Thursday, July 30, 2015

Going Back in Time - the Bread Maker

When we were cleaning out our house recently, we found our bread maker. Okay, if you had asked me, I thought that we had given it away years ago. Silent Sam and one of his friends always referred to it as "the plant stand" because they never saw bread come out of it.

I hate to admit that they were right but they were. I know that I bought mixes at the grocery store and made bread a few times. It was not enough to justify the expense. So, I was surprised to see it still in the basement. Surprised but I still did not get rid of it. Somehow it made it through that round of purging.

Several weeks later, I noticed that Silent Sam was throwing away a loaf of bread that we had bought at the grocery store. We don't buy bread often. We both like bread but feel that we should be more careful and so we rarely buy it. This past winter when we were having our "Sunday night soup nights", we would buy one loaf to go with the soup. We would then have it for several nights with dinner. It seems we did not have the meals with bread as planned and the bread went bad before we could eat it. That is when I had an idea.

What about making the bread in the bread machine?

Okay, now some of you could be laughing at me but I didn't know if they still sold the mix in the grocery store. I was talking to a friend and asked her if she knew. (She had gotten rid of her "plant stand".) She then told me that she had never used a mix that she used the recipes in the book that came with the bread maker. This led to a new issue - did we have the book? Silent Sam found the book in his stash of instruction books.

I also looked on Pinterest for recipes and found quite a few. Okay, I found the knockoff recipe for Starbucks lemon pound cake first. Amazing what will draw our attention, huh?  But there were many recipes available. (You are welcome to check my Pinterest board.)  

Since it was sitting there, I decided to look at the instruction book for the bread maker. It seems that the bread maker that I owned can make different size loaves. This was great. It meant that I could make a 1 lb. loaf that would be for just the two of us. No, we didn't eat it all at one sitting...

I have now made bread several times. (Probably tying the number of times I had made it in the past.) The results have been good. In fact, I made the Garlic-Herb bread last week. We agreed that we will only make that occasionally because IT WAS REALLY GOOD. It did last several days but I was careful wrapping it up. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in a container. In case you don't know, without any preservatives, the bread does not last long. It dries out quickly and gets stale.

In checking the recipe, it looks like one serving of the bread is about 34.5 carbohydrates. Depending upon the rest of the meal, that is not bad. And it is very tasty.

If you have a "plant stand" hidden away in your house, you might want to bring it back out and check out some recipes.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Big is Your Plate?

You've seen this before - it is THE 9 inch plate
I was flipping through Weight Watchers magazine the other day. In the "Full Plate - news you can use" section, they had the following:
"92% is how much food the average adult eats from his or her plate during a meal, according to a new Cornell University study.   In other words, if you plate it, you'll eat it.  So whatever you plate, make it great." 
My first reaction was that adults only ate 92% of what was on their plate?  That would imply that the "clean plate club" concept has gone the way of the dinosaur.  I am surprised about that and also that 8 percent of the food is in the garbage.  Okay, I suppose people may save it for leftovers.  
The new standard in American plates, the 12 inch or larger plate, holds a lot of food.  It is amazing how much the size of the dinner plate has grown over the last 65 years.  Back in  1960, the standard dinner plate was 9 inches.  That growth allows for a lot more real estate to fill on a plate at a meal.  You would almost hope that we weren't filling a 12 inch plate and eating every bit of it.  But most are filling and eating.  (I am sure I would do the same.) 

The yellow plate is a 9 inch plate.  The other plate is 13 inches.
When Silent Sam was first diagnosed, there was a lot of information thrown at us.  The suggestion to switch to a 9 inch plate was one of the only suggestions I remembered.  Everything seemed so complicated.  Besides, I might have a bit of a shopping bug and it seemed like a mandate to buy new plates. 
We have used 9 inch plates for years now and I don't think anything about it now.  There is plenty of food on a 9 inch plate. The switch to a 9 inch plate is not a magic pill.  It did not stop us from overeating.  I wish just switching to a smaller plate had done that.  But I am sure it has helped.  

What is your favorite movie snack?

The magazine also reported on another study from Cornell.  In this study they looked a people's eating while they watched movies.  They found that people watching comedies ate less than people watching heavier themed movies.  Sad movies also cause more eating.  So the healthy snack you pick when watching a move should depend on the type of movie.  The heavier the movie the lighter the snack. 
Have a great week.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Do You Wear a Medic Alert?

If you have diabetes, you should wear a medic alert band or a neck chain. I know that many of you are resistant to wearing a medic alert.  It is really in your best interest in case you have a problem. 
There are so many styles available these days that you can almost look at it as a piece of jewelry rather than a medical band. If you are still not wearing one, why don’t you check out some of these sites to see if you can find a piece that you like.

The Medic Alert Foundation

Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace

Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry

The American Diabetes Association

medic alert neck chain
This medic alert neck chain is from the American Diabetes Association

In this month’s Diabetes Forecast magazine there is a pull out section that has wallet cards and a card for you to keep in your car (or on your person) that explains about diabetes in case you have a problem when you are driving or out and about.  Okay, so easily the problem is that if you have an issue, the person trying to help you has to read the card.  Not everyone wants to stop and read the card when the person in front of them is having a problem. But, I suppose it it better than nothing. 

If you would like to print a copy of the card for yourself, it is available on line.  It is a two sided card. 

This is what the medic alert wallet card looks like

The other side of the card.

I really urge you to consider wearing a medic alert in some form.  It is in your best interest.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

 It seems that while I think of the song "Anatevka" with the phrase 
"a little bit of this and a little bit of that" 
there is a rap song with that as a title.  
I stuck with what I knew.

Looking for interesting information for myself and for the blog this week, I turned to Diabetes Forecast Magazine from the American Diabetes Association.  If you have diabetes or care for someone with diabetes, this magazine has interesting articles.  If you are interested in subscribing, the price is $10 for a two year subscription (12 issues).

Injections vs. laser treatments

But I do have a problem with one part of it.  At the beginning of the magazine there is a section called “Discovery”.  This section has many interesting short articles about “research and news in brief.”  While the articles are usually really interesting and informative, the sample sizes for the information are usually smaller than you would expect.  For example, this month there is an article on “Eyeing a Treatment” where they talk about a study that was done to test the effectiveness of injections rather than laser treatment for macular edema.  In the study they tested three different injectable medicines to see how effective they were.*  This is very interesting and great information until you realize it was only tested on 660 people.  That seems like a pretty small sample size. 

Father-daughter joggers on Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, CA 30 June 2008
A walk on the beach before or after dinner?

Or the really interesting short article about a study about whether it is better to eat and then exercise or exercise and then eat.  The conclusion was that it was by far better to eat and then exercise for 45 minutes. Participants had a 30 percent lower blood glucose level reading compared to a 18 percent lower reading when exercise was before the meal.  Also they found that the after meal workout reduced triglycerides while the before meal exercise did not.  Great news!  The sample size on this study was 13 obese men. 

I suppose the take away from these very short articles is that you know these there is research being done to help those with diabetes and that there is some progress.  Even when there are only 13 participants in a study, the indications may be enough to get you to change how you exercise and that may not be a bad thing.  I love reading this section but then are usually thrown off by the small sample sizes.  I should take the attitude that even the limited sample size gives me more information than I had before and I should keep that in mind. 

Thanks for reading!

* The researchers found that if the patient had mild vision loss  (20/40 or better) that the three injections worked equally well.  If the vision loss was 20/50 or worse that the Eyelea injection worked the best.  The treatment regimen was 9 shots over several months.  The cost of the injections varied so it was important to see the effectiveness.  Eyelea is $1950 per injection, Lucentis is $1200 per injection and Avastin is $50 per injection. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

From our family to yours
We wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!

Silent Sam and I will be home for the 4th weekend getting to know our little foster dog, Sadie.  Sadie is the most low key dog you have ever seen - at least right now.  She came to us from Chicagoland Lab Rescue and may have just stolen our hearts already.  She has given her heart to Silent Sam - she follows him at a worshipful distance.  It is so cute.  

We have yet to figure out which part of her could possibly be a lab because she is a little thing. But there is just something about her...

Have a great 4th weekend!  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Flip Flop Grinch

Are you familiar with the Grinch?  Unlike the Grinch, I am not going to have a change of heart about flip flops.

Flip flops are not shoes and are not good for your feet.  And let me add that they are particularly not good if you have diabetes.  Yes, they are better than bare feet only because they offer a slight protection for the soles of your feet.

5 reasons why you should not wear flip flops

1.  As a person with diabetes, you need to take great care of your feet.  You need to wear shoes or sandals that will protect your feet cuts, scratches, and punctures.  Nails, glass, and other foreign objects can puncture the thin plastic of flip flops and cut your foot.

2.  Everyone's feet need support.  Flip flops do not offer any support to your arches or your plantar fascia.  This makes it much easier to have foot problems.

3.  Flip flops are plastic. Plastic does not absorb the half pint of sweat a day from your feet. That moisture stays caught between your foot and the plastic and causes your skin to break down.  That break down can lead to openings for bacteria to enter and infect the foot.

4.  You do not walk the same when you wear flip flops.  This abnormality in your gait can lead to knee, leg, and hip soreness.

5.  People who wear flip flops have a tendency to injure their ankles by falling more often.  Since the flip flops do not hold or support your foot, it is easier to slip out of the flip flops and fall  Also they often do not have good traction in the rain.  

I know this viewpoint does not make me
 the most popular girl on the playground

Yes, I realize that you may disagree with me but I am pretty stuck on this viewpoint.  I think that people with diabetes need to be so careful with their feet that I don't see that flip flops are worth the risk.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interview with a Podiatrist - a re-post

This post is a visit to days gone by..  The post was originally posted 5/19/2012.  

I know I have mentioned several times how important foot care is for diabetics.  To further the point, I met and talked to Dr. Tayeb Hussain of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons P.C.  I had the chance to ask him some questions about diabetic foot care.  

Why is foot care so important for diabetics?

There are two main reasons.  The first is that diabetics are very prone to foot complications due to decreased circulation in the feet.  What looks like a simple callus can be the start of a problem.  A callus can lead to an ulcer (infection) which can lead to the loss of the toe, foot, or even leg. 

There are 15 MILLION amputations on diabetic patients A YEAR!

The second main reason is that diabetics can lose sensation in their feet and this loss of sensation makes them at increased risk. For example, a diabetic patient with loss of sensation in their toes can accidentally nick the skin while trimming their nails, not feel it, and that can lead to infection.

Should diabetics have a daily foot care plan?

Yes!  First thing every morning, a diabetic should check their feet with a mirror for sores and signs of infection.  This means thoroughly looking at the whole foot (top, bottom, sides, and between toes) for any indications of a problem.

The foot check should be repeated again at the end of every day.

Is there anything in particular to watch for when checking your feet?

Calluses are a big issue.  If you have calluses, you should use a moisturizer.  Do not try and pare calluses  down yourself.  Because calluses can lead to infection, a diabetic is much better off having the doctor treat the callus than trying any self treatment other than moisturizer.  .

How often should a diabetic patient see the Podiatrist? 

This depends on their age and how stable they are.  A healthy diabetic patient who is under 50 years old should see the podiatrist every six months.  A diabetic patient who is over 50 should have their legs and feet checked every three months.  It the patient is over 65, they should come in every 2-3 months to be checked and also to have their toe nails clipped.

What happens at a visit to the Podiatrist?

The Podiatrist performs a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam (CDFE) which is a non-invasive examination of the feet and legs.  The exam evaluates the condition of the skin and checks the circulation of the leg and foot.  It also looks for neurological changes in the sensations of the foot.

Diabetics are told to exercise - is there an exercise that is better for diabetic's feet? 

 Any exercise that increases the circulation to the feet is good.  Walking is great exercise and is easy to do.  While circulation can be helped, the sensory changes cannot be helped by exercise.  Controlling your blood sugar level is really important for maintaining your health.

Is there anything to be careful of when buying shoes? 

There are two important things about buying shoes.  The first is that the length of the shoes should be longer than the length of the foot.  You should be able to press your thumb in between your toe and the top of the shoe.  The second thing is that the shoe should have extra depth.

In summary, what is the one thing that every diabetic patient should know?

Every diabetic patient should have their feet checked each time they go to the doctor.  This is not something that physicians did on a regular basis in the past.  Increased education both for the doctors and patients has helped with implementation of this necessary exam.  The diabetic patient should take off their shoes and socks and make sure the doctor checks their feet.

Dr. Tayeb Hussain is the founder of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons, P.C. in Evanston, IL.  His web site is  He is licensed for Podiatric Medicine, Illinois and Wisconsin, Board Certified in Podiatric Orthopedics, Board Certified in Primary Podiatric Medicine, a Certified Wound Specialist, a Fellow, American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, andCertified in Pulse-Dye Laser and Carbon Dioxide Laser Technique.

Thanks for reading!

Have a great week!