Chipless in Seattle (or anywhere)
By Dennis Linden
Over half of the U.S. adult population, some 154 million, qualify as being overweight or obese. Another 29 million of us have Diabetes, many as a direct result of being overweight. Then there are the 23.9 million overweight children who are dutifully following the example of their XXL adult role models. Diabetes and these extra pounds cost this country billions annually in both medical and economic resources; not to mention the affect these weight-related maladies have on a person’s overall mental well-being and happiness. However, both diabetes and being overweight are very manageable, even preventable, with a few lifestyle tweaks. By maintaining a sensible diet in conjunction with some consistent exercise, no matter how minimal, we are all in total control of our own weight.
Simply put, our bodies convert all foods into sugar calories that provide energy to the body via the blood stream. Foods with low glycemic scores convert to sugar much slower than foods with high scores; this enables the body to assimilate theses calories of energy more efficiently without overwhelming the blood with more sugar than it can process. In fact, eating foods that have a low impact can both reduce appetite and encourage the metabolism to burn body fat. Conversely, a diet of foods high on the glycemic charts have been proven to actually increase appetite and impede effective fat oxidation. One simple way to take control is to start making decisions about the foods we eat based on the glycemic index [GI] and glycemic load [GL].
Quickie Glycemic Primer:
- The glycemic index of a food compares its effect on blood sugar level to that of pure glucose, which has a score of 100. White breads, which are made of processed white flour, are at the top of this scale, scoring a “perfect” 100 on the glycemic index. For perspective, a score of 55 or below denotes a low-glycemic-index food; 70 or above is considered very high. Serving size is not a consideration in arriving at a food’s Glycemic Index number.
- The glycemic load, on the other hand, focuses on how much digestible carbohydrates (sugars) a food contains in a typical single serving, defined as approximately 3.5 ounces. For glycemic load, a score of 20 or more is high, while 10 or less is low.
One needs to pay attention to both glycemic scores. While a food may have a high glycemic index number, if very little sugar exists in a typical serving size then its glycemic load can be quite low. For instance, most store-bought whole wheat breads average about 71 GI, but score a low 9 GL based on a serving of one slice.
Since being diagnosed with Diabetes-2 some twenty years ago, these two scores have become the rudder that guides my own meal plans. It is hoped that the dishes featured in this monthly blog will inspire readers to develop the habit of checking the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load scores of a recipe’s main ingredients before preparation. Here is one very basic list (no link was given)
that I reference regularly.
One of the hardest dietary challenges for anyone trying to cut carbs is a social event over-flowing with chips-n-dips, cracker-n-cheese platters, doughy crostini or brioche temptations, mini rolls, buns and those devilishly delish stuffed popovers. All white flour based empty calories that spike sugar and add pounds. And there is a limit to how many deviled eggs one can safely consume and, let’s face it, raw zucchini sticks are just boring.
Take heart, the holy grail of tasty dips can still be enjoyed without going down that slippery slope of compromising one’s glycemic integrity “just this once” -- of course, I am talking about guacamole. There are literally thousands of formulas for this wonderful avocado-based condiment; however, most are delivered by fattening chips, crackers or tortillas in all shapes and sizes – all sharing extreme glycemic scores. Here’s a tasty option…
Mini-peppers not only have no impact on blood sugar, but this colorful little pepper adds a refreshing sweet crunch that plays well with the avocado’s natural creaminess. Plus this tasty combo of creamy-crunchy is topped off with a decadent sprinkle of crispy bacon bits, creating a flavor sensation that leaves zucchini sticks in the proverbial culinary dust. No offense to zucchini aficionados, but we’re talking about crispy, low-glycemic bacon here! Enjoy!
Guacamole Pepper Boats
Makes a regatta of about 40!
1 pound Melissa’s Veggie Sweet Mini Peppers
2 ripe Haas Avocados
½ cup Fresh Cilantro
Sea Salt, to taste
8 ounces Bacon Slices
Prepare the peppers by cutting off the stems, then cut the peppers in half, lengthwise. Trim or pull out the white membrane and seeds.
Place the peppers on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 10 minutes.
Mash together the avocados, lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste (option: add hot sauce).
Cook bacon until crispy, let cook on paper towel, then chop into pieces.
Using a small spoon, stuff each pepper half with guacamole, then top with bacon crumbles, serve on a platter and enjoy!