Archive | August, 2010

Yoga Friday

28 Aug

I love Fridays. It is my favorite day of the week. I only have to be in the office for half the day so I get to enjoy my afternoons. It’s a huge perk of my day-job. I don’t get to relax much in life, so I really cherish this window of time in which I can do, well, whatever I darned please. I have found a 3 p.m. Friday yoga class at Bloom, a lovely, airy, light-filled studio only a few stops north of me on the train. I always forget that yoga is not only really restorative but it’s actually active work. I tend to think I’ll just be stretching for an hour, rather than using my muscles to build strength. In the end, though, I always feel fantastic. I mean, who wouldn’t love any class that begins with breathing exercises and ends in at least 10 minutes of lying on the floor? My blood sugar loves it too, as yoga lowers it a bit and completely mellows it out. Sometimes I think 60+ minutes of class is too much, but I actually have come to appreciate the long classes because they force me to slow down – something I’m not very good at, I admit. I’ve been finding that hard exercise that raises adrenaline (like weight training and my boxing class) is kind of tricky, because while most exercise lowers blood sugar, those intense workouts can actually have the opposite affect and raise it. I think it has to do with “fight or flight” response in my body – being pushed to the limits causes my liver to release stored glucose. (This is my theory, anyway). It’s really frustrating, because I do like to do intense workouts sometimes. I’m still figuring out how to handle them properly. Ah well, I guess I will just have to become a yogi and have my Zen moments with my Zen blood sugar level. 🙂 Just call me Miss Mellow.
Now, a nice evening of relaxing and some kale chips and bbq for dinner!

Advertisements

A Case of the Mondays…and Almond Crusted Chicken

23 Aug

Ah, Monday. The start of the week. A day in which one should be nice and organized, geared up for the busy work-week ahead. Well, today, not me.

These are the things I did NOT do this weekend:

1. Laundry
2. Grocery Shop
3. Cook/prepare food for lunches during the week
4. Clean the house

But I did have a lot of fun with friends!

Luckily, today I was able to have a quick yummy bacon & eggs breakfast, and I knew I’d be out of the office at lunchtime so I bought a chicken apple salad, that I must say, was disappointing (and I spent $7.75). So tonight, on the agenda is boxing class, then creating my very OWN chicken apple salad to pack for tomorrow! In order to do this, I will be making some chicken strips in the manner described below:

Ingredients
2 breasts of chicken
1/4 cup almond meal
1 egg
salt & pepper to taste (or lemon pepper for a little kick!)
Coconut oil or butter for frying

Directions:
Slice up the chicken into strips
Whisk egg in a bowl or plate
Coat the strips in the egg, then roll the chicken in almond flour/salt/pepper
Heat up 1TBS of coconut oil in a frying pan and fry up the strips at Hi or Medium-Hi

That’s it. The perfect, healthy, “fried” chicken salad topping! I am looking forward to it already. I plan to add mixed greens, some sliced apple, a few raisins, and some feta to the salad as well, and probably top with balsamic & olive oil. So simple it hurts (and definitely less than $7.75 per serving). I’ll try to post a picture of my creation tomorrow if I can find my camera cord in the house. Now, on to the house cleaning and laundry….hmmm

*Also, since I am feeling the pull of my lack of organizational skills this week, a small plug for my friend Theresa who is a Professional Organizer, and who I someday hope to emulate! Check out her great tips at Ready Aim Organize, subscribe to her blog, and hopefully next Monday I’ll be in ship-shape.

Product Review – Glenny’s Almond Cranberry Bar*

18 Aug

*I have decided to review some on-the-go snacks to help people navigate the scary (and usually gigantic) grocery store and be able to pick healthy choices. Let’s be honest, in the modern world we do not always have time to cook everything from scratch, even though that would be the most ideal way to live. No one has asked me to do this, I just think it will be fun. 🙂

So, I posted one a little while ago about Cultural Revolution yogurt, and today I am posting one about the delicious snack I just consumed, an Almond/Cranberry bar that was an impulse purchase at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Overall, the flavor of these bars is great – just sweet enough, not overly sugary, and really hearty with all the nuts in there. The best part, however – is that they were priced at $0.99! In a market where bars are usually selling for upwards of $1.50, this is a major bonus. (I once saw a Kind Bar priced over $2 and that’s a little sad – though they are also delicious). I really hope this was not just the “sale price” and that they will continue to be reasonably priced. The only thing I am not totally in love with in these bars are the brown rice crisps and the brown rice syrup, as it goes a bit “against the grain-free” (ha! I just made a pun). Still, overall a very healthy once-in-awhile snack.

Stats: The bar clocks in at 21g carb (a little high, so I sometimes eat just 1/2), 5g protein, and 190 calories.

I’d recommend it if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby – or you could purchase online? Let me know if you see them popping up anywhere else.

Spicy Shrimp Salad and My New Meter

18 Aug

I recently stumbled across a low-maintenance recipe and all I can say is, “why didn’t I think of that?” So delicious, and so simple. I made it even simpler by modifying it a little bit to serve what was in my kitchen. I do this a lot – I look at an online recipe, decide what the key ingredients are, then tweak to my purposes or to match what I already have lying around. So, without further ado, a link to the original recipe.
I bought a bag of frozen shrimp at Trader Joe’s, and added their “hot” fresh salsa rather than worry about chopping up garlic, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro – otherwise it’s basically the same. Super simple, and a great, colorful summer salad. Warning – it gets really spicy with the jalapeno, so you can always tone it down by ditching that.

Geek Alert – I ended up getting a great deal on the new Bayer Contour USB meter. It’s like having an iPod meter – I love it that you can just plug it into your computer with no cord at all, and it makes fancy charts and graphs. Plus a color screen and re-chargeable battery? So great. Maybe others are more ahead of the times than I am, but this is really floating my boat this week. 🙂

Dear Pizza, why must you be so hard on me?

16 Aug

I love pizza. I admit it freely. Lately, however, pizza has not been loving me back. I’ve had a really hard time bolusing (for those of you who don’t know, this is when a diabetic takes short-acting insulin to cover meals) for pizza meals. I think it’s the combo of the delicious cheese/toppings on top, and the bready, carby crust. It makes it very hard for my insulin, since the blood sugar reaction from the crust gets delayed by the slow-reacting toppings…so I tend to spike out of control many many hours past eating. *sigh* Such a wonderful combo for the taste buds, so tricky for my poor little pancreas (note: I did in fact look for a picture of a “sad pancreas” to post, but then decided that was kind of gross. 🙂 I shall try to take a picture of my homemade pizza next time around).

I’ve been trying alternatives. None are quite like the real thing, but they satisfy my need to put pizza-like toppings together and eat it with my hands. The closest I have come is an almond-flour crust, and it’s pretty easy to make. Here is the recipe I like:

1 cup almond flour (or almond meal, from Trader Joe’s – it’s in the nut section rather than baking for some reason)
2 eggs
3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of oregano, sea salt, and pepper for flavoring (you can go crazy with these if you want to, just sort of mix in as much/little as you want for “flavor”)
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan (optional)

Mix all ingredients together to make dough (the dough will be a pretty sticky consistency). Put a piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet (or pizza pan if you have one) and press/roll the dough out to make the crust. To do the rolling, make sure you put another piece of parchment paper on top to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin. I’d keep it pretty thin, no more than 1/2 inch. You can also make individual mini pizzas by flattening it out with the bottom of a glass or jar. I don’t own a rolling pin, so I use empty wine bottles – they seem to do the trick. Once it is the shape you desire (or had hoped for but didn’t quite achieve), gently peel the top piece of parchment off and bake at 350 for about 13 minutes, or until the edges are looking slightly brown.

Top with whatever your heart desires, and re-cook for as long as you need to get the toppings to crisp up (or the cheese to melt if you’re a cheese-lover) Mine usually takes an extra 15 minutes at 350.

Eat, and most importantly, Enjoy!

Other People’s Opinions

12 Aug

My blood sugars have been pretty up and down lately – due to a really busy social schedule; and eating out can be difficult if I am in a place where few substitutions are possible. Time to re-commit to what I know works for me, and throw caution to the wind with what other people think (this is my Achilles’ heel). For some reason, it’s a lot easier to be respected as a vegan or a vegetarian these days than a grain-free person. Probably because people don’t quite understand your choices unless you launch into a super long explanation about it. I love the environment too, people! 🙂 Besides, I think it’s all in my head. No one really cares what you’re eating, and if they did care, they’d just ask you about it, right?

My Favorite new On-the-Go Snack*

6 Aug


Thank you so much to this company, Kalona Organics, for making a size I can eat, no need to add extra stuff (fruit or toppings) low sugar, full fat, organic yogurt! Best of all, it is sooo good. It comes in 5 flavors, the Vanilla is my favorite so far. I mean, I love Greek yogurt as much as the next gal, but sometimes I simply don’t have time or the occasion to spoon some out, add the fruit/honey/nuts/whatever. Also, on another note, even though the Greek Yogurt trend has picked up, it’s nearly impossible to find the full-fat version anymore (because of the low fat craze, I’d imagine). Even Trader Joe’s has stopped selling it. This saddens me. Yes, I try to make time to cook, but I’m a busy gal. There are very few pre-packaged “snacks” in the grocery store I can eat anymore. Most of them have a ton of stuff added that I’d never add if I made it at home. Anyway, I love this stuff. I hope they start selling it everywhere – (hear that, Starbucks?) Right now I can get it at Whole Foods, and, oddly enough, the little liquor store/convenience mart across the street from my house.

In other news, I just signed up for my first CSA! It’s a meat share, all organic, grass fed or pastured meats from local farms in Wisconsin. I cannot wait to see what we will get. I skipped the winter veggie CSA because it will be a lot of potatoes and starchy stuff…but I think I’ll go for the summer one from the same place next year. I am inordinately excited about this purchase. I wish it was November already. Have a great weekend, everyone!

(Oh, by the way, I plan to stop stealing my images from the web eventually, I will start taking my own pics). 🙂

Punching Diabetes in the Face

3 Aug


Ok, not really. But after a really rushed morning where I woke up cranky and drowsy, and felt like a hot mess, I arrived at my doc’s appointment about 5 minutes late and slightly damp from the rain. I wasn’t “geared up” the way I wanted to be for this appointment, I couldn’t arrive looking calm, cool and collected, like the picture of perfect, robust health (the way I wanted to). However, my A1c was 6.3!! This is a huge accomplishment for me, and put a smile on my face immediately. It was like my morning had a do-over. The rest of the appointment went really smoothly, with good conversation, and I got a new meter as a reward. Yay for new toys! What I really want is this, so I am keeping my eye out for deals (that’s right Bayer, I’m talking to you). I celebrated with a large cup of coffee + cream from Corner Bakery, and a ham/egg/swiss sandwich that I ate sans-bread (it was just cheaper to buy the sandwich and ditch the bread).
Tonight – boxing class is on the agenda, so I can let out some aggression, sleep like a rock, and wake up as the picture of perfect, robust health – tomorrow. 🙂

Side note: maybe I need all-white boxing gear…

Kale Chips!

2 Aug

I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful evening drinking wine with my girlfriends on Saturday. We do these nights periodically to catch up (which we so creatively dub “wine night”). They are always great fun and conversation, and usually snacks are involved. One of my friends is a member of a CSA and is currently overflowing with veggies, so our snacks this week were oh-so-healthy greens and homemade accompaniments like dill dip (my recipe thank-you-very-much), and an awesome peanut dip that I am waiting to be emailed the recipe for. I didn’t realize that Kale crisps up like a light potato chip in the oven – brushed with olive oil, baked at 350 for no more than about 10-15 minutes. This is going to become a new favorite crunchy snack of mine, as I am always on the lookout for crunchy/salty stuff to satisfy that need. I thought about buying a food dehydrator, but it goes on my future wish-list of things I don’t really “need” right now.
Sugars were fairly level this weekend, except that I made the mistake of having some homemade chocolate chip cookies along with my veggies…(oops). It’s getting harder and harder to control these minor sugar overloads without a pump or a CGM. Still, I think the evening was worth it in every way. Onward and upward (well, downward as far as sugar levels are concerned).

Doc’s appointment tomorrow – stay tuned for an update.