On day five of Diabetes Blog Week, we are writing about one of my favorite things: food. The prompt is:
Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day! Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever. Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.
I read Adam’s food posts recently and was surprised to see how similarly we eat. Below are some of my typical meals.
- Yogurt and granola – Plain Greek yogurt with berries and nut granola (I LOVE this Grain Free Chocolate Granola from Delighted Momma).
- Avocado toast – One piece of whole grain bread toasted and topped with half an avocado and a couple of fried or poached eggs.
- Roasted veggie bowl – Roasted veggies with a little brown rice or quinoa, and some kind of protein (often a poached egg). Roasted veggies are great because you can prepare a huge batch and use leftovers for days. I just toss raw vegetables with olive oil and sea salt, and then roast them in an oven set at 400 degrees.
- Kitchen sink salad – A big bowl of salad greens with whatever else you have in your fridge – a variety of veggies (fresh or leftover roasted), nuts, cheese, and maybe a little fruit. The more items you add, the more interesting the salad. I make my own dressing with olive oil, balsamic and Dijon mustard.
- Roasted chicken and veggies – Roast chicken thighs (this is a delicious and super speedy rub), alongside veggies like cubed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
- Stir-fry – Throw together bite-sized meat and loads of veggies, and serve with a little brown rice. Lately I’ve been making a cashew chicken recipe that I learned to make in Thailand.
- Whole grain pasta – For a heartier meal, pair whole grain pasta with meat and veggies. I just made this New York Times recipe for whole grain mac and cheese with broccoli, and added ham.
- Dark chocolate – I love dark chocolate and usually have a square or two in the evening.
Like Adam, I find that managing my blood sugar is easiest when I eat about 120 grams of carbs or less a day. I cook most of my meals myself, focus on whole foods, and always include protein. When I bake, I tend to use almond flour (see my recipe posts for a Chocolate Torte and Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies), which is low carb a has a very low glycemic index.
*Read other Diabetes Blog Week Day Five entries here.
I recently read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters and find myself returning to it often. The book discusses the current state of food in the U.S., and the resulting environmental challenges, obesity and health problems. Similar to Michael Pollen, Bittman offers eating strategies focused on moving away from processed junk “food” and consuming a primarily plant-based diet. He says this approach not only will help people lose weight, but also will slow global warming.
The book is full of great ideas for creating healthy, earth-friendly meals. Bittman encourages readers to prepare simple things like pots of grains and beans to have on hand and use throughout the week. He says that with the right ingredients in your kitchen, including fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and smart meat choices, it’s easy to throw together delicious meals.
I’ve been taking this approach a lot lately making large portions of dishes that I can eat for a few days. I’ve experimented with the ingredients – everything from quinoa with chickpeas and zucchini to whole-wheat pasta with turkey sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. The other night, with a huge bag of sweet potatoes on hand (I know, I’ve been obsessed lately) I tweaked a quinoa recipe I found on About.com.
I roasted sweet potato chunks (tossed with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper) and prepared the quinoa in chicken broth, then tossed the two together with more oil, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh lemon juice. I topped the dish with spiced pecan pieces. It was so simple and made a great lunch the next day.
As I experiment more and more in the kitchen, I’ve found that eating whole food – and knowing where that food comes from – makes a huge difference in the way I feel physically and mentally. Knowing that this approach helps the planet is a huge added bonus.
I had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting last week in San Antonio. I was there as an exhibitor for one of my clients, the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, promoting the orange spuds as a delicious, diabetic-friendly diet option. Despite the steamy Texas weather, I had a great experience, both professionally and personally.
I got my first taste of the conference on my flight to the Lone Star State last Tuesday. I sat next to an amazing woman who is a nurse, diabetic educator and mom to a son (my age) with type 1 diabetes. She’s dedicated herself to helping others with the condition, and as she shared stories about the people she’s worked with, I could feel her passion. Diabetes is personal to her and she’s made it her mission to be a positive force in the lives of others. I saw this passion and dedication from many others I met in San Antonio.
While I wasn’t able to attend any seminars, I had the chance to speak with hundreds of conference attendees who stopped by the booth to sample our Sweet Potato and Ginger Slaw. (Rumors quickly started swirling about the tasty slaw and our booth was mobbed a few times by hungry educators.)
I spoke with many who were well aware of the health benefits and low GI of the sweet potato, and ended up swapping a lot of recipe ideas (including plenty of twists on sweet potato fries.) A few of the people I talked with had diabetes, including one inspiring woman who’s had type 1 for 57 years. After chatting a little about my experience, she encouraged me to take care of myself and said she knew I’d do well.
I also had the chance to walk around the exhibition hall and talk with other exhibitors. It was fun to chat with food companies I’m familiar with, like Dreamfields Pasta, and discover new ones worth following, like Hail Merry. (Their Chocolate Macaroons are to die for!) I also had the chance to speak with people from dLife and the folks behind the Joe Toucan Diabetes Project.
All in all, it was an exciting and uplifting three days in San Antonio. It’s pretty cool when your professional responsibilities and personal interests align, and I felt lucky to be on the on the job talking with others about good food and diabetes.