Saturday, September 20, 2014

Catering For Different Tastes When Cooking

I see variations on this question asked many times on the various forums I am on:

Being head cook and bottle washer, I have a question. Having D, I need certain foods, my son has become a meat and potatoes guy, my wife eats most anything, except a variety of veggies. I do not want to have to cook 3 separate plates to satisfy all. How do you cater to each taste, or do you? Is there a happy middle?

The same problem occurs for the person who is not the cook but does not want to offend the person who is. This may help those people: Cooking as a Survival Skill. But I realise that is not possible or practical for some.

Here is my own method for dealing with the situation. I am the cook in our household, mostly just for the two of us. Mum is invited for dinner a couple of times a week.

It is important to keep in mind that I am the only person with diabetes. Although I may believe others would benefit from my way of eating it is not my role or place to force them to eat as I do. We each have our own food likes, dislikes, aversions or allergies.

I am diabetic and careful about carbohydrates but otherwise omnivorous. My wife has a very limited menu, by choice, and a long list of foods she detests. For example, she will not eat fish or seafood, eggs, steak, many vegetables, milk, the list goes on. Her likes are basically meat (other than steak), starchy vegetables, peas, tomatoes and silverbeet (chard). My mother is omnivorous but, like most people, has a few foods she prefers to avoid.

If I restricted myself to cooking only the foods we all like my menu would become very limited and boring. I also actively seek to include fish and a wide range of seasonal vegetables in my diet. Therefore, at most meals for the two of us I cook three types of foods. Those I can eat, those my wife will eat, and those we both eat. The other night was a typical example. In the steamer I had potato and pumpkin (winter squash) simmering in the bottom section with silverbeet, carrots, cabbage and broccoli in the top. I cooked two loin lamb chops under the grill (broiler) for her and when they were almost cooked I seared and fried a fillet of Atlantic Salmon in a small skillet for myself.

At the table I put the salmon on my plate, the lamb chops on hers, and all the vegetables on a platter in the middle. We served ourselves from the platter. She had most of the potato and silverbeet; I took most of the rest.

When my mother or other people are dining with us I use the same method. I find out whether anyone has specific protein likes or dislikes and serve that appropriately, letting them select their own vegetables and starches from the centre of the table. For major feasts such as Christmas dinner everything is served buffet-style for diners to select as they wish.

It really isn't as difficult as it sounds, with a small amount of extra thought and effort keeping everyone at the table happy and healthy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It Must Be OK - It's Sugar-Free! Wrong!

A very brief post to emphasise an important point.

When we as diabetics are choosing foods for the menu or checking the ingredients of a recipe, sugar should be treated as just another carbohydrate. It is more concentrated than most carbs but my meter has repeatedly shown me it is the total carbs that count, not just the sugar content, when I test my blood glucose after eating.

Food products which are marketed as sugar-free are very rarely carbohydrate-free. In fact, more often than not they have just as many carbs as the sugared versions. I encountered a classic example of this a couple of days ago when I saw a large display in my local Aldi store promoting 'healthy' sugar-free products. 

These are photos of just some of the products. Sorry about the smart-phone quality of the pics; the carb counts are clear enough. I'll let them prove my point.

99.5% Sugar-free Shortbread = 67.9% carbohydrates

99.5% Sugar-free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits = 61.3% carbohydrates

99.5% Sugar-free Wafer Biscuits = 62.4% carbohydrates

99.5% No Added Sugar Dark Chocolate = 57% carbohydrates

The piece-de-resistance. Sugar-free Mixed Fruit Drops:


I could not believe this one when I turned the can over. There was no added sugar, so it must be healthier than other fruit drops...yeah, right. 

It is 93% carbohydrates.


Always read those labels, folks.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Do Doctors Matter?

I feel this is a very important point needing emphasis for the many type 2 diabetics I know participating in diabetes web forums, social media groups and similar online support groups.

I have seen this question posed too often lately:

"Do doctors matter other than for renewing prescriptions?"

The questioner usually complains about poor support (in their eyes) from their medical advisors and praises the help and support they have received from other diabetics on the web.

I understand where they are coming from. I have seen some abysmal diagnostic, testing and dietary advice by medical professionals reported on many forums by newly diagnosed people. I have seen those same people turn their lives around using suggestions from experienced people on those forums. 

I still unequivocally believe our doctors matter and must always be our primary source of medical information. 

I have learned a great deal about type 2 diabetes over the past decade but I do not pretend to have medical qualifications even though in some specific areas, such as testing or diet for type 2, I may believe I know more than some doctors.

I know my own limitations. If and when the time comes for more medication or insulin the doctor will be the first person I consult. After I consult him I may use the web or ask questions on forums to research the meds he prescribes to decide whether or not I will choose to follow his advice. But I will always see him first. 

If your own doctor does not meet your needs it is time to find another better doctor, not to simply ignore your doctor's advice.

On the rare occasions I decide not to follow prescribed advice after doing my own research I will also let him know and discuss it further with him before acting; as I have for the statins my doctor prescribes but I choose not to take. 

The final decision deciding the action to take is mine but I would be a fool to weigh anonymous advice on the web higher than the qualified advice of my doctor without a lot of thought and discussion with him.

The web is an incredible, wonderful and very useful information source but it is not always easy to sift the wheat from the chaff nor do we always have the training or experience to do that sifting wisely. The web will never replace the ability of a good doctor to interact with and personally treat a patient.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter