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Traveling with Diabetes

The Traveling Diabetic


Last month a good friend of mine was TRAPPED in The Atlanta airport for over six hours. He sent Facebook messages out all over the world of his friends of how awful it was trying to find something decent to eat. Poor guy. Can you imagine if he was a Diabetic? He may not want to eat the airport offerings, but he could without endangering his health.

For a Diabetic, the travel experience goes something like this:


I hate to complain but….3:30 A.M, your alarm just went off. Time to get up and get ready to travel, Really?. You shower, go into your kitchen and make your usual and perhaps last decent (read healthful) breakfast at this most unusual hour. But it is also time to plan ahead. Because the airlines no longer feed you on the plane you make yourself a cheese sandwich on a whole wheat Joseph’s Lavash slice. The airlines have all but eliminated peanuts from their flights and offer you cookies or pretzels with your sugar free soda. Oops!

You arrive at the airport an hour and a half before your flight. Besides showing the TSA your liquids and gels, you show them your lunch. They look at you as if they think your original plan was to bring a live chicken with you.

In the terminal, at last you find the STARBUCKS is charging you an additional 50% over the already high price for a cup of coffee. The only other alternative is the BURGER KING and it looks like the coffee there has aged since it was made. Oh well.

Arrival at the Hotel.: We arrive at our hotel. Call our family and let them know we have arrived safely and make plans for dinner. For the most part, if you have all intentions of keeping to your dietary needs, your choices become protein and salad. The vegetable medley that the restaurants offer has long since lost its tune. Two whole cuisines are eliminated from your planning. Italian, with all the pasta and Asian with all the rice and corn starch .At home you can easily substitute wilted spinach or spaghetti squash for the pasta and rice, but most Italian and Asian restaurants do not offer those alternatives. 

This year I found a very pleasant surprise at a chain called RUBY TUESDAY. We chose it because it was quieter than the other places and my aunt (95) could hear us over the table. Along with your protein and a fairly decent salad bar, the chain offers us some interesting vegetable choices. Snap peas, roasted spaghetti squash, and mashed cauliflower, and the ordinary green bean. Other than in a vegetarian place, I have never seen such an extensive selection. Kudos to them. The offerings are just there. There is no suggestion that they are for diabetics, they are just the chain’s usual offerings. They saved me from asking for double veg instead of rice or potato. It was just plain nice not to have to ask. We went back there a few times, in part because of the sound and lighting levels, but also for joy of having choices. Before I go any further, the mashed cauliflower was really tasty as were the snap peas. Although the roasted spaghetti squash sounded good it need some help. In this case, again, I really hate to complain.

Breakfast is always the hardest for me. The hotels have these spreads of fake eggs and fatty meats combined with white bread disguised as bagels and high carbohydrate cereals. I found that if I hit the local “stupidmarkets” when I land and pick up some TROP 50,DANNON Light & Fit Greek yogurt, THOMAS’ Light  English muffins and some ARNOLD SANDWICH THINS, I can do pretty well using the cream cheese and butter supplied by the hotels and still have a dessert of yogurt in the evening..

My trip took us to Florida. In southern Florida there is a pretty heavy New York Jewish population. I almost started to salivate upon landing at the thought of real corned beef and New York pickles. While corned beef on rye may be the ideal, I brought my bread to the deli and had my sandwich on a JOSEPH’S Oat, flax Whole wheat pita. It took the mounds of meat very well for only 8 grams of net carbohydrates. And oh that brown deli mustard and the pickles, heaven!


My pet peeve about restaurants is that there is seldom a fresh fruit choice for dessert. Others at the table often feel uncomfortable having a dessert if I have to just sit there and spoon my coffee. They have berries and pineapple as a garnish for beverages and cheese cake. How difficult is it to take a few fresh strawberries and put them on a plate with a sprig of mint and some fresh cream? Or even some melon slices?

After a week of travel, and always having to turn away offerings, I really missed being in my own kitchen.

At the Atlanta airport, the food choices were maddening. If I did not want (and believe me I did) fried chicken or even a fried chicken salad or a burger, or a prepackaged salad, I was left with the choice of coffee.


Home at last. Strawberries and sweetened sour cream with almonds abound! JOY!


Mashed cauliflower

4 1 cup Servings

Net carbohydrates   10g.


Note:  This has become a rage with people today that are watching their carbohydrates and calories. While that may be the reason I first made it, I just like the way it tastes. I don’t make it as a replacement for potatoes but just because it is so delicious on its own. My personal method is to treat it the same way I do mashed potatoes. This is a very elastic recipe. No two cauliflowers are the same size so you have to use your eye to make adjustments as you go along. I like fresh dill and parsley in this recipe. If you hate dill leave it out.


1 – large head of cauliflower

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

1 – TBSP. Butter

Enough  salted water to cover the cauliflower by about 2 inches.


1 medium shallot

2 TBSP. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

3 TBSP. BREAKSTONES sour cream (Low fat is fine)

3 TBSP. grated parmesan cheese

2 – tsp. fresh dill

2 – tsp. fresh parsley




Sauté shallots in the butter until just barley golden in color. Set aside.

Bring salted water and garlic slivers to a boil. Cut cauliflower into florets.

Add the butter and cauliflower to the water and cook for 9-10 minutes until the cauliflower is very soft.

Drain and return to the heat to evaporate any excess moisture. Remove to a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the cauliflower until it is smooth but not pureed. You (I) want it slightly chunky in texture. Add the sour cream, dill and parsley and whip until combined. Add the parmesan cheese and whip again until combined. Add the sautéed shallots and stir in by hand. This is ready to serve but you can turn it into a casserole dish, top it with a little parmesan cheese, and reheat it just before serving. This allows it to get a slightly golden crust.

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