Tag: wellness

November 23, 2020

Start 2021 the Right Way – By Taking Charge of your Health!

Written by Dana Onesti, RD, LD and Kayla Bechtel, RD, LDN, CPT

Do you have the same New Year’s Resolution each year only to lose sight of it come February? With less than 8% of people achieving their resolutions, make a change to avoid type 2 diabetes and ensure you don’t fall in this statistic!1

Enroll in the GemCare Wellness Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to make certain this will be the “New Year, New You” that you have always wanted. While many fad diets and promises of a “quick fix” bombard your newsfeed, the DPP classes are built on a lifestyle change program. This free, year-long program – funded by the Ohio Department of Health – focuses on long-term changes and results that will last! During your journey, you will work alongside Registered Dietitians (RDs) who will provide you with the tools and knowledge to succeed. Furthermore, you will have the accountability and support of other like-minded individuals who are working toward similar goals.

Past and current participants of this program have cut their risk of developing type two diabetes by 58%.2 To do this, they lost 5-7% of their body weight and exercised at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Each class, your dietitians will educate you on a new topic, diving deeper into nutrition and exercise. Some of the classes include topics such as the struggle of lifestyle change, stress management, tactics to stay motivated, food preparation, preventing a relapse, and many more.

For the first 6 months, classes meet on a weekly/biweekly basis. This provides the essential accountability needed for long-term success. For the last 6 months, the group meets monthly to tackle any new challenges and ensure your progress is still going strong.  As a virtual program, it could not be easier to join from your home while achieving your goals!

Two years ago my glucose numbers started to creep up, and I was overweight for my body structure.  This class class helped me to understand lifestyle changes in both diet and physical activity. Learning to limit carbs  and moderately exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day has really changed me.  – 2019 DPP Participant

Don’t let another year pass by! Make the commitment to your physical and mental health; let our team help you feel your best while reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes! Click the link below to get started.


  1. UAM Medicine. (2019). 10 Secrets of People Who Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions. Retrieved from https://www.uabmedicine.org/-/10-secrets-of-people-who-keep-their-new-year-s-resolutions#:~:text=Less%20than%208%25%20of%20people,about%20sticking%20to%20your%20goals.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, November 15). About the National DPP. Retrieved from https://libguides.massgeneral.org/c.php?g=679228&p=4982801
November 4, 2020

Take Charge of Your Health This Holiday Season with GemCare Wellness’ Diabetes Prevention Program

Written by Jenna Adams, MFN, RD, LD & Heather Fowler, RDN, LD

Want to get a jumpstart on your health before the new year sets in? Want to learn how to manage your health during the holidays while still being able to enjoy your favorite seasonal foods? Food is a big part of the holidays, and it can be challenging to stay on track, but GemCare Wellness’ Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) can help you learn and implement lasting lifestyle changes to improve your health and delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Our free-of-charge*, virtual Diabetes Prevention Program is open to anyone who has been diagnosed with prediabetes or who is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2). Losing 5-7% of your body weight and getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, and if you are 60 or older, you can lower your risk by 71%.1

DPP classes provide you with knowledge and tools to navigate not only the holidays but each day successfully. You’ll learn how to incorporate the tools you learn in this program into lifelong, lasting change. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Have a light meal or snack before a holiday event to help control your appetite.
  • Bring a healthy option, such as a veggie or fruit tray.
  • Hold a glass of water to stay hydrated and prevent grazing.
  • Scope out the selections at family meals and prioritize your favorites, forgoing those you could do without.
  • Select a moderate portion of the dessert that appeals most to you.
  • Plan for fun family activities indoors or outdoors, such as going for a walk, playing board games, or having a snowball fight.

Topics we will cover throughout the year include how to eat to prevent type 2 diabetes, shop and cook, manage stress, take charge of your thoughts, and stay motivated. With weekly classes in the first sixth months of the program, you’ll find the needed support to help you navigate the holiday season. Join now, end the year strong, and start 2021 one step closer to your health and wellness goals!

*Program free of charge to participants. Funded by the Ohio Department of Health.


  1. “About Prediabetes & Type 2 Diabetes.” National Diabetes Prevention Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Apr. 2019, cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/about-prediabetes.html.
October 19, 2020

Achieving Results with GemCare Wellness’ Diabetes Prevention Program

Written by Emily Topp, MS, RDN, LD

“I’ve seen numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen in years thanks to the GemCare Wellness Diabetes Prevention Program!” – 2019 DPP Participant

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 American adults has prediabetes? Additionally, of those with prediabetes, more than 8 out of 10 of them don’t even know that they have it. If those with prediabetes do not take action, they run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 years.1

GemCare Wellness is delivering a Free, Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to assist participants in achieving their personal health goals, along with reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The overall goal of the DPP is for participants to lose 5% of their starting body weight and to average at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. For high-risk individuals, achieving these goals reduces their chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Since 2017, class participants have exceeded these goals and lost more than 6.4% of their starting body weight while averaging over 200 minutes of physical activity per week!

This year-long, evidence-based intervention program is no-charge* and open to anyone who has been diagnosed with prediabetes or those who may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Our classes provide participants with the tools to make lifestyle changes, including dietary improvements and an increase in physical activity, along with a support group that includes individuals with similar goals and challenges. Our Registered Dietitians are dedicated to helping participants make positive, long-lasting changes, one step at a time.

Are you at risk? Take our Prediabetes Risk Test today!

While most DPPs use health coaches to teach their sessions, our program is led by a team of Registered, Licensed Dietitians who are healthcare experts. They will be available to you during and between classes to answer any questions you may have!

All classes are virtual, making it easy to join from the comfort of your own home! To secure your spot and begin your journey to better health, click below.

*Program free of charge to participants. Funded by the Ohio Department of Health.


  1. “About Prediabetes & Type 2 Diabetes.” National Diabetes Prevention Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Apr. 2019, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/about-prediabetes.html.
June 8, 2020

6 Immune Boosting Nutrients & Snacks

Written by: Eileen Henderson, RDN, LD

It is difficult to avoid getting sick; fueling up on immune boosting nutrients can help your body fight illness and shorten the duration of colds. Knowing immune boosting nutrients is helpful, but it is important to learn how to include them in everyday meals and snacks!

Here are 6 nutrients and snacks that will boost your immune system!

  1. Protein helps the body heal and recover which plays beneficial role in the body’s immune system. It is recommended to consume 0.8 – 1.0 gram of protein per kg of your body weight daily.
  • Snacks: hard boiled eggs, deli roll up, tuna pouch, Greek yogurt, roasted chickpeas
  1. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria in the gut that positively impact health. Consuming probiotics in foods has shown a reduction in GI and upper respiratory illness.1 They can be found in cultured dairy products like yogurt, and fermented foods like sauerkraut.
  • Snacks: Kombucha, Kefir, fermented pickles and other fermented vegetables
  1. Zinc helps the immune system work properly and can help heal wounds.2  The recommended daily amount for zinc is 8 mg a day for women and 11 mg a day for men.3  Lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts contain a good source of zinc.
  • Snacks: deli roll up, tuna pouch, Greek yogurt, almonds and pumpkin seeds
  1. Vitamin A regulates the immune system and protects against infections by keeping the skin mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system tissues healthy.2 The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900 mcg and for men and 700 mcg for women.5
  • Snacks: sweet potato fries, raw broccoli, baby carrots and bell pepper slices
  1. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals and stimulates the formation of antibodies which supports the immune system.2 It is has been shown that 1,000 mg of vitamin C supplements may make colds milder and even shorten them by half a day.3
  • Snacks: red pepper slices, strawberries and citrus fruits like oranges
  1. Vitamin D strengthens the immune system by triggering a response to fight off bacteria and viruses. The recommend dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 International Units (IU) for men and women and 800 IU for adults over the age of 70.5  Sources include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks and cow’s milk. The body can also make vitamin D from the sun, but it is important not to overdose on direct sunlight and wear sunscreen.
  • Snacks: hard boiled eggs, mushrooms, tuna, yogurt and a glass of milk

A Quick Meal that includes all 6 immune boosting nutrients is a smoothie. If you prefer a refreshing snack, make popsicles by pouring the smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Smoothie Recipe:

  • ½ cup milk or milk alternative
  • ¼ cup plain Kefir
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ banana
  • 1 handful greens
  • 1 scoop protein powder (20 grams protein)
  • 1 Tbsp walnuts



  1. Palmer S. Probiotics’ potential-research suggests beneficial bacteria may support immune health. Today’s Dietitian. 2011;13(1):20.
  2. Klemm S. Support your health with nutrition. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/support-your-health-with-nutrition. Published December 9, 2019. Accessed March 17, 2020.
  3. Getz L. Winter nutrition – Healthy eating offers good protection during the chilly season. Today’s Dietitian. 2009;11(1):48.
  4. Kubala, J. Vitamin A: Benefits, deficiency, toxicity and more. Healthline. Published on October 4, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2020.
  5. Harvard School of Public Health, The nutrition source – Vitamin D  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/
February 13, 2020

Intermittent Fasting

Written by: Kimberly Tessmer, RDN, LD

What is Intermittent Fasting?
Curious about the intermittent fasting trend?  To put it in simple terms, intermittent fasting consists of eliminating or restricting calories over a specific period and alternating that with periods of regular calorie intake.  During fasting, you eat no solid food and drink only non-caloric beverages such as water, black coffee or unsweetened tea.

What is the Best Method for Intermittent Fasting?
There are several different ways that you can execute intermittent fasting.  The key is to find the method that best works for you and your lifestyle.

  • 16/8 Method: 8 hour eating window with 16 hours of fasting (this can be anywhere from 12 to 18 hours of fasting and the times in which you eat are completely up to you but for best effect make it earlier in the day such as between 10 am and 6 pm)
  • 5:2 Method: eating normally 5 days per week and strictly reducing calories (approximately 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men) 2 days per week; such as a Tuesday and a Friday
  • Alternate Day Fasting: Combination of complete fasting days (no calorie containing foods or beverages consumed) alternating with days of unrestricted food and beverage intake.  Much like the 5:2 method but doing a complete fast on the 2 days per week.

If the thought of Intermittent fasting tends to be overwhelming but you still want to try it, start slow with just once per week. The easiest way to get started is to extend your fast before and after your sleep cycle.  You already fast during sleep so if you stop eating a few hours before you go to bed and wait to eat a few hours after waking up you already have a 12 hour fast, assuming you sleep for 8 hours.  If you are unsure on how to work with intermittent fasting to reach your health goals, consult with a dietitian who can help you devise a plan that is right for you.

Will Intermittent Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?
Intermittent fasting is not necessarily a “diet” but for those that struggle with consuming too many daily calories, it can help to decrease the amount of food they eat in a day if they are mindful.  In most cases, intermittent fasting will not automatically change what and how much you eat but it will change when you eat. As a dietitian I feel obligated to mention that intermittent fasting is no magic bullet to weight loss.  If you tend to fast and then over-indulge during your eating window, weight loss will be difficult.  It is still important to ensure you are eating healthy well-balanced meals and especially watching portion sizes if weight loss is your goal.

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Everyone?
Intermittent fasting may not be the best option for everyone.  If you have a history of disordered eating habits, then this type of eating plan may be a trigger and not your best bet.  For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant, it is best to avoid intermittent fasting.  Individuals with certain health issues that need higher calorie levels, those on certain medications or those that are diabetic may be putting themselves at risk by following intermittent fasting. Although some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may improve heart health, lower total cholesterol, benefit weight loss and reduce inflammation, many dietitians remain skeptical. If you are not sure if this type of eating pattern is safe for you, always consult with your doctor before starting.


  1. Orenstein, B. W.  Intermittent Fasting: The Key to Long-Term Weight Loss?  Today’s Dietitian. December 2014: Vol. 26 No. 12 Pg. 40. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/120914p40.shtml
  2. Tello, MD, MPH, Monique. “Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update”. Harvard Health Publishing.  Harvard Medical School, Feb. 10, 2020; accessed 2/6/2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
  3. Gleeson, Racey, Jane. “Intermittent Fasting: Is it Right for You?”. Michigan Health. University of Michigan/Michigan Medicine, July 29, 2019; accessed 2/8/2020. https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/intermittent-fasting-it-right-for-you
  4. Leonard, Jane. “A Guide to 16:8 Intermittent Fasting”. Medical News Today. Jan. 2, 2020; Accessed 2/7/2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327398.php
  5. Gordan, Barbara, RDN, LD. “What is Intermittent Fasting?”. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eatright, May 7, 2019; accessed 2/8/2020. https://www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/what-is-intermittent-fasting
  6. “Not so Fast: Pros and Cons of the newest diet trend”. Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Medical School, July 31, 2019; accessed 2/8/2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend
February 13, 2020

Keto Diet

Written by: Megan Rose, RDN, LDN

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz around the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet. Many individuals have seen rapid weight loss with this approach to eating, but what is the keto diet? What are some things to consider when following it? And is it really the best diet out there? Let’s dive into these questions.

Like every diet out there, there’s plenty of rules that go along with the keto diet – maybe more so than others.

Fat and protein are the main sources of fuel on the keto diet with fat making up 65-75% of calories and protein making up 15-20%. The best fats to focus on are olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, nut butters, nuts and seeds, avocado, butter, and cream cheese. The best protein choices to incorporate are seafood, poultry, grass-fed meats, cheese, and cottage cheese.

The keto diet is considered a very low carb diet with carbs making up less than 5% of calories. Foods not permitted due to carb content are grains, fruit, starchy vegetables and legumes. Berries are an exception since they contain a lower amount of carbohydrates, but portion control is still key. Keto focuses on non-starchy veggies with little to no carbohydrates and will be important to eat throughout the day to promote fullness, fiber, vitamin and mineral intake. Non-starchy vegetables allowed are asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, greens, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, leeks, onion, mushrooms, peppers, spaghetti squash, and tomatoes.

Things to Consider

If you choose to follow the keto diet, there are some things to consider before you start.

Fiber: Many individuals following this diet struggle to meet their fiber needs due to the lack of grains, beans, and fruits. Fiber promotes regularity and better heart health. Focus on eating non-starchy vegetables through the day to help reach your fiber needs. A fiber supplement can help, but it’s much better and more effective to get fiber from whole foods. The general recommendation for fiber is 25 g/day for women and 38 g/day for men.

Water: Adequate hydration is really important, especially when following a restrictive diet, such as keto. Water helps keep you fuller longer, boosts metabolism, and can help keep you regular.

Micronutrients: Since you’re cutting out whole food groups, this can make it hard to meet your vitamin and mineral needs. A good multi-vitamin with minerals supplement is recommended to be sure you’re not becoming deficient in any of these essential nutrients.

Think Long-term: When considering any diet, it’s important to look at the long-term pros and cons of the diet. Is this something I could follow for the rest of my life or would it be a short-term solution? If it is short-term, what will be my approach to maintaining the weight once I’ve reached my goal?

When researchers have studied diets long-term, and that means any diet, they’ve found that most individuals end up gaining the weight back, and sometimes more. So, it’s important to consider if you should go on a diet at all, and if you do, what your lifestyle will look like once it’s over.

What’s the solution to long-term weight loss, if diets aren’t the answer? Small, sustainable choices, every day. We all have changes we’d like to make and if you’re motivated to see change long-term, it’s best to choose one or two of those changes and implement them slowly. It’s those daily choices that add over time. If the keto diet is still something you’d like to try, consider approaching it as a change in mindset and long-term lifestyle, and not a quick fix for weight loss.


  1. https://www.abbeyskitchen.com/the-keto-diet-ketogenic/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water#section7