Diabetics share ideas at lunch and learns
by Anna Oakes
There's good news about diabetes, Shelly Wilson said.
“You do have control,” Wilson, a registered nurse, said Tuesday
during a diabetes lunch-and-learn program at the Community Care Clinic in
Boone, held every third Tuesday at noon.
The program is one of a number of health education services
offered by the clinic, which has provided primary health care to the uninsured
since 2006. Started in January, the monthly lunch and learns offer clinic
patients with diabetes the opportunity to enjoy a free healthy lunch, hear from
experts and share ideas.
Wilson invited lunch-and-learn participants to ask questions
about the disease, which affects 26 million people in the United States,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gary Greer asked why eating a small piece of cornbread a
month ago did not affect him but eating the same amount last week caused a
spike in his blood sugar.
Wilson said metabolism and blood sugar levels can be
affected by a number of factors, including activity level, immune systems,
weather, sickness and stress. Developing a regular exercise routine — at the
same times every day if possible — and a set menu can be very beneficial to
diabetes sufferers, she said.
“That can help so much in helping you control your
diabetes,” she said.
Wilson discussed the types of foods that are “surprises” in
terms of causing blood sugar spikes, including fruit, juice, milk, yogurt and
cheese. Eating whole foods as much as possible and avoiding processed foods is advised,
But why not live a little and enjoy a doughnut every now and then?, asked Randall Nichols.
“I would challenge that,” replied Wilson. “The foods we love
are learned behavior” — not to mention many junk foods contain addictive
ingredients. By changing our diets, healthy foods can become just as satisfying
to us as unhealthy foods, she said.
“A big bowl of strawberries can be every bit as wonderful as
a doughnut,” she added.
Wilson is also on the board of directors for F.A.R.M. Cafè,
a community kitchen that opened in April that serves all customers regardless
of their ability to pay. Patrons who cannot afford the suggested price for
lunch can volunteer for one hour in exchange for their meals.
She invited the lunch-and-learn attendees to take advantage
of the new cafè, and several indicated that they would.
“All of you have an option to go out once a day and eat real good food,” she said.
The F.A.R.M. Cafè is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day but Sunday. Wilson said the cafè hopes to begin hosting healthy cooking classes.
Attendees also heard from representatives of Maverick Farms, one of the participating farms in the High Country CSA (community-supported agriculture). Because of grant funding, High Country CSA's Cost Share Program is able to offer its weekly shares of fresh local produce to low-income individuals for a reduced price. For $5 per week, Cost Share Program members receive about $15 worth of produce.
Other health education programs offered to Community Care Clinic patients include diabetes education classes, healthy cooking classes, a walking and wellness program and smoking cessation classes.
For more information about the clinic and its programs, call (828) 265-8591 or visit http://www.ccclinic.org.