Eating with Diabetes, Let’s Make A Deal

make a deal

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.

In the article I wrote I used the phrase “let’s make a deal”. I used it in reference to balancing what you want to eat to help manage your Diabetes and what the rest of the family wants.

I realized, even if you are just cooking or eating for yourself, making changes in your meals is also a case of: “Let’s make a Deal”. But the “deal” is with yourself.

It is as simple as wanting to eat pizza. Even with Diabetes this is still very possible. The “deal” is you have to agree to use some lower carbohydrate format for the crust. It can be zucchini, cauliflower, or as in my case a lower carbohydrate pita bread. I have made absolutely delicious pizzas for years now. I still make them with sausage, or mushrooms, or peppers, or any other topping I want. I still get the molten gooey, cheesy, tomato-y flavor that I crave, just not all the carbohydrates. Not a bad deal.

My favorite summer salad is Caprese. I grow tomatoes and basil in pots in the garden. To make the salad you add mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is simple, elegant, and full of the flavors of summer. Usually one sops up the flavored oil with a good crusty bread. Most folks with Diabetes watch their carbohydrates like a hawk so that nice crusty bread can present a problem. The “deal” is either to have a small amount of the bread or to find bread that is lower in carbohydrates. I do both. Sometimes it is the smaller amount of bread, sometimes I use the same Joseph’s pita bread that I use for my pizza crust, and sometimes a little of each. It depends on what the carbohydrates are for meals planned for the rest of the day. In all cases I win by getting that wonderful salad. Not a bad deal.

I have actually run into (on line) a person that does not like mashed potatoes. I suggested using mashed cauliflower or pureed roasted turnip and apple in the place of the smashed spud. I mentioned this because many people kvetch about using mashed cauliflower to substitute for the potatoes. It turned out that the suggestion I made to this person worked better for her husband, and she liked it equally as well. Making both sides in the marriage happy, not a bad deal.

Not to brag but until you try some of the desserts I have created for us, you may not realize that eating dessert is not only a possibility for people with Diabetes, but also a pleasure.

The dessert “deal” is that because you use a sugar replacement (alternative, substitute), the cakes don’t rise as well as if you used sugar. There is simply less volume. The other part of the “deal” is that you have to use a substitute for the sugar. EVERYBODY has an opinion of the taste and safety of the replacements. I refuse to be part of the fray. YOU GET TO CHOSE FOR YOURSELF. All I ever ask is that when making choices, let real science be your guide, not hysteria (“Well I heard/read that…;” “Somebody said that…”). Deal? ….Deal!
Many people think that there are not enough choices for people with Diabetes. Piffle, I say. Here is the “deal.” YOU have to be willing to try cooking foods in a different way, use different spices and combinations of flavors. If you are bored with same old, same old, the “deal” is to try something new. This opens you up to a world of variety. Not a bad deal.

One of my favorite stuffings uses artichokes and blue cheese. My friend Linda all but gagged at the thought. She likes artichokes and she likes blue cheese. The thought of the two in combination make her feel faint. Not every combination works for everybody, not every combination works period. But you might be very surprised at things that do work in combination. No, not Snickers bars and tomato sauce, but it is amazing how well coffee works with meats. When I first saw that on a menu I thought it strange, then I thought it over the top, then I tasted it. It was delicious and surprising.

Dining out with family and friends may put extra stress on you. Don’t allow that. Make the deal that you will settle for a protein and vegetable and salad for the pure enjoyment of being with the group.

So, here IS the deal. Choose to be open to the possibilities. Figure out what works for your taste buds, your soul, and the management of your Diabetes. Do the best you can and be willing to make changes. Deal? ….DEAL! What happens: YOU WIN !!

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

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic