This Is a Step-By-Step Cure For Diabetes Developed By Scientists

This Is a Step-By-Step Cure For Diabetes Developed By Scientists
I highly recommend you check this out and cure diabetes like I did. Maxine

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quinoa - One of My New Favorite Foods!

Giving up the high carb junk food is one thing but giving up rice is quite another. Before I was diagnosed as a diabetic, I used rice in many meals, especially since I do a lot of stir frying. Brown rice does have fewer net carbs than white rice but not by much so I started searching for a better substitute. Wow, did I find a winner.

I have gleefully discovered quinoa. It is "grain" that looks like a grain, tastes like a grain, and cooks like a grain, but it isn't really a grain at all. Quinoa is actually a seed from a plant that is related to spinach plants. It was a food staple for the Inca Indians that lived in the Andes. However, when the Spaniards came in they burned the quinoa fields and forced the Incas not to grow it anymore. It barely survived total extinction because it was grown by peasant farmers in the country.

It turns out that this "grain" has more protein than any other grain AND the protein is a complete protein, having all 9 essential amino acids. Not only that, it has all 9 amino acids in high quantities. It is considered such a perfect high quality food that NASA is seriously considering using it for long-flight space travel. Don't be surprised if Quinoa is cultivated on Mars in our lifetime.

In addition to being high in protein, Quinoa is much lower carb than every other grain known. For comparison, a cup of dry white rice has about 150 grams of carb (short grain has a little more than long grain) and brown rice abut 138 grams of carb. By contract, dry quinoa has only 97 grams of net carbs per cup. That's about a third less carb.

You cook quinoa just like rice. You put one part quinoa in 2 parts water with a little salt, bring to a boil, and then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. To me, texture wise, it seems most like medium ground bulgar wheat which I also love. In fact, I made a tabouli salad with some left-over quinoa today and added a few shrimp. It was delicious. Yesterday, I used quinoa like you would a bed of rice or couscous with white fish I had poached in coconut milk and other goodies on topI'll post these recipes later on my Diabetic Recipes 123 blog. . I am really excited about all the possibilities with quinoa.

Quinoa has the lowest glycemic index of any grain coming in at 35. For comparison, the glycemic index for white rice is 58 and for bulgar wheat it is 48.

Quinoa still has a high enough carb content that you can't eat mountains of it if you are sticking to a really low carb diet. However, I think it is about to become one of my favorite foods as a lower carb and highly nutritious substitute for one of the high carb foods I miss the most. I encourage all diabetics to give it a try. I got it from one of the bulk bins at my local supermarket so it's not just in health food stores and is beginning to hit the mainstream food market.

Update: Reading back over this article made me remember how hard it was in the beginning to not just change my eating habits but more importantly even know what I needed to eat. You don't have to go through that because I have pointed out one incredible and comprehensive reference which will give you all the information you need to know what to eat to reverse diabetes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The "Egg Song" & Why I'm So Happy About Breakfast

These days I find myself humming, singing, and whistling the "Egg Song" as I make breakfast. Why am I so chipper this early in the morning? Well, first the "Egg Song" is an incredibly catchy and contagious tune that just seems to jump in my head when I cook eggs. I've been cooking eggs in one fashion or another most mornings since I started my low carb high protein diet to help reverse my diabetes so this tune has been rolling around in my head a lot. Second, I have seen a huge improvement in my overall energy level for the last few weeks of being on this diet. I want to emphasize it's not a minor improvement but a very noticeable BIG improvement. I'm not usually a morning person but lately I've been waking up earlier. I have way more energy and I'm more mentally alert. I attribute this to the diet I'm on and other life style changes that have put my blood sugar levels back in the normal range in a short amount of time.

My Grandma used to say that if you eat something sweet at breakfast, you'll be hungry the rest of the day. From my own personal experience, I think she was right. I'll also add that if I eat a high protein really low carb breakfast, my blood sugar will be more stable the rest of the day. Even if I throw a little extra carb in later in the day, this seems to be true. By the way, I don't mean I can go crazy on carbs but I do mean that starting the day off with mostly protein does seem to have a lasting effect when I eat carbs later in the day. There are many others who have tested this and have found it to be true as well. For me, that usually means two eggs cooked one of my favorite ways prepared to the tune of the "Egg Song." Sometimes I add other stuff like cottage cheese, low carb yogurt, or a breakfast meat if I make my eggs plain. Other times I keep it really simple and just eat the eggs.

Eggs are the perfect food for the diabetic. Each egg is 6-8 grams of the highest quality protein found in nature with only a trace of carb. They are one of the most versatile foods on Earth and even the most expensive highest quality eggs are a relatively cheap source of protein. In other words, you get a big bang for your buck. I've long been a fan of the egg and always thought they got a bad rap due to the anti-cholesterol craze.

By the way, the "Incredible Edible Egg," dubbed the "Egg Song" by many, was a jingle created by the American Egg Board as a public relations campaign to combat the negative publicity eggs had received by the medical establishment and those companies marketing low cholesterol products. However, at the same time, the American Egg Board also funded several research studies on the health benefits of eggs. Unlike the studies funded by many trade organizations, these studies turned out to be very legitimate and earned the respect of the scientific community and the medical community. Even the American Heart Association became convinced that eggs were not as evil as originally thought and ended up increasing their recommendation on how many eggs would be healthy to eat per week which I believe is 4 now, yolk included. I obviously eat more than they recommend. I've always been a rebel :-)

I for one will be happy to start my day off with some incredible edible eggs and singing the "Egg Song." Remember food is medicine. It can change your life. It can improve your mood, give you more energy, reverse your diabetes, and just make you happier overall.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Low Carb Chocolate & Lindt Excellence

Low carb chocolate doesn't have to mean chocolate with artificial sweetner. It can also mean dark chocolate with a very high cocoa content, high cocoa butter, and no milk.

I'm a long-time fan of Lindt chocolate. I love the rich chocolate taste and the silky smooth texture that just melts across your tastebuds. I recently tried 2 dark chocolate bars from the Lindt Excellence line. It was darker than what I'm used to but I've been noticing that since I've been on an almost no sugar and low carb diet, I've been able to taste the natural sweetness of foods more. I'm more sensitive to taste of sugar and even a small amount tastes pretty sweet to me. So the low carb Lindt Excellence dark chocolate bars were plenty sweet for me but I don't think they would have been 3 months ago.

I tried both the:
  • Lindt 70% - Lindt Excellence 70% - 70% Cocoa Intense Dark Excellence
  • Lindt 85% - Lindt Excellence 85% - 85% Cocoa Extra Dark Excellence
Most people seem to just refer to them as Lindt 70 and Lindt 85. There's also a Lindt 90% but it is evidently harder to find and the store I went to didn't carry it. Lindt's regular dark chocolate (no milk) is 60% cocoa.

Here are the ingredients for the Lindt Excellence bars I tried:

Lindt 70% Ingredients: Chocolate, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Natural Bourbon Vanilla Beans.

Lindt 85% Ingredients: Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Butter, Sugar, Natural Bourbon Vanilla Beans.

Even though Lindt Excellence bars are not labeled as "low carb chocolate" and Lindt doesn't seem to market them as low carb, they definitely are low carb compared to most chocolate bars that contain real sugar.

Lindt Excellence bars are sold as BIG bars with just under 3 times the chocolate you have in a regular sized Hershey's Bar. On the nutrition information label, they break this down into  2.5 servings. The bar has a total of 10 pieces. Here are the net carbs per serving (4 squares) and per piece:

Lindt 70%: 11 net carbs per serving, 2.75 net carbs per piece

Lindt 85%: 5 net carbs per serving, 1.25 net carbs per piece

You can definitely taste the difference in sweetness between the Lindt 70% and the Lindt 85% but I thought both were excellent and both have that same silky smoothness I love so much about Lindt chocolate in general. I've found that a single square of both eaten slow with a nice hot cup of coffee fully satisfies my chocolate craving. That's only 4 net carbs total so I'd say that is definitely low carb chocolate without having to deal with the artificial sweetners. If I got a serious chocolate craving, I'd probably go for a full serving of Lindt 85% which is only 5 net carbs.

I know there is a wide variety of low carb chocolate candy that contains artificial sweetners. However, I don't trust any of the artificial sweetners. For most of my life, I have refused to partake of artificial sweetners feeling like I'm putting little packets of white carcinogens in my food and drink. However, I did break down and buy a box of splenda packets a month or so ago for my chai tea and occasionally coffee when I want it sweet. I don't plan to bake with it or use it a great deal and I'd rather find a quality stevia product (without the licorice aftertaste) for my chai if anyone has some recommendations.

I've read many good reviews of ChocoPerfection bars, a popular low carb chocolate bar that comes in both low carb milk chocolate and low carb dark chocolate. They are sweetened with oligofructose made from grinding up chickory root. They also contains erythritol. These deserve further research, and depending on what I find out about oligofructose, I may try these and if I do I'll review them on my blog.

Find out the truth about Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate and other Americanized so called "dark chocolate" here (warning: this is a long post but it contains information that I think all diabetics and low carb dieters should know). Hint: it isn't REAL dark chocolate and it isn't low carb chocolate and it eliminates the majority of healthy antioxidants in chocolate.

"Net Carbs" vs "Effective Carbs" vs Carbs

There seems to be some confusion out there on the terminology used in low carb diet plans.

There is a difference between "net carbs" and carbs:

"Net carbs" are the carbohydrates ("carbs") that your body is able to process for nutrients with you eat. Net carbs does not include fiber because your body can not process fiber and it just passes through. Fiber is sometimes called roughage by people like my Grandma. So, for example, when you eat 1/2 cup of chopped steamed broccoli, you are eating 6 total carbs. However, 3 of those carbs are fiber and they are not digestible so there are only 3 "net carbs" in the half cup serving of steamed broccoli.

There is no difference between the term "net carbs" and "effective carbs." They mean exactly the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Sometimes "net carbs" are also referred to as "available carbs" because "net carbs" are those carbs that can be digested and therefore are available to the body to absorb for nutrition. The term "effective carbs" is a term made popular by the Protein Powder Diet whereas a later version of the Atkins Plan used the term "net carbs." I think "net carbs" is probably the most popular term out of the three terms: net carbs, effective carbs, and available carbs.

Calculate Net Carbs

It is easy to calculate net carbs per serving.  Just subtract the number of fiber grams from the total carb found on any food label in the US. Click here for more information about how to calculate net carbs.

How To Calculate Net Carbs

Before I describe how to calculate net carbs, I should mention that this is only necessary in the US. This is because food is labeled differently in other countries.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that every packaged food item have a "Nutrition Information" label. On this label, the "Total Carbohydrates" will be prominently displayed in grams per serving. Indented under this, if the food item contains fiber (some food items don't), the amount of fiber will be listed in grams per serving. To calculate the net carbs, simply subtract the number of fiber grams from the total carbohydrate.

You will not see "Net Carbs" or "Net Carbohydrates" listed on the food label. You will need to do the simple arithmetic described above to calculate the "net carbs." Be sure to pay attention to serving size and how many servings are in the entire package.

If the food item does not have any fiber, it will not say zero fiber. It just won't mention fiber. In this case, the net carbs are the same as the total carbs.

This method works for all US food labels but it does not work for European food labels and other food labels around the world such as those found in Japan.  This is because it is not necessary to calculate "net carbs" on other food labels because other countries do not include the fiber carbs when they list total carbs on their food label. So, the total carbs or simply listed as "Carbohydrates" is the net carbs.

The difference in food labeling between countries becomes very important when dealing with imported foods and when looking up information online. You need to always be aware of the source when reading food labels to calculate net carbs. This became very apparent to me when comparing dark chocolate labels. However, keep in mind that some companies that are headquartered in one country will have a subsidiary in another country that uses that follows that country's food label laws. For example, the Swiss chocolate company Lindt has a subsidiary in the US with and a US version of their website that has nutrition information that follows US laws.

For more information on net carbs, click here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hershey's Nutrition - Exposing Facts That They Don't Want You To Know

Note: This Hershey's Nutrition post is really long but contains some very useful information I think every diabetic, every low carb dieter, and every dark chocolate fan should know. It includes facts many chocolate companies will not want you to know but you need to know.

Before I tell you about the Hershey's nutrition information I discovered, let me first give you a quick Hershey's chocolate quiz to get you thinking (answers at bottom of post):

Hershey's Nutrition Quiz Question #1:
Which of the following Hershey's Kisses have the fewest effective carbs (total carbs minus the dietary fiber)?
  1. Milk Chocolate
  2. Filled with Carmel
  3. Hugs (white chocolate and milk chocolate swirled together)
  4. Dark Chocolate
  5. Milk Chocolate with Almonds
  6. Cherry Cordial
Hershey's Nutrition Quiz Question #2:
Which of the following Hershey's Bars have the lowest effective carbs?
    1. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
    2. Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar
    3. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar
    4. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bar
      Hershey's Nutrition Quiz Question #3:
      Which of the following Hershey's Bars have the most protein?
      1. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
      2. Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar
      3. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar
      4. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bar
      As I posted a few days ago, I "cheated" on my low carb high protein diet recently by indulging in a gooey Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds. It was given to me by a friend who is well aware of my diabetes diagnosis and my special diet but she had heard that dark chocolate didn't have nearly as many carbs as milk chocolate and she said she got the kind with almonds to add protein (nice friend!). I knew (or I thought I did) that dark chocolate has fewer carbs than milk chocolate but yesterday I decided to find out how big a difference in carbs there is between Hershey's special dark chocolate bar and their milk chocolate bar. I was surprised by what I found and I ended up spending hours reading about chocolate.

      Based on the boards, blogs, and articles I read, there seems to be A LOT of confusion and misinformation out there about chocolate. It really took some digging to ferret out the truth. It seems there are many diabetics and others on low carb high protein diets that eat dark chocolate frequently as their special treat. In fact, many do so daily. So, I decided it was very important that I post the most important information that I learned for my fellow diabetics and low carb dieters.

      First and very important, the term "dark chocolate" has no official definition in the US Federal Regulatory Code and there is no specific guidance by the FDA. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, and many other cacao terms are clearly defined but not so for dark chocolate.  This leaves it wide open for American chocolate companies to put the "dark chocolate" label on just about anything they want as long as they follow the definitions set for chocolate in general. In other words, the use of the term "dark chocolate" is not regulated at all. Moreover, there are no standards that apply. There is no required minimum percentages of cocoa powder, no minimum amount of chocolate liquor, and no minimum amount of cocoa butter beyond what is required to call it chocolate. Given all the recent news on the health benefits of dark chocolate due to its exceptionally high flavanol antioxidant content, I think this needs to change and I encourage everyone to contact the FDA by email or by phone and voice your opinion (I personally think email is better as it leaves a permanent record).

      Good news for chocolate lovers has been all over the media, in many popular magazines and websites, on the 24 hour news outlets, on the popular talk shows, in most of the newspapers, on the NPR shows, etc....that "dark chocolate," with the generally accepted meaning to be chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, is actually good for you! This is because of the very high concentration of flavonoid antioxidants that are known to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc... One Huffington Post article touted dark chocolate as one of the top ten most healthy foods of the last decade. Really dark chocolate is supposed to be a super healthy food for diabetics as long as they don't eat too much sugar with it. There's been a country wide celebration of sorts that something so delicious it feels sinful to eat could actually have such a positive health benefit. The chocolate companies have fueled this in part and Hershey's even funded a large scale study and posted information about it on their website. It has been pointed out repeatedly in the media that dark chocolate (REAL dark chocolate) has even more antioxidants than just about any other food. This includes the foods that are famous for having a very high level of antioxidants such as nuts, blueberries, and green tea. So, most Americans, especially those paying close attention to their health like many diabetics, are WELL AWARE that "dark chocolate" is supposed to be GOOD for you.

      But as they say, the devil is in the details and I think American consumers are often being fooled by products labeled as "dark chocolate" that really aren't in the more traditional sense of the word. Read on...

      When most people buy a candy bar labeled as "dark chocolate," they have certain expectations. The traditional use of the term "dark chocolate" means more cocoa and no milk which of course makes it darker. Most people assume that when chocolate is darker in color, it contains more cocoa, has far fewer carbs, and has a much higher concentration of the powerful antioxidants which are of great benefit to diabetcis. However, I have found that this is often not true for American products labeled as "dark chocolate."  It does seem to be true most of the time for the nicer European brands like Lindt but it is often not true for the most popular American chocolate companies.

      Again, I believe American chocolate consumers are often being fooled by a "dark chocolate" label that does not mean what it does in the traditional sense of that term. AND...I believe this is because the FDA does not regulate what can be labeled as such which leaves it open for abuse and misleading marketing by the chocolate companies. 

      Cocoa powder is very expensive. Therefore, if making dark chocolate means adding more cocoa, that means it would be much more expensive to make traditional dark chocolate than milk chocolate.

      What if the American chocolate companies could find a way to produce "dark" chocolate WITHOUT adding more cocoa (or adding just a little more) thus increasing their profit margin?

      Guess what? They do have another way to make it appear darker:

      Another way to make chocolate darker in color is through a process called the "dutch process." It was originally used to make cocoa powder less bitter and more soluable in liquids to facilitate baking. In this process, cacao solids are soaked in an alkaline solution before they are ground into powder to decrease the acidity (raise the pH). The longer the cacao solids are soaked the less acidic they become AND THE DARKER THEY BECOME!!

      For emphasis: American chocolate companies can make "dark" chocolate without adding more cocoa and still get away with labeling it as "dark chocolate" because the FDA doesn't regulate the use of this term on food labels. Instead of adding more cocoa, which is expensive, they use a smaller amount of DUTCH chocolate (cocoa processed with alkali).

      Here's are two of the main problems with this from a health perspective:
      1. Chocolate loses much of its very healthy flavanol antioxidants in this process! Only 40% of the antioxidants are retained in lightly dutched cocoa, only 25% is retained in medium dutched cocoa, and only 10% is retained in heavily dutched cocoa (also known in some circles as ultra-dutched cocoa). What a waste! The more processed a food, the less nutritious it becomes.
      2. "Dark chocolate" made in this way does not necessarily contain fewer carbs than the same serving size of milk chocolate. 
      Here's another major problem:

      Consumers get fooled! They think they're buying dark chocolate in the traditional sense of the word because it is labeled as "dark chocolate" and because they can see the chocolate is much darker.

      The Hershey's Special Dark bar is Ultra-DUTCHED! Take a look at the ingredients listed on the package:

      sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, cocoa processed with alkali, milk fat, lactose (milk), soy lecithin, PGPR (emulsifier), vanillin, artificial flavor, milk

      Notice the "cocoa processed with alkali."

      In fact, the cocoa used in Hershey's "special dark" chocolate has been soaked in an alkalizing agent for an extra long time.  This means it has lost most of its flavonoid antioxidants! It also means that it does NOT contain the amount cocoa (or cocoa butter but that's another story) that traditional dark chocolate contains. contains milk, a much cheaper filler.

      It worthy to note that even though Hershey's provides the "nutritional information" on their website they do not include a list of their ingredients with this. They don't seem very proud of their ingredients do they?

      Hershey's used to make a "Dutch Cocoa Powder" but they discontinued it after consumers complained that the artificial darkening of the cocoa during the dutch process could mask the use of inferior cacao beans. Natural cocoa powder is slightly acidic, with a pH of around 5 - 5.5. Dutch processed cocoa has a pH in the 6.8-7.2 range. Now they make a "Special Dark Cocoa Powder," which is the same process they use to make the Special Dark Candy Bar, that has an even higher pH (more alkaline, less acidic) which is REALLY dark. Some people complain that desserts turn out almost black using the "Special Dark Cocoa Powder" and dryer than normal. I will ONLY buy natural cocoa powder from now on.

      I should point out that I didn't find any other references online that pointed out these facts in such a clear fashion. I had to dig really deep and it took a while to figure this stuff out. If you are a consumer shopping at your local supermarket, it is highly unlikely you're going to know this stuff and you're certainly not going to know it by reading the label. We need to get the word out.

      I'm concerned that many diabetics may be buying "dark chocolate" thinking it's low carb when it really isn't. Be SURE to check nutrition information labels very carefully.

      I'm also concerned that many diabetics may be buying "dark chocolate" because they think it is packed with flavanol antioxidants when they brand they are buying has lost most of this due to the dutch process. It's not like the relative antioxidant content is printed on the packaging. HOWEVER, if you read the ingredients and see "cocoa processed with alkali" listed or you see "dutch chocolate," you probably want to pick a different product.

      As far Hershey's tricky little marketing scheme using the "Special Dark Chocolate" term on the label, I'm recommending to all of my readers to steer clean of anything marked as "Special Dark." It's not just dutched, it's ULTRA-dutched, which means most of the antioxidants, so beneficial to diabetics, have been eliminated in the overly processed cocoa. It is not low carb either.

      On thing I found particularly offensive on the Hershey's website was a prominent link on their Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar page that says, "Learn About Dark Chocolate and Antioxidants" which linked to a page describing the extraordinary health benefits of of the flavonoid antioxidants found in REAL dark chocolate WITHOUT ever explaining the dutch process in their "special dark" chocolate and the fact that this eliminates most of the antioxidants. For fairness, not all of the antioxidants are eliminated but most are.

      Answers to the Hershey's Nutrition Quiz:

      #1: Milk Chocolate with Almonds - 20 grams effective carbs per serving (9 Kisses)

      Did you pick dark chocolate like me? It came in second lowest with 22 effective carbs per serving (9 Kisses).

      #2: It's a tie! There are 19 effective carbs per serving (9 pieces) in both the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds and the Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bar. 

      For comparison, the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar contains 25 effective carbs and the Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar contains 22 effective grams of carbs.

      Notice it makes no difference whether you buy the "special dark" bar or the "milk chocolate" bar if you want almonds. This would not be true in the higher quality real dark chocolate like Lindt. Hershey's does make a 60% dark chocolate but it is much more expensive and not easily found.

      The biggest difference in carbs in Hershey's bars is to buy a bar that has almonds and there are better choices like the Lindt 85 bar.

      #3: The Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar has the most protein with 4 grams beating out the Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds by one gram. It must be because of more milk. Notice that in the higher quality dark chocolates that do not contain milk, the darker the chocolate, the higher the protein. This is because it has more of the cacao bean. For example, the Lindt 70 Bar has 3 grams per serving, the Lindt 85 Bar has 4 grams per serving, and the Lindt 90 Bar has 5 grams per serving.