For Good Measure

Eat Your Vegetables

March 9, 2020
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Plant-based meals are on trend right now.  We’re seeing fresh vibrant salads and mouth-watering caramelized root vegetables popping up everywhere from the grocery store to social media. The culinary world is screaming “Eat your vegetables!”

Though as we know, every trend carries a caveat. Sadly, this year’s is no exception. I hate to admit, but all vegetables are NOT the same. Outside of the obvious taste, color and texture, there is the complex subject of nutrition value. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on what impacts our every meal – CARBOHYDRATES.

Let’s back up a little, starting with TOTAL versus NET carbs. Food contains different types of carbohydrates. Simply, they are digested differently by every body, person to person, but for simplicity we won’t go there. We’re going to appeal to the majority, even if you are lucky enough to devour an entire potato without a blood sugar spike.

TOTAL carbohydrates are just what the name implies: the total number of carbohydrates in a food including starch, fiber and sugar.

So what are NET carbohydrates? A NET calculation includes only the carbohydrates the body can fully digest into glucose. For example, the body cannot fully digest fiber. To calculate the net carbs, we SUBTRACT the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrates resulting in a NET carbohydrates number.

Back to vegetables. There are two major categories. Above ground and below.

Above ground vegetables include edible leaves {lettuce, spinach, kale, bok choy}, flowers {broccoli, artichoke, cauliflower}, stalks {celery, asparagus, chard, fennel} & fruit { tomato, squash, eggplant, cucumber}.

Root vegetables grow underground at the base of the plant: bulbs {onion, garlic, shallot}, roots {carrot, radish, turnip, beet} & tubers { potato, jicama, turnip}. They absorb water and nutrients to feed the plant. So while they are nutritional powerhouses, low in calories, and high in antioxidants, they can also carry a heavy carb load.

It is a majority rule that if a vegetable grows above ground it has a lower carb-load. However, there are always exceptions.  Those vegan sweet potato fries … it goes without saying, they may not be your blood sugar’s best friend.

REFERENCES

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326457.php
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-pros-and-cons-of-root-vegetables
For Good Measure

Making Home a Haven

January 21, 2020
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Home is the place you return to, take your shoes off, and let comfort hold you in its warm embrace. Everyone needs a place of refuge to unwind, recharge and nurture. The world throws a derailment or challenge into our path at every turn. A “great day” is normally due to a lack of chaos, rather than a life-altering, smile-inducing event.

Living with Type1 diabetes adds a tiresome list of complications to our one-foot-in-front-of-the-other journey. More often than not, life feels taxing, if not overwhelming. How many times have you cracked over hitting a stop light, when you’re simply running late? Or broken into tears because you’re drained from too many sleepless nights fighting blood sugar?

Many diabetics suffer from diabetes distress, which is a cute name for a condition centered around frustration, anxiety and fear. Unlike depression, this condition is not psychological, rather its situational. Managing insulin, blood-sugar, diet, exercise, highs, lows, and sleep deprivation every single day is … exhausting.

I’ll admit, we are masters of our own universe. We’ve created this crazy, over-scheduled, always-on world we live in. At the same time however, we can also create a place of solace. For diabetics, this stress-free space is paramount to health and well-being. Stress can throw blood sugar levels in all directions, faster than a candy bar on an empty stomach.

We all conjure up a different image of the perfect nest. For our family, we’re an organized bunch. Our diabetes supply cupboard is stocked with needles, glucose, test strips, skin-tac …so there’s never a hunt. Organization carries over to all aspects of our lives — meal planning, lunch packing, where the car keys are stashed. It helps keep things simple and well-oiled, reserving energy for bigger issues.

Surrounding ourselves with comforts has made our house a home. Momentos from places we’ve visited, music and plants – inside, outside, and on our dinner plate. They make excellent companions, in addition to the cat, whether planted or cut, instantly adding life and energy. Food, however, is the central web from which our daily routines are spun.

Coffee brewing in the morning after returning from the gym, low-carb baked goods cooling on the counter, the smell of dinner simmering in the crockpot after a long day.  It’s a lot easier to nourish ourselves when we know what we’re eating and where it came from. Our pantry is stocked with tasty snacks, meals are made in abundance so there are always leftovers waiting in the fridge, and dinner is together more often than not.

In many ways, our home returns us to a simpler time.  Where the little things matter more than what we’ve accomplished. Negative energy is kept outside. We talk to each other, plant seeds of change, and hug a lot. Stress creeps in when you let it, at our house, we ask it to remain on the other side of the front door.

 

REFERENCES

  1. https://diatribe.org/diabetes-distress-why-its-common-and-what-we-can-do-about-it
  2. https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/2/143

 

For Good Measure

Resolution

December 31, 2019
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A couple of weeks back was the last full moon of the decade. Round & luminous it hung in the sky, it’s magical glow lighting my path as I took a walk amid the twinkling holiday lights. It was one of those moments you wish you could preserve forever. I stopped, took a breath, and promised myself I’d never forget the quiet, calm around me, which by chance happened to be the antithesis of the day that had just played out.

I thought about the last decade. In all honesty, the past ten years haven’t been the easiest. I entered 2010 with a healthy family at a time in life where you’ve figured things out, but still have so much ahead. Milestones seem to arrive at every turn and each is exciting and new. I had recently left my “real job” and was relishing motherhood with it’s playdates, parties, and countless hours shared with my young children.

In many ways, these were the halcyon days before the storm. Within the year our business would falter, my husband would be diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, and the perfect always-sunny life I had grown accustomed to would crumble before my eyes.

Jump ahead six years, we had started a new business, my husband found treatment after unsuccessful surgeries and years of debilitation, and best of all … my children were growing and happy. We were grounded, thankful and stronger.  I was launching a novel, Mia had started middle school and my youngest first grade, and then …. diabetes arrived.

On the precipice of this new decade, 100 years after the roaring twenties, I can’t help but wonder what’s to come? I didn’t notice the moon ten years ago, I was too enamored by the glow of my own little world. But I notice it now, I’ve learned that much along the way.

I think about what I need to work on, who I’ve become, and what probably should change. Lists swirl in my head. I stop and take another deep breath.  I’m not one for resolutions — you won’t find me sitting by the fire sipping a beverage promising that tomorrow I’ll alter the patterns and characteristics that have become my life. Although at this time of the year, we feel such pressure to pledge change, don’t we? We’re encouraged to plan ahead, put the past behind, and create new versions of ourselves. In truth, the old is what makes us who we are. While we can make subtle changes to our routine through diet, exercise and hopefully mindset, at the end of the day, every year has ups & downs, every decade highs & lows. These moments, good and bad, have shaped us into the person we see when we look in the mirror.

For all the lows the last decade handed me, there was a high to match it. Life through it’s incredible journey has made me stronger, wiser, hopefully calmer, and more empathetic. So at the turn of this new year, let’s resolve to be ourselves and love our lives. For we only have one chance at it … and retouching isn’t real.

For Good Measure

Mad Tea?

May 28, 2019

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We strive for things that are simple and we all fall guilty to the routine.  But I’ve learned, albeit slowly, life is in the details.

So pick up flowers from the market or better yet, pick wildflowers, I promise they will make you smile. Set your table, it will save you from hunting for a fork later. If you’re feeling crazy, light candles, because isn’t everyday worth celebrating? Remember what used to make you happy … a decadent dinner, mad tea, beachside picnic … create it again.  

Beauty is everywhere, you only have to look for it. 

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For Good Measure

Announcing

February 26, 2019

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I believe whole-heartedly in the power of food… its ability to nurture the body and soul giving quality to our lives.  Nearly three years ago, when Mia was diagnosed Type 1 diabetic, everything we knew about health, nutrition & diet shifted and this project began to form.

Today I’m pleased to share with you, For Good Measure, featuring low-carb, farm-to-table California cuisine – a diabetic resource with specific ingredient lists and compiled nutritional data.

I’m hoping with my heart and hands it will make your life a little more flavorful.  Be inspired.

 

www.forgoodmeasure.com

www.instagram.com/for.good.measure/

www.facebook.com/forgoodmeasure/

 

 

 

For Good Measure

Test Kitchen

October 24, 2018

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Test kitchen evokes a mental picture of glistening stainless steel, prep bowls colored with precisely chopped vegetables and mouth-watering scents. After four months, I can attest it is nothing short of creative chaos … and if you’re lucky, something to serve for dinner.

With a hundred recipes tried and true, I emerge – burned, stained … but happy. I admit, food has been a palatable passion since I could see over the kitchen counter. This journey, which culminated in finding joy in something I once thought ugly, has been nothing short of inspiring.

People choose a low carb diet for reasons from weight loss to autoimmune complications; we converted to keep our type 1 diabetic daughter healthy. The wisp of a girl who loved to hold my hand when crossing the street is now the teenager I stroll with under the moon. She has and will always be my greatest muse. For Good Measure is for her and anyone who struggles with not only what life throws at them daily, but also the never ceasing struggle to stay alive.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Musings

Transitioning

May 16, 2018

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I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember — scratched out before I knew D’Nealian cursive, rambling in my mind as I walked to and from elementary school, painstakingly pecked on my manual typewriter — too many characters, plots and settings to recall or remember, but each a coveted facet of my imagination.

With another manuscript behind me, I wait as it attempts to find flight, or bluntly, a publisher. It’s a nail-biting time and my hands like to keep busy. So rather than destroy my manicure, I begin anew, yet again.

While the next novel forms in mind alone, I’ve decided to walk away from the keyboard and into the kitchen because along with writing, I’ve always loved to cook. The joy of creating something from scratch and with love grounds my over-active imagination.

When my daughter was diagnosed with type1 diabetes two years ago, the freedom I once felt toiling amid pots and pans disappeared. Cooking became a chore and a frustrating task. Slowly, through daily trips to Chinos farm stand and weekly jaunts to the farmers market, I’ve reconnected with food. Once again finding solitude in nourishing my family, as well as, my soul. It is from this place that I found my next project.

For Good Measure will debut this coming fall. Until then, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Musings

Shelved

April 17, 2018

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I have reader’s block.
I stared at the bookshelf, reading and rereading book jacket after book jacket.
Nothing. No excitement, no heart flutters … pure emotional silence.

Perhaps it’s the genre?
Maybe I need something lighter, funny?
Or suspense-filled, historic … even a classic?

I ran my fingertips over the book spines I lovingly selected last month at Shakespeare and Company. I had cradled them to my chest as I wandered the murky Seine to my pied-a-terre, rain and night falling around me. Like a child alone in a candy store, I anticipated devouring each and every translated title in a heightened frenzy. Unlocking the door, I shook off the rain and tucked the treasures in my luggage only to stow them on my crowded bookshelf once I returned home.

I feared I had lost my mind or at least my identity.
Since first reading at four, books had been my constant companions.
Friends come & go, family moves away, lovers’ change and children grow.
But books never cease.

On Saturday, I had enough.
I rearranged my library and alas, today, I selected a new read.
Leila Slimani’s Lullaby, ironically picked up on that memorable Paris stroll.
I’m counting the hours until I can settle in and turn the first page.
Perhaps I’m cured?

Musings

Meg

January 23, 2018

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“He took a moment to look at his wife, thinking he could be a few minutes late and no one would mind. The boys would be throwing back Scotch at the Seasons bar without a second glance at their Rolexes. He walked over to the bed and ran his hand under the hemline of Lauren’s skirt. “I could convince you to change . . .”
“No,” she said, pushing him off. “It’s a party for one tonight . . . sorry.”

I write from memory. Fiction being fiction, embellished recollection is a more appropriate description of what falls on the page. Wandering into my protagonist’s mind as I set the above scene, I thought back to the years leading up to my thirties.

I remembered the beautiful girl who sat down next to me in Grammar for Journalism, sophomore year of undergrad. Meg – her honest smile, love of life, and amazing eyebrows. She could sing Blue Moon in perfect pitch and loved crab cheesecake. For over ten years, we were close friends until life wedged in between us.

Ironically, I reached out several months back asking permission to use Megan’s adage in my latest manuscript. We bantered, caught up, and then said goodbye. I smiled in the afterglow, reminded of moments shared decades before.

Last Saturday, Meg’s “party for one tonight” unexpectedly became forever. “A black celebration,” she would have said, laughing. Rest in Peace.