Diabetes Room

Friday, August 3, 2018

7 Bariatric-Friendly Tips For Healthy Eating In The Summer

The summertime can be really hard to keep on track. We think it should be easier because of the weather, being able to do more activities outside, and the longer days. In fact, summer can be the hardest time to stay on goal. The key is to plan for keeping on track. Here are tips that should help:

1) Bring a dish to the picnic.

Going for a backyard barbecue? Offer to bring a dish to share. Pick a dish that is both healthy and tasty like a fresh fruit salad or marinated chicken legs.

2) Plate size always matters.

Make sure you keep the habit of using your right-sized dishes and flatware that meet your needs...despite the heat. If you are going to a picnic or backyard barbecue bring smaller paper plates to share and use.

3) Keep hydrated with fun summer drinks.

Boredom can be our worst enemy when it comes to sticking to our healthy lifestyle. Add fresh in season fruits to your water to make it flavorful and of the moment. And when you want to enjoy a mocktail or two check out these colorful and refreshing tasty drinks.

4. Take advantage of all the fresh seasonal foods available.

Fresh foods recently harvested taste the best and perk up our taste buds. They also tend to be the cheapest to buy because they are plentiful. Going to your local farmer’s market can be a fun activity and give you the best access to the bounty of healthy foods to explore. Trying out a farm coop can also be a great way to add dimension to your diet.

5. Avoid heating up your kitchen.

Heat exacerbates apathy. It also makes us miserable. There are a couple of ways to keep the heat out of your kitchen during the summer. You can plan “no cook” meals. Another way is to use a slow cooker in the summer as a great way to get meals started in the cooler part of the day that you can enjoy eating later in the day when you are ready to eat but not inclined to cook. Grilling outside or on a George Foreman grill also keeps the heat out and adds tastiness to your menu. Keep it practical and change things up to keep motivated and your palate pampered.

6) Plan ahead.

The best way to avoid making bad decisions when you are hot and tired is to pre-plan your menus. And always make sure you have in your pantry and refrigerator elements for a healthy go-to meal that works for your needs. Livliga has a FREE downloadable menu planner to help you get started.

7. Add summer activities into your schedule.

With the days longer and hotter we have to ramp up our activity (so we don’t give in to old negative behaviors because we are hot, bored, and grumpy) and do it during the coolest parts of the day or find places indoors to be active. Building in activities that you can only do during the summer makes it fun and special like kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, gardening and so much more. And find an activity buddy to make it fun and an accountability check.

We can preempt the summer doldrums and avoid getting off track with our eating if we acknowledge the challenge and do a little bit of proactive planning. The main thing is not to beat ourselves up but to make it about having a great summer while living it as our healthiest selves.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Click here to download your FREE Livliga  Bariatric eBook with Recipes & Resources

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fun Summer Drinks—Fresh, Quenching and Healthy!

Just about everything is better in the summer. It’s all because of the fresh ingredients that are available. This includes the tasty and thirst quenching concoctions we can create. The good news is that mocktails are in. You don’t need to consume alcohol to get in the party mood, sip a sexy drink, or share a memorable experience as part of your summer fun.

Balance is the key. If you do want to add alcohol to these drinks that is easy to do. The main point is you don’t have to. Recent research conducted by Cambridge University found that the people who consume more than one drink a day face greater risks of dying from any cause than those who drink less. Very light drinking seemed to have a small protective effect against non-fatal heart attacks. But drinking above 100 grams a week also kicked off much higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal aortic aneurysm, and disease from high blood pressure that could cancel out the benefits from lower heart attack risks. The challenge is to find a way to choose whether we want to drink alcohol, when we want to consume it, and how much we really want to imbibe.

Using fresh herbs, juices, sparkling waters and muddling of fresh fruits are a great way to concoct you own favorite summer mocktails. The combinations are honestly limitless. And it can be a great element of a party to provide a variety of ingredients and have your guests “build their own” unique versions. Or if you want everyone to share in the memory of a special mocktail you can mix it ahead and serve it up in a punch bowl or pitcher. You decide. Remember to include the garnishes to make the special drinks gorgeous to behold.

Three Fun Hand-Crafted Mocktails for Any Occasion

Cranberry Lime Spritzer


  • ⅛ cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 drops Sweet Leaf—Sweet Drops
  • 6 ounces sparkling water
  • Garnish: slice of lime placed on the rim of the glass or on top of the drink.

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Stir to blend.
  3. Add crushed ice.
  4. Pour sparkling water up to the fill line (8 ounces).
  5. Add garnish.

  1. Use the ⅛ cup LivSpoon for easy measuring when making this drink.
  2. Want it sweeter? Substitute diet 7-Up for the sparkling water and skip the Sweet Drops.
  3. Serve it up in Livliga’s Aveq beverage glass.

Serves: 1     Serving size: 8 ounces

Calories per serving: 21     Fat: .03g     Sodium: 51mg     Carbs: 5.28g     Protein: .1g

Grapefruit Mint Mixer


  • ⅛ cup grapefruit juice juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest
  • 6 ounces sparkling water
  • 1 teaspoon muddled mint
  • Garnish: sprig of mint tucked in the side of the glass


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Stir to blend.
  3. Add crushed ice.
  4. Pour sparkling water up to the fill line (8 ounces).
  5. Add garnish.

  1. Use the ⅛ cup LivSpoon for easy measuring when making this drink.
  2. Want it sweeter? Substitute diet 7-Up for the sparkling water and skip the Sweet Drops.
  3. Serve it up in Livliga’s Aveq beverage glass.

Serves: 1     Serving size: 8 ounces

Calories per serving: 19     Fat: .03g     Sodium: 50mg     Carbs: 4.77g     Protein: .26g

Muddled Strawberry Cooler


  • ⅛ cup lemon juice
  • 3 muddled strawberries
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 6 ounces sparkling water
  • Garnish: whole strawberry with top placed on the rim of the glass or on top of the drink.


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Stir to blend.
  3. Add crushed ice.
  4. Pour sparkling water up to the fill line (8 ounces).
  5. Add garnish.

  1. Use the ⅛ cup LivSpoon for easy measuring when making this drink.
  2. Want it sweeter? Substitute diet 7-Up for the sparkling water and skip the Sweet Drops.
  3. Serve it up in Livliga’s Aveq beverage glass.

Serves: 1     Serving size: 8 ounces

Calories per serving: 20   Fat: 0g     Sodium: 50mg      Carbs: 5.41g     Protein: .31g

For more drink ideas check out these other blogs on our Livliga Live Vibrant blog.

Rosemary Tequila Lime Smash
Watermelon Lemonade
Cantaloupe Frappe
Cranberry Lemonade Cocktail

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: When Food Is Your Frenemy by Jacob Bustos

The wonderful part of traveling to many different healthy-related conferences is you get to meet so many great people. One such person is Jacob Bustos. Like me, he is committed to helping people change their lives and live as their healthiest selves. He does this by sharing his personal story and the insights he has gained through his own weight loss journey.

When Food is Your Frenemy is an authentic and heartfelt book. Jacob shares his own personal story in an honest and forthright way of how he chose bariatric surgery and practices portion control to take back his health and put back the joy in his life. Not only does he tell his story but he also offers sage advice regarding the realities and challenges of weight loss surgery and reclaiming your life.

Some of his sage advice includes:

Mindset Matters.

He believes you have to have the mindset to be willing to embrace change. One of the ways you embrace change is by setting “SMART” goals. He also makes the point that positive thinking will yield better results.

Choose Your Path.

Jacob points out that no matter how grim a person’s health situation may be, you always have options. It is your choice what path you choose. The key is in sticking to it.

Moving Forward Requires Forgiving Yourself and Learning to Love Yourself.

As Jacob states in chapter 7, “ In order for your mind to move forward, you have to forgive yourself.” As he points out, the biggest change that happens when you lose significant weight is inside. In fact he goes on to say, “…I had to learn to love again. Not to love just anyone, but to love myself!” He makes it clear that in order to truly move forward you have to address your self-esteem and work at being “at home” with yourself.

Get Back Cooking in the Kitchen.

In order to control our food environment we have to change the way we eat. The best way to do that is to get back cooking in the kitchen. It is how we can control what we eat as well as how much we serve up.

Portion Control Matters.

He makes it clear in chapter 9 that “In order for you to be successful in your weight loss endeavor, portion control will be absolutely crucial to your victory.” He believes to lose weight and keep it off you need to think about eating only 1000 calories a day. The best way to manage your limited calories is to eat several small meals throughout the day to prevent your body from going into starvation mode. Perhaps the most important point he makes in this section is that “You should also use small plates when enjoying a meal—since it will look like more food than you think.” Jacob has served up more than one meal on our Just Right Set® bariatric when competing as a chef at the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) Bariatric Chopped event during their annual conference.

It is clear that Jacob cares and has shared his personal story to help people with their own weight loss and health journey. His book is filled with information and advice to help guide those looking for answers and insight. He even offers up a few of his own recipes. If you are one of those looking for someone who understands and can help you along your journey, Jacob and his book, When Food Is Your Frenemy, is a good place to start.

Are you looking for some more bariatric-friendly recipes to serve up right-sized?

Click here to download your FREE Livliga  Bariatric eBook with Recipes & Resources

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Livliga Special Offerings for Amazon Prime Day through Friday July 20th!

It’s (still) Amazon Prime Day and Livliga® has 2 products that are designated as “Amazon Choice.” What does this mean for you? A great product for a great price. Now is the time to buy! Happy #PrimeDayDeals #LivligaDeals #AmazonChoice

Oh...and we are offering 20% off our most popular products! Including the LivSpoon® AND the Just Right Set® bariatric! #PrimeDay #HappyShopping 😍

Monday, July 16, 2018

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fresh Strawberry and Banana Homemade Ice Cream With Jello

This recipe is easy to make (only 5 ingredients!), has a great fruit taste and a vibrant look to it. Perfect for a summertime refreshing snack or dessert. It is more of an ice milk or granita in texture. I added nonfat milk to enhance the protein in the recipe. If you are looking for something fun to do with kids this is it. This recipe can be used to make popsicles too. The secret is in the jello.

I am a firm believer that life should have its Guilty Pleasures. The key is to make them “healthy” and not destructive to our goals and life vision. This ice cream is just such a guilty pleasure. To make it look like plenty of ice cream and to make this special pleasure last longer and allow me to savor every bite I served it up in my Just Right Set® dishes and used my new Just Right Set® bariatric spoon. Check out the photos to see how its looks and how much pleasure I must have gotten out of my “healthy” guilty pleasure treat!

When I was working on this recipe I thought it would be fun to do a taste test with a few family and friends. The main ingredient difference for the taste test was the type of jello I used. I didn’t want to add additional sugar/substitute and I wanted to see (with a blind test, of course) which version people preferred. I tried the new “Simply Good” strawberry jello with real cane sugar, sugar-free strawberry jello and then banana creme sugar-free pudding jello. Hands down the winner was the sugar-free strawberry jello version. It had the brightest color and flavor of the three versions. The winning recipe is below.

Fresh Strawberry and Banana Homemade Ice Cream With Jello:


  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 ripe banana (can be frozen)
  • 1 cup strawberries (can be frozen)
  • 1 package sugar free strawberry jello (.6 ounce)
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend well.
  2. Pour mixture into an airtight container with a wide mouth for easy scooping later.
  3. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
  4. Serve when ready or anytime there after for a tasty treat.


  1. If the ice cream is too hard to scoop let it sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes. In a hurry? Place the ice cream in the microwave on high for 10 seconds.
  2. This recipe makes great popsicles too. Just pour in the molds and freeze.

Serves: 6   Serving size: ½ cup

Calories per serving: 52   Fat: .22g   Sodium: 121mg   Carbs: 8.42   Protein: 3.11

Looking for more healthy dessert recipes?

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Enjoy! And Live vibrant!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Stars and Hearts Fruit Salad

During the summer I want a little more fun and a lot more “easy” in my meal prep. I guess the sun and outdoors is calling me or the heat zaps my energy. Regardless, I still want healthy, visually appealing food to grace my plate.

With the summer months comes all kinds of in season fruits. It makes it easy to prepare a fresh fruit salad. I thought I would come up with a version in honor of the Fourth of July with a red, white and blue theme…to make it fun.

To add extra celebration to this fruit salad I got out my cookie cutters and chose a star shape and a heart shape.

Stars and Hearts Fruit Salad


  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups pineapple, cut into cubes
  • 1 whole watermelon, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut chips
  • 1 star cookie cutter
  • 1 heart cookie cutter
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt


  1. Place washed blueberries and cut pineapple in a medium bowl. Toss with orange juice and agave.
  2. Cut slices of fresh watermelon, about 1-inch thick, to make ready for the cookie cutters. Position the cookie cutters within the flesh of the watermelon. Press them through the watermelon to make your shapes. Use about 2 slices of watermelon for about 2 cups of shapes for your salad.
  3. Carefully mix the shapes into the salad. Add the pinch of salt and the coconut to the top then lightly integrate it.


  1. If the shapes appear too thick, it is easy to cut them in half with a sharp knife without hurting the shapes.
  2. If it is a super hot day or you are having a picnic out doors, freeze the fruit shapes and then mix them into the salad to add a little extra coolness. It will also keep the salad fresher longer outside. 


6 (1 cup servings)12 (½ cup servings)

Nutritional Information:

Calories per cup serving: 92   Fat: .98g   Carbs: 13g   Protein: .6g

Want some other delicious & healthy dessert recipes?

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Award Winning Children's Adventure Book now in Spanish! —¡El premiado libro de aventura para niños, ahora en español!—Only $2.99! —por solo $2.99!

Livliga is thrilled to introduce our new Spanish version of Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal. We have received so many requests to provide an edition of this special book in Spanish. Now we have!

En Livliga estamos muy emocionados de presentar nuestra nueva versión de “Sammie & Sax en el Mundo de la Quinua: La búsqueda de la comida balanceada” en español. Hemos recibido demasiadas peticiones sobre proveer una edición en español de este libro tan especial y ahora por fin lo tenemos!

This book is exclusively available as an electronic ebook. It is downloadable in .pdf format and can be easily read on an iPad, laptop, desktop, iPhone and even a Kindle.

Este libro está disponible exclusivamente como en formato electrónico (.pdf) y lo puede descargar en línea.  Lo puede leer fácilmente desde un iPad, laptop, computadora de escritorio, iPhone e incluso en una tableta “Kindle”.

More about our book: The children’s book--Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal--received the 2013 Moonbeam Children's Book Award Bronze Medal for Health Issues and is a beautifully illustrated book which tells the story of a sister and brother, Sammie & Sax, learning about what makes a balanced meal in the context of an adventure in a magical land of fun and unusual puzzle pieces. A great book for parents, grandparents, and teachers to read with children.

Acerca de  nuestro libro: El libro infantil “Sammie & Sax en el Mundo de la Quinua: La búsqueda de la comida balanceada” recibió en el 2013 la medalla de Bronce en los Premios de libros infantiles “Moonbeam”sobre el tema de problemas de salud. Este libro, que fue bellamente ilustrado, cuenta la historia de un par de hermanos que en el transcurso de su divertida aventura en una tierra mágica de alimentos, deciden aprender sobre el significado de una comida balanceada. Es un gran libro para que padres, abuelos y maestros puedan leer junto a niños e hijos.

Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal is a fun, engaging, well‑designed, health‑oriented children's adventure book that teaches kids how to eat healthier and live a healthy lifestyle. This book shares how fun it is to discover healthy foods and learn the importance of putting all the puzzle pieces together in order to plan and eat a balanced meal.

“Sammie & Sax en el Mundo de la Quinua: La búsqueda de la comida balanceada” es un libro divertido, atractivo, bien diseñado y dirigido a la salud infantil; también le enseña a los niños a comer más saludable y tener un estilo de vida saludable. Este libro comparte lo divertido que es conocer sobre alimentos saludables y aprender la importancia de unir todas las piezas del rompecabezas para planificar y comer una comida balanceada.

The book can be bought separately or as part of a Kidliga dishware set (in pink or blue) which features these characters along with specifically sized icons to represent the appropriate serving size for each food group as designated by the USDA/ Check out the dinnerware section for additional Kidliga product offerings.

El libro se puede comprar por separado o como parte de un juego de vajilla Kidliga (en rosa o azul) que incluye a estos personajes, junto con íconos de tamaño específico para representar la porción apropiada para cada grupo de alimentos designado por el USDA / Consulte la sección de vajillas para obtener ofertas adicionales de productos Kidliga.

In addition to the dishware and the children’s book, the Livliga® website offers activities and recipes that can be downloaded to engage the whole family in learning about healthy eating in an adventurous and interactive way. Además de la vajilla y el libro para niños, la página web de Livliga® ofrece actividades y recetas que se pueden descargar para que toda la familia aprenda más sobre una alimentación saludable de una manera interactiva.

Want more fun with Sammie & Sax? You are in luck! Like all of our Kidliga products, this ebook comes with a FREE Kidliga Sammie & Sax Activity Book! Both are downloadable at checkout. ¿Quieres divertirte más con Sammie & Sax? ¡Tienes suerte! Al igual que todos nuestros productos Kidliga, este ebook incluye un libro de actividades de Kidliga Sammie & Sax ¡GRATIS! Ambos se pueden descargar al momento del pago.

Buy this new book today for only $2.99! ¡Compre este nuevo libro hoy por solo $ 2.99!

Buy Kidliga Today

Friday, June 8, 2018

Summertime Diabetic-Friendly Meal: Shrimp, Broccoli Slaw, and Southwestern Potatoes

This week we are thrilled and honored to have Shelby Kinnaird, the Diabetic Foodie, join us as a guest blogger. She shares with us a wonderful summertime menu. Enjoy the visual inspiration and the step-by-step she shares to make your meal, doable and very tasty! Enjoy! And Live vibrant!

What meal says “summer” to you? For me, I can’t think about summer without remembering our annual family trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We always stayed at a place directly across from the fishing pier and could easily walk to the beach. My favorite meal to eat out was a shrimp basket – golden fried shrimp, creamy coleslaw, crispy French fries, and those deep-fried nuggets of cornbread heaven known as hushpuppies.

Since I have type 2 diabetes, that meal isn’t happening for me anymore. Or not very often, anyway. Instead of moping about it, let’s create a new, healthier spin. We’ll enjoy the same elements of shrimp, slaw, and potatoes without worrying about sky-high blood sugar afterwards. But how?

Instead of battering and frying the shrimp, we’ll boil it in a zesty combination of apple cider vinegar and Chesapeake-style seafood seasoning (e.g. Old Bay). Instead of using mayonnaise as the base for our coleslaw, we’ll try an Asian-inspired vinaigrette. We’ll also add broccoli slaw and red bell peppers for some variety. Instead of frying our potatoes, we’ll season them with Southwestern spices and roast them until they are crispy. (If you’d like other tips and tricks for meal planning, check out my new book The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes.)

Here’s our revised menu, portion control provided by Livliga. Recipes for the slaw and potatoes may be found on my website, Diabetic Foodie.

Making adjustments like these is one way to continue enjoying your favorite foods after a diabetes diagnosis. Maybe you can’t eat a giant all-you-can-eat platter of fried food anymore, but is that really a bad thing? Your heart doesn’t think so.

How to Get this Meal on the Table

Instead of just throwing recipes at you, I’m going to give you a “recipe for the meal,” meaning I’m going to show you how to get this entire meal on the table quickly. And who doesn’t need help with that?

The first thing you need to do is make sure you know where all of the recipes are that you’ll need. You can print them out or view them on a tablet or your phone. (I’m old school and always print them out so I can scribble notes as I cook.)

If you have a second person to help, put one person on slaw and cocktail sauce and the other on shrimp and potatoes.

Here’s the basic plan:

  1. Put the water on to boil for the shrimp
  2. Preheat the oven for the potatoes
  3. Make the slaw
  4. Cook the shrimp
  5. Prep the potatoes and place in the oven
  6. Remove shrimp to a bowl so it can cool a little bit before you try to peel it
  7. Make cocktail sauce
  8. Flip potatoes
  9. Remove potatoes from oven
  10. Eat!

Peel & Eat Shrimp Recipe


  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Chesapeake-style seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
  • 1 pound shrimp, deveined but with shells still on
  • Cocktail sauce


  1. Place water, vinegar, and seasoning in a large stockpot. Bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until they turn opaque and pink. Turn off heat, cover the pot, and let shrimp sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove shrimp to bowl and cool.
  4. Peel, dip in cocktail sauce, and eat!
Serves 4

Calories: 80 calories   Fat: 1g   Sat Fat: 0g   Cholesterol: 143mg   Sodium: 1601mg
Carbs: 1g   Fiber: 0g   Sugar: 0g   Protein: 15g

Note: The sodium count is a bit inflated because a lot of the seasoning stays behind in the shrimp water. However, shrimp is inherently high in sodium as are most seafood seasonings. If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for a salt-free or low-sodium seasoning and reduce your portion of shrimp.


Shelby Kinnaird is the Founder and Publisher of Diabetic Foodie, a website featuring recipes and tips for people with diabetes. Her motto is “a diabetes diagnosis is not a dietary death sentence.” Shelby is also the author of The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes: Simple Nutritional Strategies to Lower Your Blood Sugar. A passionate diabetes advocate, Shelby runs two support groups in Richmond, VA.