The Pros and Cons of Being a Vegetarian Fitness Enthusiast

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc


  1. Eating a plant-based diet provides a plethora of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A to fight free radicals caused by exercise (where free radicals are produced at a greater rate).
  2. You are forced to focus on your dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens and high Vitamin C foods like peppers and oranges to absorb the non – heme iron found in plant foods.
  3. Pre training foods like bagels, yogurt and peanut butter are already a part of your daily intake.
  4. You’re at an even greater advantage to prevent heart disease by exercising and eating the healthy fats such as almonds, avocados and lean proteins like beans and fish.
  5. Your physical activity and plant based lifestyle are dually protective against diabetes. Vegan diets have been shown to lower one’s average 3 month blood glucose.


  1. You must make extra effort to get your  8 essential amino acids needed for muscle and hormone synthesis by eating a variety of protein sources like beans, peanut butter, tofu and quinoa.
  2. You may need to take an omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement if you are not consuming deep sea fish. There are vegetarian marine algae forms of DHA available.
  3. Caution – place extra emphasis on eating complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat pasta, barely, and millet.  Avoid grabbing easy and available processed stand – bys like chips, packaged cookies, and boxed macaroni and cheese.
  4. Don’t fall prey to quick soy proteins sources like veggie burgers, “unchicken” fingers and fake meat. These products are highly processed, high in sodium and artificial fillers. In addition, limit soy intake to whole soy foods like tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame.  Choose one soy food /day.
  5. Bring on the Vit. B12. Vit. B12 is generally not found in plant sources. Milk, Fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast are vegetarian friendly form of this water-soluble vitamin needed for red blood cell synthesis.

What's on our "Q"?

 The Skinny on Shakes for People With Diabetes

With so many meal replacements on the market, but how do you pick
which one is best? Taste shouldn’t be the only determining factor. It can
be important to consider the sugar, carbohydrate or even protein content.11 Nutritious, Kid-Friendly Finger Foods

Who doesn’t love meatballs? Check out this easy to follow recipe made
from lean turkey breast, which helps turn this usual calorie fest into something
a bit healthier. And while your at it, make sure to check out the Mango Tango Tortillas!

Jet-Set With Your Picnic Basket! Fun Theme Ideas for Lunch

Themed picnics are a great way to incorporate entertainment, flavor, and
even education into a family outing. Add a clever theme to your picnic by
incorporating foods from another city or, better yet, from around the world!

Also in “Q”: Remember to tune in for Restaurant Week 2012 recommendations, this Wednesday AM on CBS’s W1NY!!


The Epidemic of Diabetes

Hydrate with water, not soda

Regardless of weight and age, America is heading towards a Diabetes epidemic. Americans must change their lifestyles by moving more, and eating less.

Diabetes does not discriminate based on overall weight. America needs to focus on decreasing belly fat, specifically, eating less processed food and moving more.


Based on the study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes is increasing in our teen population. There was a 14% increase in prediabetes and diabetes in a ten year period. In 1999 – 2000, there was a 9% incidence of prediabetes and diabetes in teenagers between ages 12- 19. In 2007- 2008, there was a 23 % incidence of prediabetes and diabetes. This is more than two fold. However, the study also revealed this was regardless of weight. Across the weight spectrum, all teens had an increase in the incidence of Diabetes. In my mind, this is a Diabetes Epidemic not an obesity epidemic.

Obesity did not increase in our youth during this ten year period from 1999 – to 2008. One study from the NHANES reports an actual decrease in teen obesity, despite an increase in prediabetes and diabetes. Also, half of the participants in the study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which means everyone needs intervention.

So what is the intervention? It depends on who you ask but the many agree America must move more, eat less processed food, and practice stress relief. America is eating too much and not moving enough. We are a culture of convenience. People need to eat because they are hungry rather than bored. We need to eliminate highly processed food such as chips and soda. We need to feel full with fiber and drink for hydration. Simple solutions are to replace chips with fiber rich berries and soda with bubbly water like Perrier. Ideally, we need to decrease insulin resistance and belly bulge (aka abdominal obesity).

The study admits to flaws. One of the flaws is the tool BMI – Body Mass Index. This measurement tool uses overall weight and height, not accounting for muscle mass and frame. Football players are considered obese when using BMI. A better tool to assess for obesity, belly fat, insulin resistance and or risk for diabetes would be the waist to height ratio. This tool would not qualify the typical football player as obese.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with the HLN audience. Click here to see the clip.


May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999−2008. Pediatrics. 2012;peds.2011-1082.

Love Your Heart With Oats

Love Your Heart With Oats

The oats found in oatmeal are a rich source of beta-glucans which provide a source of dietary fiber to the body. The beta-glucans found in oats and other grains such as barley and rye contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and can also regulate blood glucose levels due to the way it is digested in the body. The insoluble fiber helps keep your bowel movements regular! Beta-glucans have also been claimed to boost immunity.


5 Tips for Getting the Grains:

Add oats to a cookie or muffin recipe.

Include barely in soups and stews.

Swap sprouted barely bread for other sandwich breads.

Hide oats in your turkey meatloaf.

Start your day with hot oat bran cereal and slivered almonds.

Recipes to Rave About:

American Heart Association’s Oat Recipes –

Heart Healthy Living has a list of 21 oat and oatmeal recipes so you can have a nutritious breakfast that never gets boring. (Oatmeal also makes a great snack!)

Picture: <p><a href=”″>Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /</a></p>

Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes

Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes is a Family Affair

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE – Dietitian, Diabetes Educator, and Mom &



Make peace with carbs: Just because you or your loved one has Diabetes, it doesn’t mean carbohydrates are the enemy.


  1. Plan ahead by counting carbohydrates and spreading them out throughout the day.
  2. Make carbohydrates like pasta and rice, a side dish rather than the entrée.

Designate Dessert: If you love sweets, include them in your intake.

  1. Rather than feel deprived and end up binging, plan your piece of cake. Eat protein and veggies for your entrée and use your carbs for dessert.
  2. The family chef can make mini desserts or just make less dessert, avoiding temptation.

Walk Your Sugar Down: Moving after a meal is helpful to reduce blood glucose.

  1. After the holiday meal, get your entire family up and out to see holiday decorations or have a snowball fight.
  2. Walking and or light exercise helps to lower your blood glucose and consequently your insulin.

It’s a Family Affair: If you or your loved one has Diabetes, have the entire family engaged and have everyone eat as if they had Diabetes.

  1. It’s sabotage to offer the rest of the guests food that someone else can’t have. If the family eats the same foods, pasta as the side rather than the entrée, no one will feel left out and no one will be tempted to overload on carbohydrates.
  2. Family member are genetically at risk for Diabetes. If the whole family eats in a balanced manner, you will be helping to prevent their chances of Diabetes later in life.

Mix Your Meals: Eat carbohydrates, proteins and fat together.

  1. Protein and fat take longer to digest. If you eat your carbohydrates with these foods, the carbs will be digested slowly and your blood sugar less likely to spike.
  2. Mixing meals and snacks help to regulate blood sugar and hormones and consequently help to keep you feeling satiated longer.
    1. Shrimp Cocktail with cocktail sauce
    2. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
    3. Hummus with veggies and warm whole wheat pita
    4. Mini turkey meatballs with marinara
    5. Veggie and low fat cheese napoleons

The All Inclusive APP

My new and most favorite iPhone app is dLife Diabetic Companion. Not only can you easily log your blood sugar, carbs and insulin units, but you can easily click on added notes. Examples of the notes include but are not limited to the following: skipped a meal, drank alcohol, missed exercise, changed infusion site, and feel hypo. You just click/tap, no typing needed. This makes logging and multitasking easy. 5 Stars!!

In addition, the dLife app includes 25, 000 foods and their facts. You can access 9,000 recipes easily categorized for most nutritional needs. This app may be beneficial for anyone in need of free nutrition education and healthy recipes. You don’t have to have diabetes to benefit from this app. Take a look for yourself because it is free.


Are you game for September 17th?

Don’t forget to register for Women’s Health “Are You Game?” on September 17th. Laura Cipullo RD, CDE and Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE will be offering free nutrition counseling that day in addition to all of the other cool wellness events. Get the details and register at: .

Defy Aging with the ABC's of Youth

Defy Aging with the ABC’s of Youth

A is for anti inflammatory foods. Almonds and avocados contain monounsaturated fats that help to increase our good cholesterol, HDL. HDL functions as an anit inflammatory agent in our body!

B is for brain food. Fight aging with omega 3 fatty acids like salmon or cod liver oil. The omega 3 fatty acid known as DHA has been shown to improve memory as reported in the Chicago Health and Aging Project.

C is for cereal grains. Cereal grains like whole wheat berries, rye berries and quinoa are low glycemic grains. Prevent blood sugar and insulin peaks by choosing these grains. This can help you to decrease your risk of high insulin levels, diabetes and ultimately Alzheimer’s disease.