Diabetes Awareness Month 2016
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meme about diabetes


Have you heard the joke above before? Yeah, I have. Multiple times.

There are lots of jokes made about diabetes, what causes it, and they mostly point to how people who have diabetes have “got what they deserve”. Just yesterday, I overheard two young men joking about diabetes as they ate dessert in a restaurant. Sigh.


Diabetes impacts my family directly. One of my children was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a few years back, and the impact in our lives is far reaching.


November is National Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada. There are various online campaigns happening to raise awareness and knowledge about Diabetes. It’s a disease that is often misunderstood, and is most often portrayed incorrectly in the media (really, when a person with diabetes has a low, you treat with sinsulin powered logougar, not insulin). It’s not just old, overweight, sedentary lifestyle living people who develop diabetes. (Check your personal risk for diabetes here: http://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/take-the-test) In our home, we refer to diabetes as the houseguest who showed up unannounced, uninvited, who won’t clean up after themselves, and eats all the good snacks.


One thing I have realised is that there has never been a better time to be living with diabetes. The development of newer technologies, from personal glucometers, to insulin pumps, to continuous glucose monitors, to some of the fabulous and exciting clinical trials happening right now, all point to the ability for people living with diabetes – type 1 or 2 – to be living better and healthier lives than ever before. Considering that insulin is not even 100 years old, as a mom to a child with diabetes, this is good news.


That said, it’s still a serious, sometimes scary, and potentially fatal disease. Poor management can create more issues, and complications, which is a challenge with a disease that doesn’t often play by the rules. In our home, we can do the exact same things 3 days in a row, and get completely different results. We like to joke that the wind changed directions and messed things up. My child’s blood glucose levels change frequently, often without obvious cause or reason, and we are never truly living with things “in control” – which is probably our most frequently asked question. We may have “control” right now, but give it 10 minutes, and the wind changes direction….yeah.

diabetes footprint


There is so much stigma and many misconceptions to living with diabetes. Not only do we work with type 1 in my immediate family, there are some amazing people in our friends and family circle who are living (and living WELL!) with type 2. Diabetes is no longer the death sentence it was years ago, but neither is it curable or a joke to live with.


My family marks November by trying to raise awareness around diabetes, and by living well with diabetes. November 14 is World Diabetes Day, and there are many ways to be an advocate. Check out the International Diabetes Federation’s website (http://www.idf.org/) for information, tools, and graphics. Post a graphic on social media, tweet or Instagram something about diabetes. Or even take a good look at the Calgary Tower on November 14 – it will be lit up with blue lights to commemorate the day!

Just don’t share shaming and unkind jokes. There is already enough of that out there.


This video from JDRF Canada is great, and covers many misconceptions about type 1 (www.JDRF.ca)


Take the quiz to assess your risk for Type 2 Diabetes from the Canadian Diabetes Association

If you have concerns about a diabetes diagnosis, and need help, you can contact us about booking a program to help with strategies and learning how to help manage blood sugar levels while still living life to the fullest.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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