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!  🙂

NATIONAL ROTISSERIE CHICKEN DAY

TL 6-2 NATIONAL ROTISSERIE CHICKEN DAY

EATING CHICKEN

Ugh – liver IS the worst – AMEN to that!  😉

We can hardly imagine a restaurant that does not have rotisserie chicken turning before our eyes!  A rotisserie uses indirect heat in which the chicken is placed next to the heat source.  Elements are either electric or gas-powered, with adjustable infrared heat.  These types of rotisseries are quite functional for cooking rotisserie-style chicken.  It’s perfect for a restaurant that serves so many people every day!

It’s wise in its simplicity really – because any leftover chicken can be used for sandwiches, chicken salad, soup or any number of other dishes.

Here in the states, rotisserie chicken gained popularity in the 2000’s.  Not only did restaurants start offering the dish, but many grocery stores and even Walmart sold them.  Millions of rotisserie-cooked chickens were purchased by consumers in the U.S. last year. 

Protein is a key nutrient that supplies your body with energy and keeps your muscles and cells healthy. Three ounces of rotisserie breast meat supplies 23.8 grams of protein, which is 52 percent of the 46 grams of protein that women need each day and 43 percent of the 56 grams that men require on a daily basis. A rotisserie thigh contains 22.9 grams of protein.  For type 2 diabetics, this is good news!  Just make sure you weigh that piece of chicken so you keep portion control in mind.  😉  And…  in our house the skin is removed – sorry, but that skin is just unnecessary fat.

People who suffer with migraine headaches should be aware that chickens used for rotisserie cooking may be injected with water or a solution of sodium to retain moisture and add flavor.  The water is not bad, but the addition of sodium can trigger migraine headaches.  Some other ingredients may be used to enhance flavor and brown the chicken, such as oleoresin, yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate and natural flavorings.  Yeah, some of these additives trigger migraines as well.  Be careful when you’re choosing a chicken.

Since there’s literally no way to tell what has been injected into a rotisserie-cooked chicken, my husband and I decided to buy a Showtime rotisserie for our home.  We put as little or as much seasoning on our chicken as we like.  There’s more than one way to cook a chicken!  It’s just one more way to take control of my surroundings and stay healthy.

https://www.ronco.com/

We usually inject a little water into the chicken and sprinkle some Mrs. Dash seasoning on it before cooking.  The natural juices and no sodium seasoning make the chicken taste amazing – and no ugly migraine side effect – YAY!  So, eat some rotisserie chicken today!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)How many times do we take everyday things for granted?  I know I do that way too often and I’m trying to do better.  My new diet has turned out to be more restrictive than I thought it would be.  I miss eating fruit because most fruit is extremely high in carbohydrates.  I recently typed in some of my favorites in a carb counter online – and my favorite fruit – apricots…  are only 4 grams of carbohydrates!fruit-808336_1920

I was so happy I did a happy dance all over the house!  Hopefully that burned a few calories – 😉

It sounds silly I know, but in my world it really was a pretty big deal.

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.   – G.B. Stern

On this journey I’ve also decided that turkey bacon doesn’t taste at all like bacon.  😦  It’s okay because I’ve started eating Canadian bacon!   It is a low-carb and low calorie choice and a serving size is 5 slices!  It’s so good on an English muffin with egg and low-fat cheese.breakfast-713112_1920

Some mornings I begin the day with a protein shake.  I found whey protein powder at Walmart in chocolate flavor.  It’s so simple and quick to fix – just put a cup of liquid (I use low-fat milk) in the blender and add a scoop of powder.  It’s not very cold at that point, so I add 2 ice cubes to make it nice and thick and cold.  It also gets rid of that protein powder smell that some folks can’t get past.  It’s like drinking a thick chocolate milkshake for breakfast.  I thought I might get tired of them, but so far I really have enjoyed them!shake-677437_1920 (1)

I’m going to the gym and it’s another big praise to God – I have not injured my leg or back!  Sometimes if I try to do exercise, I mess with the neuropathy (nerve damage) and end up worse off than I was before.  I’m happy to report I’m doing well so far!  I enjoy Planet Fitness so much because there are signs all over the place like NO JUDGMENT ZONE and NO CRITICS.  I’m thinking…  exactly!  We’re all here just trying to do better, right?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.   – Thornton Wilder

The scale is moving – ever so slowly…  but in the right direction.  I pray that my appointment to get my A1c checked again in July will reflect my lifestyle changes.  I’m especially thankful to God that apricots only have 4 grams of carbohydrate each!  YAY!  Thank You, Lord!  🙂

 

NATIONAL CHICKEN CORDON BLEU DAY

TL 4-4 NATIONAL CHICKEN CORDON BLEU DAY

As you have undoubtedly noticed, I enjoy the “foodie” holidays!  If I was at a healthy weight, I could enjoy these days with wild abandon…  however, I have to put on the brakes when it comes to making the high-fat, high-carbohydrate versions of these dishes.  Fortunately, I’m usually able to do a little research and come up with a recipe even I can make without feeling guilty!

Here is a healthy recipe that takes hundreds of calories, fat grams and sodium milligrams out – but has all the great flavor of the original.  It goes from over 700 calories to under 300.  The original recipe has nearly 50g of fat!  Our recipe has just 10g of fat.  And instead of a whopping 850mg of sodium, we’ll have just 500mg.

Prep time – 30 min.

Makes 6 servings

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

6 slices deli ham

3 slices aged Swiss cheese, halved

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Cooking spray

sauce

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; arrange in a greased 9×13″ baking dish.
  2. Top each with 1 slice ham and 1/2 slice cheese, folding ham in half and covering chicken as much as possible.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Carefully spritz crumbs with cooking spray, keeping crumbs in place.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165 degrees.
  3. For sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth.  Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Reduce to medium heat.  Stir in wine and shredded cheese; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.  Serve sauce with chicken.

Per serving:

285 calories, 9g fat (4g sat. fat), 89mg chol., 490mg sodium, 12g. carb, trace fiber, 33g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges:

4 lean meat, 1 starch

I hope this encourages you to celebrate around the dinner table with your family tonight!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

So…  am I the only one who wants to know how LITTLE exercise I can do and still see results???  Hey, I’m just being honest.  I wish I enjoyed exercise, but the fact is, I really do not like it.  I’ve tried everything to try to “distract” myself from the task at hand (TV, music, etc.) – but the fact remains that I really don’t want to do it.

I read something that made me so very happy!  Apparently, a Scottish study found that just 10 minutes of leisurely cycling with two 20-second bursts of hard pedaling, done three times a week is equal to a quality workout!

Is it too good to be true?  You can bet I’ll try it and hope for fabulous results.  Feel free to join me!

Sometimes I get bored with the bike – so I go bowling.  I burn 237 calories per hour (if I stay away from the snack bar) – yikes!  :-/

Eating habits still count as well.  If you can find some blue plates (they are not easy to find here in Wichita) that would be great.  Why?  Psychologically, blue does not stimulate the senses – or make us think we need to eat more.

The happiest plate is not the one that is empty – it’s the one that is filled wisely.  Most of the plate should have green on it (i.e. broccoli), then a protein source (i.e. beef, chicken).  You can have a bit of complex carbohydrate, such as 1/4 baked potato with that, but if I can skip it, I do.  I’ve learned to enjoy veggies, fruits, beans and nuts.

I learned that skipping meals just makes you binge at some point.  It’s best to just eat all three meals and be smart about portions.

Have you ever kept a food journal?  I didn’t used to, but sometimes it helps because I catch triggers that make me want to fall off the diet wagon.  I can thwart the urge to sabotage my efforts and be successful.

If you have a choice between eating out and brown-bagging – pack your own lunch.  It’s a matter of control.  For example, I like the Arby’s Turkey & Swiss sandwich, but they use mayo on them, which adds about 100 calories that I can do without.  I can get similar ingredients and make my own – but hold the mayo.  I think the bread I use is probably fewer calories than the bread they use too (certainly lower in carbohydrates).

I’ve learned to swap ice cream for yogurt.  It’s going to sound weird, but I am hooked on Dannon Light & Fit 80 calorie yogurt.  All of the flavors are delicious – no lie.  Some of them are fruit, but others are dessert flavors like Boston Cream Pie and Toasted Coconut Vanilla.

Heart disease is the number one health risk for women – and a major complication of type 2 diabetes.  I have to make some small changes in my daily diet and exercise routine.  I’ve also learned that it’s okay to laugh more and stress less.

I’m thankful that with a few baby steps, this diet thing seems to be working well.  🙂

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL ALMOND DAY

TL 2-16 NATIONAL ALMOND DAY

 

2-16 FROM HEAD TO TOE

Almonds offer so many benefits in our everyday life, yet it seems to be a nut that is overlooked.  Today let’s take a look at them and find the joy to be had from these little beauties.  Today is NATIONAL ALMOND DAY!!!

  1. Make a facial mask.  Mix together almond oil, honey and lemon juice.  Apply to your face once a week and you will see a shiny complexion immediately.
  2. How about a facial scrub?  Soak some almonds for a few hours before grinding them.  Mix the paste with a little milk or rose-water for the wonderful exfoliation of dry skin.
  3. Almond oil mixed with almond paste exfoliates dry skin on your lips.  That’s particularly important in the winter time when lips tend to be dry and chapped.  Almond oil contains Vitamins A and E that help increase the production of collagen, which can make the skin look smoother and tighter.  Vitamins B1 and B6 are found in the oil as well. Almond oil can also lighten dark spots on the skin.
  4. Unsweetened almond milk can help you lose weight.
  5. If you eat just a few almonds about 30 minutes before a meal you won’t eat as much.  The protein, fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat contribute to that fuller feeling
  6. Some nutritionists at cancer treatment centers say they aid in cancer fighting thanks to their vitamin E and other protective nutrients such as calcium and magnesium.
  7. Almonds are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they act to regulate your blood pressure and keep your cholesterol levels in check.
  8. A little dab will do.  One handful is a mere 160 calories and contain a great deal of vitamin E and magnesium.  That quantity is also an excellent source of calcium, iron and potassium.  They also provide 12% of your daily protein allowance.
  9. Because they contain as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk, they are good at preventing osteoporosis.
  10. Almonds are one of the most heart-healthy foods on the market.  The FDA issued a qualified health claim in 2003 that states

Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fate and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

 Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.  – Hippocrates

How about some Lebanese cookies???

Ghraybeh

1 Cup butter

1 teaspoon orange-blossom water

2 Cups flour

1 Cup chopped almonds

6 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar plus 3/4 to 1 Cup for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix butter and orange-blossom water until smooth.  Combine flour and sugar.  Stir into butter mix until blended.  Stir in nuts.  Roll into 1-inch balls, then shape and curve to make crescent moons.  Place on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake 10-11 minutes.  When cool, gently roll in confectioners’ sugar.  Dust again with confectioners’ sugar before serving.  Makes 3 dozen.

These are certainly not low-sugar (and I wouldn’t recommend Splenda), so remember portion control if you have high blood sugar.

So grab a handful of almonds – don’t let me stop ya!  Wink!  😉