Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Mindful eating

Mindful eating is a key point of keeping on track with your nutrition goals to obtain and maintain the healthiest body possible.  It focuses on paying attention to the signals your body naturally gives for hunger and satisfaction.  Not only does it help you to develop eating habits that are better for your health, it will help you to enjoy meals, improve your sense of well-being, lose weight or prevent weight gain, and improve some of the side effects you may be experiencing from having diabetes. 

This article from www.amihungry.com (original pdf link: http://www.amihungry.com/pdf/Mindful-Eating-Cycle-for-Diabetes) explains more about they cycle of mindful eating:

Learning to eat mindfully takes time, attention and practice.  Try different strategies to find what works best for you.  Here are some tips to help make mindful eating a daily habit:

  • Set a regular schedule for eating:  Some people have irregular eating habits, including skipping meals.  Such habits may cause weight gain.
  • Take time to eat:  Make meals last 15-30 minutes.  Make meals an experience to enjoy instead of eating on the go.  Savor your food.  Give your body a chance to become satisfied and send that message to your brain.
  • Eat at a table.  Sitting at a table with a place setting helps send your body the message that you are having a meal.
  • Eat with other people:  Eating (and making) a meal with others can be an enjoyable shared experience.  Eating with others also can help in planning and scheduling regular meals that are better for your health.
  • Be present when eating:  Sit at a table while having a meal, turn off screens, and simply taste the flavors and enjoy your food.
With these tips to start with and the helpful article above, we hope you're well on your way to better mindful eating.  We also hope to hear about your mindful eating tips!  Please send us a comment in the box below and let us know what tips work for you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Diabetes 101 Fall Classes

The Diabetes Education department will be having their Diabetes 101 Class series again this Fall.  We're hosting them at our Greenfield and Northampton centers.

Patients who have diabetes are encouraged to come to discuss their challenges, goals, and concerns about diabetes.  We provide valuable materials, recipes, on-site cooking demonstrations, and a friendly, no-judgement atmosphere to learn and better understand diabetes and how to manage it.

If you are interested in participating in one of the classes, please call our Diabetes Outreach Specialist, Sara, at 413-772-3330 and she will check your insurance eligibility and get you signed up for class!

Click on the images below for each center's class details:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Have you checked out our Recipe tab yet?  We are cooking up all kinds of delicious dishes over there!  Just click on the tab all the way to the right on the top of this page, titled "Recipes" and you'll find some delicious, fresh recipes there for the making!

We're posting new recipes there weekly from our Diabetes and Nutrition staff.  We're also looking for your favorite recipes.  Please send your favorite recipes that are friendly for those who have diabetes to us through our "Contact Us/Submit a Recipe" box to the right of the page.  Please be sure to include the nutrition information if you have it, serving size, prep time, etc., and a picture!  Any tips or additional information are always helpful!  Once we review the entry, we'll post it if approved by our nutrition experts.

We can't wait to see what delicious dishes you like to cook and look forward to hearing feedback on the recipes that are posted weekly!  Bon app├ętit!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Travel Tips for Diabetes Care

Just because you have decided to take a vacation doesn't mean your diabetes has also.  It can be daunting at first to think about caring for your diabetes while you are on vacation, away from the comforts of home and out of your regular routine. It doesn't have to be.  With planning, you can give yourself a safe and relaxing get away.

Here are some tips and reminders to keep in mind while you travel. Whether you are taking a day trip or traveling far away for a few weeks, these tips will keep you healthy, safe, and ensure you're feeling your best while you are away.

Tips to consider before and during your trip: 

  • Bring enough medication:  Pack your diabetes supplies first.  For longer trips, pack double the amount of supplies that you think you'll need in case of travel delays.  Don't forget to bring your medications; blood glucose monitoring supplies; syringes; and glucose gel, tablets, or another carbohydrate.
  • How to pack your medications and supplies: 
  1. If you're flying - Take all of your diabetes medications and supplies in your carry-on.  Separate these items from your other belongings before screening begins and be sure to let the baggage screeners know that you have these items.
  2. If you're taking a road trip - Keep insulin out of the heat.  It should not be stored in direct sunlight or in a hot car. Put it in a cooler instead, but don’t place it directly on ice or on a gel pack as it may get damaged.
  • Bring snacks and plenty of water with you:  If you are taking a long road trip, it's always a good idea to pack a cooler with plenty of water and some healthy snacks to stay hydrated and prevent low blood sugar.  Some good choices include fruit, crackers and peanut butter or cheese, nuts, or seeds.  Some of these foods can be high in calories, so measure out small portions (1/4 cup) in advance.
  • Pack appropriate footwear:   Be sure to bring protective footwear for all the activities you may do on your trip like going to the beach, walking on paved roadways, hiking on trails, etc.  Avoid walking barefoot and check your feet for any blisters, cuts, redness, or swelling.
  • Bring important documents and information with you:  Be sure to bring these documents with you:
  1. License or state issued identification card
  2. Passport (if needed/traveling internationally)
  3. Health insurance card
  4. Medical identification that says you have diabetes (i.e. medical bracelet or card)
  5. A list of medications and dosages (this may be on paper or saved on your cell phone)
  6. Health care provider's name and contact information (this may also be on paper or stored in your cell phone)
  • Be sure to take breaks:  Whether you are driving, flying, or traveling by other means, make sure you either stop or get up (when allowed in flight) to walk around throughout the trip every hour or two. This will help you reduce your risk for blood clots.

Now that you are armed with more information, hopefully you are a little more prepared for your vacation plans and once you're packed and ready to go, you can finally relax a bit like vacation is intended for!  Bon boyage!

*Many of these helpful travel tips for diabetes care were provided by the CDC.  More helpful tips and links can be found on their website here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

What's for dinner?

Do you hear that question often or find yourself asking that question often?  Or maybe you are trying to figure out breakfast or lunch and you just want to grab something quick and easy and get on with the rest of your busy day.

It's not always that simple when you have diabetes.  You need to plan.  That can seem daunting, especially if you don't have all the information or tools at your fingertips to help you make sound, well-rounded, healthy decisions for your meals.

A great place to start is learning what a healthy balance of the different types of foods are that you need daily to keep your body fueled and your blood sugars as balanced as possible.  *Everyone's needs are different and their blood sugars react differently to different foods and at different times of the day so it is always recommended to work with your Certified Diabetes Educator or Registered Dietitian at Valley Medical Group to figure out the best plan for you.

In addition to meeting with your medical professional, helpful tools for food planning are key to beginning and maintaining a well balanced meal plan that will make daily meals and snacks a lot easier to handle to maintain the balanced nutritional requirements your body needs to keep your blood glucose as steady as possible.

Out with the old and in with the new...

Did you know that the Food Pyramid is no longer the recommended guideline for nutritional meal planning?  The Create Your Plate method is now recommended for everyone.  It varies for individuals depending on age and medical needs.  

The Create Your Plate method starts with a 9" plate which is then divided into sections.  It is recommended to eat 25% Protein like fish, chicken, and beans, 25% Grains and Starchy Foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes, 50 % Non-Starchy Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and spinach.  They also recommend a serving of fruit, dairy or both if your meal plan allows, and a drink with low-calories like water, unsweetened tea or coffee.

Below is an example of the Create Your Plate:

The American Diabetes Association has a Create Your Plate tool available to help people with diabetes make more nutritionally balanced decisions.  You can find the tool here.  This interactive tool allows you to choose from a handful of examples on their drop down lists for Proteins, Grains and Starchy Foods, Non Starchy Vegetables, Fruit, and Drink.

This tool gives great examples of foods that fit into the different categories to complete a balanced meal but the lists in the tool are a little limited.  Just below the tool though, they have provided links to extensive lists of non starchy vegetables, grains and starchy foods, and protein foods.

Now that you have some tools to start planning well-balanced meals, you'll need to set aside some time on a day that works best for you and plan ahead.  Plan a week's worth if you can and then prepare your grocery shopping list and you're ready to go for the week.

Once you've begun to plan your meals, knowing what's for dinner or any other time of the day, should be a lot easier to answer and you're more likely to stay on track with your healthy meal plan and keep your blood glucose levels more balanced and make your daily life a little easier.

*Do you need to see one of our Diabetes Educators?  Call Sara at 413-772-3330 today to set up an appointment.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Are you looking for a place to go to discuss living with diabetes?  A welcoming group of others that also have diabetes that relate to your experiences, challenges, and concerns?  A place to learn about nutrition, coping strategies, problem solving, and better understanding of diabetes and the medications you may take for it?  All in a relaxed environment, with no judgments?

You will find all of these benefits and MORE by joining our Diabetes 101 Class series.  Class is now in session in both our Greenfield and Northampton locations but stay tuned for upcoming dates in our various locations! 

Our first Diabetes 101 Class graduates just met for their follow up appointment with Margie last week after completing the class and everyone was positive about what they had learned during their time in the class and are looking forward to using the tools and information they've learned while in class.

Our graduates had this to say about the class:
"The class has been beneficial. Learned a lot. A lot has changed since I first started [with diabetes]".
"I now make healthier choices while I keep in my carb range. I'm proud of that."
"I enjoyed the class and the people in it and got a lot out of it, so thanks!"

The series is a 4 class commitment.  We strongly encourage people to attend all the classes to benefit fully from the materials and information that will be taught and discussed in every class.

The schedules for both series are below:

If you want more information or to schedule for our Diabetes 101 classes, please call Sara at 413-772-3330.

Monday, March 26, 2018


Starting May 8th, 2018, patients who have diabetes and have signed up for class, will be able to attend the new Spring Diabetes 101 series in our Northampton Health Center with Diane Alpern, RD.

This informative, helpful, and FUN class will provide you with information and tools to help you maneuver life with diabetes.  

There will be healthy food demos & tastings, helpful handouts, and group discussions with others on the challenges, concerns, and goals they have living with diabetes.

For more information and to sign up, call Sara at 413-772-3330.