On April 27th, the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center hosted our 7th annual Living Well with Diabetes event! Our speakers this year included Dr. Rochelle Naylor, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator Amy Hess Fischl, Chef Jennifer Bucko Lamplough, and award-winning actress from the View, Sherri Shepherd.
While guests enjoyed a light breakfast, Dr. Naylor explained that medications and insulin should be viewed as tools to help patients manage their diabetes, not punishments. She also stressed the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and explained the findings of a study that demonstrated the astonishing effects of weight loss on diabetes risk reduction–a message important for patients with pre-diabetes, she stressed, since diabetes can be prevented.
Next, Amy Hess-Fischl took the stage to discuss healthy eating habits. “Our taste buds are programmed to like fat and sweets,” she told attendees. However, there are many small steps that can be taken to improve eating habits, such as reading labels, eating a healthy breakfast every day, and cooking meals at home. She explained that Americans consume 50% more calories when eating out, which means that cooking food at home and focusing on increasing the consumption of vegetables instead of carbohydrates can be a major aid to weight loss.
Our guest, Chef Jennifer Bucko Lamplough, has authored several cookbooks for The American Diabetes Association and recently was on the Food Network show “Fat Chef”. While guests sampled a delicious tomato, cucumber, and feta salad–one of her recipes–she demonstrated how easy it was to recreate at home. She also shared tips like chopping vegetables a few days in advance and store them in containers for use throughout the week. Finally, guests sampled Chef’s banana split cake from a recipe that she modified to make it healthier.
Finally, Sherri Shepherd, award-wining actress and co-host of The View, took the stage to share her personal experiences with diabetes. After growing up in a family where diabetes was very common and losing her mother to complications from the disease at a young age, Shepherd learned to channel her emotions into eating. Eventually, she was diagnosed with the disease, and did not take it seriously until she realized that she needed to improve her health to stay around to watch her son grow up. The crowd laughed as she shared anecdotes from her struggle to get healthy. “Sometimes I ask myself,” she said, “do you want that cheesecake, or do you want your foot?”
At the end of the event, the speakers returned to the stage for a panel in the style of The View (complete with Kovler Diabetes Center mugs) and answered questions from the audience. When asked how patients can motivate their friends and family members to live well and make positive life changes, the speakers were unanimous: you have to make small changes, and set yourself up for success!