Saturday, January 18, 2014

Comforting My Blood Sugar

Food is not a replacement. It's not a replacement for love; it's not a replacement for exercise; it's not a replacement for self-esteem; it's not a replacement for anything. Food cannot fill the hole in my soul. 

Food is sustenance.
Food gives us life
Food should be ENJOYED!

For more than 50 years, I have eaten whatever the heck I wanted. I have had more than my share of cakes, candy, corn chips, popcorn, pretzels, Reese's cups, Heath Bars, mashed potatoes, crusty french baguettes, and a host of other things I can no longer eat now that I've been diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic.

And the conclusion I have come to in the year since I was diagnosed is this:
If I can't have another Krispy Kreme donut ever in my life, 
it is not the end of the world.

While my friends and family tried every diet imaginable over the years, everything from 70s grapefruit diets and Mayo Clinic diet to Weight Watchers and South Beach, I paid little or no attention to them. I would always say I eat what I want, that our culture is much too weight conscious and I refused to buy into it. I used to tell people I don't know how much I weigh and I don't own a scale because I think it's unhealthy for women to have that number rattling around in their brains all the time. I have fluctuated between a size 14 and 18 most of my adult life. And to tell you the truth, I just didn't worry about it.

As you might imagine, being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes was like a big slap in the face. When my doctor's office called me, I literally was standing in the buffet line at a casino looking at all the desserts and thinking to myself, which of those delectable items will end up in my tummy today, while somewhere in the back of my mind I was planning to go home and bake something because, after all, I didn't have any baked goods in the house. 

Well it's been almost a year since that fateful day. There was a steep learning curve for me and my boyfriend because we both love to cook and I, particularly, love to bake. But we cook and eat fabulous food with fresh ingredients that do not screw with my blood sugar. 

For instance, with high fiber options at my local grocery store, I am still eating pasta and bread, I just don't eat them as often and I watch my portion size when I do.

So what do I cook on a cold winter's night when there's hardly anything in the pantry but some good cheese, bacon and eggs? The ultimate comfort food, of course, a low-glycemic mac-n-cheese you are going to absolutely love!

Bacon & Eggs Mac-n-Cheese!
adapted from a recipe from The Mac & Cheese Cookbook, by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
  • 1/2 lb of uncooked high fiber pasta (I use Barilla whole grain rotini)
  • 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water (you can use 2 cups of whole milk or half-n-half to replace both the milk and water)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (oat flour has little or no affect on blood glucose levels and I have found it's a fabulous thickening agent instead of flour or cornstarch)
  • 1/4 cup butter (don't use margarine; you're making a rue so you need it to be real butter)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 cups of shredded cheeses, I used a really good Parmesan, white cheddar and some Monterrey jack
  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cooked then crumbled
  • 4 eggs

Cook up the pasta in salted water according to the directions, but take the pasta out of the water 1 or 2 minutes before the prescribed cooking time for al dente pasta because this goes in the oven and will cook the rest of the way there. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray and toss the pasta into it.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the oat flour, whisking and cooking over medium heat until it starts to thicken. The oat flour will bubble up the butter when it hits the pan, but it's fine, keep whisking while it thickens for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a Pyrex measuring cup in your microwave until it is warm.

Gradually add the milk to the butter flour mix, whisking all the time. Add the salt and whisk. As it begins to thicken, start adding the shredded cheese a little at a time, whisking to blend as it melts until all the cheese is blended in with the mixture and melted. Then add the crumbled bacon.

Pour the cheesy bacon mixture over the pasta and bake in the oven. You can bake it fast, like I do, for about 12-15 minutes on 400 degrees F, or you can go the low and slow route at 350 for 30 minutes. Whatever you prefer.

If you want to add bread crumbs to the top of this, like many people do, make sure you make your own high-fiber bread crumbs to make this dish retain its low glycemic load. I prefer my mac-n-cheese to be gooey and creamy throughout.

Dish out small portions and top each portion with a poached egg. 

When the gooey egg yolk flows out over the cheesy pasta you will find it very hard to believe that this is a diabetic-friendly dish. The portion pictured here is the portion I ate. Yummy, yummy, yummy! And my blood sugar was back down to under 115 within 3 hours. 

With dishes like this, I can truly say I have fully embraced my low-carb lifestyle and am keeping my promise to myself that I will endeavor to avoid taking medication for as long as I can by eating right. So far so good.

Oh yes, and that part where I said that food cannot fill the hole in my soul . . . uh . . . you didn't really believe that, did you?


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    1. Thanks for stopping by Libiya. I appreciate the encouraging words!

  2. I'm making this this weekend. Perfect for folks like me whose desert Island food is bacon and eggs. Yum.

  3. I'm making this this weekend. Perfect for folks like me whose desert Island food is bacon and eggs. Yum.

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