John asked a question last week on my Q&A regarding Arborio rice and it’s nutritional benefits. Or lack thereof. Oops. You know, like a kid told not to touch an open flame, I went and made an Arborio recipe (because 24 1/2 years was too long to go without this treat). But I blame Kerstin for this…her recipes are all too enticing! Behold:
Gruyere Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1 large bunch asparagus, chopped
2 cups mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter Smart Balance Light
1 yellow onion, 3 small shallots, chopped (I didn’t have an onion! The shallots were awesome!)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio rice, dry
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (approx. 7 ounces)
2 tablespoons 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan and sauté asparagus and mushrooms until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, melt butter over medium high heat in a large stockpot. Sauté the onion for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the rice and stir until well-coated and translucent. Reduce heat to medium and stir in 1 cup of chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed; add another cup and continue in this way until all the chicken stock has been absorbed, for about 30 minutes. Stir in gruyere cheese, lemon juice, and salt and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Stir in asparagus and mushrooms. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Makes 5 servings.
Nutrition Information (1/5th of recipe): 382 calories, 18 g. fat, 40 mg. cholesterol; 610 mg. sodium; 33 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber, 19.2 g. protein per serving
Ok, sure…not the best stats, but this recipe is a W-O-W recipe! You know, the kind you make for a special someone you’re trying to impress…or when your in-laws come to town (my in-laws read my blog AND they’re amazing, so this doesn’t apply to me, of course!). At least it has vegetables!? But yeah, Gruyere doesn’t come in a low-fat version to my knowledge 😉 But MAN, it is GOOD! My husband was so sweet to me tonight. I got a, “Thanks for making dinner, babe! It tastes really Italian.”
::blink blink:: Thumbs upppppppppp!
And on to the brief (but good!) Q&A for the week…
…Or possible known as the once-a-week, really long, exhaustively detailed posts!
Biz of Biggest Diabetic Loser: If I know I am going to have a hard workout, I tend to give myself a bit less insulin at breakfast so my blood sugar doesn’t crash and burn. Take today for instance – I was 180 before working out, and when I got back it was a perfect 102. I then took the right amount of insulin for my lunch. Do you think having that “temporary” high will hurt me in the long run? My blood sugar numbers on average for 30 days are between 116 and 125.
Prevention RD: For those of you who don’t know Biz, she is a type 1 diabetic and author of the wonderful blog, Biggest Diabetic Loser. I feel comfortable answering this because I know your HbA1c is just below 7.0% — my answer would vary for someone with a higher HbA1c. I think that if this is working for you, you’re fine to continue with this regimen (especially if you’re on an insulin pump, which I’m not sure if you are or not…). The one option you have is to take a ligher dose of insulin with breakfast – bolus for maybe half the carbs you consume with whatever carb:insulin ratio you use and exercise with a G2/water or water/juice mix and drink that throughout your workout. This would have you starting your workout closer to a 120-140 mg/dl reading (I wouldn’t recommend below 120 to start in case you don’t intake enough and risk bottoming out) and fueling your blood glucose as the exercise works to decrease the glucose, hypothetically keeping you right in the 100-130 range throughout the duration of your exercise. If you decide to take this approach, I would certainly have your monitor nearby and come prepared – glucose tabs, honey or whatever agent you use in emergency hypoglycemic instances. I do feel there could be some benefit in your HbA1c if you’re able to prevention missing any insulin doses in light of working out. It may take some trial and error to work out any kinks, but it can be done! The key with type 1 diabetes and exercise is consistency. I say it all the time – diabetics know their bodies better than ANYONE else…even the best of doctors and endocrinologists out there. I hope this makes sense and keep me posted – I want to know what you decide to try out, if anything! Awesome make-Nicole-think question! P.S. I ran this past both our Diabetes Nurse and one of the doctors on staff today, and they agreed! 🙂
Molly: I’ve been meaning to ask this question for quite some time. I’d say I live a healthy life style; working out regularly and watching what I eat. I try to eat as balanced of a diet as I can, getting the right amount of good fats, proteins and carbohydrates. But one thing that will ALWAYS be hard for me to control is my love for salt. I definitely love salty over sweet and almost always salt my food (even if it doesn’t need it). What I try and do to compensate for my love of salt is drink A LOT of water…I mean a lot. I feel as though this will some how help or “reverse” the effects. Is it crazy for me to think that or is there actually some logic behind it?
Prevention RD: Hey Molly! Good question! I have to put in my plug on the importance of a low-sodium diet. Salt is a hard habit to kick, so don’t wait until you’re any more set in your ways to change! The majority of the salt we ingest is present in our food through the processing it undergoes, so any additional salt to our diet is likely too much. Excessive salt intake can cause serious electrolyte imbalances, water retention, and hypertension – also known as “the silent killer”. Having high blood pressure puts undue strain on every vessel in our bodies and over time, this can cause serious internal damage and lead to strokes and cardiovascular disease. While I am catastrophizing (not a word…) some, it is a serious matter. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly and exercise is definitely a huge help! How much water are you drinking? Large loads of sodium can off-set the sodium balance of the body and thirst does increase when this balance is off. If your high water intake is habitual that sounds fine, but if your thirst seems excessive, this could indicate a sodium in balance in the body. If this is the case, I would look to decrease your salt usage even more so. Another thing to consider is increasing your intake of potassium; potassium and sodium work together in the body to carry impulses through the body which are vital for proper health. Using less processed foods and cooking from scratch can help lower the salt in your diet without changing the content too much. But as far as water actually flushing out all the sodium, this isn’t really the case. Water can help ease the effects of bloating, but it doesn’t reverse salt intake. Sorry! Great question!!
Anonymous: I’ve read a lot about agave nectar being just as bad as sugar – is this true?
Prevention RD: I’m sure you’ve seen this claim a lot – it’s all over right now! Agave is the natural sweetener that comes from the same Mexican plant used to make tequila! Agave has similar calorie and carbohydrate content to sugar, however agave is three times sweeter and thus requires less to achieve the same sweetness. Agave can be up to 90% fructose – the natural sugar found in fruits which has a lower glycemic index than sugar itself. While agave nectar is a tasty, all-natural sweetener, it is still a high-calorie sweetener that should be used in moderation. Until we find a 100% all-natural, organic, calorie-free, perfectly safe sweetener, we will be able to find a problem with any other sweetener for one reason or another! People hear that something is “good” or “healthy” and they take that to mean more is better, and that’s just not the case. Really great question!
Alison of Waisting Duxie: I am trying to conceive. Can I get too much folic acid? Most supplements are 800 mcg, the supplement that I am taking to lengthen my luteal phase (gotta love pre-menopausal in my mid 30s) has 200 mg and I’m supposed to take it 3 times a day, BUT I often forget. Is it better to take the 800 one in the morning when I know I won’t forget and then maybe get 400 more over the day? How much does a typical diet high in dark leafy green veggies add and ultimately is this one of those vitamins you can overdo.
Prevention RD: The “tolerable upper limit” for folate is 1000 micrograms a day, though risk for toxicity is low. Because so many foods in the US food supply are fortified and enriched, most Americans meet the 400 mcg recommended daily value. What I am unable to locate is any folic acid recommendations to lengthening of your luteal phase. Best as I can tell and rationalize, you shouldn’t need additional folic acid and 800 mcg’s should be more than sufficient. I would not recommend taking over 1,000 mcg’s a day as this exceeds the upper limit. Check with your doctor regarding the 3 doses a day. Other than better chances of absorption, I don’t know of any other rationale for the frequent dosing, but I’m not a MD! I hope this helps – really interesting question! And congrats to you in starting a family! 😀
Happppppppppy Hump Day! Half way there, folks!
Question #1: What vitamins, minerals, or other supplements do you take?
Question #2: What’s your take on agave nectar? Like? Dislike? Healthy? Not-so-healthy?