Like many parts to my life, this volunteer group happened at random. I was living in Waterville, NY and at the time working full time in Utica. By chance a request came through for a volunteer talk on diabetes in none-other than my hometown of Cleveland, NY. I jumped at this opportunity!
I considered it a great chance to try public speaking, which all through school was my biggest fear. Sweating armpits, red face, totally checking out unable to recall what you just said or how you said it. Did the audience understand you? Did they enjoy what you had to say? – Yep, that was me catastrophizing each time before presenting, reading in public, or even being the planned center of attention. What better way to address your fears than to throw yourself headlong into a diabetes talk with seniors from your hometown?
Over a year later and I am happy to report our group still makes an effort, though not always succeeding, to meet once a month. The group chooses the topic and I come for one hour to the Cleveland Village Hall to talk, provide demonstrations, and give handouts.
For my first group, I remember being extremely nervous. The next group I gained momentum and brought yarn to imitate spaghetti and red Jell-O cups to act as sauce. I asked participants to come up and add the amount of yarn and sauce they would normally eat, and then I taught carbohydrate counting by measuring out an actual carbohydrate serving.
A couple of weekends ago, the group remained small with three participants other than Meg Lowe and myself. The ladies put their recipes into a pile and we all sat at one table. Really an intimate experience while these awesome women shared their family recipes and advice with Meg and I.
FOODFEASIBLE RECIPE MODIFICATIONS
We always try to modify recipes without substituting for taste and quality.
Mac and Cheese
For cheese less salty than cheddar, make half your measured amount mozzarella and the other half gruyere
1 egg makes a creamier sauce
For pasta with a lower glycemic index use Spelt flour (Example: Bob’s Red Mill brand), mix this with whole wheat pasta
1/2 Greek yogurt and 1/2 milk
Sour cream → substitute with Greek yogurt
BEEFED Up Biscuit Casserole
(Make these substitutions, keep the biscuit)
Sour cream → Greek yogurt
Lean ground beef → ground turkey
Use multicolored peppers versus one color: green/red/yellow peppers
Fresh tomatoes, when pulverized don’t lose flavor
Baked Chicken and Corn
2 TBSP butter → use olive oil SUB 1:1
Fresh corn versus canned
Between “can to pan’ add a rinse and remove almost half the sodium
Shortening →(a trans fat) use butter instead
Sour milk: make your own add vinegar or lemon to sour milk or let it sit out in the sun
Add whole wheat flour 1 cup and 1 cup AP Flour
Make your own Bisquick
Flour – use whole wheat
When interacting with people much older than myself, I have found that if you actually listen to the conversation closely you can glean endless amounts of free, valuable advice. I started practicing this at that full-time job I mentioned in Utica. During my final week of employment there I spent some time asking residents if they could say anything to someone of my age group what would they say? I wrote this all down on little slips of paper, which I am sad to say are somewhere… One of the most memorable to me was a common thing that more than one person said: “If you say you will do something, do it.”
Sitting with the North Shore ladies, I found my ears tuning in automatically. This is what I gathered:
“Don’t knock it until you try it, then try it again.”
“If you’re going to do something, it is worth doing something badly at first — No one goes out and plays par golf.”
Something about the honest, fat trimmed words of our elders… “I am only here because I was her ride,” says Linda pointing to her neighbor.
For this summer, FoodFeasible and the North Shore Nutrition Group will continue to share food, advice, and laughs. Our schedule includes the June AARP picnic, Grey Rock Farm CSA Tour on June 4th, and hopefully some further collaboration with the Cleveland Food Pantry, grant garden projects, and local farms.
Selfie take 500
- Amy Guglielmo Discovers Gluten-Free Baking in the North Country (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Catch Fish. Eat Whole. Write About It. (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Happiness (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- The Thinkers and The Dreamers a Band Without Instruments or Singers (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
Suzanne Whatley says
Great article. I must say, being from Texas, rhubarb cake is not something I’ve eaten. I’m adding it to the list of things to do when I visit. Keep up the great work!