The Diabetic Diaries

By Mary Anna Violi |@MaryAnnaVioli

   It has now been over 2 months or so since my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Although I was disheartened to learn of this medical news, I have tried to educate myself more about my malady. Here are a few things I have learned in that time.

   If I can adapt to a Keto Diet, then so can you. No pasta, no rice, no bread, There is no worse order one could give to an Italian than no pasta, no bread, and I forgot to mention, no wine. I thought would be the end of me. However, my nutritionist advised me to purchase sprouted whole grain bread. It’s opened a whole new world to me! My bread of choice is Ezekiel; it is delicious and filling with just one slice. I don’t miss Italian, French, or Cardamom Citrus bread too much anymore.  The only thing I wish for is sugar-free jam, which I can likely order on Amazon.

   Each morning I have a bowl or either strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Keto permits any of the berries. I find the berries most satisfying. However, I have had to forsake my beloved Honey Crisp apples and melons for the time being. Growing up, my brother and I harvested strawberries and black raspberries from our father’s nearly 1-acre vegetable garden in our backyard. We know our fruit and vegetables!

   Although I may have half-a-cup of cooked pasta, I find the only pastas I sometimes crave is rigatoni with a hearty marinara sauce, and linguine with clams in white wine. Yet a half a cup of pasta is only about 2-3 forkfuls! My fear is if I succumb at this stage to rigatoni, I’ll devour a plateful of it, and I don’t wish to undo what the Keto Diet has helped me to achieve thus far. In regard to rice, I am trying to adapt to cauliflower rice. I don’t care how the ads pitch it: cauliflower isn’t rice at all. It’s cauliflower. It’s not my favorite, but I will try to persuade my taste buds it’s better for me. So far, my palate has been resistant.

   I’ve always liked avocados in guacamole. Yet now I buy my own avocados and have learned how to select them. A shout out to Eder and Zach at Whole Foods for educating me on the art of selecting avocados and how to prepare a simple avocado spread: mash the avocado, salt and pepper to taste, and then add a healthy dose of lime juice. It creates a delicious breakfast on my toasted sprouted whole grain bread.

   Thus far I’ve lost 20 pounds. I feel energized, no longer bloated, and just plain good. Truthfully, I haven’t felt this well in years, while longing for a dish of pasta.

   Ciao for now.

Diabetic Blues

   Not long ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

   When my doctor showed me the results of my blood panel, I glazed over. I had been losing weight; 34 pounds of it slowly since March 2018, so how could diabetes have reared its insulin head [although I’m not on insulin]? Having gained back four pounds I attributed to the Holidays; my recent craving for Whole Foods’ Cardamom Citrus bread proved more difficult to explain.

   I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

   Perhaps if I chant it often enough, I’ll finally believe it. 

   The doctor immediately put me on a version of the Keto Diet from Duke University School of Medicine and medication. She also had me make an appointment with a diabetic nutritionist. No pasta, no rice, no bread, no wine. Immediately my Italian self went into a tailspin! 

   The next morning, I began taking the medication: 1,000 mg twice a day with meals. For the next 5 days I felt my body had been taken over by alien forces. It was like having a 5-day intestinal virus. It was brutal, absolutely brutal. When I met with the nutritionist, she informed me I should have contacted my doctor to have the medication changed, for it was the medication, not the Keto plan that turned my insides topsy-turvy. So much for listening to friends say it’s normal, it happens. Not it’s not, not 5 days worth.

   When I surfaced again, minus a few pounds I dragged myself to Whole Foods, I purchased foods compatible with the Keto diet. I engaged in a hardcore cleanout of my refrigerator and of the pantry. Now I keep avocados [to make my own avocado spread], Ezekiel sprouted whole grain bread [1 slice feels like 2], Whole Foods egg salad [It tastes even better than mine], firm tofu, chicken broth [I like making soup], Italian dried meats [prosciutto has always been my favorite], Kerry’s Gold butter [This is the real deal], Marcona Almonds [Thank you, Costco], La Croix Sparkling Water, assorted green vegetables [Roasted Brussel sprouts are the best], berries [Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are major delicious]. 

   Within this litany of foods, there is no refined sugar or liquid sugar, low-low-low carbohydrates, and guess what?

After 4 + weeks, I feel like a new woman!

I no longer crave pasta, bread, chocolate, or rice! The arthritis in my hands troubles me nearly no more! The osteoarthritis pain in my lower back has diminished greatly! As my bone doctor reminded me several weeks ago, I still can’t lift more than 10 pounds due to disc issues in my back [and the scoliosis, and the bone spurs, sigh].

   In fact, I had several guests over for dinner on a Saturday night. I served and cooked an entire Keto-dinner: homemade cheese crisps, an Italian charcuterie and cheese board, a roast chicken, roasted Brussel sprouts, homemade pesto over zucchini zoodles, red grapes, and fresh strawberries with whipped cream. We imbibed lime sparkling water that made us feel we were downing Virgin Prosecco. I should add that this was done with the guidance of my Keto cookbook, Simply Ketoby Suzanne Ryan. The other day at Costco I purchased Southern Keto, by Natasha Newton. It even has a recipe for hush puppies! I am so happy!

   Yesterday I had my diabetic checkup with my doctor.

   I’ve lost 12 pounds in 4 weeks.

   Viva Keto and a low-carb lifestyle!

   Ciao for now!