Diabetes Banquet

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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.

Life, even with Diabetes can still be a banquet if you know how.
To quote Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame:
“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
For too many of us with Diabetes we think that everything good is gone from our tables. We have to restrict, count, calculate, add, compensate, and heaven knows what else to try and manage our eating and our Diabetes.

But Auntie Mame is not wrong. We tend to get so caught up in all the things that we now have to do day after day to stay healthier, that we forget there is so much out there that is still available to us. Foods that are still wonderful, still exciting to eat. All we have to do is to choose to make our Diabetes life….a banquet.

For dinner last night we had some killer steak. It was the EXACT same cut, seasoning, and preparation that I have always done. Along with it I prepared some roasted asparagus. Dinner was as simply wonderful as it was when I made it 9 years ago (aka pre diagnosis).

Simple and wonderful
It is a very simple preparation. Seasoned with herbs de Provence and garlic, it took seconds to put together. The asparagus were equally as easy. A little butter, salt & pepper and a hot 425°F oven and the flavor of the asparagus was concentrated in each stalk. What,…you don’t like asparagus. No problem, make broccoli or string beans. You HATE vegetables, fine, let it be your way. Make a salad…but make it wonderful. Add a few nuts or seeds, a bit of cheese, a radish…..What? You don’t eat meat either? Work with me here folks, I am trying to reach the mainstream (?) person with Diabetes.

What if I don’t like…
Just today I saw a reader comment on one of my recipes:
“Not blooming almonds again”
A couple of weeks ago I saw another comment:
“Nuts…I HATE nuts”
The thing is that I use a lot of nuts in my cooking and baking. I do it for several reasons. I use nuts to replace some of the flour in baked goods and as a crust for chicken and fish. I often “suggest” almonds or almond flour. The reason is that almond flour is readily available on the “stupidmarket” shelf. The truth is I don’t use it at all any more. I prefer to toast my own nuts and seeds then grind them into flour. It is very easy and costs far less than the flour on the shelf. I use
pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds EXACTLY the same way. For those of you that want a flavor change from almonds or are allergic to any nuts, the seeds are a very good, and not at all second best alternative.

When you want what you want
Sometimes there is no way around it. You want what you want and it does not fit into your intended carbohydrate budget. The solution is really easy. Have some. Remember two things: limit the amount of it to what will still work for you, and DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. You are in complete control if you are willing to take that control. It is not worth it to have something you might usually not eat and then get in a swivit, or sad about it. You choose to eat it….move on. You can balance off the rest of the day or week. Enjoy the treat. Most of us work very hard at trying to manage their Diabetes.
Life and eating with Diabetes is not a life of deprivation. It can and should be a life of fulfilling you goals, eating wonderful foods, trying things you never tried before.
In the musical “Mame,” there is a song that begins (to paraphrase Jerry Herman):
“Open a new window, open a new door. Travel a new highway you have never traveled before. Before you become a dull fellow”… eating the same food…
For living your Diabetes life to the fullest, when you are at the Diabetes Smorgasbord of life, try something new. There is a hell of a lot to enjoy out there and you may just surprise yourself. Ewee is really a four letter word in Diabetes speak!

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

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic