Friday, January 28, 2011

Diabetes, you're not my friend!

As much fun as I make diabetes seem (sarcasm, kids), it definitely has its downer moments. In the day to day, it doesn't seem that bad. It becomes part of your every day life, just like brushing your teeth or spraying the cat with vinegar so HE'LL STOP SCRATCHING THE FRIGGIN' RUG!

Greeted by the obnoxious ring of your alarm clock, you squeeze a drop of blood out of your finger onto a tiny strip of paper that hopefully tells you a happy number, then shoot up with insulin before eating your Wheaties (or in this case, some low carb variation), then test again two hours later. You do this again at lunch. Then again at dinner. AND, just for haha's, again at bedtime.

Suddenly, your internal clock becomes wildly accurate in alerting you to the two hour mark. You develop this insane ability to estimate how many carbs are in a given meal to match your insulin intake. You become really creative with certain ingredients because you know that they won't affect your blood sugar. Though I make it sound annoying, it really is quite simple. In fact, it becomes rote. You just do it.

But every once in a while, there's a change in the schedule. Either a planned or unplanned event occurs to throw the whole monotonous routine into chaos. Whether it be a meeting that runs longer than expected, an impromptu dinner with friends, or a vacation, there's just a swift kick to the ass to remind you that diabetes is ever present. (A sudden episode of hypoglycemia also has this uncanny ability too.)

Colorado had many of these Diabetes Downer moments. From a mass food shopping trip intended to feed 8 people (7 of whom are not diabetic, losers) to repeated 250 blood sugars followed by 40 blood sugars to thinking about how each piece of popcorn or sip of hot cocoa (or porter) was going to affect my numbers while everyone else happily munched away, there were definite moments of pouting, sulking, and the occasional tear. And that was just Jerry!

I wish there was a nice "PBS after-school special" way of summing up this post. Something happy and cheery, like "But I worked through it and had a good time..." Bleh! This isn't a blog about silver linings, people! It's about cynicism and being a diabetic fat kid!

Ok, ok....I sucked it up. I threw my hissy fits, gave myself the extra injections or ate the candy. Said fuck it, drank the friggin' beer, ate the friggin' popcorn, and didn't die while doing it. All and all, it was a good trip.

So ha, Diabetes! Take that!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner!

As a kid, I knew when my dad had other dinner plans when my mom made pancakes and sausage for dinner. No offense to my father, but I loved the days when he wasn't home so we could have omelets at 6pm!

Now, on really busy (or lazy) days, I love to eat breakfast for dinner. I actually make eggs for dinner at least two or three times a week. Top anything with a poached egg and I'll eat it! Thankfully, eggs are also good for diabetics. Why? Because one extra large egg is 0.5 grams of carbs and has 7.3 grams of protein! Thank goodness for that because diabetes would definitely be on my shit list if I couldn't eat eggs!

Take my cake! Take my pasta! But leave my eggs! And if you could give me back those other things, that would be great too. Thanks.

Poached Eggs with Sweet Potato-Soy Chorizo Hash

2 eggs
1 garlic clove
1/2 medium onion
1/2 medium green pepper
1 peeled, diced sweet potato
1/2 package of Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo*
1 whole wheat english muffin
olive oil
white wine vinegar

1. Dice onion. Chop garlic into small pieces. Put onions and garlic into pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Begin to sweat the onions.
2. Chop peppers into 1/4 inch dice. Add to pan. Continue to cook. 
3. Dice sweet potato into 1/4 inch cubes. Add to pan.
4. Add TJ's soy chorizo to pan. Saute all together. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
5. Boil pot of water with 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar. This will help keep the egg whites together when poaching. 
6. Swirl water in the pot with the handle of a wooden spoon, creating a bit of a whirlpool in the pot. With the whirlpool swirling, crack an egg into the center. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until egg whites coagulate and turn white. Repeat with second egg. 
7. Toast english muffin. Place toasted english muffin on a plate, top with sweet potato hash and poached eggs.

* Trader Joe's soy chorizo is another ingredient (notice the whole wheat english muffins) that I'm mildly obsessed with. It has great flavor. If you're not a soy person, I suppose you can use black beans and smoked paprika or actual chorizo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Bigger A-hole then Diabetes!

Who is a bigger asshole then diabetes?

That would be my cat, Jackson.

He is a jerk. He is the bratty toddler at the supermarket who makes you wonder if kids are really worth it. He is the self-absorbed adolescent who wants your attention but not your affection. He is the doucey guy at the bar who won't leave you alone but hasn't bought you one drink! In short, he is an asshole, but you love him anyway.

(Yes, that is Jackson in my pantry closet, trying to get to his cat treats! He's a fat kid too!)

It is important that you know Jackson. He takes up a lot of my time and causes a lot of frustration. But nothing makes me happier then the 60 seconds of purring and loving I get before feeding him twice a day. Or waking up and finding him curled up next me on the bed. Or realizing that there is something in my life that can cause more frustration then diabetes!

Now, excuse me while I go spray the shit out of him for scratching on something he is not suppose to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mary Poppins!

It just wouldn't be me if a birthday wish came on time! Better late then never, right?

When I've occasionally had a few too many drinks and talk about my family, I'll actually get teary. It's cheesy, but whatever. It happens. I love my family. At the center of our crazy clan is Mama Graham, my very own Mary Poppins (she hates it when I say that by the way). My mother is an amazing woman whose strength, creativity, and sense of humor is something I can only hope to have some day. I don't know where I would be (regardless of that whole giving birth part) if it wasn't for my mother.

I love you, Mommy!

Happy Birthday to the wonderful, loving woman who birthed me! :)

Where's the Food?!

Enough about this diabetes crap....gimme some food!!!

But first, a few comments on ingredients before proceeding to the recipes.

Trader Joe's Whole Wheat English Muffins! I have a thing for them. They're cheap. They're versatile. They're good. And with 23g of carbs, I know exactly how many units of insulin I need in order to eat one!

Cinnamon is also a popular ingredient for me. It always has been, but after diabetes, I use it even more. Supposedly, consuming a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon a day can lower your LDL cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels. I use it in sweet and savory dishes.

Frozen blueberries. I actually prefer them to fresh blueberries. It's a texture thing. They're easy to defrost quickly and be thrown into all sorts of breads, know, all the things diabetics should eat!

English Muffin French Toast with Pear-Blueberry Compote

English Muffin French Toast
3 TJ's whole wheat english muffins, split in half
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 packet of Truvia
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (I like a lot of cinnamon)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger (or any variation of spices you like)

1. Heat frying pan over medium-high heat.
2. Beat together eggs, milk, and spice until well combine.
3. Soak each piece of english muffin in egg mixture. You'll want to leave each half in for a while since the bread can be pretty dense.
4. Place in frying pan for 4 - 5 minutes or until browned. Flip and repeat until browned.
5. Remove from pan and top with Pear-Blueberry Compote.

Pear-Blueberry Compote
1 pear, cored* and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 small pad butter
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of dried rosemary (What?! Rosemary? Yes, rosemary!)

1. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat.
2. Throw pears into pan. Toss to coat with melted butter and then leave it alone! You want it to caramelize on the butter, which is best done if left to sit and cook.
3. After a few minutes of cooking the pears, throw in the frozen blueberries. Sprinkle in cinnamon and rosemary. Let come to a simmer. A sauce will begin to form from the fruit juices and butter. All in all, it takes about 12 to 15 minutes of cooking time. 

*An easy way to take the core out of a pear is to use a melon baller. Just melon ball (?) around the core to remove completely. Don't have a melon baller? Use a teaspoon. Duh!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello 2011!

The roommate once told me that you are more likely to complete a task if you write it down. I have definitely proven that statement wrong time and time again. I am a notorious list-maker of lists that never get completed. I’m also one of those people who will write something on a list that’s already been completed, just so I can cross it off -- don’t judge me! You know you do it too!

So, how can I possibly start the new year without making a list? I can’t. 

Here’s the list of 2011 resolutions. Don't worry. I haven't actually completed any of them yet. 

Health and Diabetes Resolutions

In 2011, I will eat better and exercise more. (My mother and sister are rolling their eyes right now. Knock it off!) Despite my already pretty healthy living, I definitely splurge and avoid the gym much more often than I should! I've had a few days of consistently going to the gym and, let me tell you, it definitely showed in my blood sugar numbers. 

I will learn to understand and tolerate my diabetes better. This means following up with appointments, asking for help when it’s needed, and that 250...fuck it, maybe even 300 (eek!) blood sugar will happen and it's not a personal failure. This also means further consideration of the pump, possibly going back to the nutritionist and allowing myself to get pissed off every now again (dumbass pancreas!). 

I will take better care of my teeth. Because you shouldn't neglect your gums!

I will pay more attention to my overall appearance. This may seem like a vain resolution, but for me, I think it's okay. I've been wearing a pair of work pants that have a hole in the ass for about a year now. The boy sees me in sweatpants more often then he sees me in dresses. I saw my friends three times before they realized I chopped off my hair because it was usually unwashed and pulled back when they saw me. So, you see, my baseline is pretty low. Anything is up from here.

Mental Health Resolutions

In 2011, I will try not to be so hard on myself.  I'm a perfectionist. I put a lot of pressure on myself and cause myself a lot of unneeded stress. This means accepting that it's okay that I'm not an awesome snowboarder or rock climber. That I will make mistakes. That it is okay if I'm not able to make it the gym for a few days or any of the other neurotic things I obsess about on a daily basis.

I will work on regaining my confidence, patience, and trust in others. 2010 broke me a little bit. It was a rough year that often made me question myself and my worthiness. I feel I took a million steps back to a person that I just don't want to be again. I need to consciously work on changing this.

I will actually follow the budget that I create. See, I definitely could had said "Create a budget" but I've already done that! Awww, I'm already growing! Part of this also includes budgeting enough to travel more!

I will be more organized at work, learn to say no more often, and avoid working 12 hour days. Sometimes, there are days where I'm so burnt out, the thought of going to work seems more unpleasant then the annual pap smear. And then I realize that it's only Tuesday. Enough of that in 2011!

I will start a meditation practice. I have wanted to do this for a while, but haven't really put energy into doing it. I would like to start this year!

Just for Fun Resolutions

I will create lists and actually do the items on it.  

I will continue to blog and do so on a more regular basis. It's kind of fun. 

I will try new spices and be more adventurous in my cooking. I will also use my many cool kitchen appliances more often.

I will spend more time at the boy’s apartment so that his kitty is not so lonely all the time! 

I will improve my chaturanga pose and headstand pose in yoga.

I will crochet more AND ACTUALLY FINISH project. I must have at least 12 different crochet projects that I have started and never finished. My need for instant gratification kicks in. If a project is taking longer then expected, I’ll move onto another one. I believe the clinical diagnosis is called ADHD.

I will get my second tattoo! 

I've got quite the list here. And, technically, I haven't really started it. Especially after spending a week in Colorado, where three days of that were spent on my ass, throwing temper tantrums on the mountain, cursing the snowboard gods (and Jerry)! :) The 15th seems like a good day to start my resolutions! 

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

See ya 2010!

Dear 2010,

I’d be a bit of liar if I told you that I liked you, 2010. In reality, you pretty much sucked!

Overall, you were a rough year for the entire Graham clan! From unemployment to broken hearts, you brought it all. For me, you’ve been a bit of a train wreck, starting with the abrupt move from my apartment to being diagnosed with diabetes and the all the drama before, after, and in between. Many assholes (internal organs included) contributed to the shit show of this past year. Honestly, 2010, I’m glad to see you go!

However, I’d be remiss (and a bit of an asshole myself) if I did not take a moment to recognize what you did bring to my life this year. Though it’s been rough and I often wallowed in the “Why me’s” of many situations, it was made clear to me that I was not alone, that I had more good people then I could ever imagine out there supporting me, waiting to pick me up when I fell down. And I fell down often.

With parents who were ever concerned and always supportive. With a sister whose presence I can not live without. With a friend who, on a moment’s notice, changed her life with me (and for me). With an old friend who I can always rely no matter how many months go by. With a new friend who I feel I have known forever. With a pseudo-therapist who counseled and coached me whenever I was about to break apart. With the many friends who checked in on me to ensure I was still alive. And, finally, with a wonderful boyfriend who, despite all my insanity, makes me feel less broken every day.

These are the people of 2010 that made you a tolerable year. These are the people who I am infinitely thankful to because without them, I don’t know if I would have made it through. If only there was a way I could let them know that I am eternally in their debt and forever grateful for their presence in my life. :)

So, 2010, you weren’t all bad. Plus, I learned how to make my own peanut butter, which is awesome! But for now…get the hell out of here before I drop-kick you in the nuts!

Sincerely Yours,

Bonnie Graham