Schapman Health and Wellness

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Fruits and Vegetable intake for People with Diabetes March 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 2:39 am

Hi everyone, here is the latest question from

 I have pre-diabetes and am trying to lose weight.  How many servings of fruit and veggies should I have each day?

 Fruits and vegetables can be one of your best friends when in comes to controlling your diabetes and weight loss.  I would recommend starting by following the USDA food guide pyramid ( of 2 cups (2-3 servings) of fruits and 3 cups (3-5 servings) of vegetables per day.  This is a good basic minimal requirement.  Remember, these foods are low in caloric density so they will aid in weight loss since you will be able to eat the same volume of food without getting as many calories as some other more caloric dense alternatives.   Try to add 1 serving of fruit and 1-2 servings of vegetables to each meal.  As well, consider utilizing them as a snack with an additional protein source (such as peanut butter and apples).  Remember, even though you have diabetes, the general requirements for fruits and vegetables are good to meet to ensure that you are receiving all the vital nutrients you need in a day.  If you are very dedicated at getting in your fruits and vegetables, the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) published by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ( recommends 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  This exceeds the general requirements but is a great number when trying to keep calories low and has been shown to help in heart health.  Remember, to keep adding color to your plate and that will help you succeed in meeting your daily goals for fruits and vegetables.  If you are interested in more information, the links above will lead you to the USDA and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute websites for more information about the food guide pyramid and DASH diet.


Healthy Meal Planning for People with Diabetes :) March 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 2:11 am

Hi everyone, here is my weekly question I received from  It is a website to help people who have diabetes. 

 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last month.  I’m having difficulty understanding how many carbs and sugar I can have each day.  I’m finding that nearly everything contains carbs and sugar!  Can you help me with this?

 First, let’s take a step back and breathe.  Being diagnosed with a new disease such as diabetes can be overwhelming at times, especially when you are trying to figure everything out at once.  Now that we have had a chance to take it all in, let’s begin with carbohydrates.  The main thing to remember when you are first diagnosed is that not every food that contains carbohydrates is bad for you.  In reality, carbohydrates are the main source of fuel that provides us with our daily energy.  Even people with diabetes utilize this amazing molecule to help push them through their exercise routines, help them think at their computer stations, and potentially keep those children of theirs in line. 

With this in mind, the main focus should be over control and moderation.  Think of a dinner plate.  Normally you may overload on the steak or maybe a little too much pasta salad.  However, it is important to get variety, color, and a little bang for your buck.  This means adding some delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables to your meal.  Now, you may say, I hear fruit is pure sugar, and you know what, you’re right.  However it is a natural sugar called fructose that does not raise your blood sugar as high as the nerds or gummy worms you may have hidden in your dresser drawer.  And, remember we can add this as part of our meal in moderation.  Now back to the plate method.  We can start by filling our plates half full with vegetables.  Veggies are packed full of nutrients and only 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.  Talk about bang for your buck.  Next, because we do need energy and carbohydrates are a good source of fiber and other nutrients, let’s add some whole grains to that plate in the form of bulgur or barley.  Than to top it off, let’s finish it with a nice 3-5 ounce piece of lean meat or for vegetarians maybe some tofu.  Now, this may not satisfy someone’s sweet tooth, but that is why fruit is so good.  You can look up a natural desert that keeps sugar low but sweetness high made straight with fruit and a few additional items.  Keep in mind that a small piece of grandmas homemade pie recipe can be enjoyed on occasion but resist the temptation to eat the whole thing. 

 When dealing with those hunger cravings between meals, think of combining a healthy carbohydrate with a healthy protein.  Low fat cheese and wheat crackers, peanut butter and celery, or even something as random as strawberries and a slice of turkey are a good way to fill your belly and control your blood sugar.  Find the combination that is appealing to you and remember that it is good to eat every 3-4 hours to reduce the amount of peaks and valleys in your blood sugar levels.  If you like numbers, think 15-30 grams of carbohydrate per snack.

 Now that we have a good start, if you are looking for more information, the American Diabetes association ( has the carbohydrate exchange list for various types of food.  Even if you are not counting carbohydrates at each meal, it is a great way to create a menu by piecing together a few selections from each of the categories.  When planning a meal, think of including 30-45grams of carbohydrate per meal, keeping it low in saturated fat, and make your plate colorful.  You could even make each meal fun by thinking of the plate as a new piece of artwork that you need to decorate before serving.   

This is a good starting point to get you on your way to eating right.  Think of a diet for people with diabetes as the healthy way most people should eat.   Once you become an artist at this healthy eating plan, you will feel great and be able to control your blood sugars even on those occasions when you want to enjoy those old family dessert recipes.


Hope for uninsured diabetics March 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 3:13 am

Hi Everyone, Check out my latest question I received from a website dedicated to helping those with diabetes J

 I am trying to find a class for our grandson.  He is 19 and has a part-time job but no insurance.  He just found out last week that he is a type 1 diabetic after losing a lot of weight and his blood sugar was 523.  He is on insulin but needs to go to a class to manage is diabetes without going hungry.  Where do we start?  Any suggestions would help us a lot.

 It can be tough to deal with a chronic disease such as diabetes without the financial support you would receive from insurance, especially when you are still in your late teens.  Your grandson is lucky to have grandparents that are helping him find resources. Many people today avoid seeking help due to the fear of financial crisis medical cost may put to their pockets, but don’t let that thought keep you from seeking professional help.   It is important to work with a specialist to help your grandson understand what is occurring with him and how he can live a healthy life with diabetes.  There may be options in your area that your grandson may be eligible for.

With that said, the first thing to do is to look into hooking him up with community health services. There are a few avenues that he can search for to obtain help in controlling his diabetes.  One example is the Bureau of Primary Health Care, a service of the Health Resources and Services Administration.  This program offers primary and preventive health care to medically underserved populations through community health centers. For people with no insurance, fees for care are based on family size and you can find a directory of services by visiting the Bureau’s website at  As well, many local governments have public health departments that can help people who need medical care. The local county or city government’s health and human services office can provide you with further information.  As well, you can search online for clinics in the area, or in most regions you can dial 211 which will give you a health and humans service phone line which will help link you with services in your area to meet your needs.  If he is able to work with a professional in the area, it will help him gain some confidence and support to help him get his diabetes under control and keep it maintained.  If he is looking for diabetes educators in the area he can search them with the website  Some may be able to offer financial assistance as well.

 With that in motion, another source is to take an invested interest in your grandson’s health or support him to get educated himself.  Your grandson should start educating today and the internet is full of information to help you find a good start to controlling your diabetes. If you don’t have access at home, look into the local library to get online. However, make sure you are getting information from a reliable organization. One example is the American Diabetes Association  It has a variety of handouts and information to get you started on some basic principles.  As well, invite your grandson over and utilize the website to find recipes that you know would he would like.  He can discover some tasty recipes that are also carb smart.

 One focus on education is learning how to use his insulin.  Sometimes with uninsured individuals, they do not have as many options on insulin medication, so try to distill on him the need to learn about the medication options he has and how they can be utilized with his diet.  If he has the resources to test his blood sugar, make sure that he does a good job at keeping track of his progress.  As well, to save money on strips, have him test less times per day, but have him vary the time he tests each day or week so that he can get a good estimate on his overall blood sugars.  Some keys may be morning, before a meal, and 1 hour after a meal.   Lastly, the most inexpensive way to control his blood sugar is by learning how food interacts with his body to affect diabetes and the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar.  These keys will give him a good start on educating himself

 Remember, though living with type 1 diabetes without insurance may pose a few more challenges to obtain knowledge and help, it is important to stay diligent about becoming more active in controlling your diabetes.  You are off to a great start by seeking help from nutrition professionals.   Good luck!


How to avoid unhealthy late night snack attacks March 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 7:53 am

Here is a new question I recieved this week from  A website to help people with diabetes. 

I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  During the day at work I eat very little, but in the evenings and weekends, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen.  Do you have any suggestions to control my snacking in the evenings and weekends?

Evening and weekend kitchen food cravings can be due to a variety of reasons.  However, have faith that you are not the only one fighting the battle to find ways to stay out of the cupboards in your free time.  From the teenage boy to the work free weekend adult, everyone finds themselves milling through the drawers for a sweet snack and sometimes don’t even know why they are there.  However, before getting down on ourselves about having another candy bar or late night bowl of cereal, lets brainstorm a few possibilities for our uncontrollable munchies and see if we can find solutions.

In the case of a person with type 2 diabetes, it is beneficial to eat at steady states throughout your day.  Blood sugars can spike and drop when you eat large amounts or go long periods without eating.  So you want to start off right by beginning your day with a breakfast.  Make sure you get something into your stomach, even if it is peanut butter and toast or oatmeal with nuts.  It will help set the tone of your day.  Next try to eat something at least every 4 hours.  Carrots, crackers and cheese, a small sandwich, or an orange are all great snacks.  Also, by combining some carbohydrate and a little protein to your snack will help keep you feeling full and stabilize your blood sugars.  If you are not a person who sits down to eat meals you need to find what works best.  It may be small snacks or a small lunch with something to munch on in between.  When you go home, hopefully you won’t find it hard to resist the cupboards.   If you go home hungry, it makes it easier to eat whatever you have in the kitchen with no regard to what you might be doing to yourself.  Remember the old saying, don’t go grocery shopping hungry otherwise you will come home with more than you budgeted for. Well the same can apply when you walk into your kitchen, a haven full of food and an empty belly, tell me about temptation.  However, if you really do need a snack after work to help tide you through the rest of your day, remember, it is recommended to eat every 4 hours.

If you eat at regular intervals throughout the day (every 4 hours) and still find you have problems with your evenings and weekends, it might be time to assess if there is something else going on.  You may be eating due to stress, frustrations, reward, or even boredom.  When you are stressed, find some form of meditation or other stress relief activities to keep you from going straight to food.  It might be a good time to look into a local yoga class or gym.  Then, you will be able to get your mind off your stress and help control your diabetes through exercise.  If you are bored, again, going to the gym, movie, or walk will help keep your mind active.  A good rule of thumb when you are hungry out of boredom is to wait 10 minutes, find an activity to do, and if you are still hungry, than you can get something to eat.  Some people may feel that when they get home after a good presentation they should reward themselves with a piece of cake which turns into two or three!!!  Well, think of other ways of rewarding yourself, like a massage, movie, or tickets to a theater.  You deserve some pampering; however, don’t let it affect your health in an adverse way. 

 Lastly, your blood sugar will not rise as quickly if you are snacking on celery or beets, so try to stock your kitchen with healthy foods that are easily accessible and you do not feel guilty about eating.   You can’t starve yourself at night anymore than you do during the day, so let’s do an assessment of your kitchen and see what we have to work with.  You can keep some sweets around, but just don’t put the cookie jar on the counter.  Place it in the back of the pantry where it takes a little more work to retrieve.  Have a fruit basket or cut vegetables sitting on the table with a small handful of salt-free almonds.  Ultimately, we must understand food is not our enemy.  It is our job to find a healthy relationship with food so that we can enjoy or snacks without sacrificing our health.


Baking with Non-nutritive Alternative Sweeteners February 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 2:02 am

Many people utilize sweeteners in drinks and packaged foods, but don’t know what to do with them when it comes to baking.  Sweeteners don’t interact with other ingredients in the same manner as sugar.  Sugar not only sweetness but adds volume, texture, color, and moistness in many recipes.  Therefore it takes a little more work to find out how to utilize them in your baking.  Listed below are approved non-nutritive sweeteners and how you can utilize them in your cooking.  I will address nutritive sweeteners and their uses in a future blog, so if you are interested in other alternatives, keep your eyes peeled.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 6 different sweeteners to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS).  This means that there is no clinical evidence to suggest health issues if these substances are consumed within the recommended amounts by the FDA.   These sweeteners are:

    1. Aspartame
    2. Acefulfame-K
    3. Sucralose
    4. Saccharin
    5. Neotame
    6. Stevia

Generally, these sweeteners are recommended to those who have problems controlling their blood sugar values. Many health professionals will recommend consuming them in moderate amounts in addition to trying to eat a healthy diet.  So eat some delicious cookies and some moist cakes but don’t let them interfere with eating good old whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  Just like anything else, remember that with sugar substitutes, moderation is key.

 Aspartame (Equal®):  (ADI 50mg/kg)

 Aspartame was approved for use as a tabletop sweetener in 1981 and approved in food and beverage in 1996.   It is 200 times sweeter than sugar with a limited rise in blood sugar.  It contains no aftertaste but losses it sweetness when stored for long periods of time or heated for more than 15 minutes.  However, combining it with other sweeteners or utilizing it with acidic ingredients helps it retain its sweetness.  If you place it in baked products, add it at the end of the cooking process or sprinkle it on the deserts to avoid it being broken down by heat.  People with phenylketonuria (PKU) must avoid this sweetener because it contains phenylalanine which they are unable to metabolize.

 Aspartame conversion chart:

Sugar Packets Granulated Equal for Recipes
1-2 tsp 1 1-2 tsp ¼ tsp
¼ cup 6 ¼ cup 1 ¾ tsp
1/3  cup 8 1/3 cup 2 ½ tsp
½ cup 12 ½ cup 3 ½ tsp

  Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K, Sweet One®, Sunette®): (ADI 15mg/kg)

 Acesulfame-K was approved as a tabletop sweetener for use in 1988 and approved as a general purpose sweetener in 2003.  It is made from a process involving acetoacetic acid in combination with potassium and is 200 times sweeter than sugar.  However, Acesulfame-K has a slight aftertaste if it is used in large amounts.  As well, when using large amounts of it, a smaller amount of sweetener is generally needed to provide the same taste.  Therefore, if you are adventurous, experiment to find the right amount to use.  Otherwise, utilize the chart listed below

 Acesulfame-potassium conversion table:

Sugar Acesulfame-K packets
1-2 tsp 1
¼ cup 3
1/3 cup 4
½ cup 6

  Sucralose (Splenda®):  (ADI 15mg/kg)

 Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and does not raise blood sugar.  It is heat stable and therefore can be used in cooking and baking.  It maintains taste when cooking, however it still does not maintain the cooking properties sugar contains.  Sugar, maintains volume and height when cooking.  If you are utilizing splenda, try adding ½ tsp of baking soda to aid in maintain volume.  As well, when cooking with yeast, splenda will not activate the yeast rising, so the addition of 2 tsp of sugar will aid in fermentation.  If you want a light brown appearance, spray the baked product with cooking spray to brown the outer edges.  Splenda produces blends that are ½ sugar and ½ sucralose. When using a mix, a ½ cup of Splenda will replace 1 cup of sugar.

  Sucralose granulated conversion chart:

Sugar Sucralose granulated
1-2 tsp 1-2 tsp
¼ cup ¼ cup
1/3 cup 1/3 cup
½ cup ½ cup

 Saccharin (Sweet’NLow®)

 The oldest sugar substitute, the FDA petitioned to have it banned in 1977 because it was thought to cause cancer in large quantities, but it has never been proven in human trials. Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  As larger quantities of sugar are needed, you need less to replace the sugar; however you need to be careful because as you use more saccharin, bitterness increases.  It is recommended to mix it with other sweeteners to mask the taste.  As well, the Sweet’N Low Company recommends that if you replace sugar with their product that you reduce your dry ingredients by 25 percent and add some fruit juice or egg whites to increase moistness.  A benefit of this sweetener is that it is heat stable so it is able to be utilized in baking without worries.

Sweet’NLow Substitution Chart

Sugar Packets Bulk Liquid
1/4 cup granulated sugar 6 2 teaspoons 1 1/2 teaspoons
1/3 cup granulated sugar 8 2 1/2 teaspoons 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup granulated sugar 12 4 teaspoons 1 tablespoon
1 cup granulated sugar 24 8 teaspoons 2 tablespoons


Neotame: (ADI 2mg/kg)

A newer sweetener on the market, Neotame was approved for public use and manufactured by the NutraSweet Company in 2002.  It is a derivative of the dipeptide composed of the amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It is rapidly metabolized and completely eliminated in the urine.  Neotame provides 7000-13000 times the sweetening power than sugar with no significant effects on blood sugar.  It can be used for baking but cannot be substituted cup for cup.  It degrades at lower pH values and during extended storage at higher temperatures.  However, it has excellent stability with 85% of the product remaining intake at the end of baking. 


For those who are looking for an alternative sweetener but would like a more organic choice, Stevia is a good option for you.   Receiving FDA approval of GRAS in 2008, the stevia plant is a South American plant that has been used for many years.  It is approximately 300 times sweeter than table sugar so little is needed to sweeten food or beverage.  It is stable in hot and cold conditions so there are no worries about using it in baking products.  However, there has been much health controversy over the utilization of stevia in the USA.  Research is relatively new for this alternative sweetener so be sure to take precautions and use in moderation.  It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children.  As well, if you are allergic to any plants in the daisy family, you may want to be sure it is safe for you.  However, in moderation most organic lovers should give this sweetener a chance.

Sugar amount Equivalent Stevia powdered extract Equivalent Stevia liquid concentrate
1 cup 1 tsp 1 tsp
1 tbsp 1/4 teaspoon 6 to 9 drops
1 tsp A pinch to 1/16 tsp 2 to 4 drops

About the Blogger February 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jschapman @ 3:26 am

Hello, my name is John Schapman.  I am an Exercise Physiologist, a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a Registered Dietitian.   I have always had a fascination with the human body and the effect diet and exercise plays in our health.  Both are important pieces to living a healthy active life and I hope to pass on my knowledge of each field so that we all can move in that direction

As well, I am a Nutrition Editor at  This is a great website designed to help people with diabetes.  Feel free to check it out!

I hope to post a variety of information about both exercise and fitness to help those interested in finding out more about health.