Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Year End Preparation

Now that the year is coming to an end, if you have not been as diligent as you perhaps should have been, it is time to go to the doctor and get checked.  If you have hit your deductibles for the year, then really go as it won't even cost you anything.  Or if you have some form of a health savings account, use it up by going to the doctor.

But I have been to my internist and my endocrinologist, you say.  What else should I do?

Have you been to the podiatrist?  Call now to get an appointment to see the doctor by the end of the year. The doctor will check out your feet so that if there is anything that needs to be taken care of you will know and can plan for it.  If you are wondering what happens when you go to the podiatrist, please check my prior post (click HERE) and you will see what happens and why you should go.

How about the eye doctor?  You may go to an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.  But you need to get your eyes checked at least annually if not every six months.  Diabetes can have terrible effects on eye sight but if caught early enough, something can be done to prolong your vision.  I also have a prior post about going to the eye doctor (click HERE) for why you should take the time to go.

So go to the phone now.  There isn't much time to get an appointment so don't delay.  It can be your Christmas treat for yourself.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving - Try One or Two Changes

Happy Thanksgiving from the 9 Inch Plate!  We are so thankful that you read this blog and stay in touch with us.  Silent Sam appreciates the support and well wishes!

As we get ready to eat our way through the day, let's try and make one change for the better.  Now, if you always behave yourself, this isn't for you. But if, like most, you give in to temptation (especially today!) then how about making one or two changes that might not be that hard but will help your health.

For example you could -

1. Forgo the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.

2. Not put gravy on everything.  Stick to the potatoes and taste the rest without gravy.

3. Watch your plate size.  Remember the 9 inch plate concept?

4.  Drink a full glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.

5.  Go for a walk around the block after dinner - wait - after you have cleaned up for dinner if you didn't cook.

6.  Eat your salad and vegetables first.

7.  Skip the rolls.

8.  Put your fork down in between bites.

9.  Drink a full glass of water before you sit down to eat.

10.  Try and remember the term "moderation".  Take smaller portions and eat slower.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We wish you the best!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Resolution for Mid-November


Hello! I know, I have fallen behind again. I am feeling confident that I will be better in the future. (Mostly because I just made that resolution!) Also, while it is hard to tell since I have been inconsistent writing here, this blog is my first love.  The subject is near and dear (quite like the husband that has diabetes) and much it needs more attention.  

Part of the problem is that we have been not behaving very well around here. I hate coming back and admitting that to you AGAIN but I will let you either think that we are human or you can feel superior to us. I can’t control it, so take your pick. 

The Glycemic Load diet, while it sounds very logical and scientific was beyond us. Most of the new meals that we were making since Silent Sam was diagnosed had pasta in them, which we were not supposed to eat. Also, I like rice and potatoes. I missed them – even in the small quantities that we were eating. So we were starting meal planning all over again. Unless you have missed this from previous posts, I am not that interested in meal planning and I am not that good a cook.  (Could be where our problems begin but that is for another day.) And really, telling someone that eats too much that they can have some M&M peanuts because the glycemic index is low is just asking for trouble. (Okay, it doesn't work for me. I am now not interested in having M&M peanuts for a long time.) 

So we are back at square one. We know that we have done it before but it is harder to re-start this time. We are now also meal planning for two, which as silly as it sounds, is harder.  Almost all my recipes serve 4-6.  That leaves us with lots of leftovers.  Also, it is more motivating to cook (even for me) when there are more for dinner.  Life is full of adjustments, huh?

But weren't the leaves beautiful this fall! (That is me being sick of starting over…) 

November is National Diabetes Month. I think it should be moved. November is also “it is getting cold and it gets dark really early and we are all tired just thinking that winter is coming, again”. And really, November is an eating month. Thanksgiving is not a diabetic friendly holiday. Yes, I know, diabetics can eat anything in moderation but still to have awareness month during our national gluttony month seems odd.  Let’s change it to April or May. Those are months of hope. The weather is getting better and we feel ready to take on the world. Am I being too negative? 

Thanks for reading!

If you are looking for my writing in other spots, you can try (where I hang out as the foot blogger chick) or at

Monday, September 30, 2013

At Least We Start Over

What's so fascinating and frustrating and great about life is that you're constantly starting over, all the time, and I love that.
Billy Crystal

I have to admit that I have been slow in writing here. I confess, I thought that you all might be tired of hearing that we are starting over again. We have not been doing that well. 

I think that we join most Americans in falling off their eating plan and having to start again. 

It is discouraging. We have learned a lot in the past (gasp!) two years. We are at least not starting from scratch but it is hard to get back up on the horse time and time again. There is a fair amount of “What is wrong with me” that accompanies having to start again. 

As you may have noticed, I have been doing a little research on the concepts of the glycemic index and the glycemic load. The glycemic load diet really stresses the ill effects of breads, rice, and potatoes.  I don’t know if you have tried, but it is hard to give those things up. Add in cookies, cakes, and brownies and life looks a bit bleak. 

We started last week. I have had to, once again, give up my friend Coke. It is certainly my downfall. I have now made it 8 days without a Coke.  A friend suggested a product called Zevia, which is a diet soft drink that is made with stevia rather than aspartame. (I can’t use products with aspartame. Aspartame seems to be a trigger for my migraines.) I tried it on Sunday. It really has that diet drink taste. I tried to add some lime to see if it would help but I added too much.  I might work on getting used to the taste but I think I will just use it occasionally. I have been back to decaf green tea and water. They are fine but sometimes you just want something more. 

The only cereal that is allowed is All Bran. In truth, I wasn't eating cereal before but I find that I want something that has some crunch to it at breakfast. I have been adding it to my cup of yogurt.The yogurt should be plain no sugar added and instead I have Greek yogurt with fruit. I have found that the combination works well. I am still modifying my choices. I am working toward it. Really, giving up the coke first thing in the morning is hard enough right now. I have also cut back considerably on the bread, potatoes, and rice. 

One of the things that is (AMAZINGLY) allowed on the diet is a handful of candy. It seems (although I would agree that it doesn't sound right) that peanut M&Ms have a very low glycemic load. So, in the afternoon after lunch, I will treasure my handful. You can get that feeling like you are cheating but you aren't!   

The other important part of the program is to exercise using your slow twitch muscles. The exercise talked about the most is walking. The recommendation is for 40 minutes of exercise 4 times a week. And it does not call for huffing and puffing exercise. It is much more just get out and move for 40 minutes.  Somehow, I had kept up the exercising and then last week when it mattered, I had a hard time getting to the gym. Well a new week has started and I will begin again. 

I hope you are doing well. I will let you know how this goes.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

(In the last post, I shared what I had learned about diabetes, glucose, and started talking about the glycemic index.)  

Finding a food’s glycemic index is an involved scientific process. It was decided that since it is known that sugar will increase blood sugar quickly and then it will drop quickly that sugar would be assigned a ranking of 100 on the glycemic index and that all other foods would be measured against sugar. To test a food’s glycemic index, 10 or more test subjects are given 50 grams of a carbohydrate. Scientists then test the blood sugar of the test subjects at intervals over a two hour period. After that information is recorded, the scientists then test the same test subjects after giving them 50 grams of sugar. The difference between the tests indicates the carbohydrate’s glycemic index ranking. 

This is a long and involved process. There are still many foods that have not been tested. Also it has been determined that when you combine ingredients, the glycemic index can be affected. So, while the glycemic index is very scientific, there is still much that needs to be learned.
High glycemic index foods are not bad nor are low glycemic index foods good. The glycemic index information has to be balanced with other information. For example, peanut M&Ms have a low glycemic index. You would need to consider the amount of fat that you were consuming when you ate the candy. Let’s compare the peanut M&Ms with a baked potato without the skin. The potato has a high glycemic index but it has other nutrients that are good for you. You cannot just depend on the glycemic index of a food to decide whether or not you should eat it. 

Also, it was determined that the glycemic index portions were not the same as the portions that people would normally eat.  There are times that the amount of a food tested would give it a high glycemic index but you could eat a smaller quantity and the effect would be much different.  It was because of this that the glycemic load was introduced. 

For example, if you were to look at the glycemic index for carrots, they have a ranking of 68 which would put them in the medium category on the glycemic index. In the testing process, scientists feed the subjects enough of each food to provide 50 grams of carbohydrate available for absorption into the bloodstream. Because carrots contain unavailable carbohydrates and a lot of water, the portion size tested for carrots is seven (7) full size carrots.   

The glycemic load takes into account the glycemic index and the amount of the food that you are actually going to consume. To determine the glycemic load, you have to do a little math. The calculation is as follows:

(Glycemic index X Grams of carbohydrates) / 100*

Going back to the carrot example, when you look at one 8 inch carrot, the glycemic load is 11. Compare that to 2/3 of a cup of instant white rice which has a glycemic load of 26. When you change from using just the glycemic index to using the glycemic load, the values for food items come more into line with what you might expect. The highest glycemic load items are potatoes, rice, and bread.  Vegetables and fruit are at the lower end of the scale. 

In summary, the glycemic index and the glycemic load are tools that can be used to help control a person’s blood sugar level. The goal is to avoid highs and lows in one’s blood sugar levels. By utilizing the glycemic load information, a person can eat various foods that will spread out the effects from those foods. 

Thanks for reading!

*For those of you who have been away from algebra for a while, you do the calculation inside the brackets  first and then you divide by 100.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Learning About Diabetes, Glucose, and Carbohydrates

I have gone back to the beginning and started trying to learn more about diabetes. When Silent Sam was first diagnosed, I just accepted what I was told and did not ask any questions. As a result, I didn't really know what diabetes was, what happened if blood sugar isn't controlled, and how eating really affected blood sugar.

It has been very interesting. I now know that for Silent Sam, his beta cells are either not producing insulin or his body is insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means that even though it is there, the body is not using the insulin it produces. 

I have also found that the body uses glucose as energy. Glucose is produced in the body during the digestion of carbohydrates. In a person without diabetes, the glucose is joined by insulin and is carried to the cells to provide energy and if the cells don’t need all the glucose and insulin that they are then stored either as glycogen (long term energy) or as fat. In a person with uncontrolled diabetes, the glucose cannot be used for energy because it’s not matched with insulin. Cells will not accept glucose without insulin. The glucose then flows through the blood stream and eventually is excreted in urine. The problem is that while the glucose travels through the blood stream it damages the passageways. That damage is particularly bad in small blood vessels. The glucose thickens the blood vessels and less blood can get through.  The glucose also damages the walls of the blood vessels. 
Red blood cells

In learning all this information, I also came across the concept of the glycemic index and the glycemic load. At first, I thought that the glycemic index was just another fad diet. I was wrong. The glycemic index was introduced in the 1980s. It was introduced as a way for people with diabetes to be able to control their blood sugar better. The basic concept is that there are some carbohydrates that when ingested affect the blood sugar quickly and there are others that the affect takes much longer. 

The basic desire is to have the blood sugar be pretty constant during the day.  Therefore by watching which carbohydrates you eat, you can help to maintain your blood sugar levels. 

The best quote I read about including the glycemic index information in your diet indicated that if you are careful with your carbohydrates already then adding the glycemic index information is just another layer of help. 

Next week – How they determine the glycemic index of a food and what is a glycemic load.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Information from the American Diabetes Association Regarding the Affordable Care Act.

This week, I want to forward information to you that I received from the American Diabetes Association.  Please note that I think the information is important and I am passing it along.  I did not write the following:

The Affordable Care Act is bringing additional major health insurance changes for people with diabetes over the next few months, including—finally—the end of discrimination against people with diabetes in the health insurance market. No longer can an insurance company stamp “NO” on an application, simply because you or a family member has diabetes.
While these changes will benefit people with diabetes all over the country, we are aware that there is some confusion about how they will benefit you, your friends and your family.
That is why, at the American Diabetes Association, we are bringing you information about the Affordable Care Act to help you get insurance that best meets the needs of you and your family.
There are two important dates to keep in mind:
  • On October 1, 2013, people can start signing up for health insurance through their state Marketplace. Coverage purchased in the Marketplace will go into effect as early as January 1, 2014
  • January 1, 2014 brings a host of other changes including ending discrimination based on diabetes, ending lifetime dollar limits on benefits, and providing financial help to pay for insurance.
We have two new documents to help you understand both Marketplaces and the upcoming changes in health insurance rules related to diabetes. These documents are also available in Spanish.
In the Association’s new Q&A, “The Health Insurance Marketplace and People with Diabetes”, you will find a list of frequently asked questions about the new Health Insurance Marketplace opening in your state on October 1st. If you or anyone you know is uninsured or shopping for new coverage—or simply wants to explore other insurance options—this document will help you learn more about Marketplaces. The American Diabetes Association does not recommend specific health plans, but we want to provide you with an understanding of the new Marketplaces and link you to available resources for assistance. Click HEREto read the Q&A.
The American Diabetes Association’s new “Health Insurance Update: Protections for People with Diabetes” provides information on changes to health insurance rules which impact people with diabetes, including changes that are already in effect and some starting on the first day of the new year. We want to help you understand these changes and how they can benefit you, your friends and family. Click HERE to read the update.
Making sure that people living with, and at risk for, diabetes can access the care they need for optimal health is at the core of the American Diabetes Association’s mission. The new Marketplaces, coupled with the new health insurance rules, will help people with diabetes get the care and treatment they need. Please help spread the word about these changes by forwarding this email to friends and family affected by diabetes.
We appreciate your support and everything you do to Stop Diabetes®.
Karen Talmadge
Karen Talmadge Signature
Karen D. Talmadge, PhD
Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association

P.S. Those who are seeking assistance in choosing a health insurance plan, or who want to learn more about the Marketplaces, can also visit, or call 1-800-318-2596.
Click Here

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pasta Lamb Skillet


I feel like it has been ages since I was here.  I do have a new recipe for you though.  I have even made it twice!

That is how you can tell it is good and EASY!

Let's start with the usual disclaimer.  I did not make the recipe right the first time.  I did not have the right ingredients when it came time to make it.  Instead of switching gears, I decided to just try and wing it. Surprisingly it worked well.

The original recipe is from Taste of  and you can find it at

Pasta Lamb Skillet

1 package (8 ounces) small pasta
12 oz ground lamb
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced ( 1 1/4 cups)
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, not drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large skillet, cook lamb, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain.  Set aside and keep warm.

2.  In the same skillet, combine the zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, pepper and seasoned salt.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Drain pasta.  Add pasta along with the olives and lamb mixture to skillet; heat through.

Serves 8

One serving - 228 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat) 28 mg cholesterol, 176 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g protein.

Changes -  (I am singing David Bowie right  now so you can too)

The first time I made this recipe, I did not have any zucchini.  I substituted broccoli.  It worked just fine.  I also added a bag of spinach near the end.

I used bow tie pasta both times I made the recipe.

I did not use the olive oil - I sprayed the pan with Pam.

I did use fresh basil.  It smells heavenly and really adds to the dish.  I don't know if the dried would have the same effect.

I did not add the pepper or seasoned salt.  I just don't usually cook with them. (Yes, I know I should but I don't)  I did not add salt at the table.  It was fine without.  (since I am a bit of a salt hound that is saying a lot)

I did put the mushrooms in at the beginning rather than at the middle.  I had them in the skillet with the meat, onions and garlic.

I have used ground lamb both times.  This recipe is one that I am not sure that you can substitute ground beef or ground turkey.  The lamb does add a certain flavor.  Now, I know that some people don't like lamb so try it without.

I did add some fat free feta cheese to the top.  Just a sprinkling and we liked it.

As an added bonus - I think it works great as a leftover for lunch.  It re-heats well in the microwave and tastes great.

I hope you like it!

Thanks for reading!

(If you are wondering what I am doing with the rest of my time, check out my other blog at Musings on a Life)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BBQ Meatloaf Minis

I know, I am behind on giving you a recipe.  Of course, the trouble was that I have not been cooking very much during the summer.  We grill out a lot and so I can be very, very lazy.

I did see this recipe in the April/May 2013 issue of Taste of Home magazine and I tried it.  It has two elements that appeal to me.  The first is that it is incredibly easy.  The second, which is really important for us, is that it is easy to get the right serving size.  

BBQ Meatloaf Minis

6 oz. pkg Stuffing Mix
1 cup  water
2 Tbsp. Hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce
1 lb. of ground beef

Combine ingredients and put the mixture in (are you ready?) a muffin tin!  Yes, a muffin tin.  Now - here is my first suggestion.  They say to put the mixture in an ungreased muffin tin.  I think that it depends on what ground beef you use.  I, of course, did not read carefully enough the first time through and I sprayed Pam over the entire muffin tin.  I think that if you use less than 90 % ground beef that you don't need to spray but with my 90%, the minis would have stuck to the pan.  Also, you could use ground turkey and then I would also spray the muffin tin.  

Okay, I forgot to take a pic so here
 are muffins in a muffin tin
Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes (meat thermometer at 160 degrees).  Then take them out and cover each section with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake 2-4 minutes longer to melt the cheese.  

Serve with additional barbecue sauce.  

So, the next change is that I somehow did not have any shredded cheese.  I just took 3 slices of sharp cheddar cheese and divided each piece into 4 pieces and put one piece on each section.  An easy substitution would be to use fat free cheese.  I used a serving spoon to get each meatload mini out of the muffin tin.  

About the additional barbecue sauce, Silent Sam and I agreed that the sauce overwhelms the mini meat loafs. We thought it was fine without it.  

I was ready for SS to turn up his nose at this recipe but he didn't. We both liked it.  The stuffing mix adds enough of an herbal taste that makes it interesting.  I might fool around a little with the barbecue sauce at the beginning.  I might at 3 tablespoons just to see what happens.  You do not taste the barbecue sauce in the end product with 2 tablespoons.  

The best thing is also that the serving size is so easy.  The serving size is 2 "muffins".  With a salad and vegetable, it is plenty.  

Per serving (with recipe as written) 330 calories, 17 g fat (7 g sat. fat) 67 mg chol. 668 mg sodium, 21 g. carb., 1 g fiber, 21 g. protein. ( I think that if you changed the ground beef and cheese, you could save calories and carbohydrates) 

I hope you like it!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Of Great Size

A mighty tree

It seems that writers are generally worried about not having anything to write about or suffering from “writer’s block”. I understand this as there are times I am not sure what I am going to write about here. In order to combat this problem, writers like to give out “prompts”.  A prompt is generally one word that should inspire you to create. 

Wordsmith Studio (, the group I belong to, gives out a prompt each week. With this prompt, you can respond in a way that is appropriate for you.  I have usually taken photographs ( ) but this week, instead of posting the recipe that I was going to post (You thought I forgot about trying and sharing new recipes didn’t you?) I am inspired to use the word when writing to you. 

Since entering this diabetes community, I have been amazed by all of you. First of all, the sheer number of people with diabetes and the amount of information that is available but more than that, how nice a group of people I have been able to meet. 

Yes, the diabetes community is mighty. 
might•y (ˈmaɪ ti)
adj. might•i•er, might•i•est,
adv., n. adj.

1. having, characterized by, or showing superior power or strength: mighty rulers.
2. of great size; huge: a mighty oak.
3. great in amount, extent, degree, or importance; exceptional: a mighty accomplishment.
4. Informal. very; extremely: I'm mighty pleased.
5. the mighty, mighty persons collectively.

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Yes, that is the word prompt and can you see why I thought if it in relation to the diabetes community? 

We are a mighty force that can make a difference for generations in the future. We can be a mighty push for research. As with any mighty force, it just takes a small step from each part.

What will be your small step?

Each petal adds to the beauty
Each person doing just a little helps

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Exercise in hot weather

Here in the Midwest, today it is a hot and humid day.  This morning on the weather they were talking about it being 100 degrees with the heat index.

Usually we think of exercising outside during the summer months.  Who doesn't want to be outside and enjoy the sun and warmth while we can?  I don't.  I really hate sweating.  I really do.  I find nothing redeeming about it.  I try and convince myself that it is good for me and that I am flushing out toxins. (I don't know if this is true but I am going with it.)

But days like today and days with ozone warnings are not really good days to exercise outside.  So what alternatives do you have?  Well, actually swimming is one exercise that you could be doing outside on a day like today.  Either a swimming pool or body of water can be good on days like today.  I would caution you that if you are not used to swimming in a body of water (lake, river, ocean) that it is not like swimming in a pool and it is much harder.  So if it is your first time trying to swim for exercise in a body of water, make sure you allow yourself to get a feel for what it is like before you go tearing off.  (you want to make sure you have the energy to return!)

But what about moving inside?  Well, you can go to a gym or park district and perhaps they have equipment there or even a class that you could take.  I think that you will find most of those places air conditioned and exercising will be comfortable.

It is important to remember to keep drinking water while you exercise even if you are inside.  Your body needs lots of fluids in weather like this.  Keep that water flowing.

Now, what if you don't have a pool, lake, gym, or park district to go to to exercise?  I suggest that you go to your living room.  You have a few options there.  Turn on the TV and start running in place through your show.  When it goes to commercial, take a break and then start up again when the show starts.  If you do that through a half hour show, you have 20 minutes of exercise done.  WAHOO! Does running in place not sound like fun through a whole show?  So run in place part, do jumping jacks through part, and then run in place again.  Just keep moving during the show.

Instead of turning on the TV, use that Wii that is sitting on the floor.  There are fun games on there (bowling, golf) that you can play to get some exercise.  There are even exercise games that you can buy specifically for the Wii.  No one is watching to see how well you do and you might find it is fun.

Or crank up the music and dance.  Yes, I mean that.  Dance.  Shake it and rock it.  Laugh at your self.  Impress your imaginary audience with your moves.  Dance to several songs and you will know that you have gotten some exercise.  Do that for 20 minutes and you will feel it.

Try to get your heart beating a bit faster this summer.  I know it is hard to convince yourself to go out in this weather.  Don't get off track just try something new.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SGLT-2 Inhibitors

This is just a quick note about a new class of drugs that have been approved for use with Type 2 diabetes.  The class is called SGLT-2 inhibitors.  In the United States the drug is named Invokana.

I don't normally talk about new drugs but I was reading about it (and you can read about it here) and found this YouTube video, which is a bit amusing.  

By the way, it is also being studied for those with Type 1 diabetes although not approved for use yet.

Have a terrific 4th of July.  Be safe!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What is Diabetes - do you know?

I would like to ask you a question.

Do you know what diabetes is? 

I ask you this because until a week or so ago, I would have had to tell you that I didn't really know what it was. Yes, Silent Sam has had it for almost two years but if it was ever explained to me, I must have tuned out.  It could have been part of the information that was given to us when he was diagnosed but I just did not absorb it. 

Was it explained or did the doctor just say “you have diabetes and this is what you have to do now”?

I asked Silent Sam and he said that he was not completely clear either. As much as I like to think that I am a unique snowflake, I am willing to bet that in my ignorance, I am not alone. 

I understand what we are supposed to be doing to help SS with managing the disease but as far as what it actually means, I was clueless.  

Also, I knew that when Silent Sam went to the endocrinologist’s office they did an A1C test. I knew this was the lie detector test for how you are behaving. I had no idea how it worked.

Do you know and understand this stuff?

Do you have any other questions that float around in your head but you don't ask about them?

It may not matter to you but do you know the difference between the different types of diabetes? Did you know that there are at least 4 different kinds that you may hear about more often but there can be other conditions or syndromes that cause diabetes? 

So, I ask you – do you want to know the simplest to understand answers to these questions or am I the only one asking? 

I would appreciate it if you could let me know. You can tweet me (@9inchplate) or Facebook at, or just email me at

If you have questions, send them along also.  Let's find out together. I'll ask the doctor so that you don't have to!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Opps! Man Down

It must be true that opposites attract. Silent Sam likes to sweat. I absolutely do not like to sweat. I am not sure that either of us likes to exercise but we like different seasons when we do. 

I would rather be cold. Yes, cold. I liked walking by the lake when it was in the 30’s. Brisk is what I call that. SS is not interested in that at all. I got him some cold weather running gear but it doesn't matter, he doesn't like it. On the other hand, he will go out for a run when it is 90 degrees out. I don’t want to leave the house – even to go to the yard – when it is 90 degrees out. 

So as you can guess, he is back running outside. Yes, as it warms up his workouts increase. I think he has lost his mind. His run usually takes him about an hour. Of course, I don’t ever think to check the clock when he leaves so it seems sometimes like he is gone forever. Just as I think that I should start searching the neighborhood for his crumpled little overheated body, he will return home. As an editorial comment, (which he will really appreciate) I think you should look better when you return from something you supposedly like to do. At least you should be able to look like you are happy to have accomplished something. But who am I? I certainly don’t look in the mirror when I am finished with whatever I did to exercise. 

So, I was a bit shocked when SS came in last Sunday morning. He had not been gone very long. (I could tell it had not been long because I was on the phone and we had barely revved up to discuss the week’s events) To be honest, he looked grey. And not the good 50 shades way. It seems that he had fallen. He was trying to adjust his stride and hit a crack in the sidewalk. He fell on his shoulder. After sitting for a few minutes, he took a shower and came downstairs to read the paper. After a while he decided that he needed to have it checked out. One quick trip to the ER later, we had been told he had a chip in his glenoid (the shallow part where your arm goes into your shoulder) and he was sporting a sling. They said that if it got worse that he should see an orthopedist. 

We were pretty much ready to leave it there. He started feeling better slowly.

Several days later, he received a call from his doctor’s office asking him if he made an appointment with the orthopedist. They told him that he had a fracture (yes, a chip is a fracture but calling it a fracture sounds so much more serious) and he needed to go to the ortho. They even made him an appointment! So off he went. The first part of the appointment was good news. It seems the ortho felt that the chip was an old injury. (Huh?) Then came the part we didn't expect - he was worried that the rotator cuff was torn. 

Oh yuck!

That is a whole different kettle of fish. Silent Sam had an MRI and is waiting for the results. He still has pain with certain movements. We are really hoping that some physical therapy will be the answer. 

So doesn't it always seem to happen? I thought it only happened to me but it seems to be pretty universal. You just start some behavior that will improve your health and the next thing you know the universe has sent you a giant curve ball. It makes it even harder to keep your resolve. And keeping your resolve is very hard all on its own. Believe me, I know it is so much easier to watch TV or read than go out for a walk around the block after dinner.

So, how do you keep your resolve when life gets in the way? 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interview with an Optometrist

I had the absolute pleasure be able to sit down and talk to Dr. Kristen Randall. Dr. Randall is an optometrist who specializes in primary eye care and contact lenses. She is warm and very informative.

I know that when Silent Sam was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that one of the things that we were told was that he needed to get to the eye doctor and get his eyes checked. Fortunately, his eyes were fine and he has been diligent in getting them checked regularly.

Why check his eyes? Dr. Randall explained to me that people with diabetes have an increased risk of eye disease. Having good blood sugar control is an important way to prevent problems but in addition, controlling your blood pressure will help. Your genes play into your eye health also. Unfortunately, the length of time that you have had diabetes will also make a difference in your eye health.

If you are like me, you may not remember what we were taught in high school biology about the eye. The following is a YouTube video about the anatomy of the eye.

The first eye disease that comes to mind with diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy. This is actually a group of eye problems that can be a complication from diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. This disease is caused by changes to the blood vessels of the retina. This disease can take various forms. In some people, the blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. For others, it can be that abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.

Here is the true villain in the mix. You can have diabetic retinopathy and not know it until you have lost part of your vision.

If you cannot tell that you have it, how can you stop it? It is very important - really really important that you have a comprehensive eye exam at least annually. The eye exam is not different than what you are used to already. There will be a test to see how well you can see distance and close up. The doctor will dilate your eyes so that an exam of your retina and optic nerve can be done. Last but not least, the doctor will check the pressure inside your eye.

Glaucoma is another disease associated with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to suffer from glaucoma. The risks for glaucoma increase with age and length of time that one has diabetes. When you have glaucoma, the pressure on the inside of the eye has been raised because drainage of the fluid in the eye slows down. With the buildup of the fluid, the pressure builds and squeezes the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve. The retina and optic nerve are then damaged and vision is lost. The doctor will test for Glaucoma during your annual eye exam. If there is a problem, there are several treatments available.

The final in the big three diseases that affect diabetics more frequently is cataracts. While many people get cataracts, if you are diabetic your chance is 60 percent higher than the normal population. People with diabetes will normally get cataracts at a younger age and the disease will progress faster. When you have cataracts, your normally clear lens becomes cloudy and that affects the amount of light that can penetrate it. We probably all know people who have had cataract surgery. The problem is that when you have diabetes, the surgery to correct cataracts can affect the other possible diabetes related eye problems. It may worsen diabetic retinopathy or start you on the path to glaucoma.

I can't pretend that I was very upbeat after our conversation. These eye diseases are serious and they look in some ways to be inevitable. Dr. Randall assured me that if you are faithful in having your eyes checked that most of the diseases can be helped. But she did stress how important the eye exams were in maintaining one's vision. It is also very important that you as the patient pay attention and if you feel there are any changes that you get to the doctor right away. It is much more important to err on the side of too much checking rather than not enough.

I asked Dr. Randall about the seemingly new eye vitamins that are available. I wondered if they would help a diabetic's eye health. She told me it is very important the patient talk to their doctor about using vitamins specifically for the eye. It is possible that they may not get along with the prescription medicines that the patient may already be taking. So, as they always say, check with your doctor before you try them.

I am so thankful that Dr. Randall could take the time to talk with me about all these issues. If you are in the Chicagoland area, Dr. Randall works with Linton Opticians in Evanston, IL. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Positive Things About Having Diabetes - No I am not serious...

Today we are going to go in a slightly different direction.  I feel like I am always writing about things to worry about with diabetes.  Today we are going to look at the positive.  (with tongue firmly planted in cheek)


 Positive Things About Having Diabetes

When someone brings treats to the office or a gathering that don't look very good, you can beg off by telling the person you are diabetic.  Just telling people that you are on a diet will sometimes not stop them from urging you to try "just a little".  But being diabetic should stop all requests.  If it doesn't work, you need to perfect your withering look and suggest to the person that you could die from eating their treat.  That should stop them.  Quite frankly, if it doesn't stop them then I think that you should stay away from that person.  If it is your boss, I hate to tell you but I think that is a bad sign.

You no longer have to worry about being pre-diabetic.  The deed is done.  It is no longer hanging over your head.  You have moved up to the big leagues.  

Now you have a reason to keep some candy with you at all times.  You need to be prepared for low blood sugar, so make sure you have a supply.  Okay, we all know that you need like only one roll of smarties but you could have been a boy scout and so you are always prepared. 

Say you are at a restaurant with a group and you are cheap.  When it is time to pay the bill, you can get up to go to the washroom to check your levels or to go shoot up. (Yes, that is what we call it in our house - we are, perhaps, not very serious around here.)  It may be that by the time you get back you either don't have to pay or the bill will be figured out and you don't have to sit through the figuring out.   I personally hate the figuring out.  I will not get into gender stereotypes here (HA!) but there are those that like to divide the check by the item and those that just divide the check by the number of people.  I much prefer dividing by the number of people because then I can make sure there is a fair tip.  Some people are cheap tippers and I don't want the wait person to think it was me.  

Oh, yea, back to the "fun" of being diabetic...

My last positive thing about being diabetic is that if you are invited to a nude beach, you have a built in excuse as to why you cannot go.  Personally, I can think of many reasons why I would not go.  If you are diabetic, you cannot go barefoot.  There is your reason.  No problem.  Your welcome.  So the next time someone invites you to a nude beach, you can think of me with thanks.

I'm here for you.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Triple Quick Shrimp and Pasta

I know, I have not given you a recipe in awhile.  Somewhere between  my son's graduation and my daughter's move out of the house, I didn't get much cooking done.  (great excuses!)

But I have started again.  Yes, I sat down on Saturday morning and went through some of the recipes that I had marked.  I pulled out THREE for this week.  I know it is a bit extreme but I felt like it.

I did make a small mistake.  I was supposed to have a meal tonight for "meatless Monday" but the shrimp had thawed so I had to use them.

Guess what?  This recipe worked.  We both really liked it and it was quick to make.   As we say, this is a keeper!

The recipe is from Diabetic Cooking Magazine.  I went through and tore out the recipes I liked and I just noticed that they don't put the month or issue on the pages.  The magazine comes out every other month.  There is usually a theme to the recipes.  If you are interested, you can look at the web site for the magazine on line.

Triple-Quick Shrimp and Pasta

4 oz. uncooked whole grain rotini pasta
8 oz. small shrimp with tails, peeled
4 oz. asparagus spears, trimmed and broken into 2 inch pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup light olive oil vinaigrette
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any salt or fat.  Four minutes before pasta is cooked, add shrimp; cook 1 minute.  Add asparagus to shrimp and pasta and continue cooking 3 minutes or until  shrimp are pink and opaque.

2.  Remove pot from heat.  Drain well, shaking off excess liquid.  Return pasta, shrimp and asparagus to pot with remaining ingredients except basil and Parmesan cheese.  Toss until well blended.  Add basil and Parmesan cheese and toss gently.  
Serves 4
Dietary exchanges:  1 fat, 1 meat, 1 1/2 starch   Calories: 230 Total fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Protein 16 g, Carbohydrate 27 g, Cholesterol 76 mg, Dietary fiber 3 g, Sodium 766 mg.

If you are used to reading my recipes, you know that I somehow never make things absolutely right. I ended up using ziti because I forgot to ask Silent Sam to pick up rotini and SS could not find light olive oil vinaigrette, so we had full strength. The basil just adds the right fresh taste to this dish.  I know we will have this again.  It would be great for company also because it cooks so fast.  They would never guess it was good for them!

 Thanks for reading!

This bloom was my surprise this morning!  Lovely!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blog Week Thoughts and a New Idea

Diabetes Blog Week has come and gone for this year.  As you noticed, I did much better last year than I did this year.

I made a fundamental mistake this year.  I have to admit that the topics did not do much for me.  What I should have done was sit down and write about them but instead I was lazy and just sat for a few minutes and then gave up.  I have found that if I just sit down and start writing, after a little bit I find a rhythm and I can delete all the stuff I started off writing.  (The part that says, I have nothing to say on this topic and it is dumb etc.)

I think that I was also discouraged because in checking out the other bloggers that were participating, all the ones I checked were either Type 1 or caregivers for Type 1 diabetics.  As I have said before, I think these people have an incredibly tough road and I respect them.  It is just that our situation is very different.  I was hoping to find Type 2's that would inspire me.  I didn't find any.  It could be that I did not check enough of the blogs - there were over 200 signed up. I just double checked the number and I found two blogs that could have applied. One looks like a professional web site with a blog on pre-diabetes (Pre-Nicole) and one from someone who has diabetes and has had lapband surgery. This woman also seems to be very into training diabetes alert dogs.  (and signing people up to train dogs in her method)

It also didn't help that someone, who shall remain nameless, mentioned that the blogs last week were not exactly interesting.  Nice, huh?  I would like to dispute that but I am not sure that I can.  Uninspired might just be uninspired.

So, what can I do to be more inspired this week?  There is something that I am a tad bit excited about.  Okay, that is an understatement but we will let it go.  I don't think that I have mentioned it here before but I write a blog for a podiatrist.  Yes, I am the Foot Blogger Chick.  You can check it out here.  That blog covers different foot issues but we do talk about diabetes often.  In doing some research, we have not found a guide for the diabetic patient or caregiver on foot care.  So we are seriously talking about writing an ebook on the topic.

What do you think?  I would like some feedback on this idea.  The ebook would be a user friendly guide for  diabetics on how diabetes can affect the patient's feet and what diabetics should do  and not do to care for their feet.  Our current thought is that it would be available for download for a small fee ($0.99 - $2.99).   If you have looked at the blog, it is our goal to impart medical information but in such a way that it is understandable and friendly.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Today is day three of Diabetes Blog Week.  And I am still here.  Shocking!

Today's theme is Memories -

Today we're going to share our most memorable diabetes day.  You can take this anywhere... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you'd like to share.  

The sun will come up tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun

Okay, I would really like to tell you about the day that Silent Sam had done so well that he was taken off all medication.  It was a great day but to be perfectly honest, I don't remember it.  I am sure that he does and could tell you how great it felt.  

I remember the day we went to the emergency room.  Yes, our road started in the emergency room and then moved to a hospital room. We did not go to the emergency room because of diabetes.  Silent Sam had not been diagnosed with diabetes at that point.  We went because he had an infection in his leg.  So maybe we didn't even know that exactly.  We just knew that his leg hurt.  

I clearly remember the ER doctor coming in and saying that his blood sugar level was high.  Seriously, I had no idea what that meant except, of course, that it was bad because he was talking about it.  He suggested that SS go to the doctor and that he might have to take pills.  While this was not good news, what they were about to do to his leg sounded worse, so I still was not focused on the concept of pills.  Silent Sam ended up being admitted because they wanted him to get more IV antibiotics for the leg infection.  Once in the hospital room, the doctors became more more interested in his blood sugar levels.  They quickly noted that his level was high (300ish) and it was not coming down. 

This is how we moved into the land of diabetes.  

It was memorable because I knew so little and there was so much information to absorb. To be honest, I still have much to learn. I am hoping that Silent Sam continues to do well and I don't have to learn more.  Wouldn't that be great?  The odds are against us but we keep fighting.  

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Petition for Diabetes

We are now on Day Two of Diabetes Blog Week.  Today's topic is as follows:

We, The Undersigned -

Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let's pretend to write our own.  Tell us who you would write the petition to - a person, and organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?


To the Suits in the drug companies and the suits in the Government -

I don't know if you know this but diabetes is a serious disease.  Diabetes doesn't mess around.  It hurts people without them even knowing it.  It attacks their bodies and parts can be lost.  Really, parts can be lost.  How much more serious can you get?

Therefore, we the people signed here below feel that medical supplies needed for diabetes care should be free to the patients.  No patient should have to go without supplies because they cannot afford them.  No patient should be sticking themselves with used lancets because they can't afford to buy what they need.  No patient should be under dosing themselves because they can't afford the medicine.  Did you know that it is estimated that one out of every 200 people in the U.S. has had an amputation and that a large percentage of those amputations are due to diabetes?* If we could avoid some of those amputations by having the supplies for diabetes free than we would save more then than the program would cost.  

So let's save limbs and eyes and hearts.  Let's make diabetic supplies and medicine free.  Let's take care of one another to make sure we are all here for each other.  


(Yes, it is very possible that I have lost my mind with this one.  Silent Sam was just thrilled to participate, too)  

*National Limb Loss Information Center

Monday, May 13, 2013

Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week!

I am delighted to be joining the diabetes blog community for the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  As I recall from last year, posting daily was hard but very rewarding.  I "met" some wonderful bloggers and was able to learn a lot.

The way that Karen from has set up the challenge, we have a topic each day (Monday through Saturday) with two alternate topics if we want to substitute.  Today's topic is as follows:

Often our heath care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have the sense of what our lives are really like,  Today, let's pretend our medical team is reading our blogs.  What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes?  On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?

First of all, let me say that I love my husband's endo.  She is very nice and has been great at responding.  I am not sure that I was a huge fan of electronic medical records until Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes. Now it is wonderful to have all his doctors connected and on the same page.  The other thing I liked about his endo is that there is a dietitian as part of the practice.  On the first visit, we saw the endo but also had an appointment with the dietitian.  That was a great help.

What I wish the endo could see about our daily life with diabetes is how hard it is to be on the straight and narrow.  That after our initial surge, maintaining the behavior has gotten really hard.  It is almost like being back when we were told that Silent Sam was pre-diabetic.  We worried but with no visible illness it was hard to behave.  I wish that she knew to call us back in and call us on the carpet to get us back on track.  Don't get me wrong, Silent Sam has done very well.  He has been submitting his numbers each week and they have been pretty stable (except for that week of vacation, maybe....).  But I wish there was a mandatory meeting with the doctor to go over everything again.  I don't want to be as scared as I was at first : I just think the urgency was good for us.

Diabetes is hard because it is silent.  I worry that things will go bad before we can fix them and there will be a larger problem.  I wish she could look into our lives and point out - perhaps not too kindly - what we are doing wrong and what we need to change.

So off I go to now explore some of the other diabetes blogs.  I will let you know about what I find.  There are just so many talented people!

Thanks for reading!

We are hiding from diabetes in here