Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kids' school nutrition key to lifelong health

Great article by Rep Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), representing the 4th Congressional District, who is chairwoman of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Article discusses children's nutrition, costs of school meals, and reauthorizing of the Child Nutrition Act and National School Lunch Program.

Kids' school nutrition key to lifelong health

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alert: Diabetic Insulin Syringes Recalled

  • Product name: ReliOn® Insulin Syringes 31-gauge, 1cc
  • Lot number: 813900
  • Product identification number: 38396-0403-02

Adding to the long list of recent recalls, people with diabetes using ReliOn® insulin syringes should check their boxes. On November 5, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Website publicized notice of the ReliOn® Insulin Syringe Recall. The syringes being recalled from lot number 813900 are labeled as “ReliOn® 1cc, 31-gauge, 100 units for the use of U-100 insulin”. Tyco Healthcare Group LP, (Covidien) the manufacturer, ceased distribution of these possibly defective insulin syringes on October 8, 2008.

On October 9, 2008 ReliOn® issued a voluntary recall of the syringes. These sterile, single-use, syringes with permanently affixed needles are being recalled for the reason some are mislabeled and have a potential for overdose risk. Somehow during their production process, syringes labeled for U-40 insulin use were packaged with syringes labeled for U-100 insulin and then distributed.

The questionable insulin syringes were manufactured by Tyco Healthcare Group LP, distributed by Can-Am Care Corporation, and sold exclusively at Sam’s Clubs and Wal-Mart stores under the ReliOn® Insulin Syringe brand name. Around 4,710 boxes each containing 100 syringes, for a total of about 471,000 syringes, were distributed by Can-Am Care Corporation to Sam’s Clubs and Wal-Mart stores under the ReliOn® name between August 1 to October 8, 2008. However, they could have been sold even after this date. Around 16,500 customers who purchased the syringes in stores and on line from their websites have been notified to return the recalled syringes to their local Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart Pharmacy.

The FDA has advised patients and healthcare providers to carefully check for these recalled syringes. Unfortunately, use of a flawed ReliOn® syringe could deliver a two and a half times larger dose than ordered, resulting in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Initial signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

· Confusion

· Dizziness

· Hunger

· Heart palpitations

· Sweating

· Nausea

· Headache

· Tremors

· Anxiety

If a person is left untreated, it can rapidly progress into:

· Disorientation

· Seizures

· Loss of consciousness

· Coma

· Death

Regrettably, the manufacturer has reported one such incident to the FDA. A month ago, Shirley Payne, of Virginia, was stabilized and recovered after she fell victim to the faulty syringes. Healthcare workers and consumers are urged to report serious adverse side effects, or product quality problems from the use of this product to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program by mail, FAX, online, or phone. Either call 1-800-332-1088 or go to For further information, consumers can call Covidien at 1-866-780-5436 or go to

Even though consumers are assured a replacement package, several attorneys are evaluating individuals who suffered adverse reactions or serious injury, and are investigating for potential lawsuits. They caution although Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart Pharmacies are exchanging the insulin syringes from the recalled lot, individuals who have suffered injury who intend to pursue the syringe recall lawsuit should preserve their remaining syringes until their case has been reviewed. They caution any needles not returned should be stored and marked in a way to prevent against their usage.

All things considered, who knows how many people this affected and whether we will ever know the truth. In any case, it makes one question what happened to this company’s quality assurance department. When lawsuits are started, hush money keeps us from knowing the extent of the truth. In conclusion, this incident is just another example of our country’s deteriorating structures.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Easy Ways to Get Your Five Per Day

We have repeatedly heard how we should eat more fruits and vegetables for optimum health and to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately although it sounds simple, research data shows the majority of people simply do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. Instead they continue to eat only two servings of fruits and vegetables per day even though they should consume a minimum of five. Hopefully this article will inspire you with numerous ways to include more fruits and vegetables into your pattern of eating every day.

First, positive belief goes a long way. Begin your day optimistic, thinking about how you can include fruits and vegetables in your eating habits. Develop a positive expectation this is easy to do because canned, dried, fresh, frozen, juiced, and liquidized fruits and vegetables all count towards the minimum goal of five.

Starting with breakfast, add in bell peppers, mushrooms, salsa, and/or spinach into eggs for an omelet or to be wrapped up in pita bread or a tortilla. Happily top off your bagel with your favorite berries or a slice of tomato. Don’t forget to consume fruit like apples, applesauce, grapefruit, oranges, and/or juice. Complement your cereal, granola, pancakes, toast, waffles, or yogurt with bananas, blueberries, or strawberries.

Next, instead of single servings, eagerly think of combinations of two different vegetables to serve for lunch and dinner. Are you content with peas and carrots, or corn and beans? Remember to complete your sandwich with cucumber, lettuce, onion, and/or tomatoes. Enthusiastically replace white potatoes with nutritious sweet potatoes. Make sure to keep bags of your favorite frozen fruits and vegetables, which can be heated or thawed in minutes.

Instead of snacking on chips or pretzels throughout the day reach for nutritious raw vegetables. Balance your nutritional regime with baby carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber spears, or red pepper strips dipped in hummus or salad dressing for satisfying crunchy alternatives. Munch on grapes or raisins for a change. Consider a banana or fruit snack. Nibbling on dried fruits like apricots, cherries, cranberries, dates, and figs, will complement any day.

Make sure you keep fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible. When you open your refrigerator door, have a cleaned prepared portions of your most consumed fresh produce at eye-level. Have available on your kitchen countertop or table a bowl of your family’s preferred fresh fruit.

Don’t neglect leftover vegetables to grow moldy in the back of the refrigerator. Passionately heat them together in a pan to make vegetable soup broth. When you have more time, strategize to use these when you make and freeze casseroles, lasagnas, primavera, soups, and/or stews for use on the days when you are pressed for time.

Banish the thought this can be too time consuming by tossing together several fruits for a fruit platter. To complete your eating habits mix apples, coconut, bananas, blueberries, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and/or mangos with a little orange juice for a fruit salad. Appreciate how well some fruits freeze. Wash off your fresh bananas, blueberries, grapes, or strawberries, and toss them into a freezer bag or container to be popped into the freezer. To balance your fruit intake, once frozen you can add them to drinks, ice cream, pudding, smoothies, yogurt, or just eat them plain as refreshments.

When dining out at restaurants, start with a salad. Substitute vegetables for the fries, or order stir-fried vegetables. When you go to the buffet, first head for the fresh fruits and vegetables before moving on to other selections.

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to harmonize your nutritional intake with shakes and smoothies. With or without ice, ice cream, yogurt, kefir, banana, blueberries, oranges, papaya, pineapples, strawberries, or more, spiced with or without cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mint, or more. Put in some of your frozen fruit for savored tang. Gratefully throw your favorite combination of fruit, juice, spices, or more in a blender, select liquidize, and pour into your favorite glass or mug for a satisfying meal on the go.

In fact in March 2007, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) became so concerned about increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables by all Americans they launched a public private partnership, the National Fruit & Vegetable Program. The partnership maintains Fruit & Veggies – More Matters encouraging us to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. This website is loaded with all types of information and recipes with the goal to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. I particularly enjoy their pictures of what a daily serving of 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables actually looks like. The CDC in partnership with Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) maintains with the goal of encouraging families to achieve increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. They even have an interactive children’s area for learning with age appropriate materials, games, and recipes.

Hopefully you are now empowered with the knowledge of the unlimited choices available so you have the freedom to balance your food intake with more fruits and vegetables every day. In summary, when you start your day thinking positive about how you can add fruits and vegetables into your pattern of eating, you will appreciate finding them abundantly available everywhere in your life. Always remember to include a full serving of love, mixed well with joy and laughter in your life.

©Debby Bolen

Monday, November 3, 2008

Empowered to Overcome Diabetes

An example of a disease requiring careful attention to diet is diabetes is diabetes mellitus. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2007 23.6 million people or almost 8% of Americans have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Both principal types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type2, are characterized by abnormalities in production and use of the pancreatic hormone insulin.

In either case, diabetes results in the body not producing or not properly utilizing insulin, which regulates the amount and the rate cells absorb blood glucose or blood sugar. Glucose, one of our main sources of energy for blood cells, circulating in our blood stream is formed from digestion of carbohydrates. Furthermore, since glucose is the brain's only food, proper minimum levels have to be maintained for normal brain function.

Throughout every day each person has varying blood sugar levels. After food consumption, our blood sugar often rises between 120-130 milligrams per decaliter (mg/dL) triggering pancreatic beta-cells to release insulin. Then glucose is allowed to enter mainly body fat, liver, and muscle cells. As a result, the blood sugar level falls back to normal and insulin secretion diminishes until the next meal is ingested.

People with diabetes have insulin levels too low resulting in blood sugar levels too high, or hyperglycemia. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include dry skin, frequent urination, thirst, vision changes, weight loss, and reduced resistance to infection. Persistent hyperglycemia results in injury to the nervous system, and blood vessels particularly of the eyes, and kidneys, leading to greater risk for Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular problems, infections, and stroke. The two major types of diabetes are Type 1 insulin dependent (IDDM) and Type 2 non-insulin dependent (NIDDM).

Affecting 5-10 percent of diabetics, physicians consider Type 1 IDDM an autoimmune disease since insulin producing pancreatic beta-cells are destroyed by the body's own immune system. Typically striking before the age of 20, it is also referred to as juvenile-onset diabetes. Scientific research suggests contributing factors include nutrition or viral infection. Theoretically several insulin injections per day are required for sufferers to survive.

Often striking middle-aged and older people, the more common form Type 2 NIDDM affects 90-95 percent of diabetes sufferers. Researchers do not completely understand how Type 2 NIDDM develops but it results from a combination of reduced production of insulin from beta-cells and a decrease in the body's ability to use insulin, referred to as insulin resistance. However, several factors have been identified which increase a person’s risk for developing this syndrome including obesity or excess body weight, and lack of exercise.

Between the US lifestyle of consuming larger portions of high-calorie food complicated by lack of exercise, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes has significantly risen especially among the ethnic groups of:

  • African,
  • Asian/Pacific Islander,
  • Latino, and
  • Native Americans.

Consequently, a large industry has emerged around traditional
diabetic research and treatment including oral diabetic medicine, pumps, surgery, and injectable rapid, intermediate, and long-lasting insulin. Regrettably, diabetic medicine puts people at risk for blood sugar levels too low, resulting in hypoglycemia. Initial signs of hypoglycemia are confusion, dizziness, hunger, palpitations, and sweating. If a person is left untreated, it can rapidly progress into disorientation, seizures, loss of consciousness, and they could lapse into a coma.

The cost of money and the suffering of people with this long-term ailment is staggering. The American Diabetic Association stated in their Economic Costs of Diabetes in the US in 2007, direct medical costs of diabetes care, chronic diabetes-related complications, and general medical costs, plus indirect costs including disability and work loss, now total $174 billion. Even though the American Diabetes Association Website states diabetes is an incurable disease, apparently there are countless numbers of people managing this malady with diet and exercise. The CDC acknowledges this in their 2007 fact sheet. In fact, some individuals are very public figures. For example, last November actress Halle Berry shocked the country by stating she had weaned herself off her insulin and was managing her health with diet and exercise, which she shouldn't be able to do with Type 1 diabetes. This caused an entire flurry of debates within the medical community. In a state of disbelief some stated this wasn't possible, while other physicians stated she had been initially misdiagnosed.

But what if diabetes expense and suffering is not necessary? What if the American obsession with alcohol, caffeine, dairy, fast ood, nicotine, processed food, soda, and sugar are causing more health problems and suffering than we realize? Dr. Gabriel Cousens, the well-known holistic medical physician specializing in alternative healing and raw living food nutritional therapies, produced a very enlightening documentary Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days chronicling six diabetic Americans who went to the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona. Here they embarked on a 30-day health regimen of diet change to vegan, organic, uncooked foods to reverse disease and get off of pharmaceutical medication. Each participant struggled with exercising, learning about food selection and preparation, and practicing yoga and meditation. Some adapted to the new diet and new lifestyle more easily, while others felt deprived and frustrated. To tell the truth, I was amazed a group of diabetics could get such obvious results in as little as 30 days and it left me reviewing my own diet, lifestyle, and willpower.

To say the least, the cliché: you are what you eat may have more meaning than we realize. In summary, perhaps our American lifestyle and diet have more to do with the growing diabetes problem than we are aware of or care to admit. In the final analysis, if a change in diet and lifestyle can free people from suffering with diabetes, maybe other illnesses can be managed this way also."bzdhBo4pbgE"

© Debby Bolen

Thursday, October 9, 2008

High Food Costs are Challenging

Today, I read this interesting article about inflation and how it is negatively impacting our society.  Many who say it is too expense have completely nixed eating out.  Gives statistics and exact details about why people are turning to processed foods but how we are even more at risk for chronic illnesses. 

High food costs make eating healthy meals a challenge

A steady rise in food prices has pushed consumers to their wits' end and changed shopping habits. Eating out has been nixed by many who say it's too expensive. But they can't avoid the grocery store and the sticker shock from prices that jumped 7.5 percent in the past year.

Debby Bolen

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Snacks

Almost everybody does it every day: Snack! Found very good information on one of our favorite things to do: snack. Since we are all doing it, they might as well be: healthy snacks.

Healthy Snacks That Taste Great

This first video is excellent. The first half of the video is about healthy snacks. The second half of the video is a real eye opener about how we consume too much sugar in our diets. Sometimes we can read and read and read but there is nothing like seeing the reality of what it really looks like. They discuss the relationship of daily amounts in teaspoons and grams. Thank you, Juli Auclair, and ADA's Eliza Zied. Juli Auclair and ADA's Eliza Zied shows you how snacks can be healthy and taste great.
6:39 minutes

How to Choose a Healthy Snack

Here is another excellent video on snacks and treats with specifics on types and amounts. In this clip Dawn Jackson Blatner,'s Nutritionist, recommends sticking to 2 healthy snacks per day between meals. Each snack should have about 100 to 200 calories. Some good options are pistachios, granola bars, etc.
3:30 minutes

Healthy After School Snacks

Great video about kid tested foods from Good Housekeeping Magazine. Trade in the cookies and chips for healthy snacks that kids will actually want to eat.
1:17 minutes

Healthy Snack Ratings

Good advice from, Robert Murray, MD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and about children’s snacks. Movies, video games and music are rated based on their content. So, why not snacks? A new Web site does just this.
57 seconds

Top Ten Healthy Vending Snacks

  1. NutriPals Fruit Bars, Strawberry
  2. CLIF Kid Organic Z Bar, Peanut Butter
  3. Quaker Oatmeal To Go for Kids, Apple Cinnamon
  4. NutriPals Snack Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate
  5. Herbalife Protein Bar, Chocolate Fudge
  6. Power Bar Pria Complete Nutrition Bar, Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp
  7. VitaMuffin VitaTops (all flavors)
  8. Solo Nutrition Bar, Chocolate Charger and Mint Mania
  9. South Beach Living Cereal Bars, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Almond, Maple Nut, Chocolate
  10. South Beach Living Snack Bar Delights, Chocolate Raspberry
From SnackWise

- Debby Bolen

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nutrition Data Website

For the last half decade, one of my favorite Websites to obtain nutritional information from is Nutrition Data. Their continuing goal is to provide the most accurate and comprehensive nutrition analysis available, and to make it accessible and understandable to all. They haven’t lost any of their authoritative status either since being acquired by CondéNet in 2006.

Their database information comes from the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference and is supplemented by listings provided for by restaurants and food manufacturers with source footnotes. While they caution they cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of every listing, they state they make every possible attempt to ensure the quality of their data. Even though Nutrition Data's interpretations represent opinion, they are based on calculations derived from Daily Reference Values (DRVs), Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs), published research, and recommendations of the FDA.

Besides their food composition data, they have interesting proprietary tools to use to analyze and interpret data. Among their numerous search selection tools include Compare Foods, Nutrient Search Tool, and Food Category Explorer. Moreover, Nutrition Data provides a variety of information from how to read a label, to a wide selection of nutritional topics, in addition to recipes. Among their numerous topics includes Better Choices Diet, Glycemic Index, Food Additives, and Effects of Processing Food. What is more, they have a couple of blogs with even more information.

Under their Help function includes a Quick Start, Search Tips, and several Help sections for each tool. They also have Nutrition Management Tools for BMI, Track, Analyze Recipe, Input Food and Foods by Nutrient. They even have a Unit Conversion widget for numerous calculations.

Furthermore, earlier this month they launched a My ND with a My Foods function to save your entries for easier access to the nutritional content of your favorite foods, My Recipes to create and analyze foods, and a My Tracking section. So now you can search through their information, see their detailed information, and save your favorites for easy retrieval. Clearly, with all the information they have, this function comes in handy.

All things considered, Nutrition Data is a very complete Website for learning a lot about numerous nutritional related topics. In brief, it’s like getting lost in another world of surprising facts and figures. In conclusion, you will know a lot more about what you eat after visiting Nutrition Data.


Debby Bolen

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Healthy Diets are a Key to Wellness

If you are interested in your health and well-being, healthy diets are of prime importance. The science of dietetics is concerned with feeding groups or individuals. Specializing in this area are dietitians, the health professionals with training to provide safe, factual dietary advice and interventions. Additionally, the science of nutrition examines the relationship between health and diet.

Actually, in relationship to food the word diet has two different meanings. Ordinarily, diet is the usual daily food and drink consumed. On the other hand, someone can also be dieting by following one of numerous diets regulating selections of food usually for cosmetic or medical reasons for gaining or losing weight.

Theoretically, the energy value of food and the energy spent in daily activity are measured in units of heat called kilocalories, which are referred to as calories. Consequently, diets for gaining or losing weight are based upon calories taken in and calories used in activity. When people take in more calories than they use, they gain weight. If they take in fewer calories than they use, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, dieting to loose weight is usually a mistake resulting in the person “finding” the weight they “lost”. As a matter of fact, sometimes even more weight is gained aggravating the situation even further. Clearly a much better plan would be life style changes for weight management including exercise and better food choices aimed at maintaining optimal health. Always seek a doctor’s advice before beginning any diet program.

As a rule, special diets may be prescribed for health reasons. Accordingly, diabetic diets are ordered to limit sugar intake, while low-salt diets are prescribed for heart and kidney conditions. What is more, people can have allergic reactions to many foods including eggs, milk, nuts, seafood, strawberries, and wheat. Hence, these foods cannot be consumed in their diets. Sometimes these allergies are difficult to pinpoint and should be diagnosed by a physician.

Moreover, some people choose to limit certain foods for environmental, health, morality, religious, or other reasons. For one thing, people eliminating animal products to varying degrees include plant-based diets of fruitarians, living foods, raw foods, vegetarians, and vegans. Be this as it may, careful attention should be paid to not developing dietary deficiencies, for instance of Vitamin B12. Furthermore, some religious cultures restrict unacceptable foods from their diet. Examples include Halal foods for Islam, and Kosher food allowed in Judaism.

Usually, a normal balanced diet containing all the food nutrients necessary to keep a person healthy by building and maintaining tissues and regulating bodily functions includes carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, vitamins, certain fats, plus water. However, dietary habits or habitual choices defining cultures and religions may affect health resulting in dis-ease and mortality. Briefly, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C and D, are often eaten in smaller than recommended amounts. Examples of deficiency diseases include scurvy from a lack of vitamin C and anemia from a lack of iron. In addition to these, some other ailments resulting from deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances of diets eventually producing negative impacts upon an individual’s health include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, or psychological and behavioral problems.

In the final analysis, human nutrition is complex and a healthy diet varies widely depending on environment, genetic make-up, and health condition. On the whole, a person’s diet varies according to activity, age, climate, health, and weight. Ultimately, healthy diets result in optimum health and well-being.

Debby Bolen
Mary Constante

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Consequences of the American Processed Foods Diet

Regrettably, the processed food industry wastes over $33 billion per year in advertising to lure people to consume sugar-laden, fast, junk foods. These processed foods are overloaded with hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats. While lacking in necessary nutrition, processed foods main ingredients are nutrient empty sugar, water, fat, flour, starch, artificial colorings and flavors. In 2002 alone, the processed food industry sold over $174 billion worth of this adulterated combination by fabricating thousands of cookies, crackers, puddings, cakes, soft drinks, and other concoctions.

The ensuing outcome is America has become a factory of wide spread obesity and chronic disease where a huge number of Americans are then sent on to the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry. In 2007, John Hopkins University School of Bloomberg School of Public Health warned if not halted the ever-increasing obesity crisis will explode by 2015 to 24% of children and adolescents being overweight or obese, and 75% of adults being overweight with 41% being obese.

Currently over fifty percent of people with severe weight problems have diabetes alone. At this time, the CDC and NIH have estimated over 7% of our population has a form of diabetes for a total of over 21 million people but nearly a third are undiagnosed. In 2007, indirect and direct medical cost of diabetes is estimated at over $174 billion. Presently these numbers are exploding daily and tangible statistics are difficult to obtain to keep up with the reality of our diabetes epidemic.

It is very distressing American society has chosen this lifestyle in view of the fact 1970’s nutritional experts research data revealed patterns of eating influence illnesses. By the 1980’s publicized research revealed populations consuming more fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods experienced lower disease rates. Two well-researched examples are the whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetable, and olive oil rich Mediterranean diet, and the South Pacific diets with copious amounts of coconut oil. Even something as simple as water has a profound affect on health. Last year, Loma Linda University research revealed something as uncomplicated as 5 glasses of water per day reduces the risk of our number one cause of death heart attack by 50%. Since we have three decades worth of proven research on the benefits of a healthy diet, but are not applying this knowledge, one has to contemplate just what our goals are as a society.

Experts have estimated twice the current acreage would have to be planted for farms to grow the amount of fruits and vegetables necessary for Americans to consume healthy diets. Deplorably, American politicians stubbornly continue to pander to lobbied interests and subsidize the processed foods industries while blatantly disregarding the health and well being of American citizens. The ever mutating Amended H.R. 2419, the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, is supposed to provide for the continuation of our country’s agricultural programs through 2012. For months the Senate and House have been wrangling over our country’s next five-year plan but when they finally agree on it, President Bush will probably veto it due to disagreements regarding crop subsidies. The Citizens Against Government Waste states there is no significant reform in HR 2419 and are encouraging the President to stick with his veto threat. The result of all this, is our nation has completely out of balance healthcare and agricultural economics policy which is now affecting the rest of our planet.

Debby Bolen, RN