• Fresh Views

    In All Things We Give Thanks

    Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie

    We are always grateful for the sunshine and beautiful outdoors

    On this Thanksgiving eve, we are reminded of ALL that we are grateful for…including YOU, our readers and followers!

    Gratitude is good for health

    According to the American Heart Association several clinical trials show that engaging in a practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure and help the immune system. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication (taking)”. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. 

    Research discussed in the Jan/Feb, 2019 issue of Diabetes Self-Management also shows that positive psychological states such as gratitude are associated with improved physical health in people with diabetes, improved sleep, and increased self esteem. While the relationship is not fully understood, positive emotions such as expressing gratitude, are linked to healthier lifestyle choices. And healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating and being active are in turn linked to overall health.

    How to get started with gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving? 

    Here are 5 strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits: 

    1. Have gratitude reminders. These are simple cues to remind you to focus on gratitude daily. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, a bracelet or wristband, a photo, a magnet, or a post it note. And with that reminder, pause, take a breath and focus on being grateful in that moment.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal. We both have found this to be a good personal practice to express gratitude more readily and maintain focus on finding things to be grateful for. Some log entries in their journal weekly, and others daily. Our personal goal is to identify at least 3 things daily for which we’re grateful.While the goal is to write in the journal daily, sometimes life happens and weeks may go by without an entry, but we pick right back up with our entries. 
    3. Start a gratitude box. Keeping a box (jar, album, folder, or whatever works for you) filled with notes, pictures, and moments you are grateful for can bring a boost when needed. 
    4. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. On the homefront, this is a gratitude practice Tami has used with her son over the years. In the days when she would take and pick him up from school, she found that the drive time was a good time to learn about his day. That conversation always began with these words, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He knew he needed to answer that, acknowledging something good, before talking about the challenges of the day. 
    5. Use gratitude apps. There are a number of apps with a range of capabilities including sending reminders, sharing uplifting thoughts, and organizing memories for which you are grateful. 

    You can glean other insight in this post we wrote on Gratitude here.  

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    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. 

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  • Fresh Views

    5 Solution-focused Strategies for Labor Day Gatherings

    Marblehead Harbor, Marblehead, MA

    Labor Day is just a few days away! This first Monday in September celebration often is heralded in with gatherings amongst family and friends. Sometimes it can be challenging to maintain healthy lifestyle habits around holiday gatherings, especially if everyone is not on the same page. It’s helpful to have strategies that work at the ready. Today we want to share with you 5 solution-focused strategies for navigating Labor Day gatherings so you feel satisfied and won’t feel that you missed out on a thing.

    5 Solution-focused Strategies for Labor Day Gatherings

    #1 – Bring something to share that incorporates seasonal produce. Many of the food traditions associated with Labor Day are filled with the best summer has to offer. Not only is flavor at its peak, seasonal produce is packed with nutrients (and lower in cost). Below you see a variety of beautiful tomatoes. 

    An easy, colorful, flavorful salad with Tami’s crew is simply chilled diced tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with light Italian dressing. The flavor intensifies if the salad is chilled 30-60 minutes before serving. (Stir it up and pop in the cooler. It will be good to go by the time you arrive at the gathering).

    Seasonal tomatoes and fresh berries

    Another well-loved side dish is roasted carrots. They’re low in carbohydrate, high in flavor, and won’t keep you hanging out in the kitchen. Toss sliced or diced carrots with some olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Roast at 425 degrees in an even layer on a sheet pan until fork tender (about 20-25 minutes). 

    Roasted carrots

    #2 – Make a swap or two. Consider the foods that are often at Labor Day gatherings and determine where you can make a swap or two for health. One of our favorites is swapping lean turkey burgers in place of hamburgers. Maybe everyone doesn’t want a turkey burger, but having a few on the grill is a tasty option for those trying to be health conscious.

    Turkey burgers and zucchini

    Another delicious swap is spiralized zucchini salad in place of traditional macaroni or pasta salad. Raw fresh zucchini is crisp and delicious with little carbohydrate. A spiralizer  is a handy, inexpensive kitchen tool.  Here’s a simple way to make a zucchini salad with a Mediterranean flair (you can find more Mediterranean swaps and ideas in our July 17, 2019 blog here.) 

    #3 – Portion your plate by the healthy plate for diabetes. As we shared in our July 3, 2019 post, when you are ready to sample the celebration spread, if there’s a choice on plate size, go with a smaller plate (maybe the ones that are out for salads or desserts). Then fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables (such as veggie salads, green beans, or sliced tomatoes), one fourth of the plate with lean protein foods (such as a grilled turkey burger or grilled chicken), and one fourth with carbohydrate foods (this is where potato salad, corn on the cob, or a sweet treat may fit). Partitioned paper plates can do the portioning for you. Not sure partitioned paper plates still exist? Here you go, just a click away.  When asked how high one can “pile the plate”…try to keep it no higher than a deck of cards is thick. This simple strategy has brought success for many when navigating picnics and celebrations. 

    Lobster salad with a light dressing, vegetables, healthy fat and 1/4 portion of potatoes

    #4- Go on a walk early in the day. We are believers in making a commitment to move even more when we know there is a weekend or vacation ahead filled with a few indulgences. Taking a walk early in the day (as you’ll see us doing with our husbands on a holiday escape to Chicago), makes sure that movement doesn’t get pushed out by other holiday activities. And if you find blood glucose out of range 1-2 hours after you eat, take another walk to help lower blood glucose.

    Mike, Tami, Deb & Mark, Walking along Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL

    #5 – Focus on fellowship and laughter. We believe that laughter is the best medicine, and we try very hard to practice what we preach. Scientists have shown that laughter is a great stress reliever and causes mental relaxation. Laughter can even improve blood pressure, pain, and immunity. Most importantly it strengthens human connections when we laugh together. There is now actually “laughter therapy” defined by the National Cancer Institute as therapy that uses humor to help people cope with medical conditions by relieving pain, stress and improving well-being. 

    Tami and Deb enjoying some “laughter therapy”

    You’ll find 4 more of our tried and true solution-focused strategies for picnics and celebrations in our July 3, 2019 post. 

    As you prepare for Labor Day gatherings, we challenge you to consider the following:

    • What strategies have worked well for you in the past to navigate picnics and gatherings? 
    • Which of the strategies that we’ve shared might help you? 
    • Choose at least one of those to put into practice on Monday

    We’d love to hear from you on strategies that worked for you! Happy Labor Day!

    Tami and Deb, Highland Beach, FL

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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. 

  • Fresh Views

    Happy 4th of July! 5 Solution-focused Strategies for Picnics and Celebrations

    Celebrating with family and friends on the 4th of July is a highlight of the summer for many. Sometimes it can be challenging to maintain healthy habits during group gatherings, especially if everyone is not on the same page. It’s helpful to have strategies in your back pocket to pull out. Today we want to share with you 5 solution focused strategies for navigating picnics and celebrations. We put these into practice during our recent trip to France, with the goal of enjoying a special vacation together, yet keeping it healthy. We’ll share how they worked for us. And we invite you to consider how the strategies may work for you. 

    Here we are: Four diabetes educator AADE past and current presidents (with our husbands), getting ready to enjoy a Mediterranean-style dinner at a house we rented on the southern coast of France in Eze (We all traveled together to Ireland 4 years ago so we knew we would have a great time!) Learn more about that trip in our blog post, Going off the beaten path..

    5 Solution-focused Strategies for Picnics and Celebrations

    #1- Eat fresh and local. We are fans of supporting local farmers and enjoying local produce at the peak of ripeness. When trying to decide what to take to a gathering, think local and fresh. Picnics can be laden with rich casseroles and sides, so taking a fresh, low carbohydrate side that you know will work for you helps to insure there is something you can eat at the event. One of our favorite go-to’s that is ALWAYS the first dish to disappear is this (you may know it as Caprese salad): juicy ripe sliced tomatoes on a platter, topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped fresh basil (or a dollop of pesto sauce), then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes we’ll layer sliced avocado on the tomatoes as well. Serve with  salt and pepper grinders alongside so everyone can manage what goes on their salad.  

    A version of the Caprese salad we enjoyed in France made with yellow tomatoes

    Deb shopping at the local market in Arles, France 

    Fresh herbs at a local market in France

    #2 – Portion your picnic plate by the healthy plate for diabetes. When you are ready to sample the celebration spread, if there’s a choice on plate size, go with a smaller plate (maybe the ones that are out for salads or desserts). Then fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables (such as veggie salads, green beans, or sliced tomatoes), one fourth of the plate with lean protein foods (such as a grilled turkey burger or grilled chicken), and one fourth with carbohydrate foods (this is where potato salad, corn on the cob, or a sweet treat may fit). When asked how high one can “pile the plate”…try to keep it no higher than a deck of cards is thick. This simple strategy has brought success for many when navigating picnics and celebrations. And, Tami recalls one client she worked with that embraced this as a “year-round” strategy, purchasing the “old fashioned” partitioned 9-inch paper plates to use at home. He went on to lose over 30 pounds managing his portions and blood glucose in this manner. And he was thrilled that he didn’t have to wash dishes!

    We put the healthy picnic plate into practice on one of our outings to taste local Provence wine. We had a lovely outdoor picnic (on the perfect sized plate), including fresh salad, vegetable quiche, and fresh strawberries, all  served in baskets! We felt very French!

    #3 – Stick with small tastings. Maybe there are a number of things on the picnic table that you want to enjoy. And maybe you are not sure exactly what is in some of the dishes or how much carbohydrate they contain. One tried and true strategy is to stick with small tastings. You can sample a number of different items if you choose, fitting them within the plate sections reviewed above. And there’s a lesser chance of sending your blood glucose out of range with small tastings versus a serving spoon portion. This is a great strategy for travel as well discussed in our blog on Traveling with Diabetes.

    We put this strategy into practice during our trip too as we embraced a Mediterranean eating style.. And while we had such fun sampling many delectable foods and treats, we came home without gaining any weight.

    #4 – Fit in fitness. With the eating and celebrating, fitting in fitness can help manage blood glucose and spend more time in range. Whether it’s participating in a local walk/run, swimming, playing cornhole, or joining the kids in a water balloon toss. How can you fit in fitness on the 4th?

    Fitness was a part of our daily routine while in France. Our days were filled with sightseeing and tons of walking, with most days averaging 15,000 steps or more. We came back in the afternoons and and swam in the pool.Then in the evenings we played games, laughed, and laughed some more as we de-stressed and regrouped. Below you can see part of our group walking down to our street to catch the train.

    Daily short walk to the train station

    5- Stay hydrated. No matter where you are at this time of year, it’s likely to be warm (or hot)! Keep a calorie-free beverage at your side to sip on. We are fans of the Yeti cups and water bottles (we’re not paid by Yeti to say this, just fans) which have kept our iced drinks cold for over 12-hours in the summer heat! Another favorite trick is to freeze bottled water and use it as ice packs in the cooler, then drink it as it thaws.

    In France, while the temperature was only 72, the sun was intense and felt more like 92. Hydration was important. We all brought our water bottles to sip on and stay hydrated in the heat.

     We had such a great trip that we are all hoping to gather together again in another 2 years and maybe this time explore the Greek Islands! 

    As you prepare for 4th of July celebrations, we encourage you to consider:

    • What strategies have worked well for you in the past to navigate picnics and gatherings? 
    • Which of the strategies that we’ve shared might help you? 

    We’d love to hear from you on strategies that worked for you! Happy Independence Day!

    Enjoying good food, good friends and Fresh Views near Marseilles, France!

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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.

  • Fresh Views

    Relax and renew

    Happy Holidays from @AFreshPOVforYou (Tami and Deb)!

    We are taking a holiday break to enjoy time with family and friends.  We’ll be doing some traveling too and looking for some fresh views to share with you in the New Year.

    We hope you too can take a break, enjoy some downtime, relax and renew (like Nike here under the tree).


    Nike relaxing under the tree

    We’ll be back with a new blog post on January 2, 2019!

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