“Know Thyself” — Even More True with Diabetes


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 can give you recipes for this, that and the other thing. I can even teach you how to make objects (edible or decorative) out of various vegetables. If you don’t like the recipes or objects, they will not work for you! Only you know what you will enjoy eating, although keeping an open mind couldn’t hurt too much, could it?

We will see.

Many of you know that my articles appear regularly here at Information About Diabetes and on their Facebook page, Diabetes Support. What I like most about this is that what I have to share with my fellow Diabetics is getting out there and hopefully being of some assistance to you. Know what is even better? It is that the readers respond back with their comments and suggestions.

I posted a recipe for a side dish using spinach. Some readers responded back that they liked the dish and thought they might also try using the recipe with kale.

The end result is that other readers got two recipes for the price of one (three actually since I mentioned replacing the spinach with fresh green beans). If you don’t like spinach, give the kale a shot. If you don’t like kale (I really like it best in soup), stick with the spinach or…try it with another vegetable. Keeping your meals varied will go a long way to keeping you on track. Knowing what you like and don’t like will help you keep your eating interesting.

Other readers will respond with their reaction to a food or food group. This food or that food spikes their readings. This is really great information for others. It helps to share the knowledge among more people. It gives folks a heads up about potential pitfalls. It also lets people know they are not alone. I see comments online from people that feel so alone with their disease. I get it. I really get it..

Even though my brother, sister and father all had Diabetes, when I was diagnosed (almost seven years ago now) I felt pretty alone. Sure I did all the reading that so many million people had been diagnosed with Diabetes, but other than my family, I did not know any of them. The people in my family did not choose to find out what would help make their lives happier or healthier. They had nothing to share with me except their concern for my health.

A cake recipe of mine was posted here some-time ago. Other than an unpleasant (and useful?) comment comparing the picture to the waste product of a cow, the readers had some really great comments and questions.

“The artificial sweeteners won't work for me. What and how much of either sugar, honey, maple syrup can I substitute? Not wanting it super sweet.”

My response: you can substitute sugar (my original pre dx recipe) cup for cup in the recipe. I have never tried maple syrup or honey because of the high carbohydrate count and I think it would change the flavor too much. I am intrigued by the maple syrup. I will give it a try when I have some time and get back with you.

What I forgot to mention was that I am not fond of honey. Yes, I admit it. There really are things that I don’t like. My early contact with this substance was in tea if I was sick, or the very heavy Honey Cake that was part of my heritage. I have an ingrained prejudice against honey and now that I have Diabetes, no longer have to defend it. I do use sugar substitutes. I have done a good deal of
research and with only a few exceptions, have not seen science that concerns me enough to stop using some of these products. Taste is another matter completely.

Another interesting question was: “Can you substitute unsweetened apple sauce for the oil?”

My response: Yes that would work but it changes the carbohydrate count.

Many people like to use applesauce in place of oil. As I remember, the original purpose was to lower the fat count in a recipe. I think it is a good substitute…if it works for you. I have used it in the past and the recipe still worked very well.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy the online sharing of opinions that I get to see. I remember feeling so alone in the beginning. These readers sharing their thoughts and questions only add to the information out there for all of us.

Knowing what works for each of us and while we are all very different, many others share some of those differences. Your positive sharing here helps to keep us healthy and help us to maintain an eating plan we can enjoy and… stick to!

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic