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Low carb, nutritious snacks are crucial for kids or adults with diabetes.  Managing blood sugar is always a challenge for those with diabetes and even for those that don’t have it.  But eating healthy and sticking to a low-glycemic diet can be very tricky and sometimes confusing.  The trick? Think protein, fiber, and healthy fats as a source of good healthy snacks.

Here are 12 snacks that you can pack that are both healthy and tasty:

1.  Hard boiled eggs

2.  Cheese sticks

3.  Fruit bowls

4. Trail mix

5.  Applesauce cups

6. Protein bars

7. Cottage cheese snack packs

8. Apple

9. Veggies and dip

10. Black olives

11. Popcorn

12. Cereal

For more information, visit www.dlife.com

What is PVC?  Yes, it is commonly known as the vinyl called polyvinyl chloride used in many items and is considered very poisonous.  However, that is not the PVC that I am referring to in this blog entry.

Not many have heard of PVC from a health perspective.  The acronym “PVC” stands for Premature ventricular contractions” or also known as Premature ventricular complexes, ventricular premature beats, ectopic heartbeats and extrasystoles.  PVC are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, which normally starts in the upper right chamber (atrium).  These extra contractions usually beat sooner than the next regular heartbeat. And they often interrupt the normal order of pumping.  As a result, the extra, out-of-sync beats (which may feel like a flip-flop or skipped beat in your chest) are usually less effective in pumping blood throughout the body.  Premature ventricular contractions are very common and most people never feel them.

So what causes PVC and irregular heartbeats?  Certain triggers such as heart diseases or changes in the body can make the ventricles electrically unstable. Underlying heart disease or scarring may also cause electrical impulses to be mis-routed. Premature ventricular contractions may be associated with:

  • Chemical changes or imbalances in the body
  • Certain medications, including common asthma medications
  • Alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Increased levels of adrenaline in the body, caused by caffeine, exercise or anxiety
  • Injury to the heart muscle from coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure or infections (myocarditis)

So why am I writing about PVC and show so much interest in this medical condition especially when it is so common?

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PVC.  It started after the birth of my first child.  I thought I was having a heart attack and was having some very weird sensations in my chest.  They ran a myriad of tests on me – ECGs, Holter Monitor, Event recorder, etc. — all to no avail.  Every test that I was subjected to either came back normal, or the event monitors were never able to record the event when it happened.  Doctors pretty much dismissed that I had any condition since I was in good health and had no precondition issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease or high cholesterol.  Talk about frustration!  This only added to my anxiety, hence creating more PVC attacks.  It was a vicious cycle.

I knew that I was experiencing something abnormal but I learned to live with it.  I was never diagnosed with the condition until years later.  Because the events were happening more and more, I decided that I would go back to the doctor and have it rechecked.  The first visits to the doctors (when I was first having the attacks), I lived in northern California.  I had then moved to Washington and this is where I was diagnosed with having PVCs.  My Internist took my concerns very seriously and never underestimated my condition or concerns.  He too ran the same set of tests to no avail.  We finally ended up with me doing a stress test (or what is known as an Exercise Stress EKG).  The PVC event occurred while I was doing the stress test and he was able to see the results and make a diagnosis!  He was so ecstatic and so was I!  Luckily, my PVCs are benign.  However, I need to watch or be aware of my events and make sure that they do not get worse or occur too frequently.  You can choose to control the condition with heart medications, but I opted not to do this.  Instead I chose to change my lifestyle and try to stay away from things that trigger an attack (caffeine, alcohol, stress, anxiety).

The risks of having PVC are that you are at a higher risk of developing serious heart rhythm problems.  And frequent and uncontrolled premature contractions can lead to chaotic, dangerous heart rhythms and possibly sudden cardiac death.

So, if you ever notice, that I never drink any high energy or caffeinated drinks.  I do drink alcohol, but when I over do it, my heart and body take the beating and it takes me a few days for my heart to feel normal again.  I love my dark chocolate, so I haven’t given that up!  And I try very hard to keep my stress levels down.

There you have it!  PVC 101!  I hope you were able to take away some knowledge by my experiences.  It’s not a fun condition to live with, but it is something that you can live with.  There are far worse things out there and I feel blessed that overall, my health is pretty good.

Do you know your ABCs? That is your A1c levels, your blood pressure and your cholesterol profile?

For those that do not know your ABCs, here is the guideline to good health:

AA1c, or hemoglobin A1c test

* ADA goal is less than 7%.
* AACE goal is 6.5% or less.

BBlood pressure

* < 130/80 mmHg for non-pregnant adults.

CCholesterol

* HDL (good) cholesterol – >40 mg/dl (1.0 mmol/l) in men; >50 mg/dl (1.3 mmol/l) in women
* LDL (bad) cholesterol – <100 mg/dl
* Triglycerides – <150 mg/dl

Here are the top health threats for men and women in the USA:

For all of USA (2005)

1.  Heart disease – 26.6%

2. Cancer – 22.8%

3.  Stroke – 5.9%

4.  Chronic lower respiratory diseases – 5.3%

5.  Accidents – 4.8%

6.  Diabetes – 3.1%

7.  Alzheimer’s disease – 2.9%

8.  Influenza and pneumonia – 2.6%

9.  Kidney disease – 1.8%

10. Septicemia (blood infections) – 1.4%

Women (2004)

1.  Heart disease – 27.2%

2. Cancer – 22%

3.  Stroke – 7.5%

4.  Chronic lower respiratory diseases – 5.2%

5.  Alzheimer’s disease – 3.9%

6.  Accidents – 3.3%

7.  Diabetes – 3.1%

8.  Influenza and pneumonia – 2.7%

9.  Kidney disease – 1.8%

10. Septicemia (blood infections) – 1.5%

Men (2004)

1.  Heart disease – 27.2%

2. Cancer – 24.3%

3.  Accidents – 6.1%

4.  Stroke – 5%

5.  Chronic lower respiratory disease – 5%

6.  Diabetes – 3%

7.  Influenza and pneumonia – 2.3%

8.  Suicide – 2.2%

9.  Kidney disease – 1.7%

10. Alzheimer’s disease – 1.6%

I wouldn’t consider myself a health nut, but I do consider myself someone that is concerned about one’s health and am always looking at different nutritional and medicinal theories out there. (whether it is homeopathic, naturopathic, modern medicine, etc.)

Over the past few years, there has been a surge of discussions regarding the benefits of soy. With that has also come the controversy about the dangers of soy.

With an Asian upbringing, I have eaten soy in some form or another all my life. It was part of the mainstay of our diets. I’ve always enjoyed the taste of it and sometimes preferred it over any other source of protein. Edaname is one of my favorite snacks (even preferred over nuts) and I love tofu in my dishes. Unfortunately, I don’t eat much of it in my daily diet today as I have sadly gotten away from the traditional Japanese dishes. (I definitely need to start back up!)

I do, however, have my daily chai tea with soy milk. Partly because I am semi lactose intolerant (depending on the combination of the drink – i.e. – protein drinks kill me!) and because I like the taste of it versus plain old milk.

When my children were born and were put on formula, I quickly realized that as babies they were lactose intolerant (very common in Asians) and had to be put on soy formula. Today, they are no longer lactose intolerant and can eat/drink dairy as they please. However, I think as they grow older, (as I am finding with myself) their systems will change and dairy will become once again a possible problem to ingest.

With all the controversy about whether or not soy is good for you, it is hard to know for sure who/what to believe. All I know is that I have consumed soy in one form or another all my life and I have yet to experience any issues associated with it.

I guess as it is with anything, everything is in moderation. Too much or too little of one thing is never good. Balance is the key to a good life, regardless if it is with respect to food, diet, drink (heaven forbid!) or physical activity. It’s something that I truly believe in and try to live my life by it. (although not always successful!)

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