Diabetes Diet #46: Moving to Diabetes Tech Town

Diabetes Recipes:

Potato Pancakes
Homemade Applesauce
Fiber Loaded Chili
Spaghetti Squash and Friends

Moving to Diabetes Tech Town

Day in, day out, month after month, year after year, tending to diabetes can become a bit tedious. The routines begin to close in and stifle life’s enchantment and spontaneity. One solution to the situation is to freshen up and polish diabetes management with a new sheen, perk up the daily regimen, infuse a little excitement and energy.

Here we are in the first month of a new year and I am diligently learning the magical tricks, bells and whistles of 2 new blood glucose meters, a new pedometer and a new insulin pump. Pretty exciting stuff! I place myself on the lower rungs of the tech ladder which means my approach is rather at a snail’s pace as I prod along watching videos and reading manuals and user guides, over and over. I must admit, though, it is quite a boost to dance around in Diabetes Tech Town.

The new meters I am having a grand time exploring are the Lifescan One Touch Ultra-2 and the Ultra-Mini. Somebody at Lifescan must have overheard us type 1’s and type 2’s talking at support groups or conferences or in our sleep, about features we wanted in a meter, because these two are treasures of thoughtful details. First of all, the Ultra 2 fits snuggly into a hard case, which means it does not slip out when in use. Secondly, the tight little stretch casing for strips vials has tabs at both ends which are convenient for insertion and removal. Thirdly, a lancet device anchors in place securely, ready for action. The carrying case has a Velcro belt option and storage envelop convenient for ID and other necessities. I store a business card, diabetes info card, a $10 bill and a copy of my insurance card in case of emergency. The overall design is sleek and subtle. The meter options are useful, practical, simple to use and built right into the meter’s memory. No more log books for this type 1. With a simple scrolling, I can note helpful comments on meals and exercise.

The Mini is the meter of dreams for me on my 15 mile walks each weekend. It is easy to check my bg without skipping a step. I simply snap it on my belt and keep walking. The case is 3” X 6”. The meter itself is the size of a large thumb and a vial of strips and mini lancing device nestle comfortably into the case. For its size, this little guy does a big job. It even stores 50 test results in its micro-memory bank. I imagine kids with diabetes, as well as athletes, love the compactness and convenience of the Mini.

Shopping on Pump Street

After 10 years of wearing Minimed and Medtronic insulin infusion pumps, I shopped around for a change and decided on the Animas IR 1250. Wild as this may sound, the name IR 1250 fascinated me in that its name sounded like I was headed to a Star Wars movie. Was IR 1250 an insulin robot? By pressing command buttons, IR 1250 performs gracefully and cautiously, almost with a personality of its own. It’s not just an efficient continuous insulin delivery system. Quickly, I became enthralled by its elegance, clarity, features, efficiency and customer service over at Animas. I won’t labor on the many special features of this pump after all this is a food column and www.diabetesnet.com, this website, explains it all much better than I can. Suffice to say that for starters, I love all the information on the home screen. At a glance, I know how much insulin I have on board, the status of the battery, current basal rate and the time of day. The timepiece component alone frees me from wearing a watch. This is a great advantage when I do long walks. By the way, the other new tech assistant for the new year is a pedometer that really works.

Settling In

After any activity that involves time and commitment, it’s nice to know the results of what you accomplished. There are many good pedometers on the market to choose from. The new one I bought is an Omron which, once programmed, gives me a barrel full of information including a number of aerobic steps, number of calories burned and distance.

So, here I am in the diabetes high tech crowd, confidently wearing my fully loaded belt of the new meter, new pump and new pedometer for the new year. Oh-oh, somebody just called me about the Nike card that slips into sneakers and hooks up with an I-pod to record steps and distance …….. Okay. Enough is enough for now! Let’s go cook.

At this time of year, no matter what the weather is doing, I like to indulge in comfort foods. These are some of my favorites.

Potato Pancakes (8 pancakes)
3 large Idaho or Yukon potatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 cup matzo meal (available in supermarkets)
1 egg
salt to taste
2 T. olive oil

  1. Peel and grate potatoes and onion by hand or in a food processor.
  2. Add matzo, egg, and salt. Mix together vigorously to combine ingredients. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using ¼ measuring cup, drop pancakes into the skillet. Flatten slightly but don’t try to make them perfect. Go for a more rustic shape. Cook about 1 minute per side. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
  4. Serve hot with homemade applesauce and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Nutritional Value:  1 pancake = 214 cal, 4.5 fat grams, 5.5 grams protein, 39 carb grams, 3.5 fiber

Homemade Applesauce (3 cups)
2 lbs. favorite apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup of water
1 t. fresh lemon juice
ground cinnamon to taste.

  1. Place apples, water and lemon juice in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil. Lower to simmer.
  3. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and mash apples with fork or potato masher.
  5. Cook until soft. Add cinnamon to taste. Serve hot or cold.

Kitchen Note: Let your taste buds be your guide when using cinnamon.

Nutritional Value: ¼ cup = 40 cal, 8 carb grams

Fiber Loaded Chili (6 servings)
2 15oz. cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
2 15ox. cn pinto beans drained and rinsed
2 T. olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 canned or dried chipotle pepper
1 T. chili powder, or more to taste
1 T. each: oregano, cumin
1 28oz, can crushed tomatoes
freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and sauté about 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add minced chipotle pepper and spices. Cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and beans. Simmer for 45 minutes check for dryness and add water if necessary. Taste for seasonings.
  4. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced scallions, and 6” wheat tortillas.

Kitchen Note: Experiment with the hot peppers. Start slowly and add on to get it right. Extra garnishes for chili can be yogurt, sour cream, shredded low-fat cheddar, black olives, sliced scallion and anything else your imagination and taste allows.

Nutritional Value: 1 portion + 1 tortilla = 350 cal, 5.5 fat grams, 17 grams protein, 62 carb grams, 20 grams fiber.

Spaghetti Squash and Friends (8 servings)
If you have never tried spaghetti squash before, don’t be afraid. Make it your new dish for the new year. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially carotene. It is low in calories and fat and high in fiber. Try it!

1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 T. olive oil
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 t. each: basil and oregano
red pepper flakes to taste
3 large cloves garlic, minced
¾ lb. Part-skim mozzarella, shredded
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

  1. Cook squash in one of the following methods: Place in a large pot of water, boil, cover, simmer for 45 minutes or cut the squash in half lengthwise and place skin side down in the baking dish, add 1” water and bake in 350 ovens for 45 minutes.
  2. As squash cooks, warm oil in a skillet, add onion, and carrot and sauté until soft. Add remaining vegetables and spices. Stir and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and garlic. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard seeds from squash. With a fork, pull out the “spaghetti” strands and add to vegetables.
  5. Layer a 9 x 12 baking dish with ½ squash mix, ½ of the cheeses, and repeat procedure. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350° oven. Cheese should be bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve nice and hot.

Nutritional Value: 270 cal, 17 grams protein, 12 fat grams, 23 carb grams, 4.5 grams fiber.