Category Archives: blood glucose

herbs & spices for flavor and health

‘Morning!

I love this time of year, (even if Ohio may be seeing its first snow fall towards the end of this week…ugh) NCAA basketball and football seasons overlap. Basketball games during the week and football on the weekends makes me a happy camper! 😀 Anyone else??

I found an interesting article yesterday on herbs and spices and I wanted to share a few tidbits. The article was written by a Registered Dietitian and discussed dried vs. fresh herbs, and the overall health benefits of herbs and spices.

First things first, herbs and spices are essential in the health-conscious kitchen. Herbs and spices come with powerful flavor and with negligible calories, fat, or sodium. Rather than adding salt, the use of herbs and spices can flavor cooking and baking for a most delicious result. The article notes that herbs and spices should be used within 6 months for the most nutritional benefit. Dried herbs and spices lose nutritional value if they lose color or scent, so it’s best to only buy what you need. Store your herbs and spices in a cool, dark, dry place to keep them fresher longer. And remember, dried herbs can always be substituted for fresh in a 1-to-3 ratio.

The Stars:

Rosemary: antioxidant, anti-cancer and helps cholesterol
Cinnamon: the most potent anti-oxidant spice, can reduce blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, can reduce symptoms of nausea and stomach ulcers
Thyme: antioxidant, anti-bacterial, contains omega 3’s
Curry powder: Reduces joint inflammation, may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, helps circulation, used to tread digestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, menstrual symptoms, headaches, and flu-like symptoms

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

On that note…a delicious recipe with curry powder!

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp madras curry powder
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz (about 2 cups) chopped peeled butternut squash
1 cup light coconut milk
3 cups fat free vegetable or chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste (1/4 tsp salt + pepper)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Add oil to a medium soup pot, on medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, garlic and sauté. Add roasted cumin, masala and madras curry powder and mix well cooking another minute. Add broth, light coconut milk, butternut squash and cook covered until squash is soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove cover and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (or puree in a blender). Season with salt and fresh pepper and serve with fresh cilantro. Serves 3.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 158 calories; 6.7 g. fat;  0 mg. cholesterol; 374 mg. sodium; 22.3 g. carbohydrate; 4.3 g. fiber; 2.3 g. protein

Result: This was amazing! The flavors are outstanding – sweet, spicy, and a party in your mouth. When I heated up the leftovers in the break room at work, people thought it was a dessert. This soup is excellent, not sure what more to say other than it’s healthy, too!

I have a 3 mile run planned before work…off I go! 😀

Trivia Question: What is the #1 most requested pizza topping in the US?

I am planning a Q&A for next week. Send your questions (nutrition-related or otherwise) to me at PreventionRD@gmail.com!

Be well,

Advertisements

23 Comments

Filed under antioxidants, blog topic request, blood glucose, cancer, cholesterol, chronic disease, complimentary and alternative nutrition, diabetes, diet, dinner, exercise, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, heart health, herbs, pizza, recipe, running, sodium, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

trick or treat?

Happy Halloween! 😀

Pup-A-Ween at the dog park was HILARIOUS! There was, indeed, bobbing for hot dogs! And a costume contest! Check it out:

Lily is ready to go! How cute is that tushie?

Everyone was dressed up!

Mini Me!

There were stations set up for bobbing for hot dogs. Do you see them in there?! Some dogs just didn’t get it (like Lily) and others went to TOWN! It was hilarious! I was too busy laughing to catch any great pictures, sorry!

“I smell them, mommy…how do I GET them!?”

Lily napped the remainder of the day, ha!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As for me, I tricked myself into a workout. I put it off all morning…I was making chili and watching college football, after all. Those 2 activities always take precedence in the Prevention household! And then we had Pup-A-Ween and by 4pm I had lost motivation to workout. I said to myself, “You had 4 miles planned. If you get up now, you can do 4 miles. But for every hour you procrastinate, add a mile.” I ended up treking down to the treadmill at 5:10pm and ran a sluggish 5 miles. I felt good, just wasn’t in the mood to push it 😉 But I TRICKED myself into that workout!

…instead of enjoying treats.

…Because I promised no candy until Halloween which has been fine, until my kitchen table looked like this in preparation for tonight’s trick-or-treaters:

Oy! The last 24 hours have been oh so difficult, but…I DID IT! I also pinky swore with a patient of mine, and I can’t let him down. His blood sugars were outrageously high and in talking to him I learned it was because he had Halloween candy laying around. I told him the deal I had made with myself, and he wanted in. We pinky swore on it! And, his blood sugars look AWESOME!

Question: What is one candy you DON’T like?

Our staff wanted to put together little Halloween goodie bags for our patients (it’s the little things in life, right?) and they asked me what the patients could have. Unfortunately, chocolate, caramel, and nuts are all no-no’s for our kidney patients and so that leaves the fruity, chewy candy like Starbursts, Skittles, gummy bears, etc. The staff were in agreement that those were their least favorite candies, and I agree. I want the chocolate!

Have a spoooky day!

17 Comments

Filed under blood glucose, challenge, diabetes, dialysis & kidney disease, dog, exercise, pets, physical activity, running, self-control, sleep

A “Prevention Classic” & A Symposium Mistake

Remember how I said I was going a Diabetes Symposium yesterday and today? Well, here’s a little story from yesterday.

At my table was a type 1 diabetic, who was also a doctor. About 10 minutes before lunch I saw her check her blood sugar and take a shot of insulin. I wasn’t staring, promise. P.S. It’s probably not acceptable to draw blood and/or give yourself an injection at just any dining table, but here…totally acceptable. Anyways, lunch was served and it was a salad. On a dinner plate came Iceburg lettuce, shredded carrots, black olives, diced tomatoes, and about 4 garbanzo beans (I counted, no lie). You could add hard boiled egg crumbles and croutons, and there were dinner rolls to pass — enough for one person at each table. Lots of details, yes…but here’s why. That was lunch. Period. They cleared the spoon, forks (x2), and knife. Why lay out 2 forks for each guest when they only needed 1, by the way?

While I was cranky at 3pm, that was small change compared to that doctor sitting next to me who shoveled down 2 large cookies before she hit the ground from hypoglycemia. She said that last year when she attended the event it was a soup/salad, entree + starch, dinner roll, and dessert type of meal, thus requiring a bolus (insulin dose) to cover 30-45 grams of carbohydrate, which is what she took before yesterday’s lunch. However, that salad + dinner roll was about 15 grams of carbohydrate, max. It blows my mind as to how a DIABETES SYMPOSIUM filled with DIABETES PROFESSIONALS (and DIABETICS!) planned such a poor menu!! I felt terrible for that woman…and any other diabetics attending (which there were several — I saw their insulin pumps). Anyways, just wanted to share that — it’s a great lesson in meal planning and how important it is to prepare BALANCED menus.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Mr. Prevention loves fajitas. When we lived in Italy I swear I made fajitas once a week. And no, you did not read that wrong. In Italy…making fajitas. Mr. P missed the comfort foods of home: Mexican food! Now that we occasionally go out for Mexican food, he doesn’t request fajitas at home all too often. In fact, it was me craving the fajitas and boy were they good 😉

In order to keep things fresh and new, I tried making homemade fajita seasoning…and it was a huge success! Loved it!

Fajita Seasoning from Busy Cooks

3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp 2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp crushed chicken bouillon cubes (3 cubes)
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into small glass or plastic container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place. Yield: the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial or purchased Fajita Seasoning Mix

Nutrition Information (per “packet” equivalent — serves about 4): 78 calories (19 calories per serving); 1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2465 mg. sodium (~616 mg. per serving); 16 g. carbohydrate; 2.6 g. fiber; 5.3 g. sugar; 1.3 g. protein

Prevention Fajitas

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell peppers, cut into strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 “packet” of fajita seasoning (recipe above)

Directions:

Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, 1/2 “packet” or fajita seasoning (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) + 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cook chicken until nearly cooked through. Add veggies and add remaining fajita seasoning and additional water, if needed. Cook until veggies are tender. Yield: 4 servings (about 2 fajitas)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 246 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 128 mg. cholesterol; 679 mg. sodium; 16 g. carbohydrate; 3.8 g. fiber; 4.3 g. sugar; 40 g. protein

Result: Both were YUMMY! If you’re a fajita lover, you will love these 🙂 There’s nothing hard about fajitas, just need the right seasoning!

Question: What do you order when you’re at a Mexican restaurant? And is it inappropriate if I share my disappointment in yesterday’s lunch menu on the symposium evaluation?

TGIF!!!

22 Comments

Filed under blood glucose, carbohydrates, chronic disease, diabetes, diet, dietitians, doctors, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking, Italy, low-carb, lunch, recipe, salad

Protein Pancakes & Waffles

I’m not one to fall into the whole high protein shenanigans of protein shakes and bars. Generally speaking, American diets are not lacking in protein. I do, however, watch my carbohydrate intake because of PCOS and my blood glucose issues. But putting aside my beliefs and health issues, including protein to your morning meal is simply smart.

Protein adds balance and satiety that lacks in most breakfast options. A bowl of oatmeal or cereal, for example, lack fat and protein unless added in. Those carbohydrate-rich meals, complex (those containing fiber) or not, tend to have people hungry by the late morning hours. If you’re growling by 10 am, you either need a snack, and/or more protein in your breakfast meal.

Enter protein waffle:

Perfect Protein Pancakes from Foodologie

2 Tbsp whole wheat (pastry) flour
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 small banana, mashed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract)

Directions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the mashed banana, milk and vanilla and stir together until just combined.  In a small bowl whip up the egg white until it’s frothy.  Add it to the rest of the batter.  Bake in a heated waffle iron or cook on a griddle/pan for tasty protein filled breakfast goodies. Yield: 1 serving (1 large waffle or 3 small pancakes).

Nutrition Information: 303 calories; 3 g. fat; 61 mg. cholesterol; 376 mg. sodium; 44 g. carbohydrate;  5. g. fiber; 27 g. protein

Result: REALLY GOOD! I am so happy to say that! I’ve always purchased chocolate protein powder, but I really enjoyed using vanilla…the waffles were sweet and not heavy like most high-protein foods. I will definitely be making these again…27 grams of protein! Wowza!! Recommend these to your jock friends 😉

Last night was my first hockey game with my new team! I had a blast. Playing hockey will always make me feel strong and youthful! Can’t ask for more out of a workout! 😀

Have a fabulous week! To brighten up your Monday morning: Lily (in a most awkward position)…

Question: Do you having a filling breakfast that holds you until lunch, or do you snack mid-morning? Do you find protein in the morning helps to keep you full for longer?

Look for lots of apple recipes this week…it was a busy weekend in my kitchen 😉

Monday blues,

32 Comments

Filed under blood glucose, breakfast, carb-controlled, carbohydrates, healthy cooking, hockey, low-carb, PCOS, pets, protein, recipe, Uncategorized

Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Quick update: Home inspection did NOT go well…at all (you can’t judge a book…or a home…by its cover!). Back to square one. Oh the joys of buying a home…I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks tons for all of your support and well wishes on our big move. Despite the hurdles and big changes, I need to stay positive while we’re in transition!!

As for the job-hunt, I am trying to keep an open mind but I want to still keep my paws in diabetes…some how…some way. I am nearly 50% complete with my 1,000 diabetic education hours needed to sit for the exam and I am not giving up that easily on pursuing my CDE. Diabetes is my passion!

And on to a most excellent line-up of Q&A!

Jodie of Jodie Pilates: I would like to know your opinion on ginseng, specifically for energy. Are there any other supplements you can suggest for energy?

Prevention RD: Caffeine and ginseng are the two most natural stimulants that come to mind. I recently started taking ginseng for my blood glucose and have noticed no increase in energy*. However, ginseng is most commonly found in large doses in energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster and is most “famous” for its stimulant-effects. I feel both caffeine and ginseng can be a part of a healthy diet, but I think a good night’s sleep is the best energy boost of all! 😉 Note: If you do utilize ginseng or caffeine, do so earlier in the day to help avoid sleep disturbances.

*Ginseng is working beautifully in lowering my fasting blood glucose, however! My fasting blood sugars have gone from 95-103 mg/dl into a much preferred 83-90 mg/dl range. In less than a week, I am SO pleased with the results!

Liz in Dallas: My grandmother and my dad have both recently been put on low-salt diets. It is easy for them to deal with at home, since my grandmother and my mom cook all their own food and very rarely eat anything processed. The problem seems to be out at restaurants. Both of them eat out for lunch pretty much every day, and my grandmother also goes out to eat for dinner quite frequently. What should they be ordering to avoid sodium overload? Are there dishes that they should always avoid? What do you think are the most sneaky sources of sodium?

Prevention RD: Low-sodium “diets” are tough…really, really tough. Restaurants are notorious for using exorbitant amounts of salt. If it’s possible, your grandmother and dad could decrease the frequency of meals out, or dine at restaurants with published nutrition information (e.g. Chili’s, Applebees, Subway, etc.) so they are sure to make a salt-friendly meal selection. If meals out are a must, there is plenty to know, however! Anything breaded or fried is going to have more salt, so looking for key words on menus such as baked, broiled, steamed, and grilled can be helpful in reducing salt. Chips, fries, and other side dishes such as potato salad are also high in sodium, as are sauces, dressings, and other condiments. Because sodium is hidden in just about everything, the best thing to do at restaurants is to exercise portion control, especially since the portion sizes are generally rather large. When ordering food at a restaurant, they can ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side so they can control how much they consume. And it’s always an option to take home half their meal and have a small snack before and/or after dining out. Sharing meals is another great option. Best of luck to them! Great question 🙂

Lena of LMC in the World: I read an article in a recent Economist magazine about the trend of raw milk. It was saying there are some nutritional benefits which are eliminated in the pasteurization process and some people are selling/buying raw milk. Had you heard of this trend? It also said the FDA has not identified any nutritional benefits and there are still a number of laws to restrict the sale of raw milk because it can be dangerous. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prevention RD: What a great question! This is a HOT trend right now, you betcha! Raw milk and dairy simply not been pasteurized, as you stated. Unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful and potentially fatal bacteria including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The National Dairy Council, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, endorse pasteurized milk and dairy. According to the National Dairy Council there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any nutritional benefit to raw milk and dairy of that which has been pasteurized. In fact, pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, making is a more nutritionally desirable product over raw milk. And did you know that it is actually illegal to sell raw milk in some US states? Check out your local raw milk and dairy laws if you choose to consume raw dairy. While raw milk and dairy carries some risk of bacterial contamination, I think the larger issue is knowing where the products come from and the cleanliness of the site. I know there are many raw milk and dairy advocates out there, but I tend to side with the majority on this one. Would I try raw milk or dairy from a dairy I trusted? Probably. Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured? Probably not. 😉

I’ll leave you with a picture of my sleepy girl after her day at camp. She snored ALL night!

Question: What supplements do you take and why?

Happy half-way to Friday!

34 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, coffee, complimentary and alternative nutrition, condiments, diabetes, dietitians, dining out, enriched/fortified, farming, fast food, food safety, hypertension, minerals, raw food/rawism, restaurant, sleep, sodium, supplements, vitamins

Giving ginseng a go!

Late post today…I was busy sleeping in 🙂 Glooorious!

Last night we went over to our friend’s, Tiffany and Matt, home for dinner. Tiffany is a wonderful cook and Matt is a grill MASTER! We had a wonderful Cedar-Smoked Maple-Glazed Salmon served with farro. YUM!

I contributed a fruit salad:

Thanks Tiffany and Matt! 😀

Adding ginseng to the mix…

The 2 grams of Metformin I am taking daily to help lower my blood glucose (thanks to PCOS) doesn’t seem to be cutting it. My fasting numbers are yet to get out of the mid-to-upper 90’s and I want them in the 80’s! After doing some research and supplement hunting, I have decided to try Asian Ginseng to help lower my blood glucose.

There is a lot of research in support of ginseng use for glucose-lowering effects. And I’ve consulted text books from my undergraduate years, as well as a little gift from Celestial Seasonings

I almost wish I didn’t know as much as I do about blood glucose! When we got back from frozen custard last night, my blood glucose was 88. This morning fasting, it was 94. So frustrating! Meformin is designed to slow down hepatic glucose production meaning that it suppresses the amount of sugar the liver outputs, as well as make insulin in the body more sensitive to glucose. With my fasting glucose unchanged on a high dose of Metformin, I am utterly confused! I am very pleased with the way my body processes carbohydrates when I eat, however. A silver lining, if you will! My liver is just extra sweet, I guess! 😦

In order to help my fasting blood glucose, I’ve decided to give ginseng a try. I purchased these 2 supplements:

Note the GMP logo:

As well as ginseng drops:

There is a lot of varying opinion on ginseng dosing, so I am going to start with 1-2 grams a day. I plan to take the ginseng in the morning to help avoid any insomnia — a side effect of ginseng as it is known as an “energy” supplement. It’s also good for immunity!

Here goes nothing!

Lily wanted to say hi. I think the heat has increase her appetite…she layed like this all morning wanting more breakfast!

Question: What are you up to today? How’s the weather near you? 97º F and sunny in Tulsa! HOT HOT HOT!

Staying cool,

23 Comments

Filed under blood glucose, carb-controlled, carbohydrates, complimentary and alternative nutrition, diabetes, diet, dinner, dog, entertaining, fish oil/omega-3's, food safety, friends, fruits and vegetables, grilling, herbs, low-carb, PCOS, pets, research study, supplements

Not so private push-ups

So I had my medication check-up yesterday. For the past month, I have been taking 500 milligrams of Metformin twice daily to help control my insulin resistance from PCOS. Sadly, I have noted little to no change in my blood glucose or my weight (1 pound down – woot! *eye roll*)…

Quick embarrassing story: While I was waiting for the doc to come into the exam room yesterday, I decided to get my push ups out of the way for Heather’s 100 Push-Up Challenge. Yes, doctor’s offices are germ-laden, but I work in a health clinic…nothing there I’m not already exposed to day-in and day-out. As I was on the floor doing my push-ups, my doc walked in. With a medical student. No knock to warn they were entering.They both had a puzzled look on their face and as I climbed up to my feet, blushing, I explained that I was doing push-ups. They thought I was quite committed to be utilizing my wait time so effectively! 😉

Anyway, my doc doubled my dose and I am now prescribed 1,000 milligrams twice daily. While I’m bummed, I understand that I have to do what it takes…and that also means not giving up on weight loss and giving more attention to my eating habits and exercise regimen. What was a tad VERY depressing was the fact that I will likely be on Metformin for the rest of my life. Did I mention I hate taking pills? 😦

On that note, I have FINALLY started my page on PCOS and Insulin Resistance. Check it out! After reading A Patient’s Guide to PCOS, I feel assured that I’m doing so much right…and that I am NOT alone. There are so many PCOS sufferers out there, and I feel so much better about the situation when I tackle it head-on versus throwing pity parties for myself. So yep, check out the info on PCOS. I put a lot of thought into it and hope that it can help other women and PCOS sufferers find answers and comfort.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And in honor of my hosting BSI this week…another recipe featuring PAPRIKA! This one, I swear, was a surprise! Cooking Light and I were on the same page with paprika this week, apparently!

Smoky Spanish-Style Pan Roast from Cooking Light June 2010

1  pound small red new potatoes, halved
2  tablespoons  olive oil
3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4  pound  unpeeled large shrimp
1/4  pound  Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
1  pound  green beans, trimmed
4  garlic cloves, chopped
1/2  cup  pilsner beer
1/2  teaspoon  Spanish smoked paprika
2  red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1/4  cup  fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions:Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine potatoes, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large roasting pan, tossing well to coat potatoes. Arrange potatoes in a single layer, cut side down, in pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.

While potatoes cook, peel shrimp, leaving tails intact. Devein shrimp, if desired. Set shrimp aside.

Stir chorizo, green beans, garlic, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper into pan. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Add beer, paprika, and bell pepper, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Nestle shrimp into vegetable mixture. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until potatoes and green beans are tender and shrimp are done. Sprinkle with fresh parsley leaves. Serves 4 (approx. 1 1/2 cups per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 392 calories; 15.5 g. fat (3.8 g. saturated, 8.5 g. monounsaturated, 2.4 g. polyunsaturated);
28 g. protein; 36.6 g. carbohydrate; 7.7 g. fiber; 129 mg. cholesterol; 590 mg. sodium

Result: Again, easy and delicious! I planned this recipe to use the leftover chorizo from last night’s Grilled Salmon with Chorizo and Fingerlings. I will definitely be making it again. The dish was light with a huge punch of beer and paprika flavor…right up my alley!

Don’t Forget!!

I’ve already received several paprika recipes for the Blogger Secret Ingredient Contest! You have until Sunday at 5PM Central Time to submit yours!

Random questoin: What’s something you know a lot about, or would consider yourself an “expert” in? What topic do you wish you knew more about? Doesn’t have to be nutrition, fitness, or health-related at all…just curious!

Have a wonderful day!


41 Comments

Filed under beer, blood glucose, book, carb-controlled, challenge, chronic disease, Cooking Light, diabetes, diet, dietitians, doctors, exercise, healthy cooking, hormones, MUFAs and PUFAs, PCOS, physical activity, physicians, prescription drug, recipe, weight loss