Vodka has zero (0) carbohydrates & Creme Brûlée is better for me than cake!
Darjeeling tea martini — 0 carbs but still…one is probably enough 🙂
While intending a bit of wit and tongue in cheek perspective on “what to eat” that’s still yummy and fitting within the parameters of one’s diabetic diet, these two facts were actually helpful for me to learn.
Ten years ago, I participated in an 8 week course for diabetics (I was pre-diabetic at the time). When my numbers shot up last summer, I went back to see what knew news was available from the nutritionist’s world regarding this insidious disease. My dietician said, “really, nothing had changed in the last 10 years.” I told her I was flying somewhere soon and usually needed a drink or two to relax during the flight, but didn’t want to hurt myself with too much alcohol (wine was my usual drink – 4 grams of carbs are in five ounces and anticipated needing 10 ounces for a good buzz…her comment…”vodka has no carbs”…hmmm… Vodka it was! (I decided I’d rather eat my carbs than drink them that day.)
What I realized at that nutritionist appointment, (an epiphany of sorts), was that I am now “on my own” in figuring out “what to eat.” I know all the general info. about what’s good and what’s not, what I want now is a personal, individualized, actual, customized action plan that let’s me still love my meals….and the only place to get that kind of detail, specifically designed for me, was from one source… me! So I went to work on one.
Thanks to getting my own glucose monitoring device, I can check my blood sugars after eating and see what actually happens with certain foods – which ones spike my sugar levels and which don’t. While I thought I’d drive my wonderful husband crazy with my diligent measuring, logging, testing, and cheering and/or bemoaning the results …he’s been so supportive (no surprise really) and has gotten into complimenting my efforts. There are other factors I am figuring out too, like the “dawn phenomena” of sugar spikes in the early a.m. hours and how to manage that. It’s a work in progress – but I can assure you, I AM making good progress. Each day, I am more comfortable with knowing “what to eat” and am expanding my testing to more exotic and once forbidden items with tweaks in the recipes. What’s working for me…using a little math (45 grams of carbs at a meal is my target) and ensuring balance between fats, carbs, and proteins. Also, I eat real food, not artificial substitutes (more on that in upcoming posts).
Recently I’ve put puddings, brûlées, & custards back into my diet. I just love them, savory and sweet, but have stayed away from the sweets completely for a couple years. The reason a brûlée or pudding is better for me than cake is that there are normally more protein and fats in a pudding than those that exist in a cake. Refined grains and sugars spike a diabetic’s sugar levels enormously. Eggs and dairy (in puddings) are proteins and fats, which you actually need for balancing the sugars. It’s all about balance…think balance and you can have a bit of everything. Last month I enjoyed my niece’s pumpkin brûlée, and another day, a savory flan from Market Restaurant in San Diego. Neither spiked my sugar levels…yay, I got to have my pudding, and eat it too 🙂
Sammy cakes Pumpkin Brûlée…I had mine without the “carmelized sugar” and no sugar spike later …hurray…
Parmesan savory pudding with corn bread from Market in San Diego
Along with a lovely cup of tea…usually an oolong in the evening.
For the past few years I’ve struggled with managing my diet in an effort to keep my borderline type 2 Diabetes “borderline”… and after ten years, “borderline” went to actual “diabetes”. It is a progressive disease. I now know what that means. After slinking into myself for several weeks – contemplating how to deal with this diagnosis, along with newly prescribed medicines, I’ve come out with a wider perspective on what to do, how to do it, and still and always — completely enjoy my meals, because as some of you know, every morning I wake up just thrilled and excited about the prospects of “what to eat” and pair that with my favorite teas.
At 30 years old I went through something similar to this drama about “what to eat” when I first remember “ever” putting on weight. At a checkup, I actually asked my doctor, “what is all this stuff around my middle area?” I was serious, she laughed and said, “That’s fat! Quit eating so much. You’re 30 now, your body is changing. You can’t eat the way you did in your teens and 20’s.”
And, I ask you, “Is this happening in your house?” Christmas dinner was at our home. The menu needed to have the following options: gluten free, soy free, low sodium, low carb, vegetarian and carnivore dishes while being delicious, traditional, and cohesive…whew!!! With a little thought, we did it.
I have concluded the once “niche” diet is actually the “mainstream” diet today.
Thank goodness for tea! Always a great fit with an enormous variety of options for varied tastes… and here’s the deal with tea… it’s gluten free, vegetarian (vegan), no carb, no sodium, soy free, and can be paired with any type of food you desire…I say… awwwwwwesome 🙂
Eat . Be . Tea is taking a little different road going forward…focused onto “a new way to eat”… Answering the question “What to eat?” and still feel good after consuming – with the caveat that we continue to just LOVE our meals and not just “settle” for some calories that are supposedly “good for us!” It will be interesting, enlightening, and fun…and pertinent to each of us at any stage in our lives…if I had known all this at 30, I might not have two to three sizes of clothes in my closet today 🙂
You will see my favorite finds over the next several weeks … (I would have started sooner, but have had a multi-week glitch with my technology…now corrected we think,,yay)… I’m back! And with a vengeance towards eating deliciously and well…my numbers are totally under control after 26 weeks of figuring out what works for me (and I now have to buy new clothes…a lower size)…all the way…there was always always tea.!!!!
See you soon…with foods and recipes to meet your needs today.
The idiomatic expression “my cup of tea” is used to describe something you like or enjoy. This morning, as I left my exercise class, I decided that I would enjoy exhorting a cup of tea from my sister as I knew she still had this awesome chai oolong on hand that was “calling my name”. She happily let me in, made us breakfast, had me steep the tea and said, “get whatever cups out you like”…I spied her gorgeous Italian tea cups and pulled them out. The tea tasted so refined out of these cups. It reminded me just how special a beautiful, porcelain or unique serving vehicle can make one’s tea experience. I’ve been rushing around lately, consumed with the “stuff” of life…but this little experience brought me back to appreciating the calm and joy of a simple ritual…made more special by using the “good cups”…
Every day, if I am lucky, I get to take comfort in the ritual of steeping a pot
I came home thinking about how much I enjoy tea tastings and that tasting cups are intriguing to me…the anticipation of trying new varietals is exhilarating and is one of my favorite things to do. In flipping through photos, I came across these favorite tasting experiences of recent months…
Tea tasting at Seventh Tea Bar in Costa Mesa Ca…beautiful stainless tea pots with temperature gauge, timers, gongfu lidded cups for steeping….quite the fun ritual of which I was saddened to find out when meeting friends for lunch this month that Seventh is gone, now a French bistro 🙁
Samovar in San Francisco, as one might expect, offered the most contemporary, and yet traditional individual tea services. D. ordered the Matcha, served in a personal beaker, I had the Russian menu, with a smoky Russian black tea and milk to temper and fine the tannins…just a delightful experience – I also love their press tea pot. Each tea comes out with it’s unique steeping accessories.
Our tea service at Samovar… Russian Caravan with milk for me
Another sleek individual tea service, using a press from Samovar
Matcha tea service for one at Samovar (SFO)… what a cool beaker
While I haven’t actually experienced the Italian tea shop, La Vie Del Te. I am enjoying their Special Oolong (a gift from my good friend A…) and imagine drinking it from the beautiful white and fleur designed individual service here, photos from their website… with a French Macaron? (what?, notice the pastry stand) (I’d actually rather go for a little biscotti) 🙂 What a gorgeous, stylish personal tea pot and cup.
La Vie del Te…in Italy
I want this set
Lastly, two of my favorites – Tea with my darling husband in Carmel this winter…enjoyed while playing dominoes
Tea Time in Carmel with a game of dominoes with D.
And tea with my sister…using her Italian tea cups…and some scrambled eggs with salami…a spontaneous awesome sister experience!
This morning’s tea and eggs…V’s Italian tea cup brought out the best in the tea
Remember…get out the good cups!!!!
Tea Shirt … at Samovar, San Francisco…
I love the tasting cups depicted on our server’s shirt…and DRINK TEA…It’s Good for you!
So, I got a little side-tracked over the last two months…but, I am back 🙂 and have so much to share with you about recent tea and food experiences that “wowed” me. In late January I shared my excitement about getting to San Francisco to explore the Samovar Tea Bars. The post is here, titled Samovar Tea Bar here I come... This photo is a shot from our car window as we crossed the Bay Bridge from Berkeley going into San Francisco on a stunning, crisp, February afternoon. The bridge is enormous and such an engineering feat…notice the pyramid shaped TransAmerica building in the right background…a famous landmark site as one enters this unique cosmopolitan city.
View from our car window as we crossed the Bay Bridge going from Berkeley to San Francisco…a crisp, beautiful winter afternoon
It was the January issue of Food and Wine magazine that turned me on to this hot tea spot. Then last week, our dear friends J. & J. saw Bon Appetit’s four page spread in their current May issue called “Join the Tea Party” where they noted Samovar as a hot spot for tea calling it “the newest outpost … offers organic and single-origin teas steeped in futuristic French presses.” After reading all about Samovar, we got to experience it live and in person. This is a seriously awesome tea bar. We went to the Yerba Buena location situated at the Moscone Center. It is a bustling area…we went at a quiet time (10:30 a.m.) and enjoyed excellent service and fabulous tea and beautiful foods – and I loved our server’s t-shirt..and his incredible attitude.
My mantra and sign off for most posts is… “Drink Tea…it’s good for you”.. so we loved our server’s t-shirt…too bad, they don’t sell them. He was very funny too. What a fabulous atmosphere and he was happy to pose for a photo.
Our view walking up to the entrance to Samovar, Yerba Buena…
Walking up to Samovar Tea Bar … signage on walkway…view from the front is gorgeous scene of San Francisco buildings with a large seating outside seating area not yet set up for the day…we went inside…it was cool out
Entrance…note my guy sitting inside…you can barely see him
just outside door to samovar…if you look closely, my main guy is sitting at our table…white collar, glasses, menu in hand…tolerating me photographing
It is just a cool place…a wall of tea canisters and clean, chic, white Samovar bags of tea are hanging off a large wall, easy to shop…
Wall of Tea…at Samovar Yerba Buena SFO
The demographic of clientele is broad and global in nature, also, as many men as women taking tea. Their menu offerings reflect a global perspective, their teas are clearly of superior quality and the tea service is masterful. They are tea masters. We so enjoyed the easy attitude, and unpretentious yet perfectly styled table ware for each global menu. Being there brought back the inspiration which drove me to write Tea With Betty as a menu planner for teas from 17 different cultures and perspectives. I opted for the Russian tea menu. (well, of course, the place is called “Samovar”…the Russian hot water / tea service centerpiece that fascinated me with tea and society during my Russian Literature reading days).
Below is my Russian Caravan tea service, lightly smoky with milk …and a lunch plate featuring Russian tastes, salmon, beets, eggs with caviar and a perfect Russian tea biscuit. But first, David went more Asian with a delicious Matcha tea …we went home with some incredible teas too.
Matcha tea served from a clear beaker, my Russian Caravan service with milk … a black smoky tea…my Tolstoy menu…beets, salmon, caviar on eggs and peppery Russian tea biscuit..delicious
My peppered Russian tea biscuit…the perfect slightly sweet bite to finish this lunch plate
We look forward to returning and trying other teas and menus. The British tea looked so appealing, the scone rustic and full of oats…this one photo is from Samovar’s site, as the one I snapped didn’t come out well.
English menu…rustic scone, fritatta, fruits and black tea…lovely and not too sweet
It was a treat. Wish they were near me. It would certainly be a weekly venture, but at least I have enjoyed steeping the teas I brought home.
Drink tea…it’s good for you 🙂
Well, that terrible cough / cold and flu virus finally made it around to our house. I was not immune…was down and out for over 10 days…but my bright spot is that it hit me on the drive home from our relaxing, beautiful 10 day vacation. One in which there were several delightful tea moments.
The Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento is a spectacular dining event – dinner is held in an open, appealing environment with a demonstration kitchen in the center of the room. We experienced this destination point dinner last year and were wildly impressed and throughly enjoyed the entire scene. I will post about their seriously gorgeous foods later. The fresh, fragrant, flavorful, ingeniously combined, unique ingredients and preparations we were exposed to were stunning. However, I missed ordering their fresh herbal infusion (as I am not usually an herbal tisane fan, I opted for their loose leaf teas). Well, my darling husband decided I should try their freshly cut and prepared herbal tisanes…so he took me back there this year for our anniversary as a nice surprise. Interestingly, the dining experience was as exciting as last year, the food even more inventive and delicious with their fine new chef, David Chavez and I left thinking we will surely get back to The Kitchen every year! It is awesome! And they accommodate any dietary restriction, happily, and with creative, flavorful adjustments. Below are photos of our fresh herbal tisanes, infused table side…they were delicious and made me rethink what an herbal infusion can be. I ordered the “soothing” with rosemary, mint, ginger, and orange zest…it was just as named…soothing. And it was an excellent way to end this incredible meal. I plan to make my own fresh infusions as my herbs perk up a bit in my garden this spring.
Baskets of fresh herbs, cut to order, infused in iron tetsubin pots…just delicious
Drink Tea…and Tisanes (herbals) It’s good for you!
The February issue of Food And Wine Magazine had a beautiful article about the modern teahouse. Titled, Time For Tea, by Megan Krigbaum, she writes; “Spectacular new imports have helped create a tea obsession on par with the cult of coffee. Here’s the latest news on the antioxidant rich drink.” We are introduced to several beautiful tea shops, tea ware, and recipes. In a few days, I am heading up to San Francisco…and am definitely going to spend time at Samovar Tea Lounges she writes about. They look to be my idea of THE modern tea lounge…ones that I wish existed near our home. Below are photos from their website…I will be taking my own and sharing with you soon, along with a bit of feedback as to which teas hit the mark for me and which pairings with foods were memorable. In looking at their International tea time menus…they are reminiscent of how I laid out Tea With Betty (my tea manual)…seems what inspired me to write the book has, at last, come into existence in Northern California…
Samovar Tea Lounge…there are three locations…I plan to hit all of them when in San Francisco…
Various photos from Samovar Tea Lounge locations in the Bay area…can’t wait to visit them all
Reviewing these tea houses ought to be great fun…and they look to be so healthy too…