Thursday, January 17, 2013

The End of Diabetes: My Thoughts

Dr. Fuhrman (author of Danielle and my nutrition bible Eat to Live) has recently put out another book titled The End of Diabetes. I, of course, purchased it. I love Dr. Fuhrman's work as well as learning everything I can about how diet affects diabetes. The diet described in Dr. Fuhrman's new book is not far off from the one outlined in Eat to Live. As a type 1 diabetic, I was excited that Dr. Fuhrman included a small section in his book specifically addressing type 1 diabetes. With the alarming and ridiculous numbers of type 2 diabetes in America that are steadily on the rise, I can understand why most of the leading diabetic literature out there is geared toward type 2 diabetes, but this can be quite disheartening for the 5% of diabetics that are type 1.

  • Type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. Juvenile diabetes): The body does not produce insulin. The exact cause of this chronic illness is unknown, but it is widely thought to be an autoimmune disorder where a virus or some other infection triggers the body to mistakenly attack its own beta cells (that produce insulin). Type 1 diabetes is hereditary.
  • Type 2 diabetes: The body produces insulin, but it is secreted abnormally or is unable to be used correctly by the body. While genetics definitely play a role in type 2 diabetes, most cases are reversible by way of superior nutrition and exercise.

You might think that hearing "Your diabetes is reversible!" would be some of the most joyous words a diabetic could hear. If they are, why aren't more people searching for ways to overcome the disease? I can think of a few explanations. 1. They think it is too good to be true, their diabetes is heredity, and there is nothing they can do to control it. 2. They are simply uninformed or ignorant to the possibility. I can relate to this scenario. After being diagnosed at age 14, my parents and I were all so shocked that we just utilized the information given to us by doctors, nurses and diabetes educators. The news seemed so detrimental that the possibility of controlling my diabetes any other way seemed daunting and foolish. 3. Everyone wants the "magic pill" or "health in a bottle".
Great health takes great effort. You have to put the work in to be healthy. That is the bottom line.

Back to the book. Dr. Fuhrman presents a solid, evidence-based scientific case similar to his work in Eat to Live that first drew me in to his way of thinking. If you or someone you love has diabetes and would benefit from some cold hard facts that will change your perspective, The End of Diabetes is a must-read. Basically, Fuhrman reiterates the importance of beans in the diet as well as greens. Fill up on greens primarily, then beans, then fruit (up to 5 pieces a day), 1 to 2 ounces of raw nuts/seeds a day and 1 serving of a whole grain (intact) or starchy vegetable. This is just a template. Amounts of raw nuts and seeds, beans and starchy vegetables can be increased if you require more calories. Dr. Fuhrman talks about the importance of resistant starch, fiber and of course phytochemicals.
Some interesting highlights from The End of Diabetes:
  • It is best to soak your oats and eat them raw rather than cook them. This gives the maximum amount of resistant starch. Use old-fashioned, rolled or steel-cut but not quick oats.
  • Mushrooms are best cooked. They contain a mild toxin called agaritine that dissipates with even light cooking. It is unknown whether or not agaritine causes any adverse health issues, so to be safe, cooking is recommended.
  • Fat deficiency can cause a failure to thrive. It can derail weight loss as well as lead to high triglycerides.
  • Fuhrman introduces a new (to me) hormone called IGF-1 or Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reduced IGF-1 is associated with enhanced life span. For many people with diabetes, even a low amount of dietary animal protein can raise IGF-1. This is the main reason Fuhrman recommends no more than 6 ounces/week of animal protein.
I have been doing my best to follow Dr. Fuhrman's plan for a little less than 2 weeks now. When I say "doing my best" I do not mean that I have a cookie every now and then if I want. I mean that I am eating only the recommended foods, but sometimes due to convenience or being unprepared, my ratios are off. However, my fasting blood sugars have been improving with every morning and staying steady throughout the day. I am really excited about this, because I am always looking to decrease my need for insulin. I hope this post reaches at least one other person with diabetes and that they find it helpful. Thanks for reading!

You can purchase The End of Diabetes here.

- Bailey

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vegtastic in the South?

Recently my sister and I took a weekend excursion to the charming Savannah, GA. We stayed at the Ballastone Inn, a beautiful b&b perfectly situated in the heart of the town. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast of steel cut oats and fruit each morning at our little table by the window, as the sun poured over us and called us to explore the town.
We enjoyed the cozy fireplace at our inn at "tea time":
We soaked in the Savannah nightlife as well. Much to everyone's surprise, we won trivia at a local Irish pub, Murphy's Law. I cheered my sister on at karaoke, and we danced the chilly nights away! We really enjoyed the quirky yet unpretentious Savannah charm.
The best part (well, one of the best parts), was all the delicious veg-friendly food we discovered! (Yes, a little surprising in the home of Paula Dean!) Our first stop was a little cafe off the beaten path called The Sentient Bean. It reminded me of the hipster-esque cafe I used to frequent in Tallahassee, both with their mismatched dishes, vegan food options, good coffee, and do-it-yourself clean up. I enjoyed a curried tofu salad and cup of soup, while Jess had a vegan breakfast burrito. 

We dined at a restaurant that I used to frequent in Jacksonville before that location closed ;'( called Ruan Thai. We both enjoyed the Thom Yum soup (my mouth is watering now thinking about it!) and a Tofu-Vegetable Mussaman Curry. 

The next night we got a little dressed up for our dinner date at Corleone's. This Godfather inspired restaurant was much nicer and less over-the-top than we had anticipated. I was pleased to be able to order something right off the menu without altering it; I got the Broccoli Linguini. Jess ordered the Eggplant Parm. without cheese, and they were very accommodating. We both enjoyed our meals thoroughly!

On our way out of town, we stopped for one last fantastic meal. Now, this story is a bit embarrassing, but I"ll tell it anyway. The whole trip (and weeks leading up to it) I had been telling my sister about one thing I really wanted to do that I read about, and that was to go to Green Truck Pub, which I mistakenly thought was a food truck. When we finally arrived at the GPS location on our way out of town, we were surprised to find not a food truck, but a regular restaurant! We ate there anyway and were definitely not disappointed! I had the house-made veggie burger with veg. chili on it. It was not a pretty picture to watch me try to eat this sloppy mess, but it...was...delicious! Jess had their freshly made french fries and ketchup. Mmmmmm :)

Savannah proved to be a feast for all our senses and a memory we will never forget!

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Fruit Cake"

One of my favorite memories of this past summer was making this "Fruit Cake" with my aunt and cousins for our Fourth of July party in Ohio. This is one cake that makes you feel better the more of it you eat!

My Adventures into the Culinary Profession

This summer I had the unique opportunity to move to Solon, Ohio to work full-time in a natural foods bakery and part-time as a healthy personal chef. After graduating with a Humanities degree and working for the prior three months as a hostess and nanny, I jumped at the opportunity to have a change of scenery and a new experience.

My personal chef experience started very serendipitously when my aunt (whose home I was welcomed into for my five month adventure) told me about her friend and neighbor being interested in my services. I met with her, a mother of four children under 13 and a busy career as a VA doctor. I went over a sample meal plan of what I could offer, and she expressed that she wanted healthy meals (with a goal of weight-loss), and a variety of flavors. I jumped right in. Four times a week I did the grocery shopping, researched new recipes, and cooked meals which I delivered to her home before she got home from work. I experimented with different ethnic cuisine, making everything from Indian to Caribbean to Thai cuisine. I used mostly organic ingredients and whenever possible fresh herbs from my aunt's garden. I loved garnishing my meals with her beautiful edible flowers! I tried to make complete meals each time with soup or salad to start, an entree, and a dessert. I photographed all of my creations, but unfortunately my phone's camera did not always produce the most flattering representations. I wanted to share a few of my favorites, with some of the recipes I used to follow!

Jamaican Jerk Chickpeas

Apricot-Teriyaki Glazed Baked Tofu

Salad garnished with edible flowers

Pasta Primavera

Pizza with Whole Grain Crust, Pesto, Marinara, and Veggies

Green Tea and Maple Poached Pears Topped with Pistachios and Mint

Mochi filled with Vegan Cream Cheese, Honey, and Pistachios

Thai Stir-Fry with Bok Choy, Dried Chilis, and Cashews

Homemade Mediterranean Bean Burgers on Ezekiel Buns

Seitan with Spinach and Mushrooms in a White Wine Garlic Sauce over Polenta

Stuffed Peppers with Indian-Spiced Lentil

Tofu-Spinach filled Ravioli

Cinnamon Raisin Brown Rice Pudding

Seitan Skewers with Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce

"Mac'n'Cheeze" with Gardein Chicken Strips and Broccoil

Bean and Veggie filled Enchiladas