Toma's Recipe Pick of the Week

John Crowley
By John Crowley Latest Reply 2008-10-28 14:16:05 -0500
Started 2008-10-27 02:08:00 -0500

Here is the latest installment in our ongoing series with Toma Grubb. My thanks to Toma for taking the time to teach us how to modify recipes to make them more healthy.

From Toma:

Thelma, Beauty416 spotted this recipe here on and sent it to me. It was submitted by teddybearcub

This is a breakfast recipe so let’s do breakfast. This recipe is pretty good but I think we can do better. This recipe without the almonds has a PCF ratio of 13-66-20 those familiar with me know I shoot for a PCF of 20-50 30. The PCF ratio is the percentage ratio between Protein, carbohydrates and fats as measures in calories.

This is the recipe as we start with it.

Sharon's Apple-Cinnamon-Muffin Oatmeal

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray
3 Granny Smith or other baking apples, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 to 3 packets (.035 ounce each) sugar substitute (such as Splenda)
3 tablespoons chopped raw almonds or walnuts (optional)

Lightly coat a medium nonstick frying pan with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray. Place it over medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and 5 spritzes of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are soft.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a full boil. Add the oats. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until the water is almost absorbed. Remove from the heat and cover.

When the apples are cooked, stir the apple mixture into the oatmeal. Stir in 2 packets of sugar substitute and the nuts, if desired. Taste and add 1 more packet of sugar substitute, if desired. Spoon into 3 serving bowls. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 (generous 1 1/3-cup) servings

Nutritional Facts
218 Calories, 6 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (less than 1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber 74 mg sodium
Serving Size

The first thing I change is the oatmeal. As grains are processed their Glycemic Index rating goes up. Instant oat meal is 82 oat meal from raw rolled oats comes in at 69 and Scottish oats at 63. Steel cut oats is the lowest at 52. (data from, the database maintained by the university of Sydney in Australia.) 52 is at the top end of low glycemic foods. Other lower glycemic options include other cracked whole grains. The carbs can be lowered and the fiber increased by adding 2 oz of chia seed. The PCF is now 11-57-31. Sill a bit high on the carbohydrates and low with the protein.

To boost the protein I add 1.5 cups of egg white to this recipe and 2tsp of one of the better non-hydrogenated margarines. I would sweeten it with stevia.

The cinnamon to help with glucose control, the chia for fiber and good fats, and the egg white for the protein. Both protein and good fats slow the conversion of carbohydrates to blood glucose as does the fiber in the steel cut oats and chia seed. Each serving now has 17.38 grams of fiber which is over half of my daily fiber target of 30 grams.
At this point we have a PCF of 20-49-30, (the other 1% is alcohol in the vanilla extract. The modified recipe is now:

2 cups Granny smith apples without the skins
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups water
6 tablespoons sliced almonds.
1 cup steel cut oats
2 oz chia seed
1.5 cups egg white
2 teaspoons non-hydrogenated margarine

This recipe now has nutrient values of

Nutrient Single Serving
Calories 509.54
Protein (g) 25.66
Carbohydrates (g) 64.40
Fat (g) 17.72
Saturated Fat (g) 2.40
Sodium (mg) 230.32
Dietary Fiber (g) 17.38

509 calories may be a bit high for many of us for one meal so I will cut the serving size back to make this 4 servings which changes the nutrient values to:

Calories 382.15
Protein (g) 19.25
Carbohydrates (g) 48.30
Fat (g) 13.29
Saturated Fat (g) 1.80
Sodium (mg) 172.74
Dietary Fiber (g) 13.04

I still think we can make this recipe even better. I am always looking for ways to optimize my diet and get the most out of each calorie consumed. Apples are ok but blueberries are much higher in phytonutrients and anti-oxidants than apples. Replace the 2 cups of apples with blueberries and we now have an optimized breakfast recipe. Any fruit can be used so pick some for variety that are power packed anti-oxidants.
See the nutrient analysis for this optimized recipe below.

Natural antioxidant foods are fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds. The best way to ensure adequate intake of the antioxidants is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables through a diet consisting of 5 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Best Sources of High Antioxidants Foods

1. Fruits

Berries (Cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, crowberry, blueberry, bilberry/wild blueberry, black currant), pomegranate, grape, orange, plum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, grapefruit.

2. Vegetables

Kale, chili pepper, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lemon, ginger, red beets.

3. Dry Fruits high in antioxidants

Apricots, prunes, dates.

4. Legumes

Broad beans, pinto beans, soybeans.

5. Nuts and seeds

Pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, ground nut, sunflower seeds.

6. Cereals

Barley, millet, oats, corn.

7. Spices

cloves, cinnamon, oregano

Scientists at the USDA have developed a rating scale that measures the antioxidant content of various natural plant foods. The scale is called ORAC, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.
Fruits Antioxidant Value
ORAC units per 100 grams Vegetables Antioxidant Value
ORAC units per 100 grams
Prunes 5570 Kale 1770
Raisins 2830 Spinach 1260
Blueberries 2400 Brussels sprouts 980
Blackberries 2036 Alfalfa sprouts 930
Strawberries 1540 Broccoli flowers 890
Raspberries 1220 Beets 840
Plums 949 Red bell pepper 710
Oranges 750 Onion 450
Red grapes 739 Corn 400
Cherries 670 Eggplant 390
Kiwi fruit 602
Grapefruit 483
USDA recommends eating foods containing at least 3,000 ORAC units a day.
Steel cut Oats w/blueberries (RCP 294) Report

Nutrient values for this weeks optimized recipe.
Created By: NutriCoach Toma Grubb
Recipe Gram Wt: Total1397.83g per serving3.08lb
Recipe Servings: 4
Serving Size: 12.33oz
Calories/Serving: 378.16
PCF Ratio: 20-49-30

Recipe Ingredient Listing:

Food Name: BLUEBERRY, RAW (SR 09050)
Description: unthawed
Serving Size: 2 cups

Food Name: CINNAMON, GROUND (SR 02010)
Serving Size: 2 tsp

Food Name: VANILLA EXTRACT (SR 02050)
Serving Size: 1 tsp

Food Name: WATER, MUNICIPAL (SR 14429)
Serving Size: 2 cups

Food Name: ALMOND, RAW (SR 12061)
Description: sliced
Serving Size: 6 tbsp

Food Name: OATS, STEEL CUT (OATMEAL) (BN 216504)
Brand: Quaker
Description: 100% whole grain oats
Serving Size: 1 cup

Food Name: CHIA SEED, DRIED (SR 12006)
Serving Size: 2 oz

Food Name: EGG WHITE, CHICKEN, RAW (SR 01124)
Description: fresh
Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Brand: Smart Balance
Description: 'Regular Buttery Spread'
Serving Size: 2 tsp

Preparation Instructions:

Recipe Nutrient Analysis:

Nutrient Single Serving
Calories 378.16
Protein (g) 19.56
Calories from Protein 76.21
Carbohydrates (g) 47.14
Starch (g)* 0.09
Sugars (g)* 9.44
Glucose (g)* 3.87
Fructose (g)* 3.68
Galactose (g)* 0.06
Sucrose (g)* 0.54
Lactose (g)* 0.06
Maltose (g)* 0.08
Dietary Fiber (g) 12.73
Est. Net Carbs (g) 34.41
Calories from Carbohydrates 183.64
Fat (g) 13.22
Saturated Fat (g) 1.77
Trans Fat (g)* 0.02
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 4.71
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 5.89
Omega-3 (g)* 0.04
Omega-6 (g)* 1.12
Calories from Fat 115.87
Alcohol (g) 0.36
Calories From Alcohol 2.44
Ash (g)* 1.90
Water (g)* 261.76
Phytosterols (mg)* 10.65
Stigmasterol (mg)* 0.35
Campesterol (mg)* 0.43
Beta-sitosterol (mg)* 9.57
Vit-A (mcg_RAE)* 2.34
Carotene, beta (mcg)* 23.91
Cryptoxanthin, beta (mcg)* 2.97
Lycopene (mcg)* 0.33
Lutein+zeaxanthin (mcg)* 62.92
Vit-A IU* 131.91
Vit-B1 Thiamine (mg)* 0.05
Vit-B2 Riboflavin (mg)* 0.50
Vit-B3 Niacin (mg)* 0.76
Vit-B5 Pantothenic Acid (mg)* 0.29
Vit-B6 Pyridoxine (mg)* 0.06
Total Folate (mcg)* 10.83
Folate, Food (mcg)* 10.83
Folate, DFE (mcg_DFE)* 10.83
Vit-B12 Cyanocobalami (mcg)* 0.08
Vit-C (mg)* 7.36
Tocopherol, Alpha (mg)* 2.91
Tocopherol, Beta (mg)* 0.04
Tocopherol, Gamma (mg)* 0.35
Tocopherol, Delta (mg)* 0.04
Vit-K (mcg)* 15.65
Calcium (mg)* 138.17
Magnesium (mg)* 40.05
Phosphorus (mg)* 198.49
Potassium (mg)* 297.79
Sodium (mg) 172.61
Copper (mg)* 0.20
Iron (mg)* 2.89
Manganese (mg)* 0.97
Selenium (mcg)* 18.55
Zinc (mg)* 0.95
Histidine (g)* 0.40
Isoleucine (g)* 0.78
Leucine (g)* 1.26
Lysine (g)* 0.93
Methionine (g)* 0.40
Phenylalanine (g)* 0.89
Threonine (g)* 0.58
Tryptophan (g)* 0.23
Valine (g)* 0.98
Alanine (g)* 0.88
Arginine (g)* 1.11
Aspartic acid (g)* 1.62
Cystine (g)* 0.34
Glutamic acid (g)* 2.27
Glycine (g)* 0.65
Proline (g)* 0.63
Serine (g)* 0.97
Tyrosine (g)* 0.54
FA 14:0 (g)* 0.01
FA 15:0 (g)* 0.00
FA 16:0 (g)* 0.58
FA 17:0 (g)* 0.01
FA 18:0 (g)* 0.19
FA 20:0 (g)* 0.01
FA 22:0 (g)* 0.00
FA 14:1 (g)* 0.00
FA 16:1 undifferentiated (g)* 0.03
FA 18:1 undifferentiated (g)* 3.08
FA 20:1 (g)* 0.01
FA 18:2 undifferentiated (g)* 1.94
FA 18:3 undifferentiated (g)* 2.53

Items marked with an asterisk (*) indicate data totals with some values not available. This may result in an under reporting of values.

These values are generated with NutriBase. If you would like to try NutriBase for 14 days for free download an evaluation copy from

18 replies

Avera 2008-10-27 15:46:54 -0500 Report

Wow! John,
You sure did type lots and the info you provided was all good. I love breakfast and am always looking for healthy, tasty, and diabetic friendly recipes to try. It amazed me to see just how much one could learn from a recipe. Thanks for taking the time to type. I took the time to read it and learn.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2008-10-28 02:45:50 -0500 Report

Actually, the thanks goes to Toma. He's the one who does our food research. I just post it for him. So my part is pretty easy :-)

beauty416 2008-10-28 05:32:28 -0500 Report

I am glad that I contributed to this discussion by sharing the recipe. Toma I am glad that you took the time to analyze the recipe.

enigmalady777 2008-10-27 14:49:26 -0500 Report

If I ate that many carbs at one meal, I'd have a blood sugar spike to the moon!

Oatmeal is on my "can't eat" list and let me tell you — I miss it dearly!

Toma 2008-10-27 15:49:46 -0500 Report

Hi Enigmalady,

Do you see the same on your meter even if it is steel cut oats or whole oat groats rather than the highly processed oatmeal we are more familiar with? The type of oats we make our porridge with makes a difference in my experience. As mentioned, instant oatmeal is the least desirable followed by quick oats then the old fashioned rolled oats. I do not eat those at all. Only steel cut oats and oat groats. Oat groats are whole, unprocessed oat seeds that only have the outer husk removed. The do take longer to prepare.

enigmalady777 2008-10-28 09:22:21 -0500 Report

Actually, yes I do see the same result on my meter when I use steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut is my favorite too. And I was so bummed when I saw the spike to over 200!!!!!

I'm on insulin now, so maybe once I am really proficient at my I:C ratios I will be able to bolus for the oatmeal and be able to go back to eating Steel cut oatmeal occasionally.

GabbyPA 2008-10-27 13:01:27 -0500 Report

Hey Toma,
Would something like bulgur work instead of the oatmeal? I find the cracked wheat does better for me than oats.

Toma 2008-10-27 15:42:53 -0500 Report

There are many other options that can be substituted for the oats. With all whole grains, Oats included, the closer to the whole seed the better. I have a whole grains section in an amazon store that I set up for my site to make it easier for people to find them when they are not readily available in their local stores. One I use the most often is Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain. On the rare occasions I eat oatmeal it is either Mc Cann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal or whole oat groats but they are harder to find.

GabbyPA 2008-10-27 15:50:15 -0500 Report

Yeh, I experimented with some old fashioned oats the other day with crummy results. I wanted to eat them for my heart health, but you have to eat too much to make it work, at least for me. Shot me up about 90 points.

Toma 2008-10-27 16:16:52 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

We need to read between the lines when it comes to the claims. The heart health claim isn't really about the oats or oatmeal. They can make the claim because they have more than the minimum amount of soluble fiber. Some times there are better ways to get the fiber such as chia seed, psyllium husks, flax seed, etc. that have far more fiber. I did a food ranking for fiber, I was a little surprised that oats were way down the list. I ranked them by 100 grams to be able to compare. At the top of the list were spices, followed by seeds, then beans, Here are the top 26 in descending order…


GabbyPA 2008-10-28 10:54:10 -0500 Report

That is so cool...I like oatmeal, but not that much. I love a lot of these things and I am currently eating the chia for fiber and I like it too. I am surprised about the things like chili powder and fennel seeds. NICE

Anonymous 2008-10-27 06:25:43 -0500 Report

Ok is it just me but that is too much to read. Sorry.

Toma 2008-10-27 12:51:43 -0500 Report

I can appreciate the thought that this is too much to read. it is also a lot to research and write. I used to feel that way before I was diagnosed. The Canadian Diabetes Association and the American Diabetes Association would probably think so too. I volunteer for the CDA and they tell me not to go into detail, it just scares people and they will not do anything. On the other hand, The simple approaches from the CDA and ADA are not working. As they try to keep things simple the diabetes diagnostic rates continue to climb. We have a complex disease. Nutrition is also complex. I have done my best to try to simplify and explain the reasons in easy to understand terms. If learning is too much trouble the alternative is to continue in the dark and hope against hope the diabetes will take care of itself or just accept that the complications from poor blood glucose control are inevitable.

Anonymous 2008-10-28 03:41:36 -0500 Report

I do not think I am in the dark about my diabetes. I know what I can do and not do. I am learning and experimenting everyday with things I can do. I am gaining more control over this and I am about to come off of insulin. So, obviuosly I have done something right. I merely said it was a lot to read. I personally do not need to read all the vitamins and minerals and what not. I need to know the carbs, fiber and see what it does to my levels. I am a hands on person. Your research is great and helpful. But I just made the comment it was alot to read. I am not in the dark about my diabetes and I do something about mine everyday so I know it will not go away without me taking control. Which I have. That was a general comment about someone you do not even know.

GabbyPA 2008-10-28 10:45:50 -0500 Report

The vitamins can be important to know, as then you can adjust what you need to supplement in your diet. Toma and I add Omega 3 and D in doses that are more than you can usually get from your meals, and these things help keep you in balance. Diabetes is not the only thing to control, there are so many other things that we have to watch, that knowing too much is never a problem. LOL!

It seems like a lot in the beginning, but once you kind of figure out how it works, it is not so bad. Like getting PCF ratios in line. When I first heard about it, it was overwhelming to me. Now that I understand it better...still figuring it out in practicality...but it is making more sense to me and helping me be in more control.

So all Toma really meant is that when we have an opportunity to learn new things or ways to help us keep our bodies in check, we would be prudent to apply our efforts to it. Take it a little at a time, or it is too much, but at least we are learning new things along the way.

Anonymous 2008-10-28 12:35:29 -0500 Report

I did not say learning new things were bad. I was saying I must have been doing things right to be able to come off of insulin. personally I do not do all the vitamons and herbs and what. What I have done has worked for me. what as worked for you is fine. It was merely a statement. I thought we were beyond all of this. It is America I can make a statement freely.

GabbyPA 2008-10-28 14:16:05 -0500 Report

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I was just relating how all the information was overwhelming to me too and how I am learning to apply the information given me. Nothing more...

I pay more attention to all those things because I don't have the luxury of meds to help me, so I try to pay more close attention to as much as I can. I never know if something in there might be the "light bulb" moment I need.

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