May 22, 2021
Have you ever had a foot cramp that was so painful you found yourself jumping out of bed trying to ease the cramp and reduce the pain? Are you on your feet for hours throughout the day? Are you a runner or do you have athletes in your house playing all the sports? Perhaps you’re looking forward to being outside this summer in your sandal gear! You’ll want to tune in to this show to learn what to eat and what to avoid to support your foot health and decrease leg and foot pain.
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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I have a question to ask all of you right off the bat this morning to sort of lead us into our topic. Have you ever had such a bad charley horse in your leg in the middle of the night that you woke up with a yell or at least maybe you woke up wanting to yell? Or maybe you're more prone to those uncomfortable foot cramps. Today, we'll be talking about how you can avoid those foot and leg cramps. In addition, we'll be discussing some other pretty common foot and leg problems. And of course we'll share some simple solutions to those too. You know, so many health problems have simple solutions if you catch them early enough, and if you know just a little of the biochemistry that's at the root of the problem. And I guess I better introduce myself before we go any further. If you haven't guessed whose voice this is by now, I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And co-hosting with me this morning is Leah Kleinschrodt, who's also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Welcome Leah. It's really nice to host this program with you again. It's been a while.
LEAH: Yeah, it has been a little while, Cassie. It's always good to see your shining face in person and to be in studio with you. So I always know it’s going to be a great show when you're my cohost. So yes, good morning to all of our listeners out there. We have this topic of foot health and Cassie, you kind of started us off with foot and leg cramps being a common problem that we'll see in clinic or that clients will mention while we're talking to them. I also want to mention another common foot issue that I'll run across with clients and that many people actually struggle with. And that is plantar fasciitis. It's actually the most common type of foot pain. And I am amongst those in that set of statistics. I actually had plantar fasciitis several years ago. And let me tell you for those of you who never had plantar fasciitis, it really is not a pleasant way to go about your day. Just a little bit of that background of what plantar fasciitis is; if you can imagine there's a thick ligament that runs, it starts at your heel, at your heel bone and it runs to the base of all of your toes. So it kind of starts at that heel and then spreads out as it gets, it gets further down that foot. And what happens is that kind of thick ligament, that plantar fascia, becomes irritated and inflamed, and then it causes a lot of pain. So and oftentimes that pain will feel like a sharp stabbing pain in your heel. And I remember that vividly. I just remember, especially in the mornings, when you, you would roll out of bed and your feet would first hit the floor. And I just remember cringing and kind of, and, and just kind of wincing every time my, my heel hit that floor; probably for the first five or 10 minutes out of the day. Because it tends to be worse in the morning when you're tight, when you're stiff and things like that. So think about that ligament. Think about that being similar to a rubber band. It needs to stretch and contract as you walk or take steps throughout the day. So this ligament can become irritated and inflamed from overuse is pretty much the most common thing, but it can oftentimes come from a deficiency of nutrients as well. So if you think about that rubber band, and if you've ever been in an office and you've seen those dry crusty rubber bands that you're like, ah, if I stretch it a little too far, it's probably going to snap on me. That kind of is kind of the similar type of thing that happens when these ligaments, they kind of wear down or they get these little micro tears in them from overuse or the deficiency of these nutrients. And that's when we start running into problems. We start running into pain with those ligaments. So in many cases that ligament wears out or it has a hard time healing and repairing itself. And that's when it has problems with staying flexible. And that's when we start getting symptoms in our feet and start getting that pain. And it usually comes as a surprise to people that we actually for our tendons and ligaments to stay healthy and flexible and pliable, we need vitamin C, one of our major nutrients to help promote and develop collagen, one of the main proteins in our body. And I just want to remind our listeners out there when we talk about vitamin C, we're not just talking about oranges and we're not just talking about our citrus fruits; that actually we get a huge dose of vitamin C through some of our vegetables. So even one cup of broccoli is about 80 milligrams of vitamin C and a cup of red bell pepper is over a hundred milligrams of vitamin C, whereas just a small little orange is about 50 milligrams. So it's just a good reminder that we, when we eat kind of the color of, of nutrients through our fruits and our vegetables, that we can actually get a good dose of vitamin C in through there.
CASSIE: I love that reminder. And I love that you mentioned those vegetables too, Leah, because yeah, with the orange, not only are you not getting as much vitamin C, but you're getting quite a bit of sugar. The other thing you made me think of: orange juice is not where we would direct you to get vitamin C. That would absolutely be loaded with sugar. And then you're probably doing more harm at that point than good. So yeah, vitamin C is such an important nutrient for that development of collagen. And there are other key nutrients that our ligaments and our tendons need as well to protect against plantar fasciitis and to protect against other wearing and tearing on our body. And one that comes to the top of my mind is vitamin A. Vitamin A, just like vitamin C helps to promote collagen growth. And like Leah talked about collagen in is extremely important for the health of those ligaments and tendons. So hopefully at this point, a lot of you are wondering, “Hmm, how do I get my vitamin A?” Leah shared how to get vitamin C. How do we get vitamin A? Well, you're probably going to like Leah better than me, because I'm going to tell you to eat liver. Liver is a great source of vitamin A; a very absorbable form of vitamin A. And if you eat liver just once a week, you're really going to do your body a lot of good. And I think Leah will probably remember when I was on the radio show, oh, it's been a few months back now, but I talked about how my grandma loved to cook liver and onions and she loved to eat liver and onions. Maybe that's part of why she lived to be 99 years old. She liked all those nutrient rich foods. So if you like liver like my grandma did, be sure you get it once a week. That's a great dose of vitamin A. And right now I'm thinking of a subset of the population that would really benefit from eating that liver. And that's marathon runners; marathon runners or triathletes for that matter; anybody that's really doing intense exercise on a regular basis or maybe intense sports. You're putting a lot of stress on your ligaments and tendons. So the vitamin C that Leah talked about, the vitamin A, they become really important. But full disclosure: I do not like liver.
LEAH: You're not alone.
CASSIE: You don't either, huh? Not your favorite food. So if you're like Leah and I, you can do what I do. I just take two teaspoons of cod liver oil a day. Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin A that will support your ligaments and tendons. It's also got a good source of omega-3 fatty acids in it. And we'll be talking more about the benefits of that nutrient in just a bit. But if, if you kind of cringe when you hear that term cod liver oil, let me just tell you, it's not the cod liver oil that your mom or your grandma used to have to take. It is deodorized. It, there's all different flavors. It's, it's very pleasant to swallow.
LEAH: Yeah. And I give cod liver oil to my son at least a couple of mornings a week. So even my two and a half year old will take down that cod liver oil. So I think it speaks, like you said, there are some, you know, palatable products out there these days. So it is easier to get in that active source of vitamin A. So Cassie, one thing I was thinking. As you were talking, vitamin A we know is really important for those tendons and ligaments. The first thing that I think about when I'm, when I'm talking with clients or as I'm kind of problem solving with clients, when I think about these connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, I think protein first and foremost. And actually specifically, I think collagen. We mentioned collagen a couple of minutes ago. It's that primary protein that makes up a lot of the soft tissues and connective tissues in our body. And so it makes sense then that we would want to take in some collagen of some form in order to support those, those connective tissues. And so we can get that in through certain foods, like, like the good homemade bone broth or eating the skin on poultry or even eating pork rinds. My grandfather would suck the bone marrow out of, out of chicken bones or bones when they were eating at the dinner table. And that's not always realistic for a lot of people. Again, from a pallet perspective or what they have available. So I'll oftentimes add a scoop of Key Collagen into my coffee. So those collagen powders can be a nice little substitute for that collagen protein.
CASSIE: Those are all great ideas. And I love that you started with food first, but then yeah, if you're not able to always get some of those food sources of collagen, there is that Key Collagen product that you can add a scoop to your coffee or to your morning smoothie. And we are going to just break here for a minute. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you're just tuning in today Leah and I are talking about leg and foot health. If you're experiencing or have experienced leg or foot cramps, you'll want to continue listening to this show today. If you're experiencing chronic inflammation, you'll want to continue listening to this show today, or if you're struggling with foot or leg neuropathy, you'll definitely want to continue listening to our show this morning. And think about this: the protective sheath around our nerves, that protective coating around our nerves is built primarily of fat. When we come back from break Leah will discuss the fats to use and the fats to avoid to keep that protective material surrounding our nerves strong and healthy. And we'll be back on the other side of this commercial.
LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As Cassie mentioned right before we went to break, our nerves or the primarily that sheath or that covering around our nerves is primarily built of fat. So you might be thinking like, “What, what exactly does that mean? And how does that relate then to what I'm eating?” So first and foremost, it means that low fat diets or diets that rely a lot on refined damaged manmade oils, like soybean oil, corn oil, the vegetable oils, the fake butter spreads, these are not going to do your nerves any good at all. So we want those healthy fats, those kind of traditional fats to be in our diets. And we want those fats to look like good quality olive oil, a good grass fed butter, coconut oil, bacon fat even, and avocado oil. These, these are foods that we can ingest that have very therapeutic properties. And then if that's not enough, or if you, if we know that you have a lot of damage already to some of those nerves and we need to do kind of a good amount of repairing, we may even think about some additional supplementation of some specific fatty acids; one of those being GLA or gamma-linoleic acid. That's been found to be helpful for diabetic neuropathy. So just like that nerve pain, especially in the fingers and the toes and in the feet. And as a dietitian, you know, GLA; I often think about three to six soft gels of GLA daily to really kind of kick start that repair process. And then of course our favorite: omega threes. We know those omega-3 fish oil supplements are very anti-inflammatory. They're also helpful with that diabetic neuropathy; one reason being that it actually helps with blood flow and it supports kidney function. And studies suggest that taking a thousand milligrams of omega threes three times a day to be really helpful. So doing the math, that's about 3000 milligrams a day. And honestly, I would say that's probably a minimum for a lot of people. If they have a lot of inflammation going, they have a lot of the foot pain, nerve pain, things like that, I wouldn't hesitate to even go a little higher than that.
CASSIE: I agree.
LEAH: Yeah. So before we left off on break, we were just getting launched into what we can do to support some of our connective tissues, like our ligaments and our tendons. And Cassie talked about vitamin A and our favorite, liver, and some cod liver oil. And I started mentioning our primary protein collagen, which we can get through some certain foods, but for some people it's just easier to do a good quality collagen powder, like our Key Collagen powder. And a couple other nutrients: I just wanted to mention very quickly, as it turns out, vitamin D is actually very important for ligament and tendon health. So living here in Minnesota, we know here in Minnesota, it's hard to get that vitamin D just solely from the sun, especially for a good six months out of the year.
So we might want to consider supplementation there, but I always encourage my clients to get their vitamin D level checked, to check with their doctors, or maybe find a way to, you know, get it even through a private pay type of situation. And we're aiming to have that vitamin D level be between 50 and 80. So 20 and 30 just doesn't cut it. We need that vitamin D to be high for a variety of reasons, but that also includes for our tendons and our ligaments. And then I'll also want my clients to make sure that they're getting sources of a good amount of vitamin C, which we talked about earlier. We want to make sure we're getting in magnesium, calcium, zinc, being just a few other key minerals or a few other key nutrients for good ligament health.
CASSIE: Yes; all great suggestions there. And, and before we go down the road, though, of talking any further about specific nutrients, let's just back up for a minute, and, and remember the bigger picture. We can't forget the importance of animal protein. And I know you talked about that too, Leah, but I just, just here a few minutes ago, you mentioned the importance of protein. Let's focus on that a little bit because everybody can do that, right? You probably all have some animal protein in your refrigerator now that you could cook up, whether it's eggs or fish or beef. That animal protein is really important for ligament and tendon health. And so you should be eating it at least three times a day; at breakfast, at lunch and at dinner. And when I say that, I just shudder a little bit because I think back to my college days and you know, even into my twenties, I skipped breakfast many times, partly because I thought I had such a busy life. I couldn't stop for breakfast. But I think, you know, subconsciously, especially at that age, I was more concerned about staying slim than I was really about my overall health. So that was a way to cut calories, but wasn't a healthy way. And when I think about lunch, boy in college, oftentimes I had a class over that lunch period or had back to back classes. So I would, I might skip lunch as well, or I might stop off at the convenience store and just grab some low-fat pretzels and a Diet Pepsi. Not good for my ligaments and tendons. So hopefully none of you listening are eating that way. If you are, it's time to change. Getting that animal protein in at least three times a day is really important to prevent injuries, or if you have an injury, it can be really helpful in helping you to heal faster. And as we talk about tendons, ligaments, injuries, let's not forget our kids, especially if you have teenagers at home. I know my two teenagers are really busy in sports and when they're not doing sports, they're out in the yard playing wiffle ball with their friends, or they're on the trampoline. They're just really active. And I'm sure some of you parents out there can relate. So I make sure that my kids are eating at least 12 to 14 ounces of protein, animal protein across a day. Another thing you could do is add some of that Key Collagen in powder for your, for yourself or for your teenagers into their day if you're worried about injuries, or if you're trying to heal an injury. For kids, it's really easy to add that Key Collagen powder into a protein smoothie that you might make for them in the morning for breakfast. Another thing I'll share with you that I do for my kids: I give them a multivitamin called Twice Per Day. And I love this vitamin because well, one it's affordable. Two, it's easy to take. It's just two capsules a day, but also it's got a really nice source of B vitamins, which I love. And there's another thing I do for my older teenager that I'll share with you when we come back from break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before we break, though, I just want to mention quickly another leg problem that we see in clinic fairly frequently. And that is restless leg syndrome. If you're not familiar with restless leg syndrome, people often describe it as their legs feel really jittery all the time. And they have this constant urge to keep their legs moving. Now, when we think of restless leg syndrome, there are several nutritional factors to consider. The first question you should ask yourself is, “Am I drinking too much caffeine?” Because we know excess caffeine intake, whether it's coffee, pop, energy drinks; that can contribute to restless legs. Also if you have blood sugar problems, that can be a big factor in why you're struggling with restless legs. And then another thing I always think of if I'm talking with someone with restless legs or back when I used to see people in clinical practice, if somebody says restless leg syndrome, I think of iron and magnesium because very often people with restless legs are either deficient in iron or magnesium or both. So that's something to consider. And with the iron piece, you could ask your doctor to check that, and then you'd know if that's something you have to treat. And then just thinking of a few additional nutrients that can really help to heal restless legs: it would be the omega-3 fish oils, vitamin C vitamin D. And one we haven't mentioned yet this morning, vitamin E. So if you're struggling with restless leg syndrome, hopefully I've given you a sort of a starting place, but also I would suggest considering setting up some appointments with a Nutritional Weight and Wellness dietitian or nutritionist. It often takes more than one appointment because there is no one cookie cutter solution to this problem. So it takes a little detective work. And keep in mind, restless leg syndrome is often a warning sign that your body is calling out for some nutrients that it's lacking. And if you don't address the nutrients that are lacking with the restless legs, it could be that down the road, you develop even more serious health problems. So if you're interested in setting up an appointment, you can call us at (651) 699-3438 to set up your appointment. And now that we're doing all of our appointments by phone or by Zoom, you don't even have to live in the twin cities area to get that nutritional care that you need. And stay with us. We'll be right back.
LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. It seems many people are sharing that they've gained several pounds, maybe even upwards of 10 or 12 pounds during the COVID pandemic. And they are not comfortable, now that a lot of us are starting to move back into our regular jobs, or maybe back on site with their jobs that now they don't fit necessarily into their office clothes that they did 15 months ago or so. So the question they ask then is, okay, “How do I reign things back in? How do I get back on track?” And the answer is eating real food to lose weight. And it's easy to say, okay, I, I got this. I'll start it on Monday, but then Monday never quite seems to come, or it's just Monday. And then what happens on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and so on. So I suggest if part of what you need is a little accountability along with some education is signing up for our virtual Zoom Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series. We have a new series that's going to be starting in June. So there's going to be one class running on Mondays that starts on June 7th or on Wednesdays that starts on June 9th. So in this series, you have 12, one hour classes. Plus on top of those classes, you get two individual sessions with the dietitian or nutritionist to help take what you're learning in class, and actually get specific and help you troubleshoot and make it applicable to your life. So the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss real food plan will help you get back on track. It helps you build on that progress after Monday has come. And it will leave you, it will get you on track to feeling great. So you, if you have questions or if you want to sign up, you can call our offices at (651) 699-3438 to save your spot. And so before we went to break, Cassie was sharing some of the tips that she uses with, you know, when she was seeing clients. But now also has a chance to practice that with her two teenagers; two very active teenagers. And Cassie, you mentioned that making sure that they are getting enough protein is really, is really key for them; maybe doing a little collagen in there too. And then they have a really great multi-vitamin onboard. And there was one more thing that you teased the listeners about before we went to break.
CASSIE: Right. Thanks for reminding me. Right, so for my older teenager, for my 15 year old, he's a little more intense in his sporting events. And now he just got a gym membership where my husband and I go. So, you know how it is at that age, you really get into lifting weights, or at least he has. So for him at night, I've added a multi-mineral supplement with things that you've already mentioned, Leah. You led the way there.
So his multi-mineral has magnesium, calcium and zinc; so important for healthy tendons, healthy ligaments, and really important for people that are exercising a lot like he is. And also he's growing like a weed. So it's, it's nearly impossible I feel like to eat enough, even though he eats a lot and he eats healthy, but it, when you're growing so fast, it's hard to eat enough to get all those minerals in too, in the quantity that your body needs.
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We always think about exercise and physical activity and our jobs as being stresses on the body. But guess what? For those teenagers, just the act of growing is an extra stress on the body that just needs all that extra nutrient support that you can throw at it basically.
LEAH: Yeah. So yeah, so Cassie, your kids are very active in tons of sports and, and weightlifting and things like that. So, and also think about you, the listeners as if you are a runner or if you're more of a once a week soccer player like I am, or, or if you have a very physical job, so maybe you're a personal trainer, or maybe now your job takes you outdoors. And you're very physically active. You're lifting, hauling and doing everything. First and foremost, we always recommend setting up the best foundation that you can through the foods that you're eating. And we call this the Weight and Wellness way. So if there's any new listeners out there now you know what it's called. It's called the Weight and Wellness way. And this includes eating at least 12 to 14 ounces of that good animal protein, at least a couple of times throughout the day, spreading that out. You get several cups of vegetables in throughout the day. And then we also want to make sure that we're adding in several tablespoons of those beneficial fats that we talked about coming in from one of our breaks, like our butter or coconut oil, avocado oil, even the bacon fat from your morning bacon. So we want to lay that foundation with our foods to get as many nutrients in as we can. And then once you've been practicing that, then maybe you start to think, you know, where might I be falling short in some of these other nutrients? Where might, I need to supplement a little bit extra, maybe for a short term, or maybe for long-term to get in some of these extra healing vitamins and minerals? And so for all of you listeners or runners today, you know, I've seen plantar fasciitis. I've experienced it myself, but it can really sideline you for the better part of a season. So we want to make sure that we're supporting all those ligaments and tendons, you know, ahead of this, ahead of time to make sure that injuries don't occur. But if we need to actually heal as well, that's where all these nutrients become incredibly important also. And we don't want to forget about water as we're getting into the warmer seasons right now. It's going to be what, 85, 90 degrees here in the twin cities today. So we want to make sure people are always staying hydrated and getting those ligaments and tendons hydrated also.
CASSIE: I'm glad you mentioned water. You know, my son just last night, I was telling him what the topic is for today. And, and he notices if he doesn't drink enough water, he gets those charley horses that we talked about way back at the start of the show in the night. So, you know, water, we can think of as another nutrient, right, we need to feed our muscles to keep them healthy.
LEAH: Definitely; definitely; just, just as important as our magnesium and our vitamin D and everything else. Right? Yep. So Cassie, let's just talk really quick about what foods we want to eat, what foods we should avoid, or just expand a little bit more about the leg and the foot cramps that we started off the show with.
CASSIE: Yes. And getting back to, like you said, what foods do we need? What foods should we avoid? I think so many people don't make the connection that what is at the end of their fork at mealtime could be the cause of their leg cramps or their foot pain, or sometimes it's what is not at the end of their fork, right? There are a surprising number of nutrient deficiencies associated with muscle cramping. You know, and also if you can think about any type of muscle cramping or twitching as your body potentially trying to give you a warning sign that worse things are going to happen if you don't address this problem now. And speaking of muscles and nutrient deficiencies, keep in mind, your heart is a muscle. So if your legs are getting regular muscle cramps telling you you're deficient in nutrients, it could be that your heart is deficient as well. So catch the problem early. And we know that calcium and magnesium are two of the main minerals that are so important to stave off, or, you know, keep those muscle cramps away. They're so important for proper muscle function overall.
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. And I, and even out of those two, if you had to prioritize one, I always go towards magnesium first for those leg cramps, the restless legs that you mentioned, you know, a while back, Cassie. So if you, one way you can think about it is calcium helps the muscles contract, but magnesium helps our muscles relax. So whenever I think about those "crampy" muscles, I think magnesium first. And we can get magnesium in through some of our foods like pumpkin seeds is actually one of the highest magnesium foods out there. So that could easily be sprinkled on a salad or something like that to get those in. Chia seeds in your smoothie; chia seeds are another nice source of magnesium. And so are things like our, our leafy greens, like a half a cup of cooked spinach is somewhere around 75 to 80 milligrams of magnesium. So we can get magnesium in through real foods. But oftentimes what I'll see is if someone is really just changing into eating the real food way, and we're trying to make up a pretty serious magnesium deficiency, like we've kind of been there for a long time, I'll often have people at least for a while add in a magnesium supplement. So that Magnesium Glycinate is the one that we really, really love for those tight muscles. And so I'll oftentimes start clients on 400, even 600 milligrams of magnesium at night. And not only does it help them sleep, not only does it help things like chocolate cravings, but it helps those muscles relax. And another thing just to think about of why maybe some people might need to supplement with magnesium is that they've got things on board or things that are part of their life that are drawing that magnesium out of the body. One of those things being, if you take a blood pressure medication. So if you are on a diuretic, that's often causing magnesium to be lost in the body. Another one is if you drink a ton of coffee or drink a good deal of soda, both of those things can really inhibit magnesium from being absorbed from your foods. So then you're just not getting the full benefits of that magnesium. And this is another one I see often, as well is if, if I have clients come in and they've been on a very low calorie diet in the past, or almost like a semi starvation type of diet, there's just, you just can't get enough nutrients in by keeping your calories or keeping your food amounts so low. So those might be reasons why you might need to supplement with magnesium, at least in the short term.
CASSIE: Right; right. And I want to be sure listeners realize there are many other symptoms of low magnesium, low magnesium, besides just leg foot cramps and restless leg syndrome. You mentioned briefly, Leah, just now chocolate cravings, especially if you have those intense chocolate cravings, like nothing else will satisfy you. That can be your body telling you you're low in magnesium. But we also know if you have really low magnesium levels, it can cause some pretty serious health problems. For example, irregular heartbeats can be a sign of low magnesium. In fact, in getting ready for today's program, I came across more than one research study that talked about how low magnesium levels might be partly to blame for triggering atrial fibrillation, right? Or what some people might know as AFib. Low magnesium can also cause numbness and tingling. It can cause sweating and a rapid heartbeat, and low magnesium has been known to bring about confusion and even hallucinations. So, you know, if it's low long enough, it can really get serious. And can you believe it's time for another commercial? But before we let the advertisements roll, I just want to revisit briefly what I mentioned at the last break. And that is restless leg syndrome. If you or a spouse or a loved one are experiencing restless leg syndrome, you might not be aware that an iron deficiency with or without anemia can be a big piece of the puzzle in why you're having restless legs. So if you think that be the case for you, I would suggest asking your doctor to test your blood for ferritin. You don't want hemoglobin. You don't want iron. At this point, you want to test ferritin. That's really going to give us the best picture of how much iron you have stored in your body. And that's what we need to look at to determine whether or not you need an iron supplement to get rid of your restless legs. And stay with us because this Dishing Up Nutrition program will be right back after this commercial break.
LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Looking ahead into June, you may want to sign up for one of our new virtual Zoom cooking classes. And the particular class that I am actually looking forward to is a class called “Kitchen Tips for Farmer's Market Vegetables”. Because if you're like me and maybe you're just dipping your toe into the farmer's market, or maybe you're a regular “goer”, but sometimes you just, you go to the farmer's market and you say, what the heck is this vegetable? And then the next step is okay, if I buy this, how do I make it taste good? Or what am I supposed to do with it? So if any of those questions sound familiar, if that is you, I suggest you sign up for this particular class to watch and learn from our culinary nutrition educator, Marianne. She does her magic with fresh garden vegetables and herbs. And she just has an amazing way of inspiring you to try new foods, to actually push the boundaries in the kitchen a little bit and get those extra nutrients in from different kinds of foods. And I will say her classes do fill up pretty quickly. So I do suggest even though this class is out in June, I suggest if you're kind of on the fence or even thinking about it, that actually you just pick up the phone, give us a call at (651) 699-3438 to actually just reserve your spot. You will be so happy and grateful that you did.
CASSIE: And your taste buds will thank you.
LEAH: Absolutely. And hopefully your family members will too, if they have some adventurous palettes. So, all right. So before break, Cassie was just, she led us into break, giving us some warning signs or just some symptoms to watch out for with magnesium deficiency. And again, just to rehash again, if you deal with any of those tight muscles, the foot cramps, the leg cramps, magnesium is probably going to be your first go-to to see if that brings about some kind of relief. Now there's one more foot and leg condition that we wanted to make sure that we got in on this show before our time ends this morning, and that is neuropathy. So neuropathy is nerve pain. And typically that neuropathy affects the extremities or really it starts at the fingertips and the toes and in the feet. The primary cause of neuropathy that we wanted to focus on today is actually diabetes. So diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes, which we know is high blood sugar, too high blood sugar for too long. So people with diabetic neuropathy, they feel tingling, pain, numbness, even in their hands and their feet. And actually up to 70% of people in the U.S. have some form of neuropathy. So it is really critical to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible. So this is speaking to the masses, whether you have prediabetes or diabetes, or you don't have that diagnosis, blood sugar is so, so crucial. And I explain to my clients when I have them in counseling sessions, that when you have high blood sugar, when you get a spike in that blood sugar, the blood vessels, the small little blood vessels are the ones that get damaged first. So these are the small little blood vessels in the eyes. Maybe it's the ears, or maybe it's the toes in the feet, or even the kidneys. They're so small that they're typically the first ones; they're the most vulnerable to getting that damage. And that's when, that's why you might start having some fuzzy vision, or you might not be able to hear as well, or you start experiencing that burning, the tingling, the pain and the numbness with the nerves. And that can all be signs that you've had too high a blood sugar for far too long.
CASSIE: And probably some of the listeners right now are thinking, “Really, how can something that tastes so good, meaning sugar possibly be so bad for me?” But unfortunate as it might seem, it, it is the reality, and it's not just what we're eating.
It can be what we're drinking too. Drinking a glass of wine, a cocktail, or, or maybe a bottle of beer is, is what you enjoy most. It might seem harmless, but alcohol is toxic to our nerves and can really make those neuropathy symptoms much worse. So especially if you're struggling with some neuropathy or if you have diabetes and just want to be sure that you don't fall prey to neuropathy, we suggest no alcohol. But we don't like to just take things away. We like to give you some ideas of substitutions. So what I would say, whether it's in the evening at home that you like to have a cocktail or a bottle of beer, or maybe it's out at a social event, either way instead, you could buy some sparkling mineral water. And, you know, if you put that in a, one of your favorite glasses or maybe even a fancy wine glass presentation is, is part of the puzzle. So pour that mineral water into your favorite glass and then put a little squeeze of fresh lemon or fresh lime in there. You can even garnish the side of the glass with that lemon or lime slice; make it look pretty. And you can have something in your hand as you're socializing or as you're relaxing on your porch or your deck after work.
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. I like what you said there, Cassie. Sometimes presentation is everything. We say we eat with our eyes first, right? So if you have diabetic or diabetic neuropathy, we, one suggestion also could be staying away from all grains and actually wheat being the big one. So wheat, typically refined, you'll see that listed as flour, white flour, wheat flour even, but even things like white rice and the white breads, the white pastas, all of these grains very easily get turned into a lot of sugar in the body. So when we, when they refine the whole grain, so if they take, say a whole kernel or whole brown rice, and they take out that take off that outer shell, they're taking a lot of the fiber and the B vitamins with them. So then you have these refined grains that hit the blood sugar very quickly and very hard. And that makes it a lot more difficult to regulate your blood sugar on a day to day basis. So, as Cassie mentioned, we don't like to just take away foods, but we would like to say let's find some substitutions. So if we're taking out things like pastas, breads, crackers, the refined grains, anything with wheat in it, what are we eating instead? So that brings us back to setting up that good foundation with food. We want to make sure that we're getting in protein for sure. But then when it comes to the carbohydrates, we're choosing our low carb green veggies, like our green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers; all of those low carb type of veggies. And then instead of the grains, subbing in maybe some root type of vegetable. So keeping it in about a half a cup, but this means like maybe we're choosing things like sweet potatoes or squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, some carrots, beets, parsnips, even rutabaga, and then topping those off with some good healthy fats. Those are the things that will keep that blood sugar under much better control. And really actually I've seen it before that it actually gives clients a lot of relief from that nerve pain when they're not spiking blood sugars throughout the day.
CASSIE: Yeah; pretty simple solution.
CASSIE: And it tastes really good too, to eat the way that you were just mentioning. And before the show wraps up, I just want to be sure that we let listeners know that if you have neuropathy or if you're trying to prevent neuropathy even, it's important to know that antioxidants help protect nerves from oxidative damage. And it's really that oxidative damage that is creating the neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid is an important antioxidant, especially for neuropathy that comes with diabetes. So if you're struggling with that, we suggest taking at least 600 milligrams daily of that alpha lipoic acid. One that we really like is the Ortho Molecular brand called Lipoic Acid. And if you go to our website and click on vitamins, you can read more about that. And I just want to bring it full circle here today and remind listeners that it's all about real food in terms of what the foundation is for good health. You know, so don't fall prey to the marketing by the big food companies of those processed products. Bring it back to real food, and don't be afraid to call and set up an appointment with a nutritionist or a dietitian at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We're here; ready to listen, ready to help. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well.