Thursday, April 18, 2013

The return of the beans!

Eight months ago, I received some unwelcome news about my health:  I have been diagnosed as a diabetic.  This means, for the first time in my life, medication.  It also means lifestyle changes.  Ugh!  There was no choice but to attempt to rise to the challenge, meaning dietary changes and . . . exercise!  I have been making progress and have seen positive results, but emotionally, I'm just beginning to wrap my head around the whole thing.

My faith has been renewed through this challenge, however.  It's so true that the Lord carries you when you are not sure you can handle it on your own.  The results, so far, are pretty wonderful.  My sugar is completely under control and I've lost about 70 lbs.  I have also joined a gym and have been working with a trainer since January.  I wouldn't describe me as fit by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm making progress.  I definitely feel more flexible, have less pain on my knees and I'm sleeping a lot better!  Of course, the trainer goes on and on about how I'm building muscle and strengthening my core . . . yeah, yeah, yeah . . .  I don't see the muscles yet but I'm going to keep at it.

There have been many, many dietary changes, and, truthfully, it hasn't been that bad!  I've been experimenting a lot in the kitchen.  I tried eating according to the recommendations of the ADA, but the program left me ravenously hungry, and my glucose reading fluctuated wildly between morning and night.  Then I toyed with the Paleo diet, eliminating almost all wheat, soy and just about anything that an agricultural society produces.  The Paleo diet recommends eating like our paleolithic ancestors, i.e. fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whatever meat those early hunters were able to kill.

I thought it was going to be soooo difficult.  No bread?  How could I live without bread?  No pasta?  No beans?  NO BEANS!!!  I grew up with beans!  My mother made a different bean soup every single day!  Like most Cubans, she'd make a thick potage to be served over rice, as part of the daily meal.  On Mondays, it was black beans, on Tuesday, it may have been split peas, on Wednesday, red kidney beans, on Thursday, Spanish Olla, a chick pea soup with sausages . . . and so on . . . no beans . . . ?  Well, for the sake of my blood sugar, I stopped eating them as well.  Surprisingly, I didn't miss the bread and pasta as much as I thought I would, but the beans were another story.

Then, recently I read "The Blood Sugar Solution" by Dr. Mark Hyman, and he provided a fresh perspective on my whole new diet.  For one thing, he's validated a lot of the Paleo principles, so that's good, I didn't have to start from scratch, but he recommends beans as part of a healthy, low-sugar diet because of the fiber and nutritional benefits, and, if eaten correctly, perfectly fine for diabetics.  Yay!  Dr. H is my new hero!

So, I've introduced beans back into my diet, and so far, I have seen no adverse results, and my taste buds are so happy!  Imagine my joy when I found this at the grocery store:


Say, what???  16 BEANS!!!  All together???  At once???  This, I gotta try!  I learned to make beans from my mother, the sorceress.  She never followed a recipe, which was extremely frustrating to me when I was younger, but eventually gave me the ability to improvise in the kitchen.

So, Maria, was in the kitchen this past weekend, concocting a magic potion from these dry pebbles.  It was truly a little bit of this, and a little bit of that . . . and then another visit to the pantry to see what else I could throw in there.  And this was the result . . .


I should call this soup “20-Ingredient Bean Soup” since that's how many different ingredients went into the pot:  1) Beans, 2) Onion, 3) Green Pepper, 4) Garlic, 5) Bacon, 6) Spanish Chorizo, 7) Zucchini, 8) Butternut Squash, 9) Carrots, 10) Spinach, 11) Diced tomatoes, 12) Tomato sauce, 13) Chicken stock, 14) Olive Oil, 15) Oregano, 16) Thyme, 17) Bay leave, 18) Dry white wine, 19) Salt, and 20) Pepper!

Lots of chopping!  Thankfully, my husband is the most wonderful chopper in the entire universe. 


He chopped, I conjured . . .


Here's a closeup . . .


That night, I had also roasted a chicken, but let me tell you, we didn't even touch it.  Both, my husband and I had a bowl of this deliciousness and were quite satisfied.  Then we settled down to watch Game of Thrones and The Borgias, with a very contented tummy.

I'm joining the Foodie Friday link party.

8 comments:

Pearlsa said...

I love beans I will be giving this recipe a try.

Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

I have had to change my diet, but I decided to embrace it. It turns out I am eating pretty well, I just have to plan. I am so glad you have also found a way to deal with your issues and with your very own chopper.

Alycia Nichols said...

Girl, you jumped from zero to 60 in nothing flat!!! That's a lot of beans in that soup!!! But I totally understand...I grew up eating beans (didn't like them back then, but love them now), and it's hard to just cold turkey quit everything!!! I'm sorry to hear about your diabetes. I know that is cause for a lot of adjustments. Diabetes runs in my family, so I live with the fear of someday having to deal with it, too. I say "fear" because my sister has to prick her finger, and I'd rather have a full-on 24-hour mammogram than to have to prick my fingers!!! :-) I'm glad you are getting the recommended exercise and putting effort into your health. You are a role model for that alone, my dear!!!

Have a great weekend, and cheers!

Angela2932 said...

Mmmmmm, this looks so delicious! Good for you, Maria! You are doing great in all your lifestyle changes! My dietary changes have only been over the last three months, and, while challenging, aren't as bad as I thought they'd be! Surprisingly, beans can be on my diet, or at least a few of them, in another month or two,and if they are soaked for a full 24 hours. And your soup recipe looks possible for me, with only modifying to the restricted beans. Sadly, the chorizo is out, and the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes can only be an actual Italian brand. Apparently, Italian law requires ALL ingredients to be on the can, while US law allows for "traces in processing", which means that most US manufacturers sneak sugar into EVERYTHING! Happily, there are some Italian brand tomato products carried by our local health food store. But I bet you can find plentiful amounts in Chicago-land!

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

Hi, Maria. Que rico!! I'm sorry about your diagnosis, but boy, have you made the most of it--you've improved your health, have lost weight, and are creating brand new recipes! I haven't seen Goya's 16-bean mix, but I will surely look for it. I'm with you--there's no bean soup like the Cuban soups! I wish you continued good and improved health. ~Zuni

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Maria, I'm so sorry to hear about your health issue but I'm glad things are going better for you now! Your bean recipe looks delicious! Linda

FABBY'S LIVING said...

Oh Maria, I just saw this recipe for Alejandro...as I'm not crazy about beans, myself, but than again, I'm a weird one, lol.. My brother has diabetes and he watches his food intake too, and I am careful, so not to gain weight, which is no good for the pain I constantly have in my knees. I hope you have my sweet friend, a wonderful 'Dia de las Madres,' along with your smart and handsome men.
FABBY

Nicki said...

Maria - I'm sorry to hear of this diagnosis but applaud you on the changes you have made. We totally changed up our diet after my husband had a heart attack 3 years ago. Well done on the weight loss and exercise regime.

This soup looks and sounds delicious.