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.

Shrimp Salad for lunch…and random pharmacy arguments

30 Jul

I made a big batch of shrimp salad based on this recipe from Real Simple. I am obsessed with Real Simple, it makes me feel like I’m simplifying my own life into a pretty little vintage box with a bow and fresh flowers sprinkled on top. In order to modify the recipe, all I did was make the salad and skip the bread, plus – I made my own mayonnaise. The mayo in the store is filled with not so great oils and filler/thickener, and it’s actually pretty easy to make your own. (It’s also a fun and nerdy pleasure to see the emulsion take place). I like it with a lighter tasting oil like avocado oil, or maybe walnut oil…might try that next. I made this batch with 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 grapeseed since that’s what I had in the pantry. Also, I subbed leeks for the green onion since I shopped at Trader Joe’s and that’s all they had. They were quite delicious and subtle. Can’t wait to have leftovers for my lunch.

Woke up low this morning – 55 on my meter. Ugh. Had some applesauce and dried cherries to come back up. Breakfast was yet another delicious coconut crepe. I had kind of a funny argument with my pharmacy yesterday – it’s hard for me not to get defensive when I run out of supplies and my insurance isn’t ready to cover me yet. I ran out of test strips for my meter (which, I’m sorry, aren’t even a prescription drug that one could possibly overdose), and my insurance says, “oops, sorry, too soon! We don’t cover those until Saturday.” The pharmacist says to me, “well, your dosage says test six times per day.” I test about 8-12 times per day on average, but yeah, since the insurance doesn’t want to cover more strips, I’ll go ahead and reduce that to six…I’ll pay less attention to good control. I know it isn’t the poor pharmacist’s fault but I couldn’t help but be annoyed. Luckily they let me pick them up and pay the whopping $250 fee, and said they’d refund me on Monday. Guess I’ll have to “up my dosage” with my doc. Grrrrr, healthcare and insurance policies.

Coconut Flour Crepes

29 Jul

Without further ado, the first (very simple) recipe! I made these the past 2 days and they made me so happy.

Ingredients:
1 TBS Coconut Oil (you can get this from Whole Foods, go for an “unrefined” option)
1 TBS Coconut Flour (I buy from here, it’s divine)
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
Cinnamon
Raw Honey or Berries (optional)

Directions:
Drop a spoonful of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and coconut flour until smooth (it should be a thin consistency)
Allow it to cook until it starts to firm up (you will be able to tell) – probably 3-5 minutes
Flip and cook other side until done
Finish by sprinkling cinnamon on top, perhaps a tiny bit of raw honey (I used about 1/4 tsp and it was plenty sweet) and some berries.

What I’ve been eating these days…

29 Jul

Ok, so this is going to be a long post. I think a lot of about food. It’s a big part of my life.

Food – it should be simple right? Eat to live. Well, sadly, we’ve gone so far down an industrial path in this country that we’ve been able to produce just about anything and everything we can put on a shelf and then consequently put in our bodies. Hence, the obesity epidemic and the huge influx of diet-related diseases (type 2 diabetes in children?? So sad). Food is also cultural, social, and emotional – it’s just a huge part of our lives and our personalities. I don’t particularly like to deny myself things, nor do I like the word “diet.” It’s weird, though, when you are constantly aware of how things are raising/lowering your blood sugar levels, you tend to think about every bite that goes into your mouth. It’s a little bit (ok, very) annoying. “Hmmm…I see the cupcake, I want the cupcake, but then I have to take another shot.” It makes for a lot of injections, as well as a lot of ignored little “treats” on the side (and consequently chronically high sugars). Honestly, I don’t know if I would have ever come to change my eating habits if it weren’t for being constantly conscious of food, so for those that are able to, I commend you. These days, I’ve been pretty happy about things that raise my blood sugar very little, and don’t require constant injections. I’ve discovered a good way to navigate this is by following a meal plan similar to that described on Mark’s Daily Apple, or The Primal Blueprint. I’m not so much into the “let’s live like a caveman” thing as I am into the idea of how food is broken down and used for energy in our bodies. This plan/lifestyle is designed for less of an insulin reaction, so for me that means taking less insulin, so it’s a win-win situation. However, when one lowers the carbs/sugar, one must up the fat intake, or be constantly hungry. This was scary for me at first. Wait, my body WANTS to use fat as an energy source? After decades of trying to watch portion sizes and fat intake, now I load up my plate with bacon, avocado, olive oil, full fat yogurt, nuts, and coconut oil/milk (along with a large helping of veggies). Guess what, folks – up the fat and the sugar content automatically goes down. Full fat yogurt has half the sugar as fat free (since they’re trying to make it taste better). When I’m good at following this plan, it keeps me pretty even-steven, and for the occasional sugary dessert or slice of pizza, I try to accommodate with a shot, and I don’t beat myself up about it. I’m finding, however, that this is a little harder than I want it to be. My body responds to things differently now, and the older I get, the more insulin-resistant I get, so my old formulas of 1 unit for 15g carb don’t work so well anymore. That’s why eating less carbs and taking insulin via “the law of small numbers” works for me. Less carbs to cover = less margin of error.
A funny sidebar about how I got to the place I am now in eating is that I tried to go mostly vegetarian for a year, convinced that it was healthier and also better for the environment. Well, my blood sugar crept higher and higher, and my sugar cravings got out of control – this is a deathtrap for the diabetic. I was snacking all the time. It didn’t seem right. I Googled “lean proteins for vegetarians” in a desperate attempt to find a snack without sugar that would keep me full throughout the day, and guess where it led – Mark’s Daily Apple of all places. So here I am back in meat-eater land (gasp!). I still do my very best to buy clean, quality, organic (when possible), farm-raised meats and not support the terrible mass-produced CAFO meat that is getting so much of a bad rap these days (and yes, it’s bad). I also go for organic veggies, eggs, and dairy. My groceries might cost a little more, but I just go out to eat a little less, and it all works out. Plus, I eat less than I did before, since my food is richer in fat and energy, it keeps me full.
So, a typical day:
Breakfast: Protein-rich eggs or meat for breakfast, or maybe some unsweetened yogurt and few berries, and always, always coffee with cream
Lunch: Salad with chicken or some kind of protein, or leftovers from dinner the previous night (I have always found lunch very boring, so if you have great ideas that are not sandwiches, please toss them my way)
Dinner: Meat and vegetables (cooked in some kind of fabulous way) – hold the rice, hold the bread, hold the pasta
What I Avoid: bread, rice, white potatoes, grains, even “whole grains” – fiber doesn’t change the carb count for me, and I don’t believe in “net carbs.”
I find I need very few snacks when I’m eating this way, and also that my sugar cravings have all but disappeared. I try to only eat when I’m hungry and I no longer buy chips, cookies, or pretzels to satisfy me throughout the day. If I need a salty “fix,” a pickle, some salami or cheese might do the trick, sweet I’ll pick up a few blueberries, strawberries, or a square of dark chocolate.
Example of what I consider Good Fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, butter (NOT margarine), full fat Greek Yogurt, etc. Every recipe I post on here will follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself. (And yes, I do occasionally slide and go to Margie’s Ice Cream Parlor – I’m human after all.)
“But wait! What about all the cholesterol, fat, etc?? Is your heart OK??” My heart is dandy, thank you. There is a lot of research to support this, so I won’t recount it all here. Frankly, I’ve probably never been healthier. Also, I have learned to cook some really wonderful meals, and experiment with ingredients I hadn’t used in the past. There are a plethora of good websites for grain-free and low carb cooking out there. I’ve linked a bunch of my favorites on the sidebar.
Less deprivation = less guilt. Pile on the pasture-raised bacon, folks! Cook those veggies in Kerrygold Butter! Mmmm…grass fed cheese. I’ll skip that bread basket.
So, I say, do whatever makes you happy and makes you feel great. If you don’t feel so great right now, maybe try something similar to what I’m doing and see if you notice any changes? If not, that’s cool too. You only live once, and I’m trying to make the best out of it and keep it going as long as I can.

“Whatever you do, just don’t call her Sugar.”

29 Jul

Hello Everyone!  I have had type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes since the summer between 7th and 8th grade, which, due to my foggy memory calculations, puts me at about 16 years and a few months living as a diabetic. In that time, I’ve probably taken somewhere near 30,000 shots, suffered some near fatal low blood sugars (scary), some long weeks with constantly high blood sugars (annoying), and miraculously have remained healthy and developed no complications (yet). The one thing I’ve never done much of is talk about it in detail, probably because there is simply so much tell that it overwhelms me (and my listeners would probably be sorry they asked). Diabetes is essentially an invisible disease, so I am starting this blog to give my diabetes a “voice,” keep myself accountable in my food and lifestyle choices, and have a little fun telling stories. 

Everyone has heard of diabetes in this day and age, but very few actually know what it is or what it does. Type 1 is far less common than the media-rampant Type 2, and many people have no idea what it means to live with it.  (Sorry folks, Oprah’s recent TV special on diabetes isn’t going to tell you much, either).  This article is a very brief overview if you want some background.

There is also a great abbreviated history of diabetes and diabetes treatments in the book Think Like a Pancreas (my boyfriend finds the title of this book quite funny).

The blog title is an homage to a dear high school friend who was one of the first people I’ve met to dare to make fun of my diabetes on purpose.  He suggested making a “Diabetic Girls” calendar, with the caption, “Whatever you do, just don’t call her sugar.”  I found it hilarious then, and still find it hilarious.

Essentially, for some reason unbeknown to you and I, my body attacked the insulin-producing beta cells in my pancreas, and I no longer metabolize sugar the way all you “normal” people do.  For 15 of my 16 year track-record, I paid little to no attention to this fact and just took my insulin every time I ate, well, pretty much anything.  That’s a LOT of injections.  Well, after a fairly high A1C (average of blood sugar levels taken over 3 mos. time) of 8.0 in August of 2009, I decided it was time to make some changes.  I’ve embarked on a low-carb, nearly sugar free journey, full of whole veggies, fruits, good fats and protein, and little to zero grains (hey, I’m not perfect, there’s only so much I can handle at a time).  It has its ups and downs, but overall I think I’m heading in the right direction (my A1c in April of 2010 was 6.6, the best it’s been in as long as I can remember).

I am not defined by my diabetes, but it is a huge part of my life. It’s been hard for me to share it with people until now. (DISCLAIMER: I’m even nervous about starting this blog – here goes, World!). I didn’t want to be known as someone who was in any way weird or different or even worse, “sick.” Well, I’m not sick. I’m healthy, happy, and striving to live my best life. I hope you’ll join me as I navigate the journey – and post some awesome recipes, links, and exercises for all to enjoy 😉 .

(Also, I’m still learning about all this blogging business, so I hope I can keep up with the technology!)