SESAME STREET DAY

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As I read up on all things SESAME STREET, one article mentioned that this year marks the 47th anniversary of the popular children’s program!  I couldn’t believe it – where does the time go?  Do you remember watching Sesame Street on your local public television station?

Now, of course, they travel with the stage show Sesame Street Live.  Isn’t it great that the characters come to life for children everywhere?  I wish they would have had that back when I was a kid!  In 1969 I was 8 years old already.  By the time they hit the road – I had hit the road and lost interest in kid stuff.  LOL!

Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?  I think most kids like Elmo the best (certainly since the Elmo doll sold out a few Christmases ago).  My favorite…  wow – I hate to admit it.  I’m just gonna say it real fast…  my favorite is Oscar the Grouch!

I like the Cookie Monster too – but I like Oscar better.  Why would I like him?  I admire him because he’s not afraid to be a grouch.  He lives in a trash can and he’s grouchy.  You know what to expect.  He doesn’t try to be something he isn’t – and I like that.  A curmudgeon’s curmudgeon.  Oscar should write the how-to book on how to be a grouch with grace.  He’s a grouch, you know he’s a grouch, he’s okay if you’re not okay with that.  He doesn’t put on airs or fake being nice.

I wouldn’t have a problem inviting Oscar into my house.  Cookie monster would not be happy at my house because I don’t keep cookies on hand – but I’d try to bake some real quick if I knew he was coming.  Of course, the last batch would be burned.  The last batch that goes in the oven always burn because I get bored with the process and forget about them until the smoke alarm goes off.  :-/  Sigh.

Celebrate Sesame Street with your little ones today.  That’s the most fun, isn’t it?  It’s great to see the looks on their faces when you share something great with them.  Enjoy those moments together.  🙂

 

 

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NATIONAL KALE DAY

tl-10-5-national-kale-dayKale is the perfect companion for bacon and cheese as part of a healthy low-carb salad.  Anytime a vegetable is cooked, it takes some of the nutrients out of it, but I prefer kale a little wilted so I fry it up with my bacon to make it taste better.images-46Kale chips are pretty good.  They do provide that crunch that chips used to.  Are there really health benefits to eating kale?  Does it really give you a boost of energy like people claim?  My research tells me the answer to both questions is YES.

Since a low-carb diet allows many foods that have low or no fiber content, kale helps with a need for fiber, much like other types of lettuce and spinach.  It also contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity and prevents oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes!  My ears perked up when I read that!  It also decreases peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics!  This is good news for diabetics!!!

My theory is, if you can put enough stuff that actually tastes good (bacon, cheese, salad dressing) with the kale in your salad – it really sort of masks it enough that you can eat it without choking it down.  I’m being honest.  Have you tried to eat a piece of raw kale with nothing on it?  I rest my case.

I don’t juice because juicing is not the best choice for diabetics.  We need to keep the fiber intact rather than squeezing the juice from the fruit or vegetable.  The sugar content is found in the juice – and why would I want to ditch the fiber and keep the sugar?  That doesn’t make sense in my brain.kale

Kale is a super veggie, with more vitamins and minerals than spinach.  If you are lacking energy and seem to be dragging along, maybe you should try a salad with kale.  Use plenty of dressing – not a sweet dressing, but a blue cheese or ranch type dressing.  Read the labels before using – I prefer blue cheese but once in a while I use ranch.

Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach are the most nutrient-dense of all foods.  – Joel Fuhrman

My kale salad is not as “fancy” as most recipes you’ll find because I don’t eat dried cranberries or pour sweet vinaigrettes over it, but for what it is, I think it’s good.

Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 cups chopped fresh kale leaves

1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6-8 slices cooked bacon, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:

Basically, just mix this all together, tossing with your hands.

Add your blue cheese dressing and you’re good to go!

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I’ll tell ya, John is MUCH more brave than I am!  If something is hidden, I tend to just let it be…  you know, like the Beatles taught us to do so long ago…  😀

I have so many fears…  too many to list here, actually.  The top of that list, however, would have to be SNAKES!  I don’t care if they are deadly or not – it makes absolutely no difference to me.  They’re slimy and slithery and they’re sneaky and…  well – there’s a reason God turned the devil into one – jus’ sayin’…

My theory is that nothing that is hidden can be very good.  If something has to hide, it must be either illegal, immoral (does morality matter to anyone anymore?), or just plain bad news.  This video got me to thinking about different ways to face the things or places in our lives that are hidden.  We can ignore them or we can face them head on and chances are, they will not be so scary or spooky to us once we’ve encountered them.

Fight or flight???  I’m big on FLIGHT.  I don’t think it’s always been the best choice, and I readily admit, it’s the path of least resistance.  I hate to face opposition.  It’s easier to just agree or ignore – but to actually stand up and say I disagree with someone – then explain clearly and boldly WHY I disagree – well, no I’m not good at it.  In college I opted for Interpersonal Communication because I didn’t want to take Debate.  That was such a weird class.  But I digress…

I want to be better at charging into the hidden forests in my life.  As with everything, it’s a process that begins with a single step.  I’ve found that facebook is an excellent practice field.  It doesn’t take long at all to find people talking about a subject and offering advice and opinions that I completely disagree with.  There was a time I’d just think, “Oh I’m not getting in THIS mess.”  Now, I speak up – well, I don’t actually say anything…  LOL.  It’s facebook – I type my opposing views.

Sadly, while I’m in the thick of the hidden forest, the language tends to get not only offensive, but rude and completely obnoxious and uncalled for.  Once again, with God’s help, I type that I don’t believe just because I disagree with a viewpoint, I should have to read verbal vomit.TRUST FOR STRAIGHT PATHS

As Christians, we like a peaceful life in a little corner where we can sing praise and worship songs all day long.  The fact is, there are times when we have to go into a hidden forest – face something or someone who is offensive to our morality and our value system.  We must be willing to sharpen our debate skills, while also keeping in mind that we’ve all come short of God’s glory – none of us have arrived and none of us ever will.  It’s only by God’s miraculous GRACE that any of us can stand.  Without HIM and HIS sacrifice on Calvary – we’re nothing – and I mean NOTHING.

While the world is twisting and turning with every whim that comes along, we trust God to make our paths straight.  We long for simplicity that is a life lived in Christ.  We know that He will provide for us and that He will hear each prayer we pray.  We are never alone and that gives us such comfort – comfort that the world considers weak.  I once asked a co-worker, “I lean on God to help me.  Who do you lean on?”  Without hesitation, she boasted, “I lean on myself!”  I didn’t say anything else, but as I walked away I muttered under my breath, “Okay…  good luck with that.”

Join me today in praising Jesus Christ for the sacrifice He made for all of mankind on Calvary – for HE IS WORTHY of our praise!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (17)With regular exercise and a low-carbohydrate diet, I’ve lost 15 pounds already!  Believe it or not, that’s the side effect of this new lifestyle.  The best news is that I’m off of nighttime insulin and my dose of Metformin has been cut in half!  My next appointment is in October, so by then I will know if this is a lifestyle I can sustain, or one that is unsustainable.  But I can honestly say I’ve had no problem saying no to pasta, bread, potatoes, rice or beans (except green beans).

Folks have asked me what specific foods I eat.  So today, I want to give you a list of “go-to” low-carb foods that will reduce your blood sugar, help you lose weight and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

I don’t know how you can eat fat and not raise your cholesterol…  I don’t know – but I’m sure glad you can!

  1. EGGS have no carbohydrates and are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.  I make frittatas and omelets of all kinds.  Don’t get stuck in an “egg rut” because that rut will keep you from being successful.  Experiment with eggs and don’t be afraid to try new things.
  2. MEATS of all kinds have no carbohydrates.  How about a Spanish omelet?  Ah…  now you’re putting the puzzle together, right?  People used to feel guilty for eating a 3-egg omelet.  Don’t be afraid of eating too many eggs.  I can’t eat a 3-egg omelet in one sitting, to be honest, but I do make it and eat half of it, then the other half for lunch.  We also have a favorite restaurant that makes a New York omelet with Applewood Smoked Bacon and real Swiss Cheese!  Oh it tastes so good.  The only thing I have to do is pick cottage cheese for the side dish.  I can do that.
  3. FISH AND SEAFOOD has no carbohydrates and are actually packed with healthy oils.  I keep cans of tuna in my pantry all the time.  I know not everyone likes canned tuna, but I like to make tuna salad with some mayo and sweet relish (made with Splenda).  You can’t use regular sweet relish because it has sugar and carbs in it.
  4. VEGETABLES that are green and leafy qualify as legal, with the majority of the carbs in them consisting of fiber.  Fiber is a friend.  I like to fix a salad once in a while with either a spring mix or iceberg lettuce.  I top it with sliced black olives and shredded cheddar.  Even though there is a lot of fat in Ranch dressing, it is low in carbs – so I use it.  It’s my understanding that Blue Cheese dressing is also low in carbs, which makes sense because it is cheese.  One vegetable to avoid would be corn.  Another is peas.  Raw vegetables are more healthy than cooked and generally lower in carbs.
  5. CHEESE of all kinds is low-carb or no carb.  As I said, I’m not sure why foods like cheese can be eaten without raising bad cholesterol – and actually lowers it – but it can be and I’m so glad.  Since I don’t eat hamburgers on a bun anymore, I melt cheese over a hamburger patty and eat it that way.  I seriously do not miss bread at all.  I’ve eaten this way since April – and it’s the first time a diet has not felt like a sacrifice of any kind.
  6. FRUITS & BERRIES need to be restricted, but I was so very happy to learn that my favorite fruit, the apricot, is only 4 carbs per piece!  I nearly did the happy dance when I learned that.  Also, a 1/2 cup of strawberries is only 6 carbs.  Most fruits and fruit juices are double-digit carbs, but these two are perfectly fine to eat.  I also put a little Reddi-Whip on top – it doesn’t have any carbs either.  I allow myself a cup of low-sugar orange juice in the morning.  It’s still 12 carbs, but I’m careful the rest of the day.
  7. NUTS & SEEDS make a great snack.  They are filling and satisfying in-between meals.  Some say that almonds are better than the others, but I think any nut is pretty healthy.  I never thought I’d be eating macadamia nuts without the cookie and white chocolate…  but they are quite tasty by themselves.
  8. HEAVY CREAM & WHIPPED TOPPING is low carb.  It’s high in dairy fat, but it’s fine to use it in your coffee or in a recipe.  I like to put Reddi-Whip on my sugar-free Jell-O then mix it up.
  9. FATS & OILS are acceptable on a low-carb, real food-based diet.  You can use real butter, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and even good ol’ fashioned lard.  I know, it’s not easy to believe that eating like this could lower cholesterol and cause weight loss!
  10. BEVERAGES that are legal include the basics – water, diet soda, coffee, tea, club soda.  Fruit juices are not low-carb even though there are some low-sugar fruit juices on the market.  Most of them are double-digit carbs.
  11. DARK CHOCOLATE with a 70-85% cocoa content is lower in sugar, therefore, lower in carbs.  I think anything more strong than 70% is bitter, so I don’t eat it.  Once in a while, a girl’s just gotta have a piece of dark chocolate!  This is also good information to have when considering a recipe with chocolate in it.

I hope this helps.  You’ll note that there are no cereals or grains on this list and there’s a good reason for that…  they are too high in carbohydrates!  The goal is to keep your blood glucose happy and a bowl of cereal or toast or a bagel won’t do that.  Yes, you have to tweak some things – and you may get a strange look from the waitress at your favorite restaurant the first time you order cottage cheese with your omelet, but do it anyway.  I’m not just saying this, but I never really cared for fried potatoes or hash browns with my eggs anyway.  They certainly were not worth losing my health over…  ya know?

I may be older…  but I’m still just as stubborn as ever and I’m sure not DONE yet.  God has helped me get this far and He’s not going to stop helping me now.  I’ve failed Him so many times, but He will never fail me!  Have a blessed day!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I’m so thankful to God for guiding me in the right direction so I can manage my type 2 diabetes.  I’ve been committed to exercising 3 days a week and have embraced a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet.  I’ve lost 13 pounds so far and have not needed to take a shot of Levemir at night – for the most part.  My blood glucose has been consistently from 82-110 throughout the day.  I’m also thankful for the prayer support from friends on facebook and in the DOC.  Our facebook group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor and a Pinch of Faith, has been so wonderful and supportive – thank you!

I want to share some of the recipes that have made my blood glucose happy.  I wanted to wait until I knew for sure that this would work before sharing.  I’ve seen positive results, so I’m going to post them here for you.

I love Mexican food!  I was so happy to find this recipe because even though it’s a salad, it is a taco salad – and I’ll be honest – I like that “taco” part!

LOW CARBOHYDRATE TACO SALAD

Makes 4 servings, (approx. 2 cups ea)

9g carbohydrates / 31g protein per serving

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1 pkg. low-sodium taco seasoning

3/4 C. water

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 C. shredded lettuce

1/2 C. chopped tomatoes (omit if you want to lower the carbs even more)

8 Tbs. sour cream

1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

With olive oil, brown ground beef in skillet.  Add taco seasoning mix with water.  Simmer until reduced.

Mix with remaining ingredients.  You can layer them in a big clear bowl – but I’m not fancy – I just mix it all up and serve.

Sometimes I pick up a little bag of Nacho flavored Doritos from the checkout line at Walmart to crush up and put on top.  Yeah, it adds a little carb, but you can add just a few for flavor.  It’s a small bag and there’s 4 servings – don’t sweat it.  I also add about 1/2 Tbs. of Catalina salad dressing sometimes.  Yes – I know…  I know.  Shh…  don’t tell.

I did say LOW carb – not NO carb, right?  😉

 

 

NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTH

TL JULY IS NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTHI’m the first to admit that most low carbohydrate blueberry muffins, while keeping my blood sugar in check, don’t taste as good as the real McCoy.  Today I want to share a little trick I’ve learned that will enable type 2 diabetics to enjoy the real McCoy and keep blood sugar in check.  It’s called “piecing” or “pinching”, and believe me, it works!

You can’t “piece” or “pinch” if you don’t work out.  If you are not exercising, this won’t work for you.  But you can have a little bit of real as long as you work it off.  After my workout at the gym, I headed over to my favorite breakfast spot, The Egg Crate.  They make the most wonderful blueberry muffins in Wichita!

IMG_1319If I were to dig in and eat this whole muffin, my blood sugar would spike – and that’s not good.  I will begin by eating an egg.  You can have whatever style egg you want – I just crack open an egg and whisk it up in a mug and microwave it so I can eat it quicker.  Add a little cheese if you want – it’s low or no carbohydrate so that’s fine.  Always eat protein first!

Eat just a pinch of your muffin and enjoy it with coffee or tea if you wish.  Then wrap it with foil so it doesn’t dry out.  Check your sugars in a couple of hours.  If they’re okay…  you can eat a cheese stick, then another pinch of your muffin.

Eating pinches of carbohydrate-rich foods is not a new concept, but it’s one that works!  I don’t know why eating protein makes carbohydrates nicer to my body, but I’m sure glad it does!

If you’re exercising on a regular basis and eating plenty of vegetables every day, there’s no reason you can’t introduce a complex carbohydrate following a little protein.  Maybe that’s why dessert forks are smaller than dinner forks.  The idea is that we can eat as much protein and vegetables as we want, but when it’s time for dessert, we need to dial back our enthusiasm a bit and try to think about what we’re eating and how it will affect our blood sugar.

I’d rather have a pinch of the real McCoy than live without it completely.  A wise diabetic educator once told me, “You can eat pretty much anything you want as long as you are exercising on a regular basis.”  I can eat as many vegetables as I want.  I can eat tuna salad until I turn into Charlie the Tuna.  I can go nuts eating nuts.  Black olives are my friend, as are other Mediterranean foods.  Those are the go-to foods.  But once in a while, I get a craving for a blueberry muffin.  Maybe it’s all this writing about blueberry month, I don’t know…  but I just had to get one!  But I know how to work it into my diet without spiking my blood sugar…  one pinch at a time.  😉

Slow and steady will win this race.  Exercise consistently and eat protein first.  I can do that!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Most businesses have a Mission Statement.  It basically answers the question, “Why are you in business?”  “Why are you here?”  A good Mission Statement explains more than just what you do, it explains why you do it.

I saw this posted (no, I didn’t make it up – wish I had).  There was no name on it, so I don’t know who to give credit to, but oh this hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it.  Some days it’s so easy to lose sight of why you do what you do.  This puts it in perspective.

CHURCH is my COLLEGE.
HEAVEN is my UNIVERSITY.
JESUS is my PRINCIPAL.
THE HOLY SPIRIT is my TEACHER.
ANGELS are my CLASS MATES.
THE BIBLE is my STUDY BOOK.
TRIAL & TEMPTATION are my EXAMS.
WINNING SOULS are my ASSIGNMENTS.
PRAYER is my ATTENDANCE.
CROWN OF LIFE is my DEGREE.
AND PRAISE & WORSHIP is my MOTTO.

What an amazing MISSION STATEMENT!  Like all Christians, I’m aware that there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain, but in this classroom of LIFE, what subjects should we focus on?  What should be our major to get the CROWN OF LIFE degree?

I haven’t lived a long time (well, over half a century – wow, that’s depressing)…  but the longer I live, the more important I believe it is to major in LOVE.  God’s perfect AGAPE’ LOVE.  It is impossible to love like that without God’s Holy Spirit at the helm of your heart, mind and spirit.  It definitely does not come naturally – um…  nope!

It’s so sad that in our world, God’s Agape’ Love is so misunderstood because our society has twisted love and sex together.  Can we not love without sex?  It’s ridiculous – of course we can!  We are here to learn to love God and learn to love people.  To learn all that, we need to attend class – we need to pray for God’s help, guidance and His will to be done in every circumstance and situation.  Attend in prayer and ask the teacher to teach you…  God’s Holy Spirit will give you wisdom, strength, courage and amazing love to deal with difficult people.

We’re here to love God and people.  That’s about it.  We aren’t capable of doing that on our own.  Nope, we need help to be what we need to be.  Study the Bible, attend classes, listen to the teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions, take the tests and be anxious for nothing, accept help from your class mates and ace life.  Then do it again tomorrow…  and the day after tomorrow.

You thought all you had to do over and over again was go to the gym, didn’t you?  No, your spiritual fitness is dependent on a faithful habit just as your physical fitness is.  As you stay spiritually fit, remember your motto…  PRAISE & WORSHIP!  🙂