Friday, May 25, 2012

Tacos for Diabetics and Bariatric patients

How about a spicy little dish with fewer than 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving?

Can we up the ante by making it light enough and with enough fiber to make it easily digestible for Bariatric patients?

Let's take it a step further and make it high in B vitamins and Iron.

The hardest part of my preparation for the 12 hour cookathon at Harlem Hospital last Saturday (Thank you all for coming) was the recipe development. What appeared to be effortless represented 6 months of preparation and study. Some Dieticians will take a recipe and make 'healthy substitutions' and give you something that tastes like sawdust. My goal is to create recipes that hit you with a wham of good flavor without the fat and sugar. One recipe equals anything from 6 to 30 hours in the kitchen.

And today I have one.

One area I did not touch last Saturday was Mexican food. I was asked specifically by one of the attendees if I would take it on. She told me she LOVED Mexican food but those corn shells and tortillas were a killer. She's right, white flour and corn are two substances to be avoided.

So...I got to work.

This recipes serves 4.

1 lb ground pork (beef, chicken, turkey can be used)
1 large onion minced
1 Roma tomato
A splash of water as needed
Cumin (a lot)
Cinnamon(a touch)
Chili powder (go for it)
Garlic powder (Yes)
Red Pepper (as much as you can stand)
Oregano (a few good shakes)
Smoked Paprika ( for that smoky flavor)
Hot sauce (how hot do you want them?)

1/4 cup mashed pinto beans. (re-fried without fat or mash them with a fork, canned are fine)

Don't panic if you don't have all of those seasonings, use what you have and keep an eye for sales, 99 cent stores and other places to stock up. Diabetics need to have seasoning on hand to keep food from being boring. If all you have it hot sauce start with that.

If you have a food processor buy the inexpensive pork loin chops. They are usually cheaper than the ground pork and you can grind it yourself and save money while getting less fat. This is true for any meat. If you don't have a food processor get the pre-ground but keep an eye out for sales. You don't need a 100 dollar Cuisinart, a 17 dollar chopper from Walgreen's works just fine (It's what I have at home)

Once the meat is removed throw the onion in the pan and turn low stirring to make soft. Water can be added to keep from burning. When the onion is soft add the tomato and the meat back in and start to season.

Shake what you have and taste. You don't have to measure seasoning, most of you have to be careful of too much salt but cumin won't make you retain water.

Add water as needed, you want it a little saucy. Now the beans, mix those in fully.

4 oz cheese

Grate it and put 1/4 on each plate, then put it back into the refrigerator so you are not tempted to go back.

1/4 cup unsweetened yogurt

This is your sour cream substitute, it contains good probiotics which help in digestion.

4 large lettuce leaves (these are your shells)

Divide the meat into 4 portions and spoon onto the leaves, Let each person garnish with the cheese and cream. You can also add 1/2 raw tomato to each plate if you want fresh tomato, and fresh cilantro or even acacado if you have it.

Roll into the leaves and hold carefully. If you eat too fast the filling will fall out, small bites please.

Enjoy, crisp lettuce, cooling cream, tangy cheese. This is dinner perfection.

4 fat lettuce leaves will bring you 478 satisfying calories.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Final stamp/Diabetic challenge


I have an extra 2.71, that with my 4.35 gives me 7.06 today.

And thus I had an opulent breakfast.

2 eggs .40
2 Rye Toast .40
4 slices bacon .76 (I got cheap bacon)
Cup of strawberries .50 (Bless the street vendors in NY.)
Total 2.06

I feel so good. Sharp, energetic and ready to take on the world. All because of a good breakfast that any food stamp recipient might want but could not have without making reductions from other meals. 38 grams of carbohydrate and 500 calories. I could use coffee but unless one of the people I am seeing today offers me some it is not on the agenda.

I had soup for lunch. I bought 1 lb of soup bones with some actual meat attached. They stewed and stewed and with a lot of salt became some kind of broth. I added a handful of spinach and 1 oz. of rice noodle.

Worked for me...but I am hungry again and it is only 3:30.

Bones .99
Rice noodles .20
Spinach .39

Total 1.58

I see my tiny surplus melting away.

Dinner was a pear and endive salad. I killed my surplus realizing it was the last day. of my pledge both on the food stamp and diabetic diets.

Pear .89
Endive 1.89

Total 2.78

...and yes at 12:01 a.m. I ate again. A bowl of pasta with fresh tomatoes. I thought I could eat a lot of it, but managed only a few bites with a glass of wine.

Before the pasta only 781 calories with a poor ratio.

Can you live as a Diabetic on a food stamp budget and get both adequate nutrition and calories? Probably not.

Protest the upcoming cuts in programs like this. Demand extra funding for those with medical conditions. WE ARE the United States, the only power the politicians have is the power we give them. 

And do come up to Harlem on Saturday the 19th. I will be blogging and twittering live at the site.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Living on a foodstamp budget, the kindness of others

Just a reminder of why I am doing this. Come join me in Harlem on Saturday as I cook for 12 hours. Bring a can of food or a donation to the Harlem Hospital Diabetes program.

I begin my day with 7.56. As hungry as I am I know better than to blow the money. It disappears so quickly.

I cannot explain this, but California early cherries cost less in New York than they do in California. I got 1/4 pound to go with breakfast.

Cherries .60
Rye Bread (2).40
Egg .20

Total 1.20

I was given coffee this morning. Roxie made me some and I gladly accepted the kindness of friends.

That small innocuous breakfast blew my carbs out of proportion, though at under 45 grams (barely) they were 45% of my breakfast.

I was shopping for the event with the supervising physician Rhonda Trousdale and missed lunchtime. When we got back to the hospital I was STARVING. I went to the grocery and checked the deli sandwiches 4.95...not happening.

I know from living in Harlem that many of the stores sell bread by the slice. A lot of seniors won't buy a loaf because they eat little and it would mold and go bad. So you can buy a slice for ten cents.

After looking at all the prices I asked the Deli man to sell me a slice of bread and 1/8 pound of liverwurst.

"You want a sandwich?"

"Yes but I have to keep it under 1.48."

"I got you buddy." He carefully weighed out the 2 ounces of liverwurst and put the price on the package then added several more slices to the paper, got the bread slathered it with mayo, cut it in half added lettuce and made me a huge half sandwich that cost 1.40. I must have eaten 6 ounces of liverwurst.

That wonderful, beautiful life giving sandwich bumped my calories way up, (needed calories) and made me feel wonderful, not only because I needed the food but because of the extreme kindness of the Deli man.

That is what I love and miss about Harlem. Folks here know what hard times mean and they always put a hand out. The Deli man didn't know anything about this project when he did that for me. He only knew I was hungry.

Of course I then told him briefly what was going on and left some postcards.

Pool you resources, have a potluck. This can be a great way to eat more on less.

I had dinner with a friend, my total expenditure was 2.25. WAY more than I normally would have had, but my lack of food for the past couple of days allowed it.  I don't know how much he spent, but dinner was wonderful and nutritious and met diabetic guidelines.

We had a warm Kale salad with yellow peppers and two slices of bacon in the warm vinaigrette. This was followed by Atlantic Char with a clam sauce on a bed of Portabello mushrooms. Fish is ideal for people with many health concerns, it is also expensive. Thus the problem. If my friend had not outspent me 5 to 1 I never would have had it.Total 4.85 for the day with 91 grams of carbohydrate, no meal was out of line in any big way. My calories were 1,544.

Check out my nutrition today, compared to yesterday. Without a friend pooling with me and way overspending me I never would have eaten this way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Living on a Food stamp budge: Diabetic restrictions and on the road

I am couchsurfing. Staying with friends and no pantry with any of my staples to work with. I am on the Upper West Side and so busy with the Harlem Hospital event on Saturday I have not managed a trip to Chinatown which is the only cheap shopping. Thus I am not eating much.

I begin with 5.77.

Breakfast was an egg. That's it..just one egg.

Egg .20

I got off the flight and was more tired than hungry after flying all night so I had an egg and planned on napping...that never happened.

At lunch yet another chicken thigh (I am so sick of chicken)stir fried with some mushrooms (not many) and sugar snap peas. I am grateful to the produce carts parked on Broadway for having the best prices in this neighborhood.

Chicken .75
Mushrooms .22
Sugar snap peas .50

Lunch 1.47

Dinner pizza .99

New York does have a couple of pizza places where you can get a slice for a buck. You can either get a big slice made with garbage ingredients or a pretty small slice made with the good stuff. I had the small slice. 

Total 2.66

It was a very poor day both for my nutrition and calories. I had 540 calories the entire day (no wonder I woke up starving at 5:30 a.m.) the good news is that I can carry over 3.11 into the morrow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Living on a Food Stamp budget as a Diabetic and travling

I begin my day with 5.42. I feel rich.

I got the Jiffy biscuit mix on sale 3 for one buck. I was afraid I might be pushing it with the carbs but it was barely okay. With my small banana 60 grams of carbohydrate, my maximum for any one meal. Of course I had to put some cheddar on my biscuits and had 3 ounces worth.

Banana .19
Black Coffee .25
3 cheese and biscuits 1.08
Total 1.52

Lunch I fared better.

I lucked out I totally lucked out. At the butcher where I was thinking I might get a sliver of cheap liver (I love liver)They had beef trimmings. A customer had requested perfectly weighted square filets for her new square plates. Don't you love the filthy rich?

They were selling the trimmings in one quart containers for a buck each. I bought both and when I got home I took out one cup of meat, put the rest of both in freezer bags and made a simple steam fry.
1 cup of beef trimmings .25
1 small head of broccoli 1.12
Total 1.37

I was on my way to NY and worried that I might get hungry at the airport and buy something I should not I decided to carry my dinner. Having had all that beef I had no appetite yet anyway.

I mixed a chicken thigh with the rest of the green onions and stuffed into a whole wheat pita.

Chicken .64
Onions .19
WW Pita .28
Total 1.11

Day Total 4.00 leaving me with 1.42 to carry over. I managed 1,300 calories and 121 grams of carbohydrate.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Living as a Diabetic on a Food stamp budget day 3

I awoke at 6 wondering how on earth I could manage a special Mother's day breakfast  with my day beginning in a .32 deficit.

I begin with 4.03.

As I stared at my pantry a thought came to my head. I made a pastry with sort of an omelet on top and it worked.

1 cup of flour .16
3 tablespoons of butter .57
2 eggs .40
1/2 bunch Green onions .19
1 ounce of Swiss .15
Total 1.48

I made a square pastry like a pizza thing of sorts, par baked it then topped it with the egg mixture and baked until set. I topped with the chopped green onion. It was festive and delicious and my Jewish Mama provided the fruit and tea, by skipping my morning coffee I made it work.

I will likely skip lunch but it was a happy special breakfast for two on my budget for one.

In addition I ate 4 blackberries, 4 raspberries and 1/4 sliced banana.

This may be a cheat and I will not lie to you readers but I am drinking coffee at work today. I had to skip it at breakfast in order to make a meal for two. I am surrounded by beautiful food for the Mother's day Specials all of which I could make a grab for and I am sticking to coffee, as penance;Black.

As I sit down the the most recent cup of black coffee I have a cheese puff. I made these beautiful puffs to garnish the composed salads. While it would be irresponsible to serve them without tasting I could have cut off a small bite and offered it to someone else but I knew as soon as I put it on the plate I would eat the entire thing.

Though I did not pay for the ingredients I am penalizing my budget by fifty cents that I will drop in the box at St. Luke's on my way home. They host a weekly food pantry.

Penance .50

I am not sure how many gorgeous, crisp, pomegranate glazed Cornish hens I sent out of the kitchen tonight but despite my close proximity to succulent smells and tantalizing tastes I resisted temptation. Part of me tried to rationalize. 'If I were on food stamps and I worked in a kitchen I would eat everything I could." and is true, many restaurant workers are so poorly paid they do rely on assistance.

However I made a commitment and I am going to stick to it; even though there is a small dish of Potatoes Au gratin, never served and still hot and bubbly and oozing with Gruyere cheese and molten butter.

When I got home I was grateful that I had thought ahead and planned dinner.

I had put two chicken thighs in the crock pot with a whole tomato, a carrot some salt and garlic.

As I plated the food I drank the broth from a big spoon. Food; finally.

I had one thigh, the carrot and the tomato and I scarfed them down.

Thigh .54
Tomato .20
Carrot .11
Total .85

I am still hungry, but I need to sit for a moment and digest. 

I finally decided to top it all off with popcorn.

Popcorn .13

Day total 2.96

I carry over 1.07. Now I wish I had eaten more, but unless you walk around with a calculator (no I don't have an iphone)it can be hard to know.

How much must the mother on assistance skimp when she knows her child has a birthday coming up? Even without a calculator she knows that if her benefits run out, there won't be a cake.

I managed 829 calories and 66 grams of carb for the day. I thought about food the whole day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Living on a Food Stamp Budget as a Diabetic Day 2

Fourteen Cents. I have fourteen cents in addition to my 4.35.

I begin my day with 4.49
Coffee .25
Goat Milk .18
Bacon, 2 slices .42
2 eggs.40
Whole wheat bread, 2 slices .24
6 strawberries .60

Does this sound like an ostentatious breakfast to you? Huge, enormous excessive?

I made an error when I bought the easy one. When you compare prices realize that some bacon comes in 20 ounce packages, some 16 ounce, and some 12. They all appear to be the same size. I failed to check. The strawberries which seemed like such a deal on their own and were so ripe that had to be eaten cost me 10 cents each when I did the math.

The good news is that I had 34 grams of carbohydrate. The better news is that I feel satisfied for the first time in 24 hours I am not hungry. 

When I work I often forget to eat so it was a late snack/lunch. Rather than pull from the abundance in the pantry I stuck to my pledge having a can of bean soup (2 cans for a buck) which though organic was largely flavorless.

I followed this with a boiled egg.

Soup .50
Egg .20
Lunch .70
When offered a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie...was I going to say no. NO! I had the cookie. The whole combo was 29 grams of carbohydrate.

Dinner was a grab fest. I was starving and in the time it takes to boil water I had pasta, just one ounce, a safe portion but I had to have it. I used my tomato and tossed it in a pan with some garlic, salt and a touch of water and then stirred in cottage cheese to finish the sauce as I added the pasta.

Great stuff, though the portion was tiny.
1 oz pasta .08
1 Roma tomato .20
2 tablespoons cottage cheese .25

I followed this with a mess of collard greens sauteed with garlic and salt.
Greens. 35
Two chicken legs 1.00
Dinner 1.88

I went .32 cents over. This is why the Food banks are so vital. Just a few days of eating an extra thirty two cents worth of food can make your food stamps run out before the end of the month. In the worst case this means that you have nothing to eat.

On this I only managed 1,205 calories.

Living on a Food Stamp Budget as a Diabetic; Day 1

1.48 a meal. That is the amount given by the NY food bank as the average amount people on food assistance have to live on.

While I am at home I am going to take 9 cents off for bits of seasoning I already have in the house but will account for butter, oil etc.

The last time I did this I relied heavily on pasta, rice, bread, but no more as a diabetic I don't have those options. I will take my multi vitamins and extra C. Just living on the diabetic diet has caused me to drop a couple of pounds. My jeans are a 29 inch waist and I weigh in at 160 as of this morning. I will continue to take my salt pill at night to compensate for working in a hot kitchen and drinking a lot of water.

And I begin.

With 4.35 I start my day.

Coffee .25 (I got the cheap stuff again, little flavor but plenty of caffeine.
Goat Milk splash .18
Apple .69
Two tablespoons peanut butter .20

I would consider this my before breakfast snack, but having used 1.32 already there is little more I can eat.

It is fitting I am headed out to an orientation at the local food bank to be able to 'shop' for a non profit I work with.

Realizing it is a long time until lunch I look around to see what I might eat that is thirteen cents. What would you suggest to a hungry child if he had thirteen cents to buy food with?

28 grams of carb consumed already so what food would not be out of the question?

As I ready myself to leave I look longingly at cheap rice, cheap pasta, a potato and leave hungry.

At the Food Bank Orientation I learn that one out of 5 adults in San Francisco goes hungry every day and one out of 4 children. Think about that as you go about your day.

When I got down to the floor to shop for the non profit I work with I realized how stunningly difficult it would be for a person who relies on the food bank for supplementation to stay well fed without massive carbohydrates. The aisles were filled with pasta, beans, rice,and bread.

Hyper aware of what I was putting on the carts I did the shopping for the Non Profit.

The entire procedure took hours and I got home hungry, very hungry.

I was so glad to have the cheap corned beef in the house and promptly made a sandwich.

Two slices whole wheat .24
Corned Beef .50
1 cup pinto beans .33
I ounce of Jack Cheese .31
Iced tea .03
Total 1.41

And while it was a very satisfying lunch both beans and bread put me at 55 grams of carbohydrate. I was pushing my limits.

When I did the two month food stamp project I got a lot of e mail telling me that I should tell people to eat rice and beans, tasty and filling. While people who have never done this have a simplistic view a diabetic would likely have major health problems relying on the rice and bean diet.

I was out for the afternoon doing my thing. I came home HUNGRY. Normally I would have made straight for the bread, either something I had baked or a Sourdough baguette with sweet butter and cheese and wine. Once sated I would prepare the meal. Bread not being a choice I grabbed the gouda, weighed out my one ounce and then realized that I had just used thirty six cents of my budget with very little cheese.

Gouda .36
Corn: .39
Chicken leg .50
Cabbage .10
Total 1.35

The chicken was awesome, thought the serving was sparse.

I will print the recipe for 4 for those of you who want to make it.

Braised 5 spice chicken with cabbage
4 chicken legs
5 spice powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
A few splashes of Soy Sauce
As much hot sauce as you want (I like it spicy)

Cover the legs with the 5 spice powder and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, one day is fine.

Brown in a touch of oil then add water til they are immersed, soy sauce, hot sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat simmering at medium for about 45 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickening. Add the cabbage and braise in the sauce for a couple of minutes, it should hold it's shape but begin to soften.

Serve. I did 3 legs and it was my intention to eat 2 but I could not afford to eat both as I had an ear of corn that cost thirty nine cents. I typically avoid corn as most of it is Monsanto, Super Sweet GMO corn and not fit for human consumption. But an ear of organic white corn at thirty nine cents was a deal I could not pass up. I realize corn is a grain, a carb and not a vegetable but I had it instead of something like rice, which would have been very bad.

My dinner 24 grams of carbohydrate 17 of it coming from the corn. I ate about 30 minutes ago and am still hungry. I am trying to think of a snack I can have that won't exceed the dime left from dinner and the 13 cents from breakfast. For about a quarter what can one have?

I finally settled on popcorn. For thirteen cents I could make about 5 cups popped. I remembered a trick from an old weight watchers magazine. They said that before air popping to spray the corn with cooking spray and season heavily, 'you wont' even miss the butter' was the headline.

I used cumin, cayenne and salt.

I missed the butter, however it did fill the gap.
Popcorn .13
Day total 4.21

I am rejoiced that I can carry over fourteen cents into tomorrow. My calories for the day 1,444. Total carbohydrate 139 grams...that was okay. The popcorn put the percentage just a touch high but not dangerous.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Living as a Diabetic: President Obama

I live in San Francisco.

I woke up to the news that President Obama finally acknowledge that all American should have the same civil rights. My e mail box was full of forwards of various articles and blogs. Facebook was the same loaded with pro and one con.

I went to the barber and they were all talking. My little Asian neighborhood seemed to be filled with people who had a niece, a newphew, a son; and they were all jubilant.

Maybe it is because this is San Francisco but there is a spirit of celebration in the air. While I also think this is a wonderful step forward for our country; it should have always been the case. The fact that it was 2012 before a President said all men are created equal and should have the same right to happiness is stunning to me.

...and on to breakfast.

8 large beautiful strawberries were downed with my coffee. Then 8 Ak Mak crackers and a couple of ounces of St. Andre cheese. After that I was working the phones and very busy. Realizing I would need lunch I stuffed one of those fiber tortillas with beans, a couple of chicken livers, salsa and cheese. Breakfast 41 grams of carbohydrate and lunch 39, both well within range.

Knowing I was going to begin my 1.48 per meal tomorrow I checked the freezer for anything that might be helpful and found a nice corned beef.

Many Americans eat corned beef once a year; on St. Patrick's Day. The day after most every store and butcher shop puts it on sale. I looked at what I had paid and realize that I could have it for fifty cents a serving. What could I do but put it in the crock pot with a touch of water before leaving the house.

On my way home I did a very small shopping for the Food Stamp diet I begin tomorrow. Since I am in SF for the first few days and in NY for the rest of the period I did not want too much food around the house.

I got home hungry and tore into the corned beef right inside the door. I stood at the kitchen counter and had two nice slices. Not a civilized meal but a good one.

I then went into the garden and filled a bowl with lettuce. I had an idea for a dressing so I cut a lot of lettuce. I washed and dried it and made a cottage cheese dressing.

Cottage Cheese dressing
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil (more if you like)
1 little splash of vinegar (not much)
Cumin to taste (I used quite a bit)
Freshly ground black pepper
I finely diced Roma tomato
Dash of salt

I let the flavors meld together a bit and tasted...oh yea. I dressed the salad and wow...good stuff. Most bottled dressing are either mostly fat, or mostly sugar. This was mostly whey. Lowfat, tasty and filling. After the salad I had no more food. I was done. I wrapped up the corned beef for the food stamp project and had my wine, and then a second glass.

Being as today I can have no more wine, I did a double and since my dinner carbs were only 15 it was a safe choice.
1,725 calories, carbs 22%.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living as a Diabetic; What is wrong with a chicken Thigh?

Strange breakfast, my coffee as normal and 5 Ak Mak crackers with 5 chicken livers. The liver was in the freezer and I have to shop fresh and track all my prices to live as a diabetic on a food stamp budget. (Beginning May 11)of course I had my coffee. Before heading out I had cup of the cabbage soup. Breakfast and my snack totaled 35 grams of carb.

With everything I had to do I could not get home for lunch so I headed to this really good Chinese Restaurant for their famous 5 dollar lunch 4.95.

While I had my complimentary egg roll I pondered the menu. Then I called Stephanie my supervising dietician.

"What is wrong with chicken thighs?"

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Every daily menu you have given me says chicken breast, 222  calories for 4 ounces. If a thigh is only 235 for the same serving and has a lot more B vitamins and Iron, why is it always the breast on your menus?"

"For people who are watching calories that can be important."

"13 calories? Really?"

We soon ended the conversation and I order the steam fry chicken with mixed vegetables which was made with delicious, nutritious chicken thighs. I ate all my vegetables and had 1/2 cup of the rice...I am sure it was 1/2 cup as I borrowed a measure from the kitchen and set the rest of the rice aside.

My vegetables gave me 18 grams of carbohydrate, but my little portion of rice 21 grams making my total 39. Safe, but if I had eaten more rice...very bad.

So for dinner I turned my diet on it's ear.

Chicken breast, sliced tomato, shredded cabbage, 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Boring beyond belief.

2 chicken drumsticks
2 roma tomatoes
1 spicy chicken sausage
1 cup shredded cabbage
4 cloves garlic
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup cottage cheese

Season and brown the chicken cooking as close to through as you can. Add in the crumbled sausage and chopped garlic and when the sausage browns toss in the tomatoes and cabbage cook just until the tomatoes soften. Put the chicken in an oven proof bowl and top with the tomato and sausage mixture then the cottage cheese.

Put in a hot (425) oven for about 30 minutes til bubbly. Something wonderful happens. The liquid from the cottage cheese oozes down into the tomato and sausage making a succulent sauce.

This is a great dish. Even though it would easily serve 2 I ate the entire dish, with my wine. The entire dish is 440 calories with 15 grams of carbohydrate. To serve two you could add in some Quinoa and still be under 40 grams of carb. Most important, it tastes great.

1, 527 calories for the day. Carbs were 24% for the day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living as a Diabetic: What's up with Paula Deen

The first celebrity I contacted to invite to the event on the 19th was Paula Deen. I wrote her via here management, the food network and several of the Executives at her Drug Company.

She is the only person I have contacted who has refused to give a response of any type. Not a yes, a no, a maybe, an I'm busy. So I began again and no one would even take a call.

Has her drug company fired her? Is that why everyone is lying low? Do they not want her to appear at a high profile event to help other Diabetics?

Where are you Paula Deen?

Speaking of invitations. If anyone has a good contact for Mayor Michael Bloomberg please share. He cares about the health of New Yorkers, the recent smoking bans are one of the best things he has done. How about it Mayor? Come join us and add to your legacy of health. 

...and onto breakfast. I was feeling my lack of vegetables and making a cabbage soup to have on hand, a good one with chickpea and tomato, a nice chicken broth...well I ended up having it for breakfast.

I started working the phones for the event at Harlem Hospital on the 19th and it was hot and ready to go so it was breakfast. With my coffee and goat milk it was 31 grams of carb. My ratio is a bit off but not dangerously so.

I will eat more when I get to work.

I had no idea how true that sentence above was when I wrote it...I did eat more, and a bit too much.

My lunch was quite sensible, 3 strips bacon, one egg, thin sliced whole wheat bread with a little mayo. A fried egg sandwich; just under 20 grams of carbohydrate.

It was later I got in trouble.

Let's talk the good part. I had the most wonderful salad prepared by Micah our new intern. It had peppers, cabbage, carrots, mixed greens,onion, cucumber, tomato, etc.

How bad really would just 3 slices of pizza be? 85 grams of carb, it would have put me in the danger zone, requiring a quick insulin adjustment and may have had repercussions beyond that. 2 slices would be the diabetic limit.

At 163 grams of carbohydrate I did not exceed my outside limit but the pizza was a bad (but delicious) idea. Think about the diabetics you know and how difficult life must be that they can't enjoy pizza in the same way. As I have said before this is not an easy life.

Calories 1,837. Carbs 36% of my diet.

 Tell your people to call us back Paula and if you are busy, see if Bobby can come. Everybody loves Bobby Deen.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Living as a diabetic:Eat your vegetables

What you will most notice about my eating today is that I did not: Eat my vegetables. I have to learn to stop relying on pasta and rice as vegetable delivery systems.

I wonder how much depression influences and affects those living with diabetes.

I find the guidelines hard to follow and I often want to eat in a way that would not work when maintaining blood sugar.

How hard is it for you who do this every day of your lives?

What do you experience and how do you feel. I am getting a lot of e mail and feedback @twitter and Facebook, but if any of you want to take up a little space sharing your experience, send it to me and I will put it in the main portion of the column.

This morning I was grateful to have those healthy tortillas in the house. I divided one ounce of cheese (trying to cut back) between them and stuffed them with beans and salsa. I warmed a little ham and had a wonderful breakfast...of course with coffee. I don't think I can live without coffee. 

At work I was making burgers for kid, we had high quality beef, not the mad cow grocery store meat. I had one...small, 4 ounces with 1/4 of an onion and mayo on a whole wheat bun. Between the bread and the onion 24 grams of carbohydrate.

Later I FINALLY found a use for those chicken breasts. I sliced them thinly, made a rub of chili pepper, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I allowed the chicken to absorb the spice for two hours.

With green peppers it went on the grill and became a taco in one tiny corn tortilla. I topped it with shredded cabbage and cilantro forgoing the fatty toppings.

Delicious and would meet the approval the dietician. 7 grams of carbohydrate...if I'd known I would have had two.

Make sure if you don't have a flat top grill that you get your pan smoking hot and toss and cook quickly so the chicken stays moist but browns.

After work it was a rough night with a friend going in the hospital and it was late and I had popped corn with butter for dinner with my one glass of wine. 5 cups of popped corn is 35 grams of carbohydrate and while it was not a balanced meal it was a safe choice.

For the day 1,577 calories, 111 grams of carbohydrate or 26% of my diet.

A Guest column by Dr. Rhonda Trousdale


The first, and perhaps most important, question people asked when they are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes is:

As a physician, I know that I can’t possibly teach a patient everything about good nutrition in the 30 minute doctor’s visit.  So I came up with a couple simple rules to get people started.

1) No more regular soda, no more juices.  Juices may sound healthy but they are loaded with free sugar.  And with the sweet tea craze going on right now, sweet tea is definitely off the list as well.
2) Limited portions of the white foods:  pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread
3) Make sure your plate has color:  unprocessed fruits and vegetables bring lots of color to a plate, make your plate pretty!  If everything is white and yellow, you have a problem.
4) You can have the occasional cookie or slice of cake, but only if you are dressed up for a special event.  Women must have hose, heels and hats, men must have suits, ties and shiny dress shoes. 

And then I send people to the nutritionist and dietician for the more extensive discussions.

But I agree with Chef Karl….telling people substitutions is so unsatisfying.  Anyone who tells me to substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese in my lasagna or use low fat cheese for my mac n cheese, has clearly never tried it!
Finding new patterns of eating is important and a continuing life-time challenge.


Everyone remembers the old advice “Drink 8 glasses of water a day”.
And while experts may disagree on how much water the body really needs over the course of a day, water is a essential part of a diabetic diet.
First, sometimes when the body is thirsty for water, your body sends a signal that your hungry.  So people are eating calories when what their body really wants is liquid.
Second, diabetics are at a higher risk of kidney damage, keeping well hydrated helps lower the stress on the kidney.
And for those days when you may over do it with the sugar, water helps get the blood sugar down faster and replenishes fluids that you may have lost from the high sugar load getting removed from the body through urine.
Finally, water helps you lose weight.  Even a modest amount of weight loss can provide major benefits for diabetics and water is an easy way to help you feel full.

Wine and Chocolate

I’ve noted that Karl has had a glass of wine on a couple of days.  And he must of known we would notice the piece of chocolate.
It seems like every day I read about a new study touting the benefits of wine and chocolate!
Wine and sweets can be integrated into a daily But just remember, everything in moderation.  One glass of wine, not a goblet, but a glass.  One small square of chocolate, not a whole chocolate bar and dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate which has more sugar.
But it is important to remember as a diabetic that both alcohol and chocolate contain a significant amount of sugar and should be used sparingly as part of a diabetic diet.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Getting enough to eat as a Diabetic

I woke up this morning not hungy. This was a huge surprise as most every morning since I have begun this I have woken up wanting badly to eat, quickly.

Today I took care of the cats, and made the coffee, not hungry. It was knowing that I can not skip meals that prompted me to eat.

I think it is the risotto. I once stayed with a friend in Europe who had embraced Atkins and all weekend long we ate low carb vegetables and significant protein. I was hungry the entire time.

We all know carbohydrates contain more water during digestion. I am thinking that as a result they fill the crevices in a way cheese never can. This is not the scientific explanation but today I am not starving upon waking.

In fact I had to tempt myself into eating at all.

I made toast (one slice whole wheat), warmed leftover lamb, sliced some cheese and peeled a tangelo.

Breakfast carbs were 37 grams and 29% of my repast.

My dietician suggested that if I wanted salsa to try it with celery rather than the high carb chips. I did, it does not work for me. I would rather count out 7 chips and savor them then eat a mass of celery with salsa.

When I got to work I saw some burritos calling my name. A special from the night before. I cut one open...loaded with fat, meat, rice...oh boy. I cut a small piece and warmed it, while each bit was a heart stopper I did enjoy it.

I think that leads to an important point, savor your food. Eat slowly and enjoy. I have never been a fast eater but since beginning this when I have something I enjoy...I take a long time and relish it.  29 grams a safe snack.

Later I put together a killer lasagna but restricted myself to 2 bites and a bunch of broccoli. Roast broccoli is my favorite.

I got home hungry. I am going to create a post from the doctor who is supervising this project at Harlem hospital. She says to substitute good habits for bad and I realize what I've done. I have substituted cheese for pasta. Pasta has always been my quick go to meal when I get home and am starving. Now it is cheese. I need to look for a another choice.

2 ak mak, gouda and some duck liver with a sliced tomato, my wine and my chocolate. The wine is a measured pour btw...5 ounces. Never more and god knows never less. 

If you remember my goal is 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15 to 20 per snack or 165 to 225 absolute maximum, with no penalty for going lower but to try to get at least 100 grams per day.  With 1628 calories my carbs were exactly 30% of my diet.