The GOAL of this site is to help people with Diabetes transform what we can or should eat, into what we WANT to eat!
A diagnosis of DIABETES is NOT the end of GREAT EATING
The purpose of my website and the cookbook that is in the works is to celebrate our limitations, reinvent our diets, and applaud every positive step we make, every ounce we lose, every point our numbers go down and to let you know that:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE – IT WILL GET EASIER – LIFE WILL BE DELICIOUS AGAIN!
I hope to share with you that a DIABETIC COMPATIBLE RECIPE does not have to be a stand in for the “good stuff” but can stand alone as something wonderful.
Enjoy, be Healthy, BE Happy, Be Creative, Be DECADENT !
TO ACCESS MY RECIPES AND PAST ARTICLES, LOOK ON THE BLACK BAND UNDER THE PICTURE OF MY KITCHEN COUNTER AND CLICK ON EITHER POSTED RECIPES OR PAST ARTICLES
Disclaimer: I do mention some brand name brand products in some articles. I am not paid by the companies that make or distribute these products, nor do I own any stock in any of the companies. I mention them because…THE PRODUCTS WORK FOR ME!
Article # 207
Changes, deprivation, and …rewards?
I have a lot of aprons. One of my favorites (a gift from a friend) says: Εγώ μαγειρεύω , άρα υπάρχω This (for those of you that don’t read Greek) translates to: I cook, therefore I am.
Epicureanism implies a love or knowledgeable enjoyment, especially of good food and drink. But was that what the philosopher meant?
Epicurus acknowledged that desires for good food and fine wine were natural. And he seemed to believe that in the long run the pursuit of them would set you up for a life of pain and distress. The real key to human happiness, in his view, didn’t involve the pursuit of luxury or excessive pleasures. Rather, it involved the absence of bodily pain and mental distress.
Could this be a good way for those of us with Diabetes to look at what and why we eat what we eat?
So we have Diabetes and have to make changes. The good life is not over. A lot of it has to do with just how we look at it. Sure, there are foods we need to limit, but there are rewards both of flavor and better health.
Most of us have traditions involving food changes and limitations. Food and eating is my deal and I want to look at change from that viewpoint.
In many religions, giving up something is considered good for the soul. Think Lent, Passover, and Ramadan. During each of those times of the year, people are asked to give up something or limit something from their eating.
How many of your friends have given up say… jelly beans for Lent? Are they any the worse for it, probably not? They followed the tradition of their religion for forty days and were closer to their belief system. During Lent, the church also suggests giving up meats on Fridays. I grew up with friends that observed every Friday being meatless.
I have to wonder how many wonderful fish and vegetarian dishes were created because of “giving up” meat. Think macaroni and cheese or better yet “almost” mac & cheese made with spaghetti squash.
My family’s tradition was Passover. For eight days we gave up breads and foods made with leavening. Some of the restrictions I understood, some not so much. How bad was that restriction on breads? The purpose was to remember the sufferings of our ancestors escaping from Egypt.
In my case, those eight days were not so much about eating matzo, but about all the dishes that my grandmother made ONLY during that holiday. I may have been envious of my friends chocolate bunnies which had to taste better than the chocolate covered matzo, but the special holiday foods that came out of both grandmother’s kitchens were a delight. In hindsight, I would not trade them for all the chocolate bunnies in the world.
During Ramadan, the tradition is not to eat from sunrise to sunset. Not eating all day frees your mind to see other things and become closer to your spirituality. Beside the spiritual rewards, there are wonderful (often sweet) dishes to reward you for your devotions.
Well, Diabetes is not a religion. Although some of us follow eating plans that border on the religious. For me, cutting down on eating carbohydrates which at first seemed like extreme deprivation, has proven to be a great experience in eating.
The other “reward” is in knowing that I have taken charge of the progress of my disease. I am a healthier man than I was eight years ago and dishes un-thought of back then, are a celebration of my life with Diabetes.
You too get to choose how you look at it. For me and many others, deprivation and change has its rewards.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT…be open.-w!
Greek “Style” Chicken Casserole
Net Carbohydrates 12g.
Chef’s Note: The great thing about casseroles is that all the work is up front. You can make it in advance and then reheat it before serving.
Casseroles were mostly noodles, rice, and potatoes. For us with Diabetes we have to come up with another plan with all the comfort and taste but without all the carbohydrates. I use spaghetti squash or cauliflower as the base for my casseroles. Forgetting all the extra vitamins, minerals and fiber, these are as good, maybe better than with a high carbohydrate base. Again I use mushroom here for flavor, texture and volume. Leave it out …if you must.
3 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about 1 medium- large squash)
1 medium eggplant (sliced and salted)
4 TBSP. olive oil
1 tsp. dry oregano
2 cloves grated garlic
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 large sweet (Vidalia) onion sliced
1 portabella mushroom or 4 ounces small mushrooms, sliced (optional?)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pitted ripe olives
12 ounces shredded (or diced) cooked chicken
2 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into large dice
½ cup feta cheese
How to prepare this recipe:
Shred the cooked squash into strands and turn into a large bowl.
Combine 2 TBSP. olive oil with the garlic, oregano, and pepper.
Slice the eggplant into 1 inch thick rounds. Salt both sides of the eggplant and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse off the salt, pat dry.
Brush the eggplant with the olive oil mixture. Either roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or fry until golden brown. Allow to cool. Cut the slices into big dice.
Sautee the onion in the remaining olive oil until it is just barely golden. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they just release their juices.
Add the chicken broth and stir to combine.
Add the onion mixture to the spaghetti squash and stir to combine. Add all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the feta cheese.
Cut feta into chunks and carefully fold into mixture. You can stop at this point and refrigerate overnight or bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Article # 206
In the small world of Diabetes… the same only different
The world, including the world of Diabetes, has become smaller. I am still somewhat surprised that I get comments, questions and responses from every part of the globe. My viewpoint is that of an American chef. Without thinking I often listed a “stick of butter” as an ingredient. It got dozens of questions from around the world, as to what exactly, and how much, is a “stick of butter?” A stick of butter equals four ounces. It is so easy to forget that not everybody measures or packages foods in exactly the same way.
Moving from the east coast to the desert, I have become acutely aware of so many items and brands I ALWAYS used that are no longer available to me and it is the SAME country. It is too easy to forget that what we take for granted is sometimes uncommon or unavailable elsewhere in the world. A recent recipe listed Half and Half as an ingredient. My friend Ruth from Australia wanted to know if she could substitute cream for the Half and Half…”whatever that is?” It never occurred to me that Half and Half was NOT available everywhere. Live and learn.
Recently I have been corresponding online with a friend from an Indian culture. I have no clue as to where my friend is located. It could be in India or in any other part of the world where people from India have settled. It is slightly embarrassing for me to ask after weeks of correspondence. The first question from my friend was:
“Do you cook Indian food at all? Any suggestions for rice, roti or naan? It’s a staple in the diet but very carb heavy. “
I suggested riced cauliflower and Joseph’s low carb pita and Lavash breads.
“Thank you, appreciate it. The pitas just don’t have that right texture but cauliflower might work.”
My having eaten both naan and pita, I know that they are somewhat different, but not as different as say a slice of whole wheat bread and a whole wheat bagel. The question I ask is: “Won’t the pita work well enough to help keep you healthier?” A big white flour fluffy bun on a burger is what we grew up eating here in the States. Since that is not the best choice for those of us with Diabetes, a sandwich thin or round can work “almost” as well, and allow us to eat what we really want…the burger? Sure it is different. It is thin. However, you can still pick up the burger and munch away.
“Indian desserts are impossible to do low carb, (I am) lost there too. Indian food is all about sugar and carbs. Food is our entire culture! How on earth can I cook anything when the whole culture revolves around it? Roti, naan, rice, desserts, mango lassi…have you eaten Indian food ever?”
The answer to the desserts is EASY. There is a world of deserts from all over the world. Open your mind and your kitchen and try something NEW…and delicious.
Yes, I have eaten Indian cuisine. I do it as a special treat just like all the other foods from different cultures. I do it in restaurants or in the homes of friends that have the skills with those cuisines that I lack. What I have always done is to pick and choose what will work for me. I have a very sensitive soft palate. Foods with certain spices (cumin in particular) inflame the palate so severely I can not eat for days.
Food is a huge part of any culture. But it is NOT all of it. There are so many other components like the colors and the music and manners, and architecture. You don’t have to give up everything you know. The trick is to make what is new to you work within your cultural being.
VARIETY is the spice of life. I grew up with a tradition that cooked in a certain manner, used certain foods in certain ways, as did the many families in my neighborhood. But some people in the neighborhood were from other cultures and it was pure JOY to experiment with other foods and other holidays. Is Christmas more or less fun than Hanukah or lunar New Year?
I have to laugh thinking about the first time I ate broccoli. I had never even seen it before. My first thought was that it was the centerpiece for the table. As I said…live and learn.
“Thanks, this struggle really sucks. Good for you for seeing the positive.”
Positive is my only real choice. Ruth in Australia takes the prize, and my praise. She is willing to figure out a way to make a dish that she finds interesting even though one of the ingredients (Half and Half) is alien to her. Now it is up to the rest of us to give it a shot. Diabetes-Compatible foods can taste great and help enlarge this small world of eating with Diabetes.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT…be adventurous.
Egg & Avocado Tartine
Net Carbohydrates 10-15 grams*
(depends on the bread you choose)
Chef’s note: This open faced sandwich (tartine) is no more difficult to make than any other sandwich. I love this “fancied up” version of egg salad on either Sarah Lee Delightful (13grams of carbohydrates for two slices) or Josephs low carb pita (5 grams per pocket)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 TBSP. mayonnaise
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. finely chopped shallot
4 ripe Kalamata olives chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp dry dill
½ Ripe avocado, thinly sliced
2 Low carb Pita bread or 4 slices Sara Lee Delightful multi-grain bread
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
With the EXCEPTION of the avocado and the bread, combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Lightly toast the bread. Spread egg mixture evenly over the bread (you can cut off the crusts if you must) top with a thin slice of avocado.