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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Using Your Bean

With this issue Vegetarians in Paradise continues the bean explorations of VOW, a diabetic who has discovered the importance of beans in her diet. In subsequent VIP issues VOW will enlighten our readers with the further Adventures of the Bean.

Adventures of the Bean #23
Perpetuating Misinformation

by VOW, of course

Hubster and I were watching one of those "news magazine" programs on the Devil-in-the-Box. I perked up when "Diabetes" was mentioned.

I should have just kept reading my book.

People too often take heed of information disseminated on TV, especially if it is mentioned in a news show. Viewers assume the researchers and reporters have thoroughly vetted the story before it is broadcast.


The topic was weight loss surgery. Now, I have no qualms whatsoever about that. It is absolutely wonderful that people can avail themselves of any kind of help to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. No, my gripe wasn't about the surgery.

My gripe (and I'm STILL angry as I write this!) concerns the discussion of Diabetes with some of the folks who had undergone this operation.

The word "cured" kept being tossed around. There were even some conversations with physicians who dared to use the word "cured" in conjunction with Diabetes.

Hopefully, everyone knows there are two main types of Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1s have to provide their bodies with insulin, typically through injection or a pump. Insulin must be provided forever. There HAVE been cases where the patient has received a successful pancreas transplant, which eliminated the need for insulin injections. But then you have to deal with anti-rejection drugs forever.

VOW Type 2s typically produce insulin, usually LOTS of the stuff. But the metabolic dance in the body has gone haywire, and the balance is outta whack. Type 2s typically use diet, exercise, medications, and sometimes even insulin to help the metabolism work IN whack. Sometimes, sometimes, the planets line up just right and karma blossoms, and the metabolic balance can be achieved through diet and exercise alone. Oftentimes, a significant weight loss precedes this glorious state.

So, the Diabetic is then "cured," right? Hey, that's what the folks on the news magazine said! And if they say it on TV, it MUST be true! Especially if someone whose name starts with "Doctor" says it!

Oh, please!

Type 2 is a metabolic imbalance. If you manage to find the right combination of good things to achieve metabolic BALANCE, then you have to understand that anything that disrupts your life can knock down the house of cards you constructed.

    Illness--anything from the flu to cancer.
    Injury-especially one that prevents you from exercise!

(deep cleansing breath)

Okay, enough preaching. On to the REAL reason for this column: FOOD!

A little background first. My sister and I were having one of those "Oh, GAWD, what am I going to fix for dinner" conversations. She mentioned one of her family's favorite dishes, "Spaghetti Corn Casserole."

I never heard of such a thing. It sounded like a carb nightmare, though, like a mashed potato sandwich. I asked her for details.

Her version had spaghetti, corn, butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs, I think. My blood sugar spiked and my cholesterol skyrocketed just reading the recipe.

And then my little brain went, "Hmmmm."

I reworked it, and hit a home run!

"Spaghetti" Corn Casserole

This dish is a monochromatic beauty that is incredibly simple to make. Place it on your dinner table with a simple salad of sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers and then stand back to bask in the compliments!

First you need to cook up a pot of red lentils. Those babies are the ones that are a gorgeous salmon color, and they turn a psychedelic yellow when cooked.

Yield: 6 GENEROUS servings!

    3 cups (720 ml) water
    1 cup (240 ml) red lentils

    1 small spaghetti squash, or 4 cups (1 liter) cooked "spaghetti" squash
    1 14-ounce (396g) can cream-style corn
    1 14-ounce (396g) can regular corn kernels (or you can use
    1-1/2 cups (360 ml) frozen corn, or 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) fresh corn kernels cut from the cob)
    Seasoned salt and white pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and have ready a baking sheet.
  2. Combine the water and lentils in a 3-quart saucepan. You may add the requisite onion and garlic to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are broken down and tender. Measure out ONE CUP of the cooked lentils for the casserole, then refrigerate or freeze the remainder for another day.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, take the spaghetti squash and halve it lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds, and place cut side up on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or so, until the flesh is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough so you can scoop out the "spaghetti" innards. Do so carefully, as to not cut or tear the shell. Place the hollowed out spaghetti squash shells on the baking sheet and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl combine the one cup cooked lentils, cooked spaghetti squash, cream-style corn, regular corn kernels, salt and pepper.
  6. Stir until well mixed, then place mixture into the hollowed out shells of the squash. Return to the oven and bake 30-45 minutes, or until heated through and top has just begun to brown.


If you enjoy the brown crunchy stuff on top, casserole can then be placed beneath the broiler for 5 or so minutes.
For a flourish, casserole can be topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: I used a rather small squash, which gave me four cups of "spaghetti" for this recipe. Ingredients and servings can be adjusted proportionally for the amount of cooked flesh your squash may yield.

Nutritional Data:
Calories 146
Protein 6g
Fat 1g
Carb 18g
Fiber 4g

If you use the olive oil drizzle, be sure to include the extra fat into your calculations.

And a big THANK YOU to my sister for providing the inspiration!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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