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Diabetic Birthday Dessert


Barbara
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I've been tasked with making a dessert for a soon-to-be 92 year-old diabetic for her birthday dinner. I've found an almond and honey flourless cake on Eating Well, but thought I would ask both the diabetics and non-diabetics in this crowd for more festive ideas. Doesn't need to be gluten-free.

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I've been tasked with making a dessert for a soon-to-be 92 year-old diabetic for her birthday dinner. I've found an almond and honey flourless cake on Eating Well, but thought I would ask both the diabetics and non-diabetics in this crowd for more festive ideas. Doesn't need to be gluten-free.

diabeticgourmet.com looks like it might be a useful website.

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Is she completely insulin dependant (i.e., type 1?)

If so, it probably doesn't matter that you make a special dessert (low in sugar/carbs) rather that you have an accurate count of those sugars and carbs (and protiens) so the proper amount of insulin can be given. Only about 10% of people are type 1, and lower sugars/carbs are generally good anyway, so I'm not trying to talk you out of something, rather just helping avoid a gaff if one's possible.

One of my Top 5 worst resturant experiences was with my Type 1 daughter when she was about 5 years old. We ordered her dessert - regular ice cream - and the old ladies at the next table sneered at us and said loud enough "I can't believe they're feeding her ice cream." (They had seen us check her blood sugar level before we ate.)

As it turns out, with Type 1, we have to give her insulin regardless of the quantity or type of carbs or proteins. A healthy diet is important as it is for everyone - but there's no more "evil" in the occasional dessert than there is for anyone else. In fact, she's better off with a cup of Breyer's ice cream than a homemade dessert using sugar substitutes - if the homemade version's carbs can't be accurately guaged. (Breyer's can be accurately measured to a cup and the carbs on the box are accurate.)

For the 90% who have type 2, they can generally do well so long as they never overdo it - and only eat as many carbs as their pancreas can keep up with - so yes, a sugar substitute, carb-free alternative is ideal for them. But for type 1 diabetics, the pancreas is dead and almost every bite of food must include insulin from the outside. The occasional indulgence, with proper insulin, really has no negative impact from a diabetes standpoint.

On rare occasion, someone has gone out of their way to avoid 'sugary' things for my daughter, leaving me to choose - how do I get out of this? If we see them rarely enough, I let it go - but the trouble the host is going through is really a waste of time, especially if my daughter doesn't like the alternative or her diabetes is 'highlighted' in front of others through a special diet.

Anyway, as for your specific recipe choice - honey and sugar are just about equivalent in terms of carbs, about 17 carbs per tablespoon. Flourless is good, depending on what replaced it. Almonds, as a protein source, can be really tricky as with any protien, as they act like carbs but with a few hours' delay - thus are hard to 'time' against the insulin. So while I don't know the almond content in your recipe, a high almond content might cause some real challenges to a diabetic.

So....my recommendation - why not ask the 92 year old what works best? At 92, she probably knows real well :)

And sorry for the lecturey post. Good luck.

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Well said. May I 'like" this post? After 40+ yrs as a Type 1 may I also say that very little has changed in the terms of educating the public of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2? But also to add for the sake of clarity, that Type 2's can also be on insulin. When a Type 2 is using insulin to manage their condition, they have the ability to tolerate more carbs by being able to dose insulin to accommodate what they eat.

Back on topic...as suggested, best to ask the 92 yr old what she would prefer. (But at 92, she may just want to throw caution to the wind, ya know? :lol: )

And I'm not familiar with that site Don...I glanced at it and think there are better ones out there. For example: ADA or dlife .

Good luck Barbara, and please post if you have any further questions!

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Well said. May I 'like" this post? After 40+ yrs as a Type 1 may I also say that very little has changed in the terms of educating the public of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2? But also to add for the sake of clarity, that Type 2's can also be on insulin. When a Type 2 is using insulin to manage their condition, they have the ability to tolerate more carbs by being able to dose insulin to accommodate what they eat.

Back on topic...as suggested, best to ask the 92 yr old what she would prefer. (But at 92, she may just want to throw caution to the wind, ya know? :lol: )

And I'm not familiar with that site Don...I glanced at it and think there are better ones out there. For example: ADA or dlife .

Good luck Barbara, and please post if you have any further questions!

FYI: My friend has Type 2 and takes insulin. If I ask her, she will just tell me not to go to any efforts for her. However, there will be 5 other people who will be at the dinner, so they are expecting a celebratory dessert of some kind. And, I avoid artificial sweeteners myself, having had a bad reaction to Equal a few years ago. Thanks for the additional links; I'll see what they have to offer.

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One of my Top 5 worst resturant experiences was with my Type 1 daughter when she was about 5 years old. We ordered her dessert - regular ice cream - and the old ladies at the next table sneered at us and said loud enough "I can't believe they're feeding her ice cream." (They had seen us check her blood sugar level before we ate.)

My mother was type 1 and this used to drive me crazy. She was diagnosed pretty late for a type 1 (at about 20-21) and lived with it for 50+ years. She knew what her blood sugar was doing and certainly way better than anyone else did. When I would see her reach for something obviously (refined) sugary, I wouldn't think "oh, she's being bad" but other people would and they'd say it. I would think, "Uh, oh. Her blood sugar is low. I hope she's okay." She died a decade ago and lived through this long before refinement in treatment of diabetics and before there was much widespread public information about it. The ability to measure blood sugar numbers instantly was a godsend in some ways, but she was a very brittle diabetic and her blood sugar bounced all over the place. In the end (unless she was at a point where high or low blood sugar was affecting her thinking) she was the best person to make the decision.

For Barbara, I'd say to make something that doesn't have excessive amounts of refined sugar (or really sweet fruit, like bananas) and let her know what's in it. She may only want a small piece of whatever it is.

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It is interesting, sad, maybe a little funny some of the things diabetics go through. While I am not diabetic myself, my daughter was diagnosed before she could talk - so my wife and I have essentially lived it nearly first-hand for the last 10 years.

As a baby, we carried a small tube of "cake-mate" in case of extreme lows. The cheeks could absorb the icing even if she couldn't swallow...the oddest advice was to always use BLUE cake mate, as red could be confused for blood and other colors could indicate other things. We never had to deploy the blue icing in public but we'd hunt to buy a new tube every few months.

I don't recall "combing grocery stores for small tubes of blue cake icing" being mentioned in any of the parenting books we read along the way ;)

Barbara - if the woman takes insulin with every meal, then seriously consider just making a darn fine cake. My fear is that you take the path of a diabetic cake and end up serving a cardboard dessert that no one enjoys. Note that I'm not making a comment about your cooking skills, rather of recipes that significantly deviate from the expected ingredients, sacrificing taste for . To me, the better gift would be to bring a carb count for whatever you make (ie, 18 carbs per 8 ouce serving, like allrecipes.com provides) and an accurate food scale. That way you can cut a slice to her liking, weigh it and confidently say "this piece is 36 carbs."

This is really a psychologicial play more than anything and yes, there are slight risks no matter which path you take. If the woman is obese and diabetes is a symptom of the obesity, any cake or dessert may seem somewhat cruel to other guests. OTOH, if her pancreas simply gave out and she's otherwise healthy (maybe she was once obese but isn't now, or calls it "type 2" as type 1 can also be called 'juvenile diabetes'), then a cardboard diabetic cake may be viewed as pandering or worse, presumptuous.

When such things happen to my daughter, we explain that the offender simply didn't know any better.

She nods, says "I know Dad" but the tears don't always stop.

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^ I really do appreciate the advice and I've gotten quite an education about all of this over the years from Squids (Hi!); but, to complicate things further, one of the other dinner guests also has Type 2. However, I loathe that man so I don't give a damn what he does or doesn't eat. The birthday girl generally avoids the desserts I make, with a few exceptions, and I know that she will just drink water no matter how much she would like some wine. She didn't get to be this age with all her marbles (and, let me tell ya, she had a whole bunch more marbles to begin with than the rest of us) without watching what she eats and drinks and monitoring her blood sugar; obesity isn't one of her problems. So, my dilemma is to come up with something very, very nice that she can also eat without guilt. Meringue made with some sort of sugar substitute is a possibility. I would like something I can stick some candles in. Thus, the crowd sourcing. I've got just under two weeks to come up with the goods.

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Well said. May I 'like" this post? After 40+ yrs as a Type 1 may I also say that very little has changed in the terms of educating the public of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2?

Back on topic...

Back off topic, briefly...

I think the problem with public education lies with the cryptic names "Type 1" and "Type 2." For someone not dealing with it on a regular basis, days, weeks, or months will pass without thinking about it, and then once you're caught off-guard, you're not sure which is which.

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Yes, except that 'earlier' isn't always true. Type 1 can onset later in life, and type 2 is increasingly showing up in kids. To me, maybe type 1 just needs a new name.

The visual for me is two new sports cars both with smashed front ends. There's a good (lets call it 95%) chance that one car was simply abused - over driven, not respected, whatever - and the car was damaged as a result. It is arguably at least partially the driver's fault and could have been reasonably avoided (although not every driver who acts the same ends up crashing their car). That's kind of like type 2. There's a much smaller chance (say, 5%) that the other car had defective brakes, was driven carefully and within all known rules, yet still ended up in a wreck. That's kind of like type 1. Both look the same, although Type 2 cars might still be drivable or even reversable. Type 1 cars are totaled, and usually in a dramatic and dangerous way.

It is natural for the public to assume all diabetics have type 2 as the odds favor it. What kills me is when that assumption becomes a moral projection onto us - "why are you irresponsible with food choices? Why don't you teach her better dietary habits?" - crap like that.

Which brings us back on topic. I appreciate anyone's effort to recognize that my daughter is a little different. But if someone baked a cake for her birthday and it was specifically a diabetic cake, it would be a little like giving her a car-related present that included a device to help her drive slower - it misses the point and really just results in less enjoyment with no gain - because driving fast was never the issue in the first place.

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Yes, except that 'earlier' isn't always true. Type 1 can onset later in life, and type 2 is increasingly showing up in kids. To me, maybe type 1 just needs a new name.

The visual for me is two new sports cars both with smashed front ends. There's a good (lets call it 95%) chance that one car was simply abused - over driven, not respected, whatever - and the car was damaged as a result. It is arguably at least partially the driver's fault and could have been reasonably avoided (although not every driver who acts the same ends up crashing their car). That's kind of like type 2. There's a much smaller chance (say, 5%) that the other car had defective brakes, was driven carefully and within all known rules, yet still ended up in a wreck. That's kind of like type 1. Both look the same, although Type 2 cars might still be drivable or even reversable. Type 1 cars are totaled, and usually in a dramatic and dangerous way.

It is natural for the public to assume all diabetics have type 2 as the odds favor it. What kills me is when that assumption becomes a moral projection onto us - "why are you irresponsible with food choices? Why don't you teach her better dietary habits?" - crap like that.

Which brings us back on topic. I appreciate anyone's effort to recognize that my daughter is a little different. But if someone baked a cake for her birthday and it was specifically a diabetic cake, it would be a little like giving her a car-related present that included a device to help her drive slower - it misses the point and really just results in less enjoyment with no gain - because driving fast was never the issue in the first place.

I am not sure it was your intent, but it sounds like you are making unwarranted negative moral judgments about Type 2 folks, as part of your frustration with other people's unwarranted negative moral judgments about Type1 folks and their parents.

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I am not sure it was your intent, but it sounds like you are making unwarranted negative moral judgments about Type 2 folks, as part of your frustration with other people's unwarranted negative moral judgments about Type1 folks and their parents.

Yup, fair enough. My intent was more to show that whatever unwarranted negative moral judgements exist about Type 2 folks are inadvertantly applied to Type 1 folks - and in doing so, I perpetuated the unwarranted judgements.

To set the record straight - While Type 2 has statistical correlations to controllable factors such as weight, diet, smoking and cholesterol levels - There are also Type 2 correlations to heredity and environmental factors, both of which are beyond one's control. The precise causes of a particular person's type 2 state are generally unknown and probably a complicated mix of factors. Being overweight (like me) doesn't make me Type 2...but I'd defend that in my analogy, my weight is the equivalent of driving a bit too fast. I haven't wrecked, but I've increased my odds.

Also, technically speaking, "type 1" really just means insulin dependant - and a person can get there via an immune disorder (where the body thinks parts of the pancreas are foreign and kills them quickly - the typical juvenile diabetes scenario), OR, via type 2 that's advanced enough to be functionally equivalent to a pancreas that produces no insulin.

The bigger point, as you've shown, is that the topic can be very charged and emotional. I tripped up despite railing about others doing the same.

All the more reason to be extra careful about the cake choice. :)

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Nope. It's given me food for thought, so to speak. What do you think about Angel Food cake with a rhubarb filling?

I still can recall one of my first "diabetic" birthday cakes that my Mom made--Angel Food with Whipped cream topping (made with sugar substitute). :o

Don, to make matters worse, there are also Type 1.5 or LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults), as well as Gestational Diabetics. And if a Type 2 uses insulin to control his/her diabetes it doesn't mean they are "insulin dependent" or have converted to a Type 1. So are you confused yet? I agree!

Barbara, your thinking is in the right direction with egg whites but I am not sure about Angel Food cake as I believe it's pretty high in sugars. I believe the ratio of sugar to egg whites in meringue is 2:1 so also probably not a great choice. Maybe going with cupcakes or mini tarts would be an option as it would allow her to have a smaller taste of whatever you make.

Lower glycemic foods would be good for Type 2's as they slow the spiking of the blood sugar. Agave sweetener is known to have a lower glycemic value so that is one possible option for a sweetener. Fiber acts to lower the glycemic value, so a carrot cake with agave sweetener might work but you'll have to check on recipes. Almond flour and ground almonds also would be lower glycemic than wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is also lower glycemic.

I forgot about this website (Diabetes Health Magazine) when I posted earlier--I searched recipes under both cakes and desserts (why they don't all appear under desserts is baffling!) to see a few more options.

cakes and desserts

I hope some of that was helpful!

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Don, to make matters worse, there are also Type 1.5 or LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults), as well as Gestational Diabetics. And if a Type 2 uses insulin to control his/her diabetes it doesn't mean they are "insulin dependent" or have converted to a Type 1. So are you confused yet? I agree!

Near the end of my mother's life, she saw a new endocrinologist, who began to think that her pancreas was sporadically creating insulin--just randomly for no apparent reason, without any predictability. That opened up a whole new can of worms, but they never figured out if that was the case. It made the insulin and treatment aspect even more complicated.

She was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (which is what it was called then) at the beginning of her 20s. It was right before Christmas and she didn't want to go to the hospital. The doctor told her she wouldn't live until Christmas and drove her to the hospital. This was ca. 1948.

She was very embarrassed at being diabetic, which I could never quite understand, though I suppose it was because it was pretty rare then. Her GP said that he was sure that diabetes was going to turn out to be liver-related some day. Things I've read indicate that he might have been right.

The dietary advice for diabetics (admittedly it's somewhat different for 1 and 2) has been all over the spectrum over the years. When she was pregnant with me (ca.1961), she was instructed to eat 7 strips of bacon a day.

I hope you find something to make for your friend, Barbara. The good thing about angel food cake is that you can have extras for people to add on if they want them.

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@Pat: Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was about 30, long after her Laura Petrie days on the Dick Van Dyke Show. It certainly wasn't because of obesity or lack of exercise on her part (which I realize is more commonly associated with Type 2). It's interesting, if not a little bit sad, what our elders found to be embarrassed about. Epilepsy used to be considered something absolutley SHAMEFUL, for whatever reason. Lots of people suffered humiliation for no reason, other than societal ignorance.

I was thinking of Rhubarb because the Birthday Girl likes it. I made a Rhubarb Crisp for a dinner I invited her to last year, which she happily ate. So, I'm thinking of making a crustless Rhubarb pie with a Merengue topping, all of which could be sweetened by Agave Nectar, Splenda, or something NOT including Aspartame or Saccharine.

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@Pat: Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was about 30, long after her Laura Petrie days on the Dick Van Dyke Show. It certainly wasn't because of obesity or lack of exercise on her part (which I realize is more commonly associated with Type 2). It's interesting, if not a little bit sad, what our elders found to be embarrassed about. Epilepsy used to be considered something absolutley SHAMEFUL, for whatever reason. Lots of people suffered humiliation for no reason, other than societal ignorance.

I was thinking of Rhubarb because the Birthday Girl likes it. I made a Rhubarb Crisp for a dinner I invited her to last year, which she happily ate. So, I'm thinking of making a crustless Rhubarb pie with a Merengue topping, all of which could be sweetened by Agave Nectar, Splenda, or something NOT including Aspartame or Saccharine.

That sounds really great Barbara! I'm sure she will love it and appreciate your efforts. You are a true mensch.

And yes, MTM is Type 1 (which is an auto-immune disease not associated with obesity or lack of exercise) and has been the face of JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for many years. I hadn't recalled when she was diagnosed as it has been so many years. And just as Pat has mentioned how treatment of diet has been all over the spectrum (part of that due to advances in the development of insulin and technologies such as the pump) so has the defining of the different types of diabetes been a moving target. (End health class lesson--I could go on and on but I'll spare y'all)

@Pat-1961 was a very good year! :P I feel very fortunate to be ticking off that milestone myself in a few weeks.

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Barbara, can you go in a completely different direction and put out an awesome selection of unusual cheeses, with mostarda and other condiments, maybe?

Actually, no, I can't. If you can believe it, Dame Edna and I will be the "Youth" contingent at this dinner. :o The host has high blood pressure and must watch her salt intake, her boyfriend is the other one with Type 2, and a third guest has unspecified health issues. All of which is why alcohol won't be served and if we want a glass of wine, we will have to bring some. No problem there! The cheese and condiments idea contains too many carbs, too much fat and, more importantly, too much salt. Leaving aside the fact that this isn't a group who looks forward to any kind of cheese course. :rolleyes: It's a puzzlement. But, I'm getting more ideas from the sites Squids linked to, so this may turn OK. Fingers crossed, of course.

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Actually, no, I can't. If you can believe it, Dame Edna and I will be the "Youth" contingent at this dinner. :o The host has high blood pressure and must watch her salt intake, her boyfriend is the other one with Type 2, and a third guest has unspecified health issues. All of which is why alcohol won't be served and if we want a glass of wine, we will have to bring some. No problem there! The cheese and condiments idea contains too many carbs, too much fat and, more importantly, too much salt. Leaving aside the fact that this isn't a group who looks forward to any kind of cheese course. :rolleyes: It's a puzzlement. But, I'm getting more ideas from the sites Squids linked to, so this may turn OK. Fingers crossed, of course.

Additionally, there should be no reason to not provide a dessert, as there are many options out there. The person who is diabetic will know best how to allot for the carbs and sugars eaten, and will ask questions to help them determine how to dose their medicine. By avoiding sweets entirely, it is often perceived that one is making a judgment call that the diabetic person would not know how, or is incapable of handling eating sweets. At least that is how most diabetics perceive it, even though it is not intentional. No foods are really off-limits and can be eaten as an "exception" when dealt with accordingly. (Thank you for Elizabeth for giving me the opportunity to voice that! :))

I also want to point out what a kind and considerate friend Barbara is...as you can see from this thread how she will go out of her way to make sure those with health issues will not feel "left out" and can still have their day feel special. I raise my glass to you...

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