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    YOU CAN BE HEALTHY: Today’s words to jump-start solution-focused practice

    A view of the Mediterranean Sea from Eze sur mer, France

    Make one healthy choice. Then make another. – sparkpeople.com

    In the midst of the pandemic affecting our world, we have found ourselves intermittently feeling like we’re in the twilight zone, stuck in a time warp, with the hours and days running together. How did it get to be May?? During these “healthy at home” days, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting…and what a difference a year makes! This time last year we were packing our bags preparing to hop on flights to the magical Mediterranean Sea. We are superfans of the Mediterranean culture and eating style, and to think that we weren’t even aware back then that May is National Mediterranean Diet Month! With that in mind, throughout this month of May as we continue our series focused on words to jump-start solution-focused practice, we’ll share a few favorite tips and swaps to eat “more Mediterranean-style”. We hope they’re helpful to you and your clients in the effort to make one healthy choice, and then another, during these stressful and challenging times.

    Today’s word is actually a few words: YOU CAN BE HEALTHY

    Words are powerful. Read more about ACCEPTANCE, STRENGTHS, POSSIBILITIES, MINDSET, SUPPORT, and GRATITUDE in solution-focused practice. “YOU CAN BE HEALTHY”  were words used frequently during Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#DSMA) Twitter chats we hosted in 2018. Participants engaged in a solution-focused exercise (you can read about it here), and identified their desired future state, their strengths, and their resilient capacity. Many expressed their focus on the future was about living a healthy life and being healthy despite living with a chronic condition. They expressed they did not feel that diabetes made them “sick” or a “sick person”, and desired to focus on the fact that “you can be healthy” while living with a chronic condition. These words really resonated with us because in a solution-focused practice the goal for diabetes care and education specialists is to step alongside as a think partner to focus on what CAN happen, what one’s “best hopes” for their future are, to envision possibilities, and build upon strengths..

    One can BE healthy by making healthy food choices. While a variety of eating approaches have been proven helpful in managing blood glucose, in the spirit of National Mediterranean Diet month, we’re focusing on the Mediterranean eating pattern and sharing 8 tips toward a healthy Mediterranean-style eating plan. You can read more about Mediterranean-style eating in an earlier blog here. 

    Tomato and greens salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a dash of Parmesan cheese

    8 Tips to Eat More Mediterranean-Style

    1. Fit in fish at least twice a week. Fish and seafood are primary protein sources in the Mediterranean diet with limited use of red meat. Fresh, foil-packed, or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are healthy options.Choose tuna or salmon to top a salad at least once a week (we’re fans of foil-pack varieties for simplicity) and make fish your “go-to” order when ordering out. There’s your two servings!
    2. Fill at least half of your plate with Mediterranean style non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables are a staple of the Mediterranean eating pattern. Mediterranean-style non-starchy options include artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, celeriac, chicory, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, greens, leeks, mushrooms, nettles, okra, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, shallots, tomatoes, turnip, and zucchini. 
    3. Choose whole fresh fruit as the “sweet treat”. When the desire for something sweet arises, opt for Mediterranean-style fruits including apples, apricots, avocados, cherries, clementines, dates, figs, grapefruit, grapes, melons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries and tangerines.
    4. Replace butter and margarine with healthful oils, such as olive or canola oil. Olive oil is the main dietary fat in the Mediterranean eating style.  Use these oils for cooking, dip bread in flavored olive oil, or lightly spread olive oil on whole-grain breads.
    5. Season meals with herbs and spices rather than salt. If you don’t have fresh herbs, 1 teaspoon of dried gives the same flavor boost ast 1 tablespoon fresh.
    6. Choose whole-grains. This includes whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as whole-grain pasta and brown rice. Other Mediterranean-style whole grains include barley bulgur, whole grain couscous, and farro.
    7. Crunch more nuts or seeds. Keep almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts on hand for a quick snack We keep small zip-top bags of pistachios at our desks at work.
    8. Make water the go-to beverage, with wine in low to moderate amounts if you choose to drink alcohol (cheers!).


    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 around YOU CAN BE HEALTHY!

    1. Help clients identify at least one thing they’re already doing to be healthy by asking a question such as “What have you already tried that is helping you, even if only a little bit?”. 
    2. Explore how they are able to accomplish doing that by asking a question such as “What gave you the strength to …..” (fill in the blank….make that choice, make that change etc.).
    3. Then ask what additional healthy choice they desire to make. How can they build upon past success to do that? You may ask, “What will you be doing differently after this visit?”

    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. 

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