Roasted chicken - Presentation

Artificial Sweeteners

Heart Disease

Mashed Cauliflower

Diabetes: A Modern Day Epidemic

Our country is facing a modern day epidemic -- diabetes !!! This disease is caused by high levels of sugar (called glucose) remaining in the blood vessels long after a meal or snack. We need food to power our body to do it’s work. Every cell in our body needs glucose as a fuel source to do it’s job. Our lungs need fuel to breathe just as our heart needs fuel to beat.Every cell in our body needs glucose to do its work and keep us functioning.


The problem is that glucose can’t get out of the blood stream without the help of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is manufactured in the pancreas. Our body functions with many checks and balances. When something changes in our body, it tries to return to its normal state. After you eat,  the food is turned into glucose which raises the amount of glucose in the blood. The pancreas notices this increase in glucose and sends out insulin to help the glucose get into the cells. Insulin is often thought of as a key to unlock the cells to accept the glucose. After a period of time most of the glucose is absorbed into the cells and the blood glucose level returns to a normal range.

Diabetes: What Is It?

Sugar In The Blood

A doctor told you that you have sugar in your blood. This is diabetes. You didn’t do anything wrong. Diabetes is a disease - like having a heart attack. There are a lot of people with diabetes. The number of people with diabetes is rising.  Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the world. Diabetes can be controlled so that you can have a good life. The way to do this is to change your lifestyle.

What Caused My Diabetes?

Diabetes has no cure and can lead to an early death. You must change your lifestyle now or you will have health problems soon. Diabetes causes more deaths yearly than AIDS and breast cancer combined. As of 2012  over 29 million Americans people had diabetes. The number is growing. This is over 9 percent of Americans. When I am talking about diabetes it is related to only adults

One of the leading causes of diabetes is family history. Most people with diabetes have close blood relatives that have diabetes. This means parents, grandparents, aunts, and cousins. There is nothing that you can do about this. As they say, "you can’t pick your family". You are stuck with them. There is no escape.

Another cause is aging. Our bodies are wearing out. Joints, hearts, lungs and other organs are wearing out. As we age we have more health problems. This includes diabetes. You can not do much about it. We all get older. We can live healthier by changing our lifestyle. We can not stop aging. We just adapt to aging. Eyeglasses, canes, hearing aids, and changes in our diet help us cope with the aging process.


Adults need to have a physical once a year. This is more important when you hit 40. If your doctor tells you that your blood sugar is high you need to act ASAP. Before you have anything to eat your blood sugar should be below 100. If your blood sugar is between 100-125 you have pre-diabetes. You are lucky. This is a sign that if you don’t change your lifestyle, you will have diabetes in a few years. If your blood sugar goes above 125 - you have diabetes. You need to make changes in your lifestyle now before you have diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a signal that you can still do something before you get diabetes.   



In order to live with diabetes, you need to change your lifestyle. It is not as painful as you may think. The trick is to make changes gradually. Diet will be your most important change. You can also help your family change to a healthy diet. It will help you if the whole family has the same diet as you. It will help your family to live a healthier life. If your family has a history of diabetes, your children are at risk to develop diabetes.

Empty carbohydrates are the enemy. Carbohydrates change to sugar in your blood quickly. Empty carbohydrates provide no nutrition - only calories. Empty carbohydrates include things like sweet desserts. Other empty carbohydrates include white products. This is white flour and things made with white flour. This includes things like white bread and white pasta. White rice, and other white flour products that have been processed. All the nutrition has been taken out. This gives products a longer shelf life.

Instead of white products, you need to eat foods in their original form. This includes whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, buckwheat pasta, and brown rice. These products actually taste good. Whole wheat products are available in most grocery stores. I like whole wheat bread with different types of seeds. This bread is nice toasted and makes good sandwiches. Your whole family will enjoy whole wheat bread and pasta once they get used to them.

Another important category of good carbohydrates is fresh fruit and vegetables. Fresh is better. Frozen is good. Canned fruit and vegetables are OK but the vitamins are cut out. Most of the vitamins are in the juice. The juice in canned vegetables also contains a lot of salt. The juice in canned fruit contains a lot of sugar. Both salt and sugar are enemies of everyone, especially diabetics. It is best to eat fruits and vegetables with the skin on as the skin contains fiber and vitamins which we need. Scrub vegetables and fruit with a brush to remove any dirt.

Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

We often hear about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. What is the difference? Type 1 diabetes was formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes or child-onset diabetes. In type 1 diabetes a person’s immune system completely destroys the cells that produce insulin. Glucose (sugar) which feeds every cell in the body can not be absorbed by the cells without insulin. Think of insulin as a key that unlocks the cells to let glucose in. Most often type 1 diabetes starts early in life. Around 5-10 out of 100 people who have diabetes have type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are completely dependent on insulin injections. It is critical that people with type 1 match their intake of calories each day with their insulin dosage prescribed by their medical professional. If the calories and insulin dosage don’t match there will be high levels of insulin or glucose (sugar) in the blood. Either condition causes severe consequences. People with type 1 diabetes have a more difficult time regulating their insulin dosage. People with type 1 need to take their blood sugar level several times a day at home with their own blood sugar monitor.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, is a condition where the body still produces some of its own insulin but does not produce enough insulin to bring the glucose level back to a normal level by itself. People with type 2 diabetes who can’t control their diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes need to take pills or injections of insulin. The type of oral medication (pills) that is commonly prescribed (and the one that I take) is metformin. If you watch TV in the evening you will see many newer oral drugs advertised that treat type 2 diabetes. There are also several types of insulin and also newer types of insulin delivery systems.

The reason why the terms juvenile onset and adult onset diabetes is not used as much is because children can get type 2 and adults can get type 1. The main difference is that with type 1 diabetes the body produces no insulin and with type 2 the body produces some of its own insulin.

Blood Sugar Monitor and Syringe

Artificial Sweeteners

People with diabetes know that natural sugar is like poison to their body. We are always looking for sugarless products. There are a lot of choices out there and some that cause unpleasant symptoms. If an artificial sweetener does, try another product. Be sure to read the labels carefully as some companies use more than one artificial sweetener. I found this out the hard way. I bought some candy sweetened with Splenda and didn't read all the ingredients. When I got symptoms that I have had with sugar alcohol sweeteners before, I re-read the ingredients more carefully and discovered that the candy was sweetened with Splenda plus a sugar alcohol. Many people have problems with sugar alcohols as you will see from the comments below. An easy way to identify sugar alcohols is that most end with “ol”. Some examples of sugar alcohol sweeteners are Isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol,and xylitol and these only have half the calories of white sugar (so they aren’t sugar free).

Artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods." They are designed in a lab and don’t have any calories and do not raise your blood sugar levels. Artificial low-calorie sweeteners include:

Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sugar Twin) and can be used in both hot and cold foods. Avoid this sweetener if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Can be used in both cold and warm foods but it may lose some sweetness at high temperatures. People who have a condition called Phenylketonurics (PKU) which is inherited from both parents and should avoided.

Acesulfame potassium or ace-K (Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sunett) can be used in both cold and hot foods, including baking and cooking.

Sucralose (Splenda) Can be used in hot and cold foods, including baking and cooking. Processed foods often contain Sucralose.

Advantame can be used in baked goods, soft drinks,other non-alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, candies, frostings, frozen desserts, gelatin, puddings, jams, jellies, processed fruits, fruit juices, toppings and syrups.

Neotame (Newtame) is an artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet that is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).

Read Between the Lines. Use this "cheat sheet" to identify which products are sweetened the way you want them sweetened.

No sugar or sugar-free. The product does not contain sugar at all, though it may contain sugar alcohols or other artificial sweeteners.

No added sugar. During processing, no extra sugar was added. However, the original source might have contained sugar, such as fructose in fruit juice. Additional sweeteners such as sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners might have been added.

Dietetic. The product may have reduced calories, but this word can mean a lot of things.


Below are complaints of people who have had bad reactions to products sweetened with sugar alcohols. I personally have had severe gastrointestinal (GI) problems similar to the people below. I recently bought hard candy online that it said was sweetened with Splenda (which I use every day without problems). I got GI problems similar to those mentioned below. I re-read the label and it was sweetened with Splenda but also contained sugar alcohol. It is important to read the entire label.

"This has given me severe GI distress including bloating, extreme gas, and severe diarrhea."

"Oh… boy! Five and a half hours ago I had some guava paste (sweetened with Splenda’ and…. Maltito)l! Now I’m online trying to figure out how to relieve the horrible pain and bloating and disgusting flatulence. This sugar alcohol needs to be banned by the FDA, people!!!"

"I’m a diabetic and when I wanna eat sugary things, I’m limited to what I can eat. My friend told me that sugar free gummy bears were sold at the pharmacy so I went to buy some. If I would've known the side effect of eating them I would have saved myself $4.50 and just eaten 3 week old raw chicken! I can honestly say that NEVER have I felt so sick in my entire life. The warning on the back “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect” IS BULLSHIT! I ate 10 of them and wanted to die! Russell Stovers sugar free candies have never had that “effect” on me.


"OH MY GOD. Yesterday I bought some “Double D” sugar free caramel chews. It said no artificial colours or flavours, like that’s healthy, right? Well, with 55% maltitol syrup I was in for one embarrassing day! I had musicians in a studio & was trying to work with them & had to keep bolting out with EXPLOSIONS, if you get my drift. NEVER AGAIN. Nasty little caramel critters."

"OMG.. I completely agree with Kimberley’s comments. I thought I had eaten some bad food, but I remembered that I really did not have anything to eat out of the ordinary. Until I ate these gummies that were 35g per serving of Maltitol. I had bad side effects including diarrhea and gas. I will never eat anything with this in it again. It is New Year’s Eve and I cannot even go out and enjoy myself because I am running to bathroom every hour. BAN this from food…it is terrible."

"I just had a terrible experience with maltitol in protein bars. I knew my abdominal pain was related to the protein bars but could not figure out why–until I stumbled onto this. Had one yesterday, got sick. Another today, even more sick. Both bars contained maltitol. The pain and bloating today was so severe I nearly went to the hospital–it even hurt to breathe. After throwing up and a few rounds in the bathroom, I feel much better. Never touching that garbage ever again."

"Avoid Sugar Alcohols at all costs. They give you diarrhea like none other! Try Agave Nectar or nothing at all!"

"My mother and I recently decided to cut down on the fat foods, but can’t resist our urges for sweets. We came across this sugar free chocolate cream pie from Walmart last week; bad idea. It made us so sick. She was sick for two days while I suffered for about four days. We decided, okay, no more sugar free pies. Now yesterday we picked up some sugar free chocolate chip cookies. Again, bad idea. Had some last night, I felt fine, a little gassy, but my mother felt sick. I decided to try some more today and yeah, the bathroom seems to be my new best friend. Curious we looked at the ingredients and found maltitol and sorbitol. Never saw that before so I had assumed this was making us sick. I looked it up and guess we’re not the only ones. Learned our lesson, I’d rather cheat and have some sugar than eat sugar free and be glued to the bathroom all day. Don’t eat sugar free foods from Walmart!"



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Roasted Chicken From The Grocery Store

Roasted chicken is a good choice for a quick and inexpensive meal. Most grocery stores have roasted chickens. Wholesale clubs also carry roasted chickens and they are larger and plumper than from a regular grocery store at the same price.

Roasted chickens are a nice bring along to a covered dish event. The problem is that when the event is over, the person who brought the chicken carries most of it back home. The problem is presentation. People often bring the roasted chicken and just plop it down. It is unappetizing. People just don't like hacking at the bird, especially if holding a plate. They only have one hand to scoop up the food.

This is the way to make an empty plate return home. First get an attractive plate to put the chicken on. Put the chicken on a cutting board and cut the meat up. Cut the legs off, then the wings. Cut each breast from the center line down to as far as it goes. Take this breast meat, lay it horizontally and slice pieces off. Repeat on the other side of the breast. Pull any other meat off the carcass, then arrange all the chicken on an attractive plate in an attractive way. Pour the juice from the container over the chicken. That is a simple way to make the chicken presentation more appetizing and this process is quick and easy (especially after the first time).

I take it one step further and put the juice in a saucepan and add another ingredient in equal parts to the chicken juice. This is up to you if you want to take this extra step. Bring the sauce to a quick boil and pour over the chicken platter. As for the second ingredient, I have used Chinese sweet chili sauce, dry sherry, white wine, white vermouth, vodka, gin, etc. Boiling briefly will boil off the alcohol. Lastly, you can decorate the platter with some edible greens that you may have in your refrigerator. Be sure to take a serving spoon along. Good luck. Be ready to take an empty plate home with many compliments.

 Copy and paste 2 YouTube videos on carving a roasted chicken                         



Yum Yum Yum

Man having a heart attack (notice hand on chest due to pain)

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, that is one in four people. In the US someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Causes can come from many factors including diabetes, overweight, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and smoking are leading risk factors. Heredity is also a risk factor.

How Your Heart Works

Your heart is an amazing organ. It works 24/7 pumping blood around your body giving each cell in your body oxygen and nutrition.

"Heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms:

Chest pain or discomfort.

Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.

Shortness of breath.

Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats."


Everyone should know the symptoms and take immediate action. Don't wait thinking the pain is indigestion. Your life depends on immediate action -- You need immediate medical attention. Depending on where you live someone on the scene should call an immediate medical team like "911". A heart attack causes many disruption in the heart's activity. All kind of things start to go wrong. We all have seen TV programs in an Emergency Room) when a patient has all kinds of procedures being administered by a team of medical people trying to save a life.

After a medical ambulance is called, see if someone or two can perform (cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If there is emergency medical problem DO NOT attempt to drive a heart attack victim in your vehicle. Many heart disruptions start after a heart attack which might happen after you begin your journey. What would you do if your passenger started screaming with pain, stopped breathing, or whose skin starts to get ashen or bluish. Do not listen to a victim who insists he is not going to a hospital. As they say it is better to be safe than sorry. An emergency medical vehicle has supplies that can keep your heart going until you reach a hospital.

Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a disease of the heart which I have been living with for over 5 years. It is a very irregular heartbeat. This irregular heartbeat is completely irregular without any type of pattern. It can come and go. Usually people start with AFib which comes and goes. When it comes and goes a person will go to their doctor or medical professional complaining of palpitations and weakness. If a regular EKG is done in the office or clinic, it will only show up as your regular pattern if you are not in AFib at the moment. The medical professional will send you to a cardiac clinic which will hook you up to a small monitor which tracks your heartbeat for 24 hours, a week, or a month. When I had my first monitor for 24 hours it only showed my regular heartbeat. Since I didn't have any further irregularities, nothing further was done, just watch and see. In the next few weeks, wouldn't know it, I had palpitations and weakness where I felt like I was going to pass out. I went back to the doctor, he sent me to the cardiac clinic and they put on a week's monitor. After the week ended, I went back to the doctor's office to find out the results and the Medical Assistant did a routine ECG. She ran out of the exam room without finishing the EKG and the doctor came running in. My heart was in complete AFib at 170 beats/minute.

A Visual Guide to Atrial Fibrillation


Visual presentation of atrial fibrillation  (click or copy and paste)


Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower seems to be getting popular as a versitible vegetable. The key is not to overcook it. My mother always cooked it in a pressure cooker as that is just how it was done when I was young. It was really horrible but my parents thought it was great. My sister used to slip it into the heat vent or give it to the dog under the table.

When I was at a restaurant several times they served mashed cauliflower in a dish put under the broiler at the last minute with grated cheese on top. I thought, “I could do that too”. I looked up several recipes which started with boiling the cauliflower in water. This seemed to taste waterlogged. So I came up with another idea. I don’t measure much when I cook so you will have to be creative.

I use a quantity of cauliflower florets based on how much you will eat. This keeps well in the freezer uncooked. I separate the florets, rinse them in water, and dry as best I can. Put the raw florets in a blender or kitchen blender appliance. Pulse blend until it has a fine texture. This is where the creative ideas come in. I add to the blender cream cheese, butter, and a couple tablespoons of cream, ½ & 1/2 , or milk, salt to taste, fresh ground black pepper, and a dash (⅛ teaspoon) of ground nutmeg. For some reason a pinch is used as I don’t want the flavor of ground nutmeg but just a pinch adds a depth of flavor without tasting like pumpkin pie. I also like to sometimes add grated parmesan or cheddar cheese. Remember the cauliflower is still raw.

At this point, you can put some of it in a micro proof container (to cook right away). Put the extra in a double freezer plastic or tightly sealed container into the freezer for later use. For the batch that you are using right away, microwave on a low setting for one minute cycles. In between cycles take out, stir, and taste. As soon as it tastes good, it is ready to serve. To go one step further you can put cheese and butter on top and pop it under the broiler until the cheese and butter is melted and shows a little color but don’t let it get burned. Keep a close watch. This is also a good vegan dish by using coconut milk or coconut cream, S&P, and a dash of nutmeg. Good luck and enjoy.

Fish Poached in Vodka Sauce

Ingredients: Tilapia

Bertolli Vodka Sauce

Frozen Peas

Chopped Herbs (optional) Grated Parmesan (optional) 2 Tablespoons of Vodka (optional)

     I just made this up when I wanted to make something quick. This is great for something fast that looks nice and good enough for company depending on how you present it. I do not usually measure when I cook. I had some frozen tilapia fillets that I wanted to use up. I had 4 fillets for two of us. I put a bottle of Bertolli Vodka Sauce in a deep non-stick fry pan and rinsed out the bottle with a couple of Tablespoons of vodka (optional). Warm sauce gently. stirring often until it starts to bubble. It is a thick sauce so stir and cook on medium low so it doesn’t burn. When it starts bubbling put the thin defrosted filets in the sauce to poach. Put in a cup (or two) of frozen peas. Put a cover on and poach fish and peas until the fish is flaky and peas are done.

      Thin filets cook fast so as soon as flaky turn off the heat. Garnish with some green herbs if you have them like parsley, cilantro, chopped green part of scallions, chives, or celery leaves. Sprinkle some finely chopped parmesan cheese. Keep warm and serve in the fry pan or a serving platter. Serve with some type of pasta (I used angle hair). Put some sauce on the pasta and fish. Depending on the number you are serving and appetites double the recipe. Enjoy. I assume that you can use other seafood too.  Enjoy.



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