• Fresh Views

    KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE: Today’s words to jump-start solution-focused practice

    “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

    With friends in the Mediterranean this time last year (before the days of social distancing)

    As our world begins reopening from the pandemic, we are longing for the day when we can be in close proximity to friends and family again! Some of the most treasured moments for us personally are sharing life adventures, laughter, and good food and drink with friends (can you see that in our smiles in the picture above from our Mediterranean escape a year ago??) Yet in these days of physical distancing, we are reminded how critical it is to keep friends close, and stay connected while being physically away.   

    Today’s words are: KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE

    So with that, today in our series on words to jump-start a solution-focused approach when managing diabetes, we’re again using a few words (rather than just one) to generate thinking about how to focus on being healthy, living healthy, and making healthy choices, as a follow-on to our last blog “YOU CAN BE HEALTHY”.

    We chose today’s words – Keep Friends Close – because they were used frequently during Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#DSMA) Twitter chats we hosted in 2018, and seem appropriate in these days of physical distancing. It became crystal clear during those Twitter chats that among people with diabetes, friendships are incredibly impactful and important – especially friendships with peers who also live with diabetes.

    Beyond the concept of friendship alone, we want to stress 3 things (maybe it’s 4 things):

    • Truly valuing friendship
    • Understanding how friendships can support one in living their best life
    • How even in crazy times like we are now living, it is possible to maintain friendships, and might we even suggest, strengthen them

    Video chats, calls, and linking up through social media can provide breaks from upsetting news coverage and help reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, disappointment (missed graduations, delayed weddings, and the list goes on), help cope with stress, and manage diabetes distress. Those who regularly engage in social media and online discussions, like the previously mentioned Twitter chats have some advantage during these pandemic days because they’ve already experienced the benefits of online friendship and support. 

    Deb’s friends and family participating in a Zoom graduation party.

    What does this mean for diabetes care and education specialists (DCES)?

    Here are 6 solution-focused questions you can use in your conversations to focus on VIPs (friends) and identify opportunities to receive support and strength:

    1. Who do you most enjoy spending your time with?
    2. What traits would your VIP say you have that will help you reach your goals?
    3. What do important people in your life consider to be your best qualities?
    4. How can you use those qualities now?
    5. Suppose your friend with diabetes had the same issue you are facing, what solution would he/she find?
    6. What would the important people in your life say that is different about you when you achieve your goal?

    In these days, here are 5 ways you can encourage your clients to Keep Friends (VIPs) Close virtually: 

    1. Talk about concerns, how they’re feeling, and share emotional support.
    2. Swap strategies for coping with changes in sleep or eating patterns.
    3. Do virtual stretching, workouts, or meditations to help care for you mind, body and spirit.
    4. Share ideas on how they’re eating healthy. Since May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, maybe find a Mediterranean-style recipe they and a friend can cook together virtually via Zoom. Or try this favorite of ours from a previous blog here.
    5. Provide an outlet to unwind and laugh.

    THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE

    Each week we’re including a solution-focused challenge that can help evolve care and education in a solution-focused manner. Here’s this week’s challenge: When working with clients these next few weeks, try asking at least 3 questions to understand their VIPs and how they are working to Keep Friends Close during this pandemic. Here are some examples:

    1. Who are the most important people in your life?
    2. How have they been helpful for you?
    3. How are you focusing on staying connected with them while we have been staying at home?
    Friends and colleagues from around the world with a connection to diabetes (looking forward to the days we can huddle in for a picture like this again!).

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    Move to Mediterranean-style Eating: Tips, Swaps, and How-to’s that work

    View of the Mediterranean Sea from Eze Village, France

    In the quest to eat healthy (with or without diabetes), embracing a Mediterranean eating style can be a helpful approach. In fact, in our last blog post you’ll find the highlights from the new consensus report on nutrition therapy for adults with diabetes or prediabetes which confirms that the Mediterrannean eating pattern, along with a variety of others, can help people with or at risk for diabetes to eat healthier and be healthier.

    We are personal fans of the Mediterranean approach. We enjoy the flavors, variety and health benefits (of course)! So, we want to share a few practical tips that have worked for us, as well as clients we have coached over the years. But first… 

    What exactly is Mediterranean style eating? 

    Traditional Mediterranean meals feature foods grown all around the Mediterranean Sea, and emphasize foods that are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and locally grown. Focus is on including the following:

    • Plant-based foods, including vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, fruit, and whole grains. 
    • Fish and other seafood (small amounts and limited frequency of red meat)
    • Olive oil as the main dietary fat
    • Dairy products (mainly yogurt and cheese) in low to moderate amounts
    • Fewer than 4 eggs per week
    • Fresh herbs and spices for flavor
    • Wine in low to moderate amounts
    • Water as the go-to beverage
    • Infrequent use of concentrated sugars or honey

    Does this peak your interest? If so, are there some of these foods that you already like and eat, that you could swap in more often to begin eating “more” Mediterranean?

    There is no one “right way” to eat Mediterranean style. If you are interested in eating “more” Mediterranean, here are 6 small steps to get you started.

    6 steps to start eating more Mediterranean

    1. Eat fish at least twice each week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are good choices.
    2. Fill at least half of your plate with Mediterranean style non-starchy vegetables which include the following: artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, celeriac, chicory, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, greens, leeks, mushrooms, nettles, okra, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, shallots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnip, and zucchini.  Vegetables are a staple of the Mediterranean eating pattern. 
    3. Replace butter and margarine with healthful oils such as olive or canola oil. Use these oils for cooking, dip bread in flavored olive oil, or lightly spread olive oil on whole-grain breads.
    4. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as whole-grain pasta and rice products.
    5. Season meals with herbs and spices rather than salt.
    6. Snack on small servings of nuts or seeds instead of snack foods. Deb likes pistachios so has small zip-top bags of them on her desk at work, in her travel bag, and in her car for quick snacks! Perfect for plane travel too!

    The Mediterranean eating style is not low fat, but rather rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fat from plant sources such as olives and nuts. Here are some of our favorite swaps to make the switch to high quality Mediterranean fats…

    4 simple swaps to healthy Mediterranean-style fats

    • Top whole grain toast with almond butter or peanut butter rather than butter. Natural nut butter is preferred (rather than the kind with added fat). If you have trouble with the nut butter separating, screw the lid on tightly and store the jar upside down. That way when you turn it right side up to open it, the oil will be in the bottom rather than on the top.
    • Mash and spread avocado on a sandwich rather than mayonnaise.
    • Lightly dip crusty bread in olive oil rather than slathering with butter.
    • Try almond milk on your morning cereal rather than dairy.

    We’ve found that seeing how all of this could come together in the form of an actual meal is helpful too. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking on what might work for you:

    Like yogurt for breakfast? Try plain Greek yogurt topped with chopped figs, unsalted pistachios and a light drizzle of honey

    Savor a sandwich at lunch? What about  a whole wheat pita stuffed with hummus, salad greens, and tuna, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice; and a date stuffed with almond butter for a sweet bite

    Trying to fit in more fish at dinner? Go for grilled trout; tomato, cucumber and arugula salad with lemon olive oil vinaigrette; steamed broccoli; couscous; watermelon; and a glass of red wine (if you choose to drink wine)

    Searching for a snack? Grab a nectarine or peach; or walnuts or almonds for a no carb option.

    The Mediterranean eating style is easily adaptable to today’s busy lifestyle. We hope you enjoy one of our favorite Mediterranean style recipes which follows. It’s super easy, colorful, and packed with flavor!  And only has 2 ingredients! (We confess that just talking about this for the blog made us hungry for it, and required a run to the market for dinner!)

    You can print our recipe card below for Two Ingredient Sun-Dried Tomato and Shrimp. (Deb likes the Bella Sun Luci brand of sun dried tomatoes that she buys at Costco or Amazon)

    Yield: One serving

    TWO INGREDIENT SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND SHRIMP

    TWO INGREDIENT SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND SHRIMP

    Quick and easy yet tasty 2 ingredient shrimp recipe

    Prep Time 2 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 7 minutes

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and Italian herbs
    • 3 ounces (6-7 large) cooked shrimp (we buy the fully-cooked frozen version and thaw under cool running water or purchased pre-cooked shrimp in the deli area)

    Instructions

    1. Rinse shrimp (thaw if frozen).
    2. Heat 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet until warm.
    3. Add shrimp and stir until shrimp are warm.
    4. Serve and enjoy, that's it!

    Notes

    If you prefer, and have time, you can make your own sun dried tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and herbs.

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    A favorite variation: With summer produce arriving, another favorite variation is to mix diced fresh tomatoes, diced sun dried tomatoes, and fresh garlic in a skillet with hot olive oil and toss until tender. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor, and coarse ground salt and black pepper to taste. If you have fresh parsley or basil, chop and stir in before serving.

    Fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs

    Rounding out this Mediterranean-style meal: Enjoy the shrimp and tomatoes alone, over steamed spiralized zucchini, or with a side of green vegetables as a light low carb meal. Salad greens topped with Kalamata olives, a sprinkle of Feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar rounds out a quick meal. You can also serve the tomatoes and shrimp over quinoa, a whole grain pasta, or small cheese tortellini if you want a more hearty meal and carbs aren’t a concern for you.

    Shrimp and sun dried tomatoes served over tortellini

    The summer months are perfect timing to begin embracing a more Mediterranean eating approach with the bounty of fresh produce from summer gardens. What Mediterranean style foods are you already eating? How can you fit those in more often? 

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    Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

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