Experiments in No/Low Carb Cooking: Baked Spaghetti Squash

It’s edible gourd season! In my house I’m the one with unapologetic love for decorative and edible gourds, so given my love for gourd season and interest in low carb cooking, I decided to work on a dish that treats spaghetti squash like baked spaghetti.

About a third of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac, and while no one in our house has been diagnosed with celiac, not infrequently, we prepare gluten free meals. Also, when thinking about how carbs, fat, protein, and fiber are digested, I look for ways to increase the fiber and or protein content of dishes, hence the addition of ground flax seed to this recipe.

Here’s the basic recipe.

Half the spaghetti squash scoop out seeds, coat with oil, salt & pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh, creating long strands. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.

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Meanwhile, sauté three cloves of chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the garlic cool slightly, and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 tablespoon of a mixed seasoning. I really like Fox Point from Penzey’s Spices. Stir together. Add the squash and about 4 oz. of tomato sauce. Mix and place in 9 inch baking dish. Cover with 4 more oz of tomato sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes and then uncover dish and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

The Verdict:

Matt, known squash hater since childhood, had to go to work an hour early and didn’t get to try it.

Ava: “Does that have tomatoes?” More about Ava’s feelings for fruits and vegetables explained in this video.

Henry: “This tastes like pizza.”

Me: It’s definitely not pizza, but it’s flavorful and not watery like many baked squash dishes.

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Confessions of a D-Mom

Tomorrow it could dip into the 30s. I’ve been watching the weather for a couple of weeks, expecting the first plunge into freezing, so I switched out the kids’ clothes from summer to winter. And like usual, I discovered they outgrew most everything from last year, which is how I found myself in Target this weekend, shopping for boys’ pants by shoving my hands down the front pockets.

Hands deep in a pair of cargo pants, I became acutely aware of side-eye from a fellow parent and shopper. Along with side-eye, color and style are the least of my concerns when it comes to shopping for clothes for my six-year-old son with type 1 diabetes. Instead, I search for deep pockets that will hold his insulin pump and a flexible waistband that won’t pull a site out from his backside.

So there I was, innocently shopping for pants, when I found myself in a d-mom (mother to a person with diabetes) moment. Honestly, these d-mom moments are pretty routine, appearing like little blips on a radar; some are even funny, but others break my heart all over again.

Here are a few cumulative and recent d-mom moments.

When my son is grumpy, mean, or angry for no reason, I automatically check is blood sugar before I do anything else.

I can count the times I’ve slept through the night the last two and a half years on one hand.

I accidentally sent a text intended for my husband to the school nurse.

When my son told me this story the other night, I felt like we’re handing this diabetes thing pretty all right: “Mama, when I’m on American Ninja Warrior, my story is going to be this. At first I was little, but then I got bigger. I ate food that was good for me, and I didn’t get afraid of as many things anymore. I have diabetes, and at first I didn’t like the pokes. The sensor hurts more than the site, but it’s all O.K.”

I say my son is high in public.

I have a mental rolodex of carbs memorized. This makes me very unpopular at parties.

I’m less patient with willful ignorance than I use to be, but I’m more patient when it comes to failure.

Today my son was on the low side, and he took some pop corn out of the bag I was holding (and eating from). It occurred to me that we’ve never really shared a snack like that. Most of his food is weighed or measured, not eaten out of a package that contains multiple servings.

Every day diabetes takes up time, sometimes literal hours are sucked away battling new insurance restrictions or stubborn blood sugars and ketones, but paradoxically, it’s also forced me to exist in a tiny moment, like after I’ve treated a really low blood sugar. Henry and I lie on the couch, waiting to recheck his BG, and when he feels better, he tells me about this new movie he’s writing. It’s called “War of the Stars,” (I suspect some copyright infringement), and there’s these two characters called Citeloneum, he’s the goody guy, and Vitloneum, he’s the bad guy. Citeloneum has a site because he has diabetes.

 

 

 

 

LOVE IS ON 2016 Challenge

I just returned from giving my son a juice box in his sleep. His blood sugar was low, 68, and about half an hour earlier it was 62. My son is 6, and he has type 1 diabetes. Right now, I’m his pancreas. I count carbs, estimate how the types of foods he eats will interact with the amount of insulin I give him. I think about his blood sugar at least once every waking hour. I even dream about blood sugar numbers.

However, this won’t always be the case. This is Henry’s diabetes, not mine. Little by little, I’ll hand over the tools and knowledge he’ll need to keep himself alive and healthy. Like a parent teaching a child to drive, we’ll circle the block, drive around town, and eventually he’ll back out of the driveway alone.

In the future, when Henry is his own pancreas, I won’t know about every low, how much insulin he gave himself, nor what he ate. He’ll figure out this diabetes management thing from us (from all the years of talk and practice) but also from other places, like the diabetes online community (DOC). When he’s older, he won’t share all the challenges he has to endure. He’ll rightly look to other people with T1D, and thankfully, the DOC offers amazing resources: personal blogs, research, nonprofits, and communities, like Beyond Type 1.

Beyond Type 1 is an exciting organization that aims “to be provocative, inclusive and disruptive: putting a face on this disease, clearing up misunderstandings about who is affected by T1D and eradicating the stigma that comes from living with a chronic disease. [Beyond Type 1 recognizes] there is a different narrative to be told: that of a strong empowered community living a powerful life beyond the diagnosis” (from www.beyondtype1.org). Unlike some places on the internet, Beyond Type 1 focuses on being empowered and living beyond a T1D diagnosis.

I am beyond thankful that Nick Jonas and celebrity chef, Sam Talbot, spoke up and out about their T1D, and helped found Beyond Type 1. I’m glad there are a bunch of amazing people working at Beyond Type 1 to create a positive community with many resources for education, access, and empowerment.

Right now, Beyond Type 1 is in a fund raising challenge, the Revlon LOVE IS ON 2016 challenge. For the organization that raises the most money, Revlon will donate another $1 million dollars. Please consider making a donation in any amount. We just did.

@beyondtype1 shared Henry's story today. #t1d #diabetes

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