Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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I’m “normal” now. But don’t worry, I’m still me!

Got the results for my blood letting last week. I’ve been making the rounds of doctors, etc. in preparation for leaving the country – also, my benefit plan from school is good until the end of this month so am getting everything done that I can.

Doctor’s comment: “Everything is excellent!” The results in no way indicate that I was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago. He tested everything and every result was in the normal range!

Of note – my fasting sugars were 4.8 and my A1c was 5.4…. that is NON-DIABETIC.
– For Fasting 3.6 -6.0 is “Normal”
– For A1c under 6.0 is “Non-Diabetic”

I’ve had these numbers since 2016 after going Low Carb for only 4 months. And completely off medication since the beginning of 2019 (after having reduced the dose myself for a year before that) – with no change in my numbers at all. I stopped taking the Metformin without consulting anyone – I was monitoring myself, and the drugs made no difference whether I took them or not at that stage. I just told the doctor I’d stopped about a year after the fact.

So… cut out the sugar and the carbs and things will improve! Diabetes does not have to be progressively debilitating if you change your habits and take away the root cause of your body’s malfunctions which in my case was CARBS. I still wish I had known this information 10 or 20 years earlier as I could have stopped the damages, and lost the weight way earlier in my life, which would have also stopped the wear and tear damage to my joints and back (osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.)

And the really great thing is that the damage from diabetes can actually heal/improve with time in many cases! My only remaining “issue” is my eyes – unfortunately the diabetic retinopathy was so advanced when it was caught (that was how/when I was diagnosed) it is taking a long time to try to control. But I still consider myself lucky that there are treatments for it – my uncle went blind at the age of 19 – he was a Type 1 diabetic in the late 1960s when there was no treatment.

I was diagnosed as Type 2; but Type 1 also have HUGE benefits with Low Carb – I highly recommend Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s book – Diabetes Solution – this is what I followed to fix myself and still strictly follow. Most of the information is available online so you don’t even have to buy the book!

At the time of my diagnosis, which was three days before Christmas in 2015, my doctor simply said, “You’re diabetic” handed me a prescription for Metformin and the equipment (which was covered by my insurance as long as it was prescribed – was an excellent plan!) And that was it. No advice or referrals, nothing.

So I had to do my own research, which… given the state of my eyes was rather urgent. I knew carbs were not “good” for my blood sugar control. Looking at the various diabetes associations’ guidelines and diet plans I was completely disgusted. Sugar, carbs, fruits, three meals and three snacks a day – ALL CONTAINING HIGH CARBS AND REFINED SUGAR. I didn’t know a lot, but I knew that made no sense.

At first I tried to find a “plan” that would work. But if I followed a so-called diabetic meal plan my blood sugar did NOT come down. So I started removing carbs and anything with sugar, completely. I tried to keep fruit – but one bite of banana would spike me 10 points. A small slice of apple about 6 points. I tried to keep some so-called “good carbs” like oatmeal and 100% rye bread – ah, nope! Those would spike me around 8-10 points. I was doing a lot of eat it, then test every 20 minutes for a few weeks. Was interesting to see how things work.

Then I came across Dr. Bernstein’s book online and it was an epiphany! I think I heard angels singing. He has all the pertinent chapters freely available online so I was able to download the information and follow it right away. I did a series of blogs about how I got myself organized back in 2017 – You can read them HERE – that links to the first of the five-part series of “Getting Organized for a LCHF Life Style” that I wrote. They are also listed on my Food Stuff page.

Long story short I now am what is considered “normal” for bloodwork and weight range. I am 200lbs lighter than I was at my heaviest. My knees don’t hurt, I can touch and SEE my toes, and I don’t have to ask for seat belt extensions on airplanes anymore.

1998 vs 2017

I do not miss sugar. I don’t use sweeteners. I can bake cookies, breads, cakes and other desserts without either carbs or sweeteners and they are delicious. There are a multitude of options for protein and vegetables out there for low carb. Cheese is WAY more versatile than you think! And you can make awesome gravy just adding heavy cream to your pan juices or to butter and seasonings and reducing it.

I don’t get hungry all the time or have cravings. As I’m not hungry I do Intermittent Fasting (referred to as IF) which just means I eat nothing for 16-18 hours at a time, any food consumed in only done in the other 6-8 hour window. Many times I only have one meal a day (often referred to as OMAD by some people.)

I read labels – which can be challenging with my eyes not being great. I don’t buy much processed food as it is very difficult to find any without added sugars or carb based fillers (like starches such as bread crumbs) and I don’t like additives either. My goal is to be as low carb as I can possibly be. There are a few brands of sausages and cured meats that only contain meat and spices, but you really have to hunt for them.

This is one of the times where being considered NORMAL is just what I wanted and is an excellent thing to be.


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Bison Stroganoff… Yum!

For dinner I made Bison Stroganoff.  And it is YUMMY!  Extremely rich so only a small portion was able to be consumed today – and I have dinner for the next several days. Which is always a good thing.

Stroganoff is one of those easy dishes that doesn’t require exact measurements – I hate using measuring cups and spoons as it is just more stuff to clean up.  When I give a measurement it is more of an approximation – I eyeball everything.  But don’t worry, I am accurate!

Bison Stroganoff

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup olive oil (or any kind you want) **Note – I added the oil as bison is extremely lean, if you are using regular ground beef you could probably skip the oil if you prefer.

1 medium sliced onion

2 cloves of chopped garlic

1 pound of ground bison (or any meat/protein – I’ve done this with soy “ground round”)

1 pound of sliced or chopped mushrooms (any type – I used 1/2 button and 1/2 crimini)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup cream (coffee cream or whipping cream)

8 ounces of cream cheese

1/2 or 1 cup of sour cream (to your taste.)

To a large skillet or dutch oven add the oil and butter. Heat up on medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until it is starting to brown, add the garlic and the ground meat. Stir and watch until meat is starting to brown well – you want it to be browning on the bottom of the pan because that’s all the good flavour!

Add the mushrooms and all the seasonings and stir well.  Turn the heat down to medium. Add the water and put a lid on for five minutes or so.  Stir, make sure to scrape up any brown on the bottom of the pan. If the mushrooms still need a bit more cooking you can add more water if needed, and put the lid back on for a few more minutes.  (The crimini mushrooms stay a lot firmer and hold their shape, compared to the button mushrooms.)

Then add the cream and the cream cheese (cut it up into chunks to make it easier to work with) and stir until blended in and melted. Let the mixture start to bubble.

Last step is to add the sour cream and stir it in.  Let it start to bubble, and immediately remove from the heat.

In keeping with LCHF, I served it over steamed cauliflower.  It would also be good on zucchini, spaghetti squash or steamed cabbage.

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Pumpkin Pie time!

I am not on the pumpkin spice bandwagon but I do like pumpkin pie.  And seeing as we had frost last night and my tree decided to start dropping its leaves last week it feels like time for pumpkin pie!

I had found a couple of recipes for pumpkin pies without carbs or sugar… but they used things I didn’t want.  So, as usual I messed around and came up with my own version using what I had on hand and substituting or leaving out what I didn’t want.

This is a low carb, no added sugar recipe and it turned out really nice.  Sweetish rather than sweet, but if you want to add sweeteners go for it.  I used unsweetened apple sauce to add a bit of sweetness which was enough for me.

Low Carb, No Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 350F.

Base:

1/2 cup ground almonds or almond meal*

1/2 cup ground hazelnuts or hazelnut meal*

3 tbsp melted butter

Melt the butter and stir in the ground nuts.  Spread and press evenly and firmly in the bottom of a 6-8″ pie plate.  I used a small casserole as I only have one giant Pyrex pie plate and didn’t want a pie that big!

* Use any kind of ground nuts in any ratio you want – I just had a half cup of almond meal left in the bag, so mixed it with the hazelnuts.  Pecans would be excellent with pumpkin!

Bake for at least 10 minutes in a 350F oven. It should be starting to brown on the surface, then remove from the oven.

Filling:

1 1/2 cups of pureed pumpkin (I used canned)

2 eggs

1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce (one snack size container)

1 cup whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon (go with 1 1/2 tsp if you like cinnamon)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Optional: if you like add 1/8 tsp nutmeg and/or 1/8 tsp ground cloves for a stronger spice hit.

In a bowl combine all the filling ingredients and whisk to blend well.  Pour into the pie plate on top of the baked nuts.

Place it in the 350F oven in the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes.  Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle.  If the knife is coated, leave it in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Check again.  Once the knife comes out clean (only the odd speck of pumpkin on it) it is done.  I actually had to bake mine for almost two hours – it was a lot deeper than a pie plate would have been so needed a lot longer!  (Another indicator that it is done is that the surface of the filling forms cracks!) As long as the filling is set, it is done.

As I had decided to make this after 9 p.m., by the time it was done I was heading to bed!  I sat it on a rack to cool and left it there until morning.  I had a piece for breakfast and it was excellent.  The base was dry and almost crunchy even though it crumbled getting it out of the dish.  If it had been in a proper pie plate I think I could have got it out intact.

Cover and store leftovers in the fridge.

I am pretty happy with this recipe!

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**UPDATE:  After refrigeration the crust stayed together and lifted out beautifully.  And it tastes even better cold!

 

 


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Vegetable and Sausage Hash

I really hate it when I buy something that sounds really tasty and it is totally tasteless and the texture is unpleasant.  Even more when I bought the package at Costco and have more of it to deal with!

Case in point:  Sausages.  I bought a pack of three vacuum sealed packages of sausages (brat or smokey sized style) at Costco, and I separated them from each other to put in the freezer, in the process I threw out the cardboard sleeve that was wrapped around them.  The individual packages of four sausages have no label.  So… I can’t remember what they were supposed to be.  I would not have bought something that didn’t sound like it would be good.

Last night I decided to have sausages and salad for dinner.  They were awful.  I baked them in the oven and there was a lot of red oil coming out of them, and they were quite red colour (I suspect “sun-dried tomato” may be involved?)  I cut them up and inside were green bits of something I couldn’t identify.  There was no discernible flavour to any of it.  The stuffing was quite loose and the meat crumbled out of the casing.

I ate part of one and stuck the rest in the fridge to figure out what to do with them.  I hate wasting food.

My sister suggested they might be mild Italian sausage.  Possibly, but I normally don’t buy Italian sausage – so maybe it was a flavoured version?  Whatever it is I hope I NEVER buy it again.  I do remember the packaging at least, so I should be safe.

So, what did I do with it?  I made Hash!

Hash is easy and is a great Sunday brunch.  And seeing as my fridge is full of all sorts of vegetables I had lots to choose from.

I  diced up some celery, green pepper, onion, cauliflower, pattypan squash, mushrooms, and chopped up all the leftover sausage.  I had about a half a cup to a cup of each vegetable and three chopped up sausages – it is hash, the amounts don’t really matter.  This amount made two meals for me.  One this morning and leftovers for tomorrow.

I heated up my pan and added peanut oil then started with the onions, peppers and celery with a teaspoon of diced garlic (I have a big jar of diced garlic in the fridge).

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Once they were sweating down I added the sausage meat and cauliflower.  I let that start to brown a bit and put a lid on to get the veggies cooked.

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Then I added the mushrooms and squash, and some Montreal Steak Spice and salt, stirred and put the lid back on.

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It needed quite a bit of salt actually.  I added it three times!

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I topped it off with a fried egg (fried in butter of course.)

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It was good.  And thankfully the sausages didn’t ruin it, so I have a way to use up the rest of them

It would be even better with sausages that taste good, or left over roast, chicken, etc!

 

 


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Summer Squash & Bison Taco Soup

I had to turn the furnace on yesterday… in August!  Yikes.  Last year August got damp too.  And it has been raining quite a bit this year.  Definitely feels like Fall is here even though there is still a month of Summer left.

They are cute, but these pattypans aka sunburst squash are plentiful right now, and best to use them when still fresh!

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I had a package of ground bison thawing in the fridge so when I got home tonight I decided the two could go together to make a nice meal.  I hadn’t intended it to be soup to start with but part way through decided to add some homemade stock and other things.

I am allergic to beef so I use ground bison (which is extremely lean) or pork or lamb when I want ground meat.  I watch for the 50% off stickers at the store and grab the bison and lamb when it is marked down and freeze it.  It is pretty expensive otherwise.

I just grab things and toss them into the pot.  No measuring.  Aside from the squash – I had five of them – I had fresh onions, green onions, green pepper and in the freezer diced celery and homemade stock.  And a can of diced tomatoes from the pantry.  I also used my homemade taco seasoning mix.

Soup is a great way to use up vegetables that are left over or getting a little limp, or just stuff that you need to use before it is time to throw it out.  The green onions were pretty dead looking that I used.

The celery in the freezer was the diced scraps from cleaning stalks of celery – the leafy ends and centres that weren’t “stick” material for my munching.  I have bags of it in there!  I put it in soups, stews, casseroles, in the bottom of the roaster to set the meat on, etc.

I also freeze chicken carcasses and bones from roasts and steaks – I just keep adding to a large Ziploc freezer bag.  When I have a substantial amount I roast them until they are well-browned (much better flavour that way!) and make stock in my crock pot to freeze.

I used my dutch oven for this soup but you could do it in a crock pot if you wanted.  I browned the bison in some peanut oil, then added the chopped onions, green onions, green peppers and the frozen celery and let them sweat down a bit.  Then added the cubed squash.  Even though the squash were still fairly small I needed to remove the seeds before cutting them up.

I stirred it a few times and once the squash was starting cook I added about three to four tablespoons (well, I dumped about a third of what was left in the bottle in actually) of my taco seasoning mix.  Then I added a 12-ounce can of diced tomatoes and approximately two cups of stock (I’m guessing – it was a frozen container that could have been three cups.)

Once the pot was starting to boil, I put the lid on and put in the oven at 350F for about an hour and a half.

I find finishing soups in the oven works really well, and you don’t end up with a splattered stove top.

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It turned out great!  A bit spicier than I was expecting due the amount of the taco mix I’d added, but still excellent. I am developing a taste for spicier things lately.

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Eat it as is, or garnish with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  I added shredded cabbage to the bowl and put the soup on top!  It was very good that way.  I’m all about getting in as many vegetables as I can in a meal.

The rest will be frozen in serving sizes for quick meals.  I like having things ready to grab and heat once theatre season starts – which is in less than a month – as I don’t have much of a break between work and call times.

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I make my own spice mixes – that way I know I am only getting what I want in them.  Commercial taco seasoning mixes usually contain flour or cornflour and sugar in some form – so I don’t use them.

Shannon’s Taco Seasoning

I make big batches (this makes around 2 cups) and store in recycled spice jars – those industrial sized ones from Costco.  It keeps a very long time.

1/2 cup of chilli powder

1/3 cup of dried minced onion OR you can use 2 tablespoons of onion powder instead

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of salt (your choice – table salt, sea salt, etc.)

1.5 tablespoons of ground cumin

1.5 tablespoons of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons of ground coriander

Combine all of the ingredients either directly into your storage container, or in a bowl.  Shake or mix well.  Put in sealed container and store with your spices in a cool, dry, dark place.

 

 

 

 


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Zucchini Pizza Pie

I was inspired by the posts and recipes floating around for “Zucchini Pizza Crust” knowing full well that it would NOT be as described but liking the sound of it.  I mean, what could be bad about zucchini, cheese and eggs with pizza toppings added?  Not a damn thing as it turns out!

I’m calling this a “Pizza Pie” as it does taste like excellent pizza but is not able to be eaten with your hands (unless you really enjoy being messy!) – knife and fork all the way.

So first off… it is zucchini season, and as anyone who has grown them (or has a neighbour, relative or friend who is growing them) knows, finding things to do with them is always a late summer challenge.

I decided to use my biggest one for this.  It was either grate it up for this or stuff it and bake it.  I scooped out the seeds and grated it up while watching Casablanca… damn, that movie makes me cry every time.

So got it all grated and sat it in a sieve in the sink, sprinkled liberally with salt and let it drain for an hour while I grated up some aged cheddar while watching Dark Passage (it was Bogie day on TCM apparently.)

I turned the oven on to 450F to pre-heat.

Yes, I sit on the chesterfield, watching television, while I grate things… so what?

I mixed up the grated zucchini (after squeezing out all the moisture I could) – I didn’t measure it… probably 2-3 cups total; the cheese (maybe 2 cups of grated;) and two eggs.

I then dumped the mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out to about half an inch thickness.  I pushed up the sides a bit to make them straight and not touching the edges of the pan.

I put the sheet in the oven on the centre rack.  The recipes I saw said that it should bake for 15 or 20 minutes.  My oven runs hot and it took closer to 40 minutes!  I checked it every 10 minutes, and then reset the timer.  The edges were brown and the top of it was just barely starting to get a hint of brown, and the surface looked dry when I took it out.  Maybe I had it a lot thicker than the recipes intended?

The recipes said to let it cool before turning it into a pizza.  So I slid it onto a clean piece of parchment on a room temp baking sheet to speed that up (I was hungry!)  I trimmed the edges and ate them – YUM!  It was really excellent all by itself – like a soft zucchini fritter.

I increased my oven temp to the highest it would go which was 550F.

I prepped a bunch of veggies by dicing very small – 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  Needed to be very small to cook through quickly.  I used green pepper, green onions, fresh tomatoes, and a small can of chopped black olives. I also had some parmesan salami and mozzarella cheese.

When my zucchini base was cool-ish (it was still pretty warm, but like I said before, I was hungry) I spread leftover spinach/artichoke/cream cheese dip that I’d made the other day over it, then sprinkled all the fresh veggies and olives over that, then laid out the salami, and slices of mozzarella over top of the whole thing.

It then went into the 550F oven for 8 minutes. I kept a close eye on it as I didn’t want it to burn!

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It smelled divine!  As you can see in the next photo, it was too sloppy to eat like a pizza.

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I think I’ll make a few batches of the zucchini base and freeze to use later on.  It is one way to use up the zucchini and have something on hand to make a quick dinner.  Although, I need to use the food processor not the hand grater next time.

I now have leftovers for a few days, and am looking forward to them!

 


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Summer thoughts and deeds

Last weekend I was face painting at Grizfest Music Festival in Tumbler Ridge, BC.  I have been there every year since 2005!  It is a nice weekend in a beautiful little town in the mountains.  We get to paint and listen to great music while we work.  We drive up there Saturday morning (three-hour drive), paint for five hours on Saturday and Sunday, and drive home on Monday.  I always enjoy the trip – even driving through blinding rain and thunderstorms, forest fires, and snow – depending on the year.

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This year Tom Cochrane was the headliner on Saturday (we ran into him in the lobby of the hotel!) and Simple Plan was the main act on Sunday.

On July 13th my crew and I face painted at Municipal Government Day at Muskoseepi Park (which had been rescheduled from June due to a massive storm!)  This photo by William Vavrek Photography is of the line-up of people waiting for face painting.  The City events at the Park are always busy!

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We were there on Canada Day too.  And so was William Vavrek Photography!  I am too busy to stop to take photos so thankfully someone is there to take some!

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Next weekend I will be face painting at the Debolt Festival & Fair on Saturday.

The weather has been really damp here – thunderstorms, massive rain.  I actually put my furnace on yesterday as the damp was making it quite chilly and I needed to warm up the air in the house.  Yesterday there were thunderstorms for 10 hours straight… one after the other rolled in.  Everything is nice and green… but too wet to mow!  On the positive side I don’t have to haul the hose around to water the garden.

In other news things are progressing – still dropping weight as a result of removing carbs and sugar from my diet, blood sugar is staying in the normal range and I am still receiving injections in my eyes to treat diabetic retinopathy (apparently it is working and once it it fixed the injections stop.)

This is of me in 2000 and me last Saturday.  The change was really gradual, and in spurts due to various things.  The big changes due to the diagnosis last December resulted in a 50 lb drop, which is continuing.  I am assuming I will plateau once my body finds it’s preferred level as I am not dieting, per se, just don’t eat things I can’t.

BW before after

I’ve reached the stage where I can actually shop in “normal” stores and buy off-the-rack large and medium clothing… and it FITS!  I’ve never done that.  When I was 10 I was wearing my mother’s clothes.

I keep ending up in the plus size areas – habit I guess.  It is hard to look at things to judge size, but I am slowly getting the hang of it as I have to shop for new things every month I am getting lots of practice.  I’m doing most of the shopping at Giant Tiger or Goodwill – no point in spending a lot when I’m going to be donating things in a month!  I was searching for heavy leggings (heavy as they need to hold things in, like loose skin) and ended up at Bootlegger. I’ve never bought anything there before!

I culled my closet again and dropped off a load at Goodwill this week.  I need to start making sure to wear all the things that fit, WHILE they fit. I get annoyed with myself when I pull out something I bought a couple months ago, never wore, and now it is too big to look nice.

I’m a little sad my Spider-Man and Hulk shirts are too big now.  I’d inherited them from my brother Neil when he died.  I’ve only been able to wear them lately.  The Hulk is just hanging off of me and Spidey probably will only be wearable until the end of this month.  I really love those shirts.  I’ve been looking for similar ones but just don’t see them anywhere.

Oh, and this is exciting – I bought cheap sports bras (two for $12) in large, and they fit!  OMG, they are so comfortable!  There are some things you NEED a bra under and the only one I own is black – and that just doesn’t work for light summer tops!  As I am less than an A-cup I don’t need much.  One of the first things to disappear was whatever bosom I had (which wasn’t much to start with.)

This is 2013 vs this week … anyone interested in a medieval reversible bodice and blouse?

2013 vs 2016

 

 

 

 

 


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Happy dance! (and cheesecake)

I am heading into week two of all “normal” blood sugar readings!  Even my fasting sugars are in the normal range now – they took the longest to get down.

Took four months to get them there.  Four months of NO sugar and NO carbs – which is a permanent change in order to maintain and control the diabetes.

I see my doctor next week for my four month follow-up to the diagnosis in December. I know my A1C won’t reflect the last week’s success but it will definitely be better than the one in December.  But I can look forward to my next one being NORMAL in three to four months!

And the side effect of weight loss is also continuing.  I’m down 30 pounds since Christmas. I had to give in and buy MORE pants.  There were photos of me taken a few weeks ago … I looked like a bag lady – I was horrified.  The clothes were horribly baggy and just awful.  To force myself to stop wearing them I culled my closet, again, and took it all to Goodwill.  Every couple of weeks I try on everything and am bagging up things that are just too big.  I do have a fair selection of tops that do still fit –  so haven’t had to start buying replacements for them yet.  I just don’t want to spend much until I plateau.

I am still experimenting with making up my own recipes!  Yesterday I made a cheesecake – NO added sugar (and no sugar substitutes!)  It is really good – rich, and hits the spot.  It is no bake and really simple.

As I discovered that I can eat 85% cocoa chocolate without any effect on my blood sugar (ONE PIECE, not a whole bar!) I decided to make a base for the cheesecake with melted chocolate and chopped almonds – spread it in the bottom of the dish and put it in the fridge to set.  Then I whipped an 8 oz brick of cream cheese (it was at close to room temp), 1/2 cup of unsweetened peanut butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla with my electric handheld mixer until fluffy.

I spread the cheese mixture on top of the base, covered with plastic and put in the fridge for a few hours.   This recipe made a small cake – I made it in a 6″ ramekin – which is four small servings.  I lined the dish with plastic wrap and lifted it out once it was set and put it on a plate to cut.

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I find, with the chocolate base, that it is sweet to my taste.  But… I haven’t eaten anything sweet for four months.  I will make another, this time without the peanut butter and have it with some berries.  I think I want to try baking one too – and use coconut, butter and ground almonds to make a crust (which may end up being more of a crumble but it’s worth a try!)  And maybe flavour the cheese with lemon or lime.

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No substitutes

I’ve given up on the idea of finding substitutes for carbs. I’m adapting to not having things like bread, pizza, potato chips, tacos, rice, corn, peas, pasta, mashed potatoes, Cheetos, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, cookies, crackers, grains, pancakes, fries, croutons, couscous, popcorn, pie, cake, wonton soup, pad thai, almond chicken, california rolls, french toast, grilled cheese sandwiches … sigh…

The first couple months after I stopped eating carbs I actively looked for and experimented with using alternatives – trying recipes using coconut flour or almond flour, etc.  Other than one that was sort of okay (but in no way did it resemble an “English muffin” but it did make adequate very very thin toast that had to be loaded with cream cheese to actually be tasty) they were all really awful.

The effort was not worth the results so I just altered my mindset – instead of trying to find something to replace those foods, I’ve just accepted I no longer can eat them.

I get a lot of suggestions from friends, recommending something I should try.  But gluten free, unfortunately, is not carb free.  Rice has no gluten but is all carbs. And while there are grains that are lower in carbs, like rye, I still spike after eating them.

The ingredients are really expensive for the “replacement” recipes.  I now have a collection of “flours” to try to figure out what to do with.  The almond flour works for dredging and coating things at least – makes a very good coating on pork chops!

I gave up all sugar too – any sugar.  So that’s white, brown, cane, honey, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup,  or using dates as a substitute in baking. That wasn’t hard for me.  I did like sweets but I didn’t have a real sweet tooth.  I did try Stevia in a baking experiment – yuck.  I don’t like artificial sweeteners, never have, so don’t use them at all.

I don’t eat much fruit now, due to the natural sugars.  They spike my blood sugar too much.  I can manage a few things in very limited quantities – like unsweetened frozen strawberries (which I mix with plain yoghurt) and unsweetened apple sauce.  And an occasional shot of no sugar added cranberry juice doesn’t seem to hurt.

My current way of eating almost fits the definition of a Paleo Diet or LCHF (Low Carb High Fat).  I have NOT given up dairy because life would not be worth living without cheese.

Add all that to my allergy to beef (which has put me in the hospital a couple of times) and an inability to digest cellulose (which is put in pretty much all pre-shredded cheese) – it means no more eating out.  It isn’t worth the hassle of being THAT customer at a restaurant – you know, the one who wants to substitute half the ingredients in everything?

I’m doing a lot of playing around with herbs and spices – I’ve actually started adding heat in spice form which I was never into before (some were known to call me a wimp.)  Trying new spices that I’ve not used before and being a lot heavier handed with them too.

Every meal has vegetables, including breakfast – celery is my new best friend, and my main snack food is nuts. My weekly shopping consists of fresh vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, cream, and plain yoghurt.

I am looking forward to summer with fresh local vegetables.  I’ve signed up again for a share in our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with Summer’s Gold.  Weekly deliveries from a local farm for three months (July through September).  And this year they have added a locally raised and produced meat share too!  I’ve been buying into the program for five years now and highly recommend it to everyone.  These programs are all over so check your area to see if there is one near you – they vary depending on the producer.

 

It all seems to be working – In the last week and a half I’ve had eight normal readings on my blood sugar, and this morning, for the first time, my fasting sugar was in range!  I have got my readings down to half of what my A1C was in December, on average.

My goal is to get off the medication.  And as I am on the lowest dose that should be possible.  I see my doctor in a month for follow-up tests.


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What a change

I’ve been losing weight due to my diet change.  When you stop eating carbs and sugar that is a side-effect which is usually quite welcome!

I knew the weight was coming off as my pants kept falling off (as covered in my previous post) and I culled my wardrobe of everything that was miles too big and have another load to donate.  And I had to buy new underwear.

I don’t own a scale so every two weeks I get on the scale at the gym so see where I’m at. Last week I was 22 pounds less than I was at Christmas.  I did the math – I’ve been losing 0.255 pounds per DAY.  Kind of boggles the mind.

AND… last week I FINALLY had two blood sugar readings “in range”!  Too bad I can’t have a cake to celebrate.  Kidding.

Yesterday I took a photo of myself, well, I took a photo of the face painting I did on myself for a birthday party I was booked for.  I like to keep photos of the designs I do for reference.  I knew I now had a visible neck and had thinned out a bit in the face but when you look at yourself everyday you don’t see how much of a change there has been.

I went looking for old photos for comparison… Holy crap!

I found one from when I think I was at my heaviest.  It was taken in July 1998 (the month I got my driver’s license  BTW… just some trivia there.)  I don’t actually know how much I weighed as we didn’t own a scale and I preferred not to know.  I had levelled off there and hadn’t changed size for several years – this is the me that wore that sweater and size 28 jeans from the previous post.

Well… here is the old me and the new me who is still a work in progress, 18 years apart.

1998 vs 2016

Almost doesn’t look like the same person… but those dated eyebrows are a dead give-away!