Toma's Recipe Pick of the Week

John Crowley
By John Crowley Latest Reply 2008-11-16 14:44:01 -0600
Started 2008-11-16 10:50:20 -0600

Here is the latest installment from our resident diet expert, Toma Grubb. If you enjoy this series, please be sure to let Toma know.

From Toma:
This installment of the series started in the discussion “How to determine if a food is good for diabetics”

Gabby brought up okra. Okra is one of those foods that are particularly helpful for a type 2 diabetic.

I think okra is an acquired taste. I grew up with it so I never had a problem when I found out it was good for me. There are many southern dishes that have it as a main ingredient where the mucilage becomes part of the sauce such as Okra Soup, Curried Okra, Okra and Shrimp and Chicken and Okra Gumbo.

Okra is a mucilaginous plant, as such it gives off a slippery/sticky substance when cut. This substance gives okra it's thickening properties. This is why it is so useful in soups and stews. However, when used raw or as a vegetable it shouldn't be cut into too small pieces, as the more it is cut, the stickier it becomes. Mucilage is a specific type of fiber that has a number of health benefits including helping control blood glucose by slowing the metabolism of carbohydrates and their conversion into blood glucose.

There are several foods that are mucilaginous. The following plants are known to contain far greater concentrations of mucilage than is typically found in most plants: Aloe vera, Cactus, Chia seed, psyllium husks, Chondrus crispus (Irish moss), Dioscorea opposita (Nagaimo, panese Mountain Yam), Drosera (sundews), Fenugreek, Flax seeds, Kelp, Liquorice root, Mullein, Okra and a few others. We will focus on okra.

Okra is used raw, pickled or cooked on it's own and compliments tomatoes, onions, eggplant, corn and peppers. Many people prefer to eat Okra fried or breaded as this reduces it's slipperyness. I am not sure if frying it is the best idea since it is usually breaded when fried and frying produces free radicals when the oil is heated to high temps. Many of the traditional recipes need to be modified to make them diabetic friendly.

Gabby asked how to use okra so I just added a chicken, shrimp, okra gumbo to the recipe section.

I had to find and modify a recipe to make it one I think is diabetic friendly. The original recipe had ingredients I think are not that healthy and defiantly not the best choices for a type 2 diabetic.

The original recipe had:
3 1/2 lb frying chicken
1 lb young Okra pods
10 oz corn kernels
1 lb smoked sausage
8 slices bacon
16 oz can tomato puree
4 cloves garlic
4 large tomatoes
3 large onions
2 green bell peppers
2 stalks of celery with leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme

When I analyzed the recipe I found the PCF ratio (protein, carbohydrate, fat) far too high in protein and not enough good fats so the amounts of the good components were modified. There were also things I consider not as healthy as they should be so I eliminated them.

The things eliminated were the corn, sausage, bacon and salt. There is controversy about corn but it is high in starch. The glycemic index for corn indicates it may be ok but just as easy to eliminate it.

Sausage and bacon do add layers of complexity and add to the flavor of a traditional southern gumbo but both also have health issues. Both are rather high in sodium content as well as saturated fats and cholesterol. Red meats and particularly sausages have been identified as inflammatory foods. We typically consume way too much sodium so it has been reduced by getting rid of the sausage, bacon and salt.

The original recipe I modified had 43% calories from protein and 41% calories from fat. Both way too high in my opinion. When the portions were adjusted for comparison the original recipe had 706 mg of sodium compared to 84.6 mg in the modified recipe. If you want to spice up this recipe it can be done easily by adding a few dashes of Tabasco Smoked Chipotle which only adds 115 mg of sodium per teaspoon while adding capsaicin (the ingredient in peppers that makes them hot) which also helps control blood glucose.

Here is the recipe as I modified it.

8 oz chicken breast
1/4 pound shrimp
1 lb young Okra pods
16 oz can no salt tomato puree
4 cloves garlic
4 large tomatoes
3 large onions
2 green bell peppers
2 stalks of celery with leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups water
1 ½ cups long grain brown basmati rice
6 tablespoons extra virgin Olive oil.

Top and tail the Okra pods, ie cut off the ends.

Cut the pods into approximately 1/4 inch rounds.

Mince the garlic.

Pop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, remove, peel and chop.

Peel the onions and chop 2 onions coarsely. Cut the remaining onion into quarters.

Seed the bell pepper and chop coarsely

Cut the leaves from the celery and place to one side, chop the celery stalks Place the chicken, the celery leaves, the quartered and onion into a Dutch oven, with sufficient water to cover the solid ingredients.

Bring to the boil, cover with lid and reduce the heat
Simmer for approximately 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender to a fork.

Remove the chicken, reserve the broth keeping the onion quarters and celery leaves. Cut the chicken into small, bite sized pieces. Reserve.

Add the chopped onion, green pepper, celery and minced garlic to the olive oil in the Dutch oven and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the vegetables become tender.

Add the chicken, reserved broth, tomatoes, tomato puree, okra.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 90 minutes.


Nutrition info.
Single Serving
Calories 377.33
Protein (g) 19.03
Carbohydrates (g) 48.21
Starch (g)* 0.19
Sugars (g) 9.70
Glucose (g)* 4.23
Fructose (g)* 3.88
Galactose (g)* 0.07
Sucrose (g)* 1.23
Lactose (g)* 0.01
Maltose (g)* 0.00
Dietary Fiber (g) 6.94
Est. Net Carbs (g) 41.27
Fat (g) 13.23
Saturated Fat (g) 2.13
Trans Fat (g)* 0.00
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 8.37
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 2.09
Omega-3 (g) 0.20
Omega-6 (g) 1.79
Cholesterol (mg) 47.34
Phytosterols (mg)* 55.37
Vit-A (mcg_RAE) 83.29
Retinol (mcg) 9.64
Carotene, beta (mcg) 826.47
Carotene, alpha (mcg) 100.52
Cryptoxanthin, beta (mcg) 2.93
Lycopene (mcg) 14675.73
Lutein+zeaxanthin (mcg) 577.32
Vit-A IU 1496.23
Vit-B1 Thiamine (mg) 0.38
Vit-B2 Riboflavin (mg) 0.20
Vit-B3 Niacin (mg) 8.55
Vit-B5 Pantothenic Acid (mg)* 1.46
Vit-B6 Pyridoxine (mg) 0.84
Total Folate (mcg) 97.60
Folate, Food (mcg) 97.60
Folic Acid (mcg) 0.00
Folate, DFE (mcg_DFE) 97.60
Vit-B12 Cyanocobalami (mcg) 0.27
Vit-H (mcg) Biotin* 0.00
Vit-C (mg) 67.24
Vit-D (IU)* 21.55
Tocopherol, Alpha (mg) 4.16
Tocopherol, Beta (mg)* 0.02
Tocopherol, Gamma (mg)* 0.34
Tocopherol, Delta (mg)* 0.00
Vit-E (IU)* 0.00
Vit-K (mcg) 55.81
Calcium (mg) 114.08
Magnesium (mg) 131.77
Phosphorus (mg) 322.98
Potassium (mg) 1004.49
Sodium (mg) 84.60
Chloride (mg)* 0.00
Chromium (mcg)* 0.00
Copper (mg) 0.48
Fluroide (mg)* 0.00
Iodine (mcg)* 0.00
Iron (mg) 3.45
Manganese (mg) 2.25
Selenium (mcg) 22.27
Zinc (mg) 2.05

3 replies

GabbyPA 2008-11-16 14:44:01 -0600 Report

I have this one ready to be used. I ate okra last night...I mixed it with some blackeye peas, onion, garlic, cauliflower and some peas...all with tomatoes and some chili sauce. Cummin, chili pepper, red pepper flakes and of course some sea salt and pepper....not too bad. You might convert me yet Toma. LOL

Debe Pendice
Debe Pendice 2008-11-16 14:13:35 -0600 Report

I also enjoy Tomas recipe pick of the week. It is nice to see all the ststs on the ingredients. It is amazing for me to follow up everyweek. I chalk it up as a learning experience…Debe

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