Is diabetes making me fat?

Weight management is hard as it is, but balancing weight on top of insulin and diabetes seems impossible. As a person on insulin therapy, I have found myself blaming weight gain on diabetes and insulin, but should I? Is diabetes or insulin causing weight gain or making weight loss difficult, or is it just another sorry excuse!?

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What’s Cooking?! Mini-Spinach-Meatloaf

Mini-spinach-meatloaf
I love mini-food and using different kitchen items in unique ways! So, I tried mini-meatloaf in a cupcake sheet this week. Low fat ground beef and salt free herbs and spices make this another heart-healthy dish; and, I skipped the sugary ketchup and used oatmeal instead of white bread crumbs, for a diabetes-friendly option!

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What’s Cooking?! Salt and sugar-free pasta sauce

Salt-and-sugar-free-pasta-sauce

I love Spaghetti, but after visiting my doctor and learning that I have high blood pressure, I have been trying my best to eliminate as much salt as possible from my diet. The convenience of tomato sauce in a bottle is one of the reasons I love last-minute spaghetti dinners so much; but, when it comes to my heart, I’ll do whatever I can to keeping myself as healthy as possible (even if it means an extra 40 minutes to cook my own sauce).
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Top 5 “Diet” Plans

Diets

Take a walk through the “diet” section of any book store, or google “diet”. The list of fad diets and diet recommendations is immense, overwhelming, and in my professional opinion: SCARY. With restrictions and eliminations of certain foods and even entire food groups, sustaining most of these “diets” is not realistic or healthy. But, they aren’t all bad! Here are my top-5 diet plans that help jump-start weight loss, teach portion control, eliminate elimination, and show us that we can eat our favorite foods and still have a healthy life!
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Fiber for blood sugar and cholesterol

Supplement-vs-food

Fiber helps manage blood sugar and appetite. We don’t absorb Calories or carbohydrates from fiber; and, it takes longer to digest a high-fiber meal than one with simple carbs, so the blood sugar doesn’t get as high. Since a majority of us don’t get the recommended 30g of fiber/day, could we benefit from fiber supplements? Is there a difference in fiber from food vs fiber from a supplement?
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What’s Cooking?! Salt-free taco seasoning and guacamole

Salt-free-taco-seasoning

Tacos are a staple for us. We have them almost every week! It is an easy, fast meal and the meat can be used for various dishes: tacos, taco salad, nachos, etc; but, since I have diabetes and am at higher risk for heart disease, the salt content of most seasoning packets is more than I am willing to risk. So, we made our own! And, since avocados are cheap this time of year, we did a little salt-free guacamole too.
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Small meals vs. fasting for weight and diabetes management

In my experience with diabetes, “grazing” helps manage my blood sugar. 3 small meals with 30 g carbohydrates plus 2-3 snacks with 15 g carbohydrates works for me; but, for many people, this regimen is daunting. We have all heard that small, frequent meals/snacks is recommended for a healthy weight and diabetes, but why?
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5 healthy date ideas for all ages and relationship statuses

Date

Dating should never stop! A healthy life includes spending time with people you love, meeting new people, and doing fun, exciting, interesting and new things. Our most common dates; though, seem to have us in a fatty-food “rut”.

“Dating” is a time to learn about someone, find out what is important to him/her, and what he/she likes to do; but dates can be so generic! If we all go on the same dates, how do we find out who that person is?

Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to dinner/drinks, sporting event with a hot dog and cracker jacks/peanuts, state fairs/carnivals with ice cream or funnel cake, movies with a bucket of “movie theater popcorn” and a diet coke, etc.; but, since my husband and I try to do one date each week, these Calories (and costs!) add up.

Next time you plan a date, think about your hobbies and his/her hobbies. Here are 5 date ideas for different personalities that won’t send us on a Calorie guilt-trip:

1) For “Food Lovers”: Cook together! There is something special about a meal cooked together. Maybe it’s the sense of “team”, or the satisfaction of knowing that you created whatever ends up on the plate; but, either way, you know exactly what’s in your food. Try one of these recipes!
2) For “Sports Lovers”: Consider a high school game, especially if it’s a sport that you played or the school that you or your kids are going to/went to. You get a sense of “nostalgia” and may have stories or memories to share with your date. It’s also easier to avoid concessions, since there aren’t vendors walking up and down the stands.
3) For “Movie Lovers”: Find a drive-in. These are few and far-between, making it more special when you plan a trip to find one. You can watch classic movies that you probably haven’t seen in years; and, people don’t get upset if you lean over and whisper, making it easier to learn more about your date! Plus, you bring your own food/drink, allowing you to pack smart snacks.
4) For “Active” people: Go for a walk/bike ride, play tennis/golf, throw a football/baseball/frisbee, find a climbing wall, rent kayaks, etc. Not only are you avoiding empty Calories, but you’re burning them, strengthening your heart, and sending out “happy hormones”!
5) For “Givers”: Consider volunteering. Habitat for Humanity has local opportunities for you to use your hands, work together, and change lives; or, check out town hall for smaller project like: planting gardens, painting public areas/fences, fixing up public schools, etc. You can burn Calories and stay active together while doing something positive.

Doing the things you enjoy with people you enjoy creates a healthy lifestyle. Dating is a time to be yourself and find someone who likes the same things you do! Have fun and enjoy things that you don’t always have in your daily life; but be creative and find unique activities that encourage your healthy lifestyle. What are your favorite date nights or days?

What’s Cooking?! Greek Stuffed Peppers

Greek-stuffed-peppers

Back on the Mediterranean, low-fat, high-fiber, carb-conscious, heart healthy bandwagon! It’s probably safe to say that most of us have tried a stuffed pepper before and that most of those peppers have been filled with very similar ingredients (ground beef, crushed tomato, rice); so, here is a little something different to add a little variety to an easy, healthy family meal!

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 box (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups grated zucchini (yep, grated! That cheese grater is good for more than just nachos!)
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup bulgur
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp dried oregano
ground black pepper to taste
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chopped tomatoes
3 red peppers, halved length-wise
1/3 cup feta cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Arrange pepper halves in a baking dish, skin down, and fill with meat mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes, or until peppers are tender and meat reaches 165 degrees farenheit.

No added fat, high fiber whole grains and veggies, and flavorful cheeses and herbs make this a low-fat, low sodium, low carb meal! What are your favorite mediterranean dishes?

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to: sweet vs. white potatoes

colorful-potatoes

All potatoes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and cooking methods have carbohydrates, raise blood sugar, and add Calories. But, are sweet potatoes “better” than white potatoes, and can we fit this midwestern-staple into a healthy lifestyle? While we know that potatoes raise blood sugar, it is important to remember that this starchy vegetable also carries important fiber, vitamins and minerals.

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