Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fake sugar punkin pie

Well it's been a month since the diabetes diagnosis and as expected there are quite literally ups and downs. The Christmas season is tough for any conscientious eater, but throw in calculating carbs and sugar and timing meals and minding alcohol... understandably it can be frustrating.

I've been trying to make an effort to help my very sweet-toothed hubby ease himself into the new lifestyle with a few fake-sugar treats. We've tried swapping Canderel and Splenda, which is certainly a different, but not wholly bad, baking experience. You can't really use them if you use weight measurement of sugar... or at least you'll need to convert, and their almost weightlessness gives them a slightly different consistency if you're dusting you're treats or making a crumble (which we tried). My only concerns are really about using processed/chemically-enhanced food products. Yeah yeah, I drink diet coke like the next fella, but adding aspertame to cakes leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth so to speak. Splenda looks like a contender, but I need to do more research.

I should also point out, that while I'm focusing on carbs and sugars, these desserts generally have the same amount of fats as their normal counterpart, and also, replacing ingredients with "low-fat" alternatives can often add MORE sugars. Don't believe me? Just check the label of regular, light, and extra light Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Boom. Scary stuff right?

Back to the actual recipe... seeing as it's still sort-of lingering around the holidays and all that, I'll start with the fake-sugar pumpkin pie I whipped up. I of course need to point out that this is by no means carb-free, it's just a lower sugar-to-carb ratio than say you're average pumpkin pie. I did cheat a little with this one as I used a can of Libby's (as found in Fallon & Byrne in Dublin - or any supermarket in the USA) but in fairness, it is just plain ol pumpkin puree, I'll tell you how to make scratch pumpkin puree next time, swearsies! But it is seasonal and does require an actual pumpkin!

Before moving on completely, putting on our diabetic thinking cap, let's keep in mind the pumpkin itself has carbs but not a terrible amount of sugary carbs, the evaporated milk has a pretty ok amount of sugars for a dessert (about the same as flavored yogurt, 12g per 100g) . The pastry, of course has carbs and fat, but if you don't add sugar, it's not so bad.

I'm just going to repeat the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe as seen on the back of the can since the 1950s. This might slightly differ if you're in the US vs abroad as my can was in half metric measurments, half imperial (425g can as opposed to 15 oz)

Preheat your oven to about 220C (425F)


The recipe online here seems to call for an unbaked pie shell, but on the can I received, it said to blind bake it. It's up to you, I'd say blind baking leads to a better, more solid crust. If you're looking for a good shortcrust pastry recipe, here's one I like.

So... it's pretty darn easy, mix your wet ingredients, and in a separate bowl mix your sugar and spices (this will lead to less clumpy spices). Then add the lot together, mix til it's smooth, pour into your crust and pop it into the oven.

Bake at the higher 220C (425F) for 15 minutes and then reduce to 180C (350F) and bake for another 40 minutes or so, until the mixture is just a tiny bit wobbly in the middle, a bit like a baked cheesecake. Let it cool... and then... eat at your leisure.

Now... of course, I should really note, I am not a dietician, nor an expert on diabetes, just simply a wife trying to make things a bit easier on my recently type 1 diagnosed hubby. So by no means am I preaching about what's acceptable for diabetics to eat. It's all relative. But I will say, for a dessert without too much sugar added, just the lovely flavor of the fruit/veg it's made from, this is a lovely one to make.


Monday, December 5, 2011

And then... everything changed

It's been a while since I've updated. A lot has happened. I've found myself working successfully freelance in the video industry. The money isn't always amazing (or regular) but mentally it is quite satisfying. I got married! And just as the cliche goes, it was honestly the best day in my life. I've been having good weeks and bad weeks in my quest to living well. Still cooking, still DIY-ing, just not being so good about blogging it.

But then, as of the 25th of November, everything changed. The husband, after losing lots of weight and having an unquenchable thirst, went into the GP hoping to find out he had some easily treatable virus or some such. We knew he was feeling the symptoms of diabetes, but as a slim guy at age 35 and with no family history, we thought... there's just no way. Well, unfortunately our worst-case scenario was confirmed and instead of spending his Friday evening on a plane to Manchester with his mates for a weekend of football, he was stuck in the Mater A&E on an insulin IV with a diagnosis of type-1 diabetes. So now, the poor fella is faced with a lifetime of checking of glucose levels and secret belly jabs before meals. I'm also faced with the task of support, sympathy and understanding.

This seems to be a pretty good day and age to be diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, with better understanding of treatment and treatments themselves becoming easier to use. But it is still a life-long disease from which there is no cure. It's still early days for us and we both have a lot to learn, but there are certain things I am thankful of. As much as I have moaned about Irish health care in the past, I now understand how truly important a national health care system (even one that is flawed) is for people with long-term illness. All of his daily prescriptions and tools and testers are automatically covered. As a couple who have been considering an eventual move to the States, we will have to seriously research how we'll survive there with a preexisting and long-term illness.

I also feel lucky that we already have a pretty healthy lifestyle and somewhat healthy eating habits. There's a lot less to change in that sense... but of course, everyone has off days and naughty days. In fact tonight we are realizing the effects of a giant Dominoes feed on glucose levels (hint: not good). Anyways, as much as the fella would be annoyed at my public discussion on the subject, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share and learn and journal our journey. Diabetes is quite common, and the more people we talk to, the more people we realize who live with it who are happy to share their experiences. So there you go.