Archive for the ‘The Beetus’ Category

I’ve known for some time that you are what you eat. I always figured that was crap, since I never turned into a giant bag of snack food or a big loaf of bread.Fact is, there’s truth to it, something that I am seeing almost every day. Since I’ve started to really monitor what it is I’ve been eating, I notice that not only am I losing weight, I feel better. Better physically and far better about myself mentally.

It’s also enabled me to make some changes in my lifestyle that I probably couldn’t before. I’m now much more able to get up and go for a walk than I was just a few weeks ago. Even after totally getting arc trainer-ed to death today, I still went out for a walk. Was it an intense walk? No, but it was activity and I didn’t feel the need to sit around and eat. That’s a huge plus.

So, changing what we eat has been a huge part of the success I’ve had so far. Eating more protein and less carbs. Being mindful of the sugar content of what I do eat and its glycemic value. Being active and thinking of stuff to do to avoid raiding the fridge. Every one of these small changes is helping me toward a bigger one and a healthier lifestyle.

Fresh local corn, steamed broccoli, balsamic marinated asparagus and sautéed scallops with a side of tomato/mozzarella salad.

Now, Supportive Partner Woman (bestest wife in the whole wide world!) and I have started a bit of a Sunday tradition. She’s been working most Sundays while I’ve had off. So, I try to think of a nice, healthy dinner and prepare it so she can come home, eat something that’s not breaded, fried or otherwise prepared elsewhere, and we actually get to eat at our own table.

This past week, SPW (shopper of great skill!) came across scallop pieces at a good price. These were gorgeous, though… they might have been pieces, but they looked like real sea scallops. Since I needed to use them, I sautéed them in some olive oil, made some local sweet corn that we picked up at Root’s Market, added some steamed broccoli and as SPW is a far of asparagus, threw together a quick and dirty balsamic marinade, then sautéed the asparagus. Turned out rather tasty.

To make the marinade, I took 1/2 cup of olive oil, about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, added a touch of oregano, garlic powder and basil. Mixed them together and put the marinade in a Zip-loc bag with the asparagus spears. Put it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. Only change I will be making is to let it marinate longer… the flavor was good but not completely married.

The other item I threw together was a quick tomato and mozzarella salad. I seeded and diced some Roma tomatoes, then diced 8 oz. of mozzarella. Added some Italian salad dressing (I said it was quick) and finished it with some basil. After stirring it, I covered the bowl and put it back in the fridge. It makes a very easy, light and refreshing salad.

I did that whole meal in around 25-30 minutes. Can’t argue with it. It’s fun to create and to tweak recipes. The only thing I won’t change is my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tweaked it a few years ago and hit a home run, so I do it the same, even using the same baking sheets. If anyone wants my recipe, feel free to ask.

Until next time…

The bane of my existence is being stuck with the Beetus. Having to treat myself like a human pincushion is not on my list of fun activity. The insulin injections are annoying enough, but it’s the testing that I detest.

Diabetes sucks, but this is pretty cool tech.

I admit, when I got my first test kit, it was kind of cool. Make yourself bleed a little, watch a drop of blood get drawn up the test strip, and viola, you have a blood glucose reading. It’s like diabetic sorcery! However, when you have to do it multiple times a day, well, it starts to suck. Since you’re pricking your finger, you have the worry about getting blood smear on your clothes, not to mention going too deep and hitting a nerve. I also found that tech has recently invaded the world of diabetes. Pharmaceutical giant sanofi-aventis has created the iBGStar glucometer which connects directly to a iPhone or iPod touch and uses an integrated app to import and track all glucometer readings. It’s actually kind of cool and I wonder if my insurance company would pay for it.

This is also what you run into when you are on insulin, especially by injection. Sure, the syringes aren’t too long, but there are certain spots where you bleed or other spots that sting a bit. Unless you’ve a masochistic streak, most people don’t enjoy that kind of stuff.

The other thing to consider is the actual measurements themselves. The measurement the handy-dandy meter gives you is calibrated in milligrams per deciliter. Normally speaking, a healthy human’s blood glucose reading should be between 70-130 mg/dL before meals. For me, this is a problem. I usually find myself chasing a reading and that’s not good. It’s not good to be outside the target range, but a low reading is worse than a high reading. For me, if I dip into the 80s, I can feel my hands start to shake and I generally feel lousy. Lower than that, the cold sweats and double vision. NOT fun.

There’s normally some variations in the readings. This can depend on many factors, some dietetic, some environmental, and some mental. I was guilty of chasing the readings, trying to figure out why some readings were higher than others and I didn’t have anything to eat. Luckily, my new primary care provider, Rachel Ho, was able to shine some light on why this happens. Seems that when you don’t eat, your body starts to use stored fuel (aka fat cells) and this can boost your glucose levels. It was the first time anyone ever really took the time to answer those questions in real words, not medical jargon. I must say that I’m pleased with this change in caregivers… Rachel isn’t an MD, but has a refreshing, no-nonsense air about her that just lets you know that if I don’t keep on the straight and narrow, she’ll give me a kick in the ass. In fact, Rachel impressed us so much that The Management made an appointment to see her, which she chronicles here.

Please, don’t take anything I’ve written here as the gospel truth. This is not the Book of Beetus, Chapter 1. Diabetes is a terrible disease and if you can do anything to avoid it, do it. The human pincushion impression sucks, it’s expensive and it will really make your life miserable. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, take it seriously and make sure you see a doctor who takes it even more seriously. If you don’t, well, I lost part of a toe. It could’ve been much worse. Take your meds and if they are causing you problems, talk to your doctor. If he/she won’t listen or pooh-poohs your concerns, find another doctor. If you have children, make sure they eat properly. It’s not a bad thing for them to have a treat now and then, but make the treat the exception, rather than the rule. If you think that diabetes is a joke, I have some post-operative pictures of my toe I can share.

 

Today was a kitchen day. It didn’t start out to be, but it certainly ended up as such.

For whatever reason, I thought about making my own pico de gallo, but I started out with a little tomato, mozzarella and basil salad. Nothing to that… just dice up some Roma tomatoes, put them in a bowl with some cubed mozzarella (use part skim mozzarella for a little more health benefit), them I add just plain Italian salad dressing and some basil (fresh, if I have it, dried if not). Cover the bowl after tossing the salad, put it in the fridge, and it’ll be ready to go in an hour or so.

I followed that up by seeding and dicing more tomatoes and some red onion. I’ve never attempted to make pico before, but I’ve had it enough to figure out what I need. Just not sure if I got the proportions right. I also don’t have any cilantro, so I let the tomatoes and onions soak in the lime juice and will add cilantro when I get to the store. I know it needs to sit awhile, so no worries.

One tip, if you’re going to make something like this, make sure you seed the tomatoes. If not, you have a mess. It’s really easy to do. Just quarter a tomato and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. It’s really easy with Roma tomatoes, since they don’t have much in the of seeds to begin with.

The other task I undertook was to make some marinated sirloin for burrito use. I looked at a few recipes and decided to improvise. I took a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed them in a blender, then I forced them through a strainer to get rid of the seeds. To this puree, I added half of a red onion, some cumin, oregano, garlic and black pepper, ran it through the blender, dumped it in plastic bag with some sirloin tenders we located on clearance at the Greatest Grocery Store on the Planet. Picked the steak up on a good deal as it was about to hit its sell-by date. I’ll let the meat marinade overnight and grill it up on the morning to see what happens. Truffles, however, were NOT a good deal. Seems like the price fluctuates with the season.

In other news, we picked up a lot of ingredients to make a food contribution for a project we have in the offing. I’m cooking up a baked pasta dish with a choice of meat sauce or marinara sauce. That little project will keep us busy the next couple of weeks. I’m kind of doing it on the fly, but it’s pasta. Hard to mess that up.

Blood glucose reading this morning was 114. Pretty happy with that. It’s staying a lot more stable, which is a good thing. It was fluctuating wildly for a few months, plus, I wasn’t checking it as regularly as I should have been. Gotta toe the line if I want to succeed.

Anyways, back to work tonight. I have my first ever trainees… this should prove to be interesting.

So, living here in Cow Country has taught me that a lot of the local cuisine is really not that great if you are diabetic or in a bariatric program. Everywhere you look, you find all sorts of compressed pig parts, carb-laden starchy goodness, breads, baked goods and candy. To say that the Pennsylvania Dutch really know how to make fattening food would be doing them a disservice. They are the kings of fat food.

One of the hallmarks of the PA Dutch country is the smorgasbord. Sure, many people have seen Old Country Buffet, Duff’s Famous Smorgasbord, Cactus Willie’s, any of those places. Many have eaten at a casino buffet. They all have their places… I remember going to a joint in Florida during a high school band trip where the buffet came to you. You stood next to a giant round carousel of calories and the smorgasbord rotated past you. No worries about someone cutting in line ahead of you, that’s for sure.

The PA Dutch have raised (or lowered) the bar when it comes to consuming mass quantities. Whether buffet or family style, you can get what you want at any of these places, just be warned, you’ll get a lot. Not only of food, but of people wearing stretchy pants, or as Jed likes to refer to them, “buffet pants.”

For us here at Chez T, the gold standard in buffet is Shady Maple Smorgasbord, located in East Earl, PA.

I’ve never seen the place this empty

The food is undistinguished… perhaps best described by Cookie, in the movie City Slickers, “You ain’t gonna get any nouveau, almondine, thin crust, bottled water, sauteed city food. Food’s brown, hot, and plenty of it.” I naturally assumed that I had eaten my last broasted chicken and stuffing. Then I discovered that Shady Maple actually has discount pricing for post-bariatric patients. My first thought was, “Seriously? WTF?” If you check this link, you’ll see what I mean.

You have to wonder if there are really post bariatric surgery patients lining up to strap on the feed bag. Everything the professional staff is telling me makes me believe  that this is the last place on Earth I will want to eat. I guess some habits do die hard. WGAL did a piece on the aforementioned discount, showing here:

Another gem in the culinary pantheon is Good n’ Plenty. This establishment is referred to by the local Disney nerds as “Amish ‘Ohana” because the food is served family style. The brown, hot and plenty of it rule applies here, too.

Mmmm. Fried chicken.

I did not see any post-bariatric discounts, though, but again, this is a place I’m not really seeing as being in high post-op demand. They do have some amazing fried chicken, though. This one will be tougher to give up than Shady Maple, since this is one place our friends from New York like to visit when they are in the area.

Other local establishments, such as Miller’s Smorgasbord, do not mention any kind of bariatric discount, which is probably a smart thing. I think that getting this type of major procedure done should also make folks reconsider their eating habits. I’m thinking that unbridled consumption helped get us here in the first place. If you want it to work, then maybe, just maybe, you might be better off at Saladworks.

I leave you with the following quote from Dave Barry:

I recently had my annual physical  examination, which I get once every seven years, and when the nurse weighed me,  I was shocked to discover how much stronger the Earth’s gravitational pull has  become since 1990.

Well, the appointment with the psychologist went well. It was nice to lay out a lot of what’s been eating at me over the last however many years and to get some affirmation that I’m not crazy. Dr. Collins was able to give me some recommendations and also some helpful hints to get ready for the surgery.

Yes, I think that as of this juncture I’m going to go through with it. I’m about at the end of the rope with the injections and the constant joint pain and the sleep apnea and everything else. I want to be healthy… I waited long enough to find the right woman and I want to have as much time with her as I can. I owe it to myself to stick around, too… there’s a lot that I haven’t seen/done, so I need more time to work on the bucket list.

Speaking of bucket list stuff, we’re about five weeks from the Roger Waters show. To see The Wall performed live will be something to cross off the list. If, by some miracle, David Gilmour were to show up and do Comfortably Numb with Waters, well, that would be cause for an eargasm.

It’s been a sad year for music, though. There’s been a lot of good ones (IMHO) who have departed the mortal coil in 2012 so far. Let’s take a look at that roll call (and I’m sure I missed a few… I’m getting old):

Etta James
Whitney Houston
Ronnie Montrose
Leon Spencer
Earl Scruggs
Andrew Love (Memphis Horns)
Levon Helm
Adam (MCA) Yauch
Donald “Duck” Dunn
Donna Summer
Davy Jones
Robin Gibb
Eduard Khil

So, folks… there you have it. I have my first group session on Friday… we shall see how that goes.

Change of scenery

Posted: May 29, 2012 in diabetes, Stress, The Beetus

I’ve found that when you’re in the midst of a down cycle, whether it be food, mood, whatever, sometimes a change of scenery can help.

I’m spending the week at another one of my company’s facilities doing some acceptance testing on a new version of our typesetting software. I came home from work and stuck a blood sugar reading of 113. I’m pretty pleased about that. Usually it’s a lot higher when I get home from the office. I think that stress has something to do with that. Sometimes my job, or the BS surrounding it, can be rather trying. I don’t want to deal with the BS… I want to go and do my job and come home. Maybe that means I’m asking too much, but that’s how it is.

It was a good food day. I took some leftover tomato/mozzarella salad and had some crackers. Reasonably filling and tasty. That’s all you need.

Hope to check in over the next couple days with something more substantive.

Oh, and I started culling the Facebook friends list. If I never met you face to face and we’ve not had any meaningful exchanges, don’t take offense, but you probably won’t make the cut.