A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)Modern medicine has finally caught up with what I’ve said for YEARS…  no two bodies are alike – thus, to tell everyone that they can lose weight on the same plan is completely ludicrous and frustrating.  Doesn’t it make perfect sense that every BODY has individual DNA and needs to be treated for whatever (weight, health issues, etc.) as an individual?  I’ve shouted it from the mountain tops for ages – EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT!!!  What works for me may not work for you.  My DNA is mine – just mine.  Your DNA belongs to you – just you.

Dr. Oz introduced a simple test to see how “tolerant” you are to carbohydrates.  Take 1/2 of a saltine cracker – pop it in your mouth and chew, counting as you chew – when the cracker changes in taste, write down how many seconds you chewed it.  The fewer seconds it takes, the less tolerant you are to carbohydrates – and the fewer you should eat in your diet.  If it takes less than 14 seconds, you have a low tolerance and should avoid them in your diet.

It’s called the 30 second cracker test:

http://www.doctoroz.com/

I’m raising my hand high!!!  I have practically NO tolerance for them.  It took that cracker 3 seconds to change taste.  It’s official…  my genes SUCK.  As I’m writing this, there is an advertisement on television for Sero Vital.  Yeah – can I just go get some of that???  LOL – it won’t change my DNA though, right?  Shoot!

Well, I know I’m not the only one who is in that unlucky group.  But here’s the good news…

I’ve cut carbohydrates from my diet and joined Planet fitness – and exercise three days a week.  My hemoglobin A1c is 6.3 which is normal.  I’ve lost 30 pounds and a couple of dress sizes – well, actually about 4 dress sizes.  I have more energy now and am happier than I’ve been in years!

http://www.carb-counter.net/

Is a new lifestyle worth starting???  Oh yes!  Is it easy???  Not always.  I ate a serving of ravioli at my favorite Italian restaurant on New Year’s Eve.  That is the first pasta I’ve eaten since April of 2015.  Will I be eating pasta again anytime soon?  Nope.

Has that little splurge affected my A1c?  I guarantee it didn’t.  It affected my blood sugar at the time, but it’s back on track now.  I got right back on the low-carb wagon and everything’s fine.

I love this diet because if you do give in to a food you shouldn’t eat – just don’t do it again for a long while.  Save those splurge times for special occasions…  Valentine’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, birthday, Halloween (if you’re into that), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.  My next planned splurge day is Valentine’s Day.  I have plans…  big – yummy plans!  It includes a little trip to the Russell-Stover candy store.  Yup!  complex-carbohydrates

You can do this.  If you have a low tolerance for carbohydrates, you are not doomed to a life of type 2 diabetes and insulin shots!  Just eat more lean meats, fish, vegetables (with no carb veggie dip if you want), an apple once in a while.  There are millions of low-carb recipes online.  There are support groups on facebook where you can post recipes to make the diet more interesting.  Nobody wants to be in a food rut.

On a funny note…  I keep a can of whipped topping in the door of the refrigerator.  When I want to taste something kind of sweet (but not overly sweet), I take a little taste of whipped topping – LOL.  I will say – it’s not a quiet sneak.  I always get “busted”.  But it’s okay – there are no carbs in whipped topping – it’s legal.

I eat a bit of cream cheese – I don’t put it on anything – I just eat it.  Not a lot, just a bit.  I take a bit of sour cream the same way.  A dollop – and it’s yummy.  Cream cheese and sour cream have no carbs.  Sometimes I fry up bacon to dip in sour cream – that’s pretty good too.

Have you ever mixed salsa and sour cream together?  I do that and put it on scrambled eggs once in a while.  Don’t knock it ’til ya tried it.

It blows my mind that I can eat cheesecake – real cheesecake!  But I need to say no to a baked potato – isn’t that crazy???  I know – who knew???  15878948_1869323266645468_1132251956_n

The one thing that has to remain consistent regardless of my diet is regular exercise – I can’t skip that or I’m sunk! 

gym

While physical exercise is beneficial for mind and body, we all know that there is an exercise that is good for the heart, as Lucinda reminds us:

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Death by Chocolate cheesecake from All Day I Dream about Food…  YEA!!!  But it’s not DEATH really – it’s helping me to LIVE!!!  Thankfully, I’ve figured out how to LIVE again – and live well.  Click on the link to find the recipe!  Enjoy!  🙂

http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2015/09/low-carb-death-by-chocolate-cheesecake.html

 

 

NATIONAL BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE WITH ALMONDS DAY

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Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor to which sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla have been added.  It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate.  Recent studies have revealed health benefits from eating small quantities of bittersweet chocolate. Almonds have health benefits as well.
 So of course for this day I have a low-carb recipe for you! sacher-cake-1194524
LOW-CARB SUGAR-FREE CHOCOLATE HEAVEN CAKE
Ingredients:
10.5 oz. dark 70-75% chocolate
6 oz. butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 Tbs. heavy cream
4 tsp. granulated Splenda
Instructions:
Melt chocolate & butter together over low heat in saucepan.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding vanilla extract.  In another bowl, beat eggs, cream and Splenda together for 3-4 minutes with a stick blender or hand whisk.  It will be frothy and remain runny.  Slowly add egg mix to chocolate mix in the saucepan, stirring constantly.  As you add more egg mix, the chocolate and butter will thicken to the consistency of custard.
Grease an 8″ round spring form pan with butter and line the loose bottom with parchment paper.  Push paper through the outer ring to seal and stop the cake batter from leaking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Garnish with slivered almonds, if desired.
The greater percentage of cocoa you use, the less sugar there is – but if you try to use anything higher than 75% it gets very bitter.  Most of the time I use 70% because it seems to be easier to find.  I get it at my local Walmart. 3b00db48ffe0a619
Feel free to put as much whipped topping on your cake as you want.  There are no carbs in Reddi Whip (my favorite).  Of course, I put it on my cake and immediately shoot a little in my mouth when nobody’s watching!  Just because I’m adult doesn’t mean I have to act like one.
I don’t know of any businesses with freebies today.  It’d sure be nice if our local nut shop would give some bittersweet chocolate and / or almonds away today.  Eating low-carb can get a little expensive.  That’s why I got so excited when I found 70% cacao bars at Walmart.  Score!!! 
Have a blessed day – and enjoy your cake!  🙂

NATIONAL MEN MAKE DINNER DAY

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The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds — they mature slowly. – Peter De Vries

My husband makes dinner every night – I can’t cook worth a lick!  But guys, if you are as lost in the kitchen as I am, here is a recipe that even I can make – and it’s pretty tasty too!

On a low-carb diet, it’s not uncommon to be craving Italian food.  This dish combines a little Italian flavor with some Greek flavor.  I think you’ll like it!

PESTO CHICKEN CASSEROLE (Makes 4 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (or breasts if you like white meat)

4 oz. red or green pesto

1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

1/2 c. pitted black olives

1/2 lb. feta cheese, diced

1 clove garlic, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Butter for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Season with salt & pepper.  Fry in butter until golden brown.  Mix pesto and heavy cream in a bowl.  Place fried chicken pieces in baking dish along with olives, cheese and garlic.  Add pesto mix.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

VOILA’!!!

I usually toss a little salad to go with this – some baby spinach and assorted veggies that you like.  Make some homemade dressing with olive oil and vinegar or use a ranch or blue cheese – something low carb.

To keep the fire burning brightly there’s one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger’s breadth — for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.  – Marnie Reed Crowell

As important as the meal is – it’s equally important to set a pretty table.  Oh – and don’t forget to light the candles.  Soft music is optional.

I hate to mention it…  but it’s also a great idea to plan to clean up your mess in the kitchen after dinner.

Just a thought – as nice as it is to have a special holiday for this, it’s also wonderful for men to cook when wives are super busy or when they’re feeling under the weather – or caring for children who are sick.  Have a wonderful day – happy cooking, guys!  🙂

 

 

NATIONAL PUMPKIN DAY

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The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon”.  Within recent years, white pumpkins have become more popular in the United States.

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being-a-christianpumpkin-scripturethank-godHow about a recipe?

PUMPKIN SOUP (Makes 8 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage

1/2 c. chopped onion

3 c. chopped pumpkin (or butternut squash)

4 c. chopped kale

4 c. chicken broth

4 c. water

Parmesan cheese for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook sausage in a medium saucepan.  Add onions & saute’ until translucent.  Pour the broth and water into the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Add kale and pumpkin.  Simmer until pumpkin is soft – about 20 minutes.  Serve hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.

my-favorite-basketthe-orange-armypumpkins-and-patchesautumn-pumpkinspumpkins-just-their-sizeIt’s a great day to go out to the pumpkin patch!  Enjoy the moments while you can!  🙂

 

WORLD PASTA DAY

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TL 10-25 WORLD PASTA DAY (2)

Did you know there are over 400 unique types of pasta?  There are so many possibilities for amazing soups, salads and casseroles!  Which one will you create today???

Since I’m a diabetic, I have to be careful to pair pasta with lean protein.  I also try to use a whole wheat pasta when possible.  To be honest – I really prefer regular pasta.  The whole wheat pasta is heavier and an acquired taste.  I’ve not acquired a taste for it – yet.  I may never acquire a taste for it.  😦

I like Dreamfields pasta, especially the lasagna noodles!  I don’t always find it at my local grocery store, but every now and then I find it.

This is my favorite recipe.  Enjoy!  🙂

Ingredients:

12 Dreamfields Lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups fresh spinach

2 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)

16 ounces non-fat ricotta cheese

16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

5 cups marinara sauce 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package directions; set aside. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 30 seconds; add spinach, zucchini and peas. Cook 10 minutes or until spinach is wilted, peas are cooked through and zucchini is tender. Remove from heat; drain off any liquid. In separate bowl combine ricotta cheeses and grated nutmeg. Preheat oven to 375 F°. Spread 3/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch oven-safe baking dish. Layer with 4 of the lasagna noodles (3 vertical, one horizontal). Spread 1/2 of ricotta mixture and 1/2 of vegetable mixture over noodles. Spoon 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce over vegetable mixture. Continue to layer with lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining vegetable mixture and 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce. Top with remaining 4 additional lasagna noodles and remaining 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese; cover loosely with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 10 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information (1/8 of recipe): Calories: 490 Fat: 18 grams Carbs: 56 grams Protein: 26 grams Saturated Fat: 8 grams Cholesterol: 45 mg Sodium: 930 mg Dietary Fiber: 9 grams

Happy World Pasta Day!!!  🙂

NATIONAL NUT DAY

tl-10-22-national-nut-daya-circle-of-nutsfriendsI think we can agree that some friends are a bit on the nutty side…  and they do come in all shapes and sizes.  I think we also agree that it’s perfectly okay!  😉

The nuts we want to focus on are the edible kind…  of course.  Nuts are low or no carbohydrates, so are very healthy for diabetics.  They are chock full of nutrients and healthy fats.  My favorite nuts are cashews, and I eat a few handfuls every day.  Our little nuthouse here in Wichita, The Nifty Nuthouse, has such delicious cashews, but at $9.00 a pound, I have to pace myself for sure.

Once in a while I get a craving for Chinese food, and my favorite recipe is for, you guessed it…  Cashew Chicken.  Here’s my simple recipe:

CASHEW CHICKEN (Makes 5 servings – 10 carbs each)

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame seeds
3/4 cup cashew pieces
salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:
Heat a large pan on medium heat and add the coconut oil.
Season your cubed chicken with a little salt and pepper…don’t over do it on the salt because the soy has enough salt in it.
Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain some of the grease off.
In the same pan, add the sesame oil and saute the garlic clove and ginger for 1 minute.
Stir in the Teriyaki, Oyster, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar and red pepper flakes.
Once the sauce has come to a boil, add the chicken and stir to combine. Cook about another 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the chicken to a serving bowl and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.
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So today, give that nutty friend in your circle a phone call or send a note…  and celebrate the edible kind with this wonderful recipe.  🙂

SPINACH LOVERS MONTH

tl-october-is-spinach-lovers-monthpopeye-37117_1280Who remembers this fella???  Yep, it’s Popeye!!!  Remember what his super-food was???  Absolutely…  it was SPINACH!

Spinach is part of a healthy diet.  I’m finding new and different ways to use spinach, but my favorite recipe is creamed spinach.  I was tickled to find a copycat recipe for Boston Market’s creamed spinach.  It’s low-carb and delicious!

Low-Carb Creamed Spinach

Makes 8 servings

4g. carbs per serving

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. butter

1/2 c. chopped shallots

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 1/2 c. half & half

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

8 oz. Havarti cheese

16 oz. fresh spinach

Instructions:

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Pour half & half in and reduce to low heat.  Stir in salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg.  Add in Havarti cheese and cook on low heat until it’s melted and combined throughout.  Once melted, add in the spinach and toss together until coated with cheese.

Serve warm.

This is a great side dish for steak or fish.  Some days I don’t want a great big meal and just fix this.  Spinach is packed with nutrients that keep us strong – just like Popeye!popeyeolive_bizarropanel-248x300spinach-dd-02enjoyspinach

Here are some other ways to enjoy spinach:

  • Spinach Smoothie.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  There’s not much flavor to spinach so you can add in the nutrition boost without changing the taste.  Add a handful of spinach next time and see for yourself.  Making smoothies and juicing is not the best way to consume any fruit or vegetable for diabetics because when you make the food liquid, it increases the sugar content and decreases the amount of fiber you get.  Diabetics need less sugar and more fiber, so keep that in mind.
  • Spinach Wrap.  Place grilled chicken in a spinach leaf and dip it into ranch dressing.  It’s pretty good!
  • Omelets.  Add spinach, mushrooms, onion, and cheese to make a nutritious and delicious filling for omelets.  Sometimes I add some applewood smoked bacon…  it’s delish!
  • Spinach Salad.  Toss in some strawberries or mandarin oranges.  A few apple chunks would even work.
  • Stir-Fry Dishes.  Spinach, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli stir-fried in a little olive oil makes a good lunch or dinner.images-205Keep in mind that spinach is:
  • Low in calories
  • High in Vitamin A
  • High in magnesium
  • High in fiber
  • Good source of calcium
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Helps with cancer prevention
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Is high in folate
  • Increases brain function
  • Is an anti-inflammatory
  • Promotes healthy vision
  • Increases circulation
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Helps fight infection
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Is high in flavonoids
  • Good source in vitamin E
  • Good source of beta carotene
  • Good source of zinc
  • Increases bone density

If you’re a diabetic with neuropathy like me, spinach can help your neuropathy because it increases circulation.  I eat a lot of spinach and have not gone beyond the needles and pins sensation in my feet.  Good nutrition really does matter.  🙂popeye-spinach-shirt