Diabetes: And Now For Something Entirely Different

entirely different

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

The other day I had the most wonderful sandwich. It was a Reuben. You remember them? Made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing and grilled until crusty. I made it from leftovers of my St. Patrick’s Day feast and on a lower carbohydrate bread. That St Patrick’s Day supper was equally satisfying.

It is not that I love corned beef so much. It is more a case of it NOT being the usual meat, pork, or chicken. These foods are great, but too much of a good thing becomes boring…except chocolate?

Chicken is great but so much of the taste has been bred out of it in order to get the huge breasts. In the case of chicken, being tasteless is not that big a deal. Chicken is a flavor sponge. You can change up the spices and create a totally different meal. We eat a lot of chicken at our house so having something entirely different was a real treat.

I don’t see corned beef in the “stupidmarkets” very often. In fact if it is not March, I don’t see it at all. So a boiled corned beef dinner is great if only once a year. I intentionally purchased one that was too big for one meal. The reason?…that Reuben sandwich. As good as my St. Patrick’s Day feast was, the prospect of the sandwich was even better. Back in New York, I could always go to a good deli and purchase corned beef, but since leaving there I find the local deli’s offering chewy and pretty tasteless. Don’t misunderstand. If I made a Reuben two times a year before my diagnosis it was lot. Good as it is, it takes more work than I like to prepare it for a regular lunch. Because I didn’t have the Reuben (all that sodium) very often, it was, and remains special.

Creating a big variety in my menu goes a long way toward sticking to a Diabetes-Compatible meal plan.

How do we create a treat for most of our meals?

One very easy trick is to purchase food on sale and in season. That is right. Not only is food usually fresher, but if you wait for the sales you not only save money but keep yourself from having the same old tired food again and again. Think about how often you buy a turkey. Once a year, twice, three times? Doesn’t that make the turkey seem more special?

Another trick is to try different cuts. Boneless pork chops are great, however, bone in has a slightly different taste because the bone adds flavor from its marrow. Try chicken thighs. They are a bit fattier but taste more like the chicken of bygone days.
It is difficult to convince some people that lamb and fish actually taste good. I grew up with both and it never seemed odd to me to eat those foods.

There is not a lot of variety in most markets. Specialty foods can get very expensive. It becomes up to you to make something special from the ordinary.

Spices and sauces make the same old, same old, taste new and different each time. Chicken parmesan is one of my favorites, but Picatta or Marsala is a great change. Stuffing chicken and pork makes the everyday something out of the ordinary.
I know, I know, it is more work and planning. Think of it as everyday being a holiday. Making a bigger amount gives you great leftovers. Prepare some of the foods you just make once or twice a year more often. I promise it won’t make them any the less holiday – like or special. Try something you NEVER had before…perhaps short ribs. I know, you have seen them in the “stupidmarket” and wonder how to prepare them. Go on line. There is no shortage of recipes free for the cooking.

Prepare the boring old string bean or broccoli with almonds or pepper or garlic flavored oil. It is easy and different. Make your regular cole slaw recipe using red instead of green cabbage. If you put your mind to it, it isn’t SO hard.

Unless YOU do something entirely different, your life will be same old, same old.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic