The Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association (RGVDA) provides diabetes education to the residents of Hidalgo County. Our focus is to be an independent and local not-for-profit diabetes association for Hidalgo County.
Our mission is dedicated to the prevention of diabetes and its complications through educational services, early detection and awareness. We teach Diabetes Management, Meal Planning, and Cooking Classes.
Learning what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat is a key part of learning to take care of your blood sugar levels. Diabetes self management, where you help prevent problems caused by diabetes.
We have an online community for kids and adults with Diabetes, along with physical activity and meal planning classes. We provide programs and services tailored specifically for our area.
Services We Provide
Our mission is dedicated to the prevention of diabetes and its complications through educational services, early detection and awareness.
There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be treated and controlled. The goals of managing diabetes are to:
Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity.
Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near the normal ranges as possible.
Control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not go over 140/90.
Decrease or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems.
You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:
Planning what you eat and following a balanced meal plan
Taking medication, if prescribed, and closely following the guidelines on how and when to take it
Monitoring your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home
Keeping your appointments with your healthcare providers and having laboratory tests completed as ordered by your doctor.
What you do at home every day affects your blood glucose more than what your doctor can do every few months during your check-up.
What are insulin pumps?
Insulin pumps are small, computerized devices, about the size of a small cell phone that you wear on your belt, in your pocket, or under your clothes. They deliver rapid-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a small flexible tube called a cannula. The cannula is inserted under the skin using a needle. The needle is then removed leaving only the flexible tube under the skin. The pump user replaces the cannula every 2-3 days.
An insulin pump can deliver insulin 24 hours a day.
It is important for pump users to frequently monitor their glucose levels either with a continuous glucose monitor or a fingerstick monitor. The pump delivers a continuous flow of insulin that can be adjusted if needed for things like exercise and stress. A pump user regularly enters information about their food intake and blood sugar levels into the pump so it can help them calculate insulin doses for food intake and high blood sugar levels.
Benefits of an insulin pump include fewer insulin injections, a more flexible lifestyle, and a more consistent and adjustable delivery of insulin.
Can I take both pills and insulin to control my blood sugar?
Yes. The combination of insulin and an oral medication, when taken as directed by your healthcare provider, is very safe and effective in controlling blood sugar. A typical combination therapy consists of taking an oral medication during the day and insulin at night.
Once you begin taking insulin, you will need to monitor your blood sugar more often to reduce the risk of low blood sugar reactions. Combination therapies are often helpful for people who have type 2 diabetes. If you have been taking an oral medication, your doctor may change your treatment plan to include insulin injections. This change is often made to help people with type 2 diabetes gain better control of their blood sugar.
7 Tips for Diabetes-Friendly Cooking
Who says that having diabetes means you can’t still whip up delicious, homemade food? When you know the basics of meal planning, you can make almost any recipe work.
So don’t throw out your cookbooks or toss your favorite recipes. Instead, take some tips about how to cook wisely.
1. Cook with liquid fats in place of solid fats.
Solid fats often include saturated fats, which you should limit, or trans fats, which you should avoid totally.
If a recipe calls for solid fat like butter, lard, or hydrogenated shortening, try trans-fat free margarine, spreads, or shortening instead. Check the label to see whether the product will work for cooking or baking.
Many liquid fats -- oils such as canola, corn, olive, and grape seed -- can be healthy when used in moderate amounts. Some oils have stronger flavors that may affect the taste. So experiment to find which oils work best with which recipes.
2. Switch to low-fat dairy.
Many dairy products used in cooking and baking are high in fat. You can lower the fat content without compromising taste.
Instead of whole milk or half-and-half, pour 1% or skim milk, condensed skim milk, or nonfat half-and-half. Instead of sour cream, try low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt, buttermilk, or even low-fat cottage cheese (you may need to blend it first to make it smooth.)
To make a sauce that calls for cream or whole milk, use cornstarch and skim milk.
3. Use less fat altogether.
For many dishes, you can use 25% to 33% less fat than what the recipe says. Another tip: Substitute applesauce or mashed bananas for some or all of the fat in baked goods.
Or, if you’re whipping up a treat that calls for chocolate or chocolate chips, try cocoa powder, or use mini-chocolate chips and use fewer of them.
When cooking up a soup or stew, skim off the fat that floats to the surface while it’s on the stove. Or, place the pot in the refrigerator. When the fat has hardened at the top, it's easy to skim off.
4. Be smart about carbs.
Choose those that give you energy that lasts and fiber.
When a recipe calls for "white" flour, "white" rice, or other refined grains, try substituting whole wheat flour, brown rice, or other whole-grain flours or grain products. You can also use ground nuts such as almond or hazelnut (filbert) meal. Or you can mix several of these whole-grain ingredients together in the same recipe.
5. Skimp on the sugar.
Sugar can quickly raise your blood sugar, unlike the carbs from vegetables or starches, which are absorbed more slowly.
Many times you can cut the amount of sugar without seriously affecting taste or texture, though you may need to add more flour. An exception: You can’t cut corners if something you're baking needs yeast, because the yeast needs the sugar in order to do its job.
If you’re using a sugar substitute, check the product label to be sure it’s designed for baking.
6. Experiment with flavor.
Reach for ingredients other than sugar, salt, and fat to satisfy your taste buds. Try out different herbs, spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg), mustards, and vinegars (balsamic, sherry).
Some spices may even have health benefits of their own. Cinnamon, for example, may help lower blood sugar levels.
You can also cut the amount of salt in a recipe, unless the recipe includes yeast, which needs the salt for rising. Or skip the salt entirely when you’re cooking, and then sprinkle a little on at the table when it’s time to eat.
Another way to reduce how much sodium you get is to choose fresh over canned and frozen foods, which tend to be higher in salt. If you’re cooking with nuts, check that they aren't salted.
7. Ask a pro.
If you have favorite recipes that you’d like to make diabetes-friendly, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. They’re experts at helping plan meals that are appropriate for people with diabetes or other health issues.
Why do you need to develop a healthy-eating plan?
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop a healthy-eating plan. The plan helps you control your blood sugar (glucose), manage your weight and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood fats.
When you eat extra calories and fat, your body creates an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn't kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) that, if persistent, may lead to long-term complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.
You can help keep your blood glucose level in a safe range by making healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits.
For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss also can make it easier to control blood glucose and offers a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, a diabetes diet provides a well-organized, nutritious way to reach your goal safely.
What does a diabetes diet involve?
A diabetes diet is based on eating three meals a day at regular times. This helps you better use the insulin that your body produces or gets through a medication.
A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle. He or she can also talk with you about how to improve your eating habits, such as choosing portion sizes that suit the needs for your size and activity level.
The American Diabetes Association recommends these basic standards of care to individuals detected with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
A number of community-based programs that employ components consistent with the Chronic Care Model have demonstrated success and value in improving diabetes specific outcomes. Patient self-management, delivery system design (including information systems and decision support) and community resources are some critical components in these approaches. The American Diabetes Association includes many of these components in its annual recommendations for delivering the basic standards of care to individuals detected with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Self management education, one of the key components of the Chronic Care Model, is associated with improved knowledge, self-care behavior, and improved clinical outcomes such as lower A1C, lower self-reported weight, improved quality of life, healthy coping, and lower costs in patients with diabetes. Additionally, many studies have supported the role of community health workers and peer and lay leaders in delivering diabetes self management education in conjunction with the primary care team.
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of DSME interventions identified an average reduction in HbA1C of .8% across 12–14 mo. Consistent with the newly developing requirements and goals in the Affordable Care Act, diabetes self management education is associated with increased use of primary and preventive services and lower use of acute, inpatient hospital services. Patients who participate in diabetes education are more likely to follow best practice treatment recommendations, particularly among the Medicare population, and have lower Medicare and commercial claim costs.
Approaches using self management education can also apply to the education and support of people at risk for diabetes, in particular in efforts to prevent the onset of diabetes. The strategies for supporting successful behavior change and the healthy behaviors recommended for people at risk for diabetes are similar to those for people with diabetes. Translating evidence-based programs such as the Diabetes Prevention Program into a community-based format can assist people at risk for diabetes in developing and maintaining behaviors that can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
Diabetes Management, Meal Planning, and Cooking Classes