Category Archives: Diabetes

Diabetes posts

Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf

I love working with Quinoa – it’s a versatile starch, carbohydrate (actually a seed, not a grain) grown in Central and South America and has high protein compound compared to other whole grains. I also say it’s a chameleon where it takes flavours from other ingredients that you incorporate so it tastes great. I say this with whole lot of love especially for South Asian food since it acts just like rice, taking on flavours but it has better nutritional value than rice.

IMG_4193 IMG_4194






This is a simple recipe that can be prepared with little preparation – like I said earlier its very healthy and has protein, carbohydrate and good source of fibre. This is a low-GI food where it’s a great alternative to rice, pasta or potatoes and suitable for Celiac, Diabetes, CVD, Vegan and Vegetarian diet and tastes delicious!


Prep time: 25 min            Cooking time: 25 min                      Serves 5 people (as a side dish)


1 tsp canola oil

1 bay leaf

1 small cinnamon stick

3 gloves

1 green cardamom, pounded

1 small onion chopped

1 tsp curry powder (mixture of coriander, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and chili powder)

1 cup mixed vegetables

1 cup quinoa (soaked, washed and drained)

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly chopped coriander

2 tbsp toasted almonds


1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add bay leaf and cinnamon stick and fry 30 seconds. Add onion and fry until the onions are soft and add cloves & cardamom

2. Add curry powder mixture and fry for 2 minutes (it will burn so move it around quickly). Add mixed vegetables and mix well

3. Add quinoa and coat it well with onions and vegetables. Add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Adjust the taste with salt and add coriander and lower the temperature to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the all the water has been absorbed. Tuff off the stove and let it stand for another 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and sprinkle almonds and chopped coriander and serve warm.

Nutrients per serving (1/2 cup): Calories: 121; Carbohydrates: 17g; Protein: 6g; Fibre: 3g;  Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg;  Sodium: 350 mg

6th Annual South Asian Diabetes Expo

I am excited about our 6th South Asian Diabetes Expo – Canadian Diabetes Association has been helping the South Asian Diabetes Chapter to bring diabetes awareness in the South Community in a sensitive manner.

We have an exciting event where medical professionals will be speaking about topics that we haven’t touched on at the South Asian Expo, including Belly Fat and why its bad for you and Diabetes Care overall care – we believe these are sounds topics that will resonate with the attendees.

We will also talk about Fat, Diabetes and Healthy Eating in the kitchen, and demystify between good fats and bad fats. I will do a cooking demonstration using alternate grains in the South Asian kitchen as I am always experimenting using different grains for South Asian cooking.

We’ll also have fitness demonstration using fitness rubber bands as they are great for taking them anywhere including on your trips. We’ll have a full trade show and much more.

SA Expo Poster

Camino Fitness Notes from Bodensee

Chapter 4 – Diabetes Blood-glucose planning from Germany

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

While I was describing the beauty of Singen Hohentwiel in chapter 2 I forgot to talk about my diabetes blood sugar prep work for my hike for the hilly 23 km walk. There is a lot of prep work involved before taking such task as walking for more than 4 hours since blood sugar really depends on the energy available, insulin taken and the difficulty of the path (hilly terrain).

Wild forest

Wild forest

I had a good German breakfast – muesli w/ low fat milk (complex carb) cold cuts, cheese and a boiled egg (protein, fat) and low fat yogurt – about 60 g CHO (carb) and I Bolused for 50% of CHO and set temp Basel for 8 hrs in case I run out as I have in the past. Average walk for me is about 5 km for an hour and 23 km shouldn’t take me long but then again we are talking about walking around Hohentwiel with steep hills and the beauty of the wild forest and the native animals that come to say hello, so it took longer.

We started at 10 am and we got back at 4pm – that’s 6 hrs and we took two long breaks each being over 30 min plus stopping to take pictures, just stopping to enjoy the beauty of the land. So 6 hours for as predicted.

Many snails crossing

Many snails crossing

Young Deer

Young Deer

Rabbit enjoying grass

Rabbit enjoying grass







My blood sugar was perfect the whole trip as I sipped mostly Gatorade and water every half hour as I was sweating a lot to replenish my salt (electrolytes) and hydration. I also found fruit bars in Singen as they didn’t have granola bars and they were good without too much sugar as each piece was about 6g CHO. Gatorade, fruit bars substituted as my fuel for every hour – since there were few parts of the path that were very steep and challenging. Bigger snack – here it goes pretzel broken into 4 pieces and I ate it throughout, couple of apples, and a sandwich filled with ham and cheese. So all in all it was a true Camino training walk – walking through the forest covered in mosquitos, ticks, snails, deers, rabbits and wild birds – beauty all around.

Frog crossing sign (during migration)

Frog crossing sign (during migration)

When I finished my walk my blood sugar was 7.2 mmol – perfect and my temp Basel was almost running out. I had to be careful that I wouldn’t have a low sugar within the next hour so it was important for me to have a protein, sugar drink after I got back to the room so had something similar to Boost. I had a lake pickerel with roast potatoes and a large salad and I Bolused only 90% and my blood sugar was perfect before bed as it was 7.6

Awesome day indeed and looking forward to the Camino doing this every day and hope my blood sugar will be okay as it was this day but testing is key for every hour if possible and not push but taking the time. Camino is not about how quick you can do the walk but the quality of the walk – indeed it’s the Camino after all.

Buen Camino!

Pump me up!

IMG_2031April 15, today I went from MDI (Multiple Daily insulin injection) to an insulin pump. I was really scared of insulin pump for many reasons… but before we get started I would like to share my story with you.

I was diagnosed with type1 diabetes November 14, 2005. November 14th is world diabetes day and it was quite dramatic to find out about this chronic disease in my adult life on this particular day. Is it really possible to get type1 diabetes (T1D) at adult life? Yes it is possible. So the last 4.5 years I have been taking multiple insulin injections 5 times a day (3 rapid insulin (bolus) injections before meals and 2 slow acting insulin (basel), one at bed time and one at breakfast). I will tell you about my symptoms and being diagnosed on one of my future blogs.

Anyways I have been taking good care of myself but my H1a1c results weren’t always good and I got lazy with my carbohydrate (carb) counting and insulin ratio was never accurate. I am a chef and I know about food and this should be easy right?

No! Why? Too many variables, if you are a person with T1D you know about them. Everyday stress of life, activities, hormones  and many other factors have always brought my blood glucose (BG) up and down and my Endo (Endocrinologist) was stressing me out because my numbers were not good enough.

Insulin Pumps have come long way baby!

Two years ago I tested myself using a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) for 3 days to figure out what was going on my BG. It was an archaic machine with a big fat needle that hurt like crazy and of course wearing the CGM my BG was perfect for 3 days. So they really couldn’t figure what was going on but my BG continue to go up and down.

Government of Ontario two years ago approved Adults with type-1 diabetes for EDP program and can have a pump at no cost. Well I didn’t jump at that chance, since I know how much work it is to get the pump working the way you want it to work for you. I belong to a insulin support group and everyone but me was on the pump and hearing their stories wasn’t easy. For some people it clicked right away and for some people it didn’t. It has nothing to do with whether you are doing right or not, but everybody is unique and getting the pump to understand your body is much harder than you think. I will explain all of that in my future blogs.

Ready to cook and learn?

Anyways renovation in my cooking studio is over and I have no more excuses so I signed up for a pump. I am cooking up diabetes recipes and will be logging them here too. Here is my journey. If you are a person with type-1 or type-2 diabetes and want to exchange ideas, information and learn to cook some lovely food that is suitable for people diabetes come join me here. I look forward to hearing your stories and ideas because with diabetes, there is so much to learn and everyday is a new day.

Pretzel Story!

Pretzel1To Pretzel or not to Pretzel

I went to a type1 Diabetes (T1D) symposium two nights ago and there was a topic on type 1 diabetes: the creative, adventurous and active life. Diabetes and food go hand and hand and I should know this since being diagnosed with type-1 diabetes over two years ago. I pay attention to what I eat. Taking it further, I teach healthy diabetic cooking class at the hospital, at my cooking school and provide education and awareness about diabetes and advocacy for the South Asian Diabetes Chapter of the Canadian Diabetes Association. I put my brain and my thinking where my mouth is so to speak and conscious of what I eat all the time, it’s a 24/7 numbers game since it affects my blood sugar and my well being.

Most people with diabetes (type1 or type2) have to think about their carbohydrate intake to balance their blood sugar level. People with T1D diabetes have to count the carbohydrates to consume in order to take insulin. I won’t go into too much detail and save it for another post, but you really have to get good at counting the total carbohydrates of what you eat, most of the times eyeballing an estimate (you do get good at it) so you can take the proper insulin dosage.

It’s an art, it’s science and its critical and its survival. I have been counting carbs since I started my insulin regiment over two years ago. The hardest part is not knowing new food items, choices are millions. Especially when the item is freshly cooked or it doesn’t have the nutritional value label on it.

For example, take the simple warm soft pretzel with sprinkles of sea salt on them – they sell them at many events these days, New York streets (it brings back memories) –  how harmful can it be?

Well at the talk, one of the doctors talked about carb intake and asked us to guess carb amount for  few items. Every T1D person knows a slice of bread (white or brown) is approximately 15g of carb, its the fibre that makes the glycemic load (absorption different), that’s another post in the future. Next item was a soft pretzel and asked people to guess. People guessed 30g, 40g even 60g. The innocent looking soft pretzel that I loved eating with mustard in balls parks, New York streets and on my last visit to Germany for a snack… I couldn’t even guess. They are harmless looking – soft, light and I thought it could be as much as a half bagel which is about whopping 35g of carb (this is why I can’t eat a bagel). I can have two slices of bread and be still under half a bagel’s carb rate due to fibre.

Well the good doctor said the soft pretzel was 200g of carbohydrate. The audience jaws just dropped. I could easily eat two of them for a snack and it’s one of the national snacks in Germany. Everybody eats them and they are great.

I went home heavy hearted and sad. I go to Germany at least once a year and for me not to be tempted for a snack, how can this be? Sure I can take insulin for 200g of carbs, but it’s like blowing all your carb in one item for the whole day (more or less). I didn’t sleep well – I kept tossing and turning and pondering about “to pretzel or not to pretzel”, the question kept plaguing me all night.

Well the next morning I was tired but I did some research and was happy to find that the good doctor didn’t do his research well or he just wanted us to be aware of the high carb snack with slight exaggeration. I still can’t eat it everyday but it can be done.

One soft pretzel is approximately about (143g in weigh approx.) and 99g of carbohydrate, 483 calories and 2008mg of sodium (one full day’s worth of salt supply almost) *facts provided by Nutrition data

I haveT1D and have strong insulin resistance. Most people take 1 unit of Insulin for 15g of carb, but I will still need 11 units of rapid insulin to battle this soft tasty pretzel, so I guess Pizza, Bagel and now soft Pretzel are off my list and only allowed for special occasions when I feel like taking 12 units of insulin before consuming it.

Some interesting facts to think about before eating this tasty soft pretzel for people with diabetes or not:

Exercise required (Based on a 35 year old female that’s 5.74′ ft. tall and weighs 144 lbs.) * facts provided by

To burn the calories of this soft tasty pretzel you could do any of the following:

94 minutes of walking OR 39 minutes of jogging OR 28 minutes of swimming OR 52 minutes of cycling

At the end of the day, I am relieved that the soft pretzel is not 200g of carb but 99g of carb – but I am still not convinced to take 12 units of rapid insulin but will reach for a cookie instead (mare 15g of carb) and save the soft pretzel for my next trip to Germany or New York instead.