Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome Frugal Coast2Coast Listeners!

If you're coming by as a result of hearing me on Frugal Coast2Coast's recent show, Special Diets Without Going Broke, Welcome to Mrs.W's Kitchen! I'm Amanda, a diabetic foodie on a budget. I am not a nutritionist, so do understand that my suggestions are exactly that.

My point-of-view on the show was as a diabetic required to follow a particular diet. In my opinion, it's worth a little extra time, effort and money to make sure your diabetes is under control. That said, my food budget is, with few exceptions, $50 US per week. My diabetes is under control, and my cholesterol and other blood tests are all within the 'normal' range.

Here are a few points:

- Read labels at the grocery store. There are lots of hidden sugars in products ranging from soy milk to spaghetti sauce. Even vanilla extract often contains sugar or corn syrup! (I make my own vanilla extract using regular old vodka and cut-up vanilla beans--yes, it's an investment, but vanilla beans last 6 years this way, and you just top off your extract with more vodka as you go. I'd call that frugal!)

- Avoid convenience products as much as possible. They'll mess with your blood sugar like crazy!

- Learn about the glycemic index.

- Vegetables are your friend! Shop the produce department, farm stands and your farmer's market. Learn how to cook with all sorts of veggies.

- Stick with low fat. Diabetics are at greater risk for heart disease, so choose food accordingly.

- Quality carbohydrates are the key. White carbs will raise your blood sugar faster than whole-grain counterparts. For example, a sweet potato is better than a white potato, brown rice is better than white rice. Experiment with other grains, like millet and quinoa (which isn't really a grain at all, but has that same mouth-feel as rice or couscous).

- Find a sugar substitute that you can live with. I choose to mail-order a product that, to me, tastes the best, but it's not what I would call frugal. As a foodie chick with a killer sweet tooth, however, it makes my life livable within my dietary restrictions. Find a product that works for you--be it splenda, aspartame, stevia or something else. I give myself a gift of my favorite sugar sub every Christmas--enough to last the whole year.

- Fruit should be a part of every diabetic's life--but learn which fruit are better for you. Berries and melons (except watermelon) carry a lower glycemic load than, say, apples and bananas. That doesn't mean you can't have those other fruit, though--it just means you should limit your consumption of foods that have more natural sugars, and consume them on days when you haven't had a lot of carbs.

- Invest in a bag of whole wheat flour. In most recipes you can substitute half of the all-purpose flour called for whole wheat. Keep whole-grain flours in the refrigerator because they tend to go rancid at room temperature.

- Shop asian grocery stores for value on alternative flours/ingredients and lower cost for items such as shallots.

I'm sure there are a lot of things I'm missing here--if you have any questions, please ask in the comments below or email me.

There are a bunch of recipes available here for your perusal; here are some of my favorites that I would categorize as both diabetic-friendly and particularly frugal:


- Flourless, Sugar-Free Oatmeal-Banana Muffins

- Oat Bran Pancakes

- Huevos Rancheros


- Hamburger, Vegetable and Barley Soup

- Lentil Soup


- Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole


- Pureed White Beans - a great mashed potato substitute that's easy on the wallet and tastes great.

- Sugar Free Cole Slaw - one of the most difficult things for me to give up was cole slaw in restaurants, which is packed with sugar! Making it sugar-free at home helps cole-slaw lovers like me--scroll past the sloppy joe recipe to the cole slaw.

- Cucumber, Tomato and Lentil Salad - a great use of summer produce and a way to work more healthy legumes into a diabetic diet.


- Chocolate-Ricotta Mousse - best for diabetics to use low-fat or fat-free ingredients.

- Coconut Cheesecake - for special occasions, this sugar-free cheesecake really tastes like the real thing.

- Coconut Ice Cream - this is super-easy to make at home (though a wee bit time consuming if you don't have an ice cream maker) and tastes unbelievably delicious. Better that diabetics use lite coconut milk.

- Flourless Dessert Crepes - not low-fat, so this is for a special occasion; definitely a "wow" dessert.

- Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Once you get the hang of it, living with diabetes doesn't need to be a life without sweets or a life without good food, even while on a budget. If you have a question or comment, please use the comments below or feel free to email me at mrswskitchen [at] gmail [dot] com.


Dragon said...

I'm here because I like you. :)

Amanda said...

Why thank you, Dragon!

Sam said...

How did your radio appearance go? Is there an MP3 of it, I'd love to hear it.

Amanda said...

Hi, Sam--It was fun!

You can go to one of my other posts--either "reminder" of Mar 30 or "on the air" of Mar 24 and listen on the little players that come up. Otherwise you can go to this url for the show on itunes:

Amanda said...

Oops--it looks like that link didn't entirely paste! Let me know if you need to listen via iTunes and I can email you the link.

Carrie said...

we're famous girl!! we were on the blogher updates on the newsletter this week! I feel like a star!! hahaha!! ;-) I've always wanted to be on those updates! ;-) Thanks!! All because of you chic!!

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