown rice or quinoa for added nutritional value.
  •       Nutrition facts:  ¼ cup lentils (uncooked) have about 11 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of protein, 320 mg potassium and 80 calories.

  In gratitude,
  Nancy Heinrich
  Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

  P.S. To learn more about National Diabetes Education Month, click here.