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Posts Tagged ‘Sugar’

I’m a heavy magazine reader (mostly nerdy stuff). This week, I polished-off a Women’s Health and a National Geographic:

  • The Women’s Health* May issue (page 112) has an article titled “Can you build a better sugar?” which basically concludes that sugar substitutes have their issues (they may actually cause blood sugar spikes) and that it might be best to just stick to the more natural sugar.
  • National Geographic included an excerpt of the book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong and highlighted how margarine and Crisco basically introduced trans fats to the American diet and cause up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. We’d be better off sticking with the more natural butter.

So, both concluded that we’d be better off sticking to a food closer to it’s original form than one created through a highly lab-intensive process. SHOCKED, shocked I tell you! (sarcasm)

I’m definitely guilty of some processed foods, but whenever possible, we should try to avoid them, especially as hypoglycemics, as there can be serious blood sugar consequences.

Am I saying go to town and eat as much sugar and butter as you want? Nope. Moderation is the key, a combination of portion control and cutting-back on how much sugar, butter, salt, etc. we add to things. For example, our sweets in the U.S. are ridiculously sweet compared to sweets in other countries and they are HUGE. We could easily fix both.

 

 

*I’m in no way advocating that Women’s Health is a good source of actual health advice. Some of their articles are great and well-researched, but many are not, and contradict each other. Read with caution.

 

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Wedding cake

As a bride-to-be, I’m in the process of cake shopping for our wedding. Those of you who know me can imagine that this is particularly entertaining for me, as I’m a marketer by trade, and used to help my grandmother make wedding cakes.

So I was a little taken back when one bakery refused to make me a sugar free cake, saying “We only make ORIGINAL recipes here.”

I mean, I get it, no one wants to walk into their store, expecting one thing and getting another. At the same time, we’ve learned a few things since 1965 (when this particular bakery originated), like that margarine is worse than butter, that high amounts of sugar and fat can harm you, that certain color dyes can cause harm or death.  And, of course, we know people various diseases and disorders, like hypoglycemia and diabetes, shouldn’t eat certain things.

And I’m also sure that ORIGINAL recipe went through many renditions, somewhere along the line, prior to becoming the recipe it is today. So, it’s not the original recipe; at some point, you all just decided it was great and quit innovating.

The reality is, there is a place for novelty and nostalgia, but to refuse to change is to refuse progress and discount all of the things we’ve learned. We have to be open to changing our food and recipes, as hypoglycemics or just regular people, as we learn more about the impact of those foods on our bodies.

As one of my favorite teachers once said, “The only way to coast is downhill.”

 

 

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A pink pig made of marzipan sweet almond paste in a plastic bag that reads "Good luck". Net weight 1.41 oz, 40 grams

Marzipan pig to celebrate the new year. (ignore the mess, we’d just moved in to our new house!)

This is my New Years piggy. If you’re not familiar with this tradition, Germans consume a pig on New Years Eve to bring good luck in the New Year. You can do this either by actually eating pork or by eating a marzipan pig  (Marzipanschweine).

Admittedly, it’d be a lot better for me as a hypoglycemic, or pretty much anyone, to eat the pork vs. marzipan, but a little indulgence now and then isn’t a terrible thing. Also, I’m not superstitious in any way, but it’s fun to keep some of these traditions alive.

But that doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

In fact, I ate this little piggy over 4 days, and always immediately after a high protein meal (because that’s when it will impact my blood sugar the least). I also bought the smallest piggy I could find.

And that’s the trick with food traditions. You don’t have to give them up, but it’s not a blank check to stuff your face and trash your blood sugar & diet. Take a bit or two, savor the hell out of it, and walk away. It’s hard, but you’ll feel so much better overall when you do it.

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Four eggs cooked in a tomato sauce in a frying pan

Admittedly, mine don’t look as pretty, but they are DELICIOUS

Tomato sauce divided between storage containers

The recipe I use says it’s enough to cook 6 eggs, but this is a lot of sauce! I find I have enough sauce for 10 eggs. I doubled the recipe, so here are 20 eggs worth.

 

I’m always on the hunt for recipes that are a) healthy b) easy to prepare and c) make me look like I’m a cooking rockstar.  This Shakshuka (Eggs in Hell) recipe fits the bill! Not only that, but it freezes really well, making it easy for me to make quick dinners on nights when I’m pressed for time.

My notes on preparation:

  • I cut the sugar in this recipe in half to make it more hypoglycemic friendly and because I prefer less of a sweet taste. This might also be because I’m using cane sugar.
  • I factor 2 eggs per person.
  • Whole grain sourdough bread is low on the glycemic index, so I serve the Eggs in Hell with this. I personally use one slice and load the eggs and tons of the sauce and eat it open-face.
  • The Shakshuka recipe has a serving size of 6 eggs, but I found this is a huge waste of the sauce. I find I can get 10 eggs worth of sauce out of one recipe.
  • I doubled the recipe in the photo above to have plenty to freeze.
  • I free about 1 cup per 2 eggs, you can see in the second photo above how I portion and label them (which helps me remember what size and what pan to use).

 

 

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The White House has announced a change to nutrition labels that is a very welcome change for everyone, but especially hypoglycemics and diabetics. Within the next two years, the labels will have a separate line showing the amount of sugar added (vs naturally occurring, such as milk sugar in yogurt).

While sugar is sugar, added sugar can really impact blood sugar levels and we should strive to eat as little added sugar as possible.

Cheers to the Gov!

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Shown next to 1 cup water for scale

 

My most recent go-to evening snack is my homemade fruit & nut yogurt parfait. It only takes a minute to make and I really look forward to it at the end of the day. AND, it keeps me full and my blood sugar even, so no hypoglycemic attacks, all night.

Why not just buy yogurt with the fruit in the bottom? Well, most of those include more added sugars. For example, take this Chobani Fruit On the Bottom Cherry Greek Yogurt. It has 17 grams of sugar (see “Evaporated Cane Juice” in the ingredients)! My version below only has 10 grams of sugar and tastes very fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt (I make this in a coffee cup to keep me accurate)
  • 5 frozen cherries, thawed in the microwave (so slightly warm and with cherry juice)
  • 1 Tbsp shaved almonds
  • Organic cinnamon
Nutrition Facts (from SparkPeople Recipe Calculator)
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 184.4
  • Total Fat 7.6 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  • Cholesterol 7.5 mg
  • Sodium 49.0 mg
  • Potassium 191.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
  • Sugars 10.1 g
  • Protein 16.9 g
  • Vitamin A 0.5 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 1.0 %
  • Vitamin C 4.5 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 12.7 %
  • Calcium 20.9 %
  • Copper 8.7 %
  • Folate 0.4 %
  • Iron 7.1 %
  • Magnesium 11.1 %
  • Manganese 30.8 %
  • Niacin 0.3 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
  • Phosphorus 8.3 %
  • Riboflavin 8.3 %
  • Selenium 0.0 %
  • Thiamin 0.7 %
  • Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Nice try, Starbucks. Considering that 2.3g sugar = 1 sugar cube, there are the equivalent of almost 9 sugar cubes in this damn can of coffee. That cancels-out any benefits of the 20 grams of protein in my book.

Definitely not hypoglycemic-friendly or anyone-friendly.

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