Today is the beginning of 2009 and my patients are ready with a new and improved attitude. The chocolate and cakes are eaten and now is the time to get serious! I laugh as I say this since all year we just have to be MODERATE! It’s never time to OMIT or QUIT; rather we need to have less of the stuff we know can hurt us.

My 80 year old patient today is another favorite who I’ve known and counseled for about 12 years. She complained of edema (swelling) in her legs and is quite worried. Luckily, she is visiting her doctor for blood work, followed by her endocrinologist in the next week. We will get to the bottom of WHY? The food part of all of this is: she wanted to have a corned beef sandwich.

We spent a little time talking about the effect a high-sodium corned beef sandwich might have on her edema. Again, we shouldn’t omit foods from our diets, rather be moderate. However, if they will hurt your body (especially acutely) – please be careful. The high-sodium corned beef would simply add to the water retention problem and make my patient more uncomfortable and worried than she already is. Would the sandwich be worth it at that point? On the other hand, if she wanted a small slice of pie and counted those carbs into her meal plan, it should not be a problem.

Marci Sloane

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University.