Category Archives: Blog

Legumes! New Information Shows Even Greater Health Benefits


Legumes may lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Written by Ana Sandoiu
Published: Sunday 2 April 2017

Type 2 diabetes is a serious health concern in the United States and across the globe. New research shows that a high consumption of legumes significantly reduces the risk of developing the disease.
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A new study suggests that a high consumption of legumes can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35 percent.

The legume family consists of plants such as alfalfa, clover, peas, peanuts, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, and various types of beans.

As a food group, they are believed to be particularly nutritious and healthful. One of the reasons for this is that they contain a high level of B vitamins, which help the body to make energy and regulate its metabolism.

Additionally, legumes are high in fiber and contain minerals such as calcium , magnesium, andpotassium. They also comprise a variety of so-called phytochemicals – bioactive compounds that further improve the body’s metabolism and have been suggested to protect against heart disease and diabetes.

Finally, legumes are also considered to be a “low glycemic index food,” which means that blood sugar levels increase very slowly after they are consumed.

To make people aware of the many health benefits of legumes, the year 2016 has been declared theInternational Year of Pulses by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Pulses are a subgroup of legumes.

Because of their various health benefits, it has been suggested that legumes protect against the onset oftype 2 diabetes – a serious illness that affects around 29 million people in the U.S. and more than 400 million adults worldwide. However, little research has been carried out to test this hypothesis.

Therefore, researchers from the Unit of Human Nutrition at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, together with other investigators from the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) study, set out to investigate the association between legume consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study also analyzes the effects of substituting foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates with legumes, and the findings were published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

High intake of lentils lowers risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent

The team investigated 3,349 participants in the PREDIMED study who did not have type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the study. The researchers collected information on their diets at the start of the study and every year throughout the median follow-up period of 4.3 years.

Individuals with a lower cumulative consumption of legumes had approximately 1.5 weekly servings of 60 grams of raw legumes, or 12.73 grams per day. A higher legume consumption was defined as 28.75 daily grams of legumes, or the equivalent of 3.35 servings per week.

Using Cox regression models, the researchers analyzed the association between the incidence of type 2 diabetes and the average consumption of legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, dry beans, and fresh peas.

Overall, during the follow-up period, the team identified 266 new cases of type 2 diabetes.

The study revealed that those with a higher intake of legumes were 35 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their counterparts who consumed a smaller amount of legumes. Of all the legumes studied, lentils had the strongest association with a low risk of type 2 diabetes.

In fact, individuals with a high consumption of lentils (defined as almost one weekly serving) were 33 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared with their low-consumption counterparts – that is, the participants who had less than half a serving per week.

Additionally, the researchers found that replacing half a daily serving of protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods – including bread, eggs, rice, or potatoes – with an equivalent serving of legumes also correlated with a reduced risk of diabetes.

The authors conclude that:

“A frequent consumption of legumes, particularly lentils, in the context of a Mediterranean diet, may provide benefits on type 2 diabetes prevention in older adults at high cardiovascular risk.”

International Women’s Club-Valencia

January 31, 2023

The International Women’s Club-Valencia was established in 2005. We had a blast bustin’ some myths – including “eggs cause high cholesterol” and “drink cranberry juice to treat or prevent UTIs.” As always, my presentation is supported by research and science! In attendance were women and men from around the world, including the USA, Finland, Norway, and Mexico!

Time & Location

Jan 31, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Cathy Cleaver’s house, Avinguda de l’Oest, 38, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain

About The Event

It’s 2023! Your goal is to make some positive changes for better health, but there’s so much conflicting nutrition information out there. You’re 10 pages down into Google and mired in contradictory sources telling the “secret” to weight loss, or that all fats are bad, or all carbs are good – or vice-versa.  At this point, you’re starving and all you want to know is whether or not you can eat your favorite burger! In this fun and interactive session, we’ll get to the meat of the matter – what’s “best” and “worst” and we’ll ‘bust’ some nutrition myths. 

Bonus: Let’s do a little label reading! Ever wonder what is the very first thing you need to read on a packaged food label to make a smart choice? Bring some of your favorite (or even better, your least favorite!) packages so we can have some sleuthing fun.

Susan Burke March is a retired Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and serves as Country Representative to Spain for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Our Bono Cards

It took three months to get our appointment but we did it! After living in Valencia for at least six months you can apply for the “gold card” that allows you “free” rides on all buses for one year. Cost – about €18.

Bono Oro Regulations

This is a bus pass for the over 65’s, pensioners and disabled people who meet specific conditions and are registered in Valencia as well as being legal residents of Spain. It allows unlimited use of all EMT bus routes without exception from the moment the bus pass is paid for, until the end of the year. Requests are processed at the local municipal administrative offices.

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New Country Representative to Spain for the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND)

As of June 1, 2021, I’m the new Country Representative to Spain for the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND).

Based in Chicago, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the world’s largest food and nutrition professionals organization, with over 100,000 credentialed practitioners, including students, retired professionals, and international supporters.

Formerly called the American Dietetic Association, The Academy was founded in 1917, with a commitment to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy.

I graduated from Queens College with a degree in Family and Exercise Sciences, completed my 900-hr internship through Queens College, and earned a Master in Nutrition Education from Queens College as well. I was certified as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and earned a certification in Diabetes Education as well.

I’ve served in several volunteer positions for the Academy, beginning with an elected position to the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group (WM DPG). A DPG is a professional-interest group of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics members who wish to connect with other members within their interest and/or practice areas. The Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group supports the highest level of professional practice in preventing and treating overweight and obesity throughout the lifecycle.

As a founding member of this DPG (2001), I was elected as Secretary for two years starting in 2005, followed by seven years as Sponsorship Relations Chair, an appointed position.

As Sponsorship Relations Chair I worked with sponsors and members to produce an annual Symposium. In 2013 we were in Indianapolis, at the Hyatt Regency.

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April 1, 2014, on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC representing the WM DPG at the PPW 2014 (Public Policy Workshop) – now known as the Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit

After moving to Cuenca, Ecuador with my husband Ken in 2014, I served as the new (and first) Country Representative to Ecuador.

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Cuenca is Ecuador’s third-largest city, located high in the Andes, with beautiful lakes and hiking trails.
It has a world-class Symphony Orchestra, typically free for all to attend.
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The view from our window February 13, 2018 – we lived for two years at the lovely Boutique Hotel Floré on Mariscal Sucre, and enjoyed every minute of it.

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Taken two years later on February 13, 2020 – Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción – The New Cathedral, Mariscal Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador

Now that we have relocated to Valencia, Spain I have assumed a new volunteer position with IAAND – Country Representative to Spain.

July 2020 – Arrived in Valencia, enjoying the views – Plaza de la Reina

Formerly known as the American Overseas Dietetic Association –

About the IAAND:

As the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,  IAAND has over 1000 members and supporters, including student members and supporters, living in more than 78 countries. Members are internationally-minded Active, Student, International, and Retired Academy members, living inside and outside the United States, who practice in a wide variety of settings, including:

IAAND appoints Country Representatives (CRs), who serve as first points of contact for IAAND and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics within their country.

What does a country representative do?
Serves as a local resource to integrate new IAAND members into practice in the country.
Serves as an information base for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/IAAND regarding country-specific food and nutrition issues.
Serves as a resource base to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/IAAND, helping field inquiries regarding practice & educational opportunities abroad.
Establishes relationships with key nutrition and dietetics associations and other relevant professional organizations.
Serves as a resource for referrals in collaboration with local dietetics professionals.

I’m working on a draft of the Country Information Sheet – Spain. This is member benefit.
There are two ways to enjoy the benefits of IAAND membership.

Country Information Sheets are created by Country Representatives to describe dietetics and the environment in their country. This information is useful to those who are seeking employment or interested in pursuing projects in the country.

Registered Dietitian Denine Stracker is Spain’s previous CR, now living in the U.S. IAAND member Aitor Sánchez is a Spanish dietitian-nutritionist, who lives in Madrid and has offices in Valencia. Click here for more information about the Aleris Centro de Nutrición Valencia, a center that offers services from professional dietitians-nutritionists, psychologists and exercise experts for weight and health management. Aitor is an entrepreneur, and has many successful endeavours, including the Aleris clinic, the Aleris academy, regular podcasts and blog posts. He is an excellent communicator – an author and media expert with two books in print and more to come. He’s an excellent professional and I thank him very much for all of his help.

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Aitor Sánchez – Mi Dieta Cojea

At present Spain does not have a national certification for dietitians-nutritionists. Spain has 17 Autonomous Regions and each has a regional dietetic association, and a written consensus that guides universities in the competencies and basic content for training. Click here to learn more about CODiNuCoVa The College of Dietitians and Nutritionists of the Valencian Community, officially constituted on December 19, 2009.

To work in Spain: EU nationals are free to work and live in Spain without restrictions but non-EU residents must have the correct visas to work in the country. Requirements for this include a job contract with a Spanish employer as well as other necessary documents

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Enjoying Valencia! Parque Turia – masks permitted to be off outdoors beginning June 26, 2021

Valéncia 2020-2021

Background Note:

November 11, 2019: We were flying back from an eight-week stay in Spain to our home since September 2014 in Cuenca, Ecuador. This was our third visit to Spain, and as we departed from San Sebastian/Donostia, I said, “let’s more to Spain!” Ken agreed, and we decided that our next adventure would be… relocating to Spain! We wanted to live in Europe. We’d done dozens of Home Exchanges since 2009, and the last one, in San Sebastian/Donostia, just sealed the deal. Cuenca is a great city, and we made many close friends, but Spain just ticked off all of the boxes. Great infrastructure – roads, rail, air, biking lanes in cities and bike-share programs, pedestrian safety; good health care, interesting culture, and we were thinking, Valencia weather.

We returned to Cuenca and engaged the trustworthy and very able facilitator Monica Gonzaga who shepherded us through the visa application process. We submitted our paperwork successfully on February 5, at the Spanish Consulate in Guayaquil.

Then we took off for a two week wine and hiking tour in Argentina with Esteban Coobija Arévalo, our esteemed guide and great friend, who is based in Cuenca and with whom Ken had enjoyed many, many great hikes in the Cajas. We joined a bunch of other expats and had a blast! If you would like to see the itinerary for our wonderful tour that included great hotels, dinners, wine tastings, hikes, biking, and visits to museums and Cathedrals, just contact me for the link.

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We had many opportunities to enjoy the wines in Salta, Cafayate, Cachi, and Mendoza.

On Wednesday March 11, we flew from Buenos Aires back to Guayaquil, and on Thursday March 12, as planned we visited the Spanish Consulate to have our new Spanish residency visas inserted into our passports. All went smoothly but by that time, covid-19 had been pronounced a pandemic. I just was reviewing our Facebook posts from that date and see that someone in the USA asked “how is Ecuador handling the covid-19 outbreak.” And Ken had answered that just the schools were closed, but otherwise no changes.

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Exito! Spanish Consulate, Visas in our Passports – with Monica Gonzaga

With our new visas in hand, we had planned to visit Valencia for two months, April 1-June 1, but on Monday, March 16, 2020, our world as we knew it, changed. For everyone. Our airline flight to Valencia was canceled.

But, luckily for us, we were rescheduled for July 7, 2020.

And in the nick of time! For we only had until July 12 to register our visas in Spain! And to do that they require at least a six-month lease. And health insurance, of course. A year-long policy. So. The decision was made. We were moving to Valencia. We hustled and sold most of our stuff, stored some stuff, and packed our suitcases.

July 6, 2020. Thank you Orlando Sigüenza for a comfortable and safe drive with our eight suitcases and two backpacks from Cuenca to Quito, with our overnight in the airport Wyndham Hotel.

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At the Wyndham Quito Airport the night before our flight to Valencia via Madrid July 7 2020

We landed in Valencia on July 8, 2020, and on July 9 we found our new apartment and moved in on July 15… thank you, Carmen Freund! Our apartment is a spacious two-bedroom/two-bath on Plaza de la Reina, with a great terrace. Our building is about fifty years old, and we’re on the top floor.
However, as comfortable as we’ve been, since April we have lived in a construction zone. Now almost a year later, we’re moving to El Cabañyal.

It was pretty hot landing in July in Valencia
Plaza de la Reina – the newly renovated plaza – half the plaza taken over by the entrance and exit for the parking garage
The original Plaza in 1953 with a fountain – pre-underground parking

From written by Miodrag Pepic
Reconstruction Of The Plaza De La Reina: A Facelift For The Queen Of Valencia

The long-awaited reconstruction of the Plaza de la Reina starts today, Monday 26 April, just three days after the works around the Mercado Central area began, opening the Ayuntamiento to sniping about timing since it will render the central area and Ciutat Vella effectively a building site…

After a wait of around two years for the start of these two renovation projects in Valencia’s centre, the Plaza de la Reina and the Mercado Central area, they are both starting at the same time – the latter on Thursday last week, and the former today. Because they will cause complete chaos in the Old Town, critics are claiming that it reveals the fact that the City Council has already written off the upcoming tourist season.

The City Council justified the fact that both sets of works begin at the same time by stating that the works are projects by two different departments, leading to one wag on social media saying, “There are obviously no phone lines in the Ayuntamiento building”.

Reconstruction of the Plaza de la Reina was due to be completed by the start of Fallas 2022, and the works around Mercado Central by June 2022. So everything will be ready by the summer of 2022, when tourists are expected to be able to return. When they do, they will find a completely redesigned Plaza de la Reina.

The square is to be completely pedestrianised, and a 115-tree urban forest planted. A new area will also include benches, kiosks, a children’s play area, public restrooms, drinking water fountains, a Valenbisi station, underground garbage containers and newly designed loading zones. The most significant change will be the installation of massive awnings that will protect people from the harsh Valencian sun and make this area the most appealing location for a restaurant. When completed, the total space will be nearly 12,000 square metres, possibly making it the premier selfie hotspot in Valencia.

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Around 1,700 businesses in 70 streets will be affected, estimates say, but large companies with annual invoices of more than €1m will receive a 95 per cent discount on the Economic Activities Tax. Aside from major hotels, however, few businesses will benefit from this, so it remains to be seen what provisions the government and the Association of Merchants of the Historic Center and the Ensanche will be able to provide.

The renovation of Plaza de la Reina will begin with closure of parking spaces, so if you plan to drive to the city centre as of today, it will be tremendously difficult to find a parking space anywhere. This might have the welcome effect of forcing Valencian drivers out of their cars, finally, given the excellent infrastructure with regard to public transport, not to mention the dedicated bicycle lanes that criss-cross the city.

A nice reporter from Levante noticed my video posts in the Facebook group Valencia Expats and asked if he could edit some for an article – click here to view.

A reporter from Levante noticed my posted videos on the Facebook Valencia expats page and asked if he could share them. Por supuesto!