Diabetes Diet #61: Climbing Stairs and Wild Salmon: A Common Bond?

Diabetes Recipes:

Mustard Crusted Baked Wild Alaskan Salmon
Summerís Over But the Zucchini is Still Around Soup

When you live on the 7th floor of a 12 story building, riding the elevator up is an automatic response.  About a month ago we had a power outage that affected the building for 4 days.  It’s an older building and someone on the 12th floor decided to have radiant flooring installed.  It knocked out the building’s juice.  So, instead of the usual thoughtless hopping on the elevator, the tenants of the house were struck with the fact that we actually had to rely on our bodies to carry us to our apartments.  Being the type of building we are, most of us made the best of a potentially chaotic situation.  We formed a group of floor captains (I was one) to see if any older or sickly people needed help or groceries.  We lit battery operated candles in the stairwells, and on some floors people played music on portable radios, to make the hike more pleasant and give it some rhythm.  At the end of the 4 days when things returned to normal and the elevators were up and running, many of us realized the benefits earned and learned from stair climbing.

Recently the NYC Health Commissioner declared a campaign to get people to do what we had done (no coincidence, I’m sure).  Office buildings are being encouraged to be made more attractive for walkers by hanging art work and posting tips on the benefits of stair walking at elevators.  In some cases, companies are holding “healthy steps” competitions to see who loses weight by using stairs instead of riding elevators, and new building construction guidelines are being considered for “green” stairwell options.  Things like glass staircases, rewards for open design and other creative projects are in the mix.

Where Does Diabetes Fit In?

Stair climbing or stair walking benefits:

  • weight stabilization and weight loss
  • blood pressure 
  • increases aerobic capacity
  • helps cope with stress
  • strengthens and tones thigh and buttocks muscles
  •  strengthens the hip bones
  • helps with balance and stability  
  • increases cardiovascular health
  • helps lower blood sugar

Directly and indirectly all of these affect diabetes.  The body is like a finely tuned machine.  It needs all operating parts to be in sync in order to get the high performance seal of approval.  Studies show that an activity such as walking 2 flights of stairs everyday will result in a loss of over 6 pounds in a year.  Walking 6 flights daily will result in an 18 lb. weight loss.      

If you feel motivated to give this “sport” a try, start slowly.

  • At first climb a couple flights every other day and gradually increase as your body becomes stronger and more accustomed to this type of exercise. 
  • Warm up before you climb by jogging in place for a minute or 2. 
  • When stair walking be sure your back is straight, don’t lean forward.
  • Place your entire foot on steps, not only the ball of your foot.
  • Keep a steady pace. 
  • Wear comfortable, well fitted walking shoes and socks. 
  • Hold onto railing with one hand if, at first, you feel shaky.

Certain foods contain properties that may aid in your stair climbing success.  Wild caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, walnuts and ground flax seed promote healthy joints and have anti-inflammatory benefits. The supplement evening primrose oil which is extracted from the small seeds of a North America wild flower is said to improve nails, skin and act as an anti-inflammatory agent without the side effects of drugs.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, ginger and turmeric can also boost joint health.

Wild salmon, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts?  Sounds like it’s time to climb the stairs up to Cyber Kitchen.  Won’t you join me?

Diabetes Recipes
Mustard Crusted Baked Wild Alaskan Salmon (4 Servings)

4 wild salmon fillets
4 t. Dijon mustard
4 t. Japanese style or Panko, breadcrumbs
1 T. olive or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Spread 1 t. mustard on the rounded part of each fillet.  Sprinkle, then press in 1 t. breadcrumbs.  Heat oil on high flame in large oven proof skillet.  Place fish mustard side down, in skillet, lower the fire to medium and sauté for 2 minutes to form crust.
  2. Turn carefully and sauté for 1 minute on other side.  Transfer map to 500 oven and finish cooking for 3 minutes.

Nutritional Value:1 fillet = 250 cal, 2 carb grams, 28 grams protein, 12 fat grams

Summerís Over But the Zucchini is Still Around Soup (4 servings)

1 cup chopped red onion
2 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz. can Italian crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 large zucchini, thickly sliced, slices cut in quarters
1 cup basil leaves shredded
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Warm oil in soup pot and stir in onions and garlic over medium heat for a minute or  add tomatoes, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add water, corn and zucchini.  Cook 10 minutes.  Stir well.  Scoop 1 cup of soup out and put through blender or food processor.  Return to soup pot.
  3. Stir in basil and serve.

Nutritional Value:1 serving = 200 cal, 8 fat grams, 5 grams protein, 35 carb grams, 4 grams fiber