Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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In the Soup

One of the things I needed to do when I was diagnosed with diabetes last year was adjust my diet. Now as it happens I didn't have to adjust it quite as much as I initially did, during a period when I was more or less scared to eat anything. After a session with a dietitian/certified diabetes educator, I've moved onto a diet that lets me eat a lot of the things I've always liked -- I just have to eat a lot less of them, and exercise a lot more. Thus the walks I try to take whenever I can, for instance. Some things were easy: the doctor said to reduce or eliminate alcohol, which is good because I've never liked the taste of it anyway, so I don't drink.

Anyway, while working out things I could eat that fit within the guidelines of my diet (which are reasonably broad), one thing I found I liked was pea soup. Now peas are a starchy vegetable, not a "real" vegetable (foods are classified differently for diabetics than they are in the ordinary food pyramid), but I can put other "real" vegetables that I will eat, like carrots and mushrooms, into it. I try to avoid the ordinary canned versions because they've got more sodium than I'd prefer, so I need to make my own. I've become particularly fond of Arrowhead Mills split green peas, and have modified their recipe for split pea soup into a concoction I like.

Unfortunately, I don't seem to be capable of cooking anything less than the industrial-sized lots, especially as I've doubled the amount of potatoes in the recipe and added garlic (lots of that), carrots, mushrooms, and ham to it.

The other challenge is that it takes a long time to cook -- somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours, on account of having to simmer those peas (and the garlic) for over an hour, then another 30 minutes for the rest of the stuff. So it's not exactly a meal I'm going to cook when I'm hungry. It's something I need to start cooking long before I think I'm going to want to eat it, which is not easy for me. However, tonight was one of those nights. After coming back from a walk around Quarry Lakes Park, I put on the vat of water and began chopping potatoes. Around two hours later, I had a passable pot of soup, a hearty dinner that is within my dietary guidelines, and meals for most of the rest of the week.

It's a good thing that I like my own cooking, because I end up making so much soup when I do get the urge to cook that it sets me up for dinner, lunch, dinner, lunch, dinner, and sometimes lunch and dinner again. To that extent it's economical, and by numerous tests it doesn't raise my blood sugar levels appreciably.

Some people who have seen me taking blood sugar tests (which require me to poke my finger with a small lancing device) have asked if it hurts or if I wish I didn't have to do it. The answer is that it pinches slightly, but that in fact I not only don't mind doing the tests, I would like to do them more often. My doctor's orders are to test only twice a day, whereas I'd happily do so after each meal, because it gives me pretty quick feedback on whether I'm eating properly or not. As long as I keep my blood sugar levels within the dietitian's guidelines and exercise regularly, I continue to drop weight and feel better all the time.

The chipper attitude I had during NASFiC was certainly because I was being honored greatly, but the other part of it it was that I really have been feeling much better as my weight comes down.
Tags: cooking, diabetes

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