Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

About Diabetes
Food & Diabetes
Medications & Diabetes
Current Issue
En Español
Recommended Websites
Your Guide to Diet and Diabetes
Recipes for Diabetes
Fiesta of Flavors: Traditional Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes

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December 2008 / January 2009

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Most everyone has had their blood pressure checked.  You roll up your sleeve and the cuff goes around your arm. Air is pumped into the cuff and a measure of your blood pressure is taken.  This measurement helps not only to see if your blood pressure is in the range it should be, but also to see if you are at risk for heart disease or stroke.

Another very helpful test is called the Ankle Brachial Index (ABI). For the ABI, blood pressure is measured both in the arm and also at the ankle. The ABI gives the doctor a ratio of the arm to ankle systolic blood pressure.

The ABI is used to determine if you have peripheral arterial disease – a condition where the circulation in the legs is poor.

However, it may also help determine if you have a high risk
for stroke, since there is a link between peripheral arterial disease and stroke.

The ABI may also be used to determine the risk of future leg problems, such as pain in the legs at rest, poorly healing ulcers, or the need for leg bypass surgery.

A normal ABI is .95 to 1.2. If you have had this test, ask your doctor what your results were. A lower value indicates peripheral vascular disease. If your value is low, you’ll want to be very careful of protecting your feet and avoid any foot injuries. You may also need to visit a vascular specialist for the best care of your vascular condition.

Remember to keep track of all your blood pressure readings as well as your ABI. Sometimes a trend in results is more helpful than just one reading.

If you have additional questions about your blood pressure or vascular health, talk to your health care provider.

Diabetes and Food

The holiday season is once again upon us. All those high-calorie favorites will be difficult to ignore!  One very simple solution is to eat more slowly.

Sounds simple but if you eat more slowly and think about what you are eating, you are less likely to unknowingly keep eating.

Some tips to help you eat more slowly:

  • Count to 30 between bites;
  • Have a conversation before and after eating a certain item;
  • Put your fork or spoon down after each mouthful;
  • Chew your food a set number of times – count the chews and make it last;
  • Make sure you’ve swallowed and at least looked around the room before picking up your fork or spoon again;
  • Try mentally spelling the food you’re eating before taking a second bite of it.

You can come up with many time-wasting tricks, tips or games. The important thing is to eat slowly, think about what and how much you’re eating, and enjoy what you do eat.

Medication Update

If you have diabetes and are thinking about using a dietary supplement to treat yourself, make sure you talk to your health care provider first.  Your doctor or other health care provider needs to know all about your health and self-treatment so they can understand what may or may not be working to manage your blood glucose values.

It is not recommended to substitute your prescribed medications for diabetes with supplements.  If you want to try a supplement for a while, talk to you doctor first and make sure you monitor your blood glucose level as prescribed.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health has several funded studies to look at supplements and diabetes. They are specifically looking at chromium and ginkgo. To find out more about this research visit nccam.nih.gov/health/diabetes

Recipes To Try

Tandoori Chicken
6 servings

1.6 pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinles
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup no fat-plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon paprika

  1. Cut chicken into strips, about 4 inches by 2 inches.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a container large enough to marinate chicken.  Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Discard marinade. Coat skillet with cooking spray. Cook over medium-high heat, turning often, about 20 minutes.

Total preparation and cooking time:30 minutes. Chill time: overnight.
Per serving:
Calories 218
Fat 6 grams
Protein 36 grams
Calories from fat 25%
Carbohydrate 3 grams
Cholesterol 93 grams
Fiber 0 gram
Sodium 77 mg

Cranberry Biscotti Bread
12 servings, 1 slice each

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups flour
1/2 cup water
1 cup Splenda®
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 egg

  1. Spray loaf pan lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350oF. 
  2. Combine flour, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients except nuts and berries. Make a well in dry ingredients and add egg mixture, mixing until just moist. Stir in nuts and berries.
  4. Pour into pan, bake until crust is brown, 55-60 minutes.

Total preparation and cooking time: 80-90 minutes
Per serving:
Calories 149
Fat 6 grams
Protein 3 grams
Calories from fat 34%
Carbohydrate 21 grams
Cholesterol 18 grams
Fiber 1 gram
Sodium 207 mg

Menu Suggestions



Cranberry biscotti bread*

2 slices



Milk, fat-free 1 cup

492 kcal, 83 gm carbohydrate,5.5 carb units




Black bean & vegetable soup, low sodium, fat free

2 cups

Rye bread

1 slice


1 teaspoon

Milk, fat-free

1 cup



597 kcal, 108 gm carbohydrate, 7 carb units



Tandoori Chicken*

1 serving

Brown rice

1 cup

Green beans 1 cup
Holiday broccoli tomato salad** 1 serving

Milk, fat-free

1 cup

Pineapple tidbits

1/2 cup

766 kcal, 112 gm carbohydrate, 7.5 carb units

Total: 1825 kcal, 283 gm carbohydrates, 18.5 carb units

Meals may also include a calorie-free beverage (diet soda, tea, coffee, etc.).


* Visit www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/diabetesrecipes/ for recipes in menu above.

About Diabetes | Food & Diabetes | Medications & Diabetes | Current Issue | Archive | En Español

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