My Mom’s Caesar Salad Dressing

March 27th, 2013

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One dish that dinner guests at my parents’ house invariably request is my mom’s famous Caesar salad.  Because most salad dressings have a maddeningly high sugar content, they are off-limits to diabetics, but, fortunately, my mom’s Caesar is low-carb.  So, ever since she passed on her recipe to me, it has been one of my go-to sides whenever I am in charge of dinner – which, thankfully, is not often.  The dressing is incredibly easy to make, not to mention delicious, so I figured it would be perfect to include here.

The recipe calls for 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 egg, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 large (or 3 medium) garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  The dressing will come out best when made with all fresh ingredients.  I typically take my mom’s lead and squeeze the lemon juice myself.  If you do not have time to do the same, bottled lemon juice will work just fine, but, I beg of you, please, at the very least, use fresh garlic.

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Toss all of the ingredients into a Cuisinart or blender and mix thoroughly. 

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Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour. The longer the dressing is left to sit in the fridge, the better it tastes. In fact, I like it best after 24 to 48 hours..

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Before serving, run the dressing through the Cuisinart or blender once again.

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I typically mix the dressing with one head of romaine lettuce and one avocado (which serves two), but for those non-diabetics out there, you can also add tomato.  And there you have it!  A very diabetic-friendly – and extremely tasty – side-dish.  Enjoy!

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Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

March 14th, 2013

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A couple of days ago, my Southern (oh, how I wish I was Southern!) friend Rebecca posted a link on Facebook to a recipe for Meatball Sliders on the Mix and Match Mama website – which just so happens to be authored by Shay Shull, the sister of ABC’s most recent Bachelor, Sean Lowe.  Being first and foremost a stalker (you can visit my filming locations blog here), I, of course, ate the website up – as well as her other website, Mix and Match Family – with a spoon, pun intended.  And while the Sliders recipe sounded divine, at first blush it was not very diabetic-friendly.  So I decided to amend it a bit to suit the needs of my no-carb diet.  The results turned out so fabulous that I had to share them here.  Pictured above are some of the ingredients (the recipe calls for half a pound of ground beef, half a pound of Italian sausage, two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, one 24-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce, and one 8-ounce jar of pesto) . . . and some champagne – for the chef.  Winking smile 

Thankfully, because I am SO NOT a domestic goddess, Shay’s blog posts consist of only recipes that are quick and easy, including this one.  To start with, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the sausage and ground beef.  Roll the mixture into golf-ball-sized meatballs and then push a divot into the center of each. 

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Fill the divots with approximately one tablespoon of mozzarella cheese.

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To close the meatballs, fold the divot edges over the cheese.  Then place them onto a greased cookie sheet.

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I made small to medium-sized meatballs which yielded eight.  You can easily make them bigger or smaller, though, depending on your needs.

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Cook the meatballs for 16 to 18 minutes.

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While Shay’s recipe called for mixing a jar of tomato sauce with a jar of pesto, because tomatoes are high in carbohydrates, that was not an option for me.  I decided instead to top my meatballs off with mostly pesto sauce and just a small dollop of tomato sauce, to cut the richness of the dish.  Eating the balls as sliders with bread was also, obviously, not possible for me, so I simply ate them solo.  And voila – they turned out fabulous.  They were also extremely filling.

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My husband is not diabetic and loves himself some pasta, so for his meal I used Shay’s pesto/tomato sauce mixture and served it over farfalle pasta.  We topped both dishes off with some fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese.  The meal was quick and easy and it was so nice to be able to make both a high-carb option and a no-carb option at the same time.

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Chevy’s Fresh Mex Fajita Salad

October 10th, 2012

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Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday and, every year, I spend the month of October chronicling Haunted Hollywood locations for my other blog, IAMNOTASTALKER.  I have been so absorbed with my Halloween postings this year that I have completely neglected The Well-Heeled Diabetic and I apologize.  Anyway, this past Saturday afternoon, while driving home from my parents’ house in Palm Springs, my husband and I stopped by a Tai Pan Trading store to purchase some Halloween decorations.  And while I was literally drooling over the humongous glitter skeleton pictured above, my husband, whom I like to call “the Grim Cheaper”, balked at its $50 price tag, so I was forced to leave it behind.  After purchasing a few less-expensive items, we headed across the street to a Chevys Fresh Mex restaurant where I ordered  the Grilled Fajita Salad, which turned out to be one of the best salads that I have ever eaten in my entire life!  And because it was a low-carb meal, to boot, I decided I just had to blog about it.

The Grilled Fajita Salad is comprised of sizzling mesquite-grilled fajita-style chicken (you can also opt for carnitas), a bed of chilled romaine lettuce, grilled onions, red and green bell peppers, cotija and jack cheeses, pepita seeds, fresh Hass avocados, pico de gallo sauce, and tortilla strips, topped off with an apple-chipotle vinaigrette.  I told our server to hold the pepita seeds (I LOVE them, but they are, sadly, too high in carbs), pico de gallo and tortilla strips and to swap out the vinaigrette for ranch dressing, which transformed the salad into a much more diabetic-friendly meal.  And, let me tell you, it was FABULOUS.  The salad was even mixed right in front of me, which only added to the fun.  Smile  El Torito Grill features a very similar dish named the Tableside Grilled Fajitas Salad (pictured below) which I enjoyed a few months ago while stalking a location from fave movie Crazy, Stupid, Love.

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Fajita Salad - El Torito - Chevys (2 of 2)

Don’t be alarmed by the Chevys nutritional information which states that the Grilled Fajita Salad contains 1,220-1,290 calories and 51-56 grams of carbohydrates.  If you minus the salad dressing, pico de gallo, pepita seeds, and tortilla strips, the carb and calorie counts lesson exponentially.  And while bell peppers are not exactly a low-carb food, I decided to splurge a bit and left them on my salad. 

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So while it might seem like dining low-carb at a Mexican restaurant is an impossible feat, I am happy to report that there are some very tasty options.  As I mentioned in my post about lettuce-shell tacos, some restaurants are willing to substitute lettuce leaves for tortillas on fajita orders.  And I have even been known to order chicken fajitas with a side of lettuce to create my very own fajita salad if there was not one to my liking on the menu.  (Yes, I am extremely picky!)  Don’t get discouraged when dining out – delicious low-carbohydrate options can always be found.  Sometimes you just have to think outside the box!

On the Hunt for a Diabetic-Friendly Evening Bag

September 12th, 2012

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Thanks to my girl Miss Pinky Lovejoy, of the Thinking Pink blog, on Sunday, September 23rd, I have the unbelievable opportunity to attend the Annual Primetime Emmy Awards for the second year in a row!  (I know, pinch me now!)  And while finding the perfect dress (pictured above) was a cinch, tracking down a suitable evening bag has, unfortunately, proved to be an insurmountable task.

While I would love to sport the fringed Fendi clutch that Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) carried in the Season 6 episode of fave show Sex and the City titled “Lights, Camera, Relationship”, the tiny thing would hardly hold my blood sugar meter, let alone my insulin pen, extra needles, and sugar pills. Oh, and my camera, which is as essential to this stalker on Emmy night as insulin!

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When I headed to my local department store to check out diabetic-friendly options, I found that the pickings were quite slim.  While I realize that a clutch is almost by definition small and that most evening bags are going to be on the tiny side, I figured that there would be at least one fancy purse large enough to hold all of my diabetic paraphernalia.   I was wrong.  As you can see below, I could not find any clutches for sale that were wider than half an inch!  With those measurements, I could hardly fit my keys, cell phone and wallet, let alone all of the other essentials that I need to be carrying.

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All of the other stores I tried sold more of the same.  Even on eBay, the findings are virtually nil.  I mean, I’m not being picky, right?  All I want is a hand bag that is either shiny or sparkly, cute, can fit all of my stuff, and is not too expensive.  Is that really too much to ask?  Apparently so, because after pounding some serious pavement in Old Town Pasadena, I came up empty-handed.  Unless the shopping gods intervene and point me to a large-sized evening bag in the next twelve days, I will be carrying my everyday purse – a Louis Vuitton Manhattan PM – just like I did at last year’s Emmys.  Ah well, I guess I always have been of the firm belief that Louis goes with everything.  Winking smile

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My Nightmare with the DMV

August 31st, 2012

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Shortly after my husband and I got married in August 2010, I made an appointment with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to change my last name.  At the time, I had no idea what an ordeal that appointment would turn out to be.  (And yes, my husband and I were re-creating the famous Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston wedding photo in the picture above, which was taken by wedding photographer extraordinaire Rob Greer.  You can read more about that story on my IAMNOTASTALKER blog here.)

I had informed the DMV that I was diabetic when it came time to renew my license in 2008, two years before I got married, and I did not think that my illness would at all play a part in my name-change appointment, which I assumed would be a simple in-and-out procedure.  I was wrong – on both counts.  To change one’s name at the DMV, a Driver License Application Form (known as a DL 44 in California) must be filled out.  The form (which is not available online, otherwise I would provide a link to it) asks a series of medical questions, including if the applicant is diabetic.  I, of course, checked yes.  But again, this was not new information to the DMV – my file had clearly stated, since 2008, that I was a Type 1 diabetic on insulin.

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So I was absolutely shocked when the DMV clerk freaked out upon seeing my paperwork.  She informed me that, as a diabetic, I was a “high-risk driver” and that she would have to suspend my license immediately until my “case” could be further reviewed.  She also suggested that I call someone to pick me up as I would not be allowed to drive home.  It was at that point that I had a complete and total meltdown.

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Thankfully, the clerk (who did look quite a bit like the woman below from the 1988 flick License to Drive Winking smile) regressed once I put up a fight and agreed to let me keep my license for the time being.  (Come to find out, it is actually illegal for the DMV to suspend a license on the spot in a case like mine – a case in which a driver has not had an accident or been referred to the DMV by their physician as a safety risk.)  She did move my license status to “probationary”, though, and sent my case to the DMV Driver Safety Branch.

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A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail informing me that I was required to attend a hearing with a DMV safety officer, who would determine if I was fit to drive.  I also received a lengthy questionnaire that I was to have my doctor fill out.  All this for someone who had never so much as had a speeding ticket!

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And let me be the first to say here that I am all about safety.  If I actually suffered from a condition in which my ability to drive was impaired, I would have no problem with the DMV taking extra steps before handing over a license.  But diabetes?  Sure diabetics run the risk (a very miniscule risk, mind you) of going into a diabetic-induced coma due to low blood sugar, but we can feel our blood sugar getting low LONG before the point of actually losing consciousness. A diabetic suffering from hypoglycemia does not just automatically pass out.  There are definite – and very recognizable – symptoms that come into play long beforehand. Heck, I have even been woken up out of a deep sleep when my sugar was low thanks to those symptoms.  So lapsing into a coma while driving is not a very likely happenstance.

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Flash forward six weeks to my Driver Safety hearing, which, I was shocked to discover, was an actual hearing – the entire thing was tape-recorded and I was put under oath!  Thankfully though, the safety officer assigned to my case was intelligent, and, while not very well-versed on the subject of diabetes and its complications, I felt like she listened – and trusted – what I had to say.  One of the first questions she asked was how many times a day I typically test my blood sugar.  When I answered, “At least eight”, she almost fell out of her chair.  She informed me that most diabetics she talked to tested their blood just two or three times in a 24-hour period.  I clarified that I test when I first wake up, before and after eating breakfast, before and after eating lunch, before and after eating dinner, before I go to bed, and at various times throughout the day when I feel my sugar to be either high or low.  It was then that I think she realized that I not only take my disease very seriously, but that I also take very good care of myself.

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My hearing took about 45 minutes and afterward the officer declared that I was fit to drive (duh!) and that she was reinstating my license.  Thank God!  The whole ordeal, which lasted about two months from the time I first visited the DMV to my hearing, was a nightmare, though.  And, after all of that, I still had to make yet another appointment to actually change my last name!  Just what I wanted to do – go back to the DMV.  Ugh!  I recently stumbled upon this fabulous post on the Diabetes Attorney website which I urge any diabetic heading to the DMV to read.  Doing so would have saved me one heck of a headache!

Chicken Soup for the Diabetic Soul

August 14th, 2012

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Being sick when you are a diabetic, in plain language, sucks.  Almost all remedies one typically reaches for when under the weather are maddeningly off-limits due to the fact that they contain large amounts of sugar.  Orange juice for a boost of vitamin C is out, as are saltine crackers to calm an upset stomach and ice cream to soothe a sore throat.  Because Afrin – the one “luxury item” that my pre-diabetic self would have brought along with me on Survivor - inexplicably raises blood sugar, it, too, is a no-no.

So I was incredibly happy – I could have danced a jig, in fact – to discover that there was a way to make a low-carb chicken noodle soup, thanks to Shirataki noodles.  The spaghetti-shaped noodle substitute is made from tofu and is therefore extremely low in carbohydrates.  And when I say low in carbohydrates, I actually mean that.  Unlike Dreamfields “low net carb” pastas, which seem to affect my blood sugars exactly the same as regular pasta, an entire package of Shirataki noodles contains only six grams of carbohydrates, forty calories and zero grams of sugar.  Admittedly, six grams of carbs is more than I typically consume in one sitting (most of my meals consist of a total of three to four carbs), but when I am sick and lacking an appetite, I am willing to cheat a bit.

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As you can see below, Shirataki noodles come packaged in a water solution.

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To prepare them, you must first drain the noodles . .  .

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. . . and then rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Upon opening the package, you will notice that they have a very funky smell. I am not sure what causes it, but I think it has something to do with the packaging solution. To get rid of the smell, you will need to parboil the noodles for about three minutes and then dry them thoroughly. At that point, you can use them as you would any regular noodle.

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While my husband, who is pretty much a gourmet chef, usually makes chicken broth from scratch using chicken bones (blech!), when I am sick I much prefer the taste of Top Ramen broth.  I know, I know – I am weird.  If you are not a fan of Top Ramen, though, you can also make the soup using real or canned chicken broth.

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To make my diabetic-friendly chicken noodle soup, which serves two, you will need three packages of Top Ramen, two diced chicken breasts, three stalks of chopped green onions, a package of sliced mushrooms, and two to three cups of broccoli heads.  If you prefer a simpler soup, you can also make the meal sans chicken and veggies.

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To begin, mix four cups of water with three Top Ramen seasoning packets, three stalks of chopped green onions (for flavor), and two chopped chicken breasts.  Bring to a boil and cook for thirty minutes.

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Then add the mushrooms and two packages of Shirataki noodles (remember this is for a serving of two) and boil for another ten minutes or until the chicken breasts are fully cooked.

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My husband and I like our broccoli al-dente, so we mix it in last and boil it for only a minute or two.  If you prefer your broccoli well-done, you can add it in at the same time as the mushrooms and noodles.

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Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Road Trip Dining for the Diabetic

July 31st, 2012

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I was recently asked what I eat when on a road trip because, let’s face it, there are just not a lot of fast food options out there for diabetics.  While McDonalds’ French fries may smell divine, they wreak havoc on our blood sugars.  As a frequent traveler who has been at the no-carb thing for a while now, I have had quite a bit of experience tracking down good road eats and thought I would share my finds.

Whenever I’m road-tripping, my no-carb meal of choice is the Fiesta Beef Taco Salad from Taco Bell.  The dish is so in demand for me that I even had to download the Taco Bell app to make locating the restaurant while on the road easier.  (Yes, there is an app for that!)  While the Fiesta Taco Salad typically comes with rice, beans, tomatoes (which, unbeknownst to most, are high in carbohydrates), and tortilla strips, I subtract those items leaving behind a much more diabetic-friendly (not to mention delicious!) seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and sour cream mixture.  For those times when I am extremely hungry, I will double the beef.  And while the salad comes in a yummy-looking, but high-carb, tortilla shell, it is, of course, off-limits.  I simply throw my uneaten shell away after dining, but if you find that having one on your plate is too tempting, you can also order the salad in a bowl.

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For those who would much prefer a hamburger to a salad, Jack in the Box restaurants are willing to wrap patties in lettuce for their carb-conscious guests.  I am not a huge burger fan, so I don’t explore this option very often, but I am fairly certain that most other fast food chains would do the same.  Heck, In-N-Out even features the item, which they call a “Protein Burger”, on their Hidden Menu, as does Johnny Rockets.

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My personal fave on-the-run food, though, has to be the hotdog, which I am shown enjoying below in New York in 2005, prior to being diagnosed with diabetes, which explains why I am eating the bun.  Nowadays, I simply forgo the bun and chow down with a knife and fork.  Or if I am walking and dining, as I was below, I simply eat around the bun.  My current hotdog obsession is The Slaw Dogs in Pasadena, but whenever I am on the East Coast, I opt for Gray’s Papaya – an NYC chain that serves up the very best dogs this diabetic has ever sampled.

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Lunch in a Pinch!

July 23rd, 2012

 

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A couple of months ago, I discovered the “create-your-own salad” carryout bar in the bakery/cafe section of my local Il Fornaio restaurant and have been absolutely hooked ever since.  The salads run $6.99 and are not only quite large, but healthy, delicious, and entirely diabetic-friendly — if you choose the correct toppings, of course.  The meal is now my go-to lunch staple when I am on the run and since there are Il Fornaio outposts located all over the U.S., including 16 in California alone, I thought the dish was most-definitely blog-worthy.

The create-your-own salads are mixed right in front of you, much like a sandwich is made at Subway.  You start by choosing one of three different lettuce assortments – mixed field greens, romaine or spinach – which a server will pour into a large bowl.  Then you pick up to five toppings – choices include cucumber, bacon, feta cheese, bleu cheese, mushrooms, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, and broccoli, among countless others – which the server will also mix into the bowl. Tuna or chicken can also be added on for an additional $2.59.

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Finally, you choose from five different dressings, including ranch and classic Caesar.  I always get my dressing on the side so that I can mix it in later when I am ready to eat.

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I often get asked for fast and easy to-go meal solutions and I have to say that Il Fornaio’s salad is my number-one choice. It is quick (the servers mix it all up in less than two minutes), easily transportable, very low in carbs (if, as I said above, you choose your toppings wisely), and fairly reasonably priced, especially for its size.  If I know I am going to be out all day and will not have a lot of healthy lunch options to choose from wherever I am going, I will stop by Il Fornaio in the morning and grab a salad to take with me. And while these kinds of make-you-own salads can be found in delicatessens all over New York, this is the first time that I have ever spotted such a thing in the Los Angeles area.  To see if there is an Il Fornaio located near you, you can visit the restaurant’s official website here.

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My Diet – aka Saying Good-Bye to Carbs

July 17th, 2012

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Because my diet (which is based upon the methods presented in Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution) is the most important aspect of my diabetes control, I wanted to write a more in-depth post about it.  At the beginning of his book, Dr. Bernstein states, “You’re the only person who can be responsible for normalizing your blood sugars.  Although your physician may guide you, the ultimate responsibility is in your hands.  This task will require significant changes in lifestyle that may involve some sacrifice.  The question naturally arises, ‘Is it really worth the effort?’”  At the time that I discovered Dr. Bernstein’s book, my answer to that question was a resounding “Yes!”  As I mentioned in my “My Story” post, when I first started reading Diabetes Solution I was at my wit’s end.  I had gained about 25 pounds, was feeling sluggish and depressed the vast majority of the time and my blood sugars were on a constant rollercoaster ride of highs and lows.  I was ready to make a change – even a drastic one that would eliminate all carbs from my diet – in order to get my life back.

While giving up all carbohydrates might sound like a scary proposition, it was one that I was willing to try.  But even I have limits.  I told myself that I would give the diet a week and if I absolutely hated it, I would seek out other means of controlling my blood sugars.  Well, let me tell you, not only did I not hate the diet, but because I felt so fabulous (like a light switch had been turned on inside of me) within just a few days, carbs were not something I missed or craved.

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Before reading Dr. Bernstein’s book, I had assumed that consuming only protein and vegetables would leave me constantly hungry, but I could not have been more wrong.  Prior to starting the diet, I would find myself ravenous within minutes of finishing a meal.  Insulin will do that to you.  Once I was able to drastically cut my insulin dosage, though, thanks to my no-carb regime, I was, for the first time in years, completely satiated after eating.  My depression quickly evaporated, as did the extra pounds I had gained, as you can see below.  In fact, they seemed to just melt right off.  It has now been almost three years since I started following Dr. Bernstein’s methods and I could not be happier or healthier.

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Amazingly enough, I do not watch my fat intake – at all.  Most people would probably be horrified at the amount of cheese I eat on a daily basis.  But not only is my cholesterol outstanding, as you can see below, but I am also slender.  Dr. Bernstein says, “If you give it some thought, it makes perfect sense: If a farmer wants to fatten up his pigs or cows, he doesn’t feed them meat or butter and eggs, he feeds them grain.  If you want to fatten yourself up, just start loading up on bread, pasta, potatoes, cake, and cookies – all high-carbohydrate foods.  If you want to hasten the fattening process, consume dietary fat with your carbohydrate.  Indeed, two recent studies showed that dietary fat, when consumed as part of a high-carbohydrate diet, was converted to body fat.  Fat consumed as part of a low-carbohydrate diet was metabolized, or burned off.”  I am a living testament to the fact that that statement is true.

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The sentence in the book that hit home the hardest for me was this – “Whether you eat a piece of the nuttiest whole grain-bread, drink a Coke, or have mashed potatoes, the effect on blood glucose levels is essentially the same.”  I’ll repeat that, in bold this time –  “Whether you eat a piece of the nuttiest whole grain-bread, drink a Coke, or have mashed potatoes, the effect on blood glucose levels is essentially the same.”  Before reading Diabetes Solution, I had been under the impression that it was safe to eat a small piece of bread with dinner or some whole-grain rice with lunch.  Never in a million years did I think that it would have the same effect on my sugars as drinking a can of Coke!

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The picture below was taken in April of 2009, a good eight months before I read Diabetes Solution.  As you can see, at the time I had no idea what I was doing.  No wonder my sugars were a mess!  In those days, I figured a little pizza crust couldn’t hurt me – I mean, it’s not like I was drinking a Coke!  Winking smile  Oh, how much I had to learn!  Prior to starting this site, I checked out some of the other diabetes blogs out there and on one a woman was discussing the fact that her blood sugars were high one evening after consuming pizza for dinner. She did not understand why because she was on an insulin pump and had given herself extra insulin to compensate. As Dr. Bernstein explains in his book, though, “Injected insulin – even with an insulin pump – doesn’t work the same as insulin created naturally in the body.”  Diabetics quite simply cannot eat things like pasta, bread or pizza (although my husband does make a particularly yummy pizza using mushrooms as a crust – a recipe that I will share at a later date.)

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I spotted the sign pictured below at a cafeteria in Palm Springs a few months back and could not stop laughing about it.  Obviously the 843.7-gram carb count (LOL!!!) for a slice of cheese pizza is a grossly-amplified typo (it should most likely read “43.7”).  But for a diabetic, it might as well be the true amount considering what pizza does to our blood sugars.

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As I mentioned in my “My Story” post, I am not perfect and do, on occasion, cheat.  I have a weakness for popcorn and chicken strips and sometimes give in to those cravings.  But every time I do, I invariably feel horrible for several hours afterwards and always say to myself, “Why, oh, why did I do this?”  The vast majority of the time, though, I follow Dr. Bernstein’s diet to a T and could not be happier doing so.  I strongly urge fellow diabetics who are having a hard time controlling their blood sugars to read his book, which you can find here.

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As always, I am only reporting on what has worked for me.  Please speak with a doctor or medical professional before embarking upon this diet plan.  Do know, though, that I met with some resistance from my doctors when I began the diet, not because they thought it was unhealthy, but because they had doubts that I would be able to give up carbohydrates long-term.  Now that they have seen my miraculous test results and how happy and healthy I am, they are behind my no-carb regime one-hundred percent.

Diabetic-Friendly Tacos!

July 10th, 2012

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I plan to include many diabetic-friendly recipes on this site and for my first foray I thought I would blog about a favorite home-cooked meal – my version of the chicken “soft” taco.  Because Dr. Bernstein’s diet does not include carbohydrates of any kind – outside of vegetables – taco shells are not an option for this diabetic.  But I have found that substituting a lettuce leaf for a tortilla is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy the Mexican treat.

To begin, dice up 1/4 of a white onion (only a small amount of onion should be used, as the bulbs are, unfortunately, high in carbs) and sauté it with a bit of olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Then, cut chicken breasts (one breast for every person who will be dining) into long, thin pieces.  Once the onions are translucent in color, toss in the strips of chicken and sauté them until they are brown on both sides.  You can also toss in some mushrooms, if you are so inclined.

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Next, cut large leaves of either romaine or iceberg lettuce to be used as your taco “shells”.  The outermost leaves are usually the biggest and therefore work the best for this recipe.  For accoutrements, I typically serve grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocados, sliced olives, cabbage, and sour cream, or some variation thereof.

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And voila, you have a delicious taco that you do not have to feel guilty about eating.  This quick and easy meal can also be made using beef, steak or ground turkey.

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The lettuce-as-a-tortilla trick can also be used when making fajitas and – as an added bonus – can sometimes be employed at restaurants.  Marix Tex Mex Café (Jennifer Aniston’s favorite restaurant) in West Hollywood is happy to substitute lettuce leaves for tortillas on their fajita orders, which are fantastic by the way!