Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red Bean Chili con Carne

I have been experiencing extremely high glucose levels for the past week and have been feeling the worse for the ware. I do not have access to medical care and only have a few tablets of Metformin left. This is just one of three different medications I was taking before I lost my health insurance coverage. I have been without any medication for about four months and only last month and this month have had the Metformin available. Unfortunately, my doctors office insists on a full examination, including obviously needed blood work, to the tune of $250.00, which in these tough economic times like many others, I simply cannot afford. The Metformin has helped a bit, reducing my averages by about 60 or so points. But, I have also gone extremely low carb now due to the new high spikes I have been experiencing. At first, my body had a hard time adjusting to it. If I did not eat enough carbs my glucose would sky-rocket. Too many carbs and it would do the same. I went from eating my 45 grams of carbohydrates with each meal (plus vegetable and protein) to a total of about 20 carbohydrates per meal now, which includes vegetables and proteins. I seem to be responding better to this new regime now and other than a glitch I hit a few days ago, my average blood glucose levels have gone down about another 40 to 60 points. I don't mean to turn this into something political but this is exactly why we need a strong public option in the healthcare bill.

I have found that I am very sensitive now to what carbohydrates I am eating where as before, it never made a difference. A breakfast of 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup blueberries and 1 slice of thin cut rye toast spiked my 2 hour post prandial (after eating) reading over 100 points. The total carbohydrates in that breakfast was 23 grams with 12 grams of protein. So far I have found very few foods that don't spike my blood glucose. I have found that a breakfast of 6 ounces Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup blueberries only increased my 2 hour post prandial testing about 15 points. That breakfast totals 15 grams of carbohydrate and 17 grams of protein. I have also found that the ice cream product made by Breyers, Carb Smart Fudge Popsicles, barely increase me at all. This pop is sold as "3 Net grams of carbohydrate" and though I have always been skeptical of net carbs it seems to do the trick. I had made the following Red Bean Chili con Carne recipe yesterday and it was another winner for me. Though at first glance a two cup serving has about 30 grams of carbohydrate, you'll also notice it has almost 10 grams of fiber. I have had three meals of this so far and had the same results each time. I have a rise of only 15 to 20 points at my two hour post prandial testing. My blood glucose has even dropped significantly if I had taken my Metformin before the particular meal I had the chili. I know that everyone is different and metabolizes food differently but I wanted to share this very simple recipe with you all. It is a very good, slow metabolizing meal for me and I though perhaps if anyone else is having the same kinds of problems I am having maybe they will get the same results. Of course, there is no way of really knowing that though. So far, my best blood glucose reading has been 132 points lower than my worst. It is on its way down.

Red Bean Chili con Carne

3 cups onions, large dice
3 cups green bell pepper, large dice
9 - 10 cloves garlic, diced (about 3 heaping Tbsp.)
3 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
chili powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
ground cumin
ground coriander
oregano (Mexican if you have but Italian is fine)
14 Tbsp. liquid hickory smoke
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
2 - 14.5 ounce cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 ounce can beef stock (low sodium)
1 - 29 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 - 29 ounce can tomato puree
2 Tbsp. dried cilantro
1 tsp. Splenda
2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil

It's important to note that I do not give measurements for the chili powder, cumin, coriander and oregano. I think that it is up to individual taste and how strong the chili powder is. I use a simple rule of thumb though. A ratio of chili powder to cumin to coriander to oregano. The ratio is 3 parts chili powder to 2 parts cumin to 1 part coriander to 1 part oregano. So, if you use 1 Tbsp. of chili powder you'll use 2 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. each coriander and oregano. Of course this is just an example as I can use as much as 4 Tbsp. chili powder and so on, during cooking.
In a large heavy bottom pot heat oil on high and add the onions, green bell pepper and garlic. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and lightly blend together. Add one layer of spices, using the chili powder, paprika and parsley. Cook until the beef is browned. Add the kidney beans, beef stock and tomato products. Add another layer of spices using the chili powder, cumin, coriander and oregano. Stir to blend. Bring to simmer and reduce heat to medium low and partially cover. Cook about 1 hour and add another layer of spices using chili powder, cumin, coriander, liquid smoke and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about 45 minutes. Add the cilantro and Splenda and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning all along and add more to taste.

Yields about 5 1/2 quarts or 11 servings
2 cup serving

Amount Per Serving using lean ground beef

Calories 547.9
Total Fat 32.8 g (6 1/2 fat exchanges)
Saturated Fat 12.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 14.8 g
Cholesterol 107.9 mg
Sodium 807.9 mg
Potassium 1,053.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber 9.1 g
Sugars 7.4 g
Protein 33.1 g
Amount per serving using lean ground turkey:

Calories 415.0
Total Fat 16.9 g (3 fat exchanges)
Saturated Fat 4.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.0 g
Cholesterol 107.1 mg
Sodium 821.1 mg
Potassium 961.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber 9.1 g
Sugars 7.4 g
Protein 36.4 g
My thanks to for featuring this recipe on their Community Homepage the week of October 20, 2009 and rating it five stars!


  1. Chef,

    I'm so sorry you're having this trouble. It's funny that you only post the recipes on dlife. I've found that I'm carb sensitive too and have had to reduce my # of carbs per meal as well. I'm going to try this recipe because it sounds great. - Thanks, Jumpnfool

  2. Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes. They are sincerely appreciated. As you know, this disease is a progressive one and I guess that I've just begun a new part of the journey. I also wanted to let you know that I do post on other diabetic forums as well as on dLife. I have a few listed below on the right hand side with other great websites.