Volume 18, No. 3, Summer 2010
By Debra T.Gibbons, R.D.
Reading food labels can be challenging even for the well-educated shopper. The labels are not worded in everyday language. They use grams (gm) and milligrams (mg) and, to further complicate matters, these can be interpreted differently depending on the nutrient that’s being measured.
To help understand how to evaluate the fat in a product more easily, visualize every five gm as a teaspoon. If it is saturated or Trans fat, that would be teaspoon of butter or stick margarine. If it is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat think of a teaspoon of oil.
Consider a frozen chicken pot pie that contains 29 grams of total fat, of which 10 gm are saturated. This means that each serving has two tablespoons (or six teaspoons) of total fat, of which two teaspoons are the hard, bad fat.
Or check one of the popular ice creams. The label states that each half-cup serving contains 15 gm total fat. Of these, nine gm (almost two teaspoons) are saturated or bad fat. A single hot dog contains 14 gm total fat, of which six are saturated.
Eating two hot dogs for dinner means you really consumed about 12 gm (or 2 ½ teaspoons) of bad fat.
See how those fat totals (and pounds) quickly mount up.
Overall, you should be consuming less than 10 percent of your calories from saturated and trans fats. If you consume 2,000 calories, your total saturated and trans fat intake should be no more than 22 gm daily. Use this table to evaluate and compare as you shop.
Now let us consider sodium content.
We recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg daily, the equivalent of a single teaspoon of salt. Checking that hot dog label again, you will see each hot dog contains 440 mg of sodium. But you ate two, so that is a total of 880 mg…or about one third of your recommended total daily intake.
In contrast, if you ate four ounces of fresh-cooked chicken breast, you would get only 50 mg of sodium…and the total fat content would be only 1.5, only one-third of which is saturated.
Carefully assessing information on the food label can lead to better food choices. Supermarkets offer thousands of products and if your first choice does not meet your expectations, keep looking until you find a more nutritious alternative.
(Ms. Gibbons is a Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator for the VA Primary Care Clinic in Hyannis. She also sees private clients at LiveNutrition in Brewster, 508-896-9080 for appointments, most health insurances accepted.)
By Richard R. Singleton, D.C.
Every day of our lives we are subjected to jolts, jars, bumps, accidents and injuries—some major, most minor. The body generally can absorb most of these insults with at worst some temporary discomfort. But then, one day, along comes the straw and we’re the camel with the broken back…an apparently slight injury creates symptoms quite disproportionate to what seemed like a minor event.
A normal part of the aging process involves the deterioration of tissues, especially those of the spine and joints. This deterioration occurs with all of us over time, although the degree of this process can vary. The reason is not fully clear, but it seems as if a history of spinal or joint stress and abuse, or inadequate spinal checkups that can catch minor problems before they become serious may accelerate this process.
But sooner or later eight out of 10 Americans will suffer from back pain and even more of us will develop achy feet, knees, shoulders or hands.
Warning signs of degenerative joint disease can be:
We all know that aging is undeniable, but none of us wants to feel older than we are or have our activities prematurely limited by health problems. They say “getting older is not for sissies,” but neither should it become a struggle any earlier than necessary.
We also are seeing an increasing number of people who don’t want to cover up or mask these signs of ill health. They don’t want to fall into drug dependency as a way to balance their lives. They seek other solutions.
Chiropractors, who preach whole-person health, provide alternatives to reduce inflammation, provide relief and enhance the healing process. These may include ice, heat, muscle and soft tissue rehabilitation, muscle stimulation, interferential stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, nutritional advice and exercises. Many also include diet therapy and nutritional supplements as part of an everyday routine.
These treatments can be for back and neck ailments and musculoskeletal complaints from knee and ankle problems to carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. All of these conditions are candidates for non-invasive chiropractic care. But if a condition exists that is better suited for treatment by a medical specialist, trained chiropractors will recognize the need to make the appropriate referral.
(Dr. Singleton practices at Singleton Chiropractic in Dennis, 508-385-9999, and Centerville, 508-778-5005 or www.SingletonChiro.com.)
By Marcello Gentile
Preserving independence and dignity is a primary concern for senior citizens and those with disabilities. Yet often they are reluctant to admit they need assistance to remain safely at home or help from family…or facilities may be unavailable or cost-prohibitive. For many, the ideal solution has been home care for needed medical or non-medical services. The range may include companionship, meal preparation, and light housekeeping; assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing and grooming; and, for the more complex cases, skilled nursing. Thanks to modern technology, many procedures that once required expensive hospitalization are now safe and cost-effective to perform at home.
In choosing a home care provider, potential clients or their loved ones often focus solely on price while neglecting to ask about safety and supervision. Here are some questions to ask in choosing a provider:
Accreditation also is important. The Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) is the leader in home care accreditation.
By conducting research before hiring an agency, you’ll feel better about your decision and ensure that your experience is positive.
(Mr. Gentile is director of the Bayada Nurses in Hyannis, 888-778-5568.)
By Sandra Vickery & Katherine Wernier
We live in an aging population here on Cape Cod, more reason that individuals and those close to them should be on be lookout for signs of depression.
Here are some of the warning signs that it’s time to seek help:
How do you combat this condition?
Depression can become a chronic disorder impacting physical health and well-being, so it’s important that you first speak with your doctor or professional counselor about medical treatment.
Depression is often triggered by loss of a loved one, a cherished friend, a pet, a job, or the loss of physical ability whether hearing, eyesight or mobility. Individuals often ask, “Why me?” But such losses are part of life, and when they do occur it is important to build up some coping strategies.
Research has shown that the best strategy after a loss is to stay connected. This can mean reaching out to your church and other social groups, volunteering for an organization in need, trying new experiences or any combination of these activities. If you feel you need some direction, call your town’s Council on Aging to make an appointment with the outreach coordinator.
Remember, it’s all about keeping connected.
(Ms. Vickery is Executive Director of the Bourne Council on Aging and chairs the Cape Cod Consortium for At-Risk Elders. Ms. Wernier is the REACH Coordinator and member of the consortium. Call 508 759-0653 for more information.)
There’s therapy…and therapy.
There’s physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy.
Physical therapy includes set exercises and strengthening on machines.
And then there’s Functional Therapy, with the emphasis on Fun.
At Mashpee Care and Rehabilitation Center, they do all the usual stuff, but there’s also heavy emphasis on the functional aspect.
When the weather turns nice, patients go out and do gardening in the raised garden beds in the courtyard as part of their therapy.
Other programs include cooking groups and then there are “theme parties” such as New Year’s Eve celebration, Patriots “kick off” or Red Sox opening day.
These functional therapies are goal driven and patient-specific and patients appreciate the socialization of doing this type of activity in contrast to most regimens that are one-on-one in isolation with a therapist.
Patients also benefit from doing “real things.” They may not even realize they’re addressing specifics such as ambulation, balance, range of motion and activities of daily living.
Mashpee also has a transition apartment with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom and laundry area where patients do therapy that is relevant to their living situation before going home. This gives the patient and the patient’s family peace of mind knowing that the transition back to the home setting will be smooth.