The number of people in NZ with diabetes is growing. People are also getting Type 2 diabetes at a much younger age, especially if they are overweight.
Being told you have diabetes or pre-diabetes can invoke a wide range of emotions – shock, anger, denial, it’s not fair, even guilt. Initially you might not be ready to take much interest or make changes to what you eat and drink. Or you might have many immediate questions and want your ‘diet’ sorted right away. Whenever you are ready is right time to begin learning more about diabetes and how you can control your blood sugar levels.
I have experience in working with people who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or who have pre-diabetes. I am particularly interested in ensuring people understand their diabetes and in helping them prioritise what changes to their current food habits would benefit them most. While it can seem there are many ‘don’ts’ often there are alternatives so that people with diabetes don’t always have to feel different or that they are missing out.
Many New Zealanders who are overweight want to lose weight but find this difficult or that they regain the weight they lose. There are many reasons why this might be.
I can help you identify why, what you’ve tried before didn’t work, and support you in overcoming these barriers or discuss alternative options which might work better for you.
Or if you have never tried to lose weight I can help you identify changes to your eating patterns and food choices which will enable you to lose weight and then support you in making these changes.
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in NZ. Research over the past 30 years has identified a number of factors which increase a person’s likelihood of dying from a heart attack. One such factor is high blood cholesterol levels.
Evidence shows that high blood cholesterol levels can be reduced by making changes to the type of fats and oils one uses and eating more foods originating from plants. I can help you plan and make these changes.
High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Evidence shows that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and a variety of nutritious grains and protein foods while avoiding highly processed foods can assist in reducing high blood pressure. I can help you plan and make these changes.
Unpleasant and sometimes debilitating gut symptoms such as abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhoea or constipation can impact significantly on a person’s life.
A systematic approach to identifying what might be the cause of these symptoms is important so that the appropriate treatment option is chosen. While this should be a relatively straightforward process this is not always peoples’ experience.
I have experience in helping people understand what diagnostic tests are available for diagnosing specific gut and bowel related conditions (e.g. coeliac disease, crohns disease, ulcerative colitis) or whether irritable bowel syndrome is the most likely explanation for your symptoms. Once a specific cause is identified I can guide you in what dietary changes are recommended, including the trial of a low FODMAPS diet in the case of irritable bowel syndrome.
I can also assist if you are experiencing unpleasant symptoms with a colostomy or ileostomy or if you have constipation.
There are important differences between food allergy and food intolerances.
I have experience in helping people understand these differences and in interpreting test results.
I can also explain how to read food labels so that ingredients a person is allergic to or intolerant of are avoided, provide suitable meal and snack ideas and ensure children and adults are able to meet their nutrient and energy needs when particular foods or groups of foods are excluded.
As we live longer our skeletons are under pressure to last longer! Whether you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or told you are osteopenic, ensuring you obtain sufficient calcium, preferably from food in conjunction with medication is important for maximising bone strength.
I can check whether you are meeting the recommended calcium intake for your age and gender and help you plan how you can achieve this intake.
Whether a result of diabetes, aging or sheer bad luck, dietary changes may be of benefit by slowing the progression of kidney disease, helping the kidneys work better for longer.
I can guide you in what dietary changes are recommended for your stage of kidney disease and help you achieve these.
Being underweight, especially if your appetite is poor, carries its own health risks.
I have extensive experience working with older people who have poor appetites, helping them curb weight loss and rekindle an enthusiasm for food and preparing nutritious meals.