Tag Archives: monthly summary

Summary: Jan – Mar 2014 plus Very Berry Sauce

19 Mar

Spring is here – yay!

Tulips

The sun and warm temperatures have lifted my spirits after the disappointing Hb1 AC value for the first quarter 2014. My experiment of eating a mix of low carb and non-low carb meals didn’t really keep my Hb1AC values level. I am not sure if Carnival in Munich was the culprit but I’ll blame it on that. Carnival here, like in many other parts of the world, is the time when the whole city not only becomes crazy but also the time when it’s inhabitants become doughnut crazy. Doughnuts are baked in all possible variations. These are not only sold everywhere but kind colleagues will bring boxes into the office for everyone. It’s really hard to go anywhere in Munich without seeing doughnuts screaming “eat me! eat me! “. Oh well…

The only person who was pleased with my increased Hb1AC was my doctor who said fluctuations are to be expected and he does not see a problem!

Figure it’s time to increase my low carb meals. My problem is snacking. I get really hungry between meals and I don’t like eating raw veggies – so snacking on veggie sticks is out – as long as I can help it. Think I’ll have to eat more yoghurt with my very berry sauce.

In my attempts to recreate something sweet but healthy, I stumbled on something which I really liked – eating a homemade berry sauce or coulis with soy yoghurt. Many years ago when I was first diagnosed as having diabetes, a doctor told me to just boil some fruit, puree it and use this as jam. I never did it because I felt making a small quantity would be too much trouble and a larger quantity would end up getting moldy in the fridge as I don’t eat jam everyday. Furthermore, jam is jellied fruit sauce and by just pureeing fruit, I would end up with a liquidy mixture.

I was making a layered dessert not too long ago which called for pureeing some raspberries and then adding sugar and gelatin. The first time I made the dessert, I followed the recipe but the sauce did not thicken. The next time around, I decided to omit the sugar and gelatin because I was too lazy. As I don’t like raspberries too much because of the seeds which get stuck between your teeth, I sieved the puree and was surprised at how nice it tasted. Basically what I made was a raspberry coulis without sugar and lemon juice – just like what the doctor told me to do many years ago!

Then I tried eating my sauce with different kinds of yoghurt – thick Greek yoghurt, plain yoghurt, 1.5% fat yoghurt and soy yoghurt. The Greek yoghurt and soy yoghurt tasted the best. I’ve tried to make my own soy yoghurt but that hasn’t succeeded (yet) so I’m now enjoying this with store-bought plain soy yoghurt. Divine! I sometimes eat a larger portion as a meal.

Berry season is coming around soon so get ready!

Raspberry coulis

Here’s how you can make your own pure berry sauce.

Pure Very Berry Sauce

Get a box of frozen berries or a punnet  of fresh berries – your choice. Frozen fruit is sold in 300 gr boxes here. I think frozen berries would work better. 300gr frozen berries yields about 200ml sauce. I’ve tried making my berry sauce with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and mixed berries. All lovely!

For frozen fruit, empty the contents into a saucepan. Heat up the pan and then turn down immediately to very low. Let the fruit gently cook till soft. Stir once in a while at the beginning when the frozen fruit have not yet emitted enough liquid.

For fresh fruit, wash the fruit, cut into small pieces, if large, and put this in a saucepan with a little water – ¼ cup. Bring to a boil and quickly turn down the heat to very low. Let fruit simmer till soft. Do check it frequently to ensure that the fruit is cooking in liquid. If the fruit hasn’t emitted liquid yet, add a bit more water.

Once fruit is soft, press through a strainer. This is the hard part. You want to get as much fruit sauce as possible out of this. Every drop is precious. When you are fed-up of pressing, discard the pulp. The rest should be kept in an air-tight jar in the fridge. Use as soon as possible. You could even fill an ice-cube tray with sauce, freeze and defrost cubes when required.

Put a couple of teaspoons of sauce over your yoghurt and enjoy. Try to get a brand with  little sugar or no sugar added if possible. The berries are sweet and tart enough to balance out any bland-tasting yoghurt. Of course, you can be imaginative and decorate with fresh fruit and nuts. You can use this sauce for all kinds of desserts which call for berry sauces. Totally yummy, pure fruit!

Summary – October-December 2013

22 Dec

Time for another quick look at how I’ve been faring. I wanted to get this written before the end of the year.

In my last quarterly post, I mentioned that I would stop going on a full low-carb diet but only low carb occasionally. Well, it turned out to be very little low-carbing and when I got around to preparing for Christmas, that was the end of anything low-carb. 😦 This also explains the lack of any low-carb recipe posts.

So it is no wonder that my latest Hb1Ac went from 6.1 to 6.2. Everything else tested in my blood test (Cholesterol, Triglycerides, etc, etc) were within the norm. I gave my doctor a disappointed look and he said I was over-reacting and indulging in carbs in moderation is very much allowed!!  I think that is the key word – in moderation. 6.2 and 6.1 are already very good values, he added.

Since my Hb1Ac value increased, I’ll have to be more strict and see what happens next quarter. My goal was to get my Hb1Ac down to 6.0 – I’m almost there but not quite.

Looking back at my initial posts more than 3 years ago, I can now see that you can’t just listen to people and believe what you read. You need to try things for yourself and decide. It’s a good thing I did not get paranoid and aim for a 4.8 Hb1Ac which one author claimed was what he achieved on a low carb diet and which is the Hb1Ac of a ‘normal’ person. I think I would have probably died of hypoglycemia! 

Well, I’ll strive to be good for the next couple of months and let’s see what happens!

Till then I wish everyone who has read this post this far a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Floral Swirls Tree for Christmas Vector Graphic

Summary – July – September 2013

26 Sep

Summer was great this year in Munich. Lots and lots of sun. And best of all, I was able to enjoy it.

I quit my stressful job after deciding that this was not good for my health overall – long hours, working on weekends, unnecessary pressure, poor working conditions, no time for sports – all this led to bad eating habits which meant the need for more insulin and weight gain. I felt a burn-out coming on if I did not take action soon.

So I was happy to have things go back to normal for me and the sun was waiting to be enjoyed. The great weather lasted till the end of August and when it started to get cold, we left for Spain, tanking in more sun. As usual during vacations, I broke away from my low carb diet. It was tapas or pintxos and wine almost every day (I figured I needed to let loose a bit after slaving away for the past 7 months). Surprisingly, it wasn’t so difficult to cut down on carbs eating tapas – just had to avoid the bread (although some things taste better with bread)!

Assorted Cheese and Iberian Ham Platter

Breakfast was a different story. A Spanish breakfast consists of one of the following:

* coffee and croissant
* coffee and toasted baguette with butter and marmelade
* coffee and toasted baguette with a thin layer of pureed tomato
* coffee and toasted baguette with cheese
* coffee and toasted baguette with serrano ham or
* coffee and toasted baguette with a combination of the above toppings.

That’s what we had every day. In the back of my mind, I was worrying about what all the baguettes and croissants would do to my Hb1Ac when I went for my quarterly check-up. I wasn’t very consistent with checking my blood glucose levels. I find this difficult to do on vacation and kept forgetting.

So it was with apprehension that I went for my doctor’s appointment on my return expecting a Hb1Ac value of 7 at least. 🙂 Whoppee, I came out looking like this smiley. It was 6.1. That’s the lowest I’ve ever had so far.

What happened and what conclusion do I draw from this? Is a mixed diet i.e.. not strictly no carbs, better?? No idea. For the past 8 months, I have been eating carbs while at work and low carbing when I had time to cook at home – which wasn’t very often. I would come home totally exhausted and just did not have the energy to cook a proper meal for three. Besides, everyone else at home was a bit tired of my low carb substitutions. Once my daughter said to me ‘Mum, can’t you just cook regular food?’. I had to laugh at that.

I’m now back to eating cauliflower rice and making low carb pasta and low carb bread. But I’m going to test and eat carbs from time to time but be aware of the amount I take.

One thing I’ve noted is that I can’t be bothered with making all those low carb sweets and cakes I’ve posted before. Some of them, frankly speaking, really required adjusting to, taste-wise. With my main course staples, I seem to do pretty well.

I wonder what the next check-up will reveal!

Summary – January -March 2013

28 Mar

Whew, three months of 2013 have already flown by.

I started the year off with a new full-time job. It turned out to be more full-time than I had imagined. At the beginning, I would come home dead tired and still try to continue my usual household workload. I realised very quickly that that wouldn’t work and have since ‘outsourced’ various chores to my family members, to be specific, husband and daughter. That has been a bit of a relief but they can only do so much.

My new job has obviously lead not only to a change in how the household is managed but also to my eating habits. I used to cook low carb meals for lunch and eat leftovers for dinner, cooking a teenager-friendly meal for my daughter in the evening. Everything has gone topsy-turvy now. When I get home, I don’t have time to think about making elaborate meals. Dinner has to be quick and teenager-friendly (not spicy, exotic or meatless!). I only have time to go shopping on Saturday afternoons and when I get to the supermarket, many of the ingredients for meals I had planned to cook for the coming week would be gone! Lunch in the office means eating out at one of the few poor-quality cafes in the office neighborhood. Sigh!

To compensate for the increased carbs in my diet, I have had to inject more insulin. Somehow, the accumulated carbs in my body are leading to higher fasting blood glucose levels (110-140). I also started forgetting my basal insulin injections before going to bed cos I would be so tired, I just flopped into bed. The dismal readings really made me miserable. Sometimes I would over estimate the carbs, inject more insulin than required and end up with hypoglycemia. All in all, these sugar ups and downs are another major set-back for me.

So when I went to my docs for my quarterly blood test last week, I was expecting a huge jump in the figures putting me back into square one. I couldn’t believe it when the nursing assistant said Hb1Ac was 6.3, same as last quarter. This would mean that if I had continued my low carb diet, I would have had an even better reading! So I have managed to maintain the same reading while consuming more carbs by injecting more insulin. Not satisfactory for me but nevertheless, better than an increased Hb1Ac.

Well, I am not sure how to continue. I am now trying to cook meals during weekends to freeze and hope to find more easy low carb stuff to pack for lunch every day. I am not the ‘raw vegetable sticks’ type of person. Once thing is for sure – I’ve got to try my best to keep that Hb1Ac figure down!

But let me enjoy Easter first!!

HAPPY EASTER!

Summary – July-September 2012

28 Sep

Yikes, time flies and I feel like I haven’t been devoting myself much to my blog lately. That is true! These past three months, I’ve only posted two recipes. I’ve been doing other things and also getting distracted from low carbing! Continue reading

Summary: July – Sep 2011

24 Sep

Oh my goodness, am I behind! Since it’s almost the end of September, this summary is going to cover September as well. My excuse for staying silent for 3 months is the following – my computer broke down at the end of July and I sent it in for repair. By the time the computer shop called and pronounced it ‘fit to be scrapped’, another 2 weeks had gone by. Then I left for a 5-week holiday, came back, got caught up in various appointments and suddenly it was mid-Sep and still no new computer in sight! I didn’t realise how dependent I was on my computer and felt like my life-line had been cut. Not having a spare computer at home made things really difficult and I had to look for people who would let me use theirs for a few minutes to check my emails. So blogging was out of the question. On the other hand, I was secretly happy to have a little break from being in front of the screen so often.

I sadly lost a lot of stuff stored on my hard disk. I had only backed up my document files and everything that wasn’t saved there was gone. So I will have to start collecting my missing information all over again. Now that I have settled down into my daily routine and got my new computer, I can start devoting some time to blogging again.

So besides the computer saga, what has been happening with my health. Not so good I’m afraid. The pains and aches, all over my body, are still there. I’ve spent a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms (rheumatology, neurology, orthopaedics, sports medicine, gynaecology, cardiology, osteopathy, physiotherapy – I’ve seen doctors/therapists in all these fields) but the outcome after the various consultations has been zilch. Everyone is taking a poke in the dark but no one has hit the nail on the head yet. To be fair, I guess it is not easy to be a doctor. So many problems have the same symptoms. All that’s happened is that I’ve wasted a lot of time and money. My situation did improve while on vacation when I completely stopped doing any sports but everything came back once I (half) resumed my routine on my return. I’ve cut back on a lot of exercises and only do light stuff but this has not really helped. Now I’m trying out Thai massage.

As for my blood glucose level – I was afraid that my painstaking efforts to eat more consciously over the past year would be wiped out after 5 weeks of ‘regular’ food. I did mention in one of my earlier summaries that going for holidays is difficult if you are trying to keep to a diet but going away for 5 weeks to Asia – you will need a lot of will power to resist temptation. The food is sooo good and I wanted to try everything that it was just impossible to stick to any diet. However, to my surprise, when I visited my endocrinologist three days ago, he said my Hb1AC had improved. Hmmm…from 6.8 to 6.7. Not much but better than nothing.

Our trip to Asia brought us to Vietnam, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore. We had a really great time in all aspects of the word. I think Vietnam posed the biggest challenge in terms of finding the right things to eat. Almost every dish is made with some kind of rice product and I knew from previous experience at a Vietnamese restaurant here in Munich that Vietnamese food just isn’t good for people trying to control carbs and blood sugar. After the first few days looking over the menus with a scrutinizing eye, I gave up when I found that there was very little I could eat. So I just joined the crowd, ordered what we thought we should try and injected more insulin to compensate. Since I was on the go all the time, I found it inconvenient to test my values 1 hour after the meal and neglected to do this consistently. And then I thought I lost my blood glucose meter half way through the trip (it was hidden in the deepest reaches of one of our bags and I never found it despite several searches) and had nothing to test my sugar levels which meant that I never knew how I was reacting to all that food I ate. Sigh!

In Macau we were hosted and overfed by relatives. In Hong Kong, we just had to have some of their scrumptious dim sum (a lot of fried and fatty stuff) and in Singapore, the palette of choices was never ending.

I returned home to discover two extra kilos on the scales! Now it’s back to low carbing and my after-meal glucose values have returned to normal.

On my trip, I heard of three ‘natural’ ways to reduce blood sugar levels – two of which I am trying out now.

Lemon juice, okra (lady finger) and bitter gourd.

I googled lemon juice and diabetes and one site said that lemon juice helps ‘diabetics deal with the problems that arise from decreased stomach acid and digestive enzymes’. It recommended adding 1/2 tsp of lemon juice to 8 oz of water. Another site said to add 2 oz of juice to 10 oz of water. You’re supposed to take it every day for 1 month before any improvement in your blood sugar values can be seen. Well, I’m doing that.

Then someone else told me that okra was useful too. Cut off the tip and end of an okra, half it and put the halves in a glass of water overnight. Sip the ‘juice’ over the course of the day. This method requires even more patience as you need to do it for 6 months because you will notice any change. I’m also trying this but I don’t know how successful I’ll be because okra is not readily available in Germany. I need to travel all the way into the city to get it.

The last treatment is to eat bitter gourd. A search on google revealed that bitter gourd contains ‘plantinsulin which has been found valuable in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It should, therefore, be included liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results, the diabetic should take the juice of about four or five bitter gourd every morning on an empty stomach. The seeds can be added to food in a powdered form. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of a decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder.’ (Source: Home Remedies) Unfortunately, I can’t find bitter gourd here in the supermarket so that remedy is out.

I’m not very good at following through on long term treatments. If I don’t see any slight improvement after a few weeks, it’s hard to stay motivated to carry out the treatment to the end. Since the lemon juice treatment is shorter, I hope to be able to report some improvements next month.

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