FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Today I have roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot.  There’s nothing like anticipating a wonderful, warm home-cooked meal.  It takes several hours to cook on low, but it’s so worth the wait.  The meat is always so tender, and the vegetables are done just right!  I know it’s going to taste so good!  It will be done in its own time and I can’t rush it – and wouldn’t even if I could.

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat. ~Fran Lebowitz

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good!  I love the Lord because He keeps His promises!  If we will put our trust in Him, He will fill our life with blessings!  My cup of blessings overflows!  He gives me so much more than I deserve; but He blesses as He sees fit, not when I read off my laundry list of needs and wants.  God is not a vending machine.

God is not a cosmic bell boy for whom we can press a button to get things done. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

I have so much to be thankful for.  If I started a list, I doubt it would be completed the same day.  I’d be typing on that list this time tomorrow!  As long as I keep trusting God with my life, He will pour out blessings on my life.  To be blessed is to find favor with God.  Some people think that a blessing is something you wish on someone else, like when a person sneezes and you say, “God Bless You!”  I suppose it is that, but how sad if a person thinks that’s all a blessing is!

According to good ol’ Webster, a blessing is a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.  When we place our faith and trust in God, we can expect blessings in our lives!  This is a promise of God – and God cannot lie – and He will not break His promises.

As we place our trust in God, He blesses us and we are happy!  In the bargain, we receive the Father’s joy, love, peace, and wisdom!  Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me!  As a matter of fact, it sounds better than the roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot!  Only two more hours to go!  🙂

 

 

 

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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!  🙂

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!  🙂

EAT MORE FRUITS & VEGETABLES DAY

TL 5-26 EAT MORE FRUITS & VEGETABLES DAYWhen I stopped to look at this banner, I thought, “Oh, what pretty and vibrant colors!”  The more vibrant the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more healthy it is for us!  Why are fruits and vegetables so important?

Whether it is fruits or vegetables, fresh is always best.  Make sure you wash everything thoroughly before you eat it!  Some fruits & veggies need to be organic – the ones with a thin skin.  Those with a thicker skin that will protect the inside don’t need to necessarily be organic.  I try to buy organic apples, for instance – because I rarely peel an apple – in fact, I never peel an apple.  I always eat the skin, so I want to know it’s safe.  It costs a little more, but I think it’s worth it – at least I hope it is.THEY'RE GOOD FOR YOU

Even though fruit should be eaten with extreme caution if you’re diabetic because of natural sugar, there are a few that get the green light because they are lower in carbohydrates.  I’ll probably never get to eat grapes or fresh cherries again, but as I said a few days ago, my apricots are considered low in carbohydrates.  I’m still dancing on a cloud over that news…  lol.  Here’s a handy list of fruits and the carbohydrate count and calories.

http://www.weightlossforall.com/carbohydrates-fruit.htm

Vegetables are less tricky and we can afford to use them with wild abandon!  Again, if I’m buying an avocado, for instance, it doesn’t have to be organic because the skins on them are so thick and act as a natural protection for the inside of the avocado.  Thin skinned veggies like carrots, I try to buy organic.

I’m the first to admit I would refuse to eat a salad with no dressing on it, but if I can add about 2 Tablespoons of my lemon-poppy dressing, I will eat it with no problem!  If there is just a little bit of not so good mixed with the best and most nutritious foods, that makes it palatable.  Here’s a list of vegetables – just click on the one you want to use and it will tell you how many carbohydrates it has.

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

I like to put fresh baby spinach in a bowl and top it with sliced radishes, strawberries or pears, feta cheese and a few pecans.  Then I top it with my Lemon poppy-seed Salad Dressing.  Here’s the recipe:

LEMON POPPY-SEED SALAD DRESSING

makes 4 servings

1 WW point per serving

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbs. Honey Tree sugar-free honey *

2 Tbs. Splenda

3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 c. plain no-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 c. low-fat mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds

1 Tbs. lemon juice (I like fresh squeezed, but the bottled stuff is okay too)

1 Tbs. low-fat milk

DIRECTIONS

Whisk all ingredients together.  Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

*Our local Walmart recently stopped carrying Honey Tree sugar-free honey – sigh.  When we go out-of-town, we stop at the Walmart stores along the way and stock up – or…  the Honey Tree company sells their products on Amazon.  We love the internet! 

http://www.amazon.com/HoneyTrees-Imitation-Honey-12-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B000YSXDDY

I know it’s a bit pricy – but it keeps my D happy…  and if D is happy – everyone’s happy!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

TL MAY IS NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

Isn’t it interesting that the words MEDICINE and MEDITERRANEAN both begin with the letters MED?  What exactly is a Mediterranean Diet?  Most of us have been exposed to some aspects of it, but few of us have embraced it completely.  One of our favorite restaurants serves an appetizer called hummus.  It’s made with chick peas, of all things!  Even five years ago we had not heard of it – but today, hummus is a popular snack here in America.

There are many Mediterranean dishes that are becoming more popular in America as time passes.  Most recipes feature olives, olive oil and bright, vibrant vegetables.  They not only look healthy – they are healthy!

This month you are invited to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #MedDietMonth.  Follow @OldwaysPT on Twitter to join the party on May 19th at 1 pm ET.

Here’s one of my favorite facebook pages, it’s filled with great snack ideas that won’t wreck your diet plan.

https://www.facebook.com/mediterranean.snacks/?fref=ts

I love food posts because that means I get to share a wonderful recipe with you!  If you have never cooked anything Mediterranean before, this is a perfect starting point.  It’s not only pretty, but tastes great too!

CONFETTI COUSCOUS (makes 4 servings – 3 1/2 WW points per serving)

Ingredients:

2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth

1 c. whole wheat couscous

2 Tbs. golden raisins

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. slivered almonds

1/4 c. fine chopped red bell pepper

2 Tbs. dried cranberries

1/4 c. sliced scallions

1/4 c. chopped dried apricots

3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in couscous, raisins, cumin and salt.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes or until couscous is soft.  Uncover and fluff with fork and let cool 10 minutes.

Cook almonds in skillet over medium heat, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Stir almonds, bell pepper, cranberries, scallions, apricots, mint, oil, lemon juice, ginger and garlic into couscous.

This is a wonderful side dish with baked chicken or fish.  It really does look like confetti in a bowl – almost too pretty to eat.  I did say…  almost.  😉

 

 

 

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Are you under the mistaken idea that spinach salad can only be made with strawberries?  What do you put in it when they are out of season?  Here’s my resolution – make a traditional spinach salad with FIGS!

Doesn’t that sound good?  It really is – and I think the figs are sweeter tasting than the strawberries.  It’s the fall alternative to a summer fave!

SPINACH SALAD WITH FIGS

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

2 – 6 oz. bags baby spinach

1 12 C. dried figs, quartered

1/2 C. dried cranberries

1/2 C. sliced almonds

1 Granny Smith apple, cored & thinly sliced

Dressing

3 Tbs. pomegranate juice

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. olive oil (not extra virgin)

DIRECTIONS:

Salad

Place spinach in large salad bowl.  Top with figs, cranberries and almonds.  Cover and chill.  Add apple slices just before serving.

Dressing

Measure and whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper into small mixing bowl.  Add oil in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while until blended.

Serve salad with dressing on the side.

Let the world slide, let the world go; a fig for care, and a fig for woe!  If I can’t pay, why I can owe, and death makes equal the high and low.  – John Heywood
Amid the heavy autumn meals you will most assuredly partake in, maybe this could be a light, healthy alternative at some point when you feel like you can’t have one more slice of pumpkin pie.  Wink!  😉

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON (2)

My group on facebook, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith – https://www.facebook.com/groups/asecondhelpingofwellness/ has come through again!  Last Monday I asked them to share their best shopping tips with my blog readers.  In this economy we all need help – at least I know I do!

  •  Coupons! Always coupons! And if you have a coupon that doesn’t have a specific size and it’s not on sale, always get the smallest one. It saves you more per ounce.
  • Beware of freebie sites on the internet.  Once I joined one of those and requested a few things and my computer ended up with all sorts of problems.  Is getting a virus on the computer worth getting a few freebies sent to my door?  No.
  • Be cautious about where you get coupons online for the same reason.  Some sites are notorious for either swamping your computer with spam or sending viruses.  Again, weigh your options and you’ll find it’s not worth the grief.
  • Keep in mind that Walmart has price matching.  If you see an item advertised elsewhere for less money, clip the ad and take it in to Walmart.  When you check out, show the cashier the ad and they will honor that price.
  • Try RedLaser to scan bar codes while you shop.  It compares prices at nearby stores so you can find the best deals.
  • Do you make several trips to the pharmacy?  Next time take a look around while waiting for the medicine.  Often the prices on nonperishables like crackers are lower than grocery stores.
  • Staple items like cereals, flour, rice and coffee are often less expensive at Supercenters like Target or Walmart.
  • There are cooking websites that allow you to type in the ingredients you have on hand.  The sites generate recipe ideas using only those foods so they don’t go to waste and you don’t have to make an extra trip to the store.

Allrecipes.com

Myrecipes.com

Delish.com

  • Remember that frozen foods are just as nutritious as fresh.  When your favorite vegetables and fruits are out of season, you can find them at the frozen food aisle.
  • If you go to a farmer’s market just before it closes, the sellers might be willing to negotiate prices on items they don’t want to haul back home.
  • Sales run in six or eight-week cycles.  Scan circulars for deals on foods that won’t expire, and buy enough to last a month or two until the next sale.
  • A lot of times, I see something I really like in store, but can’t afford. I go on Ebay and often find it for a fraction of the cost, even with bidding wars. Eg: Lacoste polo shirts usually $90+ in store ~ I can find them for around $15 including shipping for like new, pre-owned on Ebay.

So you see, it really is possible to save at the store if you can wind your way around all the hype and see your way clear to the common sense ways of saving at the grocery store.  🙂