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/


Smacking down snacking 01/23/2012

Filed under: snacking smart — Diabetic Diva @ 11:13 am
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I think I may have mentioned this before, but I like to snack. In front of the television, curled up with a book, hanging out with friends, driving, sitting at my desk — you name it and I see it as an opportunity for snacking. This might be why I have 75 pounds to shed.

To make matters worse, my favorite snacks are usually junk food. Every week, I buy fruits and veggies in an attempt to at least save on calories by snacking on fresh, healthy foods. And every week, I rummage through the cabinets and the fridge to find the high-carb, high-fat, no-nutritional-value-at-all snacks.

One question you may be asking is — Why buy it if you shouldn’t eat it? And the only answer I can give you is: I HAVE A PROBLEM, OK? STOP JUDGING ME!(I’m kidding. Kind of.)

So what’s a fat girl to do? Well, SparkPeople.com has a list of smart snack ideas. And I’m happy to say that some of my new go-to snacks are on the list: Pickles, hard boiled eggs and slices of lunchmeat.

But I think I’ll go one further and make this a new rule: Every time I get the urge to snack, I’ll start out with a piece of fresh fruit or some veggies and some protein instead of automatically reaching for the family size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

Your turn: What’s your favorite healthy snack?


Human Guinea Pig*: Greek yogurt dip 01/16/2012

*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.

I was at the grocery store the other day, stocking up on fresh produce to nibble on during the week when I saw a new dip. No, not a dorky guy feeling up the out-of-season peaches! A new creamy concoction near the bags of mixed lettuce.

Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know I like dunking things into sauces. Apples in peanut butter, carrots and celery into spicy ranch, tortilla chips into warm, cheesy spinach artichoke dip,  chicken wings and (imagine me making Homer Simpson-like noises) ….

Ahem! OK, getting back to the topic at hand. The new dip. Yes. I’m a big fan of Marzetti’s southwestern ranch dip for my veggies, but it’s pretty high in calories.

So when I spied their new line of greek yogurt veggie dips called Otria, I was intrigued. With 60 calories and 2 grams of carbs for the spinach artichoke variety, it isn’t such a bad choice.

And it tastes pretty good, too. I tried it with the classic carrot sticks and also with some whole wheat pita triangles. There’s a definite tang that you get with greek yogurt, and it’s a little watery. I was a little weirded out by egg yolk and fish oil listed in the ingredients, too.

Rating: 3 stars out of a possible 4.

Cost: About $3 for an 8.75-ounce package, which has about 8 servings.

For more information: http://www.marzetti.com/products/marzetti/product.php?bc=44&cid=65.


Single and satisfied 01/11/2012

Before you read this post, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBko_3wT44Q

OK. Welcome back. Can we talk for a moment about how much I hate most 100-calorie packs? They’re bullshit. There’s, like, 10 tiny wafers in there that taste nothing like actual Oreos or Nutter Butters. They don’t satisfy my hunger. If anything, eating one of them makes me want to break into the nearest vending machine and clean it out of snack cakes.

Plus, a box of 100-cal packs are, like, eight times the price of a package of Oreos. The thrifty side of me rebels every time I consider buying a package.

See, 100-cal packs operate under the principle that people can’t control themselves enough to refrain from eating half a bag of chips at one sitting. Or, if you want to be kinder about it, they operate under the principle that that people don’t know what a serving size looks like. Honestly though, if a serving size is a 100-cal pack, I kinda want to jump off a very tall building.

But what if you just opened that bag of chips (or that package of Oreos or whatever your treat of choice is) and portioned it out into single servings right away? It’s cheaper, takes only a couple of minutes and is tailored toward your tastes. And for anyone who thinks “But I’d just eat several DIY single servings  in one  sitting,” I say this: You could do the same thing with 100-cal packs. In fact, I’ve done it with 100-cal packs. (It was a moment of desperation. STOP JUDGING ME!)

So here’s how you do it. At the store, check out the nutrition facts on the treat you’re thinking of getting intimate with and decide whether the serving size is something you can live with. If not, put it back on the shelf and back away slowly.

If so, buy it and bring it home. Don’t be scared. Just get out your trusty scale, measure out single servings and then package it up.

As an example: We don’t have a Trader Joe’s store anywhere near where I live (can someone from TJ’s get on that, please? I sent the petition in to open a store in Scranton, PA months ago!). So when I visit my family in Virginia, I usually stock up on a couple of things I really like. One thing I always buy is Trader Joe’s trail mixes.

Trail mixes are good snacks for me because they’re packed with protein from the nuts. They can be high in carbohydrates, though, both through the dried fruit and from the extras like chocolate chips or M&Ms. So before I buy, I check the nutrition facts and find a mix with 13 carbs or less per 1/4 cup.

When I get it home, I break out my trusty kitchen scale and start portioning out servings.  Then I pour each serving into a snack-sized plastic baggie (which are smaller than the sandwich-sized baggies, so it looks like there’s more food in them!) and then label it with the calories, fat, protein and carbs of what’s inside. Tada! Instant, DIY single-serving packs you can grab for your lunchbox or as a midnight snack.

An aside: Most nutrition facts have both an ounce or grams as serving size as well as an approximate measurement in teaspoons, cups, etc. I’ve found that portioning it out in grams or ounces is much more accurate. Food scales can be found online and in stores for a $15 or so. Invest in one and find the zen in knowing exactly how much you’re eating.

Your turn: What’s your favorite treat? Have you ever tried portioning it out ahead of time so you don’t have to be tempted each time you open the bag?