What is your name, and what condition-specific team do you work on?
My name is Jamaal, and I am a Senior Health Advisor and team lead of the Cardiometabolic Team II. I reside in Birmingham, Alabama, though I am originally from New York. I have a Bachelor of Science in health and wellness, I’m a certified DPP lifestyle coach, and a Level II diabetes educator.
Why do you work at Pack Health? What’s your favorite part of your job? Where do you get your inspiration?
I love working for Pack Health! The biggest reason is because of the opportunity to utilize my degree to impact health outcomes with people. It is a huge plus that the company culture is top-notch and cultivates my skills to new levels. This is exactly what I wanted to do with my career path! My favorite part of the job is the flexibility it offers me to do my work and still have time to balance my day with home/family. My inspiration comes from my grandmother. After being diagnosed with diabetes over a decade ago, it forced me to take a long look at the career path I was pursuing (Radiology). After educating myself to help my grandmother, there was a shift in my thinking and I decided to strive for a more useful degree to help increase the health of my community and those I care about. It’s not the sexiest profession, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What’s your favorite healthy food, and why? Share a recipe with us!
Fruit easily stands at the top. Nature’s delicious gift! As for my favorite meal, it would have to be homemade vegetable chili!! I can be as creative as I want with flavor combinations and maximizing nutritional values in a meal.
My recipe typically looks like this (cooking for 3):
- In a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat to not burn your oil; add a few cloves of garlic sliced thin and half a sweet or purple onion sliced/diced.
- Stir until the onions are translucent and the pot is aromatic.
- Add diced celery(3 stalks), diced carrots(3), sliced jalapeno(1), tricolor peppers(half of each diced), and stir until veggies begin to soften and produce a bit of broth.
- Season with your favorite flavors (I use sea salt, pepper, chili powder, thyme, rosemary, and basil).
- Stir in a carton of vegetable broth and balance the seasons and flavor by adding until you like the taste. Bring to a boil.
- Then, I add my diced sweet potatoes(2 large ones), a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans(low sodium for both). Bring back to a boil, then set the temperature to low to simmer for 35 minutes or until your potatoes are softened.
- You are done! Add sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt as a healthy alternative) and cheese. Leftovers are even more amazing.
What’s your favorite way to stay active, and why?
I exercise six days a week at some capacity. Of my exercises, dancing nonstop with my son for 15 minutes straight is easily the best. His laugh and smile is the biggest reason why!
How else do you practice self-care?
I read throughout every day, but my favorite self-care activity is mindful meditation. Nothing I have ever done has made me more aware of the seemingly unimportant details of life. It has transformed my appreciation for the little things.
What advice do you have for someone just joining the program?
Opportunities to manifest healthy changes arise all the time. When you embrace the willingness to improve, you take advantage of opportunities to be the best you. Confidence in your lifestyle is about how much you control these opportunities and build momentum toward your vision.
Share your favorite member story with us!
My first member is one of my greatest success stories to date. This member had the trifecta of cardiometabolic conditions: hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes with an A1c above 11. The most pressing concern was getting her A1c lowered and losing weight. So our focus was on things she could control as she gained confidence in her ability to impact her health.
Tracking was the chief step that manifested her improved health. By the end of our first three months, she was down 30 lbs, and her A1c lowered to a 7.2. At the six month mark, she was down 45 lbs and her A1c was 6.3. She stepped away over the next three months, and at her return, she was down 55 lbs, and her A1c was 6.0. As we got to the end of our year, she ended the year having lost 74.6 lbs, and her A1c was 5.2! This member is the one that gave me the extra confidence in my abilities to impact lifestyle change in strangers I have no relationship with. To this day, the member sends me messages from time to time to update me on what our engagements meant for her and the rest of her life.