Diabetes Diet #56: Diabetes Made Me Do It

Diabetes Recipes:

Basic, Classic Chili Con Carne
Chili Blanco

Diabetes Made Me Do It

Flipping through the channels on rare TV night, I came across something that struck a chord and left a powerful impression. Someone in the audience asked the talk show host how he lost over 100 lbs. The host answered that diabetes made him do it. His diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes made him realize it was time to take control of his life and change the unhealthy lifestyle that caused him to eat his way to obesity. He said that going on a diet would have been a quick fix, but for the long haul, he needed to change his old and potentially dangerous habits. His simple philosophy ranged from “Any food that comes through a window is not good for you” to “foods that have not been around for at least 100 years are probably not healthy foods.” Another sound bite gem was: “get out and move every day even if it means walking for a half-hour. Exercise gets to be something to look forward to”

The talk show host was none other than former Governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 48 in 2002. At the time he was a chronic overeater and hated exercise. With commitment and hard work he lost 110 in 18 months and slowly started a walking program that led to running and eventually led him to complete 2 marathons. He suggests “Taking time to work out, instead of just working” and that there is no such thing as “finding time to exercise, you must make the time”. To inspire state workers in Arkansas he initiated converting sick days into vacation days for good health, replacing smoke breaks with exercise breaks, and required restaurants to post fat and calorie content of foods.

He outlines a 12-step program to good health in his book. The steps are inspiring enough to pass on to you in case you need a little diabetes management nudge.

  1. Stop procrastinating.
  2. Stop sitting on the couch.
  3. Stop listening to destructive criticism.
  4. Stop whining.
  5. Stop storing provisions for failure.
  6. Stop seeing food as a reward.
  7. Stop making excuses.
  8. Stop ignoring signals from your body.
  9. Stop expecting immediate success.
  10. Stop making exceptions.
  11. Stop fueling with contaminated foods.
  12. Stop ignoring your spiritual self.

Diabetes Politics

There is not much bi-partisanship in the diabetes world. Type 1’s and type 2’s generally stay in their own worlds and lead separate lives. Crossing the aisle rarely occurs. As a Type 1, I had occasion to do so recently when a close family member showed an elevated bg test. It was a reality tap for me to witness the struggle that Type 2’s must come to grips with every day. I hope the Huckabee information will be a motivating force for my relative and anyone else who needs it. At the same time, motivation and change must come from a starting point within oneself in order to be effective.

In the case of type 1 diabetes, there really is no appeal to be made. Take insulin or … well, you know what happens. Type 2 is much more subtle and not as immediate, although it will eventually take its toll. If you are a Type 2 and meet anyone from the other side of the diabetes aisle (Type 1), take a look at the discipline and challenge that they tackle each day. Get information, read, talk to health professionals and other people who have diabetes, get out, and be active every day and eat from a menu of fresh, local, whole foods. You might help the politics of diabetes become more bi-partisan. Oh! and don’t forget to stay away from food that comes through windows.

Cyber Kitchen Recipes:

November recipes traditionally mean turkey and the delightful trimmings that go along with the Thanksgiving bird, but we can only eat so many variations of turkey in a month. I thought we’d cook up some chili for a little change of pace. These recipes will please both type 1’s and type 2’s hovering around the cyber stove. By the way, “CHILE” powder is simply dried and crushed red chili peppers, while “CHILI” powder is a blend of spices such as chile, cumin, salt, and paprika. Inveterate chili cooks love a brand called Gebhardt Chili Powder from Texas which has been around since 1892. Find it at www.amazon.com.

Basic, Classic Chili Con Carne
1 lb. very lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
½ each: red and green bell pepper, diced
1 16-oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried oregano, 1 T. * chili powder
1 16-oz. can kidney beans
1 cup water
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 6 T. plain yogurt

  1. Use an olive oil spray to coat large pot and sauté meat until cooked through about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels to absorb fat.
  2. Return meat to the pot and add vegetables, stir, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for ½ hour, mixing occasionally. Serve each bowl with chopped parsley and dollop of yogurt.

Nutritional Value: 1 cup = 260 cal, 19 carb grams, 20 grams protein, 11 fat grams, 6 grams fiber

*Adjust chili powder according to taste.

Chili Blanco (6 servings)
2 t. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 T. or more green hot pepper sauce*
1 ½ lb. chicken cutlets
2 T. stone-ground cornmeal
1 or more T. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 19-oz. can drained cannellini beans or other large white beans
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 scallions, sliced, 1 lime cut into 6 wedges

  1. Warm oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté on low medium heat for 5 minutes until softened but not brown.
  2. Add pepper sauce, chicken broth, chicken, and seasonings. Bring to boil, cover and turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken. Add beans and cornmeal. Cook 15 minutes, stirring readily. Mash about ¼ cup of the beans with a fork. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot.
  4. Cook 5 minutes, whisking to thicken the chili. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of yogurt, scallion, and a lime wedge. Serve.

*adjust hot pepper sauce according to taste.
Nutritional Value: ¾ cup = 200 cal, 4 fat grams, 25 grams protein, 14 carb grams, 3 grams fiber