What’s better than Romaine?

What is it about Romaine Lettuce?

I can’t deal with the wraps that are sold in supermarkets, deli’s, restaurants. I’ve tried, and tried again. They’re tasteless. The consistency is dreadful — at least to ME. I just can’t use them as a substitute for bread. I need something, but wraps? No thank you. 😦

I searched for a healthy alternative to bread. Finally, it dawned me to try lettuce. This is certainly not a new idea. I started out with iceberg. I know — there’s no nutrition to be found there. It wasn’t the right consistency either — just a tad too thick. When I added the contents and rolled them up, the iceberg wraps “cracked under the pressure” of my expectations. Back to the supermarket — this time Boston lettuce. My hopes were rising!

As I peeled off the leaves, I thought the thickness and consistency of this vegetable might just meet my needs. My heart raced as I began. One leaf of the Boston, followed by one slice of turkey, then a slice of cheese (my fave, Alpine Lace Swiss (YUMMY!), topped off with another beautiful leaf of green goodness. I started to roll it, slowly, carefully. Disappointment ran across my face. There was no denying it — this experimental lettuce wrap did not make the grade. The leaves were just not long enough. They were too round. Just not right.

I took my search seriously, googling the various types of lettuce, determined to find the right “gem” for my purpose.

I searched the supermarkets and local farms, looking for just the right fit. It was an education to see just how many types of lettuce there are; never noticed them! Similar to roses: A rose by any other name is still a rose. Guess what? A lettuce by any other name is still a lettuce! Red leaf, green leaf, Boston Bibb, radicchio, arugula, rainbow chard, cabbage, endive and kale. Lots of different names, but all in the lettuce family. I considered each of them and tried the ones that I thought might live up to my ever-growing standards.

Finally, I noticed what was right in front of me the whole time — ROMAINE! How did I miss it? I took a beautiful head of fresh Romaine and started for home.

Success! The leaves were just the right size, thickness, color — perfect for forming a wrap. The green color, dark on the outside, was lightening as I peeled off the leaves, heading for the lighter center. I started the process: one long leaf of Romaine, one slice of fresh turkey, a slice of alpine lace, and one more leaf of Romaine. I began to roll it. Not one crack in the lettuce and the turkey and cheese were safe inside this outstanding wrap. Perfection!

Sometimes I add a condiment, for variety, but for the most part, I enjoy my wrap on the “naked” side. To glam it up, I might add VERY thinly-sliced apples, or artichoke hearts. For that matter, add whatever you like, as long as it’s not going to push up your blood glucose too much.

In the end — in my humble opinion — What’s better than Romaine? NOTHING! It’s the winner. 🙂

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Dr. Visit…

Ugh. I’ve not been looking forward to this.

Last week I went for my blood work so my doctor would have it prior to my visit. Friday was my appointment.

She was thrilled. My blood work was great. A1C = 6.6. She was happy, I was disappointed, actually, amazed!  “If you saw what I’ve been eating, you’d never believe that’s accurate.” Dr. G responded, “It will catch up to you, you know that.”  Yeah, yeah. I didn’t respond — she’s ALWAYS right.

For awhile now, I’ve been taking two Metformin instead of three. My goal is to get off them completely. The ONLY way to do that is to stay on track — no diversions. Lately, I’ve been the Queen of Diversions! 

A little over a week ago denial crept in (with a vengeance). I actually ate potato chips and onion dip. 😦  It didn’t kill me, but what a stupid decision. And then there was the pie…cookies… Yes, I didn’t fall off the “wagon” I took a deep-dive plunge. Ugh.

The good news is, I’m back to healthy choices. If I have to have desserts, I’ll be heading to my sugar free Jello or small portions of fresh fruit.

Just remember there is such a thing as TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING (fruit can fall right into that category!)

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Monitor glucose regularly

Obviously, I didn’t do too much damage, or 6.6 would have been WAY higher. I absolutely do NOT want to go back to 3 Metformin/day, so I’m re-committing myself again to staying on track — DAMN IT! It’s all about accountability, as always. There’s no hiding those numbers and not taking my blood sugar, is just plain irresponsible. I’m determined.

I know that when I’m dedicated and determined, I get involved in a project using my hands. I know when I do the artsy/craftsy thing, I won’t snack/eat the wrong foods.

I know that when I sit and watch TV, I’m putting myself at risk. Gigunda risk!!! I become bored and troll the cabinets for something “bad.” Rarely do I find anything, because I don’t buy the foods/snacks that I know I shouldn’t be eating. I wish I could tell you that I give up and go back to watching the tube. That would not be true. There are times when I cave. I’ve walked and driven to the corner store or the gas station for a candy bar to “tide me over.”  (I sound like a drug addict. Well, sugar IS a drug!) .

Diabetes sucks. Yes, it does. BUT, there are worse diseases, that’s for sure! So, I’ll be grateful and get back on the bike and do the right thing — one day at a time.

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This disease is one heck of a roller-coaster, that’s for sure. Better days ahead.

Back to DAY #1!

 

Mother’s Day — my FAVORITE!

Very delayed posting — my apologies.

I love Mother’s Day, thanks to my two children. 🙂

For many years, we’ve been having Mother’s Day “Events,” meaning — no present needed. God knows I don’t need anything! What could be better than time with my kids? It’s an awesome day; they plan it, tell me what to wear, and I meet them in the city, or they pick me up. It’s one surprise after another.

Every year is a mystery of culture and epicurean delights. Where we dine and what we eat is always surprise, but my children are very “diabetes-aware,” so the choices are typically in line with good health. Thanks, kids!

One year it was a visit to the Morgan Library and Museum, in NYC, for the Bob Dylan Exhibit — I’m a major fan, so I loved every minute. The exhibition was packed with his compositions, writings, instruments — it was spectacular! They recognized and shared my respect for this musical genius. It was a wonderful day.

Another year we went to the Butterfly Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, which was sheer joy. Butterflies are the symbol of serenity and who doesn’t need more of that? [Don’t panic! Lunch did not include a butterfly entree.]

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The expectation was to move through the Butterfly Room, enjoy the beauties, make our way toward the exit and leave the exhibit. I “may” have cheated a tad when we got to the end.

Instead of exiting, I turned, moved back to the beginning of the exhibit and made my way through again. (I just couldn’t leave — they were too beautiful; dressed in bright yellows, oranges, reds and blues, with black accents.) My chickadees followed suit and we laughed as the exquisite butterflies flew around us, landing on our shoulders, arms and legs. It was amazing!

A Yankee Game was the scene of yet another Mother’s Day — more laughter. Hot dogs made me very happy.  (I know! I know!) Only one.

I adore the Bard, so on one special Mother’s Day my kids took me to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to see the Shakespeare Garden. It was outrageous. The names of plants, flowers, and herbs are weaved throughout his writings and no less than 80 of them were in bloom. It was outrageous. Both interesting and beautiful!

THIS year I was treated to a stop at the New York Historical Society, where my favorite presidential idol stood on the steps in bronze, hat and all! Lincoln is a major favorite of mine.   IMG_0025

Knowing that I’ve been talking about going to Cuba, my children filed that information away for this occasion. So, when we arrived at the Museum of Natural History,

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I realized that was our destination. It was obvious, because an enormous sign hung from the side of the building proclaiming the “Cuba Exhibit!

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What an outstanding exhibit! There were so many components. There were displays related to music, art, food, the Coral Reef, cigar production, and the list went on.

The produce cart (above) was filled with fruits and vegetables. It seems to me that on a trip to Cuba, I’d be able to stay on the T2D track in terms of dining options! Can’t wait to go!!!

Colors flashed around the exhibits, and it was obvious that the Cubans appreciate art in every form. Modes of transportation were on hand — most of the visitors had an interest in the “old cars!” VERY cool.

We were hoping to eat at a Cuban restaurant, in keeping with this Mother’s Day theme, but we spent so much time “in Cuba” and missed our reservation. Some examples of Cuban food that was displayed at the exhibit are:

We ate vicariously!  🙂  In fact, we had a late lunch at the museum and yes, I stayed on track. Didn’t even have dessert — which for me is HUGE!

Museum-going is also a great way to get in those steps. That was a 10K day!

We’ve had some great Mother’s Days in years gone by — the Tenement Museum, the Rubin Museum, Museum of Art and Design. One year we ate at “The Burger Joint” in Le Parker Hotel Meridian, (Hard to make healthy choices there, but a glass of water ahead of time definitely helped.), THAT was crazy and a LOT of laughs. I dare you to find it! If you’re successful, be sure to sign the wall.

These are only a few of our many adventures but, they’re always a surprise and mostly healthy food choices. GREAT fun!

I’m convinced that drinking water before eating reduces cravings and helps me to make proper choices. I seem to feel “fuller” after drinking eight ounces of H2O.  I think that feeling of NOT being ravenous, helps to keep me sane when perusing the menu. What are your thoughts on that?

 

 

 

Mindfulness! …or not.

Sometimes we just get involved in doing whatever nonsense we’re doing. In other words, not paying attention to what’s important (good health, for instance). I was just online, checking my e-mails, Facebook, listening to a TED Talk, etc., etc.  NOT doing more important things — like making dinner for instance.

All of a sudden, I felt like garbage — you know the feeling, if you’re diabetic. When I got up from the table, my legs felt heavy. I looked at the clock — 7:30. When was lunch? Did I eat lunch? Ugh. Of course, I checked my blood sugar immediately because, like any long-term diabetic, I knew where it was. The glucometer read 68! Now, for many of you, that sounds great, right? For me, when I go below 100, I feel crummy — weak, clammy. I couldn’t care less what the “norm” is. I know what’s right for me. Low blood sugar is no joke.

I don’t know when the last time was that I had orange juice in my refrigerator. WAY too high in sugar. However, I bought it last week because I had a hankering for Chicken a l’orange. The remaining OJ has been sitting in there ever since. So, I drank a glass and almost immediately I felt like myself again.

As soon as my glucose level rose, I cooked dinner — salmon, spinach and beets. I’m back to “normal.”  🙂

The topic of this post is MINDFULNESS for a reason. Not being mindful about what I’m doing is usually what gets me in trouble. We all do it — misplacing things, losing track of time. The importance of mindfulness, I’ve learned, can’t be stressed enough. Focusing is imperative. I’ve learned that being aware — acutely aware — makes for a more balanced life.

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That lack of mindfulness is what caused my blood sugar to drop. NO excuse for that. The good news is that, because it happened, I’m reminded to pay strict attention and be mindful in EVERY area of my life. Scheduling healthy meals and staying on track HAS to be uppermost in my thoughts. Get with it, Kathy!

Gotta go — my salmon’s ready! Yummmmm.

 

Monitoring Blood Glucose = #1

Seriously, what could be more fun than stabbing yourself three times a day???

Okay, nobody ever said it was going to be fun, but it’s important — no — imperative! If you’re new to this “game,” trust me, JUST DO IT! It’s the only real way to know exactly where you’re at, in terms of your blood sugar and, your glucometer WILL tell the truth. In truth there is no denial.

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Monitor glucose regularly

It’s easy to be in denial when you have Type 2 Diabetes —

  • you look like most people,
  • you sound like many people,
  • you think like your friends (or not),
  • you eat like everyone else…

WAIT!!!  You EAT like everyone else? You do? I sure hope you’re surrounding yourself with healthy eaters. 🙂

I’m meeting friends for lunch tomorrow, and there’s a routine I follow prior to going out.

  1. I go onto the website of the restaurant.
  2. Check out the menu and pay attention to the healthy choices. Usually, I decide what I’m going to order, but I also give myself the option of choosing one or two of the other acceptable alternatives. This process gives me a range of possibilities that will allow me to make a good decision. I IGNORE THE REST OF THE MENU!
  3. Remember: You’re in charge of your decision. Grilled chicken is usually an option in any restaurant and be sure to add lots of veggies to your dinner plate — it will be colorful and appetizing!   IMG_4432
  4. Before I leave home, I drink a glass of water and take my blood sugar. And then — I’m off, and destined to have a delightful meal with my friends.
  5. When the conversation turns to DESSERT, “No thank you. I’m full.”  [By the way, you will be full.]  GREAT decision, congratulate yourself! While they’re piling on the pounds, and adding toxins to their bodies while sifting through their dessert, feel free to enjoy a cup of steaming hot tea/coffee or an ice cold glass of water (something to look at, instead of their dessert). It’s also nice to ask the waiter to add a wedge of orange, lime or lemon, or even a strawberry or two to your water — you deserve it!

    I find that adding fruit to my water makes it look and taste so much more refreshing.

  6. Once home — sometimes, in the car before I leave the parking lot of the restaurant,  🙂 I check my blood sugar. If it’s elevated, as soon as I get home, I grab my sneakers and go for a quick walk, even if only for 30 minutes — walking will bring that number right down — never fails!

So there you have it folks. CHECK THAT BLOOD SUGAR — no matter what. NO EXCUSES! You’ll be glad you did.

I promise.

 

“Tick-tock, tick-tock — Excuses, excuses, around the clock”

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Are you a procrastinator? An excuse-maker? A clock-watcher?  Join the group! I try, I really do try to make the most of the time I have each day. NOTHING frustrates me more than to look at my list (Yes, I’m a list maker too!) at the end of the day and see that I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do! It makes me crazy.

My brother used to say that we have the “procrastination gene.” We were a family of last-minute doers! When I was in school, I thought it was the rush to get a paper done that gave me a “rush.” Now, though, I’m not interested in that; I want completion. Period.

I listened to a wonderful TED Talk on the subject of making the most out of the time we have. Funny, but true; it smacked me right in the face with the fact that I waste time. I detest the thought of that — I feel strongly that we’re put on this earth for a purpose and wasting time is the worst thing I can do. The TED Talk helped to set me back on track — including in terms of my ” life with diabetes.” SO many things are important to fit into my day, to care for my T2D. They bear repeating:

  • PREPARE MEALS  a h e a d  of time. Cooking two meals and freezing one may seem like it takes a lot of extra time but, that’s simply not true. It’s such a pleasure when, a week later you can defrost the (second) meal, heat it up without the rigamarole of the chopping, cooking, etc., that you did the first time around. Give this gift to yourself — you WON’T regret it. I promise. If you’re working full time and can devote a couple of hours on a weekend, you can probably get four or six meals done and frozen for the weeks to come. Sheer joy. 🙂
  • MONITOR my blood sugar. Two to three times a day “depending,” is what my doctor suggests. It’s so annoying, I tell myself. Put your big girl pants on and just DO IT! is my next thought. I’ve devised a chart and just fill in the numbers. There are also websites that accommodate this issue, but I believe in keeping mine simple. I include the date, times of testing, and the resulting blood glucose number. I have, at times, included the food that was consumed. Discuss it with your doctor. My purpose in bringing up the subject of monitoring is that, for ME, it keeps me aware and pushes away that damn denial. The NUMBERS DON’T LIE! 
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    Monitor glucose regularly
  • EXERCISE. The time I spend walking keeps me a lot healthier than time vegging out in front of the t.v. When I schedule “hoofing it” into my calendar, I KNOW that I’m doing the right thing for me.

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    Start WALKING!
  • TICK-TOCK folks — let’s make the BEST use of the time we have!

IMPORTANT: If you didn’t listen to the TED Talk, noted above, I strongly urge you to do it now. Take the “TIME!”   🙂

Effect of Weather on Appetite?

 

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Welcome to Winter in New York

Ha! Not MY favorite time of the year, that’s for sure. We got hit with eight inches on Saturday — beautiful, but messy and dangerous.

I was in NYC with my children, celebrating my birthday (NOT revealing the number!). 🙂  We went to the Met to see the exquisite Christmas Tree, sometimes referred to as the Angel Tree, and Neapolitan Baroque Creche. It’s a sight to behold, regardless of the religion you profess (or don’t). It’s art, at its finest. Put it on your calendar for next year. You won’t regret it — I promise!

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“Angel Tree” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

While we were strolling through the museum,  enjoying the VALETIN DE BOULOGNE — BEYOND CARAVAGGIO Exhibit, it was snowing outside; like CRAZY! We were warm, relaxed, and hungry, so we headed to The Petrie Court Cafe, one of the Met’s restaurants, for lunch — so, Let It Snow! 

We had worked up an appetite and feasted on food fit for royalty. Most museum food doesn’t do it for me, but our lunch was deeeelicious! I won’t write the specifics — just the thought of our epicurean delights is making me salivate!  We were full, and moved on to the remainder of our journey in the museum. Evidently, we walked off that full feeling, because…

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View of Central Park from Petrie Court Cafe, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Later, after viewing some other exhibits, we returned for dessert. Yes, you heard me right — DESSERT! Something I normally skip when out to lunch/dinner; but, C’mon, it was my birthday. I indulged in a serving of dark, chocolate fudge cake with a small scoop of cappuccino gelato — there go my salivary glands, again! Joking, I said to my kids, “What! No candle?” They chuckled, as my daughter reached into her purse and pulled one out. I laughed knowing they couldn’t light it, but just to be on the safe side, I said, “We’ll get thrown out, if you light that!” At that very moment, my son lit a match and they quickly sung Happy Birthday to You, as I made a wish and blew out the candle!

🙂  That was one of many laughs we had on Saturday. More took place in two Uber rides through the snow (to and from Penn Station), along with a serenade — Happy Birthday to You, just prior to my train’s departure. They made sure that the guests at the restaurant, the visitors and employees at the Met, and the passengers on the train wished me a HB! My stomach hurt from laughing; a multitude of thanks to my chickadees for making yet another birthday — SO much fun. Contrary to research, we believe that a sense of humor is genetic — actually, we know that for sure.

BACK TO WEATHER AND APPETITE and T2D.  I don’t know about your inclinations, regarding food and the change in weather, but I know that I definitely BULK UP in winter. Let’s face it, if you live in the “change of season” states, you’ll be cold in the winter months and looking for a nice warm soup or stew, hot coffee or tea. For me, the warm summer weather signals salads and cold drinks.

That being said, it’s been really cold here in the Northeast of the U.S. and so, along with donning my long johns, I HAVE been drinking a lot of herbal tea and eating heavier meals (while monitoring my blood sugar, I might add).  HOLY METEOROLOGY! Our temperatures ranged from the 20’s on Saturday (with 8″ of the white stuff), moving up to 46 degrees today (Wednesday), to a predicted possibility of 60 tomorrow!

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Jones Beach, of course!

CRAZY! BEACH WEATHER! So where will that put our food cravings tomorrow? Chicken salad, tuna salad, big fat Greek Salad? Dare I say, ice cream? NOOOOooooo. I won’t go that far. Just as the outdoor plants are getting confused with the roller-coaster weather, our internal barometers may not know which way to direct us in terms of food. But fret not, It’s “suspected” that the thermostat will take a dive into the 20’s come Saturday, and then rise up once again during next week.

What to eat? That is the question — not Shakespeare!

It matters not the weather (feeling British), the bottom line is that this Type 2 Diabetic must stay on track — regardless of the barometer.

  • Monitor blood sugar levels
  • Exercise — in my case, walk, walk, WALK
  • Eat properly (Yes, we ALL know what that means!)

Enjoy the journey, folks. We’re going to be just fine,   🙂   despite the weather.