Learning to Cook for Type 2 Diabetes: Shrimp Jambalaya Stew

It’s now been about 50 days since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

And as good a cook as I (sometimes) am, I have to admit to not cooking very much at all for these first 50 days.  I should by stock (ahem) in Progresso Soups, because I am eating at least 1 can a day — and sometimes 2.  Even my soup-phobic husband is eating at least 1 can a day.

But I am just now hitting the point where I have enough where-with-all to go into the kitchen.  I’ve been learning what foods, when and how much.  I’ve been learning what has an effect on my blood sugar, and how to avoid spikes.  I’ve been sticking to the easiest and least stressful choices so I can use my energy to learn, to walk on my treadmill, and to keep myself focused on what’s important.

Yes, there are a lot of drugs out there to help people with D2 keep their blood glucose levels in line.  And yes, there is insulin.  And yes — all those choices work when nothing else will.  But I’d really like to do this without the drugs if possible — because they all have side-effect.  Complications.  And at least as high a price tag as the grocery bill I’m running — except insurance pays for the drugs, and not the healthier food choices.

Which is nuts.

Anyway.  My fasting blood sugar has gone from 310 on Aug 3, to 180 this morning.  Fifty days and 130 points.

Which is still not good enough.   –but it is better by a mile.

Yesterday I tried cooking a modified recipe for the first time — and it was both delicious and extremely good for me (us.)  So the question of the day is — what exactly constitutes a good-for-D2 recipe?

Here’s the answer — at least for me:

  • Enough protein to keep me fueled until the next meal.  For me, that means a total of AT LEAST 22g of protein.  The outside number is pretty liquid — but the 22g is not up for negotiation
  • Enough fat to keep the neurons firing without interruption.  That means at least 5-7g of real, organic if possible, vegetable fats if possible.  Preferably olive oil, avocado oil, nut oils, etc.  The fats give food more umami, mouth feel, richness…. flavor.  Not to be skimped on.  And again, the outside numbers are pretty liquid.  (More about liquidity in a bit.)
  • I only allow myself 35% of my calories from carbohydrates — so for carb, I have to look at the day as a whole   If I have a “carb-heavy” meal — it’s usually lunch so I can walk on the treadmill both before and after — upping my metabolism so I burn through the carbs more effectively and keep them from stacking up in my system like circling airplanes trying to land at a socked-in airport.
    Therefore — if my recipe is for a lunch meal — it should have between 20 and 60g of carbs per serving.  If the recipe is for a dinner meal — the carbs should number no more than 40g.  And 30 would be better.
    Since there are 3 main types of carbs — fiber, sugars, and “other” carbs — the fewer sugars the better, and the more fiber the better.  I generally limit my daily sugar-carbs to 50g/day.  And I try to eat between 48 and 80g of fiber-carbs per day.  So — a good recipe for me includes at least 8-10g of carb-fiber, and/or fewer than 6g of carb-sugars.
    And I really don’t cook/eat anything that doesn’t have at least 2-4g of fiber.  At all.  Ever.  Or anything with more than 6g of carb-sugars.
    I want a bumper sticker that says I READ FOOD LABELS
  • Main dishes are better if they include at least 1 serving of non-starch veggies in each portion.
  • Main dishes are even better if they include 2 or more servings of non-starch veggies, plus protein and starch and fat.  Soups are really good for this since they are mostly liquid/ broth (volume!) and fit that carb/protein/fat/fiber profile easily.

And in answer to questions I’ve been getting myself, seen on discussion boards, and thought of at other times in my life —

yes, I eat eggs.  Often every day.

yes, I eat real butter on veggies.

I use half & half and agave in my coffee, and stevia or agave in my tea.  And salt on my grapefruit and cantaloupe.  (Look up Alton Brown’s explanation for why salt is the appropriate condiment for many fruits.)

yes, I eat meat.

yes, I eat some sweets, but my principal sources of sweetness are malitol, sorbitol, stevia, agave, Xylitol, and the sugars found naturally in things like milk, corn, applesauce, berries and other fruits, tomatoes, nuts, and sweet onions.

But most of all — YES.  I use some packaged foods.  At least as starting points for recipes.  Easier is always better as long as you don’t sacrifice quality, nutrition and taste.

With all that said, here’s my first recipe:


Jambalaya Shrimp Stew

  1. 711G1wY7NzL._SL1500_1 package Canterbury Naturals On The Bayou Jambalaya Soup mix
  2. 8 -9 c water
  3. 1 can Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilis
  4. 1 sm (5.5oz) can Spicy Hot V-8 juice
  5. 1 can Green Giant Mexican Style Whole Kernel Corn
  6. 1 lb Jimmy Dean Natural Breakfast Sausage, browned well and drained
  7. 2 lb shrimp*
  8. 1 t finely ground black pepper
  9. salt to taste

Follow the instructions on the package, except add the corn and browned sausage to the simmering veggie mix and water, then add the Rotel tomatoes 5 minutes before the broth/veggies are done.  Finish the soup except for the shrimp.

Stir in the peeled and deveined shrimp and bring back to a boil, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a quick squeeze of lemon juice as garnish.

Each 2-cup serving will have about 425 calories,
13g of fat, 33g of protein, 34g of carbs with 6g sugar-carbs, and 4g of fiber-carbs.

*Because of where we live on the Pacific Coast in central Oregon, we have the tiny “Bay Shrimp” here fresh every day — these are the finger-nail sized shrimp that bring the hundreds of gray whales to this area — the whales love them and so do the local chefs.  sp10-oregon-bay-shrimpThey’re fresh and unbelievably inexpensive, so 2 pounds of these little gems in a pot of soup means there are shrimp in every mouthful!

If you don’t have Bay Shrimp in your area — go for the highest quality shrimp you can find/afford.


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