Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition Facts’

Diabetes Prevention Program Nutrition Classes & Cooking Demonstrations

In Nutrition Class on February 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Since 2007, the Fair Haven Community Health Center’s Diabetes Prevention Program (FHCHC DPP) has offered 1-hour nutrition classes once per week for participants in the 12-week Intensive Lifestyle Intervention. The nutrition curriculum is based on the National Institutes of Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum, amended by the University of Pittsburgh to fit larger groups, and further translated to fit FHCHC’s particular low literate and predominantly Latino population. Classes are taught by FHCHC DPP clinicians, and are delivered in both English and Spanish. Bilingual PowerPoint presentations and handouts support participants in understanding the content of each session, while detailed facilitator scripts and facilitator guides support facilitators in addressing the widely diverse needs and experiences of participants. Cooking demonstrations and discussions are an experiential learning component of each class, and foods prepared each week reflect the ripe produce harvested that week from the program’s garden. Between 10-20 adults attend classes on a weekly basis, and often that same group stays the next hour for a professional trainer-led exercise class. Children attend their own exercise classes during the adult nutrition and exercise classes, while infants and toddlers attend onsite childcare. Aligned with the notion that diabetes is a family-oriented disease, when one patient is invited to attend nutrition classes, DPP staff invites members of the patient’s family to attend as well.


Nutter Butter No Longer

In Nutrition Class on September 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM














Time: 9:35am
Place: C-Town Supermarket, Fair Haven Connecticut

Four years old and has relationship with Nutter Butters. Don’t get me wrong, when you put the above listed ingredients together Nabisco World style, there isn’t a taste bud around who isn’t beaming. But in this case, Elizabeth, the clinician doing the supermarket class for pre-diabetics, could not have planted a better educational opportunity. The boy’s mother and grandmother were in a conversation with Elizabeth about how to integrate more nutritious foods into their diets when the boy, as if drawn by some invisible force, leaned forward and seized the can of Nutter Butters off the shelf. Bliss.

It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later that the conversation settled on the cookies. The boy had lost interest in the sugar by then, and was patting a container of fresh strawberries absent-mindedly. Elizabeth turned to the boy and asked whether those were his favorite fruit. The boy nodded shyly, and in an instant Elizabeth had paid and enlisted the produce manager to wash them. The Nutter Butters had mysteriously disappeared.

She turned her attention to the mother and grandmother while the boy got into the strawberry business. Elizabeth leveled with them: I simply stay away from anything with that many ingredients. It is bound to be mostly artificial and unnecessary. I also strategize to save kids from all the exciting yet detrimental processed foods at their eye level, Elizabeth continued: give them fruits or other healthy snacks to munch on as you make your way through the market. The mother and grandmother nodded solemnly, awake to the difficulties of meeting their own financial and cultural constraints, not to mention contending with the invisible bond that exists between children and cookies.

That the WIC coupons only cover things like the hydrogenated oil and corn syrup-filled peanut butter does not simplify a plain trip to the market. And yet, despite the obvious complexity, it was clear that the Nutter Butter breakfast was, at least for now, obsolete.

Basil: Low Cost and Low Calorie Recipe

In Community Garden on July 14, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Basil is a very prolific herb, and yet because the ingredients in many basil dishes are expensive and high in calories it is an impractical herb for many with financial and metabolic constraints.

Here is an alternative recipe:

The One Main Use of Food Diaries in Diabetes Prevention Nutrition Education

In Nutrition Class on July 1, 2010 at 1:10 PM

For clinicians, food diaries have one essential role: to guide curriculum development. Every single aspect of the food diary, from dissemination to evaluation, can be utilized as a teaching opportunity.

When Elizabeth asks who likes to read or write before handing out the food diaries, she gains insight into her patients’ literacy rate. Knowing participants’ literacy rate then informs how she might teach the segment on Nutrition Facts, for example.

When people fail to fill out or bring in their food diaries, Elizabeth can see that as an indication of a barrier that, if overlooked, could prevent them from accomplishing their healthy living goals. Non-participation, in other words, is an opening for providing extra support where needed.

Elizabeth uses the food diary content to influence the flavor of subsequent classes as well. For instance, imagine a participant writes, ‘1.5 cups rice with beans’ for lunch 5 days in a row. Elizabeth will talk about diversifying ones diet, especially in the direction of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If a participant is not loosing weight and their food diary indicates a responsible diet, Elizabeth then has a platform on which to inquire into their other habits that may be preventing them from accomplishing their weight loss goals.

At the close of programs, Elizabeth will use the food diary to track trends. “I have never seen a grapefruit in someone’s diary” she declares in an interview. People generally do not report snacks, nor does their fresh fruit and vegetable intake general rise above 33% per week. Understanding these constraints enables the Diabetes Prevention Program’s Nutrition Class to continually evolve to meet the needs of its participants.

Pre-Diabetic Patients Expand Uses of Lettuce

In Community Garden on June 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM

This week’s veggie of the week is lettuce. With Connecticut gardens in their lettuce-producing prime, there is no better time to introduce the vegetable’s plethora of varieties and uses.

From the Classroom to the Garden to the Plate: Using Greens

In Community Garden on June 18, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Approximately two weeks into planting, I quickly realized that as wonderful as it was to have program participants involved in the garden, the harvest would be futile unless they knew what to do with the goods!

In response, we created the ‘Veggie of the Week.’ Elizabeth explains the nutritional value of a given crop on the Monday night Nutrition and Exercise class, we harvest said vegetable on Tuesday, and hear their feedback on Friday.

Last and this week’s theme was Greens.  One participant named Mary (for the purpose of this blog) said she loved the chard. She ate it raw like I recommended, in a sandwich. At the mention of kale, however, Mary’s nose scrunched up like she was smelling something stinky. ‘Too bitter’ she said. When I recommended honey, SHE explained patiently to ME that they were not supposed to eat a lot of sugar.  I revised my suggestion, obediently; ‘Garlic!’ I exclaimed. ‘Try it with garlic and a tad olive oil and salt.’  With slightly less conviction she said they weren’t supposed to eat a lot of salt, but quickly followed with a promise to try it.

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