“I was in denial,” says Norma Granados, looking off with tears forming in her eyes. “My mom has diabetes. I know the signs. I could see those signs in myself. I just put it on the back burner and thought it wouldn’t happen to me.”
Newly diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year, Granados, a mother of two, says she remembers thinking that she wanted to see her children grow up.
Time for a change
“It really hit me,” explains Granados. “I decided to start making changes. Dr. Vasquez gave me a lot of information on what I could do. One thing she recommended was attending a nutrition class at the clinic.”
Christina Nordheim leads health education classes at UT Physicians – Jensen which is located in north Houston. “I teach simple tips for preparing and selecting healthier meals and snacks,” says Nordheim, who is a community health education specialist. “The majority of participants make changes to help them lose weight and address other health concerns.”
Granados pointed out that once Aracely Vasquez, M.D., an internist with UT Physicians, recommended the class, someone from the clinic followed up with her to see if she would be attending.
“I didn’t think I needed them, but when I got the call checking to see if I would be there, I decided to go,” says Granados. “One thing I have learned is to take more time shopping at the grocery store. I need to read the labels more. I am not only eating healthier—I am saving money. My grocery bill has been cut in half.”
Decoding nutrition labels
Nordheim says learning to read the Nutrition Facts Label is emphasized in the classes. “Packaging can be confusing,” she adds. “It can often come across as a very healthy choice, but you really need to read the label, it is important to look at the first ingredient.”
At the top of food recommendations is whole grains. The extra fiber that is found in grains is good for your digestive system. Food with a lot of protein will also help you feel full. Portion size is also reviewed during the class. Often times, people learn that they are eating too much food and should utilize portion control.
Sept. 20 & Oct. 18
UT Physicians – Jensen
2620 E. Crosstimbers St., Suite 100
The nutrition class at UT Physicians – Jensen is offered as part of a six week series of Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshops. “To change behaviors, we really need at least six classes with the participants,” explains Nordheim. “We have found that a lot of people thought they were already making good choices, but after taking one of the classes, participants learned they needed to make more modifications. Learning new eating habits takes time.”
For Granados, the changes are working. “It’s me, my mom and my kids,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave my mom with the responsibility of two kids. They are my responsibility. She already raised me and my brother. I like the class. I am losing some weight. I just feel better.”