Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: "I have diabetes. Please help me."

Group of runners

“Over the past 32 years, from 1980 through 2012, the number of adults with diagnosed diabetes in the United States nearly quadrupled, from 5.5 million to 21.3 million.  Among adults, about 1.7 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year.  If this trend continues, as many as 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States could have diabetes by 2050.” 
          --Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014 Diabetes Report Card

The majority of what the US spends on health (read: sick) care is on chronic (read: preventable) diseases like diabetes.  It is taking down some of our best and brightest adults.  The lesson is clear.  We cannot afford to continue down this path.  Our children are in trouble…unless we stand and act. 

I often speak about the need to improve the quality of foods kids have access to and eat.  Whenever I am shopping for food, I always notice what others have in their grocery carts, especially if there are kids in tow.  The foods that many parents choose to feed their kids are feeding diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  Foods and drinks high in processed sugars and salt are NOT what kids need.  All kids need – and deserve – access to whole, plant-based foods.  But, as I have said here before, we need to put on our own oxygen masks first before we put on our children’s masks.

This week, it happened again.  I ran into a friend who stopped me to ask for help because she has diabetes.  She has a stressful job running a department for a local county municipality and said she needs help knowing what she can eat.  She and I have already had our first education session to begin empowering her for her own health.  We will have another in 2 weeks.  But what about her children? What about the health of her employees?  Many of them have sedentary desk jobs, a red flag for diseases like obesity and diabetes.  What about the health of her employees’ children? 

I can help my friend become more literate about diabetes, control it, manage it, and hopefully, reverse it.  While I am educating her, I will also be educating her family and her staff.   With 9.3% of Americans estimated to have diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed), and another 1 in 3 Americans with prediabetes, the stakes are clear:  the health and quality of our children’s future lives are on the line unless we step up and accept the challenge to take care of ourselves.  If we are going to help our children, we have to help ourselves.  Please pass the crustless spinach quiche and sparkling mineral water!

For kid-tested tips and recipes to prevent diabetes and put your family on a clear path to healthier foods, check out Nourish and Flourish. Click on the link in the top right corner!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

PS-If you have a family member with diabetes or prediabetes and have a question about what to eat, write to me at  I'll send you the new recipe for Crustless Spinach Quiche, brand new from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen!