Monday, May 27, 2013

TSA Diabetes Challenge

I'm in a secret Diabetes Challenge with the TSA. They don't know it. But it's happening.

I'm constantly testing to see how much stuff I can actually get on the plane in the name of diabetes.

Going through security at the airport as a diabetic is a very weird experience. The first few times I was pretty nervous about it. I'd have the letter from my doctor front and center, out of the envelope, fully unfolded. I'd put all my diabetes supplies right on top, my syringes, the mysterious vials of insulin, the oddly sexual looking site injector for my pump. Plus, whatever juice boxes, apple sauce packets, honey packets, all ready to go.

The next part is the controversial 3D body scanners, which I use the D-card for. "Oh no, I'm sorry. I can't walk through that violation of our personal freedoms because I'm a diabetic," flashing them my insulin pump as if it were a badge. Confused, they usually pull me over to the side. I am always pulled over to the side. I have yet to get through security without a pat down or my bags searched.

Because of this, I figured, fuck it. Let's see how much I can get through. Once, I've tried to make it through with a PB&J sandwich, a Chobani yogurt, a pack of almonds, and two apples. Yes, that was all for one flight....that was approximately four hours in duration. I get hungry! The Chobani didn't make it!

This week, I'll be taking a trip out west to Colorado. I'll be visiting a friend who I imagine is missing New York bagels, breads, and pizza pretty hardcore. Of course, being the amazing person I am, I want to bring bagels. But not just any bagels, the best bagels in Astoria, which are Brooklyn Bagels.

This is the challenge! How do I convince a TSA agent, that yes, as a diabetic, I need a half dozen bagels for the trip. No, no sir, juice boxes aren't going to cut. When I have a low blood sugar, I have to shove a bagel or two in my face. Yes, I'm sure. Call my doctor!

Wish me luck. And promise to bail me out TSA jail because I will throw down for these bagels!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Switching It Up

Lately, I have been having a beautiful bowl of homemade (non-pepper-flavored) yogurt, berries, and almonds for breakfast each morning. As the weather gets warmer, this is one of those breakfasts that you can get addicted to!

Except when you're sick with a whateveryouwanttocallit and you've got some serious nasal drippage going on. The last thing you want to do is eat something that is going to be phlegm-producing. But when you're in love with yogurt and berries as much as I am, you can't switch to any old breakfast stand-by. It's got to be good! This is where this pretty little dish came into play. 

You could top this baked oatmeal with yogurt if you'd like....or peanut butter....or more berries. Toppings are endless!

Individual Berry Baked Oatmeal

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: bake breakfast berries oats nuts
Ingredients (2 baked oatmeals)
  • 1/3 c rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp sugar or sucanat/brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground flax meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/4 c berries of your choosing (this had strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1 inch piece banana, well-mashed, or 1 tbsp applesauce (banana is really for sweetness then flavor)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease two ramekins
2. Mix the oats, 1 tablespoon almonds, flour, flax meal, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Place 3 tablespoons of the berries and the sugar in the baking dish.
4. Lightly toss together and spread evenly around the dish.
5. Evenly spread the dry ingredients over top the berry mixture.
6. Whisk the milk, well-mashed banana, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract together.
7. Pour the wet mixture over the oats, hit the baking dish [carefully] on the counter 1-2 times, then poke the top surface all around with a fork so the wet mixture penetrates through. Do not stir.
8. Top with the remaining sliced almonds and berries.
9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is set.
10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
11. Serve with any toppings you desire!
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sit Down!

I've been sick all week.

But I wouldn't admit it.

Sure, I sounded like crap, coughed like a two-packs-a-day smoker, and ended each day with body aches. I've been struggling with this whateveryouwanttocallit since last Sunday.

But, again, I haven't been willing to admit that I am sick.

I've been going to work, going to yoga classes, cleaning my apartment, etc. etc. I have not allowed myself to just to sit the fuck down. However, at the end of each day, my body would force me to. It's made me realize how much I push myself to keep doing more, when really all I should have been doing was wrapping myself up in a blanket and going to bed early.

To add insult to injury, my blood sugar has been ridiculous! Numbers haven't been out of the 200s in days! It's very stressful. I know it's because I'm sick, but I'm starting to worry that my insulin has gone bad again. I just switched to a new vial a week ago. I'm hoping that's really not it.

Either way, I'm hoping shit gets back to normal quick. One day of sitting around is fine. But anymore then that and I'm pretty sure my head will explode!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Diabetic Pizza

Diabetic Pizza?

Sounds terrible, right? Anything food that has the word "diabetic" as a descriptor has got to be bad. Usually, "diabetic" foods are either tasteless, so laced with chemically-processed, unnatural ingredients, they would glow under a black light, or filled with so much fiber you might as well sit on the bowl while you eat it.

Do any of those things sound appetizing?

That's why I name the following recipe with care as Diabetic Pizza. It may be a recipe you've seen floating about the blogosphere or Pinterest. It's one that I've had an interest in trying, but has taken me a really loooong time to do so. It's Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

Yes, I know. That sounds just as unappetizing as fiber bars eaten on the toilet bowl, but trust me, it's good. Have I ever led you astray?

The recipe below is just for the crust and not necessarily for the pizza. Basically because I am of the assumption that you know what you like on your pizza. In case you don't, here are a few favorites:
  • Straight up margarita - an oldie but goodie of just cheese, sauce, basil
  • Arugula, Parmesan, squeeze of lemon
  • Grilled chicken, slice red onion, goat cheese, and BBQ sauce
  • Feta cheese, olives, lots of oregano over zesty tomato sauce

Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea
Cauliflower Pizza Crust

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 35 - 40 minutes
Keywords: bake food processor entree low-carb cauliflower
Ingredients (1 large pizza)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella
  • Toppings of your choosing
1. Chop the cauliflower into medium pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the oil and heat until shiny. Place the cauliflower in the hot oil, stir to cover with oil, and place a lid on the skillet. Check skillet every few minutes to keep cauliflower from burning, but let it get a nice browned roasted outside.
3. Continue to let cauliflower cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Let cool for a few minutes.
4.Preheat the oven to 450.
5. In a blender or large food processor, place eggs, cornmeal, cheese, and seasoning. Place cauliflower in blender and puree until you have a semi-smooth, thick batter.
6. Cover a pizza pan with parchment paper and pour batter into the center of the paper. Spread until you have about a ½ inch thick crust or thinner if desired.
7.Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to keep from burning.
8. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings and add back to the oven to cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes.
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh, Crockpot!

I loooove my crockpot. Like a high school girl loves Justin Bieber kind of love. Love.

It's not a word I throw around lightly. It has real meaning when I say it.

One of the things that I especially love about my crockpot are the unique things I can make in it. Crockpots aren't just for soups and stews anymore. Oh no, my friends, it is capable of a whole lot more. Besides the amazing ability to make fresh bread, crockpots can also be used to make yogurt. Whaaat?! Yes, yogurt!

I have wanted to make my own yogurt FOREVER! Besides being far too cheap to spend $5 on a 16 ounce container of Chobani, I just think it seems cool.

With my beautiful new crockpot fresh from its wrapping, yogurt was to be made.

Now, I'll admit it. I got a bit overzealous. When I saw that most recipes called for a half gallon of milk to be used, I balked! Half gallon?! I can get a half gallon of yogurt anywhere! If I'm coming to play, I'm coming to play hard. Give me the gallon, baby!

Do you know how much yogurt a gallon of milk makes? You would be correct if you said a GALLON OF YOGURT! Yes, a gallon of yogurt! I swear I prepare food as though I am a family of five.

What's worst is that I had apparently prepared something very peppery in my crockpot previous to this yogurt-making, which tinged the entire gallon of yogurt with a slight bell pepper flavor. Now, I have a gallon of pepper flavored yogurt!

Lessons Learned from Yogurt Making:
1. No, you do not need a gallon of a yogurt
2. Sterilize your crockpot as best you can to prevent unwanted flavor profiles from popping up in your creamy goodness
3. Do this again because (in spite of its mishaps) it is freaking awesome!

Homemade Yogurt topped with Chai-spiced Granola

Here are the step-by-step directions on how to make your own yogurt at home.

Homemade Yogurt

by Bonnie Graham
Ingredients (1/2 gallon)
  • 1/2 gallon milk
  • 1/2 c of plain yogurt (for a starter)
  • 1/4 c powdered milk, optional if you'd like a creamier yogurt
  • Crock pot
  • Thermometer
  • Blanket
  • Colander and cheesecloth (if you want to make a more greek yogurt consistency)
1. Pour your milk in your crock pot and set it on high.
2. Heat milk until it reaches 180° (this took about 2 hours for me)
3. When 180° is reached, unplug crock pot, take the lid off and let cool until it's around 110°.
4. In a separate small bowl, mix together plain yogurt and powdered milk (if using)
5. When the temp is around 110°, add yogurt mixture and stir well.
6. Place the lid back on, and wrap crock pot in a blanket and let it sit on the counter for about 8 hours or overnight. You now have yogurt!
7. You'll notice a watery substance on top, this is whey. You can mix it in and put your yogurt in the fridge. If you'd like a thicker consistency, pour yogurt into a fine mesh strainer covered in cheesecloth. Drain in the fridge until desired consistency is reached.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Game Day

I did it.
It's done.
I rode my bike 40 miles through all 5 boroughs of New York City.
It was pretty fucking awesome.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures to share. You know....because I was on my bike.

But it was incredible. In fact, it's what I imagine the apocalypse to be like....before the zombies come in and start trying to eat our faces. Riding my bike up 6th Ave with not a single car on the road as if I (plus 32,000 others) was the only person awake was surreal.

Diabetes management was not nearly as difficult as I would have thought either. Here's how I managed.

First, rather then buy a "too-cool-for-school (or Sizzler)" fanny pack, it was cold enough for me to wear a light fleece with plenty of pockets. I loaded myself up with a snacks, including granola bars and applesauce packets plus what ever additional freebies were given out at the rest stops.

I ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, sliced banana, and soy milk eaten with a little less insulin then normal. I figured it was better to go into the tour with a slightly elevated blood sugar then low. When I checked my blood sugar right before the race, it was 168. I lowered my basal insulin to 50% of its normal dosage. Ah, the wonders of the insulin pump never cease to amaze me!

About 5 miles in, my riding partner needed a potty break, where I checked my numbers again. In 5 miles, I had dropped to 98 BG. I ate a mini Larabar without insulin (only 8g of carbs). After another 7 miles, my riding partner needed another break, which gave me time to eat some raisins and half a bagel. This time, I gave myself the proper dosage of insulin, figuring the bagel was going to keep me even (high carbs, high activity rate). At mile 15, we stopped again (she had a very small bladder). This time, I ate a banana, more raisins, and a dose of insulin.

Things were going pretty well until about mile 35. It was the longest stretch we had gone without stopping and snacking. It also happened to the hardest part of the tour, which was the BQE and over the Verrazano Bridge. About midway through the bridge, I was feeling a little shaky and not just from the uphill climb. Luckily, I came prepared with snacks and was able to quickly suck down a GoGo Squeez apple sauce packet (Apple Grape!), a diabetic's best friend.

By the time I arrived at the finish line in Staten Island, I was spent! And hungry! And had a 125 blood sugar! Which meant I could go to town on the free samples and eat an amazing vegan black bean burger with vegan cheddar cheese and relish from Bareburger at the tour's finish line festival.  Holy crap, I'd bike another 40 miles just to eat another burger!

So....that's how it went.

I didn't die. I made through all 40 miles without keeling over from exhausted or hypoglycemia (always a success in my book). I experienced the city in an entirely different, glorious way. I ate a delicious burger. And now have a much better sense of what to expect during the zombie apocalypse (sans zombies).

All and all, quite the happy experience!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fanny Pack City

The 5 Boro Bike Tour is quickly approaching (this weekend EEK!) and I have to say that my "training" has been less then stellar (if we can even call it training). I'm sure 40 miles is NOT going to go quickly. One thing I have been considering as d-day approaches is diabetes management.

How am I going to bike for 40 miles and not pass out from hypoglycemia? Conversely, how am I going to manage my diabetes so that my blood sugar doesn't get so high that it dehydrates me? It really can be such a delicate balance.

Up until this point, my planning has been....light. In that I hadn't been doing very much at all. Mostly because I figured the day before, I'd throw some applesauce packets, juice boxes, and granola bars into my backpack and consider myself responsible.

Except, recently, the 5 Boro Bike Tour people sent an e-mail with new security precautions as a result of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. While I appreciate the increased security, it has led to a bit of a diabetes dilemma. New security protocols state that there will be no backpacks, saddlebags, or hydration packs allowed. Well, piss in my Cheerios, what am I going to do now?

It's time to start Plan B-ing it. Which is really Plan A-ing it. Because I hadn't really started planning at all.

Fanny Pack City, here I come!