Diabetes and Chronic Illness - Fresh Tips on Food Safety

Ellie Wilson

MS, RDN Manager, Lifestyles and Wellness

Living well with a chronic health issue like diabetes is challenging. Prevention is key – enjoying foods that support good blood sugar control and following medication directions enhance long-term health and quality of life. To maximize the benefits of better food choices, be sure good food safety practices are on the menu.

The immune system protects health best when your body is well-nourished. Following food safety and nutrition care guidance should support good diabetes management and healthy immune systems. Diabetes may impact immune function by weakening immune system response, and slowing down digestion, allowing bacteria on food to multiply. Once infection has begun, it can be very difficult to treat. Adults 65 and older with diabetes can be especially vulnerable. Check out the tips and tools you can use to ensure you and your family can navigate successfully prevent food safety concerns.

Know Foodborne Illness Symptoms and Get Medical Care Quickly

Foodborne Illness Symptoms can worsen diabetes/all chronic illness symptoms, including elevating blood sugar and risk of dehydration. If you suspect foodborne illness, call your healthcare provider, or seek emergency care immediately.

Smart Shopping

  • Many shoppers use recycled bags for packing groceries. Be sure to wipe these out or wash them each time you unpack them, with antibacterial wipes or spray and clean paper towels.
  • Meat, seafood and fresh produce should be bagged before placing in a cart or shopping bag, so they don’t become cross-contaminated. If your grocery store limits plastic bags, bring your own clean bags to place foods in – clear bags allow for scanning prices and safe handling.
  • Purchase pasteurized eggs and dairy products and use best-by and sell-by dates to ensure food purchases are fresh.
  • Read labels to be sure foods will meet your needs for enjoyment and diabetes management.

Smart Storage and Prep

  • Go directly home – if travel time is extended, use insulated bags and/or coolers to maintain food temperatures.

As soon as possible after shopping or grocery delivery, get chilled and frozen foods put away safely.

Cool tools available in the grocery store to keep food safe:

  • Clean shopping bags, reusable ice packs, insulated shopping bags, and coolers.
  • Appliance thermometer for the refrigerator – store food at 40 degrees F or lower.
  • Cooking thermometer – find temperature charts to ensure foods are cooked to safe serving temps.
  • Easy-clean plastic cutting boards (some are color-coded for meat, seafood, produce). Use clean knives and utensils while preparing foods, and do not reuse utensils, bowls or plates that have had raw food contact.
  • Hot, soapy water, bleach and antibacterial wipes assist with cleaning cutting boards, utensils, and shopping bags.
  • Moisturizing hand soap – keeping hands clean and skin in good condition are both important to diabetes management. BONUS – Good handwashing reduces risk of of flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and other high-risk infections for those with chronic health conditions.
  • Store raw and cooked foods safely in regularly cleaned designated refrigerator sections. If any items are damaged or have any indication of spoilage, don’t hesitate to discard. Follow the food safety mantra of “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Stay up to date on food safety issues by checking the webpage, and downloading the food safety app. Find more resources there and at the Partnership for Food Safety website.

References

 https://extension.umd.edu/resource/food-safety-persons-diabetes

https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/food-safety-older-adults-and-people-cancer-diabetes-hivaids-organ-transplants-and-autoimmune

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Diabetes - Shopping Well On A Budget

Ellie Wilson

MS, RD Senior Nutritionist

Everyone is on a budget, which impacts most purchases, including the food we buy.  For those managing diabetes, smart food choices are recognized as key to overall wellness. Balancing the budget and balancing health is possible, with a few insights and a little planning.

Planning is the first hurdle – everyone is so busy; we find it easy to ignore the concept. However, most of us plan “accidentally” – we have a set routine for meals/foods we eat throughout the week, as well as typical items we buy or prepare for lunch, dinner and snacks. It changes seasonally – salads in summer, with meat on the grill, soup in the fall and winter, as well as air fryer/Instant Pot or slow cooker meals. The first step to planning is just putting your “usuals’ down on paper, with dollar amounts you usually spend (or the budget amount you are trying to stick to!) Then, determine if there are a few tweaks you can make to put better-for-you in the basket on your budget.

It may be tough to find a good starting place. If you have diabetes, or are at risk, personalized nutrition care from a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) is the gold standard. If you haven’t seen a dietitian in the last year, consider getting a referral from your healthcare provider. Your health needs change over time, along with research and food items available, medications – make it personal “policy” to meet with the RDN at least once per year. Check your grocery store for nutrition information and resources – like the Know Your Colors nutrition guides at Price Chopper/Market 32, and the Diabetes AdvantEdge program Diabetes AdvantEdge program at the store pharmacies. Food and medications are increasingly important to health and care, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the resources your grocery store offers.

Tips and Hacks

Hate to cook on Monday? A Price Chopper Rotisserie Chicken could be a problem-solver. Serve with a scoop of frozen broccoli microwaved with a small potato – done, healthy, fast, and cheap. Both the frozen broccoli (as well as any other frozen vegetable or fruit) and the potato are smart/budget-buster choices for eating well.

Breakfast is essential to blood sugar management. Eggs are an inexpensive source of good protein, and easy to mix up with leftover/frozen vegetables for an omelet. Like toast with that? Check the shelf tag or online for Carb Smart choices and read labels to be sure they meet your needs. Carb Smart, Low Sodium, Heart Smart and more tags can be found on the shelf and online – you can plan your smart shopping in a snap. Enjoy eating well when you shop at Price Chopper and Market 32!

                

Shop Carb Smart!

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Back-to-School Allergy Planning - What You Need to Know

Ellie Wilson

MS, RDN

Food allergies are a very stressful issue for children and families. Given how diverse our food supply is, and the potential for foods to be ingredients or potential exposure to allergens in kitchens and prep areas means every mouthful is meaningful.

There are nine food allergens identified as having significant prevalence that must be clearly labeled by law. The Food Allergen Labeling and Protection Act [1]was rolled out in 2004 and has been an important tool for those navigating these issues. The original eight allergens are: milk, soy, peanut, fish, shellfish, wheat, (tree) nuts, and eggs, and sesame was added to the federal list in the Spring of 2021.

One of the most common and most concerning is peanut allergy. Sensitivity can range from slight to life-threatening, and the issue may not be on the radar until a frightening health episode. For many with peanut and other severe allergies, it is critical to maintain and carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of accidental exposure. Family, childcare providers, friends, school nurses and teachers should all be trained to read food labels to avoid allergenic foods, understand signs of exposure and have an emergency response plan. To ease this process, Food Allergy Research and Education, a non-profit supporting those with allergies, has an emergency plan resource document.

The Price Chopper/Market 32 Pharmacy Team is conducting an awareness campaign about epinephrine auto-injector management, ask your pharmacist to assist with keeping these vital devices ready if they are needed. Work with your healthcare provider to ensure an emergency plan is in place.

There is some good news – strong research[2] has shown it is possible to avoid developing a peanut allergy.  Infants that show early signs of possible allergy issues, including family history, eczema and egg allergy may be on the road to a peanut allergy as well. If identified early, and coordinated/supervised by an allergist, pediatrician and registered dietitian-nutritionist, it has been shown that peanut allergy development can be mitigated/reduced with very controlled micro-doses (6-7 grams) of peanuts over time, and timing of that intervention is key. Ideally, the process should start when the baby is just starting on foods, at about the 6-month mark. It should NOT be attempted without coordination and supervision of experienced healthcare providers. It is a recent development in allergy prevention and care, discussion of any concerns should occur at one of the first pediatrician visits, so risks can be assessed as soon as possible. Early and medically supervised intervention could offer significant health and quality of life benefits if peanut allergy can be avoided.

Learn more at the links below!

[1] https://www.fda.gov/food/food-allergensgluten-free-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/food-allergen-labeling-and-consumer-protection-act-2004-falcpa

[2] Togias A, Cooper SF, Acebal ML, et al. Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States: Summary of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Sponsored Expert Panel. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017;117(5):788-793.

https://farrp.unl.edu/for-consumers

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Come Pay Your Due Against The Flu!

Did you know that the single best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a yearly flu shot? During the 2017-2018 flu season, the flu vaccine prevented 7.1 million cases of the flu, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 8000 deaths.1 That’s with only about 42% of adults getting a flu shot! Flu season typically begins around October and can extend well into May but these are just the most common months. You can get the flu any time of year so it is always recommended to get your flu shot early!

For a healthy adult the flu may not seem to be that big of a deal but, the flu can greatly increase the chance of heart attack or stroke. Adults over 35 with a confirmed case of the flu are 6-10 times more likely to suffer their first heart attack and are about 8 times more likely to suffer their first stroke.2,3 Those of high risk stand to benefit from flu vaccines as well. People with type II diabetes who also receive yearly flu vaccines are 30% less likely to have a stroke, 22% less likely to suffer from heart failure, and 19% less likely to have a heart attack.4

Getting a flu vaccine not only helps the recipient but everyone around the recipient. This is especially important for infants under 6 months and those with conditions preventing them from getting a flu shot. Those unable to be vaccinated depend on the rest of us for protection from the flu. The more flu shots that are received, the less flu will spread, and the safer we’ll all be.  So head over to your local Price Chopper or Market 32 pharmacy and get your shot!

FAQs:

  1. Can the flu shot give me the flu?
    •  
    • No! Flu vaccines are made using dead viruses or pieces of the virus’s genetic code that don’t have the capability to cause illness. It takes 1-2 weeks for your body to develop immunity after receiving the flu shot, another good reason to get your shot early this season!
    •  
  2. Why do I need to get a flu shot every year?
    •  
    • Each year the flu virus changes, undergoing mutations that can make the previous vaccinations ineffective. Getting a flu shot yearly ensures you have immunity from the latest strain of the flu.
    •  
  3. Is getting a flu shot the only thing I can do to prevent catching the flu?
    •  
    • While the flu vaccine is the single best way to avoid the flu, there are many things you can do to protect yourself. Frequent hand washing and avoiding those with the flu can go a long way to prevent it from spreading. If you do fall ill it is important to stay home, cover all coughs/sneezes, and limit contact with those around you.

Written by Eugene Kupiec Pharmacy Intern

Sources:

  1. “2017-2018 Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical Visits, and Hospitalizations Averted by Vaccination in the United States | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed August 14, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/averted-estimates.htm.
  2. Warren-Gash C, Blackburn R, Whitaker H, McMenamin J, Hayward AC. Laboratory-confirmed respiratory infections as triggers for acute myocardial infarction and stroke: a self-controlled case series analysis of national linked datasets from Scotland. Eur Respir J. 2018;51. doi:10.1183/13993003.01794-2017
  3. Kwong JC, Schwartz KL, Campitelli MA, et al. Acute myocardial infarction after laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. N Engl J Med. 2018;378:345-353.
  4. Vamos EP, Pape UJ, Curcin V, et al. Effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in preventing admission to hospital and death in people with type 2 diabetes. CMAJ. 2016;188:E342-E351.
kids in an orchard holding red apples

Crunch Time!

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist

Apples are amazing – sweet, tart, crunchy and crave-worthy! This is apple season, and we have the benefit of enjoying local apples and apple cider, especially the super crunchy, super juicy Snapdragon® born and raised in New York! Sweet and spicy, with hints of vanilla, it is a variety that has the bonus of being the product of a cross with the super popular Honey Crisp – YUM! Fun fact – New York ranks second in the U.S. for apple production, with more than 1 billion pounds grown each year!
Picked Apples

Farming and harvest of Honeycrisp apples in an orchard in Nova Scotia.

Apples are an important part of New York agriculture: Learn more at applesfromny.com. Apples bring a lot of health benefits to your family – high in soluble and insoluble fiber, they support weight loss, heart and digestive health. Science is uncovering more about their antioxidant powers, too – quercetin, catechin and chlorogenic acid add to the health properties of apples. Check out all of the great varieties we have at your local store, and don’t forget to try the Washington State star, the Piñata from Stemilt! This is a cross of 3 heirloom varieties that resulted in a classic crunchy, juicy apple, with a surprisingly tropical flavor twist! Great in salads, sandwiches, baking and snacking – learn more and find delicious recipes at https://www.stemilt.com/fruits/apples/pinata-apples/. #eatmoreapples!    

Activate Wellness: November is National Diabetes Month

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist

World diabetes day, National American diabetic awareness month concept with blood drop examination tool kit, blood sugar tracker record and heart with doctor's stethoscope Diabetes is a rising concern for many – almost 10% of Americans have diabetes, and another 30% are at risk. The good news is, eating well to prevent or manage diabetes is the same for everyone. Some quick tips:   Enjoy a healthy, happy November! Diabetes can be a scary diagnosis. So many things to learn about; blood sugar, diet, exercise, medications, oh my! Let your local Market 32/ Price Chopper Pharmacist help. Pharmacists are medication experts and can help with those questions that can be so overwhelming. When is the best time to take my diabetes medication? How will my DIABETES CONCEPTdinner affect my fasting blood glucose? What is a “good” fasting blood glucose? How do I use my blood glucose meter? Sometimes a little “one on one” time to go over these questions can be very helpful! Stop by your local Market 32/Price Chopper Pharmacy and ask for help. Did you know that we have a Diabetes AdvantEdge program to help you fight your diabetes? This allows patients to receive many generic diabetes medications for free and also a free blood glucose meter and discounted test strips. This can go a long way in making those medication costs affordable. We also have a mobile app and web pharmacy so that you can reorder refills on the go. You can even set up reminders right on your phone to help you remember to take a medication. Doesn’t get easier than that! To download go to the app store and download the Price Chopper Pharmacy Mobile App. Next time you think, “I could use some help with my diabetes”, think Market 32/Price Chopper and stop in! We are happy to help. Written by Kim DeMagistris, PharmD, RPh Price Chopper Pharmacist For more information visit: https://www.pricechopper.com/pharmacy#/ http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/american-diabetes-month/

Keep Your Food and Family Safe This Summer!

food safety blog.jpg After a long winter and cool spring, temperatures are finally warming up making everyone eager for outdoor picnics and barbecues. While these temperatures are ideal for that, they also provide a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness. You can help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick by avoiding the “Danger Zone” and following the “Core Four”. The Danger Zone:  temperature range between 40°F and 140°F Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate   Chill: Refrigerate promptly Never taste foods you think might be unsafe.  Most food poisoning bacteria are tasteless, colorless, and odorless.  When in doubt, throw it out!

Raise a Glass to Dairy Month!

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN  Senior Nutritionist

milk.jpg

June 1st is a holiday for our dairy farmers – it is World Milk Day, and kicks off the annual celebration of Dairy Month and all that dairy brings us! Full of flavor and nutrients, packed with protein, familiar and affordable, wholesome dairy brings richness to so many foods. Across the Northeast, dairy is considered a unique “natural resource”, which supports healthy people, healthy communities and a substantial and sustainable positive impact on local economies. We use milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese to bake, batch, sip, and savor our way through delicious and nutritious meals and snacks. Welcome to Dairy Month, an annual national celebration of all that dairy brings us. There would be no dairy without dairy farming, which encompasses time-honored heritage and forward-thinking scholarship – this industry keeps innovating, and is full of hard working, passionate people that ensure animals have the best care, and milk is the highest quality. About 97% of dairy farms are family-owned, generation after generation that have moved the industry forward and treat animals, land and the future with reverence and respect. Dairy also delivers crucial nutrients – milk, yogurt and cheese contribute 51% of calcium and 58% of Vitamin D for just 10% of the calories in the overall American diet. The Great American Milk Drive also kicks off in our stores today – with a $1 or $5 donation at the register, you can join in and get milk to children and families that are less food secure. Check out our Facebook Live visit with our friends at Ivey Lakes Dairy in Stanley, NY, follow the blog, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram learn more about how fresh, nourishing dairy foods make their way from the farm to your table, and the delicious ways you can enjoy them. In case you couldn’t tell, we love dairy – Price Chopper and Market 32 are highlighting dairy and dairy case items all month – you will love the selection and the savings. Celebrate with us!

How Peanut Butter Met Jelly

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN

Open Face Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Day! The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a lunchbox icon, enjoyed by generations. Just as iconic are two of the brands America has grown up with – Skippy Peanut Butter, and Welch’s Concord Grape Jelly. How they got together went something like this…   Timing was key – a few years later, World War II and American soldiers marched across nations. Shelf stable, high protein Skippy Peanut Butter and delicious Welch’s Concord Grape Jelly sandwiches went with them. After the war, returning soldiers shared their love for this dynamic duo with friends and family, and the rest is PBJ history. This uniquely American meal maker has the right stuff to be a go-to staple:   What’s the right way to cut a PB&J sandwich? There’s always some energetic debate about the right way to cut a sandwich, and since today is PB&J Sandwich Day, we’re putting the debate front and center! Visit our Facebook page today to vote on your favorite PB&J cut and join in on the sandwich cutting conversation!