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)