Temperatures were high and so were the energy levels of the roughly 900 people from the Four Bands of Hobbema who gathered at the Indian Health Services building in Ermineskin to take part in the 11th annual intertribal diabetes walk and run on May 29.
Registration and blood sugar testing began at 10 a.m. followed by the “Darq Horse” Drummers’ honor song and the elder’s invocation. Dignitaries were then lead onto the premises by members of the Hobbema Community Cadets Corps Program and their special guests from the National Interschool Brigade of Spanish Town Jamaica; chief commander Kevin Marsh, deputy commander Jermaine Kevin Thompson, and cap. Trevton Brown. The Jamaican cadets were here for the week to go through the itinerary 30 of their cadets will get to take part in during their Aug. 9 to 19 visit and to help raise awareness of the funds needed to make this trip a possibility.
The masters of ceremonies for the event were Andrea Dion and Allan Morin, and leadership representatives were Richard Coyote and Gordon Minde from Ermineskin Cree Nation, Harper Potts from Samson Cree Nation, Bert Bull from Louis Bull Tribe and Caroline Buffalo from the Montana Band.
“This is such an important annual function as there is not one person in this community who has not been affected by diabetes,” Montana Band representative, Carolyn Buffalo. She never thought she could become a jogger, but with hard work and dedication, she has managed to take control of her health. She strongly encouraged everyone to get active and educated about the disease to prevent or control it.
Randy Littlechild, executive director of Maskwacis Health Services (MHS), then led the crowd through stretches and a warm up and the 3.5 km walk began and concluded with lunch and prize draws.
“This is one of our best attended events of the year,” said Joanne Siemens, registered dietitian for Maskwacis Health Services’ diabetes education program. “Every day the people of Hobbema tell me that they are sick and tired of seeing diabetes destroy their loved ones. To stop the devastation of diabetes, each person needs to take control of their own blood sugars – over 10 is toxic.” Siemens top four steps for healthy eating for healthy blood sugars are as follows:
1. Don’t drink sugar – sugar from pop and other sweet drinks pours sugar into the blood. Even a few sips will make blood sugars rise. Instead of drinking pop, powdered juice, Slurpies, coffee with sugar, and energy drinks, etc. drink water, flavored water, diet pop, diet iced-tea, coffee with Splenda, milk or chocolate milk.
2. Don’t eat sugar cereals – Eating a bowl of Fruit Loops is the same as eating a bowl of candy. Try eating Shreddies, Bran Flakes, or porridge with Splenda instead.
3. Don’t overload starchy foods – While we need some sugar from starch, they put sugar in the blood. Keep starchy foods to quarter of a plate or about the size of your fist, not half of a plate like many people tend to do. Also, don’t double up on these foods. Instead of bread with your meat and potatoes or fries with a burger, try having bread or potatoes at supper, or a burger and salad.
4. Lastly, don’t overeat – Big meals make blood sugars rise and fall, affecting energy levels. Eating meals and snacks every three hours keeps blood sugars steady and keeps energy steady as well. The easiest way to get out of the habit of overeating is to become active. Gaining unwanted weight throws hormones out of whack including insulin, which regulates blood sugars.
For more information on diabetes prevention, maintenance and support, Siemens can be reached by phoning 780-585-2268.