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SDA publishing The Better Living Guide

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - When most patients attend Seventh-Day Adventist Clinic's Wellness Program for the first time, they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease and have not committed to making drastic changes to their diet to get healthy. But after the program changing from a meat eating lifestyle to a vegan or vegetarian one, many see major improvements to their medical conditions but are wondering where they can go to eat and continue their new, healthy lifestyle. 

To answer that question the SDA Clinic is preparing to publish The Better Living Guide. "At the clinic we were actually looking at this movement it was called 'The Better Living Movement'," noted marketing manager Chalorna Lauron. "And what spawned the better living guide was after all the programs, a lot of our patients asked us where can they go to eat. They learned during our programs, whether it was our Newstart Program, our Diabetes or Cholesterol Programs, that diet and exercise is very essential to stop chronic illnesses. From that we developed The Better Living Guide."

According to Lauron, eating out and making healthy choices just got easier. "The restaurants that do participate in the better living guide will actually have our dietician go through the menu items and we have three wellness stamps. We have the vegan the vegetarian and we have the fish and poultry stamps, and we have criteria for these stamps so once she goes through your menu she'll actually pick the ones that actually go through these categories and then she'll actually go through your ingredients. That way, it'll help her to deem if it fits into these categories," she said.

The dietician will also make recommendations to restaurants on how to make dishes healthier by substituting ingredients. According to SDA Medical and Wellness Director Dr. Michael Robinson, the better living guide will be of great use for people with chronic diseases. "If someone had diabetes and they wanted to go out to eat they can look through The Better Living Guide and say, 'Based on what I have, I want to choose this food', or 'I want to choose this food because maybe I have high blood pressure', or maybe, 'I have heart disease and I want to choose this food', or maybe cancer, 'What should I be eating for the different illnesses I have?' And so we want to help people be empowered and work with their physicians all across the island and the vendors. We think this is a great opportunity for the vendors to really get into the health and wellness market, and we want to help them and be a catalyst for change around the island."

It will also benefit those sensitive to ingredients like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Dr. Robinson said, "MSG is a salt that makes food taste good but it's not necessarily good for you, it will raise your blood pressure artificially some people are very sensitive to it and will get a headache or just feel bad. After a meal and so by giving people information on MSG content, and how they can avoid it, it will really help them especially people who have really chronic migraines. They often are very sensitive when they go to restaurants that use MSG to flavor their food so you want to help them avoid those types of spices."

Along with general information on the restaurant and ingredient listings, the booklet will include wellness tips, information on gyms and health food stores, as well as coupons. SDA is looking at producing 30,000 of the free guides to be distributed among patients in their Wellness Program, islandwide health fairs, participating restaurants, and at their clinic on Ypao Road in Tamuning.

SDA is trying to print the Better Living Guide for distribution by October.  Interested restaurants who would like to be featured can contact Lauron at 646-8881, Extension 153 or by e-mail at clauron@guamsda.com

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