St. Joe’s Chelsea Encourages You to Take Care of Yourself This Halloween
By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter
The Halloween season is upon us which means more social gatherings, bowls of candy, and other fun sweet treats. But before we dive in with reckless holiday abandon and overindulge, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea dietitian and nutrition expert Christian Calaguas encourages us to pause and think about what we’re putting into our body.
Calaguas encourages folks to have fun but to have it within the context of healthy, informed decisions as they enjoy Halloween. In a Q&A with the Sun Times News, he advises us on just that.
STN: First, tell us a bit about yourself.
CC: I am an Outpatient Dietitian and Coordinator within the Diabetes Education and Nutrition program at St. Joe's Chelsea. I received a Master of Public Health degree in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota and am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.
STN: Who are the patients you typically treat?
CC: The Diabetes Education and Nutrition program at St. Joe's Chelsea focuses on adults with diabetes and offers individual consultations and group classes to members of the community. We offer group sessions for adults with pre-diabetes. We also meet with adults interested in improving eating habits that have other medical conditions, such as high cholesterol, high-blood pressure, kidney disease, and weight management issues.
STN: I get confused between the different types of diabetes. Could you explain the difference?
CC: Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body is not able to use blood sugar (blood glucose) properly. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin to help convert blood sugar into energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the body is not able to use insulin well, which results in high blood sugar levels.
STN: I’ve heard of people controlling their diabetes, at least to some degree, by the food they eat. What are your thoughts?
CC: How much food and what types of food is consumed can make a big difference in the long-term health and wellbeing of someone living with diabetes. In general, they can eat foods they enjoy, while being mindful to balance their choices with foods that support healthy blood sugar levels.
STN: I imagine it’s tough for people with diabetes or even borderline pre-diabetes to resist sweets at the office party or sneaking something out of their kids’ bags while trick-or-treating. Any tips or (ahem) tricks to help diabetics successfully navigate the temptations?
CC: Have a healthy snack before going to the party. Bring a healthy dish to share. Select one treat to have today. Eat slowly and enjoy the experience!
STN: What substitutes do you recommend for people to get their sugar fix from?
CC: There are many possibilities. People can choose from fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Try apple and nut butter, plain low-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries, or bell pepper slices with hummus. These foods are both healthy and tasty.
Calaguas encourages anyone seeking more information and support to call them at 734-593-5280, or visit their website at us at stjoeschelsea.org/diabeteseducation.
Have a fun Halloween everyone. Be safe and take care good care of yourself.