Sunday, April 28, 2013

Suffering with Diabetes

There are many things I see on the internet or hear in public that get under my skin.  As someone dealing with diabetes those things often revolve around “cures” and “if you’d onlys”, but there is one word that never ceases to bug the crap out of me: suffering.  “Do you suffer with diabetes?” “Diabetes sufferers” etc.  ARGHH!!!!  This word is not only used by snake oil salesmen but often by reputable diabetes sites which I admire. I do NOT suffer with diabetes.  I live with it.  Recently, however, I began thinking about this “suffering” in a different way.

There are many, many people who ARE suffering with their diabetes!  All you have to do is read comments on a diabetes Facebook page or after a blog or article to find them.  How sad is that?

I love my mom.  I’ve learned many things from her in my lifetime but there is one recent lesson I hope to remember for the rest of my life.  You see, Mom is old…very old.  It’s not so much her age that’s an issue but more her attitude.  She’s very “woe is me” all the time.  I understand completely because, basically, her life sucks right now.  I verbalized my concerns recently when I told Ray, “I don’t want to be a “woe is me” old lady.  I want to try to enjoy my life regardless of my limitations.”  I don’t intend to wait until I’m “old” but am trying to have that commitment now.  I want to enjoy life; focus on the good stuff and try to keep the crappy things in the background, including my diabetes.

Do I always succeed?  Heck no.  I can whine with the best of them.  I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.  No one, other than Stepford people, is happy all the time.  We all have our down days and our days of feeling sorry for ourselves but the trick is not to live there.  I’m afraid that when people are diagnosed with T2 diabetes they think their lives are over and lament and stew and revel in their new-found suckiness.

Let’s face it, we’re spoiled.  We’re used to doing whatever the heck we want when we want to do it.  Then along comes diabetes and we’re told that, in fact, we can’t just do whatever we want.  We have to change our lifestyle.  We need to eat a healthier diet.  We need to move more.  We probably ought to lose a bit of weight.  We have to poke our fingers and bleed daily.  We may need to take medications or inject insulin or some other injectable med.  Woe is me.  Life sucks.  Why can’t I just eat my beloved pizza and soda and fast food???  Because you can’t, not all the time.  Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!  

Wait, maybe you can continue to eat that way!  Go ahead!  After all, it’s your life; your short, complication-filled life.  Is it reasonable to do that?   I personally don’t think so but it’s not my place to judge.  But please, if you continue on your destructive path and aren’t willing to make changes, don’t bitch about it to me.

I’m not without compassion.  I completely understand how hard it is to make major changes to your lifestyle.  Remember, I’ve had to do it too.  It’s taken me a long, long time to get to a point where I don’t feel so freakin deprived.  I rarely feel deprived any more.  In fact, when I “splurge” I often feel as if it wasn’t worth it at all.  I would rather eat my healthier stuff.  How strange is that?  It’s pretty danged strange.

My point; I do have one.  When you’re diagnosed with T2 it’s hard, no one is denying that.  There are many things you have to change and one of those things needs to be your attitude!  Don’t live the rest of your life as a “woe is me” person.  Do whatever it takes to embrace this new lifestyle and get on with the good stuff.  You know what?  My new lifestyle has become the good stuff!  I feel good about how I’m eating and the fact that I’ve added regular exercise to my life.  These changes will go a long, long way to making sure that I’m not unhappy like my mom when I’m 95.  I know I’ll have “those days” now and then and when they happen maybe I’ll just pop back here and read this post to remind myself that my diabetes does not make my life suck.  It’s just something I have to deal with, and I do.  I’m not suffering.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What is Reasonable?

More and more studies are being conducted to try to determine what causes type 2 diabetes and how to best control it.  I, of course, have my own opinions about some of the issues, but I’m not a scientist or a doctor.  Even the medical professionals can’t agree!  Eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes but, in December, 2012 there was an article that starts by saying, “A new study suggests countries that use large amounts of high fructose corn syrup in their food may be helping to fuel the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes.”   Robert H. Lustig, MD, whose popular YouTube video I discussed here,  also contends that the mass quantities of HFCS we are consuming is leading to higher and higher incidences of disease.  I think it’s important to note that these studies indicate that more and more sugar and HFCS is making its way into packaged/processed foods, and therefore into our diet.  These studies aren’t saying that people are going out of their way to inhale sugar.  It’s getting harder and harder to avoid it since it’s in everything

Lowering our carb intake when we have diabetes, or are told that we have “pre-diabetes”, is a must and yet the mainstream medical community and diabetes organizations continue to encourage people with type 2 to eat carbohydrates at a level that seems unreasonable.  So who do we believe?  Who do we trust?

We should trust reason.  We should believe in ourselves.  

What do I mean when I say we should trust reason?  Think about it; is it reasonable to live on a diet of fast food, sugary drinks and pre-packaged food?  No.  Is it reasonable to continue to eat bread, cereals and rice when our meters tell us that they spike our blood glucose?  No.  Is it reasonable to eat more leafy vegetables and lean meats?  Yes.  Is it reasonable to pay attention to our glucose meters?  Yes.

There are many debates these days surrounding the government placing limits on unhealthy foods.  I will admit that I was on the “limit the size of sodas” bandwagon when this showed up in the news.  Heck yes, people shouldn’t be drinking vats of soda!  Duh!  However, should the government stick their noses in that?  I’ve finally decided no.  People will not be swayed by legislation that bans them from eating and drinking what they want.  (idiots)

It’s obvious to me that the Standard American Diet is wrong and unhealthy.  I often feel so frustrated and helpless when I realize that changing this way of eating for the masses is going to take a lot of hard work and lil ol me can’t really do much about it. What I can do is change how I eat to a way that makes sense for me.  I need to believe in myself and listen to my body.  I know when I’m eating something that isn’t good for me.  I know how I feel when I fuel my body with good foods.  I need to listen to my body, trust reason and believe in myself.  You should too.  Just be reasonable.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter what causes type 2 diabetes to those of us who already have it; it matters to the millions of people who are at risk.  It’s up to the “powers that be” to figure that out and come up with a plan to turn the ship around.  I have my ideas but no one is going to listen to me.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop advocating and doing my part to help people navigate this new lifestyle called diabetes.  I will continue to blog about how I live my life with diabetes in the hopes that someone “out there” will benefit from my experience.  Life with diabetes isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible.  Just be reasonable.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cool Beans!

I guess I’m showing my age with the title of today’s post.  The Urban Dictionary: Cool beans: “A slang term that actually began its use in the late 60's/early 70's. Popularized by the pop culture of the time. Used to describe something very favorable or pleasing. Great. Very nice.”

I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful dessert, guilt free.  This dessert was a rich chocolate cake made with…black beans!  I’m sure many of you have heard of cake made with beans, I had, but I had never given it a second thought until recently.

Lately I tend to browse through low-carb blogs looking for alternatives to higher carb foods that I enjoy.  Although I don’t really crave cake that often I do miss having my cake and eating it too.  When I came across a recipe for black bean cake I decided to give it a go.

I SO wanted to make this cake without my husband knowing what was in it but he saw the ingredients sitting on the counter and asked what I was up to.  I could tell by his reaction that getting him to try this new delight wasn’t going to be easy.

What I liked about this cake:

·       Super easy to make!
·       NO flour!
·       It’s moist and stands alone without frosting or any type of addition.
·       Using my adjustments there are only about 11.5 gr. carbs per 1/8 cake and 3 gr. of fiber!!!

What I don’t like about this cake:
·       …I got nothing.

This. cake. is. awesome.

The recipe I followed said that the cake is best after it has been allowed to sit overnight.  “I promise this cake will not have a hint of beaniness after letting it sit for eight hours!”  This woman didn’t lie.  I actually “mmmMMMMmmm”nd at my first bite.  Ray, although somewhat reluctantly, took a bite and liked it!  I even got my 94 year old mom to try it with success (although she didn’t understand why there wasn’t any frosting.)  This. cake. is. awesome.  Did I say that already?

Here is a link to the original recipe and below is my version.

Black Bean Chocolate Cake

·       1 15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
·       5 large eggs
·       1 Tbsp vanilla extract
·       ½ tsp salt
·       6 Tbsp butter
·       ¾ cup C&H Blend (the original recipe calls for other sweetener options)
·       6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s 100% cacao Special Dark)
·       1 tsp baking powder
·       ½ tsp baking soda
·       1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9” cake pan with cooking spray and dust cocoa all around tapping to evenly distribute.  Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly. (I followed this exactly although I’m not sure why you have to waste the cocoa on the bottom of the pan if you’re going to cover it with parchment.)

Drain and rinse the beans, shaking off excess water.  Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla and salt in a blender.  Blend on high until the beans are completely liquefied. No lumps! (who likes a lumpy cake?)  Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.  In another bowl, beat butter and sugar blend until light and fluffy.  Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition.  Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.  Finally, stir in cocoa powder mixture and water and beat the batter on high for one minute until smooth.  Pour batter into pan, smoothing the top.  Rap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch.  Let the cake cool for 10 minutes then turn it out onto a cooling rack.  Once the cake reaches room temperature, cover with plastic wrap or cake dome.  (I used a large Tupperware bowl.)  Let it sit overnight and…Voila!

As I said above, this cake has about 11.5 gr. carbs per 1/8 cake and 3 gr. of fiber using the C&H.  The original recipe gives some other sweetener options if you’d like to lower the carb content further.  I personally prefer some real sugar in my baking but use the sugar blend to lower the carb count.

Someday I may try topping this cake with a ganache but it is simply lovely all by itself.  I also plan to try cupcakes.

I next tried making a lemon garbanzo bean cake because I adore lemon desserts, but it was a dismal failure.  The cake was good (Ray is eating it) but my meter was more than unhappy when I tested it.  You just have to add too much sweetener when making a lemon dessert.  I may try another garbanzo cake (without the lemon) to see how it does for a yellow cake. 

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The further adventures of Kate, the low-carb baker

Let me start by saying that I’m feeling a bit less ticked off today (for those of you who read my rant from Sunday.  I’m still upset about the state of things, as mentioned in that post, but today I would like to focus on happier subjects: Baking.

I’ve been experimenting with baking with almond flour.  My quest is to find adequate substitutes for wheat flour breads.  I posted about my first almond bread here.   To update you on that saga, I made another loaf yesterday, substituting ½ of the eggs with generic egg beaters.  The loaf came out just fine!  In fact, I think I like this loaf better.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m getting used to it, or what, but it’s good!  Ray even likes it.  I sliced it up and got 14 slices instead of the 10 that I had swagged.  This means that this bread is 9 g carbs per slice with 7 g of fiber.  Nice.  This will become my go-to bread.  I sliced the whole loaf and froze most of it, putting waxed paper between each slice.
Today I baked some “bagels” made with coconut flour, a boatload of butter, salt, baking powder and 6 eggs. You can find the recipe here.  The recipe called for garlic but I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea of coconut and garlic, so I left out the garlic.  I also don’t have any guar or xanthan gum.  The recipe says it’s optional.  I Googled xanthan gum to find out what it does.  Apparently it’s a binding agent and will help the texture in gluten free breads.  (You may have just learned something on my blog today.  Spread the word.)

When I think of bagels I imagine something a bit chewy.  These aren’t.  They’re less dense than the bread made with almond flour.  They’re light and tasty and kinda cute!

The bottom line:  I like them quite a bit.  They hold together well.  The website says that they have a net carb count of 5 g each.  Not bad!  I didn’t do the nutritional calculations myself but I know that these suckers are saturated fat bombs.  With 1/3 cup butter, coconut flour and 6 eggs how could they not be?  I don’t think I want to know.  I think I will save these puppies to eat now and then, as opposed to regularly.

Next subject: beans and cake!  I’m an adventurer.