November is National Diabetes Awareness Month!

Nutrition Notes: National Diabetes Awareness

by Divya Denduluri (MS Nutritional Biology, CLEC), Nutrition Education Volunteer

Food, when broken down in our bodies, provides fuel in the form of glucose in our bloodstream. For this glucose to be utilized by our bodies, insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) is essential. It helps carry the glucose from the bloodstream to various parts of the body. Diabetes affects how the body uses energy (glucose) from food.

The body is unable to make sufficient insulin in type 1 diabetes, which occurs mostly in children and young adults. Insulin needs to be given at regular time intervals in type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce sufficient insulin or is unable to utilize the insulin. Treatment includes medication or insulin administration. Though there is no cure yet for diabetes, it can be successfully managed through a combination of healthful eating and physical activity, and medication (as prescribed by your medical professional).

Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be in the diabetic range. Prediabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, apart from increased chances of getting diabetes later on in life. Eating healthfully, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the chances of getting diabetes later on in life.

The American Diabetes Association 2016 theme for Diabetes Month is “This Is Diabetes.” Real-life stories of friends, family and neighbors – how they manage the daily triumphs and challenges of diabetes will be showcased to raise awareness and capture the authenticity of those who understand and manage diabetes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides useful informative on eating healthy and exercising with diabetes – CLICK HERE.

Stay tuned for some fun and healthy recipes.

Join us for National Diabetes Awareness Month and help raise awareness!



Nutrition Notes: F is for Fall… and Figs!

by Divya Denduluri (MS Nutritional Biology, CLEC), Nutrition Education Volunteer

We are celebrating National Fig Week on the first week of November. Fresh figs are usually in season from late summer through early fall, although dried figs are available all year round. Figs are sweet, succulent, and packed with fiber, calcium, potassium, iron and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Four popular varieties of figs are grown here, in California:

1. Brown Turkish figs have light purple to black skin, pink flesh and a robust flavor.
2. Black Mission figs have purple to black skin, pink flesh and an intense, earthy flavor.
3. Calimyrna figs are large yellow-skinned figs with a sweet, nutty flavor.
4. Kadota figs have a light amber color with a light, delicate flavor.

Here is a recipe for a quick, and delicious fig bar.

Recipe: Fig Bar

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Number of servings: 6 to 8 bars


- ½ cup of dried figs – mashed or chopped fine
- 1 ½ cups of nuts and/or seeds – chopped, powdered or as is
- A pinch of salt (optional)


1. Mix the ingredients together and knead until evenly mixed.

2. Line a tray with parchment paper and place the fig mixture on it.

3. Top the mixture with another sheet of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll the fig mixture flat, to desired thickness.

4. Remove the parchment paper on top and cut the flatted fig mixture into bars.

These bars can be stored at room temperature for a week, and longer if refrigerated.

Try adding figs to guacamole for a fun new twist. CLICK HERE.

Figs with couscous and feta make a delectable combination. CLICK HERE.