Home ยป Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Quick update: Home inspection did NOT go well…at all (you can’t judge a book…or a home…by its cover!). Back to square one. Oh the joys of buying a home…I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks tons for all of your support and well wishes on our big move. Despite the hurdles and big changes, I need to stay positive while we’re in transition!!

As for the job-hunt, I am trying to keep an open mind but I want to still keep my paws in diabetes…some how…some way. I am nearly 50% complete with my 1,000 diabetic education hours needed to sit for the exam and I am not giving up that easily on pursuing my CDE. Diabetes is my passion!

And on to a most excellent line-up of Q&A!

Jodie of Jodie Pilates: I would like to know your opinion on ginseng, specifically for energy. Are there any other supplements you can suggest for energy?

Prevention RD: Caffeine and ginseng are the two most natural stimulants that come to mind. I recently started taking ginseng for my blood glucose and have noticed no increase in energy*. However, ginseng is most commonly found in large doses in energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster and is most “famous” for its stimulant-effects. I feel both caffeine and ginseng can be a part of a healthy diet, but I think a good night’s sleep is the best energy boost of all! 😉 Note: If you do utilize ginseng or caffeine, do so earlier in the day to help avoid sleep disturbances.

*Ginseng is working beautifully in lowering my fasting blood glucose, however! My fasting blood sugars have gone from 95-103 mg/dl into a much preferred 83-90 mg/dl range. In less than a week, I am SO pleased with the results!

Liz in Dallas: My grandmother and my dad have both recently been put on low-salt diets. It is easy for them to deal with at home, since my grandmother and my mom cook all their own food and very rarely eat anything processed. The problem seems to be out at restaurants. Both of them eat out for lunch pretty much every day, and my grandmother also goes out to eat for dinner quite frequently. What should they be ordering to avoid sodium overload? Are there dishes that they should always avoid? What do you think are the most sneaky sources of sodium?

Prevention RD: Low-sodium “diets” are tough…really, really tough. Restaurants are notorious for using exorbitant amounts of salt. If it’s possible, your grandmother and dad could decrease the frequency of meals out, or dine at restaurants with published nutrition information (e.g. Chili’s, Applebees, Subway, etc.) so they are sure to make a salt-friendly meal selection. If meals out are a must, there is plenty to know, however! Anything breaded or fried is going to have more salt, so looking for key words on menus such as baked, broiled, steamed, and grilled can be helpful in reducing salt. Chips, fries, and other side dishes such as potato salad are also high in sodium, as are sauces, dressings, and other condiments. Because sodium is hidden in just about everything, the best thing to do at restaurants is to exercise portion control, especially since the portion sizes are generally rather large. When ordering food at a restaurant, they can ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side so they can control how much they consume. And it’s always an option to take home half their meal and have a small snack before and/or after dining out. Sharing meals is another great option. Best of luck to them! Great question 🙂

Lena of LMC in the World: I read an article in a recent Economist magazine about the trend of raw milk. It was saying there are some nutritional benefits which are eliminated in the pasteurization process and some people are selling/buying raw milk. Had you heard of this trend? It also said the FDA has not identified any nutritional benefits and there are still a number of laws to restrict the sale of raw milk because it can be dangerous. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prevention RD: What a great question! This is a HOT trend right now, you betcha! Raw milk and dairy simply not been pasteurized, as you stated. Unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful and potentially fatal bacteria including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The National Dairy Council, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, endorse pasteurized milk and dairy. According to the National Dairy Council there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any nutritional benefit to raw milk and dairy of that which has been pasteurized. In fact, pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, making is a more nutritionally desirable product over raw milk. And did you know that it is actually illegal to sell raw milk in some US states? Check out your local raw milk and dairy laws if you choose to consume raw dairy. While raw milk and dairy carries some risk of bacterial contamination, I think the larger issue is knowing where the products come from and the cleanliness of the site. I know there are many raw milk and dairy advocates out there, but I tend to side with the majority on this one. Would I try raw milk or dairy from a dairy I trusted? Probably. Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured? Probably not. 😉

I’ll leave you with a picture of my sleepy girl after her day at camp. She snored ALL night!

Question: What supplements do you take and why?

Happy half-way to Friday!

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  1. June 23, 2010 / 5:42 am

    I actually don’t really take any supplements because I hate swallowing big pills! It seriously gives me anxiety. But occasionally I do take calcium, maybe a multi or a fish oil.

  2. June 23, 2010 / 6:03 am

    I take calcium. Because I used to not even use milk in my oatmeal- so I was somewhat lacking. And then when I got hurt, my doctor recommended it as well- so yep.

    I also take fish oil when I think about it…

  3. June 23, 2010 / 6:15 am

    Awww, so sorry about the inspection. We had some houses that we REALLY liked when we were shopping for our new house, but the inspections went terribly. It’s so disappointing!

    Oh well…you’ll find something better (and safer! ha!)!

  4. June 23, 2010 / 6:40 am

    Ha ha…that’s a great sleepy photo! Sorry the home inspection didn’t go as planned. ๐Ÿ™

    I take fish oil, vitamin D, a probiotic, and then some supplements to help my knees. I’m not sure if the knee supplements work (I take glucosamine, chondroitin, and other stuff) but I’m at the point with my injuries where I’ll waste the money just to see.

  5. June 23, 2010 / 6:48 am

    Good luck with the job hunt!

    I take a calcium-magnesium-vitamin D supplement from Whole Foods. I don’t drink much other than water, especially not milks, and rarely consume calcium-rich foods anyway, so I like to make sure I’m getting enough.

  6. June 23, 2010 / 7:01 am

    I don’t take any. I was supposed to take iron but it REALLY upset my stomach, so I focus on eating more iron rich foods. I should probably take calcium since I don’t drink as much milk as I used to!

  7. June 23, 2010 / 7:35 am

    Sorry the house inspection went bad. Great info regarding sleep. Although I admit to relying a little too much on coffee to get me started in the morning, I’m also working on going to bed earlier, because there’s really no way to make up for lack of sleep.

  8. June 23, 2010 / 7:40 am

    Your big move will be so exciting! Moving states is scary, but new adventures always bring so many good things. I loved your answer about ginsing, I’ve been trying to cut down on my caffeine yet still need the energy. I guess more fruits and veggies may be the best way to go =)

  9. June 23, 2010 / 7:42 am

    I’m not totally sure what all the hype is about on raw milk. I guess advocates consider it to be more natural without the extra pasteurization step. Regardless, I still think I’d like to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. June 23, 2010 / 7:45 am

    Sorry about the inspection…it’s such a process! Thank goodness for inspections, though, since you definitely don’t want to end up in a bad situation. I know you will end up in just the right home. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I take a multi-vitamin (women’s), calcium, and sometimes glucosamine & chondroitin. I am horrible about remembering, though!

  11. June 23, 2010 / 8:03 am

    Home inspections and packing can be draining, but hang in there, it always works out for the best!

    I love that you answer questions! Do you work with diabetes patients exclusively? Or others as well? One thing I’ve noticed more and more of with my clients is that they are not eating enough… do you ever run across clients like that?

    • Nicole
      June 23, 2010 / 4:25 pm


      I don’t work with diabetics exclusively, but the majority of our patients are diabetic. I would say I see 60% diabetes, 20% bariatrics, and 20% other (met syn, HTN, lipids, pre-DM, GERD, NASH, etc.).

      I see a LOT of inadequate intake. A lot of my patients resist calorie counting so we go the route of “you keep food journals and I’ll critique them” route. Some of them it’s like TORTURE to eat more than 1,000 calories. Most of these instances are my bariatric patients who are after the carrot on a stick: surgery ASAP. I just have to explain “starvation mode” and beg them to increase their calories to a recommended range, and once they see a more substantial weight loss, even with eating more, they’re believers. Getting them to trust me enough to get there is the challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the great questions!

  12. June 23, 2010 / 8:12 am

    Sorry about the house inspection. What an exciting move. I’m sure it’s all a lot to deal with now, but you’ll find the right house and the right job! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. June 23, 2010 / 8:44 am

    What a coincidence. My aunt just cooked a whole pot of ginseng tea and she’s been trying to force me to drink it all the time! >__<

    Sorry about the bad house inspection…but you've got a good attitude, so I hope that everything goes well!

  14. June 23, 2010 / 8:47 am

    These informations are really great! I really love the way you answer them so clear and informative.
    I really don’t take any supplements because I do believe in eating fresh and healthy whole food…. and also it’s more fun and yum to eat a bowl of berries than vitamin pills.

  15. June 23, 2010 / 8:50 am

    Yeah, those inspections can be a bummer. We fell in love with a house and it had MAJOR problems and we were so discouraged, but soon after found our house and almost 2 years later, here we are happily settled in! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Right now the only supplements I’m taking are my prenatal vitamin along with a DHA pill each morning.

  16. June 23, 2010 / 9:08 am

    I take a multivitamin and Omega 3 fish oil everyday.

  17. June 23, 2010 / 10:43 am

    So sorry about inspections – just remember that everything happens for a reason! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I used to take fish oil and flax oil, but not anymore – too expensive for my college budget ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. June 23, 2010 / 11:03 am

    Total bummer about the house. It wasn’t meant to be (I don’t like cliches, but they seem to make sense), something else will come along.

  19. June 23, 2010 / 11:08 am

    Awwwww puppy face!!!!! Love those wrinkles!

    I take a multivitamin and that’s it!

  20. June 23, 2010 / 1:11 pm

    I really try to avoid eating out at all cost. In addition to the sat fat, restaurants just seem to go crazy with the sodium.

    I like your question which I think works in a variety of situations: Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured?

  21. June 23, 2010 / 2:12 pm

    I grew up drinking raw milk it tastes SOOOOOO much better. But I got it from a family farm, I’d never trust agribusiness to do it without contaminants. Definitely something you want from a family farm where they actually love their animals. I also drank alot of raw milk while living in Europe, just doesn’t compare.

    So glad to hear ginseng is working for you, that’s awesome.

    Normally my only supplementation is fish oil because I don’t eat fish.

    Lily is such a cutie, glad she had fun at day camp.

  22. June 23, 2010 / 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the q & a! They are always so informative. I just take vitamin d each day because I had blood work done and am low in this vitamin. The sun doesn’t come out enough in the pacific northwest ๐Ÿ™

  23. June 23, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    I don’t really take supplements. I try to remember a multi-vitamin but even that’s a lot of work! And I like Amazing Grass but I don’t drink that consistently either.

  24. June 23, 2010 / 4:50 pm

    i take a multi, zinc, selenium, magnesium, vit d. i have been tested for nutritional deficiences and only take the vits i am deficient in…..

  25. June 23, 2010 / 6:14 pm

    Low sodium is tough. I’ve done well lately but for my upcoming roadtrip it’s just not going to happen. Oh well.

    “Diabetes is my passion!” Is just a funny phrase to me. I know what you mean, but taken out of context it just seems funny.

    Anyway, I take a multivitamin each day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. June 23, 2010 / 6:50 pm

    Sorry about the home inspection, I know you’ll find the perfect place though! Great info on the raw milk, I’ve heard of that and I was curious. I just take a multi because that’s what my doc recommended.

  27. June 23, 2010 / 9:09 pm

    I am so sorry about the house great q and a

  28. June 23, 2010 / 10:28 pm

    Great Q and A!
    Good luck continuing the house search!
    I take (when I am good about it) calcium with vitamin D and omega 3s, since I am not a big fish eater.

  29. June 23, 2010 / 11:39 pm

    Love the sleepy photo of your dog and sorry about your house. When I get in the groove, I take Calcium with Vitamin D, flax seed oil and turmeric.

  30. June 29, 2010 / 11:13 pm

    Great Q&A! When I was little I remember us buying milk right from the farm. Not sure when we stopped…probably when they forced them not to sell it ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think folks should buy it if they want.

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