To Amuse and Delight

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Good morning! Merry Christmas.

I was awakened this morning by my daughter standing at my bedside whispering “mom...Mom!”. I did not want to get up. Jumping to the conclusion that she was eager to go downstairs and see what gifts awaited her, I said “It’s too early. It’s still dark outside.” “But Mom, the sun is coming up RIGHT NOW!  It’s so beautiful, it’s red!” So, I dragged myself into their room to find both girls pressed against the window oohing and ahhing and squealing. The little one said, “I’ve never seen a sunrise before!" The big one replied, “It’s God’s Christmas decoration!”  I was now fully awake and eager to lavish gifts on both of them.
I wish you all a Joy filled Christmas.

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel 
(The first and last verse)

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, 
And ransom captive Israel, 
That mourns in lonely exile here 
Until the Son of God appear. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind 
In one the hearts of all mankind; 
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, 
And be yourself our King of Peace. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Translated: John Neal, 1818-66

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Learning how to eat...

Six months ago my husband found out he has diabetes. His sugar was really high and we had to make immediate changes in the way he eats. I have always been known as a healthy eater, preferring a combination of whole foods, raw foods and what I call “happy” meats (animals treated fairly). But, after our six hour class on how to eat as a diabetic I have revamped my own eating as well as my husband’s. Seeing what sugar does to the body was an eye opening experience. It effects all of our systems. Sure, we need sugar, it gives  us energy. But, too much of it is disastrous to our health. In a very small nutshell, these are the main changes in our eating habits.

-Cut out sugar, especially refined. Since I am not diabetic I can have some, but it’s very limited. I never realized how much sugar was going into my cooking. A spoon of honey or agave here and there was the norm. Now it’s stevia only for savory cooking. 
-Carbs=Sugar. This was a revelation to me. instead of reading how much sugar is in a serving size, read the carbs. To your body, they are sugar.
-Beans, peas, corn...they are carbs. We no longer treat them as vegetables in this house.
-Last, but not least is portion control! This is so important. We are eating the delicious foods we love, but limiting the amount.

Six months ago my husband’s doctor wanted him to loose 30 pounds. He has done it, just by eating a little differently. I do find that I am cooking more meat than before, there must be a certain amount of protein at each meal. But again, the necessary serving size is much smaller than the typical American diet. 
Here are some practical changes that I made to a few common meals.
Falafel, a favorite since our college days. Now I skip the pita bread since the chick pea balls are carbs. There is also rice in the stuffed grape leaves, so I am mindful of the serving size. 

Chili used to be served in this house with rice or corn bread. But as I stated above, beans are carb. I replaced those sides with a low carb whole wheat tortilla with sauteed onions and eggplant. Cheese and basil on top. This meal gets a side salad too.
A meat and potatoes meal here. Sweet potatoes are better for your blood sugar levels than white potatoes. They are rich in complex carbs and fiber, so they help your body maintain stable stores of energy. This Curried Sweet Potato Salad is from Prevention's Sugar Solution Cookbook, the only diabetic cookbook I own because from what I've seen it's the best suited to my taste buds. I served this potato salad with grilled flank steak, snow peas and jicama.
This is what I do for tacos. More filling than shells. You can't really get enough filling into those little shells, so I break a couple and heap on salad and then everything else. This was so low on sugar and carbs I could even have a sweet something for dessert.
This is green pea risotto and basil shrimp. Okay, so this one's not exactly a common meal. But it was really good and I would never have found it if I wasn't obsessing over a stack of diabetic cookbooks from the library. Sorry, I don't remember what book this came from. I never have risotto rice on hand, so I use sushi rice and it's just as creamy and delicious. This one needs a vegetable and a side salad to be a complete meal.

Now that The Holiday Season is here I must tweak my Christmas baking. I will bake and I will make my traditonal family favorites. But, I am also experimenting with stevia, using fruits for sweetening and grain sweetened chocolate chips. Whole grains make a difference to your blood sugar, so I will be mixing up my flours and maybe replacing with ground nuts too. I'll still use some sugar, when it's really needed. I'll let you know when I come up with something good.