Diet and Diabetes

Changes in Overall Diet Quality and Subsequent Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Three U.S. Prospective Cohorts – Diabetes Care

CONCLUSIONS-  Improvement in overall diet quality is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas deterioration in diet quality is associated with a higher risk. The association between diet quality changes and diabetes risk is only partly explained by body weight changes.

Source: Changes in Overall Diet Quality and Subsequent Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Three U.S. Prospective Cohorts | Diabetes Care

The Boxes

Nice box, eh?  We have two of these boxes in the kitchen cupboard.  And they are full of recipes.  Every now and then you need a reminder of why you started something.  Like this food blog.  I get questions all the time about this blog.

“Why did you start the blog?”

“How come there are no pictures of food?”

“Why don’t you have more recipes?”

  1. I was inspired by two books.  One was a community fund-raiser cookbook where everyone shares a recipe and the book is sold as a fundraiser.  The other book was a collection of Aunt Charlene’s recipes complied by her granddaughter after Charlene died.  I thought to myself, hey when you’re gone your recipes are gone with you.  So I started this blog.
  2. I cook.  I am not a photographer.  I’ve also made the conscious decision to not make this a for profit endeavor.
  3. When I have more time you’ll get more recipes.

The Boss and I were out for lunch and I got the following question:

“Why don’t you make that breaded chicken dish you made for the kids all the time that was breaded and baked, not fried?”

Then it hit me.  I started a food blog with the intention of capturing recipes from the past in a place where they could live on and enjoyed by others.

Did I mention I have two boxes of recipes?

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

  • 10-12 lasagne noodles (more if you’re making a big pan of lasagne)
  • one big butternut squash, halved, seeded and baked
  • a bunch of fresh spinach leaves, 8 ounces minimum
  • one large sweet onion, sliced, caramelized
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups bechamel sauce
  •  dash of nutmeg
  • salt and peppers (black and white)
  • grated parmesan
  • shredded mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take the squash halves, lightly grease the cut sides with olive oil, and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately one hour.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Once cooled, scoop the squash into a mixing bowl.  Smash with a fork and season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  4. Caramelize your onion and set aside.  No salt or pepper at this step.
  5. Wilt the spinach in a pan over medium heat.  Cool, chop, season with salt, black pepper, nutmeg and set aside.
  6. Prepare your bechamel sauce (half stick of butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup parmesan, 3 cups milk, salt, white pepper).  Set aside.
  7. Cook the noodles until al dente.  Use more or less noodles, depending on how big you want your tray of lasagne to be.
  8. In a baking dish large enough for the desired dish of lasagne, cover the bottom with several spoonfuls of bechamel sauce.
  9. Arrange a layer of lasagne noodles in the baking dish. Spread prepared squash evenly over the noodles.  Sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella.
  10. Fold the spinach and onions into the ricotta.   Add another layer of noodles.  Spread some sauce, the spinach/onion/ricotta mixture, and cheeses evenly.
  11. Keep layering, alternating the vegetable layers, and ending with a plain noodle top.
  12. Cover the top with bechamel and cheeses.
  13. Bake uncovered for for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly.
  14. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

I had forgotten how much time it takes to make lasagne.  This recipe in particular takes hours due to the vegetable prep.  The next time I make this I’ll prepare the vegetables the night before and assemble/bake the next day.  There are a billion of these squash and spinach lasagne recipes on the internet.  I bet virtually none of them tell you how long this sucker takes to make.

But it was worth it!  If you like butternut squash and you like spinach you will like this veggie pasta bake.  But in the effort of full disclosure I thought I’d screwed up this lasagne because when I got to the final naked noodle layer I realized I had left out a few steps.

I forgot to put any parmesan or mozzarella on any of my layers.  I forgot to add parmesan to the spinach/onion/ricotta mixture.  Too late to deconstruct so I put the dish in the oven and hoped for the best.  To my surprise I didn’t miss the missing cheeses.  The lasagne turned out OK.  Less cheese allowed the flavors of the vegetables to shine.

I guess this recipe is a keeper.

 

 

Banana Oat Pancakes

I took some vacation days in a valiant “use ’em or lose ’em” effort.  Today is the first day of an extended weekend in which I have nothing planned.  So without any work to be done I did what most people would do with plenty of time on their hands.

Make pancakes.

When The Architect and The Doctor were kids I made pancakes all the time.  Nowadays with just two in the house and one a non-pancake lover I don’t make pancakes that often anymore.  But I had time, two very ripe bananas, and buttermilk in the fridge.  And I was getting tired of banana muffins so…

Banana Oat Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup low fat milk
  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • Dash cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flours, rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl combine eggs, buttermilk, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir batter just till blended.  Add two smashed bananas and fold gently into the batter.  Allow the batter to sit for 15 – 30 minutes before frying.
For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a lightly greased preheated griddle or heavy skillet. Cook several pancakes at a time over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or till the tops are evenly bubbled and the edges are dry, then turn and cook until golden brown on the second side.

TIPS

The banana in the batter will burn easily so cook these cakes at a lower temperature than you normally use for pancakes.  I finally figured out medium was a good temperature.  The pancakes will take a little longer to cook but they won’t turn out dark brown.  These pancakes are pretty sweet by themselves but knock yourself out if you want to eat them with real maple syrup.  Fresh fruit would be better.  And peanut butter would be the best.

Peanut butter and banana pancakes.  Yup.

What About Just a Little Meat?

 

Followed over time, vegetarian diets were associated with a substantially lower incidence of diabetes, indicating the potential of these diets to stem the current diabetes epidemic.

We see the same step-wise drop in rates of another leading killer, high blood pressure. The greater the proportion of plant foods, the lower the rates of hypertension, and the same with excess body fat. The only dietary group not on average overweight were those eating diets composed exclusively of plant foods, but again there was the same incremental drop with fewer and fewer animal products. This suggests that it’s not black and white, not all or nothing, any steps we can make along this spectrum of eating healthier may accrue significant benefits.

Source: What About Eating Just a Little Meat? | NutritionFacts.org

Source: PLOS ONE: Taiwanese Vegetarians and Omnivores: Dietary Composition, Prevalence of Diabetes and IFG

Source: Millennials and A Plant-Based Diet. Better Food, Better Choices.

Each and every meal is a choice.  Make good choices.  In my 20’s I pursued a vegetarian lifestyle for about two years.  Towards the end of that period I was eschewing dairy and eggs.  Then I stopped my veggie ways.  The reason?  I missed pizza.  The lessons learned however were not lost.  I thoroughly enjoy meatless meals now but if I want a piece of dead cow, I’ll eat dead cow.

Try not to get caught up in right vs. wrong.  Use your common sense.  Do not become the woman who fed her 11 month old nuts and fruit.  Just nuts and fruit!

Make wise, informed choices.  Understand as I have your need for calories decrease with age.  You have to eat less the older you are.  Strive towards more plant based meals and you’ll be OK.  Just don’t get too fruity or nutty about it all.

Our Diets are Making us Sicker

 

The good news: fewer hungry people around the world. The bad news: Increased consumption of processed foods is pushing up global rates of overweight and obesity.

Source: Across The Globe, Our Diets Are Making Us Sicker, Report Finds : The Salt : NPR

So fast food and sugary soda makes you fat?  Seriously?

At my personal peak of adiposity I tipped the scale at 370 pounds.  Over the years I’ve done the classic weight loss and gain yo-yo from a low of 163 after my initial weight loss to a current  weight of 195.  I taught myself how to lose weight and the diet strategies to keep the weight off.

I should write a book.