Diet can make a difference

  • Margaret Wynn, 79, of Peterborough, checks on her dinner, a crock pot of ribs. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Sunday, July 03, 2016 7:56PM

Margaret Wynn’s light, airy sunroom is filled with the materials of what she calls her ongoing “project” – dozens of magazines, each carefully marked with folds and bookmarks denoting possible recipes that will work for her as she attempts to control her prediabetes with a healthy diet.

When Wynn, 79, of Peterborough, went to the doctor’s for her annual physical three years ago, a blood test revealed that her blood sugar was out of the normal range. She was not yet to the point of being a Type 2 diabetic, but if she did not get her blood sugar under control, it would get to that point.

“My doctor said I had two choices. I could go on a diet and exercise more, or I could go on medication,” said Wynn. “I do everything by diet and exercise.”

Wynn said when she was first diagnosed, she felt overwhelmed. She had always felt like she ate a healthy diet, she said – avoiding sugary drinks and high calories. But she had her dietary downfall in carbohydrates.

“I do like my carbohydrates. The pastas and breads and rice,” she said.

Limiting carbohydrates is recommended for diabetics and prediabetics – Wynn subscribes to a diet that limits her carb intake to up to 30 grams per meal. And once she began searching for recipes that fit into her new diet, she found that she was able to still eat well, if she controlled her portion sizes and bought bread with low carb levels.

“You don’t have to give up things,” said Wynn. “You just have to watch your portion sizes.”

It takes her longer now to put together meals, said Wynn, but she’s eating better than ever. And that, paired with a three times a week workout, has meant that she has kept her prediabetes from progressing into full-blown diabetes. She has seen the affects on Type 2 diabetes in her own family, with both her father and her son diagnosed with it.

“Catching it early is the key,” she said. Wynn encouraged everyone to have their doctor check for prediabetes during their annual physical, particularly if they have risk factors such as a history of diabetics in their family, are overweight or are over the age of 45.

The prospect of diabetes or prediabetes can be overwhelming or frightening, said Wynn, which is why she attends diabetic education seminars and a support group at the Monadnock Community Hospital.

The support of people going through the same illness can help ease the anxiety of having to go through it alone, said Wynn.

“They might have a question that you didn’t think of,” said Wynn. “Two meetings ago, there was a man that attended for the first time, who had just been diagnosed. He was terrified. He didn’t know what to do.”

But group members were quick to share ideas for recipes, and online resources that help build meals that are compatible with a diabetic diet, and a few meetings later, the man was feeling much more comfortable, said Wynn.

“Really, you just have to learn to work with it,” said Wynn. “It’s just a bump in the road.”

Monadnock Community Hospital offers monthly group education classes taught by Linda Dionne and Donna Poe. The hospital also offers a monthly support group called Monadnock Diabetes Circle. For more information, contact Linda Dionne at Monadnock Community Hospital.

A diabetic friendly dinner.

Beef Stroganoff Ingredients:

1 and one-quarter pounds of beef stew meat

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 and one-half cups sliced mushrooms

one-half cup sliced green onions (4) or chopped onion (1 medium)

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, minced

one-half teaspoon crushed dried oregano

one-quarter teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

one-quarter teaspoon salt

one-quarter teaspoon black pepper

1 and one-half cups 50 percent-less-sodium beef broth

one-quarter cup dry sherry

1 8 ounce carton light sour cream

1/3 cup all purpose flour

one-quarter cup water

Sauteed zucchini “noodles” or hot cooked whole wheat pasta


1. Cut up any large pieces of meat. Cook the meat in hot oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat until brown. Remove the meat, drain the fat.​

2. In a 3 and a half or 4 quart slow cooker, combine mushrooms, onions, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, thyme salt, pepper and meat. Pour in broth and sherry.

3. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf.

4. Using low heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, flour, and the water until smooth. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot broth into sour cream mixture and return sour cream mixture to cooker. Stir.

5. Cover and cook about 30 minutes more until thickened and bubbly. Serve over sauteed zucchini or whole wheat pasta. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Serving size: Two-thirds cup

Makes: 6 servings

Carbs per serving: 14 grams

Calories: 257 per serving