Categories
Dealing with Diabetes Diabetes and Food Diabetes Blog Week

I Can…Better Understand My Food Choices

If there’s one good thing that’s come from my friend Diabetes, its the fact that its made me better understand my food choices.

Growing up, my parents had junk food in the house for us to snack on. We had biscuits in the morning and potato chips, lollies, chocolate, ice cream and soft drink after school (not all in one hit!). I can still remember politely asking Mum if it was okay to open “something special,” which is what we used to call junk food. Don’t get me wrong, its not like we were an unhealthy family. We had home packed lunches during the day and home cooked meals at night. Its just that we never had any restrictions on junk food from Mum and Dad.

And ever since, I’ve had to have “something special” in the afternoons. Its become a subconscious habit that’s been impossible to break away from. Whether I was home at three, four or five o’clock, I still had to open that cupboard and grab a packet of chips. That is, until Diabetes came along.

I never used to even think about junk food, or any of the foods I was eating and its impact on my health. And yet now, diabetes has opened my mind to the food choices I make. I liken it to this particular episode of How I Met Your Mother. Everyone had their annoying habits – Lily crunched loudly, Ted over corrected people, Marshall sang about everything he was doing, Robin overused the word ‘literally’ and Barney spaced out when people spoke to him. And nobody ever noticed these habits until an outsider pointed them out, ‘shattering’ the gang’s perfect illusions of each other.

Diabetes has made me far more aware of my food choices than I ever was before. I actually read the nutrition information on the products that I buy in the supermarket. I understand the effects that carbs, fat and sugars in my food will have on my body and blood sugar levels. And after lots of experience, I have learned how to respond appropriately.

Now I only eat salad and drink water. The fridge is full of fresh fruit and veggies and there is no junk food to be found in the house. Ha! Yeah right!

But I really do think about my food choices now. I’ll still open the cupboards most afternoons and stare at the tempting goodies in there. But I’ll also think about the repercussions afterwards – like feelings of guilt and depression, being too full for dinner, and delayed blood sugar spikes by bedtime.

One of the biggest hurdles I’ve overcome thanks to diabetes is the junk foods that I used to eat on a daily basis. Potato chips and ice cream, that I used to eat every day, I might have about once a week. Now, I’ll do my best to satisfy the urge for an afternoon snack in ways other than junk food. Sometimes I’ll have a nice coffee or cup of tea to keep my mouth occupied. Other days I’ll have crackers and cheese with a handful of nuts.

But I’m certainly no Saint. I still nibble on chocolate most days (my biggest weakness), and I buy my lunch from the food court every Friday. I still end up overdoing it on special occasions like morning teas, eating out and on lazy days. More than I’d like to admit.

But I understand what I’m eating. I know how to react. And that’s all that really matters.

I’ve written this post as a participant in Diabetes Blog Week 2015. Follow #dBlogWeek on Twitter for the latest updates from the event and participants.

Categories
Diabetes and Food

Ryvita Crispbread

When lunchtime hits in my household, you can probably place your bets on how long I will spend opening and closing the cupboards and fridges looking for something different to have. I take forever to make a decision, because I’m not the kind of person who can just eat the same thing every day.

If you’re looking for some lunchtime inspiration, Ryvita Crispbreads should do the trick. Dense, grainy crackers served with the topping of your choice – mine being Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Smoked Ham and Spinach – should make for a satisfying light lunch or mid afternoon snack.

There are currently three varieties on the supermarket shelf including Original Rye, Sesame Rye and Multigrain, full of wholesome-sounding ingredients such as Wholegrain Rye Flour and a variety of wholegrains and seeds.

DSC03530

The nutrition information ticks all of the boxes for me. The fat and sugar content is suprisingly low for a processed product. Meanwhile, the dense flours, seeds and grains embedded into the crispbread help beef up the protein and non-carb energy in the product and lower the overall Glycemic Index. The end result is a satisfying snack that will release energy and glucose into the bloodstream slowly and will help you feel fuller for longer.

In the same way that wholegrains and seeds make breads more interesting, the dense, grainy composition of Ryvita gives it a point of difference from most other crackers. Although it doesn’t have a strong flavour, its meant to be had with toppings such as ricotta, cheese, lean meats or fresh vegetables. It also doesn’t leave a salty aftertaste, which I think is a good thing.

DSC03570

Ryvita can be found in Woolies, Coles, IGA and other major supermarkets. At around $3 for a packet of 22 crispbreads, I’d say its pretty competitive with other products in the cracker/biscuit aisle. Writing this post has made me re-realise the goodness of Ryvita, and I would like to be buying these more often than I currently am. Ryvita is probably one of the best diabetes-friendly products in the cracker aisle of your supermarket.

Nutrition Information

Carbohydrate:

  • 11g to 13g per serving of 2 crispbreads

Sugars:

  • 1g to 2g per serving of 2 crispbreads
  • 3g to 7g per 100g

Fat:

  • 0g to 2g per serving of 2 crispbreads
  • 1g to 8g per 100g

Protein:

  • 2g to 3g per serving of 2 crispbreads
  • 9g to 12g per 100g

Dietary Fibre:

  • 3g to 4g per serving of 2 crispbreads
  • 15g to 18g per 100g

Glycemic Index Estimate:

  • Low (less than 55). NB: While there is no GI data specified for this product, I would estimate a low GI rating based on its ingredient list of wholegrain rye flours, seeds and grains.

Product Overview

Varieties:

Price:

  • Around $3 for a packet of around 22 crispbreads.

Where to buy:

Official Website:

 

Categories
Dealing with Diabetes Diabetes and Food

Falling Off The Wagon

In all honesty I have kind of fallen off the wagon in the past few days, which I could put down to a couple of things.

Temptation. Mine was in the form of 25 cent Malt-Easter chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Marvellous Creations Easter eggs (seriously, if you have not tried these, what are you even doing with your life?) And even though I had the best of intentions to share them around, not all of them made their way to the chocolate basket at home.

Cooler weather. If there’s one thing I do love at the moment, its the cooler nights and being able to get cozy in front of the telly. But sadly, its also the perfect climate for being lazy and comfort eating. On Sunday I settled down in front of Despicable Me (how have I not seen this sooner?) and ended up chowing down a whole bag of Red Rock Deli Chips (Honey Soy Chicken, of course).

Exhaustion. Mostly work related and just feeling run off my feet all day. By the time I get home I’m ready to flop and can’t really be bothered with much else. Cue the lotto Gods (yeah right). But more realistically, I am perservering with my blog and want to make some sort of career from it in the future.

On Sunday morning I woke up to a beautiful blood sugar reading of 21.0. Not really a suprise considering all the fatty junk food I had eaten (fats raise your BGLs several hours later), but still a scare. I knew I’d gone too far. My blood sugar had been sitting at that horrible level for the past 8 hours (probably more) that I’d been sleeping. I absolutely hate when that happens. Nothing annoys me more. Then cue the feelings of guilt, followed by scary thoughts of possible diabetes complications from the damage I’d done to my body. How could I have been so irresponsible, so stupid?

I hastily jabbed myself with some insulin, before heading to the kitchen. My mouth was left dry from all of the sugar and sodium I had consumed the day prior, and I was dying for a refreshing cup of tea. I refused to eat until my levels went down, although I can’t say I was feeling very hungry anyway. Damn shame too, because weekend breakfasts are my favourite time of week. The two days where I can actually take my time and enjoy something better than a hasty bowl of cereal. And I’d ruined it.

There’s not much of a point to this post other than to tell you that I’m not perfect. Nobody is. And I’ve no doubt you’ve found yourself in a similar situation at some point. Which is why I felt it was so important to share this. While I truly regret what I did, I think it was also the perfect wake up call (or in my case, scare) that I needed to start being sensible again.

Please tell me I’m not alone in this – have you been in a similar situation before?

Categories
Diabetes and Food

Four Ingredient Muesli Nut Bars

DSC03475

I’ve been experimenting with muesli bars for some time. And there have been some disastrous results along the way. In the past I’ve had trouble getting them to stay together when cut up. I even tried doubling the honey in one recipe, which only resulted in a sickly sweet batch of muesli crumble. Yuck! Recipes also tend to make a huge dish that lasts me way too long, especially if it doesn’t turn out great.

Inspired by my last couple of posts, I have only used one source of sweetness for this recipe in the form of honey. The peanuts also add their own distinct flavour to the mix, as well as some protein – perfect fuel for beating the mid afternoon slump!

I have opted for an egg to bind it all together rather than any glucose or syrups. It does the job perfectly, and I promise it won’t fall apart when you go to chop the bars up.

This recipe makes 10 bars, which is perfect for me because it won’t last for ages and I can try something different in a few days.

And its really simple to make! Just combine your four ingredients in a mixing bowl, press the mixture onto a baking tray and bake!

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a small baking tray with paper.
  2. Place peanuts in a plastic snap lock bag. To crush, hammer with a meat tenderiser (meat mallet).
  3. Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place mixture onto baking tray. Press firmly against the bottom of the tray using a spoon (or fingers!)
  5. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until mixture is golden.
  6. Take baking dish out of oven. Cool.
  7. Chop muesli bars into 10 pieces and store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information Estimate (per serve):

When made as directed and sliced into 10 equal bars, your nutrition info would look something like this…

  • Carbohydrate: 14g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fibre: 2g
  • Glycemic Index Estimate: Medium
Categories
Diabetes and Food

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

DSC03393

Unless I’m hypo, biscuits are generally a no-no for me. But lets face it, a cuppa is pretty boring without something sweet to go with it. Earlier this year I stumbled upon Belvita Breakfast Biscuits in the supermarket, and seeing Low GI on the box pretty much sold it for me.

There are six different varieties including Chocolate, Cranberry, Fruit and Fibre, Milk and Cereals, Crunchy Oats and Honey and Nut that boast five wholegrain cereals and a slow release of carbohydrates. Each box contains 6 individually wrapped packets of four biscuits, which makes it a great long lasting staple for my desk drawer at morning tea time.

The ingredient list doesn’t look too shabby either, with some healthy-sounding ingredients comprising the 63% cereals and oats that Belvita is made of. I’m also impressed by the “4 hour slow release of carbohydrates,” meaning that my blood sugar levels aren’t likely to skyrocket from a little indulgence. Other health related research on the box, conducted by Belvita, gives me confidence in putting the product in my shopping trolley.

DSC02497

On the downside, I’m not convinced that these biscuits should be consumed as a substitute for your breakfast carbohydrate source as the box suggest (they are biscuits, after all!). I normally opt for a smaller serving of 2 biscuits as a snack, rather than 4.

I would also be wary of the percentages of fat and sugar in the product per 100g (ideally 10 per cent or less). With the fat per 100g ranging from 14 to 17 per cent and sugar ranging from 20 to 28 per cent, I would recommend choosing one of the varieties at the lower end of the scale such as Milk and Cereals or Cranberry.

Belvita’s tastes have been a hit and miss for me. While the Honey and Nut variety was absolutely delicious, the Milk and Cereals was off the mark. Somehow I just don’t think the flavour of milk and cereal goes down well in a biscuit, but perhaps you’ll disagree.

DSC02499

With that being said, I would still recommend the brand as a diabetes friendly snack (in moderation, of course!). I only purchase Belvita occasionally, mainly due to the fact that a box will last me several weeks and I like my variety! Belvita can be found in Woolworths, Coles and IGA supermarkets in Australia. At around $4 to $5 per box, Belvita is double the price of a packet of comparable Arnott’s biscuits. However, I don’t mind paying more for something that is better for me, and they are often on sale at up to half price.

There aren’t a lot of products in the biscuit aisle that can proudly identify as diabetes friendly, so well done to the guys at Belvita for coming up with something original.

NB: This information is an average across all six varieties, precise information can be found on Belvita’s website.

Carbohydrate: 

30-35g per serve of 4 biscuits

Fat: 

7-9g per serve of 4 biscuits; 14-17g per 100g

Sugars:

10-14g per serve of 4 biscuits, 20-28g per 100g

Glycaemic Index Rating (GI): 

GI rating of between 45 and 54 (low). NB: Not certified by the Glycaemic Index Foundation, information is backed by Belvita’s scientific studies involving the breakfast biscuits.

Varieties:

Milk and Cereals, Fruit and Fibre, Crunchy Oats, Honey and Nut, Cranberry

Price:

$4-$5 for a box of 24 biscuits (6 individually wrapped packets of 4)

Where to buy:

Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other major supermarkets.

Website: 

www.belvitabreakfast.com.au