A Farewell to Carbs

A 30-something navigating the world of Type 2 Diabetes while remaining fun, fashionable and fabulous.

Human Guinea Pig: Pop Chips 02/07/2012

An occasional feature wherein Diabetic Diva reviews products that purport to help with a healthy lifestyle. She receives no compensation or sponsorship for these reviews. Curious about a product? Leave comments in the suggestions or e-mail diabetic.diva79@gmail.com.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you can probably infer that I like snacks. In fact, snacking is largely to blame for how heavy I am today. I eat pretty healthy meals, lots of veggies and lean protein.

But snacks. Snacks kill me every time. I like coming home from work, plopping on the couch and stuffing my face. I especially love chips — that satisfying crunch and the fact they come in giant bags that last me a 45-minute television show on DVD.

Of course, curbing my snack habits is key to really getting serious about losing weight. It’s also important in my quest to lower my blood sugar and avoid being sentenced to insulin.

So what’s a fat girl to do? Well, I was in the chip aisle of the grocery store, staring longingly at a bag of Herr’s Cheese Puffs when I saw the bag of Popchips sitting forlornly with the “natural snacks.”

Nom nom nom

The nutrition info wasn’t bad at all — about 120 calories, 4 grams of fat and 18 grams of carbs per 1 ounce serving of the original potato kind. The fiber and protein are comparable to the average bag of chips — 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

These are a little on the expensive side, about $3.50 for a 3 ounce bag, which comes out to more than a buck a serving. And despite my vow to get them home and immediately portion the chips out into 1 ounce servings so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the whole bag in one sitting … Yep. You got it. I got distracted, stuck them in the carbohydrate cabinet (why yes, I do have an entire cabinet for snacks. Thanks for asking.)

And one night, when I was desperately hungry, I came across the bag again, opened it up and promptly ate the whole bag. For those keeping score at home, that’s a total of 360 calories, 12 grams of fat and (oh God, don’t make me look!) 54 grams of carbs.

I’d like to take a moment to say that, although I shouldn’t have eaten the whole bag in one sitting, it could be worse. Thank God there’s only 3 ounces in the whole bag, so there’s some built in damage control.

The chips were delicious, really light and super-crunchy with a pleasant amount of salt. I don’t like baked chips because I find them a little like munching on sand patties. These aren’t baked, according to the package, and they weren’t like eating the Saraha with a spade.

So, to review. They tasted good and they were fairly low in carbs, calories and fat. They gave me that hit of salt I like in a snack without being overpowering or dry. But they were expensive for the size of the package, and I didn’t have enough willpower not to eat the whole bag.

Rating: 2 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

Availability: Most grocery stores

Price: $3.50

More information: http://www.popchips.com/


Human Guinea Pig: Weight Watchers Brownies A La Mode 01/30/2012

An occasional feature wherein Diabetic Diva reviews products that purport to help with a healthy lifestyle. She receives no compensation or sponsorship for these reviews. Curious about a product? Leave comments in the suggestions or e-mail diabetic.diva79@gmail.com.

It’s coming on two weeks now that I began Weight Watchers. And while the past few days were an utter disaster (more on that tomorrow), I rocked it the first week with a 2.8 pound weight loss.

Last week, I wrote about what should be in a healthy person’s pantry, fridge and freezer. I keep a couple (OK, more that a couple) of things on hand to help me stick to my eating plan. And the other day, I was stocking up on frozen meals that can stand in when I’m too busy to cook a full meal and am out of leftovers.

While digging through the frozen meal section of my local Giant to find diet meals that looked edible, I found some Weight Watchers desserts. As an unrepentant ice cream lover, I was curious whether these frozen sundae things would be good. So I bought a pack to try just so I could report back to you, my loyal readers. See what I do for you? See?

The brownie a la mode comes in a pack of four, as do most of the other frozen desserts WW offers. If you can limit yourself to one per day (and I know that’s a big if. I’m about to heat up my second one of the day. For research, you know? STOP JUDGING ME!), it’s a pretty good calorie deal: 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs and two grams of fiber. The sodium and cholesterol counts are good, too.

Underneath the plastic wrap, there’s a hearteningly generous amount of dark chocolate syrup covering the vanilla ice cream. The directions say to pop it in the microwave for 5 seconds (I swear to God. 5 seconds.). I did so and then dug in.

The chocolate sauce tastes slightly of chemicals, and the vanilla ice cream lacks the same character as you would get in, say, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But the brownie on the bottom is pleasingly substantial and it takes more than a few petite bites to finish it. All in all, it’s not a bad alternative if you are craving  ice cream and don’t trust yourself alone with a bucket of Breyers.

Rating: 3 out of possible 4

Cost: about $3.49 for a pack of four

Available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Visit http://www.eatyourbest.com/where-to-buy.aspx to find a location.


Human Guinea Pig*: Crystal Light Mojito 01/09/2012

*An occasional feature wherein Diabetic Diva reviews products that purport to help with a healthy lifestyle. She receives no compensation or sponsorship for these reviews. Curious about a product? Suggest one by e-mailing Diabetic Diva at diabetic.diva79@gmail.com.

As a self-proclaimed foodie, being a diabetic can sometimes cramp my style. I have to be careful with what I eat now (though the idea that diabetics need to swear off all sugar for ever and ever amen is not entirely correct).

A few months before I was diagnosed with diabetes, some friends organized a bar-crawl to celebrate my 30th birthday. I remember drinking two sugary alcoholic beverages in rapid succession and then feeling like I was going to pass out and die. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was experiencing all the classic symptoms of high blood sugar.

After I was diagnosed, I swore off drinking. That was entirely my choice, and I’m not making any recommendations  as to what you personally should do. Any recommendations about nutrition and diet should come from a licensed, professional health care provider.

That said, I never really loved the taste of alcohol. I don’t like beer, I barely tolerate wine and straight liquor makes me gag. But put vodka or rum into some fruit juice and add sugar, and I can usually swallow it and ask for another. All that sugar and fruit juice wreaks havoc on my blood sugar, though, so I gave it up.

Every now and again, I miss drinking. One of my favorite drinks was a mojito — which is lime juice, mint, simple syrup, sparkling soda water and white rum. When I saw Crystal Light’s line of cocktail-flavored beverages — and that they had a mojito one! — I wanted to try it.

One note — I grew up drinking diet soda and Crystal Light, so I don’t mind the taste of artificial sweetener. I am trying to cut way back on my consumption of it. But obviously, Crystal Light uses artificial sweetner, so know that going into this, OK?

That aside, the Crystal Light mojito is really pretty good. It has the notes of citrus and lime that you expect in a mojito. At a party I threw recently, I used this as a base for actual mojitos and they were a hit, even amongst people who professed not to like artificial sweetener. For the party, I fancied the drinks up with some fresh mint leaves, a chunk of lime (both of which are calorie free!) and a healthy glug of good-quality white rum.

On my own, though, I don’t go to all that trouble. Unlike most Crystal Light packets, mojitos and others in their mocktail line make 2 quarts per packet. I think the taste is a little strong, so I usually add more water to the pitcher and add some ice cubes to my drink.

Rating: 3 stars out of a possible 4.

Cost: About $2/$3 per package, which contains 5 packages (making a total of 10 quarts)

Find a store: http://www.kraftbrands.com/crystallight/Pages/default.aspx#/mocktails/mojito