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Home > Feature Articles > Health and Well Being Strategies

Diabetes Food Selection Benefits from Going Green

Green practices for meal planning can help the environment and benefit your health, too.

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It turns out that for people with diabetes, green practices for meal planning can help the environment and benefit your health, too.

There are a trove of ideas and tips for turning your diet green, with a dozen great new recipes from Baked Italian Tomatoes to Plum and Nectarine Upside Down Cake available in The American Diabetes Association website and magazine.

It all begins with where you purchase food. Major grocery stores sell produce that is often harvested prematurely, meaning the fruits and vegetables are not able to develop the same levels of nutrients as their field-ripened counterparts.

In addition, the food in American grocery stores has traveled from an average of 1,500 miles away, so fossil fuels must be burned to transport it. So where can you get food that is high in its nutritional content and does not cause pollution? From your local farmers, of course!

Farmers Markets Make Local, Fresh Produce Available

Farmers markets allow you to take advantage of the fresh foods that are grown near you in the spring, summer, and autumn months. There are more than 4,000 farmers markets in the United States where shoppers can find food that picked fresh from local areas. The money spent here goes into the local economy, and not to megafarms or transportation costs.

According to Don Wambles, director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority and president of the nonprofit Farmers Market Coalition, regulars at farmers markets rarely realize all the benefits of locally grown food. "It's the taste and the freshness that draws them back, and they eat more of it. They subconsciously become healthier eaters."

Another way to turn your diet green is to try going vegetarian.

This could be as simple as eliminating red meat from your diet, or as drastic as becoming vegan (which means no animal products, including dairy and honey). Either way, Amy Campbell, MS, RD, CDE says that vegetarian diets can have a positive impact on blood glucose management. Consider getting started with recipes such as Cool Melon Salad, Vegetable Lo Mein, Hearts of Romaine Salad, and Grilled Salmon with Garlic Chard. Recipes are found at their website and in their magazine.

The American Diabetes Association is a voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
May 2008

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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