A lot of it is about the beans.
Beans are an important part of a healthy diet, and there are many ways to prepare them so that family members will enjoy them, according to diabetes educator Pam Beamer.
Beamer, who works at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and teaches classes on diabetes management and healthy eating, said that beans provide “high fiber, high nutrition and iron,” which are important to include in any diet.
“They also have B vitamins, good protein and they’re inexpensive,” Beamer said.
Beans have all that and so much more, she explained recently while preparing her favorite Tex-Mex black bean dish in the Community Room at the hospital.
“The fiber in beans actually controls blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent colon cancer. They also help keep the digestive system regular,” she said.
Beamer, who was named Diabetes Educator of the Year by the Western New York Association of Diabetes Educators, created a 10-week course that is regularly offered at the hospital to help people manage diabetes. The next series of classes starts at l p.m. Aug. 20, but new series start every month.
People who eat healthier are often surprised at the good changes that occur in their bodies, said Debra Hoffman, a diabetes educator at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston. Hoffman takes her students to the hospital cafeteria and challenges them to make the healthiest choices possible. They are often surprised that they don’t have to give up many of their favorite foods, she said.
“I always choose something evil, like chocolate milk,” she said, which paired with a salad can actually make a healthy meal.
“Two hours after we eat, everyone takes out their monitors,” she said. After testing their blood sugar levels, “They are always surprised to find that their blood sugar is good because they made healthy choices.”
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