Jul 212015

I started my journey to a healthier low carb way of life 21 days ago. Yes, I can count the days, minutes and seconds since I started my diet. My last meal the night before I started my diet was on June 30, 2015, at approximately 7:30 pm. Oops! Let’s not forget the mini Mounds bar I had as a bedtime snack around midnight.

I should mention that I have Type 2 Diabetes.

This journey didn’t start out as a way to lose weight. My blood glucose (BG) levels were out of control and I needed to do something. My blood glucose was 230 the morning that I started my diet, and that was with medication and insulin. A normal blood glucose reading should be between 70 and 105, and no higher than 180 two hours after a meal. Those are the ADA guidelines, which I believe are old and outdated. From what I understand, it is when the blood glucose reaches 140 that it begins to cause damage to organs and nerves. This is why I have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and probably why I have had cataracts and have to get the pressure in my eyes checked every year for fear of glaucoma. I know many of my ailments come with age, but I also know Diabetes has been the cause of many of them.

It had been a real struggle trying to keep my diabetes under control. Over the years, my doctors have gradually added more and more medication until, finally, it wasn’t enough and I had to take insulin. I hated it! Having to prick my fingers three to five times a day, shots in the morning, evening, and before each meal. The more I ate, the more insulin I needed. My doctor told me I was just feeding my diabetes.

I had no will power. It was foods like fried rice or spaghetti that made it very difficult. I would outdo myself when it came to pasta, potatoes and rice. Now, they are not even in my repertoire of recipes when I cook for myself. I do still cook them for my family on occasion, but most of the time they can do without. They are much better off making healthier choices, even if it is me that is making the choices for them. Otherwise, hey, they can cook for themselves, right? I can’t even get my 21-year-old to make his own grilled cheese sandwich. I know, I enable and indulge him. I’m a mother, and that’s what I do. I enable and indulge.

When I do cook high calorie/carb foods for them, I can usually do without and add something I like instead. For example, they love spaghetti and I would never deprive them of my spaghetti and meatballs. So, while the sauce is simmering and the spaghetti noodles are boiling, I spiralize a zucchini (I call them zoodles) and saute it in a little EVOO and garlic. I then have the zoodles with a little sauce and meatballs. It is so good!

zucchini spaghetti and meatballs

Zucchini Spagetti and Meatballs – 291 calories, 15g net carbs

I started with a 3-day fast so that I could try to get my insulin dosage where it should be, without food. I then began to add carbohydrates back into my diet. I soon found that my body cannot tolerate too many carbs without spiking my blood sugar too much. So, I settled on a less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (that’s right, not per meal, PER DAY!), preferably less than 30g. Now, instead of seeing BG readings in the 200’s, I’m seeing consistent readings in the 80’s and 90’s. I couldn’t believe it!

I have about 50 pounds to lose, so I decided to try and restrict my calorie intake as well. Believe me, calories do matter. It takes quite the balancing act to lower carbs and calories at the same time. So, in addition to lowering my carb intake to less than 50 grams of carbs, I now stick to a 1200 calorie diet. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. I actually get to eat a lot of low carb food, so I’m not feeling hungry all day like I did with high carb, low fat diets. This diet has changed my life! In fact, to me, it’s not a diet at all. It is a new way of eating, a low carb way of life. Hmm, NWOE and LCWOL. Not Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF), exactly, because I’m not comfortable with eating a lot of fat. It makes me feel queasy when I eat too much fat. Besides, I read that too much fat can spike my blood sugar because it contributes to my insulin resistance. However, I don’t eat low fat, either, because I feel that some fat in my diet helps me feel full and satisfied. Like I said, it’s all a balancing act. Anyway, there are plenty of pros and cons out there about the LCHF diet, but I’m not going to get into that. I just want to write about what works for me and, hopefully, give others some ideas on making healthier choices. I know it’s only been three weeks, but I honestly feel that I’m in this for the long haul.

This is not about physical fitness, although I definitely plan on becoming more active as I go along. For now, a trip to the grocery store once a week, running a few errands, working around the house, and tending to my vegetable garden is about all I can handle for now. I look forward to the days when I can hop in my van, go from store to store, and shop ’til I drop.

This isn’t a recipe blog, but I do have quite a few of my favorite recipes. I have to admit, not too many of them are low carb or calorie. However, you can adjust many of them by excluding the potatoes or rice, or by replacing them with cauliflower. Just look at the drop-down categories under “What’s Cooking”. As I gradually add more low carb recipes to my blog, I will include a link to those pages.

Some of my favorite low carb foods:

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Pork chops with cauliflower pork fried rice
Zucchini spaghetti and meatballs
Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Sauteed chicken and green beans
Sausage and sauteed cabbage served over cauliflower rice
Oven baked cod and broccoli
Corned beef and cabbage
Romaine lettuce wraps with ham, roast beef, tuna, turkey and chicken salad.
Roasted asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant
Snacks: mozarella sticks, peanuts, cucumber chips, strawberries and whipped cream. I also found a mock danish that was pretty good.

I would love to hear your story, or any tips or words of encouragement that you might have. Please add your comments below. Thank you! ~Susan

Aug 222014

I have to say, this is the one kitchen gadget that I have the most fun with! When I first got it, I grabbed every vegetable I had that could be sliced. Apples, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.

The first thing I did was slice up some ribbon sliced apples and cucumbers. You could end up with one very long spiral cucumber. What I do is make a 1/2″ deep slice down the length of the cucumber, so when I used the slicer the cucumber slices weren’t too long. You can also cut them afterward, with a knife or scissors.

I actually prefer to use my Victorio Apple and Potato Peeler/Slicer when I’m peeling and slicing lots of apples, but for a quick slicing job I hand peel the applies and use the Paderno slicer because clean-up is so much easier. The slices are very thin compared to the 1/4″ slices from the Victorio.

Another great use is to make no tears diced onions. Spiral slice a whole onion using the large chipper blade (same as curly fries), throw the long curly onion in a zipper bag and freeze it. Next time you need some diced onions, grab the bag and start pressing it. This will break up the onions into small pieces.

I also made baked curly fries, using the largest chipper blade. I’m sorry I didn’t take photos, but the next time I make them I will. They come out a bit thin, but they are ohhh, sooooo good! You just have to be careful not to overcook them, turning them several times in the oven. I might even try soaking them in water first, or deep frying them.

I also want to try slicing onion straws with the small chipper blade.

I will be experimenting with the spiral slicer for a very long time. I will post recipes when I do.

It took me awhile to get to the zucchini because neither my husband nor I have ever bought a zucchini. I’ve never cooked zucchini, and I didn’t even know what a zucchini looked like. I mean, I had an idea. It resembles a cucumber, right?

When my husband stopped at Kroger to pick up a few things, he called to see if I needed anything. I asked him to pick up a zucchini. I wanted to try out my new vegetable spiralizer so I could make zucchini spaghetti. He didn’t sound too thrilled about that. Anyway, he kept me on the phone while he walked through the produce department looking for a zucchini. I told him it looks like a cucumber. I told him to get one that was straight and not too bent so it would fit the spiral slicer. He found what he thought was zucchini, but he didn’t see any labels on the produce shelf. So, he came home with, not a zucchini, but an English cucumber! It was long and skinny, different than a regular cucumber. Oh well, I’ll get the zucchini next time I go shopping.

English Cucumber

English Cucumber

Finally, when I went shopping a few days later, I picked up two small zucchinis, easily identified by the label in the produce section. I guess my husband wasn’t wearing his glasses that day. 😀


This is what a zucchini realy looks like! You can tell by the knobby ends.

The spiral slicer leaves about a half-inch piece at the end of the zucchini, so leave the knobby ends on the zucchini when placing it on the spiral slicer so that you don’t waste any of the zucchini. After spiralizing two small zucchinis, I dropped the zucchini noodles into boiling water with a lot of salt for a couple of minutes to soften it a little. Some like it crunchy, but I wanted it to resemble the texture of spaghetti pasta. The dryer the noodles, the longer it will have to boil.


Zoodles of Noodles

I then rinsed and drained it in a colander for about five minutes. This process shrunk the zucchini considerably, so two zucchinis only made one serving. That was okay because this was a test for me to try before serving it to my family. I would suggest buying two small or one large zucchini per person. I then rinsed the salt out of the zucchini and drained it again (without pressing it).

While I had regular spaghetti boiling for the rest of the family, and spaghetti sauce simmering in a pot, I heated up some olive oil in a skillet, added some minced garlic, and tossed the zoodles into the skillet for a couple of minutes. I served it in a bowl topped with spaghetti sauce.

At first, it reminded me of Chinese food. It didn’t taste like spaghetti pasta at all. But, as it turned out, I absolutely loved it! I couldn’t get enough. I went back to the kitchen, gathered all the zucchini scraps leftover from the spiral slicer. It leaves a core and the ends, plus the peelings. So, I chopped those up and sauteed them in oil and garlic. Next time, I will not peel the zucchini, the zucchini peels tasted great, too!


Zucchini Spaghetti
This tastes so much better than it looks!

Clean-Up Is A Breeze!

When given a choice of whether to use my Paderno slicer or a mandolin, or food processor, I choose the Paderno when I can. The clean-up is so easy. Just make sure you clean it right away, before the vegetables dry up and clog the blades. Other than the blades, the slicer is all a smooth plastic that is easy to clean. I use a tooth brush to clean the blades, but the Paderno slicer is dishwasher safe, too.

Note: I bought the Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer, and that is exactly what is pictured here. I noticed that there are now several cheaper versions of the slicer, and I cannot verify whether they are the actual Paderno or imitations. I can only recommend the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer because that is what I have, and I love it!