Diabetes: NO Reason Food Can't Taste Scrumptious


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.

Scrumptious (skrum shous) adj. foods STILL available on a decadent diabetic’s plate.

I decided to come back to this topic again after seeing these two types of comments too often:

“I try to eat right but a lot of the food is so dull and tasteless”

“If I have to look at another plate of baked chicken and vegetables, I will barf”.

I get it. It is true many of the prepared foods labeled “Diabetic Friendly” are pretty tasteless. Worse still is that so many of the sugar free products are still very high in carbohydrates. If WE can figure out that it is carbohydrates, not JUST sugar, why can’t the manufacturers figure that out?

If you think you can ONLY eat the same thing over and over again it gets very dull and very boring.

What I don’t quite get is why people complain about the taste and lack of variety of the foods they eat and don’t do much about it. Is it REALLY that difficult?

It is not just because I am a chef that foods I eat taste great and cover a variety of items. I started out like everybody else. Oh wait, that was when I was a kid. I had to figure out how to make it taste better, way before my diagnosis of Diabetes.

Oh, for goodness sake, it is not about re-inventing the wheel, it is really about reinventing the way you think and use common ingredients. You don’t need to have a pantry full of fancy things to make great, NO Scrumptious, tasting EASY recipes.

Take the humble lemon. Lemon is more than a garnish on a plate of fish or something to squeeze into your tea. It adds incredible flavor to all kinds of foods. Chicken, vegetables, fruits, coffee, desserts, and yes, fish. An added benefit to using lemons is: the sharp flavor allows you to cut back on salt. Lemon combines with all kinds of other flavors like basil, dill, ginger, pepper and cheese. Combine lemon (or lime for that matter) with any of the herbs or spices I mentioned and you have a super easy, super tasty dish.

Spicing it up
When I was growing up, the foods in my home were flavored with salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic powder and onion powder. Cinnamon was reserved for rice pudding and apple pie; paprika for “a little color”. The groceries carried only dried herbs in little cans, and not a heck of a lot of those. I remember my aunt Kate discovering Lawry Salt. She was in kitchen heaven. She used it to death. Not that it didn’t taste good, but EVERYTHING seasoned with that product became as boring as using nothing at all. I looked at the ingredients just now and found it interesting that the mix contained sugar. No wonder we liked it. Nowadays, we have far more spices available in the “stupidmarket”. Take advantage of it. You can buy premixed spices if you are afraid, don’t have the skills or time to mix your own concoction, or don’t want to have too many jars on hand. I buy herbs de Provence and Chinese Five spice all the time. I like to suggest you find a market that has bulk spices. You can buy a little to try out. They also tend to be fresher than the bottle that has been in the back of the cabinet since 19…

Fresh herbs are available all year long. The taste of dried herbs is good, fresh herbs are sensational. I meant to say sensational. It is an entirely different sensation on your tongue.
Different cooking methods.

Depending on the method you use to cook a food it tastes different than any other method. The perfect example is the egg. It tastes entirely different boiled than it does fried; or scrambled than as an omelet; or baked (as in quiche) than any other method. The same goes for fish, meats, and chicken. If you, like my friend, hates the idea of baked chicken, broil it, fry it, sautee it, or stew it. The same chicken with exactly the same seasoning will taste different depending on the cooking method.

It is ok to complain. I am here to listen to you; but you can’t really expect me to keep silent.

There are so many great flavors out there to experiment with. There is no reason that Diabetes should stop you. In fact it is the other way around. Having Diabetes should encourage you to find new taste treats to inspire you, enlarge your repertory of menus, and help to keep you on track with managing your Diabetes.

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

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic