Diabetes Is About How You Look At It

Kid Jumping

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.

I have a friend of Celtic ancestry and he has a license plate that reads: OBRAG.

I have puzzled about the meaning for years. I was certain that it referenced his heritage. I got stuck in the O and the brag parts. He wouldn’t tell me what it meant, but did say: “It is all about how you look at it”.

Negativity is Everywhere

When I read comments here at Diabetes Support and on other sights from people like me that have diabetes, I see so much negativity concerning the way they now think that they have to live and eat. My answer is: “It is all in how you want to look at it”.

Some of the negativity comes from others suggesting that you should not eat anything good ever again. Even my wonderful Doctor Dan, suggested to me, a certified chocoholic, that I should never have more than a morsel again for the rest of my unnatural life. Clearly Doctor Dan never expected me to seek out a chocolate that was relatively low in carbohydrates.

Most of the chocolates with 70% cocoa or more are pretty low as far as carbohydrates go. Fortunately for me, I actually have always liked dark chocolates better than milk chocolates. For those of you that prefer the milk chocolate, it may take some time to get accustomed to the dark, but once you do, I bet you will never want to go back.

All the pamphlets I was given said “limit you carbohydrates, have X number for this meal, Y number for that meal and so on. Really sound advice, and advice I still follow. What I got caught up in, as do so many others was seeing that this meant: none of this, and very, very little of that, and lots of what I really didn’t want. That is what I thought I didn’t want.

I love to use spaghetti squash as my example. When the nutritionist I like so much suggested my using spaghetti squash in place of the pasta I missed so much (pasta was one of the foods that fell into the very, very little category), I was delighted. Delighted that is until I made it for the first time with a basic spaghetti sauce….and HATED IT!!!!

Still, if there was any chance of my sitting down to a BOWL of anything pasta-like, I was willing to give it a second try. It turns out that is just GREAT with fresh tomatoes. It was the cooked sauce, not the spaghetti squash that was the problem. I learned to use it with just butter and cheese, pesto sauce, sour cream and mushrooms (a Stroganoff-like presentation). I really like it.

Can't I ever be satisfied?

So now that my pasta dilemma was sorta kinda solved, I fixated on how much I missed rice. Give me a break. Can’t I ever be satisfied? What I discovered is that there was something about the spaghetti squash that gave almost a sense of a risotto. With the right sauce, it really had that wonderful creamy quality.

I took it a step further. I made my version of rice pudding using the spaghetti squash in place of the higher carbohydrate rice. It still has that creamy, vannilla-ry, eggy, comfort food wonderful-ness. One more food solved. But real rice was still an issue. I found a recipe for riced cauliflower. Viola! Rice, or if not EXACTLY rice, something that looked like it and took on the characteristics of rice.

Ok so I got a little more fiber in my diet and a little more vitamin C. Why complain? I had rice on my plate to accompany and calm a very intensely flavored main dish.
I had never actually eaten spaghetti squash before Anne introduced me to it. I used cauliflower from time to time, but it was ok rather than OK!!! All that time I never expected that those two vegetables; and so many more foods, would become awesome alternatives that not only worked in helping me to not only manage my carbohydrate budget, but that I actually liked to eat.

As for my friend and the license plate OBRAG, I forgot that he was more than a lawyer, more than a soccer player, but also and old movie buff. OBRAG is… Garbo spelled backwards. You see…it really is all in how you look at it.
In keeping with that thought, my recipe this week is an upside down cake. Of course it is!

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, be creative, keep your eyes and mind open and BE DECADENT! –w!

Click here for Ward's Summer Plum Cake recipe!

Get more cooking tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Photo credit: Nithi Anand on Flickr