Monthly Archives: October 2016

Throwback Saturday? Happy Halloween, and my chili recipe.

Okay, it’s not Thursday… I don’t do many throwback-type posts here, but since I do this recipe every year at Halloween, and since the weather has turned a bit colder here in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would pass along my Cincinnati Chili recipe once again. Even without a kitchen this year (renovation in progress), I will find a way to make this recipe. It’s Halloween tradition now. You might want to try it too. Hope this warms your soul and makes you smile this weekend. Enjoy!
 
 
When you grow up in Cincinnati, you learn two things. One is how to spell Cincinnati, and the other is how to make chili. This chili is more mild than what you might find in Texas. But very flavorful and warming on a cold night.
Also unique is how it’s served. Either on a coney… mustard, hot dog, chili, shredded cheddar, and onions if you like. Or with pasta, as part of a three, four, or five way. That is:

– Three Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese
– Four Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and either beans or onions
– Five Way: all of the above

I generally start with ground turkey, but you can use beef, pork, lamb, whatever you want. I also make a great vegetarian version with something called Boca veggie crumbles. I was told by a dietician once that if you rinse the turkey with hot water after cooking, you can wash off about 90 percent of the fat. This makes a lot, so be ready to freeze some for another day. Here’s the recipe:

2 pounds of ground turkey, beef, pork, lamb, or vegetarian substitue
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 ounces of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
40 ounces of crushed tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons ground cumin (a lot of people think it’s the cinnamon that defines Cincinnati chili. Actually, it’s the cumin)
2 dried red peppers

Finally, take some cheesecloth and make a little sack to include 5 bay leaves and 35 whole allspice
Saute your ground meat and onions in a pan. Then put everything else in a crock pot and give it a good stir. Set the crock pot to high for about half an hour to get everything heated up, then turn it down to low for at least a couple of hours. You will love how the house smells after a while.

– Total estimated carb count in each coney: 26 grams
– Total estimated carb count in each 3-way, 4-way, or 5-way: 45 grams

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

A cheese Coney

A cheese Coney

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

Diabetes By The Numbers: Medtronic on the Medtronic 670g.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the MiniMed 670g, Medtronic’s hybrid closed loop system, for people with diabetes over the age of 14.

This news has generated a lot of excitement, and also a lot of questions. I was fortunate enough to connect a little over a week ago with Karrie Hawbaker and Michael Hill of Medtronic Diabetes (which is why then I was saying the approval was two weeks ago), who went on the record about how the 670g works, the new CGM sensor associated with the 670g, and the upgrade pathway for existing Medtronic customers. Which is still a little murky, but they recognize that every customer is different, and they’re willing to talk to you about it. There’s also a little at the end about how Medtronic is leveraging IBM’s Watson supercomputer to crunch data.

Here then, is everything you want to know about the 670g. Thanks Karrie and Mike!

DBTN

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Karrie Hawbaker is Senior Manager of Social Media for Medtronic Diabetes, and Michael Hill is Vice President of Global Marketing in the Intensive Insulin Management business unit at Medtronic:
medtronicdiabetes.com

If you’re an existing Medtronic pumper, and you’re interested in upgrading to the 670g in the spring, here is all the information on the Priority Access Program:
medtronicdiabetes.com/products/priority-access

Diversity of thought.

As I was growing up, I imagined that at some point, I would be part of a group of friends and colleagues who retained the things that made them unique, while embracing solidarity in the things that made them alike.

Let me tell you, that did not seem possible for a long, long time. In my twenties, a lot of it was my fault. I had exactly zero social skills in those days. It seems like for longer than I care to remember, I had the market cornered on saying the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. Possibly.

Toward the end of my twenties, I met two people who really taught me a lot about communicating with others, and a lot of what it means to show empathy for another human being. And they taught me the importance of listening. Not just listening because every article and blog post on connecting with others says that listening is important. But because others connect with you when you listen. I have learned so much from these people.
ear-nb
In addition, I began to read a lot more than before, and my interest in history and challenges that people have overcome has helped me see that successful people are not successful 100 percent of the time. Once I realized this, I could begin to make sure that, as the song says “temporary setbacks / are part of what I’d planned”. I could be nicer to people because I wasn’t as worried about appearing to be the most successful person in the room every second of every day.

It’s not like I was a jerk or anything; at least not intentionally. It’s just that I started to be more open to considering other viewpoints, listening to what others had to say. Then one more important development happened:

The internet blew up.

Now I had access to viewpoints from around the globe, something I had been seeking for a long time. Granted, a lot of the viewpoints you read on the internet are completely whacked out, even in the diabetes community.
but many are not. In fact, some of the most insightful, most poignant nuggets I’ve found have been from quiet little corners of the web where, statistically, few ever go.

Has it helped my diabetes? Sure it has. I’ve certainly learned a lot. I’ve been saved from mistakes thanks to a couple of things I’ve read over the years. And I hope I’ve been able to help people learn, and find help, and find support, shouting through my own window onto the information superhighway.

I’ve also been lucky enough to connect in person with many I’ve encountered first via the web. I’ve been able to prove something that was told to me by someone long ago: that privately, most people are pretty much the same as they seem in public. Through this DOC, that means I’ve been able to meet many wonderful souls who continually teach me a lot about being a person who practices both perseverance and empathy in equal measures.

In the end, I’ve been lucky enough to find those special, unique people who share a lot of my goals and hopes for the future. Whether I’ve met them in person or not, I am invested in the things that are important to them. I am hopeful for their futures too, because what’s good for them, and good about them, is good for me too.

So remember to listen. Let your empathetic side show. Invest yourself in the success of others. You’ll find that you’ll learn a lot, care a lot more about people, and find more friends than you could ever imagine.

Diabetes By The Numbers: Mike Lawson talks Big Blue Test.

bbt-2016
Today begins one of my favorite times of the year. Every year, Diabetes Hands Foundation sponsors the Big Blue Test. Now until November 14 (World Diabetes Day), you and your loved ones, plus anyone else you know, are encouraged to get moving. And log the results. And help diabetes groups doing amazing work to build community and help others.

Here’s how it works: first, check your blood glucose. Not living with diabetes? Skip this step. Then get out and get moving for 14 to 20 minutes or more. You can walk, run, swim, bike, play badminton, ride a Big Wheel, whatever. Then do another BG check (or skip it if you don’t live with diabetes) and log the results at BigBlueTest.org. Or make it easy on yourself and download the Big Blue Test app on your iPhone or Android device, and do the same.

For the next month, every Big Blue Test logged will result in a $3.00(US) donation, split evenly among three wonderful diabetes non-profits:

Diabetes Sisters

We Are Diabetes

Riverside Community Diabetes Collaborative

Three fantastic organizations providing help, education, and support to those living with or at risk of living with diabetes.

Today, Mike Lawson, Senior Director of Programs and Marketing for Diabetes Hands Foundation, joins me to talk everything Big Blue Test, including a little about this year’s grantees, the goals for this year, and a new way for exercise groups to get involved in the Big Blue Test initiative. Have a listen, then click on the links below.
DBTN

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Mike Lawson is Senior Director of Programming and Marketing for Diabetes Hands Foundation:
diabeteshandsfoundation.org

You can log your Big Blue Test Results at:
BigBlueTest.org

You can also log your exercise after downloading the Big Blue Test app on your iPhone or Android device.

Groups can sign up and log their group exercise activity by going to:
BigBlueTest.org/groups

Don’t forget to share your Big Blue Test activity and follow others by using the hashtag:
#BigBlueTest

Markers of our time.

Back in July, when I was at the Children With Diabetes Friends for Life event in Orlando, I had an opportunity to meet a few people working with Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis. Eli Lilly, as you probably know, is one of the largest producers of insulin in America. They also have this nice program that awards medals to People living With Diabetes for 10, 25, and even 50 years.

When one of the Lilly execs asked me how long I had been living with diabetes, I mentioned that I had hit the 25 year mark earlier in the year, which prompted the question “Did you send in for your medal?”. I had not by then, but I had thought about it. A few weeks after that gathering, I went to the Lilly website and applied for my 25 year Journey medal. And that’s where I get to the point, the personal point, of this story.
25yearmedal
On the one hand, it’s incredibly selfish to fill out an online form and say “Please recognize me!”. Even now, a couple of months after receiving my medal, it feels selfish. Living with Type 1 diabetes for 25 years does not make me special, and more importantly, it doesn’t make me any more special than anyone who has lived with diabetes for 24 years or 26 years, or any other number of years. Like my A1c result, it’s just a number. A benchmark.

On the other hand, I spent a lot of the past 25 years enduring crappy A1c results. Various doctors and family members, some with the best of intentions, made me feel like it was entirely my fault. Seventeen or eighteen years after diagnosis, I was being told to manage my diabetes exactly the same way I had been told to manage it in the months after diagnosis. I had heard of insulin pumps, mostly that it meant that my diabetes was way out of control. I had no freaking idea what a continuous glucose monitor was. No one bothered to tell me anything about them, and if they had, I probably would have resisted because I wouldn’t have understood their usefulness.

Things in those days were either good or bad; there was extremely little middle ground, and my fear was that the more people knew about my diabetes, the worse I would look. Once I began to look beyond just good and bad, once I started to examine the gray areas and really consider possibilities rather than punishment, my life and my life with diabetes began to change.

So I get it… I’m not special. But I have certainly earned this medal. And I’m not going to feel bad about that. Part of not feeling bad about that meant actually wearing my 25 year medal at the Diabetes UnConference in Atlantic City in September. You can’t see it, but I’m wearing it in our group photo from the event. Most people probably didn’t know I had it on, but I wanted to wear it while with a group of people living with diabetes.

These were people who completely understand the uphill climb that diabetes can be. How diabetes can take your best efforts and kick them to the curb. The emotions of highs and lows and middle-of-the-night set changes and visits to endocrinologists and ophthalmologists. The concerns about how today’s diabetes may affect our lives years down the road, and how much of it is not good or bad, but simply a game of chance.

I’ll probably pull this medal out from its case and put it on now and then. Because you know what? I really did earn this. Having a medal doesn’t make me special. But it’s a terrific marker of time, and a way to focus on the fact that I have survived for 25 years. And it’s more than okay to be happy about that.

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