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Type II Diabetes

Leslie Bauerle DNP, FNP-BC

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition that affects how our bodies react to the amount of glucose, or sugar in our blood stream. When we eat a meal our body breaks most of the food down to sugar. The sugar then goes into our blood stream. Our pancreas is an organ that responds by releasing insulin. The insulin then gets rid of the sugar in our blood stream by helping us use the sugar as energy. Usually, people with diabetes have a problem with the pancreas doing its job by releasing the insulin needed, or with their body using the insulin the way it needs to.


How do you know if your diabetes is well managed?

The A1C test is the most accurate blood test used to diagnosed diabetes and to help you know if your diabetes treatment is working. Your treatment plan may include taking medication, changing your diet, exercising, and eating the right foods.

What’s the goal?

The goal A1C for most people affected by diabetes is 6.5. Why? An A1C level above a 5.7 (PRE-diabetes) causes damage to the small vessels allowing us to see well, heal well, and have a healthy heart, brain, and kidney. At an A1C of 6.5 (full diabetes) or above that damage is occurring at a faster pace allowing you to have less healthy years ahead of you.


Eating To Win Everyday 

The food we eat have a huge impact on controlling our blood sugar. Planning a meal or healthy snacking with diabetes is not easy… so check out some of these healthy options and remember balance is key.

Non-starchy vegetables:

  • Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts

  • Cucumber

  • Leafy greens

  • Green beans, snow peas,

  • Cabbage, Salad greens

  • Squash


Dairy products

  • Milk substitutes (i.e. soy milk)


Protein Foods


  • Chicken, turkey, and eggs

  • Fish like salmon, tuna, tilapia

  • Lean beef cuts, lean pork cuts,

  • Cheese and cottage cheese

**Plant Base**

  • Beans, lentils, hummus,

  • Nuts and nut butters

  • Edamame

  • Tofu and tempeh

  • Plant-based meat substitutes


Carbohydrate Foods

  • Whole grains such as brown rice, oats/oatmeal, polenta, quinoa, and whole products (bread, pasta, tortillas)

  • Starchy vegetables - squash, butternut squash, green peas, parsnips, pumpkin, and sweet potato/yam

  • Beans and legumes such as black, kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans

  • Fruits and dried fruit

  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and milk substitutes (i.e. soy milk)




Don’t Sit… Get Fit

Getting physically active can help decrease the amount of sugar in our bodies by making our body more sensitive to insulin. Performing exercises like jogging, biking, Zumba and Tae Bo can help improve your A1C. Here are some other great ways to get moving…


The Benefits of Walking

  • Walking is one of the easiest activities to start with, and most people with diabetes can do it.

  • Walk instead of driving to nearby destinations.

  • If driving, park a bit farther away from your destination.

  • Get off the bus or train at a farther stop and walk the rest of the way.

  • If you have a dog, walk it daily, or offer to walk a neighbor or friend’s dog.

  • When traveling, take walking tours to see the sights.

  • Start or join a walking group in your neighborhood or at work.


Getting 150 minutes weekly

  • At least 150 minutes of activity is needed per week to reap significant results

  • A slow stroll won’t cut it, you’ll need to work out at a moderate intensity.

  • Set mini goals (i.e. 50 minutes 3 times a week, 30 minutes 5 times a week, or 25 minutes 6 times a week)

  • Think smaller: 10-minute jump rope session before work, a 10-minute walk at lunch-time and 10 minutes on an exercise bike after dinner.

  • Come up with an alternative workout option for days the weather isn’t great

  • Enlist a fitness buddy for accountability and FUN!!!


Break A Sitting Streak

  • Set an alarm on your phone for every 30 minutes to remind you to regularly get out of your seat.

  • Play your favorite up-tempo song and boogie (tip: The Twist is a killer total-body workout)

  • Take off your shoes and stand with the arch of your right foot on a tennis ball. Move your foot forward and backward. Continue for 30 seconds, then repeat with your left foot.

  • Play with your pup - Fetch is an easy way to squeeze in daily activities for you and your pooch.

  • Vacuum, empty the dishwasher, organize a drawer—cleaning counts as moving!


Remember to partner with your health care provider to discuss the best diabetes treatment plan for you.

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