Diabetes Diet #35: Life Is Good

Diabetes Recipes:

Grilled Peaches
Peach Yogurt Mousse
Fresh Peach Salsa

Does diabetes ever get in your way? It can happen, you know. It happens for me around this time of year when days are long, the weather is warm, vacation time is here and time hops like a summer bunny rabbit. It would be nice to take a vacation from testing, counting carbs, filling reservoirs and going for a morning jog. But why complain, it’s easier to fantasize about diabetes disappearing like an act of quantum physics and explore the possibilities of what we would be like without the presence of diabetes in our daily lives. What do you think? Would you be fit and trim? Would you eat a healthy diet and do daily exercise? Would you go to the doctor to check vital signs and blood work on a regular basis? Hard to tell. I like to say I would sit around, be lazy, eat chocolates and drink champagne, but truth is, it probably wouldn’t be that way at all. We are free to imagine though.

We can also imagine being in great health and caring for diabetes so that it is part of a positive and healthy way of living life to its fullest. After all, the average non-diabetic doesn’t know what makes his or her body tick. We do because we must in order to manage that one reminder that is with us 24/7. Diabetes can be a beacon to a healthy lifestyle. Being respectful to eating a balanced diet, complying with medication, if necessary and taking a daily dose of exercise, all add up to winning numbers in the A1c lottery.

Peaches and Exercise

Not far from where I live is a secret bike path. It’s only about 4 miles long. It winds through an ersatz forest, then opens to fields where farms once stood. The path meanders and butts along the gardens of a trailer park and suddenly a sylvan peach orchard appears. It’s almost as though no one, but me, knows the peach trees are there. Every summer I ride the bike path to pick peaches. I have been doing this for several years now and I have never seen another person picking peaches. It’s my own private peach farm. Besides the luscious fruit, I get in a good 12-mile bike ride. It’s such an adventure that it doesn’t feel like a workout or exercise. It’s just fun.

Isn’t that what exercise is supposed to be? The word, though, has come to take on different interpretations. It translates to a job or chore we must fit into an already overbooked schedule. “I must schedule an exercise program” is something I hear. It needn’t be like that. The heck with joining a gym or buying expensive equipment. Just go outside and have fun! Move around. Find a secret peach orchard of your own!

Speaking of peaches, 30 states grow peaches from June to September. There are hundreds of varieties with names like Babcock, Sun Haven, Desert Gold, Red Top, Fay Elberta, and June Lady. But generally, peaches don’t go by their personal names, but rather by the state where they are grown. Georgia and California are quite popular.

A perfectly ripe peach is one of nature’s works of art. A creamy hue with a rosy blush, downy skin, intensely sweet perfume, sweet/tart flavor and dripping with honeyed nectar, paints a glowing portrait of the fruit. Peaches are further categorized as Clingstone, where the pit clings stubbornly to the fruit, and Freestone, with fruit nearly unattached to the pit. A third category is Semi-Freestone which designates a partial release of the pit from fruit. Incidentally, don’t try to eat peach pits. They contain the chemical amygdalin, which releases cyanide, a deadly poison. It takes a copious amount, around 50 pits, for a lethal dose, just to let you know.

Buying peaches should be an act of meditation. Pick selectively, since once picked, peaches do not ripen off the tree. Avoid hard green peaches. Enjoy ripe peaches soon after you buy them although they will keep refrigerated for a few days. If left out in a bowl, they will become juicier but not sweeter.

One pound equals 4 medium-sized fruit or 2 ¼ cups, pitted and sliced. The nutritional impact of 1 medium fresh peach is 40 calories, 1 gram protein, 10 carb grams, 2 grams fiber, vitamin A and potassium. If a recipe calls for peeling, simply pour boiling water over peaches, let sit for 1 minute, plunge into ice water and peel off the skin. So, if the summer heat gets you down and you’re in a bad mood, take a bike ride to a local farm stand and eat a peach.

Cyber Peaches

Grilled Peaches
This is a terrific last-minute summer dessert to throw on the grill with no fuss at all.
4 tree-ripened peaches
1 T. honey
1 t. sweet butter
½ t. ground ginger

  1. Wash, halve and pit peaches. Set in a broiler or on a hot grill.
  2. Dab with butter, ginger, and drizzle with honey.
  3. Grill until outer edges of fruit brown or caramelize.

Serve immediately (for a splurge, scoop a dollop of vanilla frozen yogurt or sugar-free ice cream on top).

Nutritional Value: 1 peach = 80 cal, 18 carb grams, 3 fat grams

Peach Yogurt Mousse
You must do a bit of prep work the day before serving this mousse, but the time is worthwhile.
2 cups tree-ripened peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into small pieces
1 cup peach yogurt cheese **
2 cups non-fat cool whip topping

  1. Place fruit in saucepan, cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juices release.
  2. Uncover the pan and cook an additional 5 minutes to further soften the fruit.
  3. Cool, place in the container, chill in the fridge several hours or overnight.

Fold in topping, chill and serve in stem glasses, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.

** To make 1 cup yogurt cheese, invert 2 cups peach yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl.   Refrigerate overnight.   The whey will drain and the curd that remains is your yogurt cheese. Check to be sure yogurt does not contain any starch, pectin or vegetable gum. These additives prevent the yogurt from draining.

Nutritional Value: 1 serving = 152 cal, 31 carb grams, 1.4 fat grams, 5.2 grams protein, 2 grams fiber

Fresh Peach Salsa
This is a summer staple in my kitchen.   Use it for meats, fish, poultry, or as a dip or spread.

½ red onion, coarsely chopped
½ small red pepper and ½ small green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped and packed tightly
¼ cup fresh marjoram or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice and grated zest from 1 fresh lime
3 medium peaches, peeled and chopped

  1. Combine all ingredients well and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Nutritional Value: 2 t. = 31 cal, 7 carb grams, 1 gram protein