How to Eat When You Have Type II Diabetes | QA

How to Eat When You Have Type II Diabetes | QA


My name is Martin and I have Type 2 Diabetes. My A1C is very high and I struggle with a good diet plan or what to eat. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you

– Martin 


So glad you realize the importance of controlling your diabetes, Martin. The best advice will be directly from a Registered Dietitian that you can sit down with and go over your particular diet and daily blood sugar levels, not only your Hemoglobin A1C. Preferably that person should also be a Certified Diabetes Educator® (carries the CDE® credential) who is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes prevention, prediabetes, and diabetes management. 

Top recommendations for Type 2 Diabetes from such experts address weight control and balanced meals, including the following advice* 

  • Research supports the use of a low-fat, plant-based meal plan as therapy for Type 2 Diabetes success. 
  • Eat vegetarian all day, one to two times per week. 
  • Each meal should contain healthy carbohydrates, fat, protein and ideally vegetables. Healthy carbohydrates are those that are rich in fiber (contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving) like whole grains, legumes and fruit.  
  • Eat protein first, add some vinegar to your food twice a day and have a good helping (about 15 gm) of resistant starch. 
  • Make the right snack choices (fruits and vegetables), reserving starches for your main meals. 
  • Prepare (even if simply assembling) meals at home as much as possible. You’ll generally eat more vegetables, smaller portions, less fat, fewer total calories. 
  • Use weekend or evening time to chop; chop fruits and vegetables in bulk. You’ll be more likely to eat more servings of these healthy foods.  
  • When you eat restaurant meals, practice portion control from the point when you order. Get less food placed in front of you to eat less and to consume fewer calories.  

*taken from Burns, J. “Lifestyle & Healthy Eating Tips For Diabetes Type 2” The Diabetes Council (2018, Oct. 17) 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41

Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41

Welcome to the 41st episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.  

This episode is a bit unconventional. COVID-19 is affecting people on a global scale and we are no exception. So, this episode is recorded and brought to you from Andrew’s home office (aka his living room).  

Today, Registered Dietitian Debbie James phones in to bring us her expert opinion on food safety and sanitation, along with information on how you can eat well if you have to shelter in place.  

You can continue to expect more podcast episodes from the Living Healthy Blog over the next several weeks. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you in the gym in a few weeks! 

How Are We Doing? 

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41



Introduction of Today’s Guest: Registered Dietitian Debbie James 


What Do We Need to Bear in Mind in Terms of Food and Illness with the COVID-19 Virus? 


What Kind of Foods Will Get You the Needed Vitamins? 


Should I Stop Eating Out? 


Are Canned or Frozen Foods Safer Than Fresh Foods Right Now? 


Do I Need to Wash My Food and Cook Everything? 


What are Good Sanitation Practices in the Kitchen? 


Plastic vs. Wood Cutting Boards – Which One Should I Use? 


If I Need to Shelter in Place, What Should I Eat First and Save for Last? 


How Can You Still Eat a Balanced Diet if You’re Sheltering in Place? 


What are Healthy Foods to Have in an Emergency 3-Day Supply? 


Actionable Advice 




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High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

Getting Fit for Swimsuit Season 

For a solid high-energy workout, you’ve got to put in the work! Even if you’re not keeping up with the class or if you’re running a slow mile compared to someone else, putting in the best that you can do means you’re getting an amazing workout. 

Your body is always competing with its own personal best. If you are challenging yourself in a way you haven’t been challenged before, then you’re doing things right! This can mean that you’re doing one more pushup when you thought you were ready to quit or running your mile a couple seconds faster than you did the last time. Strive to outdo yourself in bits and pieces and you’re bound to get more out of your workout! 

That being said, we know it’s easier to give that little bit extra when you have a game plan. Here are some options to help keep you moving until the last second of your workout! 

Circuit Training

Circuit Training tasks your body to perform a series of exercises back to back before a brief period of rest. This workout model is intense, not only because it works multiple muscle groups over the course of the workout, but because it requires you to keeping moving all the way through. If you’re really feeling ambitious you can even throw in some cardio before you start your circuit. 

A sample workout could look like this: Complete 8 to 15 reps performing the Leg Press, then the Chest Fly, then the Glute Kickback, and end with Bicep Curls. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times. 

View this circuit, and additional samples of this training model, here. 


Plyometric exercises can be upper body or lower body focused. It’s all about building up your movement from slow and controlled to explosive and powerful. Plyometrics are great for generating speed, but to accomplish this, your body will need to expend a lot of energy to move the way you’re asking it to 

Lower-Body PlyometricsThese are exercises like box jumps, jump squats, and switch jumps. The sudden explosion of energy required to jump is what makes these exercises plyometric movements. You can even add a medicine ball to increase the intensity. Click to view some medicine ball plyometrics. 

Upper-Body Plyometrics – These focus less on jumping and more on generating power from your upper body. An example of this would be a clap push-up or a medicine ball wall throw and catch. You can view these and more upper body plyometric workouts here. 

Drop Sets

A drop set is several repetitions of the same exercise that you perform until failure. You are essentially pushing a single muscle group as far as it can go. To help pull you through this kind of workout, drop sets are designed to allow you to drop the intensity of your movement with each set. For example, once you’ve done as many as you can do at a certain level of resistance, you allow yourself to continue by decreasing the resistance and performing another set.  

The best way to perform these is on machines because you can more easily manipulate how much weight you’re carrying, and you’ll have a safe way to release the weight when your muscles finish their last possible rep.  

View some sample drop set workouts here. 

For more articles like this one, and to keep up to date on our fitness, nutrition, and wellness articles, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, today! 

How Laughter Improves Your Health

How Laughter Improves Your Health

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is widely known, but how did it come about? What are the reasons behind its presumed healing properties? Apparently, there’s some science behind this old saying. Laughter really does have the ability to boost your wellness! Not only can it improve your mood, it can also encourage blood flow, heighten your immunity, increase your intellectual performance, and set you up for a better night’s rest.1 

Tomorrow is National “Let’s Laugh” Day. Make some time to go down to a comedy club or to watch your favorite comedy at home. As you’ll soon learn, a little joy can go a long way! 

Blood Flow Benefits

Laughter can actually impact your physiology. To examine this, the University of Maryland Medical Center invited volunteers to watch funny and disturbing movies. While watching the movie that produced mental stress, the group developed a reduction of blood flow from the narrowing of their blood vessels. The opposite reaction was observed when they watched a movie that made them laugh. Their blood vessels dilated which increased blood flow. 

The endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels that is expanding or constricting, plays an important role in cardiovascular health. It’s plausible that laughter can help keep it healthy which, in turn, can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.2 


Stress is known to lower your body’s ability to protect itself. Positive, stressreducing thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.3 In addition to that, a study on laughter therapy found that laughing increases the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and even certain kinds of tumor and cancer cells.4 This means that laughter can naturally beef up your body’s defense mechanisms. Those are some powerful benefits!  

Intellectual Performance

Have you ever sat down to an exam, a difficult assignment, or a meeting, and felt too anxious to really give it your best? Laughter can help you improve your intellectual performance because it helps relieve your anxiety! In an experiment that tested this concept, participants who were exposed to funny cartoons before a mathematics exam performed better than participants who did not have this exposure.5 When anxiety cannot impair your thinking, it is easier to perform intellectual tasks. 

Better Sleep

Because laughter stimulates blood circulation and helps your muscles relax, physical symptoms of stress are allowed to dissipate.3 Reducing your stress levels can help your body reach the state of relaxation it needs in order to fall asleep and to sleep more restfully. A key finding among studies that examined laughter therapy and its effects on depression and sleep was that once a week was insufficient. Laughter therapy provided more than twice a week was shown to improve both depression and quality of sleep in participants.6 

It seems the old saying has some merit! Even if some of its effects are minor or gradual, there’s no doubt the body can benefit from a good laugh. Read up on more interesting health topics and stay in-the-know by subscribing to our monthly newsletter! 

Nutritious Green Foods You Didn’t Know About

Nutritious Green Foods You Didn’t Know About

Today we’re all about those healthy greens! We’ve got some interesting fruits and veggies to share, and they’re not your everyday choices. We’re pretty sure you’ll come across at least one you either haven’t heard of or haven’t considered putting on your plate! 

Good nutrition is all about variety, so pick out one of these fresh choices and see what delicious creation you can devise.

Nutritious Green Veggies


Purslane is technically an edible succulent. Its leaves are tender yet crisp and even the stem is edible. In many parts of the world, purslane is considered a weed and is plucked and discarded. Throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, however, it is widely consumed.1 Whether you regard it as a delicious veggie or a weed for the discard pile is up to your taste preferences.  

Purslane’s flavor is lemony and, when fresh, its texture holds up well to acidic salad dressings. Not only does it taste good, it’s highly nutritious. According to recent research, purslane contains significant levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (5 times more than spinach!) and more Vitamin A than any other leafy green vegetable! 

Enjoy purslane in a fresh salad, in your sandwich, or even in soups and stews. 

Turnip Greens

Turnips are a root vegetable and they’re commonly enjoyed fresh, cooked, or pickled. The star of the show today, however, is the green top! Turnip greens can be consumed as a cruciferous vegetable.  

Like other bitter greens, these will have to be boiled down to be palatable.2 The extra effort is worth it because the turnip top is even more nutritious than the root. According to Healthline, the greens contain significant amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Provitamin A (a substance that gets turned into Vitamin A), and Folate (which aids in the production of red blood cells). 

Try turnip greens sautéed or in a soup! 

Beet Greens

As with turnips, the beet root is the more commonly consumed part of this plant, but you don’t want to miss out on all the nutrients in the leafy green tops! Just one cup of these cooked greens offers 220% of the daily value of Vitamin A, 37% of the daily value of Potassium, and 17% of the daily value of fiber!3 

Unlike turnip greens, these are sweeter and have a similar flavor profile to spinach once they’ve been cooked. Raw, they’ll hold a slight but tolerable bitterness. Try them sautéed, in a salad, or in soup! 

Dandelion Greens

You may recognize these as difficult to eradicate weeds, but did you know the leafy parts, the roots, and even the flowers are edible?4 Assuming they haven’t been treated with chemicals or herbicides, dandelion greens can be a healthy addition to your plate!  

Per serving, they contain over 500% of your daily value of Vitamin K as well as high levels of Vitamins A and C.5 There’s even some research to support their ability to support healthy digestion and treat constipation.4  

Flavor-wise, these are slightly bitter. They can be best compared to the earthy flavors of endives and are often sautéed or braised to help cut the bitterness. 


Finally steering away from bitter greens, we’d like to introduce you to Kohlrabi. This is a small vegetable that has been a staple of German cuisine for centuries. It can be eaten raw or cooked and its flavor is similar to that of a broccoli stem.6  

Like many other cruciferous veggies, this little bulb is a good source of fiber. It’s also rich in antioxidants, iron, and potassium!6 

Use the root in the same way you might use carrots or broccoli, and the leaves in the same way you might use kale or spinach.

Nutritious Green Fruits


Despite its scaly appearance, this fruit is soft to the touch. Get past its artichoke-style exterior and you’ll find pockets of sweet and creamy fruit within! Because of its sweetness, cherimoya also goes by the colloquial name, “custard apple.” Be careful to avoid eating the skin and the seeds (they’re usually large and easy to see and remove). Both contain small amounts of toxins that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities 

Interesting benefits of this fruit include mood and immunity boosting properties. Vitamin B6 is important to the creation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and this fruit happens to have a generous amount of this essential vitamin!7 In terms of immune health, cherimoya’s high Vitamin C content can help bolster your body’s natural defenses. 

Chayote Squash

This fruit masquerades as a vegetable and is often used as one! Its mild, somewhat sweet, flavor makes it the star of many Mexican, Indian, and Latin American dishes.8 

In addition to a number of good vitamins and minerals, chayote squash has some possible medicinal qualities. While more research is needed to come to any definitive conclusions, there are records of chayote squash tea being used to lower blood pressure and to treat bloating.8 


This melon goes by many names and, while it isn’t green on the outside, it’s lime green inside earns it a spot on our list. You may have heard it going by the name “horned melon” or “African cucumber.”  

This fruit is great for keeping hydrated. Its water content is a whopping 88% and it also contains carbs and electrolytes that can help keep you fueled and hydrated after a hard workout.9 When it’s ripe, this melon tastes a bit like cucumber with a slight hint of banana. The easiest way to eat it is simply to cut it in half and spoon out the pulp. 

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that highlights one of these fruits or veggies? Share your idea with us in the comments below! To stay in-the-know on trending health and nutrition topics, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the Living Healthy Blog! 



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