Turn Thanksgiving Leftovers Into Healthy Snacks

Tis the season to be healthy right? Well… somewhat healthy. I cooked up a sugar-free cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and my family didn’t even taste the difference. I researched different recipes and found the perfect flavorful dish on dietdoctor.com. Do you find yourself always cooking too much during the holiday season? Or trying to turn the leftovers into new dishes but in actuality you’re just eating the same plate from 4 days ago? I used cranberry sauce, a well known holiday side dish, and spiced it up into a few healthy snacks. I’m no chef so please don’t judge me on my cooking techniques or presentation 🙂

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce dietdoctor.com
1 lb frozen cranberries (1 cup = 12g of carbs)
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (1 cup = 26g of carbs)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1tsp = 1g of carbs)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (1 tsp = 0.5g of carbs)

Put spices, berries and unsweetened apple sauce in a pan.
Bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with turkey and stuffing.
Cranberry Sauce and Greek Yogurt Popsicles shelikesfood.com

2 cups cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice (1 tsp = 1g of carbs)
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt, non-fat (1 cup = 9g of carbs)

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and process combined.
Spoon cranberry mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Run popsicle molds under host water for a few seconds to loosen them up.

**Gluten Free
Turkey & Cranberry Quesadillas littledairyontheprairie.com

2 flour tortillas (1 tortilla = 13g of carbs + 9g of dietary fiber = 4g net carbs)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (1 cup = 4g of carbs)
1 cup shredded turkey (0g of carbs)
1/4 cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon butter (1tbsp = 0g of carbs)

Butter skillet over medium heat
Sprinkle grated cheese all over one side of a tortilla.
Add turkey.
Then add another layer of cheese.
Next spread cranberry sauce over those layers.
Put the other gorilla on top of the whole thing.
Let fry golden brown. Flip over and let the either side get golden brown.
Remove quesadilla to a cutting board. Allow to rest for a minute or two.
Cut into wedges.

My favorite snack was the turkey and cranberry quesadillas. They were
quick and easy to make and tasted amazing! It’s hard to believe these
tasty recipes take less than 10 minutes to make…. Now
that’s my kind of cooking! How do you revamp your Thanksgiving

How the Step Out Walk Helped Me Step Out of Hiding

The Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes has been an annual event for 20+ years all across the country, but it was the first time for me.

You would think once I was diagnosed I would have been eager to participate in all of the walks to show my support and to raise awareness, but that wasn’t the case. Being diagnosed with Type One Diabetes was something that I was ashamed of and lived in fear of owning up to.

After years of ignoring and deleting consistent emails from the American Diabetes Association, I finally decided to register for the November 5 walk. It was time to let my fears and insecurities go so that I could start encouraging people to live better while being an inspiration to others. It was time to step out of hiding.

I registered as a Red Strider, “A child or adult who has type 1, type 2, gestational, or pre-diabetes. Red Striders are the reason we walk and raise funds through Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes to help find the cause and cure of this ‘silent disease.’”

When I arrived, there were so many things going through my head… What if my sugar drops during the walk? What if my Omnipod needs to be changed (knowing I changed sites the night before)? What if someone judges me for wearing the Red Strider hat? What if, what if, what if…The questions kept coming, but were quickly halted once I saw hundreds of people walking around with red numbers and hats (indication that you were a Red Strider), families with t-shirts of names/faces of who they were walking for. Dozens of doctors, nurses and nutritionists gathered around the info tables. I finally witnessed people that were living the lifestyle I had been ashamed of for years.

This big event showed me how many people are affected by this chronic disease. Each person had their own story and experiences but the one thing we had in common was living with diabetes. My motivation for attending was to be an inspiration to those who were struggling with this lifestyle. Little did I know I would be inspired by those who I came in contact with.

I talked to a handful of people that day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this eleven year-old girl I had met. Ryleigh is a Type One Diabetic who was diagnosed in 2013. As we began exchanging stories, I realized that this little girl was who I wanted to become. “How cool!” she said with excitement in her eyes as we showed each other our Omnipods. Within the first few minutes of meeting Ryleigh, she practically told me her whole life story… and she wasn’t afraid to share with me, a complete stranger. I will never forget what she told me, “Diabetes is just for the stronger people, not for the wimps in the world.” That little girl doesn’t let diabetes define her and I’m striving to be that brave example she is to me.

Remember, we are greater than our highs and lows. Managing life with diabetes is a journey and with all journeys, they start with one step at a time. No matter the age difference, we can all learn a little something from somebody. I was skeptical about going to this walk for years but I went and left with more than I could’ve imagined. Hearing people’s stories and seeing the smiles on hundreds of faces, I knew I wasn’t alone. My heart was full that day and I’m counting down the days to the next Step out Walk.

“Just live it as a marathon, not a sprint. Life will get better.” Tony Atchison

My Diagnosis

December 17, 2011 was the day that changed my life forever…

I was a freshman at Texas Tech University at the time and volleyball season was coming to an end.

I was experiencing symptoms of extreme thirst, hunger and weight loss. Even my teammates noticed I was losing weight, but we all thought it was a result of the intense workouts finally paying off. It wasn’t until October that I knew something was wrong with me… I couldn’t go an entire practice without using the bathroom. Every night I would wake up and sprint down the hall hoping to make it. I remember one time, my roommate invited me and my other teammate to spend Thanksgiving with her family (30-45 minute drive from our dorms). I couldn’t make it 10 minutes without squirming in my seat like a toddler learning how to potty train.

I’ve peed in my pants, peed in cups, peed in the bed. I had bottles of Dasani and red Gatorade lined up on my bedside. Something was not right!

I took my concerns to our athletic trainer who scheduled an appointment at the Student Wellness Center.  Visit 1, they prescribed me medication for a urinary tract infection. Visit 2, they refilled my prescription… Visit 3, pregnancy test???

It couldn’t be.

So one night, I found myself searching the internet for my symptoms.

On December 17, I came home for Christmas break. I had a gynecologist appointment scheduled for that afternoon to figure out what was really going on. At the end of the check up I did a urine sample and the doctor came back in the room and said I had a lot of sugar in my urine. She continued to tell me that I should go to the emergency room to do further tests.

My BG level was 493! The doctor was surprised I didn’t go into a diabetic coma. All of the signs were there… losing weight, extreme thirst, hunger and fatigue. Why didn’t anyone catch this sooner?

After running a series of tests, it was confirmed that I had type one diabetes.

Now the closest thing I came to diabetes was seeing my grandfather check his blood sugar and take his oral medication. I also witnessed my teammate from high school experience the same symptoms I was experiencing and that month she was diagnosed with T1D.

I never knew there were two types of diabetes. I never knew I would be diagnosed with a chronic disease. I was the healthiest in the family, how could this happen to me?

I sometimes think about how my life would be if I didn’t have diabetes. Would I have finished my volleyball career in college? Would I have not transferred to be closer to home? Would I have taken my first job offer without worrying about how my body would adjust? But then I think about how I would not be the person I am today, if it wasn’t for my diagnosis. I met one of my best friends at Tech. I transferred and won a championship ring. Junior year, I chose my career path over the sport I loved and made some amazing connections along the way. I turned down my first job offer out of college and made the best decision by patiently waiting for the job I have now. All of these life events happened because of my diabetes. During those moments, I made decisions out of self-pity and self-hate. I hated my body for doing this to me. As I look back, those decisions shaped me and made me stronger.

Every day I wake up and decide to fight this living battle. Yes, some days are better than others but that’s what makes me stronger. Sometimes I want to quit taking my insulin, stop checking my numbers and eat whatever I want, but what is that achieving? God gave me type one diabetes because he knew I was strong enough to handle it. After almost 5 years, I’ve finally decided to share my story.