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March 08, 2013

What Happened At Lunch. (Alternate title: Sorry, Mom.)

There are only Yodels in here.  Way back when I was a young kid with type 1 diabetes, my school lunches were ruled by the American Diabetes Association exchange program.  (That link takes you to their current iteration of the program.)  The version I used looked like a meal card plan without any wiggle room, listing the food requirements for each meal.  Lunch, for example, included two starches, one protein, one vegetable, one fruit, one milk, and one fat exchange. 

Looking at this list now, I see things like carb counts and insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios, making meals seem like options and not force-feeding to chase the spike of NPH insulin.  But back then, meals were carefully structured to meet the peaks of my insulin, and my mother took great care in planning my lunches so that I wouldn't tank during the school day.

I'd leave the house each morning with a brown paper bag that contained some combination of my exchange combinations, like a turkey and cheese sandwich (two starches, the milk, and meat, with the lunch meat weighed on the food scale at home) with some mayonnaise spread on the bread (the fat), a bag of carrot sticks (vegetable), and a pear (the fruit).  And my mom was probably feeling pretty secure about the whole thing, knowing that she dosed me with my morning insulin shot (a mix of Regular and NPH) that would work to cover my breakfast and then the lunch. What happened at lunch, theoretically, is that I'd eat what she packed and birds would sing and squirrels would jig in jubilant step with one another and my blood sugar would be 104 mg/dL when I came home in the afternoon. 

What really happened at lunch was that, like any other kid at school lunch, it wasn't about eating your lunch.  It was about trading. 

Which meant that my mom's carefully packed lunch, in line with my insulin dose and my food exchange to best take a bite out of type 1 diabetes, sometimes ended up being traded for Ring Dings and a piece of pizza.  I felt bad about it, at the time (and still now), but I distinctly remember trading a plastic sandwich bag containing white rice cakes smeared with peanut butter for someone's Yodel (oh, Yodels).  It was a normal lunchtime trade for the other kids, but for me, it was like the black market for snacks, gaining me access to the forbidden fruits (and Yodels) my parents avoided having in our home.  In retrospect, I was following "the exchange system" too literally.

Most days, I ate what my mother packed for me, but on those days when I caved to the middle school bartering system, I went right off the rails.  And then I'd marvel, alongside my mother, at the high blood sugar I'd be hosting when I came home from school.  "I have no idea why I'm so high."

As a kid growing up with type 1 diabetes, I had the chance to make more than my fair share of less-than-optimal management decisions.  But, like the time with the cupcake, it's the guilt that made its way into my adulthood than the impact of those off-days.

I'm thankful that the insulin options, both in actual insulins and delivery, have progressed to make meals times less stressful.  At least then I would have had the wherewithal to bolus for that Yodel.

March 07, 2013

Doughnut Feed Me That.

"These are treats," I said to Birdy as she clamored for a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts.

"Yes, a treat.  Not something we have all the time.  But we can have it some of the time."

"Okay."

Our pretend doughnuts.  We play with them in moderation?

What kills me is that the price of a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts is a matter of two or three quarters.  If I want to buy a dozen doughnuts at the grocery store, it might cost me $1.99.  But if I want a bag of four avocados, it runs me upwards four and a half dollars.  Keeping the food options in my house, and in my life, reasonably healthy means shelling out the extra money, even when we're like "holy shit, that's an insane grocery bill."

Chris and I talk about the cost of food all the time - how healthy food costs are on the rise, how easy it is to keep the grocery bill down if you buy things that aren't particularly healthy (see aforementioned doughnut example), and how so much of what's marketed as "food" is over-run by chemicals and crap.  (Not to mention that there's an actual science behind the addiction - check out this fascinating New York Times article about that very theory.)  But one thing we are constantly harping on, in our own home, is the "kid food" conundrum.  When we go out to eat, the kid's menu is most often comprised of chicken fingers (fried), pasta and meatballs, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese.  This is not what I want to feed my kid as a standard meal. 

For my daughter - my growing child and the person I care about the most on the planet - I think these menu options are crummy and drive an agenda of junky foods over healthy foods.  Recently, at a restaurant we frequent pretty often, we noticed that french fries have been augmented with a "broccoli" or "fresh fruit" option, which I found encouraging,  But still, the majority of what I see marketed and pushed towards my kid, outside of our home, is food that we'd classify as "treats." This is "kid food?"  Why is my kid "supposed" to eat the crappiest food?

There's nothing wrong with having these foods, in moderation.  Most things, in moderation, are fine.  (Isn't this the theory of finding balance in a life with diabetes?)  But a steady stream of breaded, factory-mashed chicken nuggets and macaroni aren't what I'm hoping for, in terms of my kid, or the rest of my family.  The fact that she likes carrot sticks and cucumbers, and grilled chicken and lentil soup is encouraging.  We work hard to earn our grocery bill, and we take pride in our daughter's concept of what a "treat" is.  Sure, she's grossed out now by avocado (and tells me with her mangled cave woman speech: "You can eat that, that avocado stuff because I don't like it.  I eat it when I be bigger."), but she did eat it all the time when she was a baby.  And if I keep offering it to her and helping her develop a taste for things like it, hopefully she'll lean towards healthier options instead of defaulting to ketchup and french fries. 

"But I like french fries," she argues with me.  

"I know you do.  But you can eat other things, too."

"Okay.  And when I be bigger, I can eat just french fries if I want to, and you can eat just avocado."

I want "kid food" for my kid to simply be food that's essentially the same foods as what her mom and dad are eating, just cut into smaller bites.  (Except coffee.  I hope she doesn't inherit that bad habit from me.)  This is a work-in-progress, but if her life can include a healthy balance of doughnuts as treats and spinach as standard, I'll eat "just avocado" for life.

February 25, 2013

Articles Forbidden!

I received an email from Krista, one of my oldest friends in the world (not that she's old, but she's one of the people I've known the longest), and the attached file made me laugh out loud.  Her email said, "I found this list in an old (as in published in 1924, and stuffed with articles clipped from various magazines from the 30s and 40s) cookbook that I got from a friend when she cleaned out an old relative's house ... anyway, thought you'd appreciate it."

Oh, I did.

This list is an old-school "diabetic diet" list, and the contents read as follows:

Foods Allowed: 
Soups and broths not thickened with flour
Meats, fresh, smoked and cured, except liver, without flour gravy
Eggs in any way without flour
Fish, all kinds except scallops, clams and oysters
Fats, butter, olive oil, etc.
Cheese, all kinds.
Vegetables and salads, asparagus, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, string beans, tomatoes
Sour pickles, ripe olives
Cream, not over 3 oz a day
Desserts, jellies, etc. sweetened with saccharin
Nuts
Tea and coffee sweetened with saccharin and with small amount of cream
Whiskey, brandy, rums up to 3 oz a day
Lemonade sweetened with saccharin

Articles Forbidden:
Sugar and sweets
Pastry, puddings, preserves, cake and ice cream
Bread, biscuit, toast, crackers, griddle cakes
Cereals, except oatmeal in small amounts
Macaroni, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beans, peas, corn, turnip
Fruit of all kinds
Alcoholic beverages, except as above

It's not so much that the list of actual foods is ridiculous, but what kills me is the fact that the second half of the list is deemed "FORBIDDEN ARTICLES!"  No wonder people with diabetes can have such a strange and confusing relationship with food.  Even now, food for me is not always simply food, but becomes a combination of medicine, guilt, sustenance, and math. 

Thank goodness for whiskey? 

January 22, 2013

Avocado Overload.

I hate cooking and I am terrible at it and anyone who tries to sell me the whole, "But anyone can cook!" has clearly never seen me get mad at a frying pan for simply existing.   But the trouble is, being human, I tend to get hungry several times a day.  Which means I have to deal with food things.

Sigh.

Thankfully, I've found some very easy (both to make and easy-on-my-blood sugars) food wrangling opportunities to keep me from existing solely on coffee and mental trail mix.

I wish I lived inside of an avocado, like James managed with that giant peach of his.

You need:

Trader Joe's Just Grilled Chicken Strips
One avocado
Raw baby spinach
Olive oil

  • Preheat the frying pan.  (Do you preheat a frying pan?  Or do you just heat it up?  Whatever the case:  make it hot.)
  • Toss in some olive oil.
  • Once the pan is hot (I cook on medium-low), throw some chicken in.  Let it cook.  Flip it over with a wooden spatula (or, if you're an idiot like me, use a fork and end up with hot olive oil splattered on your wrist).
  • Slice the avocado.  I usually take a paring knife and cut pieces off until I hit the seed, at which time I throw the seed into the hedges in our backyard, hoping that eventually we'll have 53 avocado trees springing up in our Rhode Island soil.  (I realize this is probably not going to happen, and most likely the seeds are being stolen by our resident hedgehog.) 
  • Once everything is cooked to your preference, toss some baby spinach in there for a few seconds, then shuttle the whole mess into a bowl.
  • Eat with your face.

The impact on my blood sugars is minimal, at best, and it's gluten-free, low-carb, and other blah blah.  It isn't hard to make, and it doesn't require a lot of prep work or anger at the aforementioned frying pan. 

It tastes nice; that's my focus.

Next installment of Kerri's Desperate Kitchen coming soon! Watch out ... we may make ICE WATER with a BENDY STRAW.

October 16, 2012

Portion Control.

Portion sizes/control is something that diabetes has made me hyper-aware of, both in terms of carb-counting accuracy and weight management.  I know that a bowl of anything served in a restaurant is most likely supersized when compared to actual, recommended intake. 

Which is why the lunch at today's Digital Pharma conference is cracking me up.  Because while grilled cheese and soup wouldn't ever be my first choice at home, at least it's the most wee ickle sandwich/soup combo EVER. 

I also had a strawberry that was shoved inside of a thimble.  Cute!

(Test strip bottle is in there for perspective; I didn't eat my test strips.  But I might later, when I get hungry.) 

June 12, 2012

Shake Shack.

Only at a diabetes conference can you connect with a fellow DOC'er (hi, Bennet!!) and go here:

Shake Shack for the win

And eat this:

Yes, I eat a burger with a knife and fork.  Don't judge.

And still end up with this:

Holy post-prandial, Batman! 

This year's Scientific Sessions worked me over both in information overload and lots of walking.  (I think my total daily dose for the last week has been almost entirely basal.)  But I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned ... and I'm also considering petitioning for Shake Shack to bring its tasty little self up to Providence.

May 31, 2012

Dream World.

In a perfect (diabetes) world, every menu would come with a nutritional breakdown, all handy and listed right there for carb-count, insulin ratio mathification. 

I'd like to teach the world to carb count, in perfect harmony ...

That is all.

May 28, 2012

Teenies.

In keeping with the theme from last week ...

I like to bake.  It's the only culinary task I have any prowess in, and Birdy often requests "Cupcakes, mama?" by opening up the cupboard with all the baking pans in it.  (She's aware that they're the only pans I know how to use.)

But I hate baking, mainly because I don't ever taste the results and I'm challenged by the excess of cream cheese frosting in my house that I avoid, in a roundabout way, like Billy from Family Circus as he plods through the neighborhood, trailed by dotted lines.  (I did not like Billy.  Kid never took a direct flight in his life, I'd imagine.)  But I do love baking with my daughter, and watching her eat her cupcakes with a fork never fails to make me smile.

Which is why I'm secretly thankful for the teeny cupcake pan.  About one-third the size of regular cupcakes, the teeny cupcakes are just wee enough to provide a bite without packing a punch.  Birdy can gobble one up without making me feel guilty, and if I cave and eat one, the blood sugar backlash is minimal.  

Little cupcakes rule

Teeny cupcakes rule.

(And no, I haven't figured out how to fill the cupcake tins without having those weird, toasted connector stripes.  I'm messy.)

August 30, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake ... with Nutella.

In keeping with the "all I can cook are things I shouldn't eat" theme, I made a flourless chocolate cake with Nutella for my mother-in-law's birthday party.  Chocolate-y goodness AND gluten-free!

The recipe is from this fantastic site that has wonderful editorial and pictures, but I'll be damned if the ingredients aren't measured in grams, making my almost-comatose inner mathematician completely unresponsive.  But I did it, and if I can do it, so can you. 

Flourless chocolate cake ... with Nutella.  The only thing missing is YOUR FORK.
Ingredients (and I apologize for the grams thing.  Just use a converter.  Or guess.)
Original recipe found here.
200g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
100g dark chocolate
200g Nutella
100g white sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 t. instant coffee or espresso powder
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Retrieve the 9" springform pan from the Birdy, who is running around the kitchen, banging on it like it's a gong.  Dust the pan with a little bit of cocoa powder.
  • Take the sticks of butter and chop them into chunks.  Mix the butter and the chocolate chips on low heat on the stove until it's all melty and wonderful, but don't let it burn.  Even if the cat is picking at the frigging screen door.  Ignore the cat.  Stir the chocolate.
  • Remove the chocolate and butter from the burner and mix in the awesomesauce known as Nutella.  Once that mixture is fully blended, stir in the instant coffee and put aside.
  • Next, grab two bowls and separate six eggs.  If you have an egg separator, you're awesome.  If you're like me and you have to use the two sides of the broken shell to shuffle the yolk and the whites back and forth until they let each other go, I feel your pain.
  • In the bowl with the eggs yolks, add the granulated sugar and beat it senselessly. Then mix the chocolate/Nutella/butter together with the egg yolks.
  • In the bowl with the egg whites, use a handheld mixer to beat these things until they start to shape themselves into little, snowy peaks.  It looks pretty.
  • Toss the egg whites into the rest of the mixture and stir until it's well-blended.
  • Pour the mixture into the springform pan and stick it in the oven.  The recipe from the Misadventures in Italy site says to cook the cake for about 20 minutes, until the center is cooked, but a little "jiggly."  I needed to cook my cake for about 28 minutes, but that may have been because my kitchen is trying to thwart me in all ways.
  • Using your oven mitt that you drew eyes on a few minutes earlier, remove the pan from the oven.

    HELLOooooooo

  • Let the cake cool, fool, for about 20 minutes.  Don't be alarmed if it falls a little.  It will still taste terrific.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and smash it into your face, because it tastes that good.
Anything made with Nutella works for me.  But beware - this stuff is like insulin's Kryptonite.  ... or maybe that's just diabetes. 

April 26, 2011

Gross Things I Eat.

Growing up, we had these large, potted plants in our dining room, within throwing distance from the dining room table.  (Stick with me - this is an important detail.)  The plants were big and had wide, draped leaves and they made the corner of the dining room look like a veritable jungle.

Also, these suckers were really convenient for hiding food.

When I was little, the "diabetic diet" school of thought was based on the exchange program.  This meant that my meals were structured around my calorie needs and the needs of my (then) peaking insulin doses.  An average dinner would include one meat exchange, two starch exchanges, a dairy exchange, a fat exchange, and a fruit exchange.  (Exchange, exchange, exchange.)  When I was on insulins like Regular, NPH, and Lente, I needed to consume these portions in proportion, or I would end up with a very high, or very low, blood sugar.

So my mother (bless her anecdotal-medical-degree'd heart) would carefully measure out these exchanges and that would be my dinner.  EXACTLY one meat exchange, and those two starches, etc.  She worked very hard to make sure my meals were calculated and well-balanced. 

And in response, I would hide my vegetables - aka "gross things" - in the dining room plants. 

I know she knew I was doing this, because someone was scooping out the discarded broccoli every few days (Maybe it started to smell?  Even the best broccoli starts to smell like fahts eventually …) and putting a little more potting soil in there. 

If my then nine year old self knew what her thirty-two year old self would be eating the "gross things" BY CHOICE, I think I'd hit me in my head.  Because my new favorite lunch snack is a sliced up avocado, sliced up egg whites, and balsamic vinegar dressing.


"EW!" Says nine year old me. 

"Yum!" says older me.  

And way-in-the-future me reads this archived blog post and says "Don't make me turn this spaceship time machine around!  Stop your bickering!"

March 24, 2011

America Runs on Insulin.

It's been well-documented that my coffee addiction is ... substantial.  Briefly on hiatus during my pregnancy, I was reunited with my beloved beverage after the baby was born, and now I'm back in the habit.  

Since I work from our home office and I'm also the primary caregiver for BSparl, sleep is a hot commodity.  Actually, I don't get to sleep much, so the coffee is very much my friend these days.  Work hard, play hard, drink much of the coffee.

The other day, I was out with the baby, running a few errands.  I had to visit the post office, the grocery store, CVS … and Dunkin Donuts.  I try to make my order sound fresh and new (versus something I say almost without thinking), and I leaned out the window to order into the drive through speaker.  (Instead of into the garbage can, which is something I've done more times than I'd care to admit.)  

"Hi!"  Total joy.  "Can I please have a medium iced coffee with cream and two Splenda?"  

"Sure thing.  Please drive up."

So I drive up.  But when I get to the window, there's a little bit of confusion.

"Okay, so one coffee with milk and sugar, two doughnuts, and a bagel with cream cheese?"  The boy attending the window had a bag of deliciousness in his hand.  My stomach said "YES!  YES. THOSE BELONG TO ME."  

I mentally punched myself in the stomach and said, "Oh, I only had a medium iced coffee.  That was it."

"No problem."  The kid put down the order that wasn't mine and returned with a single iced coffee.  "Okay, that's two dollars and thirty-six cents."

"Awesome."  I handed the money out the window.  "Would you mind double-checking to see if that's with Splenda, and not sugar?  I'm diabetic, and I don't want to end up with the wrong order."  

He paused.  "Type 1?"

Whooo boy.

"Yes, type 1."

"Yours is definitely Splenda.  I'm positive."  He handed me my change.  "My mom has type 1.  For like, ever.  How are you doing?"

This kid wasn't any more than 18 years old.  But the concern on his face was wise beyond his years.

"Good.  I'm doing really well.  I've had it since I was a kid."

"My mom, too.  She's doing good.  And she has me.  And my sister.  Is that your baby?"  He waved at BSparl in the backseat, waving her chubby arms around and babbling.

"Yes.  She's almost a year old.  It's refreshing to see that our kids grow up to be nice kids."

He smiled.  "And that our moms weren't always old moms.  Have a good day.  And I can't wait to tell my mom I met another one like her."  

People with diabetes are everywhere.  And so are the people who love them.

February 17, 2011

Kerri-Proofing.

The kid is mobile now, and with that mobility comes the baby-proofing of our home.  We have those little electrical socket covers on each outlet, the coffee table corners are capped with squishy edges, and a big ol' gate at the base of our staircase is locked and loaded.  So now, anything that BSparl shouldn't touch for fear of hurting herself is as carefully guarded as possible.

And I wish I could say the same for me.

Will power is not my middle name.  (It's "Morrone," switched from "Lynn" when I got married.)  I'm good when it comes to action-oriented plans, like resolving to test my blood sugar more often throughout the day, or making sure I exercise at least four times a week.  These plans involve getting up and doing something, and I'm motivated when it comes to checking that box. 

But the plan to NOT do something?  Little more challenging.  

Food has always been a bit of an issue for me.  Not surprising, since type 1 diabetes has a firm foothold in my dietary decisions and guilt about said decisions.  (Sneaking cookies?  I may have done that one or two ... thousand times as a kid.)  Growing up with type 1 diabetes and using the peaking insulins (NPH, Lente, UltraLente) that required timed meal structure, I was a card-carrying member of the "clean your plate or you will end up low" club.  It actually wasn't until I started using an insulin pump that I realized what "hungry" felt like, having been on an eating schedule for the previous seventeen years.  Adjusting to the fact that I didn't HAVE to eat was new.

In addition to that "Hey, hunger is confusing!" feeling, food is a confusing friend/enemy.  Frenemy.  Even at times when my blood sugars are completely in control and an Italian bread smothered in olive oil and salt indulgence-fest doesn't cause massive spikes, I still feel guilty about eating it.  Like someone is watching me, and I need to hurry up and swallow before they see me take the bread.  It's a very screwed up way to view something as fun and delicious as food, but it's a combination of the influence of diabetes on my food philosophy and the guilt assigned to something as benign as a banana.  (That, and how women are taught to view their bodies and their appetites of all kinds ... but that's a whole different post.)

Which brings me back to my problem:  not doing something. Avoiding certain foods at certain, inopportune diabetes times.  Not eating the bowl of pineapple when the Dexcom shows double arrows pointing up.  (Why IS it that high blood sugar equals ravenous hunger?  Seems like a cruel twist to me ...)  Not buying E.L. Fudge cookies.  And if you do buy them, not eating a whole sleeve on the ride home from the grocery store. 

Sometimes I want to Kerri-proof the kitchen.  

Maybe I should just stick an electrical socket cover in my mouth.

Can I Kerri-proof diabetes?  Or maybe diabetes-proof Kerri?

January 18, 2011

Trenta?

Back in early December, I was at a Starbucks in Boston, and I ordered an iced coffee.  (Yes, in December.  I don't care if it's snowing - iced coffee rules all year long.)  The girl behind the counter asked what size I wanted, and since I don't speak "Starbucks," I just asked for a large.

"We have a new large.  It's a trenta," the barista said, grabbing a plastic cup and filling it with ice.

I had no idea what a "trenta" was.  I didn't really know what a "venti" was.  Every time I ordered something at Starbucks, it ended up being something I didn't really expect.  So I was used to winging it. 

"Sure.  Please leave a little room for half and half, and I'm good to go."  

And then she hands me this basin of coffee.  Something I literally could have sat in and drank, Augustus Gloop-style.  

"Seriously?  This is a monster coffee," I exclaimed, unable to keep my thoughts in my own head.

"I know."  The barista grinned.  "It's rolling out soon.  We are offering it to our customers now, though."

The coffee was big, but I thought I could handle it.  Until about an hour later, when my eyeballs felt like they were going to leap from my head, and I was convinced that I could solve complex scientific equations if I just CONCENTRATED HA HA HA okay?!  The rest of my work day was spent correcting typos that were made by my scrambled hands, and I think I drove home with my head hanging out the window like a golden retriever. 

Buddies.

There is such a thing as too much coffee.  When a coffee makes my blood sugar go from 100 mg/dl to 175 mg/dl without even adding cream, that's a problem.  Caffeine has always given me a buzz, and it's also given me a blood sugar spike, depending on my body status (see also: pregnant, lower BMI, higher muscle ratio.).  But the arrival of the disastrously awesome trenta and the subsequent Tweets about it and news articles referencing it, etc., I'm beginning to think that maybe - MAYBE - I should cut back on the coffee a bit.  It's not healthy to be fueled almost entirely by insulin and hazelnut coffee. 

Trenta.  Seriously?  Is this necessary?  Should I give some thought to cutting back a bit, now that BSparl is older?  Or should I just embrace my inner addict and dive in with reckless abandon? 

January 16, 2011

Sunday Snapshots: Banana Nutella Bread.

This banana bread recipe, minus the butter and with half of the brown sugar, swapping the white flour for whole wheat flour ... slopping in some extra mashed bananas and a dollop of applesauce.  And then swirling in some Nutella:

Totally low-carb ... right?

Makes for some delicious afternoon snacking in the Sparling household.  Sucks when baking is your forte, as a diabetic.  :)  But at least it was delicious!

January 14, 2011

Attack of the Cupcakes.

New York City was the site of this week's NBR awards, so Chris and I made sure we went into the city early enough to do some really important things.  Really, really important things that can change the course of humanity.

I'm talking about cupcakes, of course.

I don't know what it is about cupcakes that brings me such joy, but I am their target market.  I love the super sweet frosting, the spongy cake, and the portion sizes (much easier to get a small cupcake versus a small ... pie).  I enjoy every kind of cupcake, from the ghetto Stop & Shop ones to the specialty ones that cost a ridiculous four dollar price tag.  Like the ones at Crumbs.  They are my favorites.  (But four bucks?  For a cupcake?  Ridiculous, yet, I still pay it now and eat it and like it.)

While we were in New York, we visited Crumbs.  Land of massive, 500 calorie cupcakes.  To prepare for battle, I dosed well in advance of our cupcake excursion (remember, I was on Levemir and Humalog pens for that trip) and started out at a blood sugar of 95 mg/dl.

The pre-cupcake starting mark.

I had the Raspberry Swirl cupcake (not a big chocolate fan):

OMG delicious.  And 500 calories.  Bah.

and Chris had the White Hot Chocolate one:

Yes, those are little toasted marshmallows on top.  Holy awesome.

And thankfully, the diabetes gods played nicely for the afternoon, landing me at 143 mg/dl about an hour and a half after indulging.

The post-cupcake lucky landing.

If nothing else, the streets of New York City provide just the right amount of walking exercise to tame even the most frosted of beasts.  ;)

November 08, 2010

Gluten Free Baby.

There's a whole freaking list of things that we've done, as parents, to keep The Thought out of our heads.  We don't go nuts here, but we have made some decisions that are different from those of our fellow new parents.  Like the decision to breast feed.  And then the decision to integrate solid foods closer to the six month mark rather than the four month mark.  And we've also decided to go gluten free with our little bird.

What a pain in the butt this "gluten free" thing is.  I do not envy anyone who is living with celiac, or who cares for someone with celiac disease.  I've never read so many product labels in my entire life.  

But there are plenty of options for a gluten-free lifestyle, and there are even pancakes to be had.  (Thanks for the tip, Gluten-Free Goddess @danamlewis.)  And for now, BSparl is dining on Earth's Best Organic rice cereal, mushed together with their First Food jars.  She's happy.  She also gets the whole process now, and opens her mouth like a true baby bird when I bring the spoon anywhere within a five mile radius of her face.  (Keeping it mostly in her mouth and not all over said face?  That's still a challenge, but she'll get it eventually.  Either that, or she'll be a hell of a dinner date when she's older.)

Since BSparl is still a baby, her food options are limited as a result of our slow integration and her age, but as she gets older, I want her to be able to grab on those same finger foods that all growing babies manage to get their mitts on.

Which is why I was thrilled that the Happy Baby food company created a gluten-free counterpart to their fantastic puffs:

Tasty yummy awesometown!
Because I was so excited to find these online, I ordered a freaking ton of them from the website, and now a crate of Happy Baby puffle things are en route to my house.   They come in sweet potato flavor and strawberry flavor, and honestly, I'm looking forward to trying these little things out with my daughter.  (And also, Happy Babby has no idea I'm writing about their product, nor did they ask me to.  There's a little disclosure for ya.  Oh, but if they offered to send free crap?  I'd happily take it and invite them over for tea.  How's that for bonus disclosure?)

I know this diabetes community has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all-things gluten-free.  So I'm hoping you might have some suggestions as to what kind of other gluten-free baby foods are out there. I'm not afraid to order items online, so if you have a link, please share!!  I'm aiming for 12 months without gluten for the baby, but if it's going well, I may extend the lifestyle decision.  Any suggestions you have would be awesome!

August 20, 2010

Precision Carb Guessing.

I keep measuring cups in my purse so that I can measure out my dinners out to be exact.  I keep a small food scale in the glove compartment of my car so I am never guessing how many ounces a certain item might be.  And I have the Calorie King booklet in my pocket at all times, so that I'm never left guessing.  I even sewed pockets into all my clothes, just to bring the booklet around.

(The previous paragraA  diabetes-friendly Happy Meal.  :: rimshot ::ph is filled with lies.  Big, fat ones.)

I wish I was a precision carb counter.  I wish I had the patience for it, always either eating pre-packaged and factory-analyzed foods or spending my time carefully measuring and weighing any home cooked adventures.  But I am not a precision carb counter.  

I'm a precision carb ... guesser.

During the nine months of baby-building, I became pretty good at guesstimating carb content based on the size of the food serving.  You know, like a "deck of cards" is the size of a meat serving, or an oatmeal serving the size of my fist.  (When I was at dLife, the food and nutrition editor did this article on serving size visualizations, which I thought was really good.)  But while pregnant, I tested a LOT and wore the Dexcom every damn day, so there wasn't much of a chance for my blood sugars to dance around due to controllable variables.  (Hormones?  That was a whole different story - they made my numbers nutty.)

But now, with baby out and my level of diabetes management slacking a good amount, I'm losing my attention to those foodie details.  I'm back to eyeballing things without a reference point ("That bathtub of pasta?  That's about 25 grams of carbs.") and doing some seriously wild guessing.

I'm okay with being a guesser.  It fits with my lifestyle (my purse isn't big enough for a scale, thank you very much) and I'm reasonably good at it.  For me, the key to keeping meals from spiking me all over the place is to do the following:

  1. Bolus well in advance for meals.  Not the 15 minutes I was told when I first started on Humalog.  I'm talking like 35 minutes before I take a bite.
  2. Asking about rogue sauces in meals.  When we're dining out, I always ask if the meat comes with a sauce or if the salad comes drenched in dressing.  I've found that "on the side" helps me keep from devouring hidden carbs.
  3. Refresh my visual memory.  I need to remind myself, at least once a month, what "one serving of pasta" looks like.  I need to measure it out at home and actually look at it before I chow on it.  Because without that reminder, portion sizes get all distorted in my head and suddenly I think one "small apple" is akin to this
Small tricks go a long way in making guessing more effective.  I'm at peace with being a precision carb guesser.  Do you guys have any tricks that you use to help count carbs?  Or to just keep track of what's happening on your plate in general?

August 17, 2010

Egg White ... Ice Cream?

Ice cream.  It's awesome.  All creamy and milky and TastyTown.  But it's fatty and carby and kind of a diabetes disaster, depending on how your body tolerates the fat/carb ratio that day. 

Which is why, when Chris told me he was making a batch of egg white ice cream, I was all "Whaaat?" and then "Bring it on."

Chris stumbled upon this recipe in a fitness magazine (can't remember which one) and he busted out the mixer the other night in efforts to give it a go.  I scoffed, because I thought it was a little nasty making ice cream out of egg whites, but then he explained that the egg whites are pasteurized, so they're safe to eat uncooked.  And then he explained that the whey protein makes the egg whites taste like chocolate.  And then he handed me a spoonful, and by golly, he was correct on all counts.  

So I wanted to share this tricky little recipe with you guys, because I was impressed that something so "Rocky" could taste so "Rocky Road."


First, you need some egg whites, chocolate whey protein, and a little sugar substitute.  And a mixer.  Definitely need a mixer, because beating the egg whites is a length process.

Pour approximately 1 1/2 cups of egg whites into a glass or metal bowl (plastic bowls keep the eggs from whipping themselves into a frenzy properly) and beat them senseless for several minutes, until the egg whites are forming soft peaks.  

Once you have those peaks going on, add approximately 2 1/2 scoops of whey protein (preferably chocolate).  The egg white will deflate considerably, so don't worry.  Just be sure to have the eggs beaten to a texture of your preference.  After the protein is thoroughly mixed with the egg whites, add your sweetener of choice.  (We used two packets of Splenda in ours.)  Put the bowl into the freezer and watch Stephen Colbert (NATION!) while you wait for the "ice cream" to freeze. 

Amazingly enough, this crazy concoction DOES become something resembling ice cream.  And it tastes good, too.  (Point: Chris.  Turns out these weigh lifting magazines have useful information in them, and not just photo shoots of this guy.)

July 29, 2010

Snacks I'm Snacking On.

(Nothing in this post is suggested by or paid for by a company.  The entity in charge of this content?  My stomach.)

My days are spent with two hands snuggling the baby, two hands typing on the computer, one hand folding laundry, another hand changing a diaper, another heating up a bottle, and the last land shooing Siah away from BSparl while she plays.  (Yes, I have eight hands.  Am an octopus.  In theory.) 

So anything culinary that requires a big, cooking-type process just is NOT happening these days.  I have a tendency to grab snacks whenever I can, and these are the grabbables that are topping my list lately:

Delicious, nutritious, and tasty.

Asian pears (They're like particularly sweet apples with a grainy, tasty skin.  Chris and I basically fight over these because they are so good.)

Lemony yum! 

These Lemon Parfait things from Yoplait.  (Awesome when I want a sweet treat but am not willing to bolus seventeen units for it.  And I am loving everything lemon lately.  Also loving alliteration, apparently.)

Easter Bunny's got nothing on me. 

Hard-boiled eggs.  (I can snag one with one hand and crack it open, all while BSparl is asleep in my arms.  Perfect!  But don't crack it against your head unless you're totally sure it's hard boiled.  Poor Ramona.)

I love this pudding.  And the word.  Taaaa-peeee-ooh-ca. 

And these Kozy Shack tapioca puddings.  (I love tapioca pudding.  Always have, even though some people give me crap for liking a dessert that has the consistency of roe.)

Yum all around - just don't combine all four together.  Something about tapioca topped with hard boiled eggs makes my stomach lurch. But separate?  Totally delicious.

What snacks are topping your list?

July 23, 2010

D-Feast Friday: Low Carb, Gluten Free, and Perfect for Summer!

D-Feast Friday!!I am not a chef.  I've never cooked up a meal, a feast, or even a storm.  Nada.  But since today is D-Feast Friday, I wanted to do my part and post the one thing I can make well.

No, it's not the delicious popovers from Jordan Pond.  Not the bizarre Green Drink, either.  And it's not the pumpkin roll or the chili.  This recipe only features one ingredient and requires only one pan, but it takes about three hours to make.  It's the first recipe I've ever completed without screwing it up, and I do it right every time.  

Maybe I am a chef after all?

BEHOLD!  The low-carb, gluten-free treat that's perfect for battling back against the summer heat.  

So cold!  So refreshing!  And so challenging to make! 

The mighty ice cube.

(Thank goodness for D-Feast Friday participants who can actually cook.  I'm looking forward to trying out so many of the recipes that are going up across the diabetes blogosphere today!)

May 13, 2010

Crabs are Evil.

BEWARE THE EVIL ... CRABS!Crabs are something that people with diabetes are constantly grappling with.  Are crabs good for us?  Should we be avoiding crabs at all costs?  If we have too many crabs in our diet, will our A1c go up?  What's the official recommendation for diabetics as it pertains to crabs?  Has anyone ever really tamed the wild crabs?  Is anyone eating crabs, right now, as they read this?

(Note:  Spellcheck is my nemesis right now.  It always, always wants to change "carbs" to "crabs."  As though I have anything against Sebastian and his little sea foul friends.  Spellcheck also likes changing "bolusing" to "blousing," as if wearing a puffy shirt is a verb.  For the record, I have nothing against crabs.  Crabs are fine.  And, in my opinion, carbs are fine, too.  Spellcheck is a bit of a bitch, though.  /digression)  

In all seriousness (sort of), I've been told, time and time again, that carbs are evil.  That if I maintain a diet that's reasonably low-carb, my diabetes will thank me for it.  But I don't think that carbohydrates are the enemy.  In fact, they're my best molecular friend when my blood sugar is hanging out in the trenches.  (See also:  Reese's)

But.

I did notice, as I was gearing up for my wedding and working out more than usual, that my very low carb diet and my consistent exercise regimen made for minimal spikes in my blood sugar.  It wasn't a perfect system, but subbing in vegetables for mashed potatoes at dinner time made for a post-prandial under 200 mg/dl, which (pre-BSparl), was a solid goal for me.  Granted, I didn't avoid carbs all the time, but I actively avoided high carb diet choices because I knew both my weight and my A1c would pay the price somehow.  And now, post-BSparl, I'm trying to go back to that lower carb lifestyle, because that helped keep me at a weight I was more comfortable with.  (Not that I'm actively avoiding carbs now, thanks to the epic breastfeeding lows that crop up every few hours, so I'm giving myself a big ol' bell curve on getting back into shape.)

For me, part of the carbohydrate conundrum is user error.  Pre-Bsparl, I was a bit of a lazy boluser.  I never bolused well in advance of a meal, and my post-prandials (and my overall A1C) definitely paid the price over and over again.  It seems that I need to get my insulin pushed through my system at least 25 minutes before I sit down to eat, not five minutes before.  I learned this lesson (23 years too late, eh?) while I planning for baby, and during the course of the pregnancy, it was definitely the case.  Bolusing well before the meal worked better for me.  

To each diabetic their own, I think, when it comes to carbohydrate intake.  Some people are able to manage high piles of carbs without the messy spikes.  Other people, like me, might be clumsy with their insulin.  Or sometimes the decision not to carb has nothing to do with diabetes (as in my case, and in the case of my husband) - we go lower carb for weight management reasons.  But there's no set magical diabetes diet that cures all that ails ya.  Eating carbs, or not eating carbs, is a personal decision that each individual diabetic needs to figure out for themselves. 

In the Sparling house, we tend to avoid the carbs.

And we also arm ourselves against the crabs.  Because seriously, you never know.

February 23, 2010

Someone Else's Childhood.

This post was originally featured on the ACT1 Diabetes support group site, and since I'm spending the day at the doctor's today, I thought it would be a good time to do a little cross-posting.  :)

*   *   *

Oh holy awesomeness.For Valentine’s Day, Chris and I went to a French restaurant to celebrate our marriage and our growing family. (And for those of you who are familiar with my husband’s new-found Francophile tendencies, you’ll realize that he is the one who chose this restaurant. The guy is addicted to crème brulee.)

Since I’m seven months pregnant, we didn’t crack open any bottles of wine during this dinner, but instead decided to indulge on a delicious fruit plate with chocolate fondue, with white chocolate and hazelnut dipping sauces on the side.

“What is this stuff?” I asked, easing my strawberry into the small dish of hazelnut spread.

“It’s Nutella, baby. You’ve never had that before?”

“No. It tastes like hazelnuts and sort of like chocolate. But it’s not chocolate. And it’s seriously awesome. What’s it called again?” I couldn’t stop rambling – this stuff was totally hitting the spot, appeasing my craving for something sweet and decadent.

“Nutella. You’re being serious? You’ve never had this before?”

“Dude, why would my mother ever introduce me to this sort of thing? I’d have stolen jars of it from the store and eaten them in one gulp, had I known.” I smiled ruefully, thinking of the E.L. Fudge cookie binges I went on as a kid, rearranging the remaining cookies in the sleeve to hide the holes where the missing cookies had once been.

“Good point.” He handed me another strawberry. “Bolus away, love.”

I forget how many of those “treats” I haven’t missed during the last twenty-three years. I hadn’t ever stuck a spoon into a jar of Fluff and gobbled up a few bites, and I hadn’t ever had juice “for fun.” (Always “for lows.”) It was strange to picture a childhood where Ring Dings weren’t eaten in secret, or where rice cakes weren’t used as hopeful barter in third grade for a Snicker’s bar in the cafeteria. (For the record, no one ever wanted my rice cakes. They usually ended up shoved back into my book bag and eaten on the bus by this weird kid who also ate mud pies – literally.)

Food is such a tricky, tricky thing for me, and enjoying a sweet treat in public isn’t ever easy. I usually swallow a little bit of guilt with each bite of sweet, but I know that carrying the guilt isn’t fair. So long as I’m respecting my diabetes control when I indulge, there’s no harm in finding out just how delicious Nutella can be.

But when the check arrived, and with it, a wand of freshly spun, light pink cotton candy, I exclaimed excitedly, “Oooh! Cotton candy! I’ve only had that once before!”

Chris’s face broke into a wide smile as I twirled off a small section of the spun sugar and tasted someone else’s childhood.

February 22, 2010

Orange You Glad?

That old knock-knock joke about the oranges and bananas?  My brother and sister and I would bust that one out at one another all the time:

"Knock, knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Banana."
"Banana who?"
"Knock, knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Banana."
"Banana who?"
"Knock, knock!"

(This is where you either ended up with the giggles or started to get annoyed.)

"Who's there?"
"Orange."
"Orange who?"
"Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

Of course you're glad I didn't say "banana."  Because that joke sucks a little bit.

This is all a big build up for a photo I had taken of my new favorite food:  oranges.  Odd thing is, I usually don't like oranges - something about the smell of the rind and the sticky hands and the fact that there is no really clean way to eat one of these pesky things - ugh.  Was never my snack of choice.  Reminded me of soccer game halftimes, when I'd have to shovel in a few slices of these, or wouldn't be able to have any, depending on my blood sugar at the time. 

Of course, thanks to the magic of pregnancy (which has also given me a taste for seafood and taken away my preference for winter mint gum), oranges are what I'm craving most this week.  Back in the beginning of my pregnancy, I was jonesing for citrus all the time, drinking pulpy orange juice right from the carton.   Second trimester gave me a break from this indulgence, but it's back in full force.  (Sidenote:  And shoving the rind down the garbage disposal and churning it up in there actually makes the disposal smell good, which I thought was an impossible feat.  Double-win for citrus!)

Tomorrow I have a few doctor's appointments at Joslin, including a follow-up eye dilation.  I'm hoping that my eyes are clean this round, because I do not want diabetes issues dictating the arrival method of the baby.  But I'm definitely on board with just "getting her here safely."  Whatever it takes!

(And if you can serve up a goofier knock-knock joke than the old school oranges and bananas one, I'm all ears!)

January 06, 2010

Teavana - It Blooms!

With all the highs and lows that have been floating around during the course of my days, I was in search of a snacky thing that wouldn't do a damn thing to my numbers. 

And that's where my friend Batman came to the rescue.  She introduced me to this fabulous store, which housed these fabulous teas:  Teavana.  

Don't get me wrong - this crap is expensive.  Eighteen dollars for nine freaking tea balls?  

Pre-bloom tea

"But they bloom.  Wait until you see how gorgeous they are, and how fabulous they smell, when they bloom."

So I made an indulgence purchase and bought a glass tea tumbler and some peach momotaro artisan tea.  (I can't even explain what that name means, but when I mentioned it to my former coworker, she immediately knew that Momotaro was a Japanese folklore hero who apparently arrives on Earth via a giant peach.  Some old lady finds the giant peach, brings it home, and she and her husband open it up to find a little boy inside.  Since they didn't have any children of their own, of course they adopted the Peach Boy and lived happily ever after.  I was a little surprised that this tea had a back story, but I checked Wikipedia and there is indeed the story of Momotaro and the Giant Peach [nod to Roald Dahl].  Imagine that.  /digression)

In bloom

And I have to admit - the Batman was right.  This tea is lovely to brew, beautiful to look at, and both smells and tastes great.  Nice and light, and interesting enough to keep my hands from reaching for leftover Christmas cookies.  Watching it go from the tight little ball of tea into the cup of blooming distraction is something else - so I video taped it so I could show you guys.  :)

Have any of you guys tried these blooming teas?  I'm itching to give the strawberry one a try - any other recommendations?  Would love to hear them!

December 23, 2009

NinjaBread Cookies.

Yesterday, my mom and I made attempts to make a bunch of Christmas cookies.  We started out early(ish) in the morning, and with some normal looking cookies and with our brains fully functioning.  We made some delicious winners, like these tasty Hershey Kiss cookies that have a tinge of peanut butter and are melty and awesome.

Hershey Kiss cookies are the BOMB.

However, after too many cookies cycling in and out of the oven, and after decorating dozens and dozens, we started to lose it a little bit.  Maybe we got a little punchy.  Or bored.  Or a dangerous combination of both.  Either way, by the time we got to the gingerbread people, we were both silly.  We tried to keep them standard, like this Santa Claus cookie, complete with little paper present and sassy raisin eyes:

But then we digressed into gingerbread kitties (made from the regular gingerbread man shape, only with added cat features to fool consumers into thinking this cookie should have a tail):

Gingerbread Kitty?

"Oh NO!  MR. BILL ATE MY LEG OFF!"  Or some such comment from this mushy gingerbread man, complete with bloodied stump.  (My mother stopped calling these "cute" and instead starting asking me if I had anything I wanted to talk about.)  

Imagine he's screaming, "AHHH!  MY LEG!  THAT NINJA CUT OFF MY LEG!"

And these, the best of the bunch:  NinjaBread cookies.  GingerNinjas?  (For you, SuperG!)  However you slice them, these cookies weren't baked, but instead stalked themselves into crispy, sneaky perfection:

Gingerbread Ninjas - George, this guy is lookin' at YOU!

The ninjas came in both purple and green, had red cinnamon ninja "stars," and took to hiding in the fake snow in my mother's Christmas village, where they were joined by the cat cookie.   Then the snowmen pretzels wearing their sombreros visited the scene.

Of course.

... I'm a little nervous that my baby may not understand me.  ;)

December 18, 2009

Pumpkin Roll.

For our dessert party last weekend, one of the things I made was a pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling.  My beloved aunts make this all the time, and it's the only pumpkin-flavored thing I like.  But my aunts are like dessert genies, and their baked goods always come out perfectly, and enviably well. 

I thought, "Hey, the baking gene must be in the family, right?" - neglecting to remember that they also have that whole "making their own insulin gene" thing intact as well, so I should have seen disaster looming.  But I decided to go for it.  So here's the breakdown:

First, I needed to make sure my kitchen was stocked with all of the proper ingredients.  I decided to go with the Libby's Pumpkin Roll recipe mainly because it was the brand of pumpkin I bought.  (Hey, I had to make an educated decision on the fly!)

Ingredients for the ol' pumpkin roll.

Ingredients To Make the Cake:
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Ingredients To Make the Delicious Cream Cheese Filling:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the (not often used) oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan (in our home, known as the "lasagna pan") and then line with wax paper. Grease and flour the ol' paper. Then, for some reason to be disclosed later, sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Throw the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves (try to forget how expensive the cloves were when you find yourself spilling some onto the counter by accident), and salt in small bowl. Beat the crap out of the eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until the mixture is thick and kind of pasty. Beat in pumpkin (and here's where I went wrong - I added  just a pinch too much pumpkin, which made the whole thing too moist.  And you know how I feel about the word 'moist.') Stir in flour mixture and then spread evenly into the prepared pan. 

The mix.

Toss (gently) the pan into the oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.  (And by "springs back," this recipe means when you touch the top of the cake, it doesn't come off on your fingertip.)  Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel (which was a trip to accomplish - easily could have been a disaster but thankfully, I survived without flopping the cake onto my feet). Carefully peel off the wax paper. And then, oddly enough, roll up cake and towel together and let this cake snake cool on a wire rack.

Hidden in a dishtowel.  Which is a little gross.

To Make That Delicious Cream Cheese Filling:
Smash together the cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until the mixture is smooth.

The awesome cream cheese frosting.

Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. 

Finished roll - seriously finished, like we already ate half of it before I took a photo.

So here's where I went wrong:  Either I added too much pumpkin, or I didn't let the cake cool enough before adding the filling.  But whatever happened, my pumpkin roll ended up too moist, with filling spilling out everywhere, and the cake was cracked.  Basically, it looked like holy hell.  But thankfully, it ended up tasting awesome.

And was completely and utterly bolus-worthy.

Pumpkin Roll.

For our dessert party last weekend, one of the things I made was a pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling.  My beloved aunts make this all the time, and it's the only pumpkin-flavored thing I like.  But my aunts are like dessert genies, and their baked goods always come out perfectly, and enviably well. 

I thought, "Hey, the baking gene must be in the family, right?" - neglecting to remember that they also have that whole "making their own insulin gene" thing intact as well, so I should have seen disaster looming.  But I decided to go for it.  So here's the breakdown:

First, I needed to make sure my kitchen was stocked with all of the proper ingredients.  I decided to go with the Libby's Pumpkin Roll recipe mainly because it was the brand of pumpkin I bought.  (Hey, I had to make an educated decision on the fly!)

Ingredients for the ol' pumpkin roll.

Ingredients To Make the Cake:
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Ingredients To Make the Delicious Cream Cheese Filling:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the (not often used) oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan (in our home, known as the "lasagna pan") and then line with wax paper. Grease and flour the ol' paper. Then, for some reason to be disclosed later, sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Throw the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves (try to forget how expensive the cloves were when you find yourself spilling some onto the counter by accident), and salt in small bowl. Beat the crap out of the eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until the mixture is thick and kind of pasty. Beat in pumpkin (and here's where I went wrong - I added  just a pinch too much pumpkin, which made the whole thing too moist.  And you know how I feel about the word 'moist.') Stir in flour mixture and then spread evenly into the prepared pan. 

The mix.

Toss (gently) the pan into the oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.  (And by "springs back," this recipe means when you touch the top of the cake, it doesn't come off on your fingertip.)  Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel (which was a trip to accomplish - easily could have been a disaster but thankfully, I survived without flopping the cake onto my feet). Carefully peel off the wax paper. And then, oddly enough, roll up cake and towel together and let this cake snake cool on a wire rack.

Hidden in a dishtowel.  Which is a little gross.

To Make That Delicious Cream Cheese Filling:
Smash together the cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until the mixture is smooth.

The awesome cream cheese frosting.

Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. 

Finished roll - seriously finished, like we already ate half of it before I took a photo.

So here's where I went wrong:  Either I added too much pumpkin, or I didn't let the cake cool enough before adding the filling.  But whatever happened, my pumpkin roll ended up too moist, with filling spilling out everywhere, and the cake was cracked.  Basically, it looked like holy hell.  But thankfully, it ended up tasting awesome.

And was completely and utterly bolus-worthy.

December 14, 2009

Pineapple Express.

I could eat this by the POUND.

Hi there.  I'm addicted to pineapple.

This week, I'll be five months pregnant, and it seems like the vitamin C cravings I had early on in my pregnancy are back with a vengeance.  Orange juice (yes, with pulp), kiwi fruit, apples, raisins (even though they're low in it, I still want them), and pineapple.  To the point where Chris and I bought a pineapple at the grocery store last week and I ate half of it in two days time.  What's good is that, for whatever reason, my blood sugars aren't rebelling against this fruit overload.  (Different from cute overload, where hamsters play the trumpet.)  Before the BSparl invasion, I had things like oatmeal timed out with precision, so that I could eat something with 30 grams of carbs in it without a spike, but just one apple could cause my numbers to go berserk.  Now?  Oatmeal is hard to predict, but I can nosh on a whole bowl of fruit salad, estimate the carbs, and coast in the low 100's for NO REASON. 

Pregnancy and type 1 diabetes is a very peculiar combination.  /digression

But then I Googled "pineapple and pregnancy" and received a pile of search results that made me feel like I was going to have the baby that night.  One site said that "Bromelain [found in pineapple] can soften the cervix and bring on labor."  Another said that it could cause uterine contractions. 

So, of course, I freaked out slightly.  And talked to fruit.

"What am I supposed to know?  I mean, there's so many do's and don'ts when it comes to this baby gestation adventure - how can I figure out what I'm supposed to be doing?  And how come I keep finding out about suspect foods AFTER I've already eaten them?"  I asked the pineapple on my plate.  It did not offer a useful answer.

I have heard that I should avoid shellfish.  (Not that big of a problem, as my new food cravings seem to be for shrimp only).  I've heard to keep the caffeine tapered to a minimum, which I managed to get under control before we left for Spain in August, so that's cool.  And I have also been told, many, many times, that I can't eat cold deli meat anymore, so anything involving cold cuts needs to be "piping hot." 

But after those few bits, I get a little foggy.  Should I not be eating pineapple?  Someone else told me to avoid things with gluten in them because it can affect the baby.  Then I was told to avoid eggs unless they were whites-only.  And not to eat any sugar substitute except for Splenda.  And to steer clear of soft cheeses (which to me is everything except the cheese that you forget to wrap in saran wrap and ends up all nasty hard).  And to only eat while hanging upside down in my closet, like a bat.  While wearing galoshes.  

What the heck am I supposed to eat???   Or supposed to avoid?  And will eating pineapple really make my body flake out?  Because while Google is a great place to find information, I don't trust it nearly as much as I trust real people.  For now, I'll be chugging orange juice and bolusing accordingly.  :)

December 09, 2009

O Christmas Tree.

Our first real Christmas tree in years.

In the Sparling household, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  The tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung by the ... something with care (we don't have a chimney), and white lights have cropped up all over the place.  And it's our first REAL Christmas tree in years, because we won't be away from our house for days on end visiting family.  Fake trees have dominated our holidays for the past few years, and there's a warm, snuggly feel to having a pine tree in the living room.  I'm excited!!

I'm not mentioning the three little Christmas stockings we have for the cats.  I refuse to even whisper about that.

This is our first Christmas in several years that we won't spend on the long, clogged highway that is Horrible 95,  so we're trying to get into the swing of things this year.  It's been pretty easy, since I'm sporting a nice baby bump these days, so "nesting" is totally up my alley.  (It's the strangest feeling, that satisfaction I'm getting once I realize all the laundry is done and folded, and how much I'm enjoying vacuuming these days.  VACUUMING!  Even all those shedding pine needles aren't bothering me.  What the hell is wrong with me?!)

I'm looking for some decidedly-non diabetes stuff from you guys, if you have it handy.  My mom and I are going to be making cookies in a few days, and Chris and I are having a dessert get-together at our house coming up, so I'm in dire need of delicious desserts.  Cookies, pies, cakes, breads ... basically, I'm looking for your favorite holiday dessert. (Because, irony being what it is, I'm unable to cook a decent meal, but I can make any dessert recipe under the sun.  It's my only culinary talent, and it's a cruel one indeed.)

If you have a favorite recipe that you'd be willing to link out to, or share in the comments section, I'd really appreciate it!  And my family will appreciate it, too.  You guys are my secret cache of fantastic snacky ideas!

December 07, 2009

Farmer's Market.

Over the weekend, my friend Batman and I went to a local farmer's market to scope out the offerings.  We went to a market in Rhode Island, and since I'm from RI, I know how teeny the state is.  You'd think that after growing up in a state that you can drive through in less than an hour, I'd have seen the majority of what's there.

I love seeing that there's so much more to see.  I like that my home state still has plenty of surprises in store for me.

I had no idea there were to many farms in Rhode Island.  The market was located in an artist's loft building near Providence, and an entire wing of the building was devoted to these farmers and their stands.  Ten different kinds of local eggs, bins and bins of fresh produce, and enough loose tea and cheeses and apples and fresh, hot cider to keep two (and a half?) girls entertained for hours.  

I cannot wait to eat soft cheeses again!

The spread of cheeses was amazing, and Batman sampled a few while I looked on in envy.  (BSparl, once you've escaped and I can hug you, I'm going to eat a whole wheel of brie.  Just as a warning.)

OMG bolus-worthy!

And the dessert selections were definitely bolus-worthy.  Chocolate coffee rolls, brownies, and pecan-encrusted orange rolls (I think that's what those shiny ones are) - all sitting out there, waiting to be gobbled up.  I think of of the cookies actually reached out to hit the bolus button on my pump, but I resisted.  (For once.)

I wasn't aware that these grew on stalks like this.  So now I'm stalking them.

Brussel sprouts grow on stalks - this was news to me!  

We rooted around for these.  HA HA HA.

These were garlic stems, I believe.  Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of organic, locally grown options.  Chris and I used to get eggs from the Mr. Chicken Man (the IT guy in my old office who has a fleet of chickens at his house as part of his wife's business, and he'd bring local, fresh eggs in for us), and these eggs were so delicious.  Seriously better than the ones we'd buy at the store.  Getting eggs from Mr. Chicken Man made us want to buy locally as often as possible - simply because it was more delicious.  

Problem is, local and organic can be very expensive.  We can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of Ramen Noodle for $2.00 and it could last us weeks, but shopping only in the organic section could run us into financial ruin.  (Note:  I've never, in my life, had even a spoonful of Ramen Noodle.  My college roommates ate it - Chris has, too - but I've never tried it.  I feel like I missed out on a whole part of my college experience, by not eating the salty disaster that is Ramen.  End digression.)  These days, we're paying rapt attention to food labels and healthiest options, for BSparl's growing babyness, but I wish there was a cost-effective way to eat like this more often.  I'm sure my diabetes appreciates the lack of corn syrup and preservatives and all that crap.

But in any event, it was a great location for a little shutter-snapping.  :)

November 30, 2009

A Piece of Embarrassment Pie.

Diabetes police - :(Over the last few weeks, I have had a few run-ins with the gentlest of diabetes police - people who don't mean to be second-guessing me or asking me why I'm eating that, but still, they can't help but ask.  Sometimes their questions are subtle and we end up having a quiet, private discussion about what type 1 diabetes means to my life, and I welcome these opportunities as ways to help educate and advocate.

But other times, when I'm at the table with a piece of pie in my hand and about to sink my fork into it, knowing full-well that I am at a very good blood sugar and have bolused for the pie carefully, and someone asks, "Why are you eating that?" ... I feel completely defeated.  And embarrassed.  Can't a girl have dessert without being questioned?  And when questioned, why isn't my explanation good enough to justify my actions? 

I'd like to be a person with diabetes who sits down for dinner and eats with everyone without the scrutiny.

There's a difference, in my eyes, between choosing to be a diabetes advocate and being forced to explain myself.  I have no problem explaining to a stranger what the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is, or what this machine on my hip is, or why my purse keeps BEEEEEEP!ing, or why I'm carrying more candy than an Oompa Loompa.  I actually like having these discussions, because I feel like people are only familiar with one kind of diabetes and one linear explanation for "the sugar," and I like knowing that I'm helping to educate them about the different kinds of diabetes, particularly type 1. 

What I don't enjoy is having someone look at me like I'm doing something wrong, just because they are unfamiliar with the ways that my diabetes needs to be managed (or the way I'm choosing to manage it).  I've written about diabetes and guilt before, and my inability to ever be "the perfect diabetic," so this isn't a new gripe.  But what's made me particularly frustrated is how there seems to be this common misconception that "it's only diabetes" and it's okay to pass judgment on my choices.  Diabetes isn't viewed as a serious disease to those outside the bubble of understanding, and complications for a young person with type 1 can thankfully be hard to spot, so maybe diabetes just looks too easy to some people.  Maybe we are just too good at masking how challenging it can be sometimes.

What would my well-meaning diabetes police say if I responded to their comment of "Whoa!  Having pie?  You can't have pie!" with a dissertation:

"Yes, I can have pie.  If I'm willing to go through the necessary motions, you know?  I have type 1 diabetes, and I wear this pump to give myself the insulin hormone that I don't make for myself anymore.  Supplementing all day long!  Unlike type 2 diabetes, which I know you're more familiar with, I don't make any insulin at all, so every meal is a tight balance of blood sugar monitoring, carbohydrate counting, and then dosing my insulin in accordance with the meal I'm about to eat.  Then, after the meal, I'll keep monitoring to make sure that I'm not going too high or too low.  It's about balance, but not about deprivation.  So yes, I can eat this.  And I will eat this.  And so long as I'm able to keep my numbers in check, my body shouldn't rebel after a piece of pie."

The thing is, I've given this explanation before.  Many times.  And I've explained diabetes to so many family members and so many friends (and just as many complete strangers) that it frustrates me endlessly to see that they aren't retaining any of the information.  And not only are they missing what I'm saying, but they're constantly - albeit gently - calling me out for my actions.  It makes me feel like such a crumb, like everyone is watching me while I eat.  (Nothing like that to make you feel paranoid.  Not to mention pregnancy weight gain, adding insult to injury.)  I know they mean well, and I appreciate their concern, but they need to listen to me when I answer them.  And they need to trust me when I give a clear explanation.  I'm not asking them to explain their food choices or exercise decisions or the details of their daily regimen - it's not my business. 

I'm sorry if I seem frustrated, but the scrutiny is making my head and my heart ache.   I don't have a track record of being irresponsible.  I don't exhibit signs of disease ignorance or depression or unawareness.   I'm taking very good care of myself, especially now with the baby growing inside of me and my focus turned to diabetes the majority of my day.  I'm tuned in.  I'm careful.  I'm doing my best.

Yes, I can have the pie.  Next time, I might skip it for reasons all my own.  But whatever my decision, please don't assume you have a right to question it.  Until you are living with type 1 diabetes, you don't understand.  And I'm not expecting you to understand - ask me what you want to ask me.  I'm more than willing to talk to you about this. 

But if you don't have a question, and you only have those comments, I'm just respectfully asking you to be quiet.   Please.  I've had enough.

November 17, 2009

Forecast: Chili.

(I am almost POSITIVE I've used that pun before, but blast - I'm going with it.)

Seeing as how I'm going to be a mommy next year (holy crap), I'm in full-on nesting mode at the house.  I make the bed every morning.  I do laundry and have actually found myself attempting to whistle whilst doing said laundry.  And I'm even making efforts at cooking food.

For those of you who know me in person, I'm sure your eyes are the size of saucers.  I KNOW, right?  Cooking?  Me?  What the hell is going on??

It's the BSparl.  This teeny baby had hit my "domestic goddess" switch, and even though I come with faulty wiring in that department, I'm trying.  At the very least, this baby will have plenty of clean onsies and a belly full of Jell-O.

One item that we've been making a lot since the move is chili.  Chili seems to be, for me, one of those magical foods that doesn't give me much of a spike at all, and all the fiber and meaty goodness keeps me feeling full.  (Which is a bonus when BSparl is urging me to eat every two hours or so.)  Here's a quick rundown of what goes in the pot:

Looks a little tangled (read: dog food?), but it does taste awesome!

1 package of lean ground turkey
1 package of chili seasoning (we like the Old El Paso one)
1 10 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of white cannellini beans
1 can of black beans
I can of kidney beans
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 block of sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper (no Spinderella in this recipe)

Makeshift Directions:

  • In a large stock pot, brown the turkey on medium heat until fully cooked, then drain off the fat.   Add the chopped onion, then add the packet of chili seasoning and stir it up.
  • Once the meat is cooked and seasoned, crack open that can of crushed tomatoes and dump them in.  Stir and let the mixture heat up - so now you should turn the burner up to medium-high or high.
  • While that stuff is hanging out in the pot, open the cans of beans and rinse them off in the sink, using a colander.  Add the rinsed beans to the pot and stir.
  • Hopefully, it's starting to resemble chili by this point.  Dump in the bag of frozen vegetables and stir. (Personally, I use more vegetables than recommended, usually adding a bag of peas, carrots, and corn, but then adding green beans as an afterthought every time.  I should just add them to the mental recipe.)
  • Things should start boiling a bit at this point, which is a good thing.  Add the cinnamon and the cumin, and then add salt n' pepa to taste. (If they say it's delicious, you're good to go.)
  • Just before you're ready to devour a bowl, shred some of that cheddar cheese on top of it.  Let it melt a bit, and then eat like mommy's little piggy eats.
NOTE:  I'm sorry, but I don't have the exact carb count on this.  We usually count as we crack open the cans, then divide, bolus, and promptly forget.  It happens every time, and I can't be held responsible for my lack of math skills, so you're on your own for this one.

Good luck following my tangled recipe, and enjoy the chili!

November 12, 2009

Let the Eating ... Begin!

Evil pregnancy cravings.The second trimester (not semester, as I keep mistakenly saying) is in full swing.  According to the baby books I am reading daily, it's time to start putting on 1/2 a pound to a pound a week - oh what a weird concept!!!  For those of you who have been reading me for a few years, you know I work hard to keep the poundage OFF, so the concept of gleefully adding 20lbs in the next 22 weeks is foreign to me.

The weight gain is a weird adjustment.  I log in to the What to Expect (When You're Expecting) site daily to see the progress of the BSparl and because it helps me keep track of how far along I actually am.  I'm now in the 16th week of my pregnancy and the site says the following:

"It's hard to watch yourself gain weight during pregnancy, even when you know there's a wonderful reason for it. The challenge, though, is to try to embrace your body's new shape and think of every pound you put on as a sign of good health for you and your baby. As long as you eat right during pregnancy (minimize junk and maximize nutrient-dense foods) and get regular exercise, you'll be fine in the long run. Remember, every woman is different and gains (and loses) at her own pace."

Eating right has been a little bit of a challenge because what I'm craving is changing hour to hour, it seems.  Earlier in my pregnancy, I could have devoured an entire fruit stand in a week, craving anything with a high volume of vitamin C in it.  Kiwis, orange juice (yes, with pulp!), blackberries, and raspberries by the fistful.  Healthy choices, right?  But now, with about 7 lbs on board already and closing in on the fourth month of BSparl, my tastes are turning towards less ... diabetes friendly options, shall we say.

Like the other night.

"I want a McDonald's cheeseburger, like you read about."  I said this to Chris from the safety of our home, away from the tempting glow of any golden arches. 

"Really??"  He knows I'm not one for fast food, especially McDonald's. 

"Yup.  It's twisted."

The thing about that craving is that it didn't go away.  No sir ... that one was on board for 72 hours, until Monday, when Chris and I were coming back from an errand and I knew there was a McDonald's around the corner.

"Dude, I'm caving."

He grinned.  (He finds this whole thing amusing, from the potbelly to the bizarre things I want to eat now.)  "It's time."

While he waited in the car, I ran into McDonald's and ordered a cheeseburger from the lady behind the counter.  

"One cheeseburger, please!"  I think I looked euphoric.  I must have.

"One cheeseburger, happy lady?"  

"Yes, ma'am!"

"One cheeseburger for the happy lady!" she said, punching the order into her register and calling back to the guys in the back.

"Cheeseburger coming up!"  A minute later, the cheeseburger I'd been craving slid down the counter and was tossed into a paper bag. 

"Cheeseburger for the happy lady!"

"Thank you!"  (Everyone speaks in exclamation points at this McDonald's, apparently.  And there's nothing wrong with being the "happy lady," in my opinion.)

I went out to the car, my face glowing with pregnancy cheeseburger happiness.  Chris was already laughing at me, but I can't care.  This is part of the process, I guess, all this very odd food stuff.  I bolused 3.5 units for this culinary disaster and ate it in one gulp.  An hour later, 109 mg/dl. 

I swear BSparl was in there, clapping his little hands, the whole time. 

September 03, 2009

Goin' Decaf.

I did it. 

I started my mission while we were on vacation in Barcelona, because between the time change and our eating schedule and the fact that sleep was a hot commodity, it was a good time to let go of the caffeine addiction.  No real withdrawal, no extreme headaches, and no unrighteously sassy moments where I can't function "WITHOUT MY CUP OF COFFEE DAMNIT!" 

This is a big step for me, because coffee and I were buddies.  

Love it. 

Bestest pals.

Still lovin' it. 

Friends all day long.

But now, I have a new pal.  Someone who can still be part of the collection of stupid iPhotos that the editorial team snaps every few days. (These photos are known as the Friday Face-Off, where we take one photo to emulate, like this one (my version) or this one, and we all recreate it ourselves, then paste them together as a college.  My favorite so far was when we all tried to look like my chubby-cheeked niece.  But I've once again digressed.  Ignore me.) 

My new pal is decaf, and I have embraced the change.  The coffee shop downstairs makes a mean iced decaf coffee, and just a short walk away from my office is a fabulous graham cracker flavored coffee that comes in delicious decaf.  I am finally weaned off the caffeine, but I still get to enjoy the taste and the "coffee runs" that are part of the social routine in my office.

My new love.

It's nice to feel free.

It's also nice to not drink so much coffee that my fingertips actually jitter to the point where I can't type a sentence without mangling most of the words.

FutureBaby, I hope you appreciate this.  Because it was HAAARD.  But I know it was worth it.

September 02, 2009

Snacky Time: Meatballs.

Trader Joe's has some of the tastiest food options I've found since moving to CT (we didn't have a Trader Joe's in RI waaaaay back in the day like three years ago whoops digression and a run-on - yay), and their aisles appear to be crammed with almost entirely organic options.  Which is nice for a diabetic who is making attempts to be healthy.

But I find that a lower-carb lifestyle leaves me hungry sometimes.  Not like The Hulk-type hungry (You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry!) but more that gnawing stomach rumble that seems to be quieted only by a nice slice of toast.

Thankfully, Trader Joe (whoever he is) made meatballs.  And it is good

I love me some ... meatballs.

These round mounds of seasoned deliciousness are substantial enough to take the edge off my hunger and they pack a protein punch of 12 grams per two meatballs.  Clocking in at only 5 grams of carbs per two, a bowl of meatballs can give me 36 grams of protein and only 15 grams of carbs.  Coupled with Chris's homemade red sauce, this snack option does it for me. 

I've also been working on trying to not treat lows with juice or glucose tabs, but instead with "real food."  Stop & Shop also has these smoooooshed fruit bars from Fruitabu that are organic, delicious, and 10 grams of carbs apiece.  I've used these to treat lows over the last week or two (lows like 60 mg/dl, not lows like 40 mg/dl) and the hardest part has been sitting and waiting for the carbs to take effect.  But I'm not inclined to over-treat when the snack is portioned out into one 10 gram slam, and since they taste so nice (grape is my favorite so far), it's almost like a treat.

Food is a huge part of that equation we're trying to balance on a daily basis, and I remain thankful for the things that actually WORK OUT.  (And I'm also thankful for the fact that the word "smoooshed" is used in the Fruitabu marketing campaign.  That's quality.)

July 05, 2009

Tin O' Joy.

I love surprises, and I'm a bit smitten with pear jelly beans.

So when this arrived last week,

Thank you, Windy!!

... filled with pear-flavored jelly beans, I was very happy indeed.

Thank you, Windy!  This was a wonderful anniversary surprise.  :)

June 10, 2009

Blueberry Awesomeness.

There's stuff that's bolus-worthy.  New York style cheesecake.  Chai tea on a snowy winter day.  Wedding cake made out of red velvet with butter cream frosting.  These indulgences are worth draining my pump reservoir for, and almost worth the spike I try to, but don't always, avoid.

I've been very, very attentive to my diabetes lately.  Logging all these numbers, sporting the Dexcom, trying to manage stress levels, exercising ... whatever it takes to make me as healthy as I can be for the baby I want to have someday. But that wagon is hard to stay on all the time, and I have taken a risk or two in the last month.  Like a trip on the Connecticut Wine Trail with some friends.  And some pasta at Carmine's last weekend with my sister-in-law.  

Oh holy awesome.

And blueberry swirl cupcakes from Crumbs Bakery.

My diabetes control isn't made or broken in one bite of a fluffy, delicious cupcake.  Usually when I'm having a high sugar indulgence, I'm right on top of things, diabetes-wise.  I bolus aggressively to avoid the high and I watch that Dexcom like a hawk for any subsequent lows.  My management problems come more in the form of letting my numbers go untracked and pinging all over the place, letting highs creep up without corrections, then stacking boluses until I hit a nasty low, which I over-treat and rebound into a high ... you know the cycle.  It's not the "one thing" but more my inability to care for more than an hour or two.  The last few weeks of intensive management have been about keeping an eye on everything and not letting the cycle spin out of control. 

And it's hopefully working.  My machine averages are down, I'm seeing many hours straight of flat-lines on the CGM, and knowing my Joslin appointment is at the end of July keeps my mind on task.

Besides, it's not like I ate the whole cupcake.  I split it with Chris and I asked for the estimated carb count before I took a bite. 

But I did take the first, awkward bite. 

Whoops!  Cupcake!

And I did enjoy every other bite of it, too.  Go ahead and judge!  :)

June 09, 2009

Zombie Lows.

Weirdest dream.  Ever.The BEEEEEEEEP! woke me up from a dream about having my arm chewed off by a zombie that looked like Kevin James.  (Zombie dreams are common in my house, apparently.)

I wasn't sweaty and my skin didn't have that flushed, clammy feel, but my whole body was extra-sensitive and jittery.  Like being covered in sand, only every granule was touching a nerve.

For once, I didn't bother testing.  I knew I was low.  The Dexcom was howling from underneath the bedside table (where I must have lobbed it like a softball when it went off the first time.)  The display kept glowing "LOW."  I reached into the drawer of the bedside table and retrieved a tube of cake frosting.  Red.   

It's been a while since I've had a low in the wee hours of the morning.  I've woken up on the lower side a few times in the past several weeks (morning numbers in the 60's and 70's - too low for me), but there haven't been any low messes at 3 am. 

Until last night, of course.

Still unnerved from the Kevin James zombie dream, I consumed some cake frosting and let the sugar settle into my system.  It was absolutely silent -  not a sound coming from the roads outside or the cats milling around in the living room - and my brain kept screaming for more sugar.  

This is where I get stupid every time.  The frosting I ate was enough to cover my reaction.  After I tested, I saw that I was 45 mg/dl.  I'd already eaten about 20 grams of carbs, which would have brought me up nicely to about 100 and left me there.

But I had a brain full of zombie nightmare panic and low blood sugar, so I stumbled out into the kitchen. And proceed to drink about three cups of juice to quell my anxiety, checking in the hallway for zombies after each gulp.  It's so psychological, the way that juice calms the "low feeling" faster than anything else, purely in my mind.  Even if my blood sugar doesn't budge a bit, just drinking something sends my brain the "it's going to be okay" message.  (But I hate over-treating, because then I just end up high. See also: This morning's waking 290 mg/dl blood sugar.)

I wander back to bed, Abby circling my feet like a shark while I walk.  I'm starting to feel better, even though it doesn't dawn on me yet to maybe bolus for all the extra juice I drank.  Running my toothbrush under the water (because I can't stand waking up with that juice taste in my mouth and yes, this post-low dental hygiene thing happens all the time), I look into the mirror.  My hair is a disaster.  My eyes are wild, like a child who has been locked in a closet for days on end, pupils darting from side-to-side, panicked.  The bags under my eyes are distressing and apparently packed for a long trip.

God, I look awful.  Is this what a low looks like from the outside?

I remember the zombie dream and realize how ridiculous it was.  What kind of person dreams that Kevin James is gnawing off her arm?

I smile.  

And am startled to see my red teeth grinning back at me, stained from the frosting.   

June 08, 2009

The Green Drink.

I'm not going to bother saying it again, but in case you're new to SUM, I can't cook to save my life.  Seriously.  (I eat froast, for crying out loud.) 

Thankfully, Chris is always on the hunt for healthy, and tasty, recipes that work with his regimen and are easy on my bloodsugars.  And lately, he's been making this Green Drink. (Capitalized, because it's sort of official and better than when he pretends it's called "Pretty Green," after the Liam Gallagher clothing line - which it is NOT.  But Liam Gallagher is beyond funny in the interviews about his clothing line, so if you have a chance to watch this arrogant popstar wax on about his clothing line, you can follow him on Twitter.  And now I've digressed myself right into a stupor.) 

The Green Drink.

Point is, it looks a smidge like "You Can't Do That On Television!" sludge but it tastes very nice.

The recipe is pretty basic:  Three stalks of celery, one apple, a handful of baby spinach, all chopped up so they can be obliterated by the blender.  Add in approximately three quarter cups of water, a good dash of cinnamon, and blend it until the cats' ears get all panicked.

When it's done, you'll have a frothy glass of Green Drink that tastes very nice and is about 8 grams of carbs. 

How do you guys get more vegetables in your diet?  Since I'm doing what I can to keep the carbs at a minimum to (hopefully) lower my A1C, I'm eating more fresh green beans and celery as snacks, and drinking the Green Drink, too.  Will you like it?  I don't know - ahhhhh! - but it's currently topping my favorite way to get some extra servings of fruits and vegetables, so I'm for it.   

The Green Drink.

I'm not going to bother saying it again, but in case you're new to SUM, I can't cook to save my life.  Seriously.  (I eat froast, for crying out loud.) 

Thankfully, Chris is always on the hunt for healthy, and tasty, recipes that work with his regimen and are easy on my bloodsugars.  And lately, he's been making this Green Drink. (Capitalized, because it's sort of official and better than when he pretends it's called "Pretty Green," after the Liam Gallagher clothing line - which it is NOT.  But Liam Gallagher is beyond funny in the interviews about his clothing line, so if you have a chance to watch this arrogant popstar wax on about his clothing line, you can follow him on Twitter.  And now I've digressed myself right into a stupor.) 

The Green Drink.

Point is, it looks a smidge like "You Can't Do That On Television!" sludge but it tastes very nice.

The recipe is pretty basic:  Three stalks of celery, one apple, a handful of baby spinach, all chopped up so they can be obliterated by the blender.  Add in approximately three quarter cups of water, a good dash of cinnamon, and blend it until the cats' ears get all panicked.

When it's done, you'll have a frothy glass of Green Drink that tastes very nice and is about 8 grams of carbs. 

How do you guys get more vegetables in your diet?  Since I'm doing what I can to keep the carbs at a minimum to (hopefully) lower my A1C, I'm eating more fresh green beans and celery as snacks, and drinking the Green Drink, too.  Will you like it?  I don't know - ahhhhh! - but it's currently topping my favorite way to get some extra servings of fruits and vegetables, so I'm for it.   

June 01, 2009

Let There Be Cake!

Even though our anniversary was two weeks ago, we had to wait until this weekend to score our cake.

This shit will set you back about 4,323 units of Humalog.

(Note:  Our original agreement with the cake baker was that instead of saving our wedding cake topper for a year and eating nostalgic, yet crunchy-stale cake, we would have a new cake baked on our anniversary.  Which was fortunate because our actual cake topper ended up in my Aunt Linda's back room for three weeks, stored with our wedding gifts, while we were on our honeymoon.  We returned to a box filled with cake that had sprouted what appeared to be ferns.  Thus, inedible.  And double-thus, we were thankful for the 'new cake' agreement.)

So on Saturday morning, Chris and I went to a cool little tea house in southern RI and stuffed our faces full of red velvet cake with butter cream frosting.

So delicious!

It.  Was.  Awesome.

And as irony would have it, my blood sugar was 130 mg/dl two hours after aforementioned gluttony.

The diabetes gods were smiling upon us.  Thankfully.  Because I've been wondering where the hell they've been lately.  ;)

May 06, 2009

Diabetes Treat: Sugar-Free Popsicles.

Free foods pretty much ruled my freaking world when I was a kid.  Sugar-free Jell-O, pickles, cucumbers, and sugar-free popsicles were stashed in mass quantities in my childhood home, so that my prying little diabetic hands would hopefully land on a popsicle instead of an "E.L. Fudge" cookie. 

(Note to Michelle:  Your comment a few weeks back about El Fudge the Zorro Cookie still tops my list as one of the funniest comments of all time.)

And even though I'm a grown-up diabetic these days, the disease remains the same.  So does my struggle with food.  Now it's up to me to keep my kitchen stocked with tasty sugar-free treats. 

But some things are a little bit different than they were twenty years ago.  For instance, Chris and I are very wary of sugar substitutes and even though I use Equal in my coffee every morning, I'd prefer a non-chemical alternative.  We try to eat as healthy as possible and buy organic whenever we can (even though it's freaking pricey to buy anything in Fairfield County, where they charge $3.00 for an iced coffee without batting an eye), but avoiding those sugar substitutes is really a challenge for me.  I'm used to Equal and it's mega-sweetness, and other natural alternatives don't pack the same punch.   So we don't always take the organic, attempting-to-be-healthy highroad, and often times we find the grocery cart packed with sugar-free popsicles and Jell-O and other "safe for diabetics but just ignore these chemicals" items.

Because it's hard to find crap I can eat that doesn't make my numbers go berserk and isn't packed with chemicals!

/rant   

Delicious.  Not quite nutritious, though.

I'm a sucker for a good popsicle.  (And for a good pun.) I'll even eat the orange ones, even though they get a bad reputation for some reason.  (Why do you eat the grape ones first, Chris?  What do you have against the orange?)  Popsicles are my favorite method of staying hydrated when my blood sugars get all teeth-sweaters high, and Chris can often tell if I'm working through a high by the number of popsicle wrappers that collect on the coffee table.  And the effects on my numbers are so minimal that I can eat three in a row without a blip on the Dexcom.

Free foods.  I love 'em.  I appreciate 'em.  And when I get all snacky in an unruly way, I need 'em.

What kinds of free foods are you guys snacking on?  

March 24, 2009

French Fried.

Chris has a crush on these things.Last weekend, Chris and I went out on Saturday night for his birthday.  And because he is a Francophile and borderline crème brulée addict, we revisited an excellent French bistro in Brooklyn (that we were introduced to by some wonderful friends). 

We drove in a found a parking spot right across the street from our destination (stroke of freaking good luck, that)- Moutarde in Park Slope, and we were right on time for our 8:30 reservation. 

And we ate.

Oh how we ate.

We started with slices of celery and peppers dipped into an array of spicy mustards.  There was freshly baked french bread with creamy butter.  A shared appetizer of escargot, entrees of duck confit and hanger steak with frites (read: fries) - we were beyond indulgent.  To round out our meal (and our bellies), we had not one, but TWO desserts - crème brulée and two profiteroles with ice cream and covered in warm chocolate sauce.

My blood sugars were screaming at the very notion of these noshes. 

"Nooooo!  Kerri!!!   You'll end up at 400 mg/dl, stupid!"

"Quiet, you.  I'm having a night off from your hollering."  

My husband and I cleaned our plates and topped our meals off with coffee (me) and cappuccino (Chris).   

"So how is your birthday going?"

Francophile Sparling leaned back in his chair, smiling.  "This is great.  I loved this.  I love French food!"

I reached into my purse and consulted the Dexcom, to see if my numbers were started to go berserk.  I saw a flatline - 142 mg/dl and steady.  

"Dude, I think I did this right.  After all that food, I'm barely 140."

"Nice.  Can we get another profiterole?"

I love a good night out with excellent food, excellent company, and excellent blood sugars.  A few hours later, when we were climbing into bed, I checked the Dex again and saw that I was 103 mg/dl with a little arrow pointing straight down, showing that I was falling slowly, but still falling.

Meter confirmed:  97 mg/dl.

"Bah.  I must have over-bolused.  I'm going to grab a swig of juice."

Face-planted into the bed and slowly digesting thousands of French calories, Chris murmured "Mmm hmm."

I took a drink from the grape juice bottle by the bed and settled in beside him, feeling cocky about our indulgent dinner and it's lack of effect on my numbers.

So didn't I feel like a tool when the Dex started singing at 5:30 in the morning, announcing my 271 mg/dl to the entire room?   Sweaters on teeth, that instant "Oh my God I have to pee" feeling, and my tongue weighing about 8 lbs - the whole mess. 

I never, ever remember that the fat hits my blood sugars so much later.  (And we ate a lot of fatty foods!)    Stupid overconfident Kerri.  You done been French fried.

"Kerri, we told you.  We so told you."

"Enough!  I am fixing this now and besides, it was worth it." 

"The high?"

"Nope.  The crème brulée!" 

March 02, 2009

Froast.

FROAST!!!

When I'm getting ready to go to the gym at night, I change up into my workout clothes and then test my blood sugar.  For a cardio workout, I like to at least start in the 160 - 180  mg/dl range,  but sometimes my numbers are lower than that at 6 pm.

Chris makes his protein shake and we talk about stuff that happened that day.

"So I was talking with [CoWorker] about this thing at work and ..." I lick the blood off my finger and see a result of 98 mg/dl.  I walk over to the freezer and open up the bag of whole wheat bread, grabbing a slice.  Still talking, though. 

"... it could really help bolster community so we were thinking about making that our next project.  What do you think?"  I bite into cold, almost completely frozen slice of bread, the chill making it easy to swallow.  Chew, chew, chew - all set.

"Good idea.  Also, you'll be good to go in a few minutes?"

"Yeah.  Having some froast and I'm good to go."

Froast.  Frozen toast.  I eat this all the time and only now am I realizing how (perhaps) slightly unusual it is.  Doesn't everyone get their carbohydrate fix by chomping into a frozen slice of whole wheat bread, sans butter or jam or any kind of condiment?

Chris thinks this is the oddest thing, but I do it all the time and barely think anything of it anymore. 

"Wouldn't it be fread?  Like frozen bread?"

We have this discussion more often than two creative people with social skills should.

"No, because it's frozen.  That's what makes it firm.  So it's like toast, only not cripsy from heat.  More solid from cold."

"Oh.  Okay.  That makes sense."

Not "fread."  Not "broast."  Not "brozen."  FROAST.  It's a frigging weirdo staple in my diet. Froast is a way for me to grab some carbs and keep my blood sugar holding a bit steadier instead of downing fast-acting slugs of juice and empty calories.  I hate the idea of drinking my calories and would much rather have a good old fashioned slice of froast.  At least it's something of substance.  Froasty goodness!

Weird food habits:  I haz them.

(Note to readers:  I never claimed to make any sense.  It's a tangled diabetes web I weave, and it includes the consumption of frozen bread.)

December 29, 2008

Insulin Issues.

What to do about cheesecake??"Now I thought you couldn't eat that?  Or can you just dose for it and it's okay?"

She wasn't being the dreaded "diabetes police," but she was just asking a question.  Type 2 diabetes is a familiar disease for some of Chris's relatives, so I can understand his aunt's confusion about how my type 1 diabetes is handled.  Wasn't I supposed to just avoid sugar?

"I can eat this," I gestured to the slice of cheesecake on my plate, "So long as I check my blood sugar beforehand, take the appropriate amount of insulin from my insulin pump, and I avoid a high blood sugar spike afterwards."

"So you can eat anything you want with that insulin pump?"

And this is where I get a bit confused.  Being a type 1 diabetic since I was a kid, I've always taken insulin.  Always.  I don't know anything about type 2 oral medications and I have no concept of managing diabetes solely through diet and exercise.  It's either been multiple injections or the insulin pump. 

Insulin is cool stuff.  It keeps me steady and solid on days when I'm following "the rules," but for things like holidays (where there is a whole dessert table and all kinds of sugary treats), I do have the option to up the bolus ante.  But a cure?  Nope.  Using insulin requires a lot of work.

The thing is, I think that insulin makes it seem like I can eat anything I want.  While I indulged in that piece of cheesecake after Christmas dinner, it was a risk I took.  I took more insulin, and I've read all these obtuse reports about how taking more insulin is tougher on our bodies. (Is that true - does anyone have a study they can point us to that states how insulin ages us or something?  I'm so curious.)  I risked the immediate spike and the latent spike in my blood sugar after eating the cake.  I wanted to indulge and I weighed the risk of this indulgence.  It's a split-second decision that my brain is programmed to make by this point.  Diabetes is all about coloring in the lines, i.e. keeping blood sugars well-controlled to minimize the impact on my body.

But I wonder what people think sometimes when they watch me eat.  How does it look from their eyes?  They know I have diabetes, and from their less-familiar vantage point, they view it as "serious" because I take insulin.  I use Equal in my coffee and I never drink the eggnog or have regular soda.  I almost always avoid the mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, and at family gatherings, there is usually a "sugar-free" dessert.  They hear me talk about blood sugar control and they know I work in diabetes advocacy.  They understand as much as they can, not actually living with the disease themselves.

But what to they think when I reach for a piece of cheesecake?  Do they think I'm "off the wagon?"  Do they think I'm being irresponsible because I'm eating a sweet?  Responsible because I'm testing and shooting accordingly?  Does it confuse them to see me clamor for a glass of grape juice when my blood sugar is low?  Do they wonder why every time they see me, there appear to be new "rules" for managing my type 1 diabetes? 

Diabetes is a constantly shifting platform that we're trying to balance on.  Every day is different, every diabetic is different, and the rules do seem to change every day.  On Christmas, I ate cheesecake and never sported a spike.  Last night, a cup of tea tossed me towards 200 mg/dl.   

"A pump isn't a cure, though, right?  I mean, you still have to prick your finger and tell the pump what to do, don't you?"

She's learning, petal by petal.  And despite all these years, so am I.   

December 05, 2008

Chocolate Cookies.

There may be something wrong with me, but I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.  Sure, I'll grab a fistful of Hershey's Kisses when the urge strikes me, but it's never my first choice.  A dish of strawberry shortcake?  A fruit tarte?  Cheesecake?  Peanut butter cookies?  These are my preferred indulgences.

But when my husband asks for chocolate cookies, I do my best to deliver.

Tonight, we're heading home to RI for my mother-in-law's annual cookie party.  There's good food, plenty of people, and more cookies than even Chris can eat.  This year, I asked Chris to pick a recipe and he chose the most chocolatey cookies EVER.  The recipe barely calls for any flour, it's so inunndated with chocolate goodness.  Stolen from Cooking.com, here's what I spent the whole night making:

Chocolate cookies.  Yummy!

Awesome Chocolate Cookies 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Because I decided to triple the recipe (classic overachiever), there were chocolate chips by the pound on my counter last night.  I melted 1/2 my stash of chocolate chips on the stove on low heat until they were completely smooth.  Then I put them aside while I mixed up the batter.

Using my brand new Kitchen Aid mixer that I got from my wonderful aunts as a wedding present, I combined the eggs, corn syrup, sugars, and vanilla into a big bowl and beat the mixture until it was thickened.  Then I poured in the chocolate I had melted and mixed that all in.  Then the flour and the sugar made its way into the bowl, and the whole thing was churned together until it was combined.  And if that's not enough batter for you, now you have to add the rest of the chocolate chips and stir it together just enough to mix it up.   

I stuck the bowl into the fridge and let the dough chill for about an hour.  When it was ready, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then I buttered up 2 cookie sheets and prepared to bake my face off. 

For hours, I dropped rounded tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough into a dish of powdered sugar, then put the balls on the baking sheets.  I stuck them in the oven for 16 minutes, or until the cookies were spread and cracked at the top.   Removed from the oven and let them cool, then put them in an airtight container for storage.

Chris ate two cookies, hot from the oven, and said they were awesome.  Hopefully the cookie party people agree. And according to the website, we're looking at approximately 29 grams of carbohydrate per cookie.  PER COOKIE.  That's some serious cookie going on there.  No wonder people gain weight over the holidays! 

December 01, 2008

Dexcom Discard.

Holy December - I can't believe it's the end of the year already!  Holiday chaos reigns supreme, starting with this past weekend's Thanksgiving holiday and stemming straight into New Year's.  Since I've been wearing the Dexcom pretty regularly (approximately five or six days in a row, then a day or two off), I realized how awesome it is to have that little thing attached during holidays like Thanksgiving. 

I slapped on the new sensor last week and it stayed pretty solid until last night, when the adhesive was peeling too much for me to handle.  (It gets itchy once it starts to peel, and that makes me craaaazy.)  

Dexcom sensor before I pulled it off.  All tattered.

This is the sensor after six days of changing clothes, working out, spending hours in the car, wool sweaters, multiple showers, and the general wear and tear that I put my body through in the course of a week.  The sensor is still attached, but the gauze around it isn't in good shape.  So I decided to pull the site and reapply it this afternoon.  Dexcom discard.  I'm freewheeling without the Dexcom at the moment.

The graphic on the Dexcom receiver that indicates ending a sensor run makes me laugh every time.  The little guy tosses off his sensor with reckless abandon into the garbage can.  Then it asks me, "Okay?"  Okay, let's throw the whole thing out.  (Note:  You don't throw the whole thing out.  You remove the EXPENSIVE transmitter first, then throw out the sensor housing.)

Bye bye, Dexcom sensor!

This past sensor was a bit of a needy one - it didn't want me to shower, apparently, because it kept throwing the "???" at me (meaning it's "confused" and needs a few minutes to catch up) every time I was in the shower.  It also wasn't as tolerant as usual when it came to distance, so instead of keeping it on my bedside table or on the back of the headboard, I had to tuck it under my pillow.   Maybe wearing the site on my lower back instead of my arm caused the difference in transmission - I'll have to see if it happens next time.

Watching my numbers closely for the holiday really helped out a lot.  I saw that a glass of white wine on an empty stomach actually made my blood sugar spike almost instantly.  I also saw that lemon meringue pie (de-li-cious) didn't do much after 15 minutes, but the 40 minute mark showed a real intense spike.  Insulin?  Yeah, it takes at least 35 minutes to impact my blood sugars, but knowing that made me more precise in when I bolused.  The result?  Elevated blood sugars during Thanksgiving (avg. about 195 mg/dl) but I didn't hit the wicked highs, and once I was high, I wasn't stuck there for hours.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I'm thankful to have another effective tool in dealing with diabetes.  Now it's time to get to the damn gym and work off that pie. 

November 28, 2008

Le Food Meme.

Oh, the food meme.  And what better day to post this than the day after Thanksgiving, when we're all recovering from the non-stop indulgences?  (Also, what NabloPoMo is complete without a few memes tossed in for good measure?)  Stolen from Lee Ann, here are my answers:

1. Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?
I can barely cook, but there are moments when I make attempts.  And I halfway enjoy these moments, when the food doesn't burn.

2. When do you eat with your whole family?
Chris and I eat together all the time.  But my whole family?  Like the whole mess of them?  Big holidays only, unfortunately.  We live far away.

3. What do you eat for breakfast?
Greek yogurt, a protein bar, or oatmeal.  But always, always coffee.

4. When, where and how do you eat on weekdays?
I eat predictably on weekdays, usually having breakfast at work (at my desk), lunch at home (sometimes joined by a cat), and dinner either home with my husband or out.  How do I eat?  I eat with my face.  what kind of question is that?

5. How often do you eat out (in a restaurant)?
We love to dine out - it's tops on list of fun things to do.  We used to go out four or five days a week, but with the economy tanking, we're down to only about two times - including our Sunday breakfast ritual when we're in CT for the weekend.  :)

6. How often do you order delivery/take-out?
Very rarely - maybe once a month, if that?

7. Regarding no. 5 and 6: Say there weren’t financial reasons would you do this more often?
Like I mentioned before, we love, love dining out.  If we were rich, we'd do it every night.

8. Are there any “standard dishes” you serve regularly?
The green ones.  I like the green dishes best.  ;)

Unfortunately, I am not a talented cook so I do not have a standard dish.  I can make chicken salad, excellent minestrone and lentil soup, and eggs any way you like 'em, but that's about it.  Above and beyond that, we dine out.  

9. Have you ever cooked for more than 6 persons?
Yes, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago with my then-boyfriend.  He was a good cook.  I ... I encouraged him.

10. Do you cook every day?
No.  But I eat every day.  I'm still trying to figure out how I accomplish one without the other.

11. Have you ever tried recipes from blogs?
Yes.  The internet saves me on a regular basis.

12. Who cooks more frequently at your home?

My husband, because he is actually good at it.

13. And who cooks better?
See above.  But I'd also venture to guess that Siah is a better cook than me.

14. Do you cook totally different compared to your mother/parents?
Yes.  My mother cooked.  I do not.  

15. If yes, do you nevertheless eat at your parents?
I like my mom's cooking.  And my dad is a good restaurant date.  And I like hanging out with them, so sure.

16. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine being one?

I'm not a vegetarian, but I believe I could give it a whirl for a few weeks.  I know I would miss chicken, though.  But I like a good veggie burger now and again, so maybe.

17. What would you like to cook which you haven’t dared to make yet?
I'd like to make a meal that doesn't taste bland.  And I've dared to do it, but I just haven't really accomplished that goal yet, persay.  :)

18. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I can't cook, but I can bake.  I can make awesome flourless chocolate cake, banana bread, cheesecake, popovers, brownies, cookies, cakes ... basically, anything I "shouldn't" eat, I can make with precision and prowess.  Cruel irony.

19. What is your greatest misery in the kitchen?
That the dishes are never really done.

20. What do you dislike?
I don't like seafood (except New England clam chowdah).  And I don't like eating anything gamey.  I also despise curry.  And I also dislike war, economic crisis, and anything with more than four legs.

Need a meme to help round out your NaBloPoMo?  Grab this one!

November 26, 2008

Popover (Popovah?).

Over the summer, Chris and I spent a weekend in Acadia National Park in Maine.  While we were there, we had tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond tea house.  Chris was very emotional about these popovers - "These are awesome!  Awesome!" - and hell-bent on bringing them to our families for Thanksgiving.

Well guess what?  We didn't remember in time to order the batter.  So we had to make them at home from scratch.

Oh how I love a baking challenge.  They're the only ones I can attempt! 

Following these instructions on the King Arthur Flour site, I made a few dozen popovers using just a few ingredients:  eggs, salt, flour, butter, and milk.  The result was a basketful of fluffy, light popovers that steamed when we opened them.  Awesome.

POPOVERS!

Here's the full recipe I used, from the King Arthur site (popovers from the Round Table, it seems).  The directions are mine, which means they are a bit tanged:

    * 4 large eggs
    * 1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat)
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    * 3 tablespoons melted butter

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  The heat of the oven is apparently KEY to making sure the popovers do their popover thing.  Put the oven rack on the lowest shelf so the popovers have room to expand.

2.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and the salt until everything is smoothly combined and you can't see the egg yolk streaks.

3.  Dump in all the flour at once and whisk just enough to have it combined, but not smooth.  Lumps help lift the popovers.  :)  Don't beat the batter or whisk it until it's completely combined - just mix it up.

4.  Stir in the butter, and then set the batter aside for 15 minutes.

5.  While you wait, grease up a standard 12 cup muffin tin and make sure the oven is preheated. 

6.  After the 15 minutes has passed and the oven is ready to go, give the batter a quick stir to recombine it and then fill the muffin cups to about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way full.  Put the pan on the lowest oven shelf and shut the oven door.

7.  Bake those suckers for 20 minutes, and resist the urge to open the door and ogle them.   After 20 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes.  You want to make sure the popovers are swollen and are a nice golden brown.

(A tip from the website - to help the popovers hold their shape and refrain from collapsing, bake them for an extra five minutes if you can, without burning them.  This will cement them into shape.)

8.  Once they're done, take them out of the oven and eat one.  Seriously.  Throw some butter and strawberry preserves on them, or add some salt, or just chow one as is.  They're delicious.

I have no idea what the carb content is on these, but I know they're totally SWAG-worthy.  Try them out for your Thanksgiving feast!!  Or at midnight on a Tuesday.  Whatever.  :)

November 05, 2008

More Sweet Irony.

Last Friday, we had a little Halloween party at dLife, complete with costume competition.  And there were treats - oh holy sugar rush, there were brownies and candy bars and cupcakes and other delicious, carb-laden tasty bits.

But somehow, willpower had settled into my brain on the overnight and took up residence there, keeping my hands steady when the sugary treats were passed around.  And while other moments of willpower are hard for me to maintain, this one was easy.  I've felt a little "off the wagon" lately with my eating, so I'm trying to revert back to pre-wedding mentality, with a focus on lower carbohydrate consumption and ramping up my workouts a little bit.

"No thanks, I'm all set," as the candy dish is passed around.
"I'm cool," while the brownies are being cut and served.
"I'll have coffee," when offered a delicious cupcake.

And it wasn't difficult.  I actually felt unaffected by this mysterious willpower.  It was kind of nice to just coast without feeling any pangs of "Man, I wish I wanted to take the leap and eat that ..."

So why, dear diabetes, did you decide to take a mini-hiatus for the afternoon?  My "good behavior" was rewarded by a series of low blood sugars that righteously kicked my ass.  As soon as I got to work, I started taking pictures of my co-workers' costumes and enjoying the festivities.  But after a few minutes, I realized there was a hollow tin to the way everything sounded, and my lightweight Red Riding Hood cape felt like it was about 33 (Larry Bird) lbs of fabric.  

I tested, and sure enough:  34 mg/dl.

Fantastic.  I had to borrow change from a coworker and grab a juice from the kitchen, chugging it in almost one gulp.  Thankfully, my body recovered fast and by the time my friend asked, "Hey, are you okay?", I already was.

Forty-five minutes goes by.  And I'm sitting at my desk, typing away in an email and realizing I've typed the word "diabetus" instead of "diabetes."  I hit the backspace and tried to retype it, but my fingertips skidded off the keyboard clumsily.  The headache behind my ears was a pounding one, and beads of sweat were on my forehead.  Oh for crying out loud - another one?  I reached back and grabbed my bottle of glucose tabs, popping two in my mouth at once as I fumbled with my meter.  

Well lookie here:  48 mg/dl.  How did that happen?!  I haven't eaten anything that required a big, potentially miscalculated bolus, so what gives?  Whatever - treated it and tried to move on.  (But I giggled again at "diabetus," and promptly had Liberty Medical commercials stuck in my head for the next three hours.  Digression?  Don't mind if I do!)

We had our Halloween costume contest, gave out the prizes, and work resumed again.  I was talking with my coworker when I felt the old, familiar symptoms creeping back up on me.  Her voice was too loud, the heating vents were too loud, the buzzing from the computer screen was creeping into my brain and gnawing on my nerves.  I felt testy.  Overly sensitive.  I wanted to tell her I felt low but the words coming out of my mouth weren't ones that had checked in with me, first.  

"I wanted to ... you know, I'm sorry.  I think I'm low again.  I need to test."  Shunk.  55 mg/dl.  I didn't know what to say.  Why won't this low just back off!?  Does it want brownies that badly?  I moved my chair back and reached for the glucose tabs again, my coworker pausing to look at my quizzically.  "Apparently, I'm cured," I said with a shrug.

I do not understand what causes these lows that hang around for hoooooours.  I didn't change my basals.  I didn't do anything bizarre, like run five miles before work or start doing crunches at my desk.  I hadn't eaten anything out of the ordinary, and I was eating snacks at very regular intervals.  But for some reason, this low blood sugar was hanging with me - we were buddies.

Dear diabetes, if you wanted a brownie, you could have just said so.  Seriously. 

Diabetes wanted a brownie.
  

October 24, 2008

Le Pals at Les Halles.

I like when worlds collide. 

Christel and I originally met through our diabetes connection, about three years ago.  Conversations quickly stemmed from pumps and blood sugars to laughing our asses off at jokes and talking about our lives.  Nicole is a former co-worker who has had to deal with my ridiculousness at work and outside of work.  Two different parts of my life - work and the internet community.

Yet last night, they were both forced to hang out with me together.  Pals at Les Halles.  ;)  (Crappy pun, but when you mispronounce the name of the restaurant, as I often do, it rhymes at least a little bit.)

We dined at Les Halles (which is where Christel and I went last time she was up north) and the food was fantastic.  Steaks and frites and some wine and creme brulee (holy 273 mg/dl, Kerri) ... good stuff.  It was very cool to sit there with my "diabetes friend" and my "coworker" and realize that these two have stepped far outside of their labels and are true friends. 

Kerri, Christel, and Nicole at Les Halles.

Diabetes talk?  Sure, there was some of that.  Work talk?  Of course, some of that, too.  Plenty of silliness, as well.  Good food, good conversation with good friends. Worlds colliding, in all the right ways.  Thanks for the great night, ladies!

*          *          * 

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the DRI sessions on Saturday in NYC as yet another college roommate of mine is gettin' hitched in Newport this weekend, but I hope you guys have a great time!  And on Sunday, Team SUM will be representing at the JDRF Walk in RI, so if you are going to be at that walk, please stop by and say hello!

Have a great weekend!

October 23, 2008

Halloweenin' Diabetes.

Folks who commented on the last vlog post gave me some stuff to talk about, and this round I've tackled diabetes management and Halloween.  I was diagnosed in 1986 and have spent almost all of my Halloweens as a diabetic, so I've been trick-or-treating around the block for decades now.  (Hmmm ... that sounds a bit ... odd.  Yet I've digressed again.)

If you have any tips on managing diabetes during trick-or-treat season, feel free to toss 'em in the comments section! And share what your costume idea is for this Halloween! Chris and I are dressing up as ... well, you'll hear at the end of the video. ;)

October 20, 2008

Crumbs Sparling. (Different from Crumbs Morrone)

The weekend weather was so excellent that we had to take advantage of it.  On Saturday, we took the quick train ride into NYC with a Chris-driven agenda:  hop on a row boat in Central Park and then devour cupcakes at Crumbs Bakery on Amsterdam.  (He saw the idea written up in InFlight magazine last week, and tore out the page.  We're easily persuaded, as a couple.  The mere mention of cupcakes is enough to send us on a cross country adventure.)

Kerri at the Bethesda Fountain in NYC

We stopped by the Bethesda Fountain (near the Boathouse), which I recognized from photos I've seen online but hadn't ever scoped out in person.  The park was busy, thanks to the beautiful weather, but we managed to grab a few photos.

View from the boat

I did not know you could rent rowboats in Central Park and tool around the Pond.  Chris rowed, rowed, rowed our boat and I did my best not to tip the boat over.  And after all that work rowing (and trying not to fall in), we had worked up quite an appetite.  It was time to bring on the cupcakes!  Trying to guesstimate the carbohydrate content in this sucker was an adventure in and of itself.  

Holy cupcake

"Maybe sixty?"

"Dude, a bagel has eighty-five.  I'm going to guess at least sixty-five."  I cranked up the pump to six and a half units, knowing that the frosting alone was more than my daily carb allowance.  (But it was DELICIOUS.  Easily the tastiest cupcake I've ever had, and almost worth the $4.00 price tag.) 

Dosing for high carb, high sugar dessert treats is always tricky, and I usually over compensate in efforts to avoid the spike.  I bolused and also requested that we walk back to Grand Central (I hate the subway, and I avoid it at every opportunity), which had me chomping on glucose tabs around 56th.

"Thwarted by that cupcake.  I guess I'll have to have another one sometime and see if I can fine tune the bolus."  I'll do my part, even if it means consuming another cupcake or two.  It's for science.

(Crumbs bakery + Kerri Sparling = Crumbs Sparling.  Very different from Crumbs Morrone.)

October 16, 2008

Lentil Soup.

I've said it before and I'll shamefully admit it again:  Kerri ... she cannot cook.  No Thanksgiving meal will ever be hosted at my house without a garbage full of take out containers in the bin.  I can make eggs.  And Jell-O.  Ice cubes.  And ... tea.  (The complicated tea, where you use loose tea and have to utilize that tea ball thing ... stop laughing!) But real meals?  Cannot.

However, the one, single thing I'm able to make every time is soup.  I make delicious soups, from recipes I've found online or in cookbooks, and even some original concoctions from my own head! 

Last week, Chris mentioned that he wanted to have lentil soup for dinner.  Determined to actually create a decent meal for my (patient and understanding) husband, I Googled "lentil soup" and found a recipe on Allrecipes that looked easy enough. 

Lentil Soup that didn't suck.

Lentil Soup (Remix)

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

The instructions told me to heat things in a certain order and follow a specific path, but I didn't have the patience to sit there and wait for all these things to heat up at different times.  (This is most of my problem with cooking - maybe with life in general -  no patience!)  I tossed the oil, onions, and celery into a massive stock pot and let the onions get a little mushy.  Then I added the water, lentils, and crushed tomatoes.  Then I realized I forgot to add the garlic and other spices first, so I tossed those in right quick and hoped it would be okay.  

Because we're animals in my house - food is considered "vintage" if it's lasted more than three days - I doubled the lentil recipe so we could feast for the week.  This meant that all of the carefully measured spice requirements were thrown out the window, leaving me to add spices as needed and keep taste testing.

"More vinegar!"  I cackled from my cauldron of lentils.  

I added way more stuff than the recipe called for, including a few extra capfulls of vinegar, some parmesean cheese, several chicken boullion cubes, and two pieces of bacon.  After 15 minutes of boiling and an hour of simmering, the soup was ready to eat.  (Except I added the spinach after we were already eating it - "Oooh!  Forgot spinach!  Hang on...")

And it was delicious.  (Deliciousness confirmed by Chris and by one Ms. Siah Sausage, who sniffed out a rogue lentil from the sink and chewed on it.)   So now I can make eggs, Jell-O, ice cubes, and lentils.  Hooray for progress!

September 23, 2008

Irony.

I cooked last night.  (Contain your shock, please.)  I made chicken and vegetable soup, whipped up some delicious sugar-free pudding, and baked a chocolate cake for my co-worker's birthday.  Nothing caught on fire, nothing turned to sawdust, and consuming aforementioned tasties did not kill anyone.

Damn you, chocolate cake!

However, the cake baking was a little bit of a thorn in my side, because I was soooo tempted to lick the mixer beaters (no, not while they were spinning) and to stick my finger in that thick, chocolate frosting.   

But HA!  I did not succumb to temptation!  I baked that cake, frosted it, and put it in the fridge, all without even a taste.  HA HA!!!  Take that, diabetes! 

After the cake was all done, I sat down on the floor with my laptop to go through my emails.  But the screen was too bright.  The colors were all ... off.  And my hearing was fading in and out, like someone was shaking a blanket out to spread over the bed.  My head was in a complete fog, and Abby was weaving between my elbows, meowing frantically.

So I tested.  

And after all that baking, after avoiding that delicious treat and trying to "stick to the plan" and "be a good little diabetic," I saw "35 mg/dl" winking back at me from my meter.  Eight gulps of juice later, I was laying on the living room floor, telling Chris, "I didn't feel that one coming at all," and "If I lay still enough, I sort of feel like I'm on a record player, spinning."

Damn you, irony!

September 15, 2008

The Temptation of Cookies.

But are they bolus-worthy?!"I'll just stand here and keep you company."  He crossed his arms over his chest and kept his eyes on the red bowl I was stirring.

"Chris, you aren't keeping me company.  You're lurking."  The butter and the sugar were starting to mix up in the bowl, giving off that sweet aroma of cookies-to-be.

He smiled.  

"I love cookie dough!"

I'm not much of a cook, but I can definitely bake.  Flourless chocolate cake.  Banana bread that's made with extra bananas so it's all moist and decadent.  I can make chocolate crinkle cookies and Hershey kiss cookies, chocolate chip with oatmeal, peanut butter cookies ... you name it.  And last night, at the begging of my husband, I made chocolate chip cookies with extra chocolate chips.

It's almost Murphy's Law, my cooking talents unable to be used for "good."  I can't cook up a turkey dinner, or make a delicious dinner, but I can create the most sinful desserts without effort.  And the irony of standing there with my insulin pump clipped to my hip as I mixed up a bowl of brown sugar, chocolate chips, white flour, and butter was enough to make me laugh.

I've become decent with the willpower bit, able to say "no thanks" to indulgences if I have my head on straight, but sometimes I completely buckle and make stupid decisions.  I caved to the temptation of cookies last night.  They were fresh from the oven and sitting on the cooling rack, making the whole house smell ... simply: awesome. 

And Chris and I settled in to watch Vantage Point (mini-review: decent enough of a movie, but I could have done with the rewind device every fifteen minutes or so), I grabbed three cookies for Chris.  And then I grabbed three for myself.  My willpower went pfffft.  And the cookies tasted delicious.

Indulgences, for me, make me fear the highs.  I'm not as concerned with the calories or the effects on my weight (maybe I should be), but I try and ward off any post-indulgence highs anyway that I can.  Usually, I bolus aggressively, and sometimes hit the mark perfectly.  Other times I end up chasing a low, making the indulgence go from "reasonable" to downright gluttonous.   Last night I managed to do both.  Those three (delicious) cookies sent me up to 204 mg/dl, then I hit 54 mg/dl about an hour later.  

But was it worth it?  

I hadn't had cookies fresh from the oven in years.  Can't even remember the last time.  And these cookies were moist, hot, freshly baked, delicious, just the right amount of chocolate chips, and delicious.  So yeah, I'd say that little blip in my willpower radar was okay.  One cookie won't kill me.  Neither will three.

But Chris, eating spoonful after spoonful of raw cookie dough?  I think that may be more of a problem.  ;) 

August 26, 2008

Corn On The Carb.

Elizabeth Joy Arnold(Editor's note:  Sometimes I like the title of a post so much it makes me smirky.  Man, I love a good pun.) 

Today's post is from my friend Elizabeth Arnold.   Elizabeth is the bestselling author of two novels, with a third due out next summer.  She’s been diabetic for over thirty years, and is the "proud, doting owner of two cats, a husband and an OmniPod, all of whom she considers her best friend forever."  I've had the pleasure of chatting with Elizabeth a few times and she's sharp, funny, and definitely on the level.  She offered to write a guest post for SUM, and I'm honored to have her contribution!

*   *   * 

I woke up the other morning, and my sugar was 287.  And my first thought?  Well my first thought was a word that can’t be printed on a “family” blog, but my second thought?  That I’m an idiot.  I’d eaten corn on the cob the night before (sweet New Jersey corn which has approximately a bazillion carbs), and I could only guess at the correct bolus as one cannot use Calorie King for this corn; it’s THAT sweet.  And I must’ve come up about 20 carbs short.  I know I shouldn’t really eat this corn because I rarely get it right, but you know, it is truly one of the world’s greatest foods.  I do happy dances in July when I see the cornstalks rising on local farms, and when the ears start to grow I fall on my knees in rapture, so giving it up is Just Not An Option.  So I eat and inevitably my sugar’s high, and then of course I beat myself up.   

I also despise myself for those nights my husband’s had to give me glucagon, knowing how freaked out it makes him to see me unresponsive.  (Although for some reason I never feel guilty when I catch a low myself, just think, Yay!  I get to pig out! eat 15 grams, test again and if necessary eat another 15 grams!)

But you’ve all been there, haven’t you?  You test and your number’s not where you want it to be, so you start blaming yourself for not being perfect.  I’d assume it’s twice as bad if you’re the parent of a diabetic, and–since you’re not superhuman–can’t keep your child in perfect control.  And even worse for many type 2’s who probably blame themselves for the disease itself.  The problems we face aren’t the fault of the diabetes, they’re because we’re just not working hard enough.

It can be the same with complications.  I felt guilty about my retinopathy, even though my A1C was in the high 5’s at the time I was diagnosed with it.  I blamed the teenage-Elizabeth for not being more careful, all the afternoons (and yeah, there were a lot of them) when I’d gone out with friends and not taken a shot to cover pizza or fries, NEVER testing in public because, when you’re 14 years old, exposing your blood to the world seems excruciatingly embarrassing.  Even when I was five or six, before the days of blood testing, whenever my urine tests read 4+ I’d be ashamed, and sometimes fudge the numbers so my parents wouldn’t see.

Does this make sense?  Well of course logically, it doesn’t.  We feel guilty because we do have so much control over this disease, but we all know diabetes can be a stubborn and temperamental (insert curse word of choice), trying to prove it’s stronger than all the time and energy we put into controlling it.  There are site issues and infections and stress and hormones, and just days our bodies decide to go wacky for no conceivable reason.

So what’s the answer?  Who knows?  I think it’s our tendency to want to place blame on things we're not happy about, and who can we blame for this other than ourselves?  I guess you could look at diabetes as a separate entity, pin a photo of a broken pancreas on the wall and throw darts at it, or something.  But that doesn’t work for me–I’ve been diabetic for virtually all my life, so it’s an integral part of who I am, which means hating it would be like hating my own right arm.

There probably is no real answer, except to remind yourself that you’re human, and humanness + diabetes = inevitable fallibility.  So I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to just relax when I feel like beating myself (or my meter) upside the head.  If my sugar’s high, I’ll make myself a cup of tea (or rather, take a correction dose, test for ketones and THEN make the tea.)  Put up my feet and go easy on myself until I feel okay.  The “bad” sugars aren’t bad, they’re just information I can use to make things better, and why should I feel ashamed of information?  Ashamed if I don’t test to get that information, yes, but not if I don’t like the results of that test.

So…here we go.  The truth is my sugar wasn’t 287 on the after-corn morning, it was actually 302.  (Eek!  That sounds so much worse, doesn’t it?  Even though it’s only 15 points higher?  Even writing it down was kinda painful.)  But I’m going to remind myself it wasn’t really my fault, just a mistake, and that making mistakes once in awhile is no big deal.

And dammit, I don’t care, I’m having corn again tonight.

*   *   * 

For more from Elizabeth Arnold, including information about her writing, visit her website at www.ElizabethJoyArnold.com

August 25, 2008

Just Say No.

Holy delicious.Saturday afternoon, we were at Diane's birthday party (Happy Birthday, Chris's mom!), and there was a decadent chocolate cake to celebrate.  Sunday played host to my friend Kate's wedding shower, where there was an open bar, cookies, and a delicious butter cream cake.  Yet I didn't taste any of these items.

And I have no clue where this willpower came from.

After a startlingly high A1c result last month and a string of elevated blood sugars, I feel like I'm starting to get things back under control these days.  I'm giving my thighs a rest and trying out new infusion set sites, and the absorption has undoubtedly improved.  I'm also doing my best to keep a closer eye on numbers and be a bit more proactive instead of reactive with corrections (i.e. counting carbs more precisely and giving my insulin time to get in before eating in efforts to avoid a spike), which seems to be working.  My meter average has gone from 160 mg/dl two weeks ago to 143 mg/dl - and I'll take it.

Granted, I'm not all good behavior.  I had an awesome peach martini on Saturday night with my husband.  And I have been indulging in too much tasty iced coffee on those long drives home to Rhode Island. Some stuff is bolus-worthy!  But with such a focus on diabetes management, I'm becoming stingier with indulgences.  I wanted to taste that chocolate cake, but the fabulous smell of chocolate was wiped out by the thought of a big bolus, the potential for a post-prandial spike, and then the low that may result from the correction.  My blood sugar at the time was 89 mg/dl, and I wanted to keep the steady number more than the cake.  Same for the wedding shower treats - it was easier to say no than to handle the potential highs and lows.  (Even though the cookies at the shower looked so exquisite I almost buckled.)  But I keep thinking about a baby someday.  And a lower A1c.  And feeling better.  It made it easier to just say no.

While I was at the shower, my friend's mother (a type 2) remarked while the cookies were being passed around, "You have such great willpower!" 

I laughed.  "Today.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring!" 

Diabetes has become like chess - I'm looking a few moves ahead and basing my decisions on the future rather than the present.  I don't plan on letting diabetes checkmate me ... instead, I'll steal its horse and run off.  For now, I hope I can make the willpower last!

August 21, 2008

What Can I Eat?

Rachel Garlinghouse, happy about pie."What can I eat?" 

This is the question that so many of us with diabetes ask ourselves.  Diabetes, having so much to do with the balance of food, insulin, and glucose numbers, can create a very complicated relationship with food.  Foodie Rachel Garlinghouse was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 24 years old, forcing her to examine food through a whole new lens.  With blogging as her medium and food as her weapon of choice, Rachel is now a FoodBuzz foodie with a mission:  showing the world that real people eat real food. Here's her story, in her words:

As a person with diabetes, how many times have your food choices been questioned or dictated?  “Can you eat that?”  “Doesn’t that have too much sugar in it?”  “I think there’s angel food cake available.”  

Sigh.

I think people generally mean well.  My friend and I, along with our husbands, were recently planning to have dinner at my friend’s house.  We decided on brownies and ice cream for dessert with me bringing the brownies.  She asked what kind of ice cream my husband and I liked and at the same time that she asked, “Should I get sugar-free?” I said, “Anything but sugar-free.”  

After I was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age twenty-four, I began a two year bi-polar relationship with food.  In the beginning, I followed my doctor’s orders down to the last carb for fear of ending up back in the ICU in DKA.  Then, as I began to get acclimated to my new life with diabetes, I learned how to “cheat,” consuming, in excess at times, the foods that I should avoid or only eat in moderation.  Then I would feel guilty and ban myself back to a strict diet.  Then I would cheat.  This cycle continued.  

My love of cooking and baking made my life with diabetes even more complicated.  I felt that my passion for creating recipes only lead to more wrong attitudes and actions.   I couldn’t figure out how to balance my disease with food.   Additionally, as many of us do, I constantly felt the “food police” monitoring my every bite.  The kitchen was often a place of release and regret---with no balance between the two.    

This past summer a colleague of mine suggested that I blog about my recipes.  At first I resisted the idea, knowing that my already busy-life would get busier if I added on yet another project.  Furthermore, wouldn’t food blogging on make me want to eat and cheat more?  Despite my reservations, the concept of food blogging weighed heavily on my mind, and I decided to try it.  

On July 11th, I created my first entry, drew in my breath, and hit “post.”  Within a few weeks I was picked up by Foodbuzz, and now I’m officially a pro-blogger.  My entries are typically Tasty looking d-friendly salad here.part-story, part-recipe, so I am able to share a part of myself with my readers while enhancing their dinner tables with Baked Parmesan Chicken or Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Ever since my diagnosis, I have become even more determined to write something that makes a difference, and now I think I’m coming to that place.  I have learned through my blogging experiences that I am far from alone in wanting healthy recipes that satisfy the stomach while not compromising blood sugars.  

I invite everyone I know, with diabetes or not, to check out my blog and then get busy in the kitchen.   I would love for you to visit me too, and let me know what you think.  And go ahead and surprise your friends and family by serving a delicious dish that is not “sugar free” and devoid of flavor and pleasure.  Let them know that real people eat real food.  

Editor's Note:  Thanks, Rachel!!  For more from Rachel, including great photos of her creations and some d-friendly recipes, visit her blog at Sugar, Spice, & More Things Nice.

July 16, 2008

Body Image.

What fits.Beauty benchmarks seem to be measured in what size pants you fit into and what designer hand bag you have draped over your rail-thin arm. 

This is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard.  In my life.

There's a lot of body image problems in our society.  Women are shown almost-unattainable media images and are encouraged - expected? - to achieve that look.  As a girl with diabetes and part of a family of curvier people, whittling my body down to that socially mandated size isn't easy ... and wasn't accomplished.  Life with diabetes puts a huge emphasis on food, making me unable to eat just a raisin for lunch.  Instead, I ate in accordance with the then-peaking of my insulin and tried to keep my weight, and my diabetes, under control.  This was difficult at times.

I was never a "thin" adult.  I've always had more of an athletic build than that of a runway model.  As a kid, I was scrawny, but once puberty hit, my body took on womanly curves and held fast to them.  I never felt shapely or feminine - instead, I felt fat. In college, I lived with six other girls (six until me?) and they were all teeny little things.  They had thin arms and thin legs and they shared clothes with one another, but I couldn't get in on that scene because I was about two sizes bigger than all of them.  If they were wearing size 4 pants, I was in an 8.  I always felt a bit bigger, a bit more awkward, and very shy about my body. Despite whether or not I looked as overweight as I felt, my mind was entrenched in thoughts that were self-conscious.  I was very unfair to myself, just like many other women are.  It sucks to feel bad about yourself.

Diabetes challenges my health, but it sometimes offers up a healthy perspective.  It took me several years to really come to terms with the fact that my body needs to have different priorities.  Going to the gym has become less about slimming down my stomach and more about improving my cardiovascular health, lowering my A1C, and reducing body fat so that I can make better use of my injected insulin.  It couldn't be about fitting into a smaller dress size because it needed to be about being healthier every day.

I'm not going to be teeny.  I will not be the girl who appears to be challenged by every breeze that blows through.  My body will be strong and curvy and ornamented by various medical devices, like a diabetic Christmas tree.  It's taken me a long time to achieve a level of confidence in how I look and how I feel about myself.  But I see myself now and realize that I don't look much different than I did in high school or in college.   I just feel different.  I feel like the numbers that matter aren't the ones on the scale or sewn into the tag on my skirt, but instead the ones stored in my meter. 

I feel happy, and that looks better on me than any stitch of clothing I own.

July 15, 2008

Bolus-Worthy?

Last night, I was in the city with my co-workers for Ricky Gervais (guy from the original Office) and we left straight from work.  Gervais, though he played for only about an hour, was terribly crass and clever and peppered his jokes with British witticisms and some aptly placed f-words ... which means I laughed my ass off at every inappropriate bit.  (Granted, he's not as funny as Eddie Izzard, but there aren't many who are.)

Ricky Gervais in NYC

Before the show, the group of us stopped at a restaurant near the WaMu Center and grabbed a bite to eat.  I decided to go "off the carb wagon" and order up a cheeseburger.  Then my co-worker got a slice of red velvet cake which made me crave my wedding cake.  So I snaked a few forkfuls of that, too.

Needless to say, this meal took about seven units to cover it.

For me, there are plenty of foods that are worth garnering the "Whoa, you're eating that?" response.  Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting would be one of them.  Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in Providence is another.  Oh, and fresh baked Italian bread dipped in extra-virgin olive oil with sea salt and garlic chips.  That may be the most bolus-worthy carb influx of all time.  And a few years ago, a chai tea latte was totally worth the insulin (but now I can't justify drinking calories - I'd rather actually eat them).  My bolus-worthy choices change with the tides, but there's always those few items that I'm willing to crank up my pump for.  Black raspberry ice cream from St. Claire's Annex.  A bowl of linguine with alfredo sauce.  Strawberry shortcake in the summer.  Yum, yum, yum.

Food is one of those things that walks a fine line in my life.  I'm usually very consistent with my dietary choices, sticking closer to green beans and chicken than pasta and meatballs.  But I'm not one to assign "good" and "bad" attributes to different foods.  That's always struck me as a tricky attitude.  An ice cream cone isn't "bad" - it's just meant for a certain time, place, insulin dose, and blood sugar level.  Denying myself some culinary treats doesn't help me maintain a healthy food-i-tude, but instead can make me want to go hide behind the dresser and eat a pint of ice cream in secret.  (And believe me, I binge-ate in secret as a teenager due to complicated emotions about food and diabetes.  Was not fun.)  I want to enjoy what I'm eating.  Having access to technology like an insulin pump, fast-acting insulin, and a CGM opens up eating options that weren't easily made part of the equation when I was diagnosed over 20 years ago.  While a lower-carbohydrate diet keeps my numbers steadiest, I can indulge in the occasional delicious treat without sacrificing blood sugar control.

Holy crap, that last sentence sounded like an advertisement.  How 'bout this:  Cake or death?  Um, cake please.  Side of insulin, thanks.

What are your bolus-worthy foods?  (And here's a short Ricky Gervais clip about Humpty Dumpty, which made me laugh so hard I cried.)

March 26, 2008

Wagon? What Wagon?

Addicted:  Coffee Recently, I discussed my desire to kick the caffeine habit.  I waxed on for way too many words about how I was going to leave the chaos of caffeine behind and start this new, clean life of staying awake and alert without the assistance of my favorite coffee or tea indulgence.  And I sighed this big, self-righteous sigh and picked up a box of decaffeinated tea from Whole Foods, convinced I was going to heal thyself.

What a frickin' liar I am. 

Instead of sticking to my well-intentioned guns, I'm so far off the "no caffeine" wagon that it's ridiculous.  The wagon is waaaay ahead of me, leaving me here in the dust, coffee cup clutched in my little bride-to-be hands.  Over the past two weeks, I've reinstituted coffee into my daily diet.  Granted, I'm sticking to the meal plan I had established (minus a few moments of weakness, which included a piece of chocolate Guinness Cake on St. Patrick's Day, a few beers, and three Almond Hershey Kisses from my co-worker's stash), but I couldn't hold steady on my mission for no caffeine. 

I can't even say that I'm trying.  Today alone has been a jittery nightmare:  a small coffee right when I got to work, a large Earl Gray tea from the diner downstairs at mid-morning, and a large iced coffee after lunch.  Yesterday was only slightly more acceptable.  I love the ritual of coffee, chatting with co-workers around the machine in the morning.  I love the social jaunts down to the diner with my office mates, talking with the waitress downstairs as we get our respective caffeine fixes.  I love my stupid coffee mug and the cheap mug warmer that I bought at the dollar store. 

But I am addicted not only to the routine - no, that would be too easy.  I'm also hooked on the actual coffee buzz.  I love that feeling of controlled pandemonium that a good cup of coffee brings to my busy work day.  It's totally sadistic, but I like the edge of panic a java boost gives to my to do list.  With the list of crap to do being ridiculously overwhelming lately (thank you, wedding and worky bits), I feel like I want need the helping hand of coffee. 

I know my weaknesses:  Chris.  My foolish cat critters.  The need to laugh at fart jokes.  Anything related to writing.  And coffee.  Hey, I'm woman enough to admit my weaknesses.  I can't stop drinking this crap, not at this tender stage in the game. It's part of the fabric, and I'm all woven up in it. 

I know I'm not the only one who is addicted.  But I know people have cut caffeine out of their lives completely, too.  After the wedding, I'll give it another go.  For now, I need a refill.   

February 26, 2008

Countdown to Wedding.

Over the past two months, I've been slacking - big time.  I've been indulging in desserts on the weekends.  I've been going away with Chris and enjoying decadent dinners at French restaurants and sipping cappuccinos every chance I had.  Work has been extremely busy and I've been putting in plenty of hours.  Freelance projects have included some late nights to meet deadlines and some trips into the city for different events, so I've only been able to get four workouts in per week. 

And I've seen a bit of a flux in my body - nothing noticeable on a scale but I don't feel as strong as I did a few weeks ago and I feel a little sloppier.

No more of this namby-pamby crap "I'll do my best and see what happens."  Change needs to be made and I just need to plain make it.

So, with the guidance of my fitness-freak fiance and armed with enough information to safely manage any diabetes disaster, I'm starting a whole new regimen.  I will roll with this until my wedding date, after which time I will be on my honeymoon, happily married, and not plagued by the white dress stress.

My plan is to take a standard approach to every day, eating almost exactly the same thing daily and following as much of a schedule as possible.  I know that when I eat similar items, I see similar blood sugar responses.  I'm hoping that a more finely-tuned diet will eliminate blood sugar fluctations and help me keep better tabs on what I'm eating.  (Because those almond Hershey kisses on my co-worker's desk are delicious and I keep snaking them throughout the day.  No more of that for the next two and a half months.)

I'm going to try to follow this meal plan at least Monday - Friday:

8:30 am:  Oatmeal and walnuts, with my morning cup of tea.

10:00 am:   Yogurt.

Lunch:  Salad of baby spinach with baked chicken, cherry tomatoes, and portabella mushrooms with balsamic vinagrette dressing.

2:30 pm:  Apple and peanut butter.

5:00 pm:  Breakstone cottage cheese double.  (These things are delicious.)   

Dinner:  Eggs, or soup, or chicken and that zippy white bean salad, or something else healthy along those lines.

Bedtime snack:   Light, low-carb snack, like nuts or a cheese stickPhoto credit:  www.rewardlicious.com

As far as the workout goes, I'm changing things a little, but not completely.  Generally, I'm at the gym Monday - Friday and doing 15 minutes of weight training, then a 30 minute cardiovascular workout.  I'm doing a variety of weight exercises (like tricep dips, push-ups, box jumps, jumping rope, lunges, I'm exhausted just writing this stuff, ab exercises, etc.) and doing 2 minutes walking - 10 minutes running as my cardio workout

Re-reading this, it sounds so regimented.  BORING.  But I've worked very hard over the last few years to change my body and I'm so hopeful that this new routine brings me to a new level of fitness and diabetes health overall, making me ready for my walk down the aisle. 

Because I tried on my wedding gown again this weekend and it fits like a glove.  A glove without much room for weight gain. 

No more nervous nibbling - it's time to buckle down and make this work. Let the sweating begin!

February 06, 2008

Kerri's Seriously Zippy White Bean Salad.

It's not often that I have the chance to use the "Food" category on this blog.  I'm a bit of a cooking disaster (known for such dishes as "Ew!" and "Is it supposed to hurt?")  But I've thrown together something that I thought was tasty.  And it is low-carb.  AND it doesn't taste like garbage. 

Yes, I was shocked, too!

I have found that eating low-carb makes blood sugar management a little easier.  Not having the spikey bits after meals keeps my numbers more in range and less "riddled with chaos."  However, I like bread.  And pasta.  And that whole "feeling full" thing. 

Turns out a good dose of fiber gives me that full feeling without sending my blood sugars straight into orbit.  I had a really tasty white bean salad dish at a restaurant the other night, and dared myself to recreate it last night at home.  While it wasn't exactly the same, it was still tasty.  I put in too many red onion bits, so it has some serious zip to it, but it tasted good and didn't tease me towards the 200's. 

The seriously zippy white bean salad.

Kerri's Seriously Zippy White Bean Salad 

  • 2 cans of white cannelini beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 10 slices of pepperoni, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon juice

It's this simple:  Add all the ingredients to a mid-sized sedan (just kidding - use a bowl),  mix together, and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.  Eat with mouth.  Beware of hot onions.

A simple recipe goes a long way for a culinarily-challenged blogger like myself.  :) 

SUM Tags: , , ,

December 04, 2007

Paint By Numbers.

Carb management is a paint-by-numbers for me.I looked into the bottom of my purse and saw the Cliff bar and a pack of gum.  "46 grams of carbohydrate."

I poured a cup of coffee this morning and added a little cream and Equal.  As I stirred the contents of the cup and chatted with co-workers, I thought "0.2u of insulin for the 2 grams of carbohydrate."  I eye-balled the bagels being offered up and watched as one morphed into a whole-wheat "8" and another into a sesame-seed covered "0."  80 grams of carbs.

The kiwi fruit, sliced and captured in a tupperware container, looked ripe and grass-green through the plastic window.  It would be a delicious morning snack.  Ten grams of carbs.

Nineteen carbs in that yogurt, five grams in a fistful of almonds, fifteen in that slice of whole-grain toast.  Convert how many units of insulin that I need to cover X amount of carbs.  Base these values on previously calculated insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios.  Make sure you take recent and future activity levels into account, in addition to factoring in some cushion time for the insulin to work.

It's a lot of math for this intrinsic English major to handle.  If I keep my brain tuned into the numbers only, I'm admittedly rattled and overwhelmed. 

Instead, I picture the culinary world as one, big paint-by-numbers picture.  Carbohydrate content calls out a value and insulin is my paint.  Some days the portraits are just breath taking, a sea of yellows and blues and a smattering of greens, blending together and keeping my blood sugar numbers from spiraling out of range. 

It's tough to keep my hand steady some days, especially now with all the holiday treats on every countertop, but I'm doing my best to stay within the lines.

November 28, 2007

Operation WillPower.

It actually tasted good.  I swear.I spent the majority of yesterday beneath a mountain of blankets on the couch, anchored on either side by a fluffy cat.  Miserable and sick, yet capable of impressive levels of boredom, I watched daytime TV until my brain started to melt a little bit.

Itching to alleviate the boredom, I gathered myself together and exhibited my only smidge of culinary prowess:  cooking soup.

I'm not exactly known for my skills in the kitchen.  I can make a delicious breakfast, a bang-up cup of tea, and the occasional salad excursion.  But my true (and only) talent lies in the soup pot.  I make a tasty soup.  Using a book I had picked up at The Strand bookstore in NYC - Soup for Every Body.  Boasting a selection of low-carb and high-protein soups, complete with illustrations, this book was perfect for Chris and I and our picky little eating habits.

And it was only six bucks.  Good deal, this.  AND the soup ended up being delicious.  Chris claimed it's "restaurant quality."  Let me assure you, this is not a compliment often offered up, so I did a little sicky-jig of happiness.

I've been thinking about eating habits a lot lately, especially with the holidays coming and my will power on a bit of a hiatus.  As I wrote in my dLife column this month, the whole "special occasion" caveat during the holidays is tricky for me.  With so many parties and events, it's easy for me to succumb to "Oh, just this one time," and have that piece of cake/glass of wine/forkful of creme brulee.   Next thing I know, I'm indulging at every turn and my jeans don't fit as well as they did a month ago.

Never one to react to a problem, I'm trying to take a more proactive approach to this holiday season.  Enter:  Operation WillPower.  (Similar to Operation Thwart.)  Now that I'm two days into the antibiotics for strep and well on my way to being fully mended, I need to take control of my eating habits and get my act together. 

Back to heavy workouts.  Back to low-carb meals.  Back to paying attention to all the bits and pieces of diabetes management and readying my body for that wedding dress.  (Which, by the way, is being delivered in January and I'll be having my first fittings.  In less than two months.  Holy crap.)

So long, delicious treats!  I miss you already. 

Commence Operation WP.

November 25, 2007

And the Cats Survived.

Pretty red leaves that lined the shores of the lake.

There was Fondue Night with my college roommates, dipping whatever we could find into cheese and then chocolate fondue (no, not at the same time), drinking wine, and gossiping like fools.

There was Thanksgiving with friends and family, spending time with our closest loved ones.

We had a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in the city and then explored Providence with the new camera, snapping shots of the Statehouse and the cityscape from an empty park at midnight.

A visit to my mother's house brought us on an impromptu hike through the woods and snapping pictures at the shore of the lake.

The loooo-ong drive back down 95, back to our home and back to work this week.  We're sleepy, inundated with emails, and toting suitcases crammed with half-folded laundry.

And even though they were all puffy-tailed, bored, and mewing when we came back home tonight, the cats survived.

November 19, 2007

No Dessert 'Til Brooklyn.

I am a Country Mouse.  It's an undisputed fact. 

I find considerable joy on the almost-desolate beaches of Napatree Point in my hometown.  I like hiking.  I loved the trails in St. John and the question of "Has anyone been this way before me?"  The idea of my own personal greenhouse or garden makes me grin.   

So finding such excitement and possibility in the cityscape of NYC is a completely new thing for me.

Last night, Chris and I visited Brooklyn and dined out with Chris's friend from high school, MT, and his fiance Melissa.  Their neighborhood is very cool and had a tangible sense of community.  There was something so comforting about the streets lined with what looked like Boston brownstones, neatly wedged together like books in a shelf.  Their apartment was roomy and cozy and was the first piece of livable real estate I've had the pleasure of visiting in the NYC area (as opposed to the breadbox apartments with cubbyholes renamed as second bedrooms and a kitchen not nearly big enough for my poor fat cat Abby to slide into). 

We had dinner at this terrific French place in Park Slope called Moutarde.  Chris and I have both grown up in decidedly Italian households, with pasta dinners and homemade gravy.  But after our second French meal in a week (first at Les Halles), Chris is now a self-proclaimed Francophile.  Chris had the salmon and I had the hanger steak and green beans -- and yes, we dipped into the crème brulée again

For the record, I started this meal at a tenuous 73 mg/dl, but thanks to some bread and a quick This is just plain delicious.  And at least 4 units of insulin.swig of orange juice, I hit the ground running at 157 mg/dl.  I would have remained under 180 if it hadn't been for that blasted crème brulée, which tossed me up to 212 mg/dl before a soft landing at 98 mg/dl later in the evening.   

Generally, I have my meal plan under control and I'm able to deftly avoid temptations.  (I've even trained myself to substitute green beans for potatoes, which is remarkable considering how much I'd love potatoes.)  But something about going out to dinner makes resistance tougher for me. 

Dessert?  Sure, I'll have some of that deliciously creamy, sugar-filled concoction.  Twice.  In one week.  In my foolish mind, being "out to dinner" means that it's a special occassion and it's okay to splurge.  But with the frequency we've been dining out and the holidays looming like fat pants on the horizon, I need to be more mindful of the calories I'm reeling in.  And with my Joslin appointment right after Thanksgiving, it's important that I'm on the ball.

Mmmm.  It would be great if the whole ball was made of crème brulée.  

(Apparently I'm a Country Mouse with a newly-cultivated sweet tooth.)

November 07, 2007

Barkfast of Chompions.

Food.

My whole life revolves around it.  Between testing, calculating, bolusing, and making general attempts at healthy eating, food is an enormous part of my diabetes management plan. 

Ah, food.

For some reason, we found ourselves at the grocery store at 10 o'clock at night yesterday.  (Actually, not for "some reason."  The reason was that there was nothing but salad dressing and three month stale croutons in the house to munch on.)  

In pursuit of ingredients for a minestrone soup I'm making (stop laughing - I can cook a little bit), I noticed the contents of our cart.  Vegetables, fruits, almonds, and whole-grain breads.  Once upon a time, I would have missed the potatoes,  rice, and popsicles (I would kill a man for Sherbet Cyclones ... those things are just darn delicious), but these days my tastebuds are geared more in favor of the diabetes-friendly and just generally healthy fare.

Gazing into the cart, I see the food choices of a woman who is finally thinking of her meals as they relate to her blood sugars.  But I'm admittedly a reluctant healthy eater.  I would love nothing more than cheesecake for dinner every night.  Cheesecake with a side of macaroni and cheese - not the white, Annie's kind but the real-deal biohazard orange kind - and a cup of piping hot chai tea latte, too.  Sugar, sugar, carbs, carbs.  I would love that.  Ice cream every morning, tapioca pudding with whipped cream every night.  My inner-glutton wants to mobilize but my brain interjects with thoughts of low A1C's, wedding dresses, and my future children. 

So we shop healthy, my fiance and I.  Indulgences find their way of slipping into the cart (how did those granola bars get in there?) but overall, we aim to eat low-carb and organic whenever possible.  Sounds bo-ring but is oddly satisfying and tasty.

Healthy meals are important for all sorts of living creatures.  Like dogs.  Apparently they have their own healthy breakfast cereal ... ahem, pardon me, "barkfast" cereal.  I had to snap a picture.  So ridiculous.  And I was laughing all night about it.  Silliness, right?

Oh delightful!

But upon Googling the brand name this morning, I see that diabetic doggies are benefitting from the Bow Wow Brands.  I blog corrected.  (Yet the image of a dog family sitting down for breakfast - pearls and all! - makes me laugh until I cry a little bit.) 

Healthy food for all!  (Even dogs.)

October 04, 2007

Chef Morrone

There are several reasons why Chris loves me, but my ability to cook is definitely not high on my list of assets.

I know how to eat well.  In a restaurant situation, I can order a meal that satisfies my taste buds, contains healthy ingredients, and keeps my blood sugars from orbiting.  When it comes to food, I know what I should be consuming to stay fit and healthy and I keep careful tabs on what I'm eating.

Unfortunately, none of those items should be burnt to a crisp.

My kitchen is generally very clean because I don't cook much.  My culinary prowess is very limited, including scrambled eggs, homemade chicken soup, preparing and seasoning a whole chicken, and banana bread.  According to Chris, I make the best scrambled eggs ever.  And my chicken soup is pretty slammin'.  But everything else I cook becomes an unrecognizable disaster.  I'm too distracted to cook anything!

This becomes a point of contention between me and Diabetes, because Diabetes is always demanding these carefully calculated and prepared plates. 

"Make me something healthy.  And low-fat.  And low-sodium.  Oh, and low-carb."  It crosses its arms over its chest and stares me down.

"Dude, listen.  I bought you those green beans for snacks.  And walnuts.  We have our coffee with equal instead of sugar.  Didn't you like those sugar-free, all natural popsicles Chris picked up?  And how about the tasty soup I made the other night, which we only needed about 1.5 units of insulin to cover.  Huh?  Wasn't that nice?"  I fold my arms over my chest and stare back.

"Nice?  Kerri, that soup had about eight pounds of salt in it."

"Yeah, but it tasted nice, right?"

Narrowed eyes.

"I'm trying, man.  My blood pressure is under control.  My kidneys are healthy.  And my A1C is nothing to sneeze at."  Siah walks by and sneezes daintily.  "Things are okay.  Can't you just be content with the eggs and the soup and the chicken?"

"I'm bored.  Make me something nice."Oh goodness, I definitely can't cook cartoons.

I try and keep my palette entertained.  Alternating between snacks like walnuts, almonds, fresh fruit, green beans, protein bars, and sliced vegetables, I'm eating well and feeling pretty damn healthy.  But I am a little bored and looking for some snacky/meal alternatives.  Ones that I am able to make without too much effort or time, as I'm so short on time these days it's suffocating, and I'm so short on kitchen talent that I'm surprised I'm still alive.

I did, after all, light the kitchen curtains on fire when I was a kid as I attempted to make toast. 

August 30, 2007

You Know You're Hungry When ...

You know you're hungry when:

1.  You're inserted html break tags into web documents and instead of "<br>" you're typing "<brie>".

2.  The Bacons newswire is making you salivate and wish you had some scrambled eggs to go with it.

3.  You test your blood sugar twice to confirm that you're not low - you're just feeling ravenous, even though you could have sworn you were 40 mg/dl.

4.  The packet of Banana Bread oatmeal that's been tucked away in my desk drawer since, oh, when I started working here in June of 2006, is starting to seem like a delicious idea.

5.  For some odd reason, the exhaust from the buses outside the office this morning This makes me laugh every time I see it.smelled a little bit like a breakfast diner.

6.  You want to chomp around your office like PacMan and eat everything you can find.

When I was on shots, I ate more regularly.  Pumping allows me to go waaaaay too long without eating.  A few times, I've actually thought my hunger was a disasterous low

I can't wait to go away this weekend and regain a normal, human schedule.

August 21, 2007

Not a Good Sign.

Work has been INSANE.  Insane in that way that keeps you busy all day long, all night long, and has you dreaming about things that you need to do the next day.  Or even dreaming that you're accomplishing certain work tasks, making you startled when you arrive to work the next day and realize that you didn't actually write the column, but instead just dreamt about writing it.

Ahhhhhhhhh!

And this level of Ahhhhhhh! warrants a chocolate fix. 

So I wandered over to the dLife chocolate stash (usually cleaned out by interns, but since they are all back to college, there are finally some tasty morsels for the rest of us).  I reached into the bag and pulled out a Hershey Kiss. 

Walked back to my desk.  Poked my head into my boss's office to touch base on something briefly.  Back at my desk, I was about to unwrap the Kiss.  No, I wasn't low.  I just wanted some damn chocolate.  I didn't feel guilty or anything. 

Until I noticed:

See more at LOL Diabetes!

Sigh. 

What kind of sadistic bastards are working at the Hershey factory?  And why are they taunting me?

(Also, there's a new Generation D up over at dLife.  It's all about whittling it down to a more manageable size.)

August 14, 2007

Rocco Returns.

I should have packed more food.  What was I thinking, bringing lunch only?  Oh man, am I hungry.

Internal Motivational Speaker:  Kerri, Kerri.  You have a delicious spread of portabella chicken and spinach for lunch, complete with a drizzled bit of balsamic dressing.  Can't you just have your lunch early?

Stomach:  Give it up, Speaker.  It's snack time.  Snack time never includes healthy.  Snack time is ravenous.  Kerri, go downstairs and get a peppermint patty from the diner.

But I don't even like peppermint patties.  I want a Nutrigrain bar.

Stomach:  I don't care if you like it or not.  It's almost ten-thirty.  You've given me nothing but coffee.  Rocco doesn't like coffee, Kerri.

Growling from the pits of my stomach.  The chain rattles and I can hear him breathing heavily, scraping his paws along the floor. 

Internal Motivational Speaker:  (panicked squeal) Oh, hi Rocco!  I see you have a new chain.  That's a lovely new chain.  (nervous laugh)  Have you done something different with your fur? 

Rocco growls and leans against his chain, the links straining against one another.

Stomach:  Easy there, Rock.  It's cool, buddy.  Kerri is going to go downstairs and grab you a blueberry Nutrigrain bar.  You like those, don'tcha? 

Rocco puffs out his bear breath and plunks down on his haunches, waiting.  My stomach lurches a bit.  I need something to eat.  I get up from my desk chair and grab a dollar from my wallet.  Rocco starts to purr, as much as a bear can.

Internal Motivational Speaker:  Oh no.  No, no Miss Kerri.  Nutrigrain bars have high fructose corn syrup in them.  Not to mention almost 25 grams of carbohydrates.  You have that package of almonds in your drawer.  Why not snack on those?  Do you really need a high-carb indulgence right now?  I mean ...

Stomach:  Lady, do you ever take a breath?  Let the girl have her Nutrigrain bar.  It's not like she's going to have a side of soft-serve ice cream with it.

Internal Motivational Speaker:  I am sick and tired of you bossing me around!  I don't care that you have your fancy pepsinogen and that Pyloric sphincter.  (her voice crescendos to a vehement peak)  You aren't the boss of me.  I have every right to my opinions! 

Stomach:  All you do is nag!  Eat this, don't eat this.  Spend all that money on organic foods.  Don't drink too much caffiene.  Make sure you test.  Make sure you bolus.  Christ, can't she have a break? Rocco likes Nutrigrain bars.

Internal Motivational Speaker:  No!  This is full time!  Twenty-four hours a day.  I work long hours, you know, Stomach.  Some of us don't have the luxury of taking our time to digest! 

Rocco looks at me with pleading eyes.  "Growl, growl."  I know, Rocco.  I'm starving.  Let's go downstairs and get a snack while they're arguing. 

Stomach:  Do you ever stop?

Internal Motivational Speaker:  Does your mom ever stop?

Stomach:  Don't you be bringing my mom into this!

Dollar clutched in my hand and leading Rocco by his chain, we sneak out.  A few minutes later, I'm bolusing for the 25 grams of carbohydrate and Rocco is licking blueberry Nutrigrain crumbs off his paws. 

July 13, 2007

Magic Tongs Included.

Standard discussion between my mother and I when I was about nine years old.

"Ma, can I have this twix bar?"

"No, Kerri.  Let's save it for when you're low."

This logic always sucked, as far as I was concerned.  When I'm low, I can't enjoy anything I'm eating.  Saving the "good snacks" for a low sounded like a waste.  Usually, I'm sucking down a can of juice or munching on something laced with sugar, but not tasting it.  Panic eating.  My tastebuds are in time-out when I'm rocking a low blood sugar.  They're in bed with the comforter pulled up to their tastebuddie ears, pretending they can't hear the Twix bar knocking at the door.

"Let me in!  I taste good!"

Now that I'm older, I don't bother "saving treats" for when I'm low.  That's akin to tossing them into a kiln.  I'd rather treat with bland tasting juices and save that Twix bar for when I can actually enjoy the taste.

Yesterday, at the diner near my office, I went in for an iced hazelnut coffee and became distracted by a candy display on the counter.

"Oh, I've seen those before.  My son has had them.  He loves them."  My co-worker nodded approvingly.  I grew up with Nerds candies and Fun Dip - what is this Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy?  (Made by Kandy Kastle, Inc, the company formerly known as Kan't Spell, Ink.) 

Oooh!  Magic tongs are included!

Magic tongs are included.  Yay!

Apparently, this candy comes with like seventeen gummy worm things and a pair of purple plastic tongs that light up.  Therefore, grabbing the gummy wormy thing with the "magic tongs" creates a lightning bug effect.  Therefore making the candy tremendously creepy to eat and difficult to mentally grasp, but tremendously cool at the same time.

Therefore, I had to buy it.

Unlit, squishy buggies.

Packing 31g of carbs for the whole package, this diner-sponsored treat wasn't much to taste.  The gummy worms were a diasppointment and they felt oddly squishy.  Little sugar slugs.

But they did light up. 

Oh, they light up alright!

And I proceeded to light them all up, eat a few, and toss the rest in the garbage.  I then proceeded to test the "magic tongs" on other things in my office, including the English ivy, a loose test strip, and my fingertip.

"Phone home,"  I whispered.   Was food ever this fun and pointless when I was a little kid?  Can this candy even be loosely classified as "food?"

Lazy SausagesLazy Sausages

Overall, Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy gets Two Arbitrary Lazy Sausages out of Five. 

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