The Great Zu-dini!

Sometimes I think I should take my show on the road as a Substitution Magician. After 4 years of eating to manage my weight and then adding blood glucose management to that a year ago, it feels as if I have found a substitute for nearly all of my favorite foods. Some did not require much effort, like substituting low carb flour tortillas for regular flour tortillas or egg beaters for real eggs. Other favorites, such as spaghetti and mashed potatoes proposed a much larger challenge for my “skills.” However, as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

True magic is made when you actually believe your substitution is better than the real deal. I can’t pinpoint when this magic happens, but, stick with it long enough and it really does happen. I was discussing this with a colleague in our office kitchen one morning. She was heating up her homemade pumpkin oatmeal (utterly AMAZING) and I was making my regular breakfast burrito. Both breakfasts included a sophisticated level of substitutions; however, we agreed that even if we could eat the “originals” our concoctions were based on, we would actually choose our alternatives. Magic! Our assumption was this…. somewhere along the way in our journey to make life changes (the only way weight loss can healthfully be achieved and maintained) we actually realized that our new food choices made us feel better.  Four days into my efforts my daily heart burn disappeared, for good.  About 4 weeks into my efforts I noticed how much better I was sleeping.  A couple of months (and a handful of pounds lighter) into it and  the constant dull ache in my hips and knees was gone.  The sensation of feeling better, feeling younger, began to carry more importance than eating the foods that tasted better. The WLDS (Weight Loss Deprivation Syndrome) and the DDS (Diabetic Deprivation Syndrome) began to dissipate and give way to a feeling of being in control for once.  I realized that the only thing I was depriving my body of was heart burn, aches, pains, sleeplessness and the list goes on….. and as for those things, I was more than happy to live without them.  As for everything else….. a substitute had to exist!

Mashed cauliflower became mashed potatoes in my house. Now the entire family and extended family prefers the substitution. My substitution for spaghetti has also become a fan favorite.  Now, remember the only 2 rules I enforce when sharing recipes…. approach with an open mind and don’t-knock-it-til-you-try-it.  Zucchini is the substitution for noodles in my spaghetti.  Yes, zucchini….. or as I like to call it…. The Great Zu-dini!  Zucchini has been a staple of my diet for a very long time.  I like to use thin slices of zucchini as “chips” for my dip.  I love to saute it with baby portobello mushrooms with a little shredded romano cheese sprinkled it.  Zucchini also makes wonderful zucchini fries (I use olive oil and about 1/2 c. flour). I can even make mini pizzas with zucchini serving as the crust (George Stella’s Good Carb Family Cookbook’s Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Bites).  Zucchini, a required prop for any seasoned Substitution Magician, deserves the title The Great Zu-dini.

Spaghini……. (spaghetti with zucchini) 6 servings; Per serving: 4 Weight Watchers Points, 24 g carbs, 5 g fiber

8-10 zucchini (speared and cut in 1/2)

2 cartons sliced mushrooms

1 lb 96% fat free ground beef  

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

1 lg can (26 1/2 oz) low carb spaghetti sauce (I uses Del Monte Green Pepper & Mushroom)

6 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese

Cut zucchini into spears about 3-4 inches long and steam until crisp-tender.  Spray large skillet with cooking spray and saute mushrooms and onions.  Add ground beef to mushrooms and onions, brown and drain.  Return meat mixture back to skillet and add can of spaghetti sauce and heat.   Spoon 1 cup zucchini into 6 bowls. Scoop about 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce mixture on top of zucchini and top with 1 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Are you new to the substitution game or are you an old pro?  What is your favorite substitution for your favorite food?  I look forward to hearing…. I need a good idea for dinner tonight!

Have a wonderful week!

The Dishing Diabetic

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