Basics of a Balanced Diet

Last Friday, October 16th, was World Food Day— one that is particularly special, because it marks 75 years since the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Since 1945, the FAO has been working towards the goal of eradicating hunger around the world, believing firmly that everyone has a right to have access to healthy food. World Food Day is the perfect opportunity to examine your own eating habits and make sure you are eating in a way that is nutritious and balanced. Luckily, there’s a tool that helps you do just that.

In 2011, Michelle Obama and the US Department of Agriculture launched MyPlate, a simple visual aid that you can use to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need with each meal you eat.

MyPlate makes healthy eating easier. Let’s break it down:

  • Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. These can be raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—the options are truly limitless. Try to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables throughout the day. For example, you can eat dark-green vegetables like spinach with one meal, and red and orange vegetables with the next. A healthy plate is a colorful one!
  • Grains are an important source of fuel for your body. When you eat grains, try to choose whole grains (like whole wheat bread) over refined grains (like white bread), since they’re not only more nutritious, but they also cause your blood sugar to increase less than refined grains do.
  • Protein is another food group you should be consuming everyday, and meat isn’t the only way to eat it. You can also get your protein from nuts, seeds, eggs, beans, peas, and soy products.
  • Dairy products are rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. For peak nutritional value, try to choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheeses over full-fat ones. If you can’t eat dairy, certain juices, cereals, soy products, non-dairy milks, and leafy greens can also be good sources of calcium.


Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn’t built overnight. Start by making small changes to your diet and committing to sticking to them, which will help you stay healthy in the long-term. A nutritious diet is a right that you, and everyone else in the world, deserves to have.

If you’re interested in learning more about the UN’s initiatives to end world hunger, you can check out the UN Food and Agriculture Organization website or support the World Food Programme (at no cost to yourself!) at FreeRice.com. Happy World Food Day, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

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Managing Type 2 Diabetes

More than 34 million American have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar, aka glucose. Glucose is an important source of fuel for the body, and if the body cannot metabolize sugar correctly, then you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells in your body, or it doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. When your body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, you may start to experience the symptoms above.

If you suspect that you may have developed type 2 diabetes or that you are at risk of developing it due to environmental factors, genetics, and/or lifestyle factors, then it may be time to see a doctor. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed using the:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This blood test indicates the average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. Normal levels are below 5.7%, and a result between 5.7 and 6.4% is considered pre-diabetes, while an A1C 6.5% or higher means that you have diabetes.

To treat and manage type 2 diabetes, you may need to:

  • Lose weight
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Possibly include diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Monitor your blood sugar

By losing just 5-10% of your body weight, you can make a difference in your A1C because losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. To do this, you may need to eat fewer calories, fewer refined carbohydrates, fewer foods that contain saturated fats, and more vegetables and fruits, especially those that contain a lot of fiber. Changing your diet plus aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate (or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous) mixed aerobic exercise and resistance training offers more benefits than either type of exercise alone. Examples of these exercises are:

  • Aerobic: Walking, Dancing, Biking, and Swimming
  • Resistance: Yoga and Weightlifting

If you have any questions about type 2 diabetes, or think that you may have it or be at risk for it, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team