Diabetes


I can’t entirely figure out what prompts someone to react to a restaurant or a location. We’ve driven past other Fellini’s Pizza restaurants plenty of times. But getting lost on the way to Miso Izakaya, and finding the Fellini’s near the corner of Clifton and McLendon Road triggered something in my wife’s head. She was determined to go back there. So yes, there we went.

Plain looking. Hardly plain tasting.

It’s pretty no frills, so no frills that a diabetic trying to avoid pizza slices should not go. There are no sandwiches at this Fellini’s, just pizza and salads. But the toppings are good, the crust is good. No, it won’t score points for the “best in town”, but most best in town choices aren’t this convenient. Further, they do well with simple concepts. The slice of white above looks plain. It doesn’t taste plain, with plenty of appropriate spicing thrown into the mix.

I liked what we had here. They have a praiseworthy thin crust, decent salads, fast service, and the price is right. Go sometime. You won’t regret it.

Notes: currently there are 7 Fellini’s Pizza restaurants in town. The Fellini’s web site gives the locations.

Fellini’s Pizza
1634 McLendon Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 687-9190

Fellini's Pizza on Urbanspoon

If there is a phrase I’m going to grow sick of, and fast, it’s “butter-drenched” in connection with the foods that Paula Deen promotes. The notion that Paula Deen grew sick with type 2 diabetes because of the fat in her diet strikes me as ludicrous. This whole bent by journalists, to assign blame, and in particular to assign blame to a single component of the “Southern diet”, is a kind of hysteria, and the worst kind of journalism.

Look, for the average type 2 diabetic, it’s not about the fats. It’s about the carbs. It’s also about, these days, immunology, as articles in Nature Medicine hint at type 2 diabetes being an autoimmune disease. In these depictions, it is about internal accumulated fat, the consequences of overgrowing fat cells, and the specifics of how a body reacts to the death of those cells. People grow an immune response to their own glucose uptake proteins. Their own body destroys them, leading to insulin resistance. Course, that’s only part of the story. Another part is the loss of insulin production as well. And this biochemistry isn’t entirely understood.

But, you see, to blame a plate of pasta, or the accumulated biological consequences of living, with its attendant genetic components, just isn’t as dramatic as the phrase “butter-drenched”. And in the porn of language, journalists are angering those of us who have to live the lifestyle of the type 2. They’re not talking to us. They’re not even listening to us. They’re just trying to shock an audience of diabetic illiterates.

The origin of all omega-3s is the photosynthetic center of plants, the chloroplast.

Chloroplast

Omega-3 fatty acids are synthesized as components of the cell membranes of chloroplasts, and no matter whether your chloroplasts come from here

Microalgae. Diatoms in this image.

or here..

Lemon grass, an example of a land based leafy plant.

adequate omega-3 fatty acids are easy to come by if you take a little care with your sources.

Steamed spinach. Popeye had the right idea.

Omega-6 fatty acids come from grains and nuts, such as these

Wheat

and are concentrated in huge quantities in grain oils, such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, and canola oil.

Corn oil

Now, when one of these

Cow!

eats large quantities of grass, they act as biological concentrators of those fatty acids. The butter from grass fed animals, in particular, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. If, however, your meat sources eat large quantities of this

Corn

well, corn is a grain and those animals are going to be stuffed with omega-6 fatty acids. Animals, whether swimming or 4 legged, maintain high concentrations of the oils they eat.

In the absence of grass-fed land animals, sardines and herring are perhaps the cheapest, most available source of high quality omega-3 fatty acids, and cans of them can be purchased for perhaps 90 cents at the local supermarket.

A school of sardines.

Mackerel also works, as does trout or wild salmon.

Since omega-3 deficiencies in small children have been linked to learning issues, commercial manufacturers have moved into the gap.  These new products, however, have small servings of DHA at rather high prices ( 30 to 50 cents a pill), and tend to be given in pills along with a small scattering of vitamins (in pill form, a dose of vitamins costs about 5 cents each). Another common sleight of hand trick is to add a small amount of flax to a largely grain based cereal. Omega 6 from the cereal grains are going to overwhelm the small advantage gained by a tiny bit of flax seed.

Barleans, a respectable brand of flax seed oil. Whole Foods has a good store brand.

I have yet another suggestion. When possible, don’t feed your children lots of grains and lots of grain oils (or sardines soaked in cottonseed oil), but rather, perhaps get a little flax seed oil and cut up a bit of a really good tomato.

Japanese black trifele tomato, a good heirloom.

High quality Roma tomatoes can be had at the local market.

The flax seed oil will provide a very useful dose of plant based ALA, the oil will act as an excellent carrier for tomato lycopenes, and further, the conversion of this plant based omega-3 to EPA/DHA will be determined by the needs of the eater. I suspect it tastes better than a little pill, and per serving, feeds more than a pill.

If your young one is a plant hating carnivore, a little sardine or tuna mixed with a stretcher (perhaps a olive oil pesto) works.

Note: the vast majority of the images above come from Wikimedia Commons.

It’s a cookbook I’ve had for a while now, and one I’ve been meaning to write about, mostly  because it’s fun. A serious “this is how you prepare 18 course meals topped by those budget breaking bottles of wine?” Of course not. Is it a book a guy with a grill, a stove top, a decent beer, and a few utensils can take a shot at? Absolutely.

A fun cookbook, not just for guys (though it pretends to be).

The core of it are single item offerings (usually) by name chefs. Tom Colicchio does the intro.  Atlanta favorites are contributors. Ria Pell offers Fish and Grits on page 46. Linton Hopkins  offers roast chicken on page 136. Hugh Acheson does Bread n Butter Pickles on page 177. And a recipe akin to one my mother learned from a pregnant coworker from New Orleans  lives on page 173, shrimp boiled in beer. My mom once nearly ended up  in a brawl with a general’s wife who insisted her shrimp must have been flown in from the coast.

I miss my mother, and her shrimp boiled in beer. May she rest in peace.

Nope. But beer can kill that fishy whang off your frozen shrimp.

It’s a good cookbook for diabetics because most of what is cooked here can be eaten safely by diabetics. Not to put too fine a point to it, but diabetics should be living on meats (or cheeses), raw veggies, cooked (preferably grilled) veggies, and carefully managed bites of starches. This cookbook is a great way to add variety to the proteins a diabetic eats.

Highly recommended. If you like the idea of also getting Esquire magazine, the year’s subscription inside the book almost  pays for the cost of the book.

John Boys is pretty much the opposite of hot, and proof that hotness, to a certain degree, is irrelevant. This restaurant has had no entry in Urbanspoon for years, and in fact I didn’t write about it once because I couldn’t find an entry for it in Urbanspoon. It’s only when you realize that the clientele of this place couldn’t give a flip about those kinds of tools is when you get it. This place is about serving people for whom trends are never “OMG, so last week!” The selling point is simple fare, sold at a great price.

The price point for John Boy’s buffet is $7.50, about 4 dollars less than Golden Corral. As a consequence, this place is well served by an older crowd.  They’re the kind of folk whose opinions won’t be given away in facial expressions.  You’ll have to look at their eyes, and the corners of  their lips to know how they think and feel. Or maybe, just count the numbers in the eatery. That will give you a clue.

A typical weekly John Boy's Menu.

This place  is very comfortable for someone like me  to eat. The plentiful supply of good vegetables and ample quantities of meats make this a good pit stop for a diabetic. And there are lots of families here as well, often large ones, with grown kids and mostly grown grandkids, and some patriarch at the head of his bountiful table.

Now, at the price, don’t expect fancy meats or television ads. The food, however, for what they serve, is competitive with any  buffet in the area. And for those who wonder what ever happened to the cafeterias of the 20th century, well, they either evolved into these modest (and critically underserved) buffets, or they perished from the face of the earth.

John Boy’s Home Cooking
3050 Main Street W.
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 969-6988

Johnboy's Home Cooking on Urbanspoon

There is a report coming from  the LA Times that says that a team led by researchers at the Stanford College of Medicine have evidence that diabetes type 2 is an autoimmune disease. If so, in my opinion, this is a major (as in Nobel worthy) result. If the result holds, then it can explain why obesity can cause type 2, and why some people get it when obese, and when some people don’t.

Gary Taubes once again has the front page of the New York Times with an article titled “Is Sugar Toxic?” This is a recurring theme in his work, that fat isn’t nearly as bad for you as researchers in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s claimed, and that starches are underappreciated for their ability to push people into unhealthy places. Understand, almost everything Gary says is followed closely by diabetics – perhaps not the researchers but diabetics themselves, because he seems to talk a diabetics own language.

It’s a general contention when diabetics get together on the Internet that most researchers are a few years behind what the garden variety diabetic already knows. It took decades for the conservative side of the medical profession to embrace individual blood sugar meters, for example. And groups of diabetics will laugh anyone silly who tries to talk about the dangers of saturated fat.

My feeling is he’s interesting, but that Michael Pollan touches on many of the same topics with a more nuanced and less dogmatic approach. My ought two? Read him, but keep your own council. Diabetics, as anyone with the disease does know, are as individual as snowflakes.

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