Eat to beat diabetes | Warm artichoke and tomato salad

Warm artichoke salad

As I’m cutting carbs in my diet, it means I need to come up with a variety of new dishes to serve with my meat and fish proteins instead of using lots of carb-dense potatoes, pasta or rice. This delicious warm salad is perfect for serving with roast chicken or lamb for lunch or supper. The tomatoes, herbs and artichokes predominate, not the carbs i.e. the bulghur wheat, and the oil and lemon dressing adds a real zing to the overall flavour.  This recipe should be enough for 2, giving 12g of carbohydrate and 215 calories per serving.

Serves 2

  • 100g chargrilled artichokes in oil, drained and thinly sliced
  • 8 stoned green olives, sliced
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 50g cooked bulghur wheat
  • 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 dessertspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Generous pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper 
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper 

To make…

  • Cook the bulghur wheat according to the instructions on the pack. It should fully absorb all the water but drain any excess if necessary.
  • While the wheat is cooking, chop and prep the remaining ingredients. Place them in a mixing bowl with the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • Stir in the bulghur wheat while it’s still warm and mix thoroughly. The heat from the wheat should gently warm the artichokes and tomatoes too.
  • Check for seasoning and serve with roast chicken or lamb.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.
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Eat to beat diabetes | ‘Well-woman’ salad!

well-woman salad

On my route to creating a go-to lunch that will help with my new low-carb healthy eating programme, this delicious and easy to make salad has become a firm favourite. There is a plant-based element in the salad ingredients providing important fibre and vitamins and the protein comes from the soft boiled egg and oily fish in the form of mackerel fillets which also provide valuable omega-3 fat. This totals just under 4gms of carbohydrate; fat and protein don’t flood your body with glucose that it might not be able to process effectively, unlike even small portions of bread, grains, rice, pasta and potatoes. I mix this up quite a bit with different salad ingredients but I make sure a varied selection appears on my shopping list every week so I can throw together a slightly different version every day that I won’t get bored with. Choose whatever you like but read food labels carefully and you’ll soon become brilliant at making better choices.

  • A large handful of crisp lettuce. I don’t buy bagged salad as it never seems to keep long once opened and turns a bit slimy. Instead, I buy a whole Cos or Gem lettuce – wash and dry it (I use a salad spinner) and keep it in an airtight tub in the salad drawer until I want to use it.
  • Cucumber – about a 2 to 3-inch piece, sliced or cubed
  • Radishes – about 6, sliced or quartered
  • Small avocado about 80g = 2g carbohydrate, 17 g fat, 152 calories
  • 1 free-range soft boiled egg, peeled – I generally cook a couple at a time so I’ve always got one in hand so to speak. 1 egg is pretty much zero-carb, 5.5g of fat and about 75 calories
  • 1 raw carrot, grated
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped including the celery leaf
  • A few chopped or torn fresh herbs – coriander, flat-leaf parsley or basil all work well
  • I x 125g drained can of Princes mackerel fillet in olive oil or brine (not the ones in sunflower oil which is high in polyunsaturates or the mustard or tomato sauces that usually contain hidden/high levels of sugars) OR one of those whole mackerel fillets from the chilled fish counter which has a higher omega-3 content
  • Options: crumbled feta cheese (v low in carbs) or a tablespoon of cooked Puy lentils instead of the egg. Swap the mackerel for cooked or smoked salmon, also classified as an oily fish with beneficial omega-3 oils
  • Salad dressing: I make my own in a small screw-top jar. It’s easy and, more importantly, I know what’s in it. Commercial salad dressings are often chock full of sugar, this will keep in the jar for a few days.

To make…

Serves one

  • Make the salad dressing. Allow the salt and mustard to dissolve in the vinegar in the jar first, add the olive oil and pepper. Put the lid on. Shake until fully mixed and emulsified, taste and rebalance with a little more oil, vinegar or seasoning to taste. It needs to taste quite gutsy as, once it’s on the salad, the flavour won’t seem so strong.
  • Add the salad ingredients to your salad serving bowl. Serve it an attractive bowl if you can, it all adds to making the meal more satisfying experience. Add a tablespoon of the dressing and gently toss the salad until each piece is thoroughly coated.
  • Top with the fish and boiled egg (I like to sprinkle with a pinch of celery salt), or the lentils and feta. Enjoy!

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.
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Eat to beat diabetes | Getting started

So, I had my NHS ‘Well Woman’ health check last year that included being weighed and measured, a blood pressure check and a fasting blood test to check my cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Next thing I know, I got a letter to say I was at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and was invited to join a prevention and management programme run by X-PERT Health on behalf of the NHS.

Anyway, long story short, I started last September and we’ve been having weekly classes and we were given a brilliant reference book to teach us about how our bodies process what we eat and drink and how we can avoid developing Type 2 by managing our weight, our carbohydrate intake, exercise, stress management and so on. We were equipped with the tools to understand why we needed to make changes and information on all the different dietary approaches with their relative pros and cons such as Low Fat, Mediterranean, Low Carb and Intermittent Fasting but it was up to us to create our own plan that suited our own circumstances to make it a viable and effective reality. This is how I’ve gone about it and it’s definitely working for me.

The first thing I did was to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and then look to see where I might be going wrong. No one meal I had would appear to be ‘unhealthy’ by current standards but I quickly realised I had a lot of carbohydrate at virtually every meal during the week. Overnight oats with yoghurt, fruit and nuts for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch at work, an evening meal that usually included either potatoes, rice, couscous, bulgur wheat, pasta, bread or pastry at its core. I wasn’t eating much animal protein as I’d been cutting down on meat – a message we’re hearing almost every day in the media that’s ‘a good thing’ – so most of my diet was coming from a lot of grains, some fruit and vegetables and a little bit of animal protein and dairy.

Hmmm, once I started measuring the amount of carbohydrate I was eating, it became apparent that I couldn’t possibly use that much glucose swimming about in my bloodstream. We’re only supposed to have between 5-7g (1 teaspoon) in our blood at any time and it was plain to see why mine would be too high. It’s not like I’m in training for a marathon after all! We had a whole class on carbohydrate awareness and I’ll cover that in another post but back to next steps…

So, once I knew what my current diet looked like, I could start to tweak it and see how that felt. Then, I started to educate myself about the carbohydrate content of all the foods I normally ate, I’ll do another post on how I did that later. It was pretty enlightening to see how different foods compared and even how different brands compared per 100g.

Now I’m a food label ninja and shop deliberately for particular brands, I make sure that I eat a low amount of carbs every day (less than 50g) with more protein, vegetables and good fats, evenly spaced throughout the day preferably, and adapt my recipes and meal plans to swap high carb foods for low to no carb alternatives e.g. cauliflower mash instead of potato mash, lactose-free milk instead of standard milk etc. You’ll start to see that come through in all my new #TheFridayRecipes and I’ll try to alter some of the archive recipes when I get time. It hasn’t been a chore once my new routines were established and my partner is enjoying it too.

Next, I made sure the battery was replaced in my weighing scales and I weigh myself at the same time every day so see how the choices I’m making are impacting my weight – 5kg lost since the start of the programme and, impressively, no gain or pain over Xmas – phew!

I also use my electronic weighing scales in the kitchen to ensure I’m not being slapdash about the weight of any foods that I really need to portion control. I can measure by eye usually once I’ve established the weight of something and fixed that image in my mind. I don’t count calories because I find I don’t need to, just controlling the carb intake is enough to make sure I’m not hungry, I’ve got plenty of energy and the weight is coming off.

Anyway, more posts to come on this healthy eating programme that I hope you’ll find interesting and useful and of course lots more #TheFridayRecipes that taste amazing!

Have a good week,

 

Janet

You can hear more about the programme here if you’re interested.

The Big Interview – Dr Trudi Deakin, The Diabetes Times

NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.
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