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  1. Christmas Memories

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    December 21, 2014 by Johanna Burani

    The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve in my Sicilian family living in Brooklyn, New York in the 1950’s were spent planning, shopping and then preparing the traditional foods for our Christmas holiday meals. The old recipes came out, the adult women were given their assignments and, like magic, carefully executed and wonderfully delicious holiday foods were shared by the 3 generations of our extended family (17 members or more).

    knife-white-plate-spoons-and-forks-on-white-background-vector_f1zvdgD_La Vigilia, Christmas Eve, opened the festivities. Our individual families assembled at our grandparents’ home after dinner. The adults went to Midnight Mass and the children were put to bed to await Santa. At 1:30 AM, when everyone was back from church and the children (who never closed their eyes) were “awakened,” an enormous platter of cold seafood salad was served with Italian bread, dried fruits and nuts, and fried honeyballs, and Grandpa’s homemade wine.

    This was the real deal from our grandparents’ hometown of Sciacca. For the adults, it was sharing traditional foods, for the kids it was observing what family looks and feels like. For everyone it was being connected and wanting to stay that way.man-with-snowman-business-cartoon-characters_M1vg-kdO

    My wish for you, my followers, and for all people, is that you will go to that place in your heart that breeds comfort and acceptance, and that you will share these treasures with others.

    Happy Holidays!

    Johanna


  2. New for EatGoodCarbs readers: ZipList

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    February 5, 2013 by Johanna Burani

    I am happy to announce a brand new feature that will make this blog more valuable to my followers. EatGoodCarbs.com is now a partner of ZipList, an online recipe clipping and grocery list site. After creating your free account, you can save your favorite recipes to your Personal Recipe Box, by clicking the little blue “Save” box in the upper right corner of every EatGoodCarbs.com recipe. You will then be able to store all of your recipes in one convenient location, for easy reference. Your recipes will be available on your computer, as well as on your smartphone or tablet. Additionally, you will be able to print a shopping list for your needed ingredients.

    Enjoy this new convenience!


  3. The Real Paula Deen Has Stood Up for Diabetes – and I Was There!

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    October 31, 2012 by Johanna Burani

    I’ll admit it.  I believed Paula Deen’s critics when they disparaged her for pushing butter and sugar in her recipes and on her cooking shows while she was secretly dealing with her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  But then I met Paula and my opinion quickly changed.

    Nell Stuart and I flanking Paula Deen at breakfast reception in Philadelphia.

    We diabetes educators are accustomed to this scenario from our own patients.  We understand the emotions that pour forth when a person feels that life will change forever now with diabetes, and not for the better!  And here was Paula Deen, revealing her own emotional turmoil and how she eventually decided to take control of her diabetes with a candor that just oozed out of her.  As I listened to her I kept thinking what a great service she is providing the diabetic community.  She’s put a face on type 2 diabetes.  A famous face that once represented unhealthy eating but now speaks of moderation and balance on the plate.We guests were served five brunch dishes, all of them Paula’s recipes, all of them diabetes-friendly, and all of them delicious!  The greatest treat of all was sitting just a few feet away from Paula and listening to her explain what it was like for her when she learned she had type 2 diabetes. Her story was all too familiar, a very human story of an unsuspecting person going through phases of denial, fear and anxiety, anger and grief when told, “You have diabetes.”

    Instead of pointing fingers and speaking critically, I stand up and applaud Paula Deen for setting a new positive example for the 26 million Americans already diagnosed with diabetes and the other 79 million who have some form of prediabetes. They, like Paula, face the choice and the challenges of accepting to live with diabetes every day, to control the disease and control their lives.  Paula believes that if she has been able to make some small, consistent lifestyle changes (she calls them “baby steps”) then anybody can.  Can you just hear her saying, “I know you can do it, y’all!”

    Brava, Paula Deen!


  4. What Is the Glycemic Index?

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    September 16, 2012 by Johanna Burani

    You may have heard or read about the glycemic index (GI) before, but do you really know what it is? what it measures? what it means?

    Canadian scientists invented the glycemic index in the early 1980s to measure how quickly carbohydrate-rich foods are digested in the gut.  In other words, the GI measures how long it takes a carb to become glucose and drop into the bloodstream.  The researchers tested real foods on real people – no mice or test tubes, just normal people – and they came up with real numbers.

    Think of any carb: a slice of bread or pizza, an Oreo cookie, a peach.  Each of these foods has certain properties that will always belong to them.  A peach, for example, will always be round, “peachy” in color, juicy and fibrous.  And, because it’s been tested, we know it has a GI value of 28 (low).  Its GI value helps to describe the peach as much as its other characteristics.

    The actual glycemic index starts at zero and goes to 100 and is divided into three sections: LOW (0-55), MODERATE (56-69) and HIGH (70+).  A peach has a low GI value (28) and that means it is slowly released as glucose from the gut into the blood.

    There are labs in Canada, Australia, Europe and other places that follow the same strict World Health Organization-approved protocol for GI testing.  To date their studies have deciphered the GI values of more than 2000 foods.  These values were most recently published in 2008 as The International Tables of GI and GL Values.  GI values also may be found at www.glycemicindex.com or www.gilabs.com.

    To summarize:

    • What is the glycemic index?   A numerical chart of carbohydrates.
    • What does it measure?   How quickly carbs are digested in the gut and released as glucose into the blood.
    • What does it mean?  The GI tells us if a carb, once digested, enters the blood quickly or slowly.  This information can have a profound impact on health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease and weight management.

  5. The Glycemic Index Tells Us What the Body Already Knows

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    September 10, 2012 by Johanna Burani

    Today NPR highlighted a recent study conducted by David Ludwig, MD of Children’s Hospital in Boston that illustrated the appetite-suppressing benefits of a well balanced low glycemic index (GI) diet.  As one of the study’s participants explained, high GI carbs just did not sustain him and he was hungry soon after polishing off a large bowl of mashed potatoes.  This is because high GI carbs (like mashed potatoes) are quickly digested in the gut.  This causes first a surge of sugar to be released into the blood followed by a rapid drop in sugar levels from all the insulin the pancreas released in response to the mashed potatoes.  This roller coaster results in hunger, low energy and causes the body to more readily store calories as fat.

    Not all nutrition professionals look kindly on the concept of the glycemic index.  As the dietitian who was interviewed for this segment mentioned, there are many variables that may impact on a food’s GI value: the ripeness of a fruit, the under- or overcooking of starches like pasta or rice, the presence or absence of other nutrients in the gut along with the carb (fat, protein, soluble fiber).  Thanks to decades of valid GI testing by researchers in many parts of the world, we know these facts to be true.  However, this is indeed how we eat.  Our pasta at dinner tonight was cooked.  The length of time it stayed in the water, the fat-protein-fiber content of the other foods on that same dish are factors that influenced the rate at which our gut is turning that pasta into glucose and releasing it into our blood supply.  The glycemic index is telling us what the body already knows!


  6. What Makes a Carb “Good?”

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    August 5, 2012 by Johanna Burani

    The body “runs” on glucose, its simplest form of energy.  And it gets this energy by breaking down every carbohydrate we eat.  So, all the starches we eat (like breads, pasta, potatoes rice, cereals, crackers and baked goods) and all our sugars too (like all sweetened foods and beverages, fruit, milk and yogurt products) fuel the body all day long.

    The body is looking for a slow, sustained delivery of this energy because that’s how it uses it: the right amount all the time, not just after eating.  A good carb is digested slowly and slowly releases the glucose it becomes into the body for immediate use.  There is no gush of glucose into the bloodstream, just a steady trickle of energy, there for the taking as needed. This keeps the body in metabolic harmony and keeps us feeling fuller longer too.

    A balanced meal containing good carbs provides the body with a steady stream of the right amount of energy it needs when it needs it.  No sugar highs or lows to deal with.  The body loves this set up and performs all of its thousands of metabolic jobs effortlessly under these conditions.

    What makes a carb “good?”

    • It is slowly digested in the gut.
    • It is released as glucose into the blood as a slow, steady stream of energy over a prolonged period of time.
    • It doesn’t spike blood sugar levels.
    • It keeps us feeling fuller longer.

    How do we know that the body slowly digests good carbs?  Because of the 30-plus years of research on the glycemic index.  Studies conducted all over the world have accumulated consistent and conclusive evidence that explains how specific carbohydrates behave in the body.  Some are “gushers” and some are “tricklers.”

    Much, much more will appear on this blog about the virtues of the glycemic index concept.  For now though, let it be said that a good carb is also a low glycemic carb.


Gushers vs Tricklers


"Gushers" are quickly-digested carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and fuel appetite.

"Tricklers" are slowly-digested carbohydrates that are gradually released into the bloodstream and sustain satiety. These are the good carbs.


Johanna Burani
MS, RD, CDE
Nutrition Works LLC
Morristown, NJ, USA

Expert in individualized, low-glycemic index (low GI) meal planning.

This book tells the complete story

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