Thanksgiving Night (A Night Before Christmas Parody)

So it’s the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house
You were stirring and stirring and so was your spouse

Preparing the feast you are making with care
Looking forward to family and friends who’ll be there

You were thinking and thinking just about bread
I mean, what else does one think of inside of their head?

“I know my dietitian said just think of a cap
Stop eating before your body demands a long nap”

When all of a sudden my brain starts to clatter
I sprang from my thoughts and from stirring the batter

Away to my computer I flew like a flash
Typed in this dietitian’s website – man, she’s a smash

The idea of moderation and even saying “no”
Gave me hope that I could have my glucose to show

When what to my wondering thoughts should appear
That I could eat what I want!?! You see, it’s just that simple my dear

With some look ahead planning I knew just that quick
I’d be able to eat everything I want, ain’t that slick

Maybe not as much as I used to, but that’s not my aim
These numbers were crazy, but them I can tame

Now Fiber and Protein and Veggies and Fruits
On Legumes and Oils and Dairy and Roots

To the plate size and portion size, make them all small
Now you’ll be able to eat what you want, ya’ll!

As dry herbs that cooked with the turkey on high
When you are met with an obstacle, don’t fear to fly!

So up in the morning with breakfast, you’ll chew
With some protein and fiber and healthy fats too

And then you’ll see that it’s not just a spoof
Your glucose won’t be as high as the roof

If after noon is your meal, I think you have found
You’ll need a snack until Thanksgiving dinner comes around

Control is important from your head to your foot
YOU CAN do it during holidays, the numbers WILL stay put

Eating well doesn’t have to be seriously wack
You can eat what you want it’s just a portion hack

Your eyes – how they’ll twinkle! Your smile: how merry!
They’ll see you’re not afraid to eat, even fruits like a cherry!

Your knowledge will surely sprout up and grow
And your confidence, like centerpieces, will definitely show

So as you chew each bite well with your sparkling teeth
Know quite proudly and with a sigh of relief

That your beautiful face, and God-made round belly
Will, on the inside be healthy, and not a nervous Nelly!

I don’t care if your plump or if your scale’s on a shelf
I care most if you’re healthy and loving yourself

Intrinsically you know inside of your head
You honestly, truly, have nothing to dread

Sometimes it does take a lot of hard work
You may feel overwhelmed just don’t go berserk!

Learning to control glucose, God-knows
Can take some getting used to but first, you have chose

To come to my blog and not even bristle
Just take in the info and happily whistle

And I know you’ll exclaim when your sugars are right
That everything worked out well on this Thanksgiving night

-An Amanda Original…you’re welcome (hahaha!)

So if you didn’t quite get it from my exquisite poem writing here’s a few things to remember about keeping your blood sugars controlled on Thanksgiving:

  1. Eat a snack before bed (just as you would normally)
  2. Eat a balanced breakfast. Protein and fiber and healthy fats too!
  3. If Thanksgiving dinner is later in the day make sure to eat a small snack so you don’t go into the dinner ravenous.
  4. If Thanksgiving was earlier in the day (around noon) you’re going to need to eat later in the day. Perhaps a snack.
  5. Decide early on what you REALLY like to eat on Thanksgiving. Things that aren’t really your favorite, don’t eat! Save yourself some carbs!
  6. Think about your plate…half of it should be vegetables (salad, roasted veggies, etc); the palm of your hand size should be turkey; the last quarter of your plate, carbohydrates (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pie, stuffing, etc)
  7. Eat what you want, just eat less!!! A small sliver of pie, smaller portions of potatoes, less stuffing. You’ll get all the flavors, be satisfied, and feel great not stuffed afterward!

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Understanding Diabetes

I’ve got my Thanksgiving countdown going on. I love Thanksgiving and I’m actually a little annoyed when Christmas takes over too early! Sure as a Christian I love Christmas, I mean the best thing in the world came to earth and that’s why we celebrate it BUT Thanksgiving is just awesome. It’s a month that I take every year to step back and be thankful for my blessings. I enjoy the food…turkey, side dishes, pies, but I also love the family time…it’s all wonderful! When you have diabetes though, the holidays can be a time of worrying about what your blood sugars are going to be for over a month!

When you have diabetes, the holidays can be a time of worrying about what your blood sugars are going to be for over a month! If you have your 3-month appointment any time within the December, January, or February time-frame you know how stressful it can be! Your A1c level tattle tells you and there’s just no way around it! 🙂

Blood sugars can be finicky especially when you are eating foods that you don’t normally eat; however, they can also be quite calculated if you understand diabetes and how your diet interacts with your blood sugars! What you eat and WHEN you eat can be the map to better blood sugars.

This is the first installation of a few posts about diabetes and eating to control your blood sugars through the holidays! These posts are also helpful if you have a family member or friend with diabetes.

So what is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects your pancreas. Your pancreas is an organ in your digestive system that makes insulin. Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key to open cells in your body to let sugar inside. The sugar goes into your bloodstream from eating foods with carbohydrates.

Picture this…

You go to the grocery store and come home. Let’s be honest, we all try to get into the house by making the least amount of trips, so you pile those grocery bags on your arms. You get up to your house and the door is locked and somewhere between the grocery store and home, you’ve lost your house key. Without that key, you can’t get in and your groceries are stuck on your arm, weighing you down BUT that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that whoever is inside the house won’t get fed without those groceries.

You’re welcome…

Well…when you eat foods with CARBOHYDRATES your body turns that into sugar or GLUCOSE. The groceries are GLUCOSE  and you are the BLOODSTREAM. Your BLOODSTREAM’S job is to bring the GLUCOSE to the CELL door (your house door). The problem is if your body doesn’t have the key which is INSULIN then the GLUCOSE doesn’t get into CELLS and your body doesn’t get fed.

SO the problem isn’t necessarily that the sugar is in your blood, but that the sugar is NOT getting into your cells. Still with me????

When you check your blood sugar and it is high, the sugar isn’t feeding your cells because it is stuck in your bloodstream due to a problem with your insulin.

Now that you know what diabetes is and what happens inside of your body, stay tuned for ways to keep your sugars controlled during the holidays!

Christmas Quinoa

In the mountains of Western Pennsylvania it gets cold. I mean, really cold. This past weekend was no exception. It was cold, blustery, snowy, and icy. Did I mention that the day before was sunny and 70? At any rate, it’s good weather (the cold stuff) to have the church Thanksgiving dinner because it gets you in the mood for the warmth and comfort Thanksgiving brings. It is one of my very favorite holidays where friends and family can gather, talk, eat a meal, and enjoy one another. The time spent with loved ones is a treasure to be held and cared for. Do me a favor, don’t talk politics or other controversial topics…just be in the moment and enjoy the company of those around you.

At any rate, our church’s Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful time of feasting, fun, and fellowship. Many bring a covered dish and the church provides turkey, ham, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. This year I decided to bring quinoa salad. I have a few favorite quinoa recipes in my holster and this may be one of the best! It is fresh and light while bringing in some holiday flavors.

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Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a whole grain packed with nutrients. It is best known for having tons of protein and even more than that it is a complete protein meaning it has all of the amino acids (what makes up protein) that you need! Cool huh?! Besides protein, quinoa also contains fiber, iron, omega-3’s, and many vitamins and minerals. It’s fairly flavorless unless toasted which helps it to pair well with most food. Because it is gluten free, you can substitute quinoa for pasta, barley, bulgur, or farro in other dishes.

This ancient grain is one of my favorites to make and as a bonus, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. Warm or cold quinoa can be eaten warm with a meal or as a cold salad. Like this recipe, it goes well with fruit or can be part of a tangy or savory side dish.

One of the most important steps to this dish is super simple but adds so much flavor. Toasting the quinoa. I was told by a seasoned chef that you can toast any grain to bring out a nutty, more flavorful version of that grain. There are a few things you should know about toasting any grain; first you need to warm the pan over medium high heat. After the pan is warm simply add the grain, in our case quinoa. The grain will warm up and start to smell nutty. Quinoa will let you know when it’s toasting by hearing “pops”. Simply let it pop for a minute and then add broth or water (see instructions on the back), turn the heat on high, and allow the water to boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the quinoa cook and soak in all of the liquid which takes about 15-20 minutes.

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The rest of the recipe is chopping, mixing, and pouring. Easy peasy and tastes amazing!

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Christmas Quinoa (keen-wah)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red quinoa (if you can’t find red, white is fine)
  • 5 stalks celery chopped (cut up the leaves as well)
  • 8 green onions chopped (if you can’t find them use 1/2 red onion)
  • 1 cup parsley finely chopped (flat leaf or curly)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing (use this on everything…it’s sooo good!)

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons

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Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside until the quinoa salad is ready. This marries all of the flavors together. Yum!
  2. Toast the quinoa. Place a large pan over medium high heat until the pan is warm (not hot). Place quinoa in warmed pan and wait until the quinoa starts popping. Stir continuously until the quinoa pops for a minute or it starts to smell nutty. Do not leave the quinoa during this point or you will burn it!
  3. Once the quinoa is popping and nutty add 4 cups of water, turn the heat to high, and allow the quinoa to boil. Once it starts boiling turn down the heat and let the quinoa simmer for 15-20 minutes until the quinoa soaks up the water. (follow the package directions minus the toasting and letting the water boil before putting the quinoa into it)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for a few minutes and then place in a large bowl. Add the celery, onions, parsley, walnuts, and cranberries.
  5. Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss lightly until the dressing is distributed evenly.
  6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

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NOTES:

  • This is definitely a good make ahead dish. You can make it ahead the day before and the flavors will marry and become irresistible!
  • You can make this salad with any number of grains including (but not limited to) brown rice, wild rice, barley, bulgur, wheat berries, and farro.
  • Nut allergy? Not to worry! Try sunflower seeds or shelled pumpkin seeds instead for an added crunch.
  • Like a little more dressing? Just double the batch and save excess for salads later on!

FOOD ALERTS: Contains nuts. Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free.

Try it. Let me know how you like it or if you did something to make it your own!