Sunday, November 25, 2012

diabetes & thanksgiving

I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive about celebrating Thanksgiving after Diabetes. For me, my favorite Thanksgiving foods include sweet potato casserole and cornbread dressing. Translated into Diabetes terms, that is "carb casserole" and "carb dressing". Was it going to be the same? Would I feel deprived? Resentful? Meet the indulgences - 

cornbread dressing + sweet potato casserole
lots of bread and lots of sugar

I knew that I wasn't going to get away without having a bite, but I devised a plan to feel like I was indulging without sending my pancreas into overdrive. I had my mom make cauliflower mashed potatoes and a sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake. I would load up on meat, green beans, and cauliflower mashed potatoes. That way, I would be too full to notice the indulgences I had minimized. Witness, behold...operation cauliflower -

Was so amazing! Thanks mom! :)

Blood sugar before eating = 116 mg/dL
Blood sugar after eating = 114 mg/dL
= success!
Of course, after analyzing how much I was stressing out about how to navigate the feast. I felt a little silly. The food worked out. It worked out because I made good decisions and had family willing to accommodate and encourage me. I learned in church today that we can learn from our, not literal bruises, but struggles. I learned "that our bruises make us better, not bitter." It sounds counterintuitive, right? To be thankful for a struggle? Well, nestled within every struggle is nugget of perspective. Don't get me wrong, Diabetes sucks. I wouldn't have wished it on myself or anyone else. But, this Thanksgiving weekend, I was around my amazing support group - family and friends. I was reminded that Diabetes, when put in perspective, is about diligence and discipline. I am so thankful that my grandfather beat cancer this year and survived chemo and a plethora of other health distractions. He was able to cook dinner, visit with all of us, and beat us in Scrabble. That is what it is all about. Not me. Not my Diabetes. Not my cauliflower mashed potatoes. Not mg/dL. It's not about what is on the table, but who sits around it. 

For the egg bowl party at the Montagues, Andrew made fruit salad + dip.
I roasted Splenda/Cinnamon Pecans. 

The most fabulous of friends :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sauteed Scallops Recipe

Hi friends! You know one of the best parts about blogging? Getting great recipe ideas from creative friends. I have a friend - from waayy back in my 4th grade flannel-shirt-wearing-days. Her name is Jenna Harris, and she was kind enough to share some fabulous recipes and pictures for this blog. I cannot thank her enough for her time and willingness to contribute to the low-carb cause! 

Sauteed Scallops with Cauliflower Mashed and Kale Chips
Serves: 4 people
Total Cook & Prep Time: 50 minutes

1 lb sea scallops
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of curly kale
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Milk or Cream (optional)
Minced garlic (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and cut cauliflower and place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or red cayenne pepper (optional). Bake for 35-40 minutes. When have 10 minutes left on the cauliflower, prep the kale by washing it, removing the stems, and cutting into 1 inch pieces. Place kale on oiled baking sheet. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil over the leaves and toss with hands. Spread leaves on baking sheet (can be close together, do not have to be completely spread out like cookies). Sprinkle kale with salt and pepper. Remove cauliflower when lightly browned and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake kale for 10 minutes on 350.

Place warm cauliflower in food processor or blender and add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic (optional). Add 1/2 cup milk or cream to get a more fluffy and creamy texture that resembles mashed potatoes. If not using milk or cream, add approx. 4 tbsp. of olive oil. Blend, scrape sides and blend again until smooth, fluffy texture. Place lid on blender to keep warm until serving.

On medium high temperature, melt 1 tbsp butter in a sautee pan. Add olive oil until entire bottom of pan is covered. Let butter lightly brown and then place scallops in one at a time once butter and oil begins to bubble. Let each scallop sit in oil for 1.5 to 2 minutes - depending on how big the scallops are. It is very important not to pic up or move the scallops during this time. Use tongs to turn scallops onto other flat side and cook for 1 additional minute.

Plate cauliflower mashed. Place scallops on top and spoon a little oil/butter from cooking pan over the top. Remove kale from oven and use a spatula to serve on plate.

You guys! I cannot wait to try this. Doesn't it looked delicious?
Jenna would make a fabulous food blogger.
Thank you for the wonderful content.
Bon Appetit! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photo-a-day Week 1

Oh hiiii, blog. I hardly recognized you since you were taken over by political aliens. Nice to see you again! I mentioned in a previous post that it is National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are some interesting challenges going around social media - one of which is to post a photo per day in keeping with designated themes. It has been a week now, so here is my week's collage:

Fun, huh? Well, I shared the article I wrote via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I am beside myself at the outpouring of support! My friends, family, and social network make living with Diabetes manageable because of the constant encouragement. What a joy...what a blessing to have all of you behind me in this journey...a heartfelt THANK YOU.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

After today, this blog reverts back to being a Diabetes blog. But first, I need to do a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking. What's that? Well, you know, the woulda shoulda couldas that come up after the fact. I will lend some positivity to you today...and a little dose of perspective. Let me just remind you that no candidate offered to cure my Diabetes with a magic wand. That was disappointing. I digress. What did the bar exam and this election have in common? I had weeks to brace myself for the result! :)

I don't know about you, but campaigns are such a draining time for me. If you really pay attention to speeches, data, debates, talk shows, articles, conventions, social media, etc., then you are likely exhausted by today. I typically take a few weeks away from politics after being glued to it for months. But today, I am facing it. You can garner a lot of information from election data regarding the pulse of the nation. The election is over. Democracy did its beautiful thing. If you step back and consider other societies, that should make you feel really good, even if your guy didn't prevail.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Newness. The election is over, and the balance of power is the same as it was yesterday. That may not feel so new. Remember that presidents often govern differently in their second term - they build their legacies. Once the election is over, it is unproductive to stop supporting your country's progress. We are all invested in lifting America from the depths of its crises, so ask yourself, "what can I do to further that aim?" That can get you actively involved rather than force you to predict the worst for America. If you really believe that government is going to swell to epic proportions, keep a watchful eye on it. Being the "watchdog" party serves an important function in a democracy - one of accountability. Congress experiences mid-term elections (recall 2010), and it is important to stay vigilant and informed to vote in those races as well. 
  • Republican Party. Political parties have evolved throughout history. When I didn't pass the bar exam, I couldn't just bury it. I had to get introspective to figure out what went wrong and what needs to change going forward. I submit that if Republicans dismiss this crucial step of introspection, then this country will evolve without us. If minorities look at the GOP and cannot consider it a viable option, that is our problem and not theirs. The GOP has a lot of great candidates with great leadership potential, and I think they are taking a hard look at themselves today. I am not abandoning my ideologies, but I know I can be the change I want to see in the party. Republicans lost with women, young people, Hispanics, and African-Americans. Newsflash - that's America! If a party can't get support from those groups, then it's time to evolve. And, I promise, many conservative ideas transcend race and gender, if only it could be communicated articulately. 
  • Vitriol. The quickest way to lose political credibility to is to espouse racism and intolerance. There are really great ideas worth consideration, but hateful rhetoric only eclipses them. If you think such bigotry propels a political agenda, I urge you to find a new party. As I have mentioned many times, people's political affiliations boil down to philosophies on government. This is an age-old debate, and the passions run deep. We should keep to the meritorious discussions rather than vitriolic accusations. 
  • I win, you lose. Nobody loves a good campaign battle like I do. I have blinders on when it comes to the two-party system. I like it. I'm used to it. It has a sports-feel to it. This guy or that guy. My team or yours. I like the stark contrast of ideas (most of them). I am guilty of cheerleading for my team during the campaign. That's the fun part! When an election is over, I love when people win or lose gracefully. Mitt Romney handled his defeat with the utmost class. President Obama handled his victory with similar class. Let's take a nod from the candidates and stop with the gloating and whining. President Obama said last night, "We are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not as cynical as the pundits suggest." That would be awesome if it were true. Look around social media and tell me with a straight face that we are not cynical or divided. I think what Mr. President meant to suggest was that we don't have to be divided or cynical. My advice is simply to revert the anger into productivity. Mad at the other party? Come up with winning ideas. Mad at your own party? Encourage growth from within. America is a country run by its people - why on Earth would you bow out now?
If you cannot find joy in politics today...if you don't find solace in my advice...then I'd be glad to direct you to non-political alternatives. Thanksgiving is coming! I love hanging out with my family during the holidays. Christmas is next! Burn a good candle. Put up your decorations early - there is no law against it! Focus on the Memphis Grizzlies- they're back and would love your overflow of competitive spirit from this election. If you need somewhere to channel it, take it to the GRINDHOUSE! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Prediction

I strategize election predictions much differently than I strategize, say, a March Madness Bracket. In a bracket, I tend to predict with my heart. I typically take Memphis all the way through, regardless of all the statistics and rankings. Each term, there are groups of professionals who think the polls are worthy sources of information and those who find it flawed. Both sides are talking heartily about their winning strategies. Both sides are stumping in the same group of swing states. All the while, the polls have ebbed and flowed in keeping with the race's momentum. We have heard the memorable quotes - "trickle-down government" and "binders of women". We have seen intervening news stories - Benghazi and Hurricane Sandy, both of which stirred the pot of electoral politics, but unlikely altered the cauldron. We have heard who is doing better in the ground game, the early voting game, the independents game, the seniors, and the female voting block - both sides maintaining the edge is theirs. We've seen Karl Rove lay waste to his whiteboard. We've seen Axelrod gamble his mustache over this election's outcome.

I have run the gambit of emotions this election cycle. In fact, Romney did not get my primary vote. Frankly, I wondered if anyone would be able to contend with the Obama Machine. When the conventions came along, I got to know Mitt Romney, the candidate. My enthusiasm increased. After the debates, my enthusiasm increased. But when all is quiet, and there is nothing left but wild speculation and spinning pollsters, I worry about the outcome of this election. Fear not. I am not a "gloom and doom" gal. An Obama win will not send me to Canada. In fact, although I did not vote for him in 2008, I felt the gravity of history on my shoulders when he won the White House. Even his non-supporters could find hope in America after witnessing such an important milestone. But alas, for me, my loyalty boils down to my fundamental philosophies on government. A lot of people disagree with each other based on core convictions, so why do we get so heated? Aren't we entitled to throw our life experience, learned studies, and gut-check biases into a pile and find our place on the political spectrum? Heck, I disagree with Republicans on some serious social issues. I just disagree with liberal reasoning down the line. But some of my most precious friends are liberal. I don't find that to be a flaw in them. It makes my life more interesting, enriched, challenged, and diverse - all things I welcome.

So, here it is, my big prediction. It is, in part, based on numbers. It is, in part, based on gut. But I think the real winner come Tuesday night will be Bill Clinton.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Recipe Video: Protein Pancakes

Do you like protein pancakes? I do. I usually made a recipe from PBFingers or a recipe from ToneItUp. The one I made is a hybrid of the two, really. Things to know before you watch the video. I do not cook. I make due with what I have when my husband isn't home to cook for me. Also, this is the first time I have done a video from my computer, hence the awkward transitions. Oh well, the rawness is what makes this blog...grassroots to say the least.

  • Flax - 1 TSP
  • Coconut Milk or your choice - 2 TBSP
  • 1/2 Banana Mashed
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Your portion of Cinnamon 
  • 2 Egg Whites (1/4 cup)
  • Syrup 
  • Optional Fruit Garnish
Mix it together in a bowl or measuring cup with spout. Turn stove on Medium Heat. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Mine cooked quickly, so pay attention. Garnish with berries and/or syrup.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Months: November Edition

You guessed it! New months bring new excitement :) But, do you know what makes *November* special? It is National Diabetes Month. If you would, please take the time to learn a little bit about the disease...something you didn't already know. Chances are, you know someone with Diabetes...or you will eventually. I mean, hey, you know me. I've learned a ton in these 7 months.  One of the most difficult aspects of having Diabetes is feeling that no one knows what it is like - the routine finger pricks, the constant upkeep of supplies, the worry about getting sick, the mass quantities of carb math. etc. You know what else is hard? Hearing people talk about Diabetes as though someone wished it upon themselves by lifestyle choices. It is a very unproductive way of thinking. Designating a month for a disease inspires people to get educated and raise awareness. Know the symptoms. Once I learned them, I had high suspicions that I had Diabetes, and later that was confirmed by a hospital visit. What a time to raise our awareness and grow our tolerance as we enter the holiday season! 

November promises a lot of other great activities:

  • THIS SATURDAY: Kait Lawson's CD Release Party at the HiTone. FREE o' charge!
  • Daylight Savings Time = Crisp Dark Nights + Light Cool Mornings
  • 11/6/12: A little thing called ELECTION DAY! This is where I hunker down like a nervous wreck with my blank map and color in the states as the results are discovered. I remember last time very well. My optimism held out hope for Ol' McCain, but it did not pan out that way. But I was happy at the end of it all. The President is still the President. America is still America. Same rings true this time around:)
  • Catherine's Birthday (shout out!)
  • Thanksgiving!
  • The start of mass consumerism (aka Black Friday)
  • Overlap of Football and Basketball seasons! GO GRIZZ!

Ham & Cheese Omelet is my favorite low-carb choice.