Eating with Diabetes…Are we having fun yet?


I gotta ask: why would you rather be sad thinking about the things you can’t eat or shouldn’t eat, or need to really portion control, than have some fun creating new dishes that allow you to eat people sized portions of some new foods that just might be more wonderful than you ever dreamed?

What strikes as crazy is still seeing comments from people with diabetes (posted here on Diabetes Support) who continue telling us how sad, unhappy, and hungry they are. I certainly know how they feet. When I started out I was miserable.

Many of us have been living with diabetes for a long time. By some standards, I am “newbie.” I was diagnosed in 2008.

It didn’t change for me overnight. It took months before I figured out what will work for me. “Work” is the operative word. It wasn’t easy for me, and I know it isn’t easy for many others.

It depends on how you see food. Is your plate half empty because there is little or no rice, potatoes, pasta on it? Is it half full because you are willing to take a chance on using some foods in different ways or foods new to you in ways you never imagined?
There is a song written in 1929 and featured in the film Funny Girl, “I would rather be blue”. The lyrics go:

“I would rather be blue,
Thinking of you,
Than be happy with somebody else”
-Billy Rose/ Fred Fisher, Victor 1929

It is a choice. I, too, did side looks at some of the foods. I like spaghetti squash… now, but it took a few shots at cooking it in different ways before it worked for me.

Last night, I prepared one of my favorite dishes, Bouef au fromage. I would happily share the recipe with you, but no matter how good it tastes, and how good it actually looks on my plate, it photographs like cat food. In the “old” days there would be no question that I would serve it with buttered noodles. I can still do that, but like many of you, I have a tough time with a really small portion of noodles. I decided to put it out to family vote.

While there is no democracy in in a restaurant kitchen, in my home kitchen I am a little less autocratic. The choices were mashed cauliflower, riced cauliflower, or spaghetti squash. The riced cauliflower won out and it was a knockout choice. I prepared it with all the same ingredients that I would regular brown or white rice Pilaf with a seasoned broth and my ever-present onions. Cauliflower in this preparation is sauteed rather than being steamed. It was a great companion to the beef. It played its part on the plate no differently than rice when it came to absorbing some of the incredible sauce. It was great fun. More fun to know that we had more than one choice that worked with the main dish.

The plan for the next night was to prepare a shrimp dish. That dish too would work with the cauliflower or spaghetti squash. The decision was deliciously made to use the spaghetti squash for the shrimp. I cooked it with some pesto from my freezer. It was scrumptious. And still unused in the stockpile of major side dishes is the mashed cauliflower. Having one less side dish to think about for another meal is an enormous help to me. The main dishes are not much changed from the pre-diagnosis days, but the sides are more of a challenge.

So may I suggest you leave the blues and the blue plate special (loaded with carbohydrates) and find “Put on a happy face” (“Bye, Bye Birdie,” Charles Strouse/ Lee Adams 1961) and fun with some new lower carbohydrate loves. After all, “You have got a lot of living to do” (same show).

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