Diabetes Diet #41: Positive Influences – Good Taste

Diabetes Recipes:

Tuna and Spinach
Grilled Sardines and Fennel

Positive Influences – Good Taste

Often it’s the little things, the simple pleasures, the small surprises that in someway have a profound effect and influence on us.   Recently I was invited to an event called “Lipstick and Laughter for Diva-betics”.  My immediate slightly warped sense of doubt responded with skepticism, yet there was something sweet and catchy about the title that I liked.   I decided to attend.

A “GLAM-more FEAR- less approach to diabetes outreach   promises style and support as women of all ages share knowledge, triumphs and concerns about living and coping with diabetes in a stylish new way.”   This is what Diva-betics creator, Max Szadek told me. Max worked as personal assistant to Luther Vandross for 13 years and witnessed Luther’s day to day struggle with type 2 diabetes.   He decided to do something positive and creative for diabetes. He joined up with type 1 Christine Campanelli, formerly of JDRF, and started Diva-betics.

What’s a Diva-betic anyway?   She’s a dynamic, multifaceted goddess with the wisdom, beauty and perseverance necessary to beat the potentially devastating disease.   She’s in control.   She embraces, never denies, the seriousness of diabetes and actively seeks out the support of a competent healthcare entourage. Her discipline and determination make her the best!

The event was filled with rooms of girls and women comfortable with the common bond of diabetes.   There was fun and laughter, interesting speakers, diabetes educators, personal hair consultations, make up application, prizes, music and food.   Later that evening on the subway going home, I noticed people were looking at me. I realized I was standing there all alone with a big smile blissfully covering my face I was dressed in my new Diva-betic T-shirt that read “sugar’s the bitch, not me.”

It was one of those moments in time that we all need in our lives, a smile is a potent medicine. It was a moment of positive influence. To take a break from all the hi-tech and clinical education and information that surrounds us in the field of diabetes care, and find that smile is a good reminder that life with diabetes must be balanced. So, thanks, Max and Christine and all the Diva-betics for dosing us with a refreshing spark, a firecracker!

Check out www.divabetic.com website for a smile. (Guys (Dude-abetics welcome, too)

Another way of celebrating positive influences is with good taste, which sends us over to Cyber Kitchen to contemplate spring.

Cyber Kitchen Recipes

Tuna and Spinach that Bursts with Fresh Flavor
This is actually a simple dish that requires several steps. In the end your taste buds will thank you for persevering. Substitute halibut, salmon or snapper if you prefer. All work well in the recipe.

6 5oz. tuna steaks


1 small hot (jalapeno) pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T. grated fresh ginger
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
grated zest from 1 lime
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup low sodium soy sauce

  1. Slice or butterfly tuna steaks horizontally.
  2. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a zip bag and add tuna.   Seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes or for as long as overnight.


6 cups baby spinach
½ cup roasted peppers (from a jar)
2 T. grated fresh ginger
1 t. grated orange zest
½ red onion, thinly sliced

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Cut 6, 12″ x 18″ pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half and cut in the shape of half a heart. When you open paper it should look like a heart shape.
  3. Heat oven to 350
  4. Whisk 1 egg white slightly
  5. Lay out paper and fill 1 side with filling. Place fish on top. drizzle with 1 T. of the marinade. Repeat procedure with remaining paper.
  6. Brush edge of paper with egg white and fold opposite side on top to seal. Press tightly. Brush remaining egg white and press again to seal.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Paper will inflate with steam when fish is cooked. Wait a few minutes to open the packet. Be careful not to get a steam burn.

Serve packets on plates garnished with wedges of lemon and a few cilantro sprigs.   This is really impressive and DELICIOUS!

Nutritional Value: 1 serving = 250 cal, 40 grams protein, 2 fat grams, 13 carb grams, 1.5 grams fiber

Grilled Fresh Sardines And Fennel In a Salad
Appreciation of the nutritive and flavorful value of fresh sardines is making them more and more available.   If you can find them, use for this recipe.   If not seek out the best quality Portuguese canned sardines you can find.

1 lb. fresh sardines rinsed with cold water (heads removed if you choose)
½ t. olive oil and salt for seasoning

  1. Brush sardines lightly with oil and sprinkle a little salt if you like. Heat grill pan or grill to hot and sear sardines for 2 minutes per side.

Nutritional Value: ¼ lb sardines = 115 cal, 13 grams protein, 10 fat grams, 3 carb grams

Salad (4 servings):

2 cups fennel, thinly sliced or shaved
2 oranges, sectioned
1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups spring mix salad greens

Nutritional Value: 1 serving = 120, 20 carb grams, 4 grams protein, .trace fat, 5 fiber grams

Salad Dressing:

2 T fresh lemon juice
grated zest from 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½ t. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place all ingredients in a jar and shake, shake, shake.

Nutritional Value: 1 T. = 43 cal, traced protein, 1 carb gram, 5 fat grams.


  1. Dress salad by tossing salad ingredients gently with dressing.
  2. Pace sardines in a stack or mound in center of plate on top of salad.