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Diabetes Awareness Month
2013 Calendar of Activities
Here's a challenge: Track how many activities and good habits you can develop during Diabetes Awareness Month. We offer a variety of all-level physical activities, new places to go, different foods to experience and a little learning for each day of the month. This is not just for people with diabetes, so enjoy this 2013 Calendar of Activities with your entire family!
The numbers are astounding! 1 in 3 children will get diabetes in their lifetime. 1 in 4 Americans either has diabetes or is at risk for developing the disease. Diabetes is a life-altering and life-threatening disease. People diagnosed are at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, as well as incurring serious financial and emotional hardship.
Knowing the risks, recognizing the warning signs, eating healthy and getting regular physical activity is critical to preventing diabetes and/or effectively managing the disease. Preventing or managing diabetes is also about taking personal responsibility and making small but lasting changes in diet and physical activity.
Repetition of any behavior, good or bad, helps create a habit. This calendar of activities will take you through the month and provide information that will get you thinking, moving and taking small steps in the direction of better health! Some activities repeat throughout the month such as: Meatless Monday, Take the Stairs Tuesday, Water Wednesday, Walk from the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday and New Veggie Friday. Weekends are for getting outdoors with family and trying new activities.
This calendar is to help you identify healthier choices to incorporate into your daily lifestyle and through a month of repetition come out on the other side with a better you!
Each day review the activities for the day and click the links to get more information or to complete the activity.
Day 1 - Commit to taking Defeat Diabetes® Challenges by participating in the full month of activities. Take the pledge and post it on your refrigerator as a reminder. Be sure to invite family and friends to participate in the challenge.
If you don’t have diabetes, Take the Screening Test to determine your risk for developing diabetes.
Try a New Veggie – The average American eats far fewer types of fruits and vegetables than you might imagine. The top 5 are: potatoes, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. That leaves plenty of room to stretch your taste buds. This month we'll recommend some new fruits and veggies to try. Give it a shot, you just might find some new taste treats.
Parsnips an often ignored, yet delightful, root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips are starting to make a culinary comeback due to a new generation of chefs and the parsnips amazing versatility.
Here’s some ways to add fruits and veggies to every meal and snack of the day!
Stretching is a natural and instinctive activity and something you can do every day regardless of your physical condition. People stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity. But, by making it part of your daily routine you will find that all of your everyday activities are easier. Stretching often takes a back seat to your regular exercise routine but studies about the benefits of stretching show it improves your flexibility and may decrease your risk of injury.
It does not have to involve a huge time commitment, but stretching can give you huge results! Even better, there are simple stretches you can do while watching TV, on the computer, or getting ready for bed.
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Day 2 – Fall fun! Take the weekend and enjoy the last of the good fall weather. Go on a hayride; visit a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, an orchard or cider mill. Bundle up, if necessary and enjoy some outdoor time with the family.
Apple Orchards and Cider Mills
Pick Your Own
Corn mazes are huge outdoor play areas cut through corn fields. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, outdoor play clothing and bring the whole family for some fun.
Corn Mazes America
Hayrides are a pleasure ride in an open truck, wagon or sleigh which has been decorated with hay or straw and similar farm life paraphernalia. There is a link below but you can also do an Internet search in your region.
Day 3 - Family Physical Activity Links - With this handy reference tool, your family will never lack ideas for things to do in the great outdoors!
The word exercise has become a “dirty word” wrapped with negative connotations and a chore to be avoided at all costs. For people with diabetes and those at risk for developing diabetes, regular physical activity is crucial for long term good health. So, it’s important to figure out ways to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine.
A new study suggests many parents overestimate the amount of physical activity their kids are getting. Have your family start logging their daily physical activity. You might be surprised at what you discover. The log will give you a baseline to start from so you can track improvements.
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Day 4 – A persimmon is the orange edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the ebony wood family. Even though persimmons are associated with Asia, persimmons are also native to the Americas. When the settlers first arrived at Jamestown they were introduced to persimmons!
Meatless Mondays - Going meatless, even once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also reduce your carbon footprint, conserve fresh water, fossil fuel and save you oodles of money too.
Here are two great recipes to get you started.
Pumpkin Potato and Leek Soup
Creamy soup with autumn flavors. Great starter for Thanksgiving, Halloween or fall dinner party.
Cauliflower Lentil Curry
All the rich, warm and savory flavors of India.
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Day 5 - Pet Diabetes Awareness Month – Cats and dogs are vulnerable to developing diabetes too. Learn the warning signs and how to help your pet.
Take the Stairs Tuesday - Take the stairs at every opportunity. Instead of taking the elevator, commit to taking the first two flights by stairs. Instead of walking to a building using the gradually sloping walkway, use the stairs.
Day 6 Water Wednesday - According to the USDA, soft-drink consumption, which includes soda, fruit-flavored and part-juice drinks, and sports drinks, has increased almost 500% over the past 50 years. Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars Americans consume! Today cut out the soda and just drink H2O.
Try a Legume – Legumes should be a regular part of your diet. What are legumes? You might already have a few favorites. They make an economical and nutritious alternative to meat.
Islets of Humor™ - Dark Chocolate Lentils Cartoon
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Day 7 - What's Your A1c Day? Defeat Diabetes Foundation recommends that individuals with diabetes and those at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes have a regular HbA1c test performed by their doctor. The HbA1c, or A1c test, measures the amount of glycated hemoglobin present in your blood During the 120-day life span of a red blood cell. Read more about the A1c and why it’s important for your health and then ask your doctor to perform the test if they haven’t.
Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday - Did you know most of our errands are less than a mile from home? And the average city block is only 1/10th of a mile? If you must drive to conduct your errands, at least park in the back of the lot. Even 5 - 10 minute bursts of activity add up!
Too much stress? - Recent studies by Carnegie Mellon University show that chronic stress can cause ill health. The signs of stress may show up in your body as physical symptoms such as more frequent colds, injuries, or elevated glucose levels or in relationships, depression, insomnia and more. Studies from other sources show that as much as 75% of doctors’ visits are related to stress.
Day 8 - New Veggie Friday - Winter Squash – Squash can be baked, mashed, pureed, steamed, simmered, roasted, baked or stuffed. Once squash is cooked and mashed, it can be used in soups, main dishes, stews, casseroles, vegetable side dishes, even breads, muffins, custards and pies.
Tai Chi anyone? Tai chi is sometimes described as "meditation in motion" because it reduces stress and promotes serenity through gentle movements. To do tai chi, you perform a series of movements called forms.
Islets of Humor™ - Tai Chi Cartoon
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Day 9 - Visit a Farmer's Market - Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Although many large grocery store chains have excellent produce departments, many of the fruits and vegetables travel from distant locations, even foreign countries; are grown with pesticides or irradiated so that they can survive the trip from the farm to the grocery store.
A local farmer's market provides an important link between your community and fresh food sources. People have an opportunity to meet and interact with the farmers who grow the food they eat. Small farmers, generally, also utilize more eco-friendly farming techniques. Children get in touch with seeing food that isn't canned, frozen or processed.
Local Harvest provides a searchable database for farmer's markets, local farms and other local sustainable food sources.
Defeat Diabetes® News Video - Farmer's Market Diversity
Defeat Diabetes® News Video - Organic vs. Conventional Gardening
Organic Vs. Conventional Gardening - Article
No local farmer’s markets? Consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Day 10 - Today, spend some time outdoors on An Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. It’s a great way to explore the great outdoors, spend some time with family and friends, and get some exercise and sunshine. Whether it's a city, county, state or national park; the beach; a local river or even the local playground - it's an opportunity to get more in touch with the world around you. Here is a list of items to scavenge. With Thanksgiving approaching, feel free to add a turkey day item or two!
Family Dinners Matter - Idealized in the 1950's, the family dinner used to be an important ritual in our daily lives. This important ritual can and should be a part of your family routine. Learn why.
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Day 11 - The pineapple is actually the best known member of bromeliad family, all of which are marked by magnificent blooms. The pineapple doesn’t grow on a tree. It is actually a perennial plant which grows to heights of 3 1/2 - 5ft.
The pineapple is another one of those fruits that gives us a special bonus – a plant that in time, and with patience, may also bear fruit. Any pineapple you are likely to select for eating will also be suitable for planting.
Use TV Time to be Physically Active - A recent study concluded that for every hour of screen time (TV, video games and computer) you shorten your life by 22 minutes. Ironically, the average one hour television show has between 16 – 22 minutes of commercials. So, if you are watching TV, grab a few of those minutes back by adding some activity during commercial breaks. During a one hour TV show you can squeeze in a lot of physical activity. You can: run in place, jump rope, do crunches, jumping jacks, squats or push-ups.
Don’t think too much screen time is a problem for your family? Use this Screen Time Log to get the facts.
More Tips to Reduce Screen Time
Islets of Humor – remote control exercise
Meatless Monday Recipes
Curried Butternut Squash Bisque
This is a spicy smooth soup. It is wonderful for lunch, but imagine it as one of your vegetables for dinner! Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken if you prefer.
Indian Falafel Burger
The ricotta adds a touch of creaminess to this warm, spicy and slightly crunchy dish.
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Day 12 - Take the Stairs Tuesday - There are 1440 minutes in every day. Spend just 30 of those minutes being physically active. Thirty minutes is 2% of the day. Taking the stairs regularly is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine. Be inefficient to lose weight.
Free Range? Grass Fed? What? Just when people were starting to get a handle on nutrient content claims such as low fat, low sodium, healthy and light; food manufacturers are introducing a new set of food related terms. Some of these are actually meaningful distinctions that relate to the health of our food or the method they were raised, packaged or transported and others have no basis in law, and at least one, wins the award for pure bunk. Read more about Nouveau Food Labeling.
Day 13 - Water Wednesday – Your body is mostly water - nourish it today by drinking old fashion H2O. Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars Americans consume. So drink water today and lighten up on your calorie intake!
Get the history of diabetes in a nutshell with a diabetes timeline.
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Day 14 - World Diabetes Day is observed in 160 countries. It marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
We think of sleep as downtime when the brain shuts off and the body rests. But sleep is much more than that. Research shows that a number of vital tasks are carried out during sleep to help individuals maintain good health and function at their best.
Day 15 - New Veggie Friday - The humble cabbage – often maligned but good for you and easy to prepare.
No exercise is perfect for everyone, but water aerobics comes close because it is so flexible to individual needs, restrictions and abilities. You can also easily add difficulty to your routine by adjusting the size and speed of your movements, adding weights or aquatic gloves or working in deeper water.
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Day 16 – Go for a bike ride! Whether you bicycle for transportation, physical activity or pleasure, bicycling is a low-impact, aerobic workout that provides many health benefits and can be enjoyed throughout your entire life. The Well Adult lists bicycling among the most beneficial and effective aerobic exercises because it achieves conditioning and causes few injuries to muscles and joints.
Day 17 - Orienteering is a sport for the whole family as well as a “family of sports”. Participants use a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain at normal moving speeds. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find check points in a designated area.
Day 18 - New Fruit Monday - Locked inside the rough leathery exterior of the pomegranate is one of the most wonderful and bright flavors among all fruits. Each pomegranate contains hundreds of arils (juice sacs) that are brimming with antioxidants – a perfect bright taste for the holidays.
Walk, bike or take mass transit to work. Many of us live within a short distance of where we work. People who take mass transit to work are considered active because most commutes also require a walk from the home to the transit stop and office.
Meatless Monday Recipes
Roasted Pear and Winter Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons
This rich and sweet soup is perfect for a fall day.
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Day 19 – Take the stairs Tuesday! Stop at the top, while holding onto the handrail, place your toes at the edge of the steps and lower your heels. This is a great stretching exercise. Speaking of stretching… To stretch or not to stretch?
My Plate is a new way of thinking about what should be on your lunch or dinner plate. Easy to understand and healthy too!
Day 20 - Remember the saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?" To some, it just doesn’t make sense. Humans are, after all, hunter-gathers by trade and our bodies are designed to deal with scarcity. We can get up and function right away without eating. So why should skipping breakfast matter? Well breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!
Oatmeal has long been touted as an ideal breakfast. It’s versatile, warm, healthy, sticks to your ribs and tasty. But how much do you really know about the humble oat? Know Your Oats!
Islets of Humor™ – Goldilocks carbs
Day 21 - Don’t forget it’s Walk from the back of the parking lot Thursday - Every little bit of physical activity helps. Think about walking from the back of the lot every day. And don't forget to breathe while you're doing it!
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) impacts nearly 5 million American’s with at least 1 in 5 of those having diabetes. PAD increases your risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke which are also potential complications of diabetes. If you have coronary heart disease, you have a 1 in 3 chance of having blocked leg arteries.
Islets of Humor™ – Cartoon Dog walks man
Day 22 - New Veggie Friday - The first person to eat an artichoke was either brave or very hungry or both since their thorny nature can be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated. But they are a delicious and nutritious powerhouse in the fall and winter veggie category.
Pilates (puh-LAH-teez) has rapidly become one of the most popular exercise routines in the country. Chances are excellent you’ve heard someone talking about the benefits. But, what the heck is Pilates anyway? Learn more about your "core".
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Day 23 - Try a New Physical Activity - There are literally hundreds of physical activities and sports that individuals can participate in - no matter how large or small the community. This Saturday try something you haven’t done before or revisit something that you’ve tried in the past. Possibilities include bowling, going to the batting cage, disc golf or Frisbee, kayaking - here are a few more ideas.
Day 24 - This week begins the winter holiday season with all its stresses and joys. Here are some tips to help you survive the holidays.
Day 25 - New Fruit Monday – Cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving! One of America’s native fruits, they were used extensively by the indigenous people. Cranberries, because of their high level of antioxidants have been named a “super fruit.” Fresh cranberries are plentiful right now so grab a few extra bags and freeze them for later use.
Most of us spend far too much time at desks. But, just because we’ve become office dwellers doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze some physical activity in at our desks. Start adding a few to your routine each day. Exercises to do at your desk.
Meatless Monday Recipes
Emerald Spinach Soup with Tomato
A vivid and colorful soup that is full of flavor and truly satisfying.
Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Gruyere and Shitake
A stick to your ribs savory bread pudding - perfect for dinner or brunch.
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Day 26 - Take the Stairs Tuesday – Today, add a little more of challenge by doing every other flight double time!
Now that you’ve given your feet a good work out learn how to take care of them.
Day 27 - Portion Control - Portion size is one area where we go wrong when making eating choices. Part of the reason for that is we eat nearly 75% of our meals outside the home. When it comes to restaurants, food is the item with the lowest overhead. So, restaurants have got us used to overly generous portions to keep us coming back.
Nuts and Seeds are delicious and nutritious. They are great for snacking as well as a nice addition to salads and veggies.
Islets of Humor™ – Dress Size
Day 28 - Take a Walk – Have some spare time before Thanksgiving dinner? Take a walk! Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing and the ability to open the front door! Instead of taking a nap or watching football after dinner, take a walk.
Looking for a special place to walk? Here's a few links: Traildino - largest database of trails in the world by continent, country and region. Trailink has information on more than 30,000 miles of bike trails, walking trails, equestrian trails, and hiking and running trails, including interactive trail maps, trail descriptions, pictures and more.
7 of 10 people with diabetes suffer from some form of diabetic neuropathy. It is the most common complication of the disease. Although people with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, the risk rises with age, glucose control and how long you’ve had diabetes. The highest rates of neuropathy are reported among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathy seem to be more common in people who have poor glucose control, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or who are overweight. Yet, you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood glucose control and a healthy lifestyle.
Islets of Humor™ – Turkey
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Day 29 – Going shopping to take advantage of holiday sales? Be sure to walk from the back of the lot. Today you’ll get a spot quicker and save gas not circling for a spot near the store entrance.
New Veggie Friday - Mushrooms - Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Known as the meat of the vegetable world, edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines.
Are you interested in trying out other Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables? Visit our What’s in Season page for other ideas.
Go bowling! Bowling is enjoyed by over 95 million people worldwide, making it one of the most popular sports in the world. Bowling is an easy sport people of all ages and physical abilities can participate in year round. A perfect activity for a long holiday weekend!
Day 30 - Visit a Christmas Tree Farm and choose your tree, go for a sleigh ride or participate in another winter seasonal event.
Pick Your Own Christmas Tree or Pick Your Own
Islets of Humor™ – Pancreas Lights
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day people with diabetes are facing a bumpy road filled with cookies, fudge, latkes, eggnog, roast beef and bouts on the couch watching football. Get some practical tips for handling Temptation, Jealousy and Guilt.
Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a non-profit 501(C)(3) charity dedicated to creating awareness about and preventing diabetes. If you have found any of the information we’ve provided to you this month valuable please take the time to make a donation so that we can continue our work to Defeat Diabetes®.
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Updated October 29, 2013
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