Thursday, September 3, 2009

quinoa and a diabetes tutorial

Well, friends, week one of my clinical rotations is nearly over. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with patients so far, and I’m definitely becoming more comfortable in the hospital setting. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other interns and having discussions about both clinical care and other nutrition topics like local foods and eating raw.

Speaking of raw, one of the interns brought this bar in for us to sample today. It was pretty good and reminded me a little of the Larabar. The best part? Raw Revolution bars are vegan and do not contain gluten, wheat, corn, soy, trans fat, cholesterol or refined sugar.


I went for a quick run after class tonight and came home for one of my favorite go-to meals. Quinoa is a  fabulous complete protein that only takes 15 minutes prep time at the most {more info on quinoa}. I have to say that I really prefer it served with fresh vegetables.


In the bowl:

  • quinoa (obviously)
  • chopped tomato
  • grated zucchini
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • seasoned with: pepper, parmesan cheese, and a tad of olive oil

As you can see, I’m really great at measuring things out. Honestly, I just tend to mix and match until everything tastes good.

Some of you mentioned wanting to learn more about diabetes and its causes. Below is a little review for your information {and enjoyment}. Graphics courtesy of Karen Steitz, St. Louis University.

The two major types of diabetes are type I and type II. This graphic depicts the development of type I diabetes. In type I diabetes, which can be the result of a genetic defect or perhaps environmental stimuli, the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed, causing a severe insulin deficiency (the beta cells produce insulin).  Type I patients require exogenous insulin because they don’t produce any.


In type II diabetes, insulin resistance is the major effect. The beta cells are not able to produce enough insulin to signal glucose to be taken up into the cells.  This can eventually lead to beta cell exhaustion and insulin dependency (which requires insulin shots).


So, what do we tell patients with diabetes? Exercise is beneficial for both types, especially for type II. Spreading carbohydrates throughout the day is important to manage blood sugar levels. We focus first on lifestyle modifications for type II patients. Often reducing weight increases insulin sensitivity and improves the condition.

To reduce your risk of acquiring type II diabetes: maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, and exercise.

Anybody learn anything new today? If you have specific questions about diabetes, feel free to ask. If I don’t know the answers, I’m sure the dietetic intern think tank can help me out.

Tomorrow is Friday! Hello, 3 day weekend!



  1. I just tried quinoa for the first time a couple weeks ago...definitely a winner!

    There's soooo much info about diabetes, and many, many patients don't follow their lifestyle instructions like they're supposed to. Such bad things can happen! It's so sad. My mom had diabetes (Type I), and she just started using an insulin pump about a month ago. I'm learning a lot about it!

    My mom is a bit of fun for dietitians...diabetic, and she has celiac! Fun diet, let me tell you!

  2. I really want to try quionoa! For some reason I thought it took much longer to cook.

    Thanks for the diabetes info! I didn't know any of that stuff! It runs in my family but there are so many things you hear about what causes it...thanks for clearing things up a bit :)

  3. delicious dinner tonight! I like when the simple meals taste so good.

  4. great explanation about diabetes Emily. My father has been diagnosed to have types II, and now he's totally normal!!! I'm sooooo happy about that. even doctors say he recovered faster than normal, but it was due to the strict diet and exercise regime that he went through. Of course, I'm warning him to not go back to the previous sedentary life style to avoid to have problem again, because I think he has the tendency to it (his sister also has diabetes).

  5. Great lesson Emily! So why are there question marks near the obesity ? Isn't it clear, 100% that obesity causes Type II diabetes?? Hmm..interesting.

    Glad the first week went well, and that bar sounds great! What a nice intern.

  6. Now you have me thinking about quinoa - the protien would be a big plus!

  7. Thanks for posting the diabetes tutorial. I can never remember which one is which.

  8. Interesting. I knew some of it, but it's really good information.

    I love quinoa too! :)

  9. I need to try quiona one of these days - it's such a great grain!

    Very interesting about the different types of diabetes! I love learning about medical stuff like that :)

  10. I love to learn how our bodies work! I really like these little lessons...keep 'em coming!

  11. Hey Emily,

    I would love any articles/research you have about calcium and acidity. Maybe I just have not researched it enough. Thanks for your input!

  12. Would you recommend quinoa for diabetes II patients?


Leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you!