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2012 Diabetes Awareness Month
Calendar of Activities
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.
That can be tough because some of it is about having the knowledge you need. Fortunately, Defeat Diabetes Foundation is there to provide over 5000 pages of information about diabetes, including resources on self-care, nutrition, physical activity, diabetes education and peer support, prescription and medical assistance and much more.
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 and Walk from the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday. 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.
Islets of Humor™ Cartoon Pre-Diabetes
1 – Most families underestimate the amount of physical activity they get every day and the number of fruits and vegetables they consume. Today start logging daily physical activity and fruit and veggie consumption. This will give you a better idea of their general health and areas where you can make improvements.
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!
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.
Don’t have time for a walk? While out on your various errands, part at the back of the parking lot. Even 5 and 10 minute bursts of activity help!
Islets of Humor™ Cartoon - A Walk a Day Keeps the Diabetes Away
2 - New Veggie Friday – 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.
Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family and is associated with Asian cuisine.
Here’s some ways to add fruits and veggies to every meal and snack of the day!
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.
3 - 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.
4 – 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
Family Dinners Matter - Idealized in the 1950's, the family dinner used to be an important ritual in our daily lives. This activity can and should be a part of your family routine. Learn why. Take some time today, sit down with your family and plan the meals for the upcoming week.
5 – Try a New Fruit Monday – Coconuts are amazing, and from a culinary stand point, just as versatile as the rest of the plant. Found throughout tropical and subtropical areas, virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value.
Want to learn more about other Fruits and Vegetables? Visit Know Your Fruits and Veggies™ for additional columns.
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 Mondays – Getting your family to go 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 and conserve fresh water and fossil fuel.
Meatless Monday Recipes - Meatless Monday soups are easy, comforting and delicious. Try this fall favorite: Pumpkin, Potato and Leek Soup. For another hearty non-soup option try Portobello Burgers with Gorgonzola.
6 - Take the Stairs Tuesday - Walking up (and down) stairs is a good cardiovascular exercise, that’s why so many gyms have Stairmaster machines. So, on Tuesday, bypass the elevator and expensive gym fees and take the stairs in as many places as you can. Be sure to add a few extra minutes in case you have to take it slow.
Islets of Humor™ - Exercise Equipment
Get the history of diabetes in a nutshell with a diabetes timeline.
My Plate is a new way of thinking about what should be on your lunch or dinner plate. Easy to understand and healthy too!
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7 – 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.
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 dlood 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.
8 - Walk from the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday - If you are shopping forego the cart if you can, this will add a little weight to your workout, which is good for your bones.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in the United States. About 30 percent of patients with Type 1 diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes will suffer from kidney failure. There are currently about 180,000 people living with kidney failure as a result of diabetes. Learn more about kidney disease.
9 - New Veggie Friday – Mushrooms - Often grouped with vegetables, a mushroom 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.
Dancing is a great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape. Experts agree that dancing is a true sport and a valid form of exercise. Dancing uses, virtually, all of your body’s muscles: feet, calves, thighs, upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders, neck and even arms get a workout while dancing.
Shy? Turn on the music and dance when no one is looking!
Islets of Humor™ cartoon – Salsa and Chips
10 - 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 - for more ideas.
11 - 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. More about orienteering.
Family Physical Activity Links - With this handy reference tool, your family will never lack ideas for things to do in the great outdoors!
12 – Try a New Fruit Monday – Cherimoya - From the outside, the cherimoya looks a bit pre-historic. But, open a cherimoya and you will discover a fragrant, ivory, custard-like flesh, hence its common name "custard apple."
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.
13 - 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?
Organize Your Diabetes - it takes a lot of work to “organize diabetes”. Not only do you have to organize all the “Tools of the Trade”, (meters, test strips, lancets, syringes, pump supplies, medications, etc.), you also have to keep track of diagnosis and the medications to go with them, daily glucose readings, blood pressure, A1c’s, weight, carbs, exercise durations and a host of other stuff.
It takes an acrobat to keep all of the elements in place. Start getting organized now!
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.
Today at 2:00 pm (local time) participate in the BIG BLUE TEST
• At 2 pm (your local time), test your blood sugar.
• Run, jog, walk the dog or do anything you’d normally do as part of your exercise routine for 14 minutes.
• Test your blood sugar again.
• If you have a Twitter account, post your readings using the #bigblue hashtag or share them here.
Try a Legume Day – 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.
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!
15 - Recent studies conducted by Carnegie Mellon University have concluded that stress can cause ill health when it is chronic. The signs of stress will not only show up in your body as physical symptoms such as more frequent colds, injuries, relationship problems, depression, insomnia and more. Earlier studies from other sources indicated that as much as 75% of doctors’ visits are related to stress.
One great way to de-stress is to practice proper breathing. Breathing properly ALL of the time, not just when exercising, is a critical component to get the most out of physical activity and life. Oxygen is the most important element needed to sustain life and breathing is the only way to get it.
Tension, poor posture, smoking and poor breathing habits can cause insufficient oxygen intake. Deep and relaxed breathing delivers oxygen to all cells and facilitates efficient clearing of carbon dioxide.
Take a long deep breath in through your nose making a special effort to fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. This, when done correctly, will push out your belly. The process is similar to blowing up a balloon. Pause briefly (1 – 3 seconds). Exhale slowly through your mouth. Make sure the inward and outward breaths take the same length of time. Continue to breathe in this fashion for several minutes. Repeat several times daily.
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!
A recent study found a strong and consistent link between hearing impairment and diabetes. "Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss," said Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), who suggested that people with diabetes should consider having their hearing tested.
16 – 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.
Swimming is the second most popular exercise activity in the United States. Swimming burns calories and is easy on the joints because the water supports your weight (body weight reduced to 10% of actual weight). Swimming also builds muscle strength and endurance, and improves cardiovascular fitness. Swimming is refreshing in summer, a potentially lifesaving skill and one that you can do safely into elder years. Learn the basics.
17 – Take to a hiking trail today. Hiking is a form of exercise good for everyone regardless of age. Anyone can put on a pair of shoes and start moving into the woods for a little fresh air. The scenery, accessibility and diverse nature of hiking trails make this heart-healthy pastime attractive for people of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets.
Everyone can find trails to suit their physical strengths. And unlike other activities or sports, it is a pursuit that allows people to determine their own limitations. Initially, select trails with flatter terrain. 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.
18 - The Presidential Champions Program enables individuals to raise their activity levels and receive positive feedback for their efforts. There are over a 100 different activities to choose from. The guidelines are simple. Pick a couple of activities you do regularly or would like to do regularly and sign up (Free) log your time and earn rewards!
Jumping Rope - It isn’t just for kids! Though, it’s an exercise adults often overlook. Jumping rope helps develop agility, coordination, balance and body awareness. It’s also easy and inexpensive and you can do it just about anywhere. Learn the ups and downs.
19 – New Fruit Monday - The quince is native to the region between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea, a mountainous region that touches northern Turkey, Iran and Southern Georgia. A knobby, irregular shaped variety still grows wild in that part of the world.
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.
20 - Take the Stairs Tuesday - Keep up the good work and try taking the stairs other days, too.
Portion Control – No matter how healthy your meal, if your calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories burned, you will gain weight. In the United States we seem to super-size portion sizes, especially at our restaurants, where food cost is the lowest part of overhead. Learn more about portion control.
The hustle and bustle of holidays can make us feel like we are swept up in a whirlwind.
Holidays can also be a time of great joy or great stress, depending on how you manage your time and expectations. Here's a few tips to make it easier.
21 - Water Wednesday - 60 – 70% of the human body is made up of water. Staying hydrated is good for you.
Nuts and Seeds are delicious and nutritious. They are great for snacking as well as a nice addition to salads and veggies.
Blood Pressure is another one of the key health metrics you need to keep track of to make sure you don’t suffer some of the complications of diabetes. High blood pressure is a lot like diabetes in some respects, you can have it for years and not know it, and the entire time it damages your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of your body.
Islets of Humor™ Cartoon Blood Pressure
22 – Before or after dinner 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. Feel free to add a turkey day item or two!
Islets of Humor™ Cartoon Turkey
Your feet are vulnerable to a variety of problems if you have diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to diabetic neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease and even amputation.
People take their feet for granted and they shouldn’t, because they hold our body weight and allow us to walk, run, jump and dance. Without properly functioning feet we lose our mobility and a measure of our freedom. Learn the risks and how to care for them.
23 – New Veggie Friday – Endive is a member of the chicory family, which includes radicchio, escarole and curly endive. Endive comes in two colors: pale green and deep burgundy and white. It is rare to know the true origin of a fruit or vegetable – but that isn’t the case with endive!
Are you interested in trying out other Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables? Visit our What’s in Season page for other ideas.
Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot – 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.
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!
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.
25 - Don't hibernate until spring! Take advantage of the cold and snow, embrace your adventurous spirit, and learn an outdoor cold weather sport. Winter sports are a great way to keep active during those cold winter months. Don’t wait - check out some winter sports now.
26 – 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.
Learning to read a food label is an easy way to help you make good food choices. Get started here!
People with diabetes face many challenges staying healthy and heart health is no exception. Having diabetes puts you at much greater risk for heart disease and heart attacks. 2 out of 3 people with diabetes will actually die from stroke or heart disease. Learn More.
Meatless Monday Recipe - Three Cheese Black Bean Chili with Cheese Crust and Date Ravioli with Walnut Sauce.
27 - Take the stairs Tuesday. Try them double time.
Nutrient Content Claims - With the new focus on health, and the preponderance of “low” diets -- low fat, low sodium, and low cholesterol, the food industry has been making claims about their products that have led to much confusion in the marketplace. This often makes it difficult for consumers to make appropriate choices about packaged foods. Learn the ins and outs of nutrient content claims.
28 – Focus on whole grains - The recently released USDA Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat three servings of whole grains each day. Whole grains are essentially living seeds with the potential to sprout and grow. Check out some different whole grains. Switch things up a bit this week and substitute Brown Rice for white rice in your dishes or instead of a potato or pasta. Brown rice is versatile and has a slightly "toothier" texture than white rice. Or try Spelt – an ancient grain filled with nutrition.
Cholesterol, we’ve all heard the term, unless you are living under a rock! As a person with diabetes, cholesterol is one of the key health metrics you need to keep track of to make sure you don’t suffer some of the complications of diabetes.
But what is cholesterol? Why is it important for our health?
Don’t forget it’s Water Wednesday – Want to add a little zip? Add sliced lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers or crushed mint to your water.
29 - There are 1440 minutes in every day. Spend just 30 of those minutes being physically active. Thirty minutes is 2% of the day. Walking from the back of the parking lot regularly is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine. Be inefficient to lose weight.
According to "Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General," the relationship between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease is often referred to as the "sixth complication" of the disease. Keep your smile - learn more about dental complications.
30 – New Veggie Friday – Turnips - Meatball Shop chef, Daniel Holzman says turnips are one of the most “under appreciated and often overlooked” vegetables at the market. “They are super-delicious, really inexpensive and easy to cook,” he said. “But for whatever reason, they are not part of our regular culinary quiver.”
Don't Stop Now! - Even though Diabetes Awareness Month is over you can continue taking the steps you've started this month. Hopefully, you've learned a few new things about fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and started incorporating more of them into your diet. Maybe you've even started walking a bit more, taking the stairs more often and, generally, being more physically active. Even small changes can make a big difference so don’t stop.
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 small donation so that we can continue our work to Defeat Diabetes®.
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Updated October 30, 2012
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