Blog Entries With Tag: carbs

Posted: Feb 20, 2015

I am home now from a working holiday, in the Bahamas and Miami.  Despite the weather being abit cooler then normal (they only get 2 weeks of winter - we were there in that period <lol>) - we had a great time.

I managed to meet up with some great diabetics along the way, that knew I was coming into their ports ... and here is one little story I'd like to pass along to you (more to flow from my finger tips over the weeks).  This will hopefully warm your heart as much as it did for me - especially now that I'm the land of snow and cold winter temperatures in Canada (with wind chill it is currently a balmy -30C as I'm composing this - not the 20C we were having in Miami yesterday - brrrhhh).

Straw Market Nassau

When I got off in Nassau, I headed off for abit of a jaunt to get my sea legs back into shape (and burn off some of the foods I'd been eating on the cruise ship - oink, oink).  I sauntered through the Straw Market on that chilly day.  I had on a wool sweater - and looked like a local compared to the tourists in little flimsy gear.  I was warm and cozy that was the main thing.

I happened to come across a stall that had some cute hand embroidered straw bags with of course ... Hello Kitty on them.  Because I love to spoil my grand niece Mallory, I stopped by and picked up one, and had her name put on it.  I started chatting to the owner of the booth as she was embroidering my neices names on to the basket, to discover that her Grandmother's name was Anna and things progressed from there to a few of us sitting around on chairs just chatting away like we'd known each other for years.  This is the best part of when I travel, meeting up with people.

She was tellling me that in the Bahamas diabetes is a very big problem due to what she feels is the introduction of foods brought from other countries. Before canned, processed food came to their islands from other countries, she said that diabetes was something that you rarely heard of.  As she was talking to me, I noticed how beautiful her skin was, how vibrant she looked, despite the hard work that she has to do every day (the Bahamian government rents out the stalls to them - hers had belonged to Anna and passed on down to her).  It's not an easy life, but she is happy and manages.  

When I told her I'd had Type 1 diabetes for 50 years, and how old I was, she told me how old she was. What shocked me is that she is 70 years old and to me, she looked much younger.  I told her this, and that got her and her friends laughing away.  They all told me that they feel that eating from the ground, foods that are not over processed (no foods that have been canned) are what they think is the secret to good health (and I told them maybe not having frigid cold temperatures like Canada probably helps). Food that is prepared fresh, not fast was the big point that I came out of our conversation about their healthy way of eating.   

Cassava or yuca

She gave me verbally the recipe for making her favourite cassava dish (or yuca as it is also known).  Full of vegetables and slow cooked to perfection. When I find time to do some research and make up the dish myself, I'll post the recipe.  It's not a dish for the low carb eaters out there, but even if sampled abit, am sure it won't spike your blood sugars as drastically as what a potato based stew would do for you.

Peruvian Yucu fries

I can add further to this proof, of the yuca wedge fries I had in a Peruvian restaurant in Miami about a week later, that were to die for.  I guesstimated the amount of carbs, and no crazy spiking.  It helped that I had a bowl of fish soup that was to die for to slow down the process of the carbs!!!  Psst, if you're in the SOBE area ... check out Chalan on the Beach - good prices (dishes are large portion - so shareable) - fresh ingredients - drool worthy!!!  Even Sock Monkey liked it there!

In the meantime, I've come across a yuca oven fry recipe that I'll be giving a try once I've got restablished back here at home.  Maybe you'll want to check it out for youself and give it a go.

How many of you have incorporated this root vegetable into your meal plan and had great success with blood sugar control?  I'd love to hear from you!!

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Posted: Jun 16, 2013

Have you ever read a book that made you so emotional about how good it was – that you wanted to shout it out to the world (okay – Facebook / Twitter / Google+ it?).  Usually it’s reserved for a fiction book in my case, but today, I want to give a shout out to this book by Johanna Burkhard and Barbara Allan, RD, CDE along with Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA).  This book is aimed at folks wanting to prevent and manage their Type 2 diabetes (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) / Type 1 is explained VERY well too) in TEN steps.  Though, in actual fact I’m thinking it’s a book that everyone should delve into – diabetic or not – if they want to live a healthy life.   I feel like the Doctor Oz / Oprah of the big blue marble with getting this book out to you!!!  I’m wanting to give this book to every friend I know, every aging parent I know  …  but sorry – at $24.95 (Cdn/US) – you’ll have to fork out the money for it yourself - but it’ll be a great investment – even for those of you like myself who’ve lived with diabetes most of their lives.  I have actually learned some new things – or my mind was refreshed with stuff that I’ve forgotten over the years.  When I’ve returned this book to my local library – I’m going to be using the Amazon gift certificate my brother gave me for my birthday.

Now, I do realise that some diabetics may poo poo some of what is written in the book – especially those that are die hard low carb fans of Dr. Bernstein (See Note 1).   Fair game – since I am a sort of a "semi" low carb eater myself (120 grams on average if I don’t “cheat”) – but I think for anyone wanting to know more about diabetes and try to at least learn how to eat wisely – then progress otherwise – this book is a valuable resource for those trying to understand diabetes.  The nice thing, in less than 150 pages the explanation of diabetes will NOT send you to sleep – it will make you learn/question more – which is a good thing in my books. What is contained is easily understood by the layman like me and not using language that sometimes goes right over my head with some books I’ve read by doctors and well learned scholars (e.g. university geeks).   The other point is that after you browse over the sections of the diet plan they have (for weight loss they aim for 1,600 calories) - you can also modify the meal plan (28-day menu) to suit your lifestyle with their simple suggestions.

One great tip I got from the book (and there are many) – with every meal – ensure that you have a minimum of 15 grams of protein.  So this morning, I had my toast with jam, along with ½ cup of 2% cottage cheese.  I’m hoping with my next blood glucose reading (BG) – I won’t have spiked up too much – since protein/fat help keep your BG’s more stable.  I think I’ve always known that having protein/carb helps with more level BG’s – but the little reminder on the side of the section I was reading was a great reminder.  The section offers a list of choices for ALL meals – to help meet that protein requirement!

Here’s a little factoid from the book – “­Did You Know?  People with prediabetes are likely to develop Type 2 within 10 years unless they take steps to prevent or delay it.”

In the section on Low-Sodium Cooking, most of us know that high blood pressure can be contributed to the way we eat – with processed foods we do not have much control over it.  If you are of African descent, age 51 or more, have diabetes or high blood pressure you should aim to limit your sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day rather than the upper limit of 2,300 for healthy individuals.  In actual fact – as they state – we ALL should limit our salt intake.  Luckily, all the recipes in Chapter 2 use very little added salt, using herbs/spices to make the food tastier, which is what most people use salt for.
                                             Picture courtesy of USDA (My Plate)

One area I always have problems with is eating lunch.  I’m usually too busy to remember and before I know it – dinner is almost approaching.  That may not be my problem anymore – of wondering/remembering to eat (and maybe not consume so much at dinner time because I’m so hungry).  There is a great section on Combo Sandwiches – Combo Salads – that allow you to choose your Carb Choice / Vegetable Choice / Fat Choice / Extras – and some of them are very drool worthy!  You’ll even find a great section of 100-Calorie and 200-Calorie snacks.  The breakdown of the foods is easily understood for ALL diabetics and nondiabetics (exchange values are given to those who follow that method – or those of us who count their carbs to match their insulin requirement – too easy!!).

One thing that shocked me - did you know that children born to mothers with GDM have a higher risk of diabetes themselves, and a higher risk of being overweight?  Following/using some of the recipes in this book is the course of action (and of course – they’ll eat larger portions due to growing – but they will be healthier choices).   Really, when it comes down to it, the menus shown here are really a “menu for life” – and not to look at the way diabetics in general  eat as being a “diet” which often makes people think of weight loss only – but a healthy diet for everyone.  My Mum who is not a diabetic, to this day still follows the CDA way of eating that she brought me up on – and has no serious health issues!

The tried and true steps to good health – eating a variety of whole foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, exercising and getting enough sleep – will never go out of style.”

There’s a very good section (2 pages – short read) – about Artificial sweeteners and their “safety” issue.  I have a few nondiabetic friends who will not eat/drink anything that contains artificial sweeteners (Stevia is written in this section as well).  Sadly, some of my friends, who are aging like me, are increasing in weight, and still continue to consume regular sugar soda.  I keep on telling them that the after taste they remember from many years ago is no longer a big issue – at least not for me.  Despite the recent research that shows people gain weight when drinking diet soft drinks (this is talked about in the book) – I still think it’s all about moderation – e.g. don’t drink a case a day!   Now if only I can get my friends to see the light on artificial sweeteners – so I can keep them away from becoming possible Type 2 diabetics! 

So, run to your local library (or check for book online like I can with my public library system) - I want to see if you feel the same way as I do about this book!!!  Along with your own blogs about meals you've cooked up from the book!!!  Eat, Eat!!!  Mangi! Mangi! 

Note 1: I can now maybe see why Americans dislike the ADA by this statement in the book - “ADA system “counts” more of the fiber and more of the vegetables.  This results in more Carbohydrate Exchanges per day in the ADA system – roughly 13, compared with 11 CDA Food Choices “. 

Recipe you can find on page 270 of the book

Tandoori Chicken with Cucumber Mint Raita (baked in oven rather than BBQ as per the recipe) –along with some Coconut Milk Quinoa with Sprouted Bean Trio & Peanuts



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Posted: May 17, 2012
Whenever we'd go on a road trip - my Mum would always pack snacks - not just for me because of my having diabetes - but for all of us.  Often it saved stopping off - wasting time to get to our final destination (usually to the coast for a holiday).  Also, it saved money by not stopping off at a restaurant.  Eating a road side park was always abit of fun - to run around - let some steam off (so my brother wouldn't contemplate more ways to kill me in the back seat of the car as I kept on bugging him - I mean what are siblings for?).

I've always carried on that tradition (not bugging my passenger(s)) - when we go on a road / air trip - I pack our own food (with air travel I'm abit limited - but still do it - food at the airport is tres cher).  When it comes to a road trip tho' - it's a great time to fill up bags with nibbles that I don't usually keep at home - you know - for those boring highway periods - and you get that snack attack (provided that your BG's are in a good zone - since sometimes being inactive can make my BG go up abit).

So, I'm heading off to Boston for the Canadian long w/e with my DH - and one of my treats I've just bagged up - is 15 gram of pure carb delight - Garden Veggie Straws.  I'll also cut up some healthy veggies - diced up cheese - and a few cans of diet pop.  Oh and who can forget the "sweets" for the road trip!  My fav are sour lemon drops made by Sorbee - only 3 of them have 15 grams of carbs (about 50% of what regular sugar candies have).  Now of course, this doesn't mean I'll be sucking on these sugar free candies every nanosecond.  You have to remember - sugar free does not mean - CALORIE FREE - it all adds up in the end!

What nibbles do you like to pack for the road trip?  I'm curious to know what teases your pallet when you're winding through country roads to your destination!

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Posted: Apr 12, 2012

My morning blood sugars (BG) lately haven't been making me happy.  It's probably due to many factors in my life right now - hormonal changes due to perimenopause, weight gain due to probably the happy pills that I'll soon be weaning myself off (with my doctors blessing of course - never EVER just suddenly go off of them like a friend of mine did last month - they've turned into a bit of a fruit cake in my books - and usually I love fruit cake).

So, yesterday I decided, enough is enough.  Have to do the basal test overnight - which means - having a good BG to start off with before proceeding with it - not having given any insulin within the last 5 hours prior to starting the test.  Along with every 1-2 hour - you wake up to test your BG to see how the basal rate is doing that you currently use (this works for both MDI (multile dosage injections) and folks who can afford the fancy gadget of an insulin pump.  I'm a pumper, for now, until it dies as I no longer have a warranty on my pump, and cannot afford to shell oout $8K for a brand new one.

So, here I am, all set to go, have read up on how to do it in ten easy steps from John Walsh's book - Pumping Insulin - and I hit a brick wall.  I had just taken insulin for my evening coffee earlier as well as a correction (was 7.2 mmol/l / 130 mg/dl at the time).  Well, as I'm about to start the test and my BG is in the "good range" (not over 8.0 mmol/l / 144 mg/dl) - I realise that darn bolus a few hours has now cancelled my plans - as you have to be free of residual insulin in your body for 5 hours to do the test.  SCREAM!!!!  The one free day where if I have to lose sleep due to the basal test is now not possible.

Instead, what did I do you are asking?  Since I am getting fed up with waking to 10 mmol/l / 180 mg/dl plus highs in the morning.  I skimmed through a few more pages of John Walsh's book - and decided to bite the bullet - and raise my overnight basal rate by 10%.  He suggests 5% - but due to my laziness - and not wanting to go into the few settings I have set up for overnight basals and change them manually (I have a total of six different basal settings believe it or not) - I just decided to wing it like I usually do and set a temporary basal on George Michael and had to start off at 10% as he doesn't allow anything lower then that.  The good thing is that I did wake up this morning with a reading of 4.5 mmol/l / 81 mg/dl.

You have to remember, I'm self taught on how to use my pump - with only a 4 hour training course in the Fall of 2008 - where the CDE said - "you know how to do it since you've been doing the same thing with MDI".  Great - I'm a wanna be CDE - NOT - but at this point in time - I wish the endo that I saw last year would have taken me on as her patient.  She understood insulin pumping unlike my current endo who just sees me for my A1C and info that I give to him in the diabetes area due to the work I do.  This endo had a team that you can call up - instead of seeing her in person via a long awaited appointment (it took 6 months to see her).  She said she wouldn't take me as a new patient - since I'm in such good control (though at the time she said my A1C of 6% was dangerously low - that comment from her made me wonder about her at the time). So, it's just me, myself and Irene and the rest of the D-OC (diabetic online community) that I go to for advise - which really - isn't that bad - but sometimes it would be nice to have a doctor who understood insulin pumping.

So, now, after licking my lips and consuming a frozen Michelina's dinner (I was having a low - maybe due to the basal change - who knows?).  I am silently feeling guilty at the 48 grams of carbs this small frozen dinner (Parmesan Bacon Linguine).  I never eat that many carbs in one sitting - and it's only lunch time!!  So, now is the time I would love to post some things about feeling guilty - since that was the topic of the DSMA discussion last night on Twitter! LOL

Alright, off to test my BG - see where I stand (my pump prior to eating said not to bolus due to low BG reading).  I will do my best to correct the spike(s) that maybe occurring with this guilty meal I consumed (and thankfully - there are no more frozen meals in the freezer - where this one came from - I'll never know - but it was there - pleading with me to eat it).

Basal testing, carb ratio, insulin on board, low blood sugars .... all these things that "normal" folks don't have to think about when they have a functioning pancreas that didn't decide to pack it's bag for a long holiday 45 years ago - without filling me in on the details of what blow up water floaty to pack in my bag - so I could join them!!!

Ahhh the roller coaster ride of diabetes!
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Posted: Dec 12, 2011
Pineapples from the Caribbean at this time of the year are in season - and of course - the best prices can be found.  I bought a beautiful ripe one from Costa Rica on Friday - and today - I set upon the carving it up - and using EVERY bit of it.

You're probably scratching your head wondering - "using EVERY bit of it"?  Well, a few years ago, when I was in line for paying for my groceries, I got chatting with a lady from Jamaica.  She told me about how in her country, they use the skin and core to produce juice from it, by simply boiling it up in water.  Since that time, I simply cut up the fruit that can be eaten, then throw the core, skin into a pot.  I barely cover the skins with water, then bring it to a boil, and then set the temperature to a medium boil for about 20 minutes.  I actually found a link today, when doing some research on this blog, that tells you in a few easy steps how to do it.  Don't just take my word on it - others do the same thing as I do!

Now, I know that some diabetics who are on low carb diets who don't eat too much fruit may frown at this sweet treat, but it actually isn't "that" bad.  I measured out about 100 grams of the cut up fruit (about 3/4 cup / 200 mL) and it comes in at my happy snack zone of around 15 grams.  That amount of pineapple yields you an almost 100% source of Vitamin C, along with a scattering of Vitamin A / Calcium / Iron.  

You'd be amazed at the history of how pineapple originated.  If you've always noshed on this fruit without realising that at one time this was considered the fruit of the rich folk - then check out this link to find out more.  Next time you serve up some of this sweet treat to guests - you'll be able to amaze them with some fascinating facts on what they're eating.  The better educated nosher is in my books a healthy diabetic / person!!!

Off to do abit of dancing with my fruit hat on!

Carmen Miranda
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