The prevalence of information on healthy lifestyles and healthy eating available to the average American can be overwhelming at times. The Internet is an important tool that allows for breaking news about the latest studies on the impact of a certain food or diet regimen to be delivered to the nearest smartphone. Yet that information access can quickly become information overload, making the importance of consulting experts or legitimate sources ever important. 

At Citizen Potawatomi Nation, tribal members have several of those experts available to them. The CPN Diabetes Initiative is based out of FireLake Wellness Center and has a trained staff of dieticians, nurses and other healthcare providers to Citizen Potawatomi dedicated to improving their health. The Hownikan spoke to CPN Dietician Morgan Blackstock about March being National Nutrition Month in America.

What are some common issues you see as a dietician in terms of an unhealthy diet?

“A common misconception that I hear frequently is that people should cut all the sugar from their diet. Sometimes people think they are being healthy by doing this, but in reality, they are depriving themselves of vital nutrients from foods containing natural sugar, such as fruit and healthy dairy products like low-fat milk and yogurt.

“These foods that contain natural sugars are packed with water, fiber, and protective nutrients. The negative impact of sugar pertains to added sugars in food to make it sweet.”

Getting healthy or eating healthier sounds simple in practice, but what do you tell patients at the program when they’re first starting out in terms of how to begin?

“I often tell my patients when they’re first beginning to eat healthy is to create two to three simple and measureable goals that are realistic and obtainable.

“This can be as simple as drinking one less soda per week or walking five to ten minutes per day. I know a lot of people are in a hurry to lose weight, but being healthy is so much more than losing weight. It is about developing a positive relationship with ourselves, our food and our body.

“We cannot rush weight loss, and when we do try to rush, we often end up failing. I want my patients to focus on small lifestyle changes that can have big results.”