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Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit


483 Great Neck Rd. South
Mashpee, MA 02649

Telephone: 508-477-6967
Fax: 508-477-0156
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Eastern Time

The mission of Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit is to provide quality, comprehensive health care to Native American members and their families in a culturally sensitive manner promoting good health, safe-lifestyles, well-being and harmony. The Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit is committed to the elimination of health disparities. We strive to be progressive in the development and expansion of family-focused medicine and traditional practice. We promote physical, mental and emotional wellness that strengthens and empowers our native community, while honoring our Creator, Mother Earth, our Elders and our Children.

News Briefs/Tidbits

Welcome to the Nutrition Corner of Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit!

I have been gifted the opportunity to share nutrition information with the community in which I gratefully serve.

Information available on nutrition can often feel overwhelming, contradictory, and downright confusing! You may hear things like: "Butter is bad" and then, "butter is good;" "Red meat should not be limited;" or "Eggs are okay to eat in moderation."

The primary goal of this newsletter is to deliver information based only upon evidence backed by science and sound study design. Often times there is just a single study unveiling a particular result in contrast to what we have always believed. The media jumps on it and voila- it becomes fact! Simply stated, in order to become a hard fact, numerous studies need to be conducted to reach one conclusion. These types of studies provide the most reliable and usable information.

This newsletter will also provide you with information about upcoming events in and outside of our clinic, noteworthy information such as data collected on Diabetes, and even food trends. It is my hope this page provides you with something that is either useful, meaningful, or edible! No doubt, I will learn along with you.

Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit Sign

Current Programs/Statistics

As many of you know, the operational grant in which some of the programs and services at Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit, are derived is titled SDPI (Special Diabetes Program for Indians) Grant. All registered tribes are eligible for it. With this grant data is collected throughout the year on medication use and type, education and vaccinations- to name just a few. The overarching goal is to improve diabetic outcomes through care. Each year we try to implement a new technique, system, program or, in the case of last year, a new device.

Highlights of this last year include the introduction of CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) device for improving blood glucose and A1C levels for Diabetics. A1C is defined as the average glucose reading over a 3 month period. Maintenance of ideal blood glucose or A1C is the cornerstone in eliminating or preventing secondary complications. The small sensor, attached to the upper arm, provides continuous data 24 hours a day on blood glucose levels. Users are able to see a direct cause and effect from the types and amount of food consumed as well as data throughout the night, while sleeping.

Early data based upon several months show an average 2% drop in A1C levels. Remarkable!

Year end data collection, will be available in February.


Q: How can I easily and affordably improve my heart health?

A: The simple answer: add beta glucan! Beta glucan is a soluble fiber found in oats, barley, and whole oat flour. It is the substance that makes oatmeal a bit "sticky." More commonly, beta glucan is called Oat Bran. In a standard cup serving of uncooked rolled oats there are about 4 grams of this type of fiber. Oats have always been regarded as a health promoting food without a clear idea of its health benefits.

For the past eight years, health claims for beta-glucan–containing foods have been allowed in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom. The health claims approved by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority are based on research which shows that consuming 3g of beta-glucans per day, in the form of either oats or barley, can lower ones blood cholesterol levels by 5% to 8%. People who see the greatest benefit are those with elevated cholesterol levels. In another, separate, meta-analysis (the best type of study) review in the British Journal of Nutrition found that beta glucan in oatmeal reduced overall cardiovascular risk by lowering the bad type of cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, by 4.2%. This was accomplished by ingesting 3.5g of oat fiber daily.

Simply stated, beta glucans form a gel in the small intestine which binds with cholesterol, thereby decreasing its absorption. When isolated and purchased as oat bran, beta glucan can be used as an added ingredient with other foods to achieve the heart health advantage. Some examples include: adding it to baked foods such as meatloaf or stews, or yogurt and smoothies.

In short, including oatmeal and barley in your daily diet may be a good strategy in improving heart health. A final bonus, they are inexpensive!

Taming your Appetite

It’s that time of year. New Year New You! Getting rid of unwanted weight is a resolution I have made and heard too many times to track. It is certainly apropos given the birth of a new year, but just how do we effectively achieve and maintain it?

Regulating and mastering our appetite is a fundamental piece in achieving and maintaining a desirable weight.

Here are some strategies that have proven effective in keeping appetite and cravings in check:

  • Eat a high protein breakfast. (Breakfast, by far, tends to be the lowest in protein.) Numerous studies have shown that this leads to an increase in fullness and decrease in food cravings, hence weight loss. It tends to set us up for the day, metabolically. It is likened to jump starting our engines. How much? Aim for 20-30 grams of protein at breakfast which is equivalent to 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese with one ounce of nuts, for example.
  • Know your trigger foods!. If you are an emotional eater or binge eater, trigger foods can either be portioned out or removed from your home.
  • Focus on the fiber content by reading labels. Aim for 30 grams or more a day. It is well established that high fiber foods promote satiety and weight loss aside from a whole host of other benefits.
  • Aim for very low calorie or zero calorie beverages. It is very easy to drink calories rather than chew them. A Very Fine glass of apple juice has 120 calories and .05 grams of fiber, while a medium sized apple has 90 calories and 4.3 g. of fiber.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. All too often, we tend to eat thinking we are hungry when really what we need to do is drink. Thirst is often mistaken as hunger.
  • Distract yourself. Fill your head space with something other than food. Keep your hands busy with nonfood activities. Try calling a friend, reading, writing, doing a crossword puzzle. How about meditation or a support group?
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep can create a rise in the gut hormone “Ghrelin”. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and naturally rises in the morning. Inadequate sleep causes this hormone to rise higher. Incidentally, Protein rich foods suppress this, as do high fiber foods such as lentils and oats.
  • Exercise. We all have heard this and pretty much know it. Here are a few ideas and comments that may be either new or of use:
    • Exercise increases the hormones that promote satiety — the more we exercise the less likely we will over indulge.
    • Exercise does not have to be done all at once. Break it down into three 10 minute intervals or whatever works for you. There is no real goal here. Just start with where you can and build upon it.
    • Exercise in of itself does not burn a tremendous amount of calories but helps control appetite.
    • Lastly exercise keeps our metabolism steady which is vital in weight maintenance and calorie requirements.

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