Wise food choices help manage diabetes

By CHERYL WALKER Milam County AgriLife Extension Agent

Why is it important that people with diabetes pay careful attention to what they eat and when? It's because it helps to control their blood sugar (glucose) levels and prevents complications from developing.

We can change many aspects of our lives to become more healthful. Eating the same amount of food at certain times during the day helps with the carbohydrate metabolism problem that is caused by diabetes. Another way to be more healthful is to pay attention to what you eat and to make wise food choices.

Foods and nutrition play an important part in managing diabetes, but for people to use these key tools, they must know the right kinds and amounts of food to eat each day. Foods are classified according to the major nutrients they provide carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Dietary intake of these nutrients can affect the body's ability to function.

Too often, life is spent in a rush. Because of this, food is often eaten quickly, without any consideration of the nutrition it provides. But eating properly and healthfully takes planning and advance decisions to ensure the right choices in foods are made.

The food we eat can really make a difference in the amount of glucose in our blood. Choosing healthful foods is a lifestyle choice that we must make if we are to control our diabetes. People with diabetes are especially concerned with carbohydrates, since their bodies don't metabolize starches well. Carbohydrates that have higher fiber contents breads, cereals, vegetables, and fruits are better tolerated than simple carbohydrates with less fiber and higher sugar contents, such as milk, fruit juices, and concentrated sweets such as sugar, syrup, and honey.

The "Cooking Well with Diabetes" class will help you learn to cut the sugar, salt, and fat in the diet while increasing the fiber intake. "Cooking Well with Diabetes" classes are sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Milam County Office. Each class is being offered for an afternoon and evening session at the Milano United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Milano. The classes are free, but we need you to pre-register so handouts and tasting samples can be prepared.

Dates for the class are: June 23- "Carbohydrate Foods"; June 30- "Making Recipes with Fat Better for You"; July 7- "Double-Pleasure Side Dishes"; July 14- "Diabetes Reunion", Holiday Recipes. Times for the class are 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. (same as afternoon class).

Pre-register by contacting the Milam County Extension Office at 100 E. 1st Street in Cameron, 254-697-7045 or email cewalker@

Pickling Questions From time to time questions are asked about pickling. Here are some answers to most frequently asked questions:

Why did the liquid in my dill pickles turn pink? Using over mature dill may cause this. If so, the product is still safe. However, yeast growth could also cause the color change. If yeast growth is evident, discard the pickles. Yeast growth may also make pickles cloudy or slimy.

I don't have the type of dill my recipe calls for. How can I substitute what I have? For each quart try 3 heads of fresh dill or 1 to 2 tablespoons dill seed.

I have an old recipe that calls for adding a grape leaf to each jar of pickles. Why? Grape leaves contain a substance that inhibits the enzymes that make pickles soft. However, removing the blossom ends

the source of undesirable enzymes) will make the addition of the grape leaves unnecessary.

Can I use burpless cucumbers for pickling? Burpless cucumbers are not recommended for use in fermented pickles. They will be soft and the skins may be tough.

I would like to make sweet pickles, but I am diabetic. Can I use an artificial sweetener? The best approach is to take dill pickles slices, rinse to remove the salty flavor, and sprinkle with artificial sweetener. Allow these to sit in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before use. Substituting artificial sweeteners for the sugar in sweet pickle recipes is not recommended.

Why did the garlic cloves in my pickles turn green or bluish green? This reaction may be due to iron, tin or aluminum in your cooking pot, water or water pipes reacting with the pigments in the garlic. Or, the garlic may naturally have more bluish pigment and it is more evident after pickling. Immature bulbs should be cured 2-4 weeks at 70 degrees F. The pickles are safe to eat.

When making quick process pickles, can I store any leftover pickling solution for future use? If the pickling solution is fresh and has not been used to make pickles, cover it and store it in the refrigerator for later use. If the pickling solution has been used, it can be stored in the refrigerator and reused in 1 to 2 days for barbecue sauce, coleslaw dressing or a marinade. If mold growth occurs, throw it out.

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