April 27th, 2016 The Delicate Art of Cooking
Cooking is such a delicate art form that. My wife loves to cook, and I love to eat what she makes.
We are the perfect duo. However, just because I have Type II Diabetes does not mean she can't cook what she loves and I am left basically eating vegetables and drinking water. Some think that being diabetic, you are destined to a life of bland non-starchy foods for the rest of their lives. That is far and away from the truth.
Although she is not diabetic, over the years my wife has come up with creative ways of making heart-healthy foods and snacks. Substitution is key. We all know that rich sauces, butter, bacon (I really can't say no to bacon), creams, sweets, salt and other related ingredients are used to create delicious and tasty foods. We also know that they are not good for you. Foods made with these are rich in trans-fat, sugars, saturated fat and cholesterol. These ingredients are found in most of our fast foods, snacks, and other highly processed foods and drinks. They are definitely not healthy, and a lot worse for you if you are a diabetic.
So what does she do to create heart-healthy foods for the entire family? She experiments with healthy substitutes for ingredients in her menus. She reduced our sodium intake by using low sodium soy sauce for flavoring. She uses salt sparingly. She chooses the right fats, by using lean meats and low-fat dairy products. She prepares fish with high Omega-3 fatty acids such as the ones found in salmon, cod, albacore tuna, and sardines (the fresh kind) several times a week. Vegetables, salads, whole grains, fruits and nuts are all part of our daily diet now. Although we love butter, we use margarine instead. (Yes, we still use butter but only very little occasionally). This not only benefits me the loving diabetic husband, but also provides for a healthier food for the entire family. Bottom line, the right substitution can still lead to the same result, a wonderful meal for the family.
The method of cooking is equally important. We stay away from frying. Where possible, we broil, microwave, bake, roast, steam, stir fry or grill everything. She uses oils low in trans-fat (peanut, canola, safflower oils).
While we love to go out and eat in restaurants, the food tends to be high in calories, especially high in sodium and fats. This does not mean we do not go out to eat. We either split an entrée, or as soon as the food is served, we halve it for take-out. Thus what we eat in the restaurant with all its unhealthy but yummy ingredients is minimal.
Nowadays, my wife cooks at home as much as possible. This way, she controls the ingredients. She uses a lot of garlic, onion, spices
and herbs to enhance the flavors. She makes her own marinades using fresh tomatoes, herbs, lemons and flavorings like low sodium soy and oyster flavored sauces.
The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) in their web site suggests substitutions such as ground turkey for ground beef, skim milk instead of whole milk, or margarine/olive oil instead of butter. These are suggestions and you may or may not follow them. For example, we do not like turkey, so we never use turkey as a substitute product. We use 1% milk instead of skimmed milk. The important thing is that the food is to your liking and taste. Yes, compromise for things that you could live with. If you cannot compromise, then use the ingredient sparingly. Eating healthy and smart is part of the regimen I use to manage my diabetes.