After the car ride from hell after Dad’s quintuple bypass, my parents and I made it home and proceeded to make Dad dinner. The man will eat just about anything, so it wasn’t an issue of taste. The problem was that while he was in the hospital, a side effect of his surgery is that he became diabetic. (Sounds made up, is totally a thing.) So in addition to having to create a heart-healthy diet for him, we had to do one that was according to American Diabetic Association’s guidelines. But we weren’t worried. But we were strong, we weathered his heart surgery, we could make one damn plate of food. We had been given a pretty pamphlet that looked like it’d been drawn in crayon in the 70’s but it outlined things fairly well. We had this in the bag. We’d feed the cheery, slightly high man sitting on the couch and visiting with the neighbors and everything would be fine.
Mom and I decided we’d make a kind of quick and easy stir-fry as she hadn’t exactly planned for a week-long trip to the hospital and the food in the house was sparse. First off, we heated up some canned salmon and made rice. Now, rice isn’t great for diabetics, but we were new to this and the man demanded rice at every meal. Things were doing swimmingly. We measured out portion sizes, trying to make sure there weren’t too many carbs, counting out the numbers as if everything depended on it. Because as far as we were concerned, it did. (Diabetes is scary business.)
Next up was adding vegetables. It was here that we were stopped in our tracks. Not all vegetables are created equal. Some were perfectly fine, while others had carb levels that would teeter Dad over into Bad For Diabetics food-territory. The problem were the peas and corn. We had a can of mixed veggies but they were full of peas and corn, which are starchy vegetables and need to be eaten sparingly. Thing is, Mom hadn’t read the pamphlet like I had on the car ride home, so she wasn’t getting the whole starch/vegetable connection. Peas and corn came from the ground! They were good for you! Peas and corn saved lives on a daily basis! They were the heroes of the vegetable world! Viva le peas and corn!
Meanwhile, I stood hunched over the kitchen table, eying this can of mixed veggies, trying to figure out how to add them to the pan. If I picked out the peas and corn, would the other vegetable be contaminated? Were peas and corn bad influences? Could they infect carrots and green beans with their evil starch, causing them to smoke and talk back to their mothers? How much of an influence did the devil carb bastards have?!?
So my mom and I, in our frazzled and tired states, both desperately in need of a shower and a nap, argued.
She said add the vegetables. I said, NO, they were bad. She told me to just do it, my dad was hungry and there’s nothing wrong with them. I told her there WAS, just read the book. Bleary eyed, she tried to understand the scrawling, cartoonish print until I finally just screamed out,
“PEAS AND CORN ARE NOT VEGETABLES, OKAY?!? THEY ARE LIKE BREAD, THEY ARE BAD! WE HATE PEAS AND CORN, THEY ARE NOT VEGETABLES!“**
Finally, taken a bit aback and probably worried that she needed to put me in the hospital next, she acquiesced. We finished the stir-fry, in its perfect little portion, weighed just so, no salt, little fat, with just enough spices to make it interesting. It was a diabetic masterpiece.
Here’s the other thing about Dad. Nothing only is he a human garbage disposal, but he also has a favorite dish. His Blue Bowl, which he ate everything out of, like a collie. At one point it had been a mixing bowl but somehow it became his treasured Blue Bowl; sturdy enough for the microwave and large enough to hold the giant portions of whatever mess he was noshing on that day. Mom and I carefully spooned out Diabetic Perfection into his Blue Bowl, and presented it to him. We were a good wife and daughter. We’d fed the poor man on the couch, so desperately in need of our sustenance, made with love. All was right in the world.
That is until that poor man used his fork to scoop up a mouthful of food and saw the bottom of the bowl. You see, he was used to mounds of rice, piled with whatever meat and vegetable of his choice. There was no seeing the bottom of the bowl until he was nearly through. But this scant barely two cups of food, in his treasured Blue Bowl, was a normal portion size and therefore TINY. And he found…HILARIOUS.
He dramatically dropped his fork in the bowl and threw his head back on the couch. “It’s SO TINY! OH GOD! They STARVIN’ me,” he hollered to the neighbors, “THEY STARVIN’ ME!”
The neighbors found this to be hysterical. Mom and I, however, were not amused. It may sound terrible, but we found out that day that it is sometimes appropriate to call a heart patient, who had just had his chest cracked open and stapled back together, an a**hole. (Appropriate from the wife only, of course. The daughter hid in the bathroom and cried for ten minutes.)
Now that he’s all better, Dad still finds that story to be hysterical. He also still maintains that we were trying to kill him with his tiny portions.
Mom, on the other hand, laments that she had enough self-restraint to not punch him in the chest.
She comforts herself with the following recipe. Sometimes she even shares with Captain HeartAttack.
Bypass Orange Blueberry Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home
1/3 cup fat free mayo
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup blueberries (In the above picture, she used a handful of dried blueberries from a family blueberry bush, but you can use frozen or fresh)***EDIT*** Please note, for those watching sugar, that a cup of blueberries will be significantly more than pictured in the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour a small loaf pan.
- Combine all wet ingredients in bowl, including blueberries.
- In another bowl, combine dry ingredients, then mix wet and dry ingredients together and pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
- Bake about an hour. (ALL of her recipes are vague like this. I can’t help you. It’s tastes better this way.)
- Try not to eat all of it.
- Don’t punch heart patients in the chest.
**This isn’t necessarily true. However at the time, IT WAS VERY TRUE AND NO ONE COULD CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.
~~~~This recipe is intended for entertainment and standard nomming use only. If you have any dietary concerns or restrictions, consult your doctor.~~~~~