Diabetes Diet #40: Sometimes it’s a Bumpy Ride

Diabetes Recipes:

Chicken Parmigiana
Excellent Eggplant
Sauteed Greens and Beans

Life with diabetes can zigzag along the course, make you hold onto your bootstraps and scream. Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride. You follow the map as best you can and things go well most of the time. But every so often changes occurs without warning as though you are catapulted out of the driver’s seat. It takes patience, understanding and rolling up your sleeves to get back on track.

I have lived a more or less wonderful life with diabetes since 1961. But a few months ago I noticed blood sugar numbers creeping up for no apparent reason and I began to feel very stressed about it, trying to figure what I was doing wrong even though I understood that our bodies change, insulin needs require adjustment, stress alters glucose levels, hormonal changes kick in   and that diabetes can be fickle.

What are we to do when we detect unwelcome changes? How do we get back on track? For me, it was a simple matter of returning to the craft of record-keeping via a diabetes diary, an elementary thing I had abandoned quite a while ago, being of the mind that I didn’t need to do this anymore. I know my body. I know my diabetes. Ha! Who did I think I was?

By carefully recording insulin doses, food intake, exercise, work, and stress, I noticed that I had added some new carbs to my diet, changed exercise patterns and had been under a great deal of stress preparing for my son’s wedding.   Cautiously, I made a few appropriate bolus and basal adjustments that got me back in the game of even keel care.

The circumstances made me aware of the importance of never letting diabetes too far out of sight or letting the leash extend too long. The consequences of feeling lousy and allowing the potential for complications are not worth it. It feels so good to feel good again with vibrant energy and steady numbers. I hope you don’t find yourself going off the way I did. In case you do, you might want to get the diary going and renew your attention to the details of what you are doing. In no time you’ll detect any aberrations and detours you hadn’t picked up on. You will steer clear of that uncomfortable bumpy ride.

To celebrate good diabetes care, let’s jog over to CYBER KITCHEN and cook something on the warm winter stove.

Cyber Kitchen Recipes

Wintertime is time to turn on the oven to warm up the kitchen and cook hearty food. I remember my next-door neighbor up in Schenectady, Mrs. Ferrara, who made chicken parmigiana, eggplant rollatini and greens and beans on Saturday nights during winter. As a kid, I always managed to stop by her kitchen door with a question or some other wispy transparent excuse to get a taste of her hearty and homey meal. The following are recipes I created from memories of Mrs. Ferrara’s wonderful meals…

Chicken Parmigiana (4 Servings)
This recipe contains 3 basic ingredients, chicken, tomato sauce and cheese. In Italian food, it’s all about the sauce. I have subjected myself to tasting every bottled and jarred sauce in my corner of the planet, but, the fact is, the best sauce is always homemade. The good news is that it really is almost as simple as opening a jar. Here is my very basic recipe. You won’t need all of it for the chicken. Use the remainder for pasta, eggplant or other dishes.
Basic and Delicious Sauce
2 t. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. each: dried oregano and basil
1 t. ground fennel
½ t. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 28-oz. can of crushed (imported) Italian tomatoes
salt and black pepper to taste, if desired

  1. Warm oil in a saucepan. Add onions and garlic. Cook on low for 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices and wine. Turn up the heat and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Value: ¼ CUP = 25 cal, 7.5 grams protein, .5 fat grams, 3.5 carb grams

Chicken (4 Servings)
4 skinless chicken cutlets, pounded thin, weighing ¾ lb. total
¼ cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 cups tomato sauce
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Spread half the sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.   Place chicken cutlets on top.   Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheeses.
  2. Cover with foil and bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.   You may remove foil for the last 5 minutes for a crispier texture if desired.
  3. Scatter with freshly ground black pepper and parsley.   Serve.

Nutritional Value: 1 cutlet = 170 cal, 4 fat grams, 22 grams protein, 7 carb grams.

Excellent Eggplant (4 servings)
2 small eggplants, sliced crosswise into ½” sliced
2 egg whites
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (toast stale bread and crumble in a blender)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 t. dried basil
2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup low-fat ricotta
1 cup or 8 oz. shredded low-fat mozzarella

  1. Have 2 flat soup bowls ready.   In one whisk egg whites, in other mix bread crumbs parmesan, garlic and basil.
  2. Dip eggplant slices in egg, and then dredge in crumbs.   Heat oven to 350 and place eggplant slices on lightly sprayed baking sheet.   Bake for 15 minutes on each side or until tender.
  3. Spread half the sauce in bottom of glass baking dish, Lay half the eggplant slices on top.   Cover evenly with the ricotta.    Scatter ½ the mozzarella on top.   Cover with remaining eggplant, remaining sauce, leftover bread crumbs and scatter remaining mozzarella.
  4. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Nutritional Value: 1 9 oz serving = 290 call, 21 grams protein, 10 fat grams, 30 carb grams, 2 grams fiber

Sauteed Greens and Beans (4 Servings)
¼ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large head escarole, 1 large bunch kale, washed, trimmed and cut into large bite sized pieces
½ t. red pepper flakes
1 15 oz., can drained cannellini beans
2 T. grated parmesan cheese

  1. Warm oil in large skillet over low heat.   Add garlic and cook briefly to wilt.
  2. Add wet greens and red pepper.   Stir well and cook to wilt for a few minutes, adding a little water if necessary. Add beans.   Stir and cook for 5 minutes to warm through.   Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Nutritional Value: 1 serving = 219 cal, 9 fat grams, 23 carb grams, 8 grams protein, 6 grams fiber