Tag Archives: weight loss

There is Nothing Fair about The Fair

Well, here in Texas we are smack dab in the middle of “Fair Season.”  You know, the place you go and take your kids and spend gobs of money on absolute cr@p and rides that scare the bejeezus out of you (and not because they go upside down, but because you find yourself praying that they do not fall apart while you are upside down!).  However, it is not the trinkets or rides that 1st spring to mind when 99.9% of people are asked about the fair…… it is THE FOOD!  Corn dogs, funnel cakes, strawberry lemonade, turkey legs, caramel and candy apples, curly fries, sausage-on-a-stick, chocalate covered bananas rolled in candy, brisket wrap and ‘the fried’s”….. the bevy of items that are rolled in batter and thrown in hot grease –  fried snickers, fried twinkies, fried oreos, fried cheese, fried corn, fried coke (seriously, look it up, The State Fair of Texas has it)….. if you can fry it, the fair has it!  So, in the name of all that is good, all that is diabetic and all that is TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT, I propose that “The Fair” forever be known as “The un-Fair!”

This past weekend we thought it would be fun to attend the South Plains Fair and take in a concert by Eddie Money.  Yes, I am keenly aware that this dates me.  If you were born somewhere after 1985 you do not know who Eddie Money (or as he calls himself, The Money Man) is; however, if you were born, say, in the ’70’s, you can sing every word of “Take Me Home Tonight.”  This evening was made all the more interesting as I left work 30 minutes before expecting the babysitter which left no time for dinner (at least the kind of dinner you eat at home, the safe kind).  Surely, I thought, the fair will have something I can eat, right? Um, well, WRONG!

The classic part about being a type II diabetic who was obese upon diagnosis is that not only do I need to manage my blood sugar, I need to lose weight.  So, it is like all foods that enter my mouth must 1st pass through the diabetic-blood-glucose-carbohydrate filter that I employ to successfully manange my blood glucose.  But, wait!  I am not done there.  Next, the Weight Watchers Points system kicks in.  As my potential food choices pass through the diabetic-blood-glucose-carbohydrate filter, they are assigned a points value that is designed to help me lose weight.  I can only eat so many points a day (right now that # is 23) and as you can imagine, it is not a very big #, hence the losing weight part!  Let me just say, I have spent the past few days dousing my diabetic-blood-glucose-carbohydrate filter in Drain-O…… my food choices at the fair clogged this filter beyond recognition!

A few items did make it though the filter; somehow, they eaked by “The Fried’s”, the funnel cake, the corn dog, the candy apple, the chocolate covered banana and my favorite…..the liquid sugar over ice (aka strawberry lemonade).  Total # of items to pass through the filter – 3.5.  #1, the Turkey leg; #2, the  sausage-on-a-stick; #3, the brisket wrap (minus the wrap); and #3.5, the sliced apple with a smidgeon of caramel on top (the missing .5 is the rest of the caramel).  So, in keeping with the routine order of the process, these 3.5 champions-of-the-filter were then subjected to the assignment of their Weight Watchers points (courtesy of the Weight Watchers application on my nifty little iPhone).

1 Turkey Leg – 27  points (0 carbs)

2 Sausage-on-a-stick – 19 points (0 carbs)

3 Brisket Wrap (no wrap) – 3 points (0 carbs)

3.5 Large Apple – 2 points (25 carbs)

2 Tbsp Caramel Topping – 2 points (30 carbs)

So, for me, here is how this breaks down….. if I exercised for 1 hour and did not eat anything else all day long, I could split the items above with a willing party and not exceed my daily allowable points.  Not exactly realistic and deep down in places I don’t like to talk about, the consumption of the items listed above would not qualify as an indulgence.  You see, when eating items that pass the diabetic filter and Weight Watchers test while surrounded by hundreds of items I would rather be eating, the “qualifying” food choices seem like, well, qualifying food choices.  So un-fair!!

Are you a fair fan?  Are you a fair foodie?  What are your favorites?  Do you have any diabetic, weight loss friendly suggestions while navigating the fair season?  Let me hear!!

The Dishing Diabetic

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A Vacuum of Vices

We are designed to rebel.  Or at least that’s the way I see it.  My personal beliefs tell me that we, humans that is, are imperfect beings.  Furthermore, we are the target of infinite varieties of temptation.  It’s funny, instead of which came first, the chicken or the egg?, one could ask – which came first, imperfection or temptation.  The irony of this situation is that not only are we imperfect and vulnerable to temptation, we are highly developed and possess both a knowledge of what is good and bad for us and a conscience that inflicts remorse and guilt when we choose the ‘bad.’  The irony doesn’t stop there…… those ‘bad’ choices usually deliver some form of pleasure, relief, relaxation, exhilaration, contentment, etc.  This has to be the definition of cruel and unusual punishment!

Certain seasons make this cruelty more palpable that others.  Last Saturday, it was in the air, swirling all around me.  The temperatures had dropped (for Texas this is truly a moment to rejoice in), the smell that accompanies the arrival of fall saturated the air, I noticeably had a new shimmy to my step and down here in the south, the part of you that only comes alive with college football roared to life!  It was finally here, the dawn of my most favorite time of year and the beginning of my vicious void of vices!

Shopping.  Oh the fall fashion!  Ok, maybe you wouldn’t really use the word fashion in the same sentence with me…… but I LOVE to shop for and more specifically, buy fall clothes.  Jeans.  Sweaters. Boots.  Jackets.  Hats. Scarves. Yes, I love it all, including the rush of endorphines that is released by the simple act of spending money (come on ladies, you know its true!).  Ohhhhh, but one must have money to spend money.  This is what that little thing called a conscience tells me anyway.  As a medical student’s spouse there is one thing we are guaranteed not to have….. money.  FANTASTIC!  Vice #1 out the door.

Eating.  I love to eat.  I have no shame sharing that with you.  It’s true. Food and me, well, its just like peas and carrots – nevermind, I HATE peas and carrots.  It’s like chips and queso, or wings and bleu cheese, or cheese fries and ranch…… we were made for each other.  The arrival of fall ushers in weekly “game days” and the food that defines it.  You say ‘football’, I say ‘queso’…… broccoli, spinach, zucchini….. these are just a few things that do NOT spring to mind.  Then you must factor in that with fall comes Halloween…….. CANDY, Thanksgiving……. ALL OF IT, and yes, Christmas…… again, ALL OF IT!  The cherry on top is the contentment and true happiness these delectables bring me. Me and food…… we are quite the pair.  The problem is, we have a third wheel, type 2 diabetes.  And, let me just tell you, you will find this third wheel wherever you find me and food. The worst part is that the food and type 2 diabetes have a terribly contentious relationship.  They can not stand to even be in the same room together!  Guess who knows this better than anyone?  My conscience, of course!  TERRIFIC!  Vice #2 out the door.

Drinking.  I like wine.  OH, and I really like beer.  Fall = football=food=beer.  I am not talking about wild, crazy, college-esque drinking (although, if you read The Dishing Diabetic you will see that has been a vice I have employed before).  I am talking about friends, food, football and responsible beer consumption.  Surely when you use the word “responsible” next to the word “beer” this would be allowable for little ole me, right?  Yeah, well, NO!  #1, beer, alcohol in general, is an antagonist for my weight loss efforts and therefore an obstacle to my type 2 diabetes management efforts.  Seeing as I do not like light beer (give me a Fat Tire or Sam Adams Blackberry!)….. I am looking a 3 points/beer on Weight Watchers.  If I have 3 beers during a 3 hour game and I have used up 9 points…… that is 40% of my daily points!  Then when you consider the effects of diabetes on my liver, well, asking that organ to work overtime processing the alcohol I ingest is just not a good idea – again with the conscience thing!  So, as I search for a vice, a way to rebel, adult beverages are not a qualified option.  SPECTACULAR! Vice #3 out the door.

Smoking.  Oh, I know, for many this is such an ugly word.  It seems unimaginable why anybody would smoke….. for those who have never smoked.  Well, for those of us who do or have smoked, we know it to be a popular vice.  Smoking is a stress reliever, a calorie free treat, a social habit and it is all of this without leaving us unable to operate heavy machinery!  I smoked in college, although like many of my friends then (and quite a few of them now) I would have classified myself as a non-smoker.  Why?  Well, I only smoked socially (with beer) and isnt that the definition of a non-smoker?  Yeah, right.   Remember that conscience thing?  Well, something happened when I shed the adolescent sense of immortality and realzied that everything I do, eat, say, drink, smoke, dont do (exercise) has a direct impact on my life….. it’s quality, longevity, success…… and the life of those that I desparately love and who I am quite sure love me, too! So, there it was…… no more smoking.  No more “non” smoking  with my “non” smoking friends at football games while we ate our queso and drank our beer dressed adorably in our fall wordrobe.  OUSTANDING!  Vice #4 was out the door with it’s 3 best buddies!

So, as my absolute favorite time of year unfolds spilling forth parties, football games and holidays, I find myself in a virtual vacuum of vices.  There is no shopping, no carbohydrates, no booze and no smoking.  I am left with the instinctual need to rebel and no qualifying vices.  My world of rebellion sadly rests upon the moments when I defiantly leave the dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry left undone for one more day or the bed unmade.  Despite my belief in the contrary, I was not Born to be Wild……. I was Made to be Mild.

What vices have you kicked to the curb?  What ‘wild’ healthy substitutes have you found? 

The Dishing Diabetic

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A Breakfast Believer!

Whether weight loss is your game or managing your diabetes (or both), you have heard, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” at least once.  Most of us actually heard this at some point growing up or in the process of growing up our own family.  Back then it had to do with being at our best during the school day and hopefully having our brain function optimally.  These days, it has more to do with trying to jump start a metabolism that has decided to enjoy early retirement or trying to bring down a fasting blood glucose number that seems to peak first thing in the morning.

Breakfast.  Just the word conjures visions of french toast, banana nut pancakes, bacon, sausage links, biscuits, gravy, piggies in the blanket….. mmmmmmmmmm! For a weight loss crusader or a diabetic defender, these visions will stay just that….. visions.  As a faithful follower of Weight Watchers, I know that you can treat yourself to these every once in awhile, especially if you manage your allotted daily points in a way that allows it.  However, as a diabetic there is a question as to the definition of “once in awhile” and as for this diabetic….. treating myself once just creates a vicious craving that I would rather be without!  And, bottomline, although those breakfast choices are once-in-awhile options, breakfast is not.  Breakfast should be an everyday occurrence for an endless list of reasons; after all, it is the most important meal of the day!

Breakfast.  Just the word conjures a steady stream of excuses…… I don’t like to eat in the morning, I don’t have time to eat in the mornings, I am not hungry in the mornings, nixing breakfast helps cut 1/3 of the day’s calories, yada yada yada.  When I first started Weight Watchers in 2005 I was one of those I-don’t-like-to-eat-in-the-morning people.  After a few months I became very frustrated with losing an average of less than 1 pound a week.  My group leader re-addressed the topic of breakfast and its effects on weight loss with me. I decided, heck, if I could figure out how to enjoy exercise, I could figure out how to enjoy breakfast!  My new routine became ½ cup of original Fiber One cereal mixed into a 98% fat free Yoplait yogurt, 1 small banana and a large glass of water.  Within a month or so of adding breakfast to my day, my average weekly weight loss increased to 1.5lbs a week.  I became a Breakfast Believer!

So, my ½ cup of original Fiber One cereal mixed into a 98% fat free Yoplait yogurt, 1 small banana and a large glass of water became my daily breakfast.  The only part that varied was the flavor of yogurt. For 3 years – over 1,000 days that included a pregnancy – this was my Old Faithful of breakfasts.  When I received my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in October 2009, I was left utterly dumbfounded.  Yes, Old Faithful was healthy; yes, it had contributed greatly to my weight loss (93 lbs) and to my efforts to maintain my loss; yes, it seemed responsible for keeping my “plumbing” in good order; however, in an instant, the arrival of diabetes turned my old friend to a new foe!

This value of this breakfast had been quantified for years as “3 points.”  This is fantastic in a Weight Watchers World.  Now, it was quantified as “65g carbohydrates.”  This is known as one big fat no-no in a type 2 diabetes world.  Every diabetic is different and their blood sugar responds to different foods at different times of the day.  I tried everything.  I tried Fiber One and water, yogurt and water, Fiber One and the banana, the banana and water….. you get my drift.  My blood sugar was just not on board with any of the combinations.  Now I was stuck.  I needed to lose 80 lbs, so I knew I needed to eat breakfast.  My mornings are CRAZY trying to get myself ready for work and my 2 year old ready for school.  I needed an new Old Faithful.  It needed to be delicious, fast, low carb AND low points.  How’s that for high maintenance??

Two fellow Weight Watchers turned me on to Egg Beaters.  Now, I had eaten them before and I loved them.  The key to this “turn on” was that they let me in on a little secret……. THEY CAN BE MICROWAVED!  Who knew?  Microwaved egg substitute out of a carton gave rise to my current Old Faithful.  Not only is it “5 points” and “18g carbs (11 net)”…… it can be prepared in less than 4 minutes and yes, I have timed it on multiple occasions!  The punch line – my blood glucose is routinely 120ish 2 hours after my 1st bite. I take the ingredients for the week to work every Monday morning so that i am never left empty handed and tempted to just wait it out until lunch.

A Breakfast Believer’s Breakfast Burrito – 5 Weight Watchers Points, 18g carbs/7g fiber

1/2 c Egg Beaters

1 Mission low carb small flour tortilla

1 Tbsp salsa

1/4 c Weight Watchers shredded cheese

1/2 small or 1/4 large avocado, sliced

Microwave bow of Egg Beaters for 2 minutes, stirring about every 30 seconds.  While microwaving eggs, place tortilla on plate and put cheese on tortilla.  When eggs are finished put on top of cheese.  Top eggs with salsa and sliced avocado. Breakfast Bliss!

Whether we are hustling ourselves to work or hustling children to school, breakfast is just an easy thing to miss.  However, once you experience the impact the most important meal of the day can have on your weight loss efforts or how the right breakfast may help decrease your blood glucose faster than skipping a morning meal, you  too, will be a breakfast believer!

Do you have an Old Faithful?  I would love to hear what made you a Breakfast Believer!

The Dishing Diabetic

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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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Take This Guarantee and Shove It!

If you are diabetic and have taken to the internet, then you know there is a TON of information out there. It also seems as if most diabetes websites have a “community” aspect to them where you can create your own profile, establish a blog, network with new friends and chat via message boards….. kind of like a diabetic Facebook! The sites are nothing short of a lifeline for both diabetic “rookies” and “lifers.” I troll through the many message boards observing the themes associated with the different stages of type 2 diabetes. I do occasionally comment with the intent to ask a question, answer a question, share a recipe, offer encouragement, etc. I do have 2 rules in the thoughts I put out there 1) no negativity and 2) no confrontations. Yesterday, I semi-broke #2.

I read a message board entry that stated that all diabetic will experience complications, especially if diagnosed young How do you NOT confront that statement? It is like it reached out of the computer and slapped me in the face. If that is true, why am I counting Weight Watchers Points, counting carbohydrates, pricking my find 4-5x/ day, exercising like a mad woman, and why is a blog like this even necessary? Well, I’ll tell you why…. because, despite what my precious 15 year old stepdaughter says, I AM young. I was 31 when I had borderline gestational diabetes and I was 33 when I was diagnosed with type II. I am young and I know diabetic complications are not guaranteed to be part of my future. And, young or old (aka young at heart), I want you to know that the same goes for you!

That statement, even in all its inaccuracy, did raise a few thoughts about the nature of diabetic complications and how we are instructed to prevent them. Many of us have WONDERFUL physicians, I personally have the BEST ; ). However, due to the nature of their job, they give us a glucometer and refer us to a class or individual nutritionist where we learn how many carbs to eat, what kind to eat, when to check our blood glucose and the recommended ranges for blood sugar. Many of us walk away with the assumption that managing our blood glucose is all we need to do to prevent diabetic complications, I know I did. Good thing I am married to a medical student!

Mr. Man, a 3rd year med student, attended a luncheon this week featuring a leading endocrinologist. This gentleman discussed how doctors must begin coaching their diabetic patients to do more than just manage blood sugar. The management of blood sugar is for 3 things in particular – preventing neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. These are 3 very serious common complications of diabetes; but, there are many others and 2 biggies are heart disease and stroke. As a diabetic, preventing heart disease and stroke goes beyond just managing my blood sugar. I, personally, needed to lose 85 lbs (I have 35 more to go). I had to use both diet and exercise so that I would lower my cholesterol (now 150, down from 282 – without medication), lower my blood pressure (now 102/78 without medication), lower my A1c (now 6.1, down from 7.2 without medication) AND lose weight. I am lucky that I quit smoking 3 years ago or smoking cessation would have been added to my to-do list. Obesity, lack of exercise, hyperglycemia and smoking are huge risk factors for heart disease and stroke and managing blood glucose only addresses the hyperglycemia. The guest speaker’s point was received loud and clear: If an diabetic does not lose weight, lower their cholesterol, stop smoking, and/or start exercising they will die from a heart attack or stroke; but, hey, their blood sugar will be on target.

I was diagnosed 10 months ago and just learning to control my blood sugar was all I could handle. About 3 months in I began the weight loss and exercising. You have to start somewhere with baby steps, one at a time. Tackling it all at once would have left me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated…… 2 emotions that are not helpful in the world of managing diabetes and preventing its complications. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires more than just monitoring your blood glucose. My suggestion is to create a timeline for your attack on diabetes. How many months will you focus on learning what foods you can eat and how they affect your blood sugar? When will you begin exercising (what kind, how often, etc)? Once you have that habit in place, when and how will you begin smoking cessation? Give yourself time to adjust to each new baby step and then take the next step. As you step in the ring to fight the good fight…. know there is hope; the proof is in the #’s….. 80% of diabetic complications are preventable! You will find many, many others at all stages of the marathon and most will want to help and encourage you; and, when you are ready to take the next step and add weight loss, exercise, and/or smoking cessation…… well, we will be here for that, too!

Yes, as diabetics we have to do so much more that just monitoring our BG to stay healthy and prevent complications…… but, the good news is that these complications, 80% of them, are preventable. I broke my #2 rule, no confontations regarding others’ posts….. but I felt the message was worth every word!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Dishing Diabetic

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Use Protection! Cover Your (sushi) Roll in Cucumber…

If you read my blog on The Deadly Diabetic Diablo burger (https://thediabeticdish.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/the-tale-of-the-deadly-diabetic-diablo-burger/), you know my feelings on The Travel Channel’s program MAN V. FOOD. I find it to be some twisted form of tortuous punishment for a type II diabetic. This evening I found the show’s host eating mass quantities of a food I CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT and that I can still eat as often as I want to (guilt free!) – sushi, specifically spicy tuna rolls.

A little background: Nine years ago I was living near the gulf coast in a city that had no shortage of seafood or sushi restaurants. I was dating Mr. Man and he was playing a pretty good game of hard to get….. only allowing one date a week and these usually took place on Sunday nights. These “date nights” quickly took on a very predictable routine. Mr. Man would come over for dinner and a movie. He would begin these evenings begging me to go eat sushi with him. Seafood has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember…… but, I must empahsize – I only ate my seafood cooked and had never even entertained the alternative.

It took about 3 months of begging to wear me down. Well, if I am completely honest, it may have been 3 months of his playing hard to get had made me a level of desperate that I never knew existed. Either way, I caved and found myself sitting at a local sushi bar. Mr. Man was exceptionally kind in the items he chose to order, even though he started the evening tricking me into eating a bit of wasabi (japanese horseradish). There was a tiger eye roll (smoked salmon, cream cheese and jalapeno), a spicy tuna roll with avocado, and an eel/avocado roll; you could also call this the Sushi Beginners Menu. I LOVED every bite and a sushi addict was born!! *I am pretty sure this is when he decided to quit playing hard to get! ; )

Although sushi can pack a punch to your pocketbook, it does not add to your waistline or backside. When I decided I was tired of being fat (my story:https://thediabeticdish.wordpress.com/who-is-the-dishing-diabetic/), sushi became a staple in my journey to lose 93 lbs. Most sushi items are low points on the Weight Watchers plan, low fat, high protein and DELICIOUS. I have not found any scientific evidence to support my next claim, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it….. sushi just flat makes me happy. My assumption is it either sets off chemical reactions that release endorphines, contains “happy” vitamins and minerals OR the fact that I can eat A LOT of it without guilt results in the emotional experience that accompanies my trips to the sushi bar…… I don’t really care how it happens, it just does.

As most of you reading this can relate, my diagnosis of type II diabetes was like a machete to the list of my favorite foods. That list was sliced and diced to a point where very few foods remained that were diabetic friendly. One food that shined like a beacon on that list….. SUSHI! Rice? Doesn’t sushi have rice, you ask? Nope! Your don’t need no stinkin’ rice to enjoy sushi!! Allelujah!! Sushi restaurants are bottomless treasure chests of delectible food choices and the beauty is that you can taylor your choices to fit your needs.

How is this possible? 1st of all, you can ask to have your favorite rolls wrapped in cucumber. A spicy tuna roll with avocado wrapped in cucumber is pure bliss and my blood sugar loves it, too! Or, try asking for a bowl of seaweed salad, avocado and your favorite fish in it (mine is salmon, tuna and yellow tail). Oh, and have them put a little spicy sauce in it! Also, look for thin-sliced peppered tuna on the appetizer menu; the thin sliced yellow tail is wonderful, too! Both are fabulous with spicy ponzu sauce. I also eat pieces of salmon, smoked salmon, tuna, super white tuna, sea bass, flounder, and yellow tail sashimi style…. meaning no rice. I will tell you though, I did not graduate to the sashimi until I had worked my way through Beginner’s sushi (rolls) and intermediate sushi (the seaweed salad). Sushi is like wine…. you acquire the taste for it and that tast just grows and grows and GROWS! I now enjoy it all and so does my weight loss plan AND my diabetes management plan! ** I do not eat sushi items that include “tempura” ingredients as that means “fried”**

If you have tried sushi and know it is not for you, I understand. However, if you are like I was 9 long years ago and claim you do not like it (but you have never tried it), I urge you, RUN, don’t walk to a sushi bar close to you. Take a sushi eater with you and do not hesitate to ask your sushi companion (or your server) any question you have. Sushi addicts LOVE to help bring another sushi addict into their sushi loving world! You blood glucose will thank you, your waistband will thank you, your heart/cholesterol will thank you….. and your, pocketbook…. well, it is a small price to pay to be happy, healthy and a skinny minny!!

What are your favorite sushi items? If you go and try it for the 1st time, please let me know what you think!

Have a wonderful day!

The (Sushi Lovin’) Dishing Diabetic

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Test Strip Tyranny

I am going to step out on a limb here and say that having type II diabetes means facing a number of obstacles – emotional, nutritional and physical.  Upon diagnosis, the barrage of  emotions – shock, confusion, denial, anger, grief – is staggering.  It is not a stretch to say that life as you knew it is a thing of the past.  You now have to learn how to eat, drink, exercise, test your blood and the most optimal times throughout the day to do those things.  Nutritionally, you must learn how everything – food, drink, exercise, medication – will affect your blood sugar and how to modify each of those things address blood glucose readings that are too high or too low.  Physically, you endure the side effects of your new diet and the addition of exercise to your routine.  For me, I struggled to find the time to have type II diabetes and be a med student’s wife, a mother, a stepmother, and an employee.  This thing literally comes at you from every direction.  There is one source of constant feedback that becomes your lifeline….. your glucometer and test strips.  The ability to “TEST, TEST, TEST” (you will see this mantra on almost all of the diabetes message boards) allows a type II diabetic to know how their diet and their exercise affects their blood glucose levels without any side effects (technology is so advanced now that most of us don’t even endure sore fingers!).

I am going to go out on another limb and say that those that test are those that have made managing their diabetes and preventing diabetic complications a priority in their daily life.  Although the diabetic benefits the most from these efforts, the general population benefits as well.  Just research the biggest contributors to escalating healthcare costs in this country.  You will see the rising obesity rates and the dramatic impact they have on healthcare’s “bottom line.”  Anywhere you see the term “obesity,” diabetes, heart disease and hypertension (bit of humor: my sweet friend who is a nurse calls this the Texas Trio) are sure to follow.  The cost of diabetic complications is exorbitant to the patient, those that care for them and the healthcare system.  When you consider the financial cost and that 80% of diabetic complications are preventable it becomes apparent how imperative prevention is for so many reasons.  Prevention can not be accomplished by new legislation, healthcare reform, or by those that love a diabetic.  Prevention is up to each type II diabetic and those that are at high risk for developing the disease (pre-diabetics). Daily blood glucose testing is central to successful prevention.  It is a simple and painless method to help manage diabetes; however, always having supplies on hand may not always be so simple.

I recently called my pharmacy to refill my test strips.  I was told that my insurance company did not approve the request because it was too “soon” since my last refill.  WHAT?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  We are talking about little pieces of plastic that collect my blood.  We are not talking about pills, syrups, or anything else that could be harmful if not controlled.  We are talking about test strips.  We are talking about blood glucose management.  We are talking about preventing diabetic complications.  We are talking about decreasing the costs of healthcare associated with the 80% of diabetic complications that are preventable.  This just absolutely amazes me.  These things should be passed out like candy to diabetics.  There should be test-strip-bowls in every endocrinologist’s office just like the lollipop bowls at the pediatrician’s.  Of all the obstacles diabetics face, obtaining test strips should NOT be one. Those that test are those that have made managing their diabetes and preventing diabetic complications a priority in their daily life.  Those that test are making a responsible decision that affects their life, the lives of those that love them and they are contributing – with every single pin prick – to the effort to reduce the cost of healthcare in this country.

So, until my doctor puts out a test-strip-bowl, I am left with 2 choices.  1) Test no more than 3 times a day OR 2) end up going whole days without testing until my insurance agency gives my pharmacy the green light to dispense me my little pieces of plastic. I can tell you that neither option agrees with me and, I am going to step out on another limb here, I am pretty sure the thousands of people on all of the wonderful diabetic message boards would agree.  From what I can tell from these amazing folks, we are all working to stay off medications, to take less or be taken off medication completely, to lose weight, the lower our blood glucose levels….. to PREVENT the diabetic complications that are guaranteed if we do not successfully manage are blood glucose.  This management begins when we “TEST, TEST, TEST” our blood glucose.

This was more of a venting, slightly political entry.  I apologize if I have offended anyone.  Have any of you faced this obstacle and found a way to overcome it?  If so, please share.

The Dishing Diabetic

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