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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best Candies For Diabetics-Guest Post by Marcela De Vivo

Best Candies For Diabetics

If you are or know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely already know one of the biggest downsides to this condition is limiting your diet, especially when it comes to sweet treats, like candy.

However, if you’re diabetic, that doesn’t mean you have to give up dessert altogether. There are plenty of sugar-free treats you can create yourself that can not only meet your diet restrictions, but your sweet tooth’s demands as well!

Sugar-Free Gummy Worms

Sugar-free gummy worms are a simple, easy-to-make treat that both kids and parents will love. Although these little guys are sugar-free, it is still important to limit how much you eat. The great thing about this recipe is that you can store whatever you don’t eat in the fridge!

What You’ll Need:
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 packages sugar-free Jell-O (choose any flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1 package sugar-free Kool-Aid (choose any flavor)
Large non-metallic mixing bowl
8” x 8” baking dish
Cooking spray
Plastic wrap
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Airtight container, for storage

Step 1:
Combine the unflavored gelatin, sugar-free Jell-O, boiling water and Kool-Aid in a large non-metallic mixing bowl. Stir the mixture to fully combine the ingredients.

Step 2:
Transfer the mixture to an 8” x 8” baking dish that’s been lightly greased with cooking spray.

Step 3:
Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture until completely firm.

Step 4:
Remove the gelatin mixture and put it on a clean cutting board. Slice the mixture into worm-like strips using a sharp knife. Reserve extra gummy worms in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Fudge

A bit more grown-up than the gummy worms, sugar-free peanut butter fudge makes an ideal after-dinner treat, especially when paired with a cup of rich coffee. Make this fudge ahead of time and let it cool in the refrigerator so it will hold its shape.

What You’ll Need:
2-ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
Small saucepan
1/2 no-sugar-added peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons artificial sweetener
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Vegetable oil spray, for greasing
Shallow baking dish
Plastic wrap
Sharp knife

Step 1:
Heat the unsweetened chocolate and half-and-half or heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Do not allow the half-and-half or cream to boil. Stir in the peanut butter and remove the mixture from heat.

Step 2:
Add the vanilla extract and artificial sweetener. Stir to combine. Fold the peanuts into the mixture and spread it into the bottom of a shallow baking dish.

Step 3:
Cover the shallow baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the mixture to cool until set.

Step 4:
Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and slice into small squares with a sharp knife right before serving.

If gummy worms and peanut butter fudge aren’t exactly what your taste buds crave, you can tweak  pretty much any dessert item so that it does not contain any added sugar. In general, artificial sweeteners can replace real sugar; just be sure to follow the replacement guidelines on the artificial sweetener packaging.

If you’re making dessert items for a party of event, try making a special diabetic-safe candy display showcasing a few of your favorites. Even your sugar-loving guests will likely be drawn to it.

Low-glycemic versions of other foods, like jams, jelly and other sugary substances can be used to make diabetic-safe treats as well. Adding a few cookbooks or bookmarking a few websites designed with diabetics in mind may also be beneficial.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and business owner in Southern California. As a mother of three, she is always careful about how much sugar her kids eat, and these diabetic-friendly recipes definitely pass the test! Follow her on Pinterest and Twitter today!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Blogger Day! Dieting for Diabetics

Dieting For Diabetics
by: Marcela De Vivo

Wondering what to do now that you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes? Doctors usually drone on through a slew of lifestyle changes, including giving up your favorite foods (no!) and incorporating more exercise (the horror!). Instead of thinking of this as a massive overhaul, however, start adding in little changes to help manage diabetes. Studies have shown that people are more likely to stick to a new diet and exercise plan if it is incorporated gradually, through small and simple changes to what you eat everyday.

As someone who has a special needs member of the family, I understand how restricted diets can be a pain. A picky eater is doubly difficult to cook for when I have to consider all the dietary needs my son has in regards to his condition. But after cooking for him for several years, I’ve picked up a few tricks and have some of suggestions could really work well to help you manage your diabetes and weight loss with a minimum of lifestyle changes. 

First off, the big “E” word. Exercise is key if you want to manage and lose weight safely with diabetes. You don’t need to start heavy weightlifting like the Terminator, or try insane high intensity interval workouts in order to reap the benefits of exercise. Simply walking when you “run” your errands actually accomplishes  much of your daily exercise requirement.

And the added bonus of all that walking? You can save a lot on gas by doing all your trips to the grocery store or drugstore on foot. And you won’t be able to buy nearly as much as you have to schlep it back on your back—a half gallon of ice cream becomes much less tempting when you consider how heavy it is after a mile and how melt-y it is once you get it back to the house a half-hour later.

Dietary changes can be a little more challenging. Giving up favorite carb- and sugar- laden comfort foods can seem nearly impossible, especially if you’re under stress. However, becoming someone who pays attention to macronutrients and how many versions of sugar (glucose, fructose, sucrose, HCFS, dextrose, corn syrup, refiner’s syrup, the list goes on and on) appear in your food is a good place to start.

You may have to give up those tempting goodies for something a little healthier, but you just might start fitting into jeans that haven’t seen the light of day in the last decade.

However, it isn’t all deprivation. While watching sugar, carb and sodium content of snacks and meals will become important, there are an array of satisfying substitutes for old favorites, or ways to improve on the original versions. Nuts come in wide variety of flavors now—you can get cocoa covered almonds if you’re jonesing for a chocolate fix. Nut clusters are also amazing—sugary, salty, crunchy, and absolutely fantastic.

While cucumber slices will never replace tortilla chips, dip them in enough guacamole and anyone (ok, most people) can overlook their lack of carb-y-ness. Mini-cheeses are adorable and great as a snack on the run.

I’ve also seen benefits in food pairing when it comes to a “cheat” moment. If you are going to eat something that will cause your blood sugar to soar (like some fruits and all desserts), make it a point to combine it with some fat and protein to slow down the absorption of the sugar. Apple slices with peanut butter is actually pretty delicious (and addicting—I do not recommend eating straight from the jar unless you have better self control than I do). Dried fruit brings the flavor to some unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt for breakfast.

Try to focus on what you can eat. Substitutions are much easier than they were in the past, what with the low-carb craze and the rise in popularity of paleo-friendly diets out there. Spaghetti squash with turkey meat sauce? Yes, please! Losing weight on a healthy, diabetic-friendly diet has never been more delicious.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area who has written on everything from marketing, technology, and real estate, as well as a variety of health and wellness topics. She’s learned so much from her son and loves sharing that knowledge with others. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guest Blogger: Falanya Curtis From A Lupie Existence

I Don’t “Blame It On The Alcohol” I “Blame It On the Prednisone”!

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jamie Fox’s song, “Blame it on the Alcohol” but it’s the refrain to that song from which I take the title of this blog post.
Now, I do not condone over-indulgence in alcohol, but in my strange sense of humor, this title popped into my head one day and it made me laugh – a valuable commodity these days.

So, just what am I blaming on Prednisone

Well…so many things! But I will only mention a few and to start, this:
Prednisone Hump
See it?
Don’t look at me like that!
You know exactly what I’m talking about!
My newly formed chipmunk cheeks and the Hunchback of Notre Dame’s hump I’ve got going on!

Those lovely additions are the result of being on Prednisone

…a steroid, since 2008!
Here’s briefly how that came about:
I was sitting on the examination table in front of my rheumatologist after a painful routine examination. She would press on all of my tender joints, and other painful points, to the point where I wanted to kick that woman! However, my Christian principles always prevented me from indulging in that potentially satisfying reaction.
She was about to write me a prescription for a biologic to go along with the Methotrexate I was already taking, in an effort to reduce the level of inflammation in my body, when I informed her that this would be my last visit.
     “Why,” she asked.
     “I won’t have insurance after this visit.” I replied.
Confused, she asked why and I told her how my husband had quit his job and was moving to another state without me. In disbelief, she kept repeating the same question a few times,
     “He left?”
     “Yes”, I replied.
Shaking her head, she repeated,
     “He left?”
     “Yes,” I replied again. “He left.”
When she asked that very same question yet again, I finally caught on that this was apparently a rhetorical question. I can be slow sometimes.
So she crumpled up the sheet on the prescription pad that she was writing on and started writing a new prescription.
“I didn’t want to start you on this just yet. You’re young to be getting started on steroids but it’s effective and cheap.”
And my journey with Steroids began!
Well, sort of, but not really. She actually prescribed Prednisone for me the year before, on a trial basis, to see how I would respond to it, and boy did I respond!

I felt so much better after the first few doses

I called up my boss/friend and told her I was coming back to work!
My legs no longer felt as if I were dragging extremely obese children from each limb and I could walk with my head held high on shoulders pushed back – a stance I hadn’t been able to attain in months!
I loved Prednisone!
blame it on the pred-page-001
After 2 weeks, the trial was over and my rheumatologist had the information that she needed. My body responded positively to steroids. Instead of prescribing me more, she increased the dosages of my anti-inflammatory medications.
Blast! I wanted Prednisone! Little did I know what I was asking for.

Prednisone’s side effects are nothing to sneeze at!

If you take a glance at the long list of things that it can do to you body, you’d no doubt wonder why it’s prescribed even at all!
As one of my mother’s rheumatologists told her many years ago, “There’s nothing else out there like it.”

You see, Prednisone squashes your immune system in such a way that when my Lupus isflaring, to simply take 2.5 milligrams more reduces swelling and gives me blessed pain relief.

At the same time, if I remain at too high of a level for too long I increase my chances of something bad happening.
So far, I have exhibited the following things that I blame on the Prednisone:
Please Note: I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites to prevent you from reading on into eternity.

Heightend Aggression…

I don’t back down easily in a discussion, heated debate or argument anymore.
It’s like my cut-off switch has been disabled and the fail-safe mechanism that would signal to me that it’s time to shut up, is no longer operational.
I will argue a point, no matter how small, until I feel in my mind that everyone in the room understands where I am coming from and why.
This created some pretty “interesting” discussions between my mother and I, since she was usually the only other person in the room.
“No, Falanya, I did NOT say that.”
“Yes, you DID!” is my usual excited reply.
“I’m not crazy mom! You said Barney was grape colored!”
“I did not and I will not continue this conversation with you.” Was her usual reply.
“He’s purple, mom. PURPLE!!” I almost scream.
But not too loud, because although I might be under the influence of steroids, I’m no dummy!
That woman, while laid up, sick in her bed, will still manage to slap the fluffiness right out of my chipmunk cheeks with lightening speed.

 Gnawing Hunger…

Have you ever felt your stomach writhe and cramp in pain as a result of hunger?
Now, let me ask you, have you ever felt this gnawing sensation in your gut with the presence of food?
Let’s say you have just eaten a full course meal with an appetizer and full dessert included. How do you usually feel?
I’m willing to wager that you can barely breathe let alone still be hungry!
Enter Prednisone.
Not only are you still hungry, but you are ravenously hungry and like a caveman you scavenge through the refrigerator for a small wildebeast to devour!
I may exaggerate a little, but I lie to you not!

Weird Fat Placement

This side effect goes hand in hand with the gnawing hunger.
Eat like an insatiable animal, sleep hours on end like you’re the King of the forest, and you will gain a fat pocket or two and in some interesting places.
My cheeks have puffed up a little but I don’t have the distinctive moon face that so many steroid users exhibit (unless I am in some serious denial here) but I do exhibit the Hunchback of Notre Dame’s hump at the base of my neck and across my shoulders.
Mom had this hump for years and I used to love teasing her about it.
So the moral of the story little boys and girls is that if you laugh at someone else’s deformity, the same deformity will be bestowed upon you.

Prednisone is both a blessing and a curse as far as I am concerned

I can most definitely attest to the fact that it has helped me to be much more active than I once was but I can’t help but to think, at what cost?
For now though, as new and weird side effects continue to pop up, causing me to become more of a freak of nature,
I won’t blame it on the Goose, blame it on the Vodka, blame it on the Henney or blame it on the ‘Tron.
I will look at my pill case and blame it on the Prednisone.
~Today is a Gift and it’s a Lupie Existence~

Falanya Curtis
A Lupie Existence

Thursday, January 10, 2013

There is no such thing as "I can't!"

Good afternoon loves! Today has been a great day thus far! After getting back in the gym last night for the FIRST time post-diagnosis (almost 3.5 years ago!!), I am ecstatic to say that I am sore! (in a good way of course!) I am just out of a hot bath to soak my muscles after coming home from a late morning workout (I use the term workout loosely as I walk the treadmill in  intervals bursting a faster speed walk and a steady but not fast past in between, and a little bit on the elliptical, as well as some stretching at the end as I seem to get very tight and spasm sometimes on the machines.

It is NOT easy, and I am far from being in good shape (Weight wise I am within a healthy range, which I attribute to my healthy eating and healthy lifestyle for the past 2-3 years)- I changed my eating habits and my lifestyle upon being diagnosed as i wanted to do everything possible and within my control to help and better myself despite Lupus. I am learning that I will NEVER be able to workout to the caliber I used to pre-Lupus- My body just will not allow it... But although I may have different limitations or modified workouts compared to other "healthy" 24-year-olds in the gym, My accomplishment comes in getting out of bed that morning, and fighting through the fatigue and pain and walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill, or 10-15 minutes on the elliptical.

Long story short, as I want to get to enjoy my iced coffee with vanilla soy milk (A post-workout treat!) There is no "I can't..." Just I can but with new modifications to fit my new and still fabulous lifestyle with Lupus!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Tis the Holiday Season... To be Thankful!

This holiday season ha flown by us and with New Year's Eve and New Years Day right around the corner- I am sure there are many of us that are feeling the fatigue and aches and pains of the holidays taking their toll on us! But this a year, aside from some fatigue (okay maybe a lot of fatigue-nothing that a few cat naps a day, some heating pads/heated blankets and a few 40-ounce coffees can't fix-right?- I hope LOL!) and minor aches and pains and a bum knee that is acting up- I am so thankful that I was able to spend the holidays with my friends and family by my side!

This year a lot of wonderful things have happened to me and that are hard to overlook- and despite having Lupus and my other collections of Autoimmune related illnesses nagging me, 2012 was a good year- and I am planning to have a GREAT 2013. This year I feel like I had a lot personal growth- and accomplishments for the first time despite my illness, or perhaps because of it( it does tend to motivate me to push myself to my limits and test what my body will allow me to do!) I graduated with my Masters, and got a job. Granted while it is part-time it is the first time I am able to work since being diagnosed with Lupus in 2009. I am hopeful that I will be able to hold the job and move forward in my career field of choice in the future.

And lastly- I'd like to thank all of you and wish you all a happy New Year and a great 2013! You all make CHRONICLYsILLy possible and without each and every one of you I would not have this fantastic site, my online Boutique/shop, or my fantastic facebook page that keeps me going each and every day! I hope to be able to share a lot more of your works, poetry, stories and artwork in the year to come so please keep it coming! I personally am a huge fan of poems and homemade videos that help others understand chronic illness, and help us grow as a community united to help spread awareness and shed a positive light on life with a chronic illness. So thank you all and I wish you all nothing but happiness and good health in the 2013 year to come! I am hopeful this is THE year for great things! Peace, Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Good afternoon Loves! I have a busy day today and am running off in a few ( i desperately need a nap or three, or perhaps a 40 ounce coffee but will have to suffice with my 24 ounce one I am currently downing and a short rest I snuck in this morning after breakfast!) I am blogging to you this afternoon to share a poem that was submitted by Nicole Schmelter- a friend from CHRONICLYsILLy's Facebook page! It is a beautiful poem and please feel free to comment on her poem and share how you can relate! She and I would love your feedback on how you relate to her written words! So without further adieu, I bring you Nicole's poem, "Life."

by: Nicole Schmelter

Life has taught me to expand my focus not narrow it

Life has taught me to grasp every good moment as it comes along

Life has taught me that the greatest moments come unexpectedly

Life has taught me the corporate ladder is not that important

Life has taught me your family is who you choose it to be not who
you’re born to

Life has taught me that worries only make things worse

Life has taught me that pain is just another feeling to endure 

Life has taught me that along with physical illness comes strength to
deal with it

Life has taught me karma can be misleading bad things or good things
can just happen

Life has taught me it’s up to me to decide how I will handle the bad

Life has taught me complaining only makes ME feel worse not better

Grasp each day and do what you can, what you can’t do will wait for
you until tomorrow

Take the time to take care of yourself; you are the only one who can do

Trust your inner instinct even if the news isn’t want you hope for

Concentrate on the good, even at the times when the bad is

Smile, everything you have read is true, you’ll feel better even if
for just a minute

Find time to laugh at least once per day, preferably many times

You are a role model to someone, even if you don’t realize it

Life has handed you challenges so you can teach others how to deal with

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Plum Blossom Foundation: Spreading Awareness

Good Afternoon loves! Today I am coming to you to share a very inspiring video that was sent to me via email from the founder of the Plum Blossom Foundation! Here, you can take a look as Ida (the founder and an SLE patient herself), allows us an inside look into the most private aspects of her daily life living with Lupus and how she has overcome a great deal in her battle. She shares how it has help her treasure each and every day she is given, and how it has driven her to start up the Plum Blossom Foundation and advocate for more awareness for Lupus as well. Here is a look into her life, through a very emotional and touching video that truly hits home for what each and every one of us Lupus Patients deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coffee Time and a Giggle!

It's coffee time here, (my first of the day actually- as I have been having a morning cat-nap the last few mornings and then having my coffee after!). And one of my favorite things to do is blog over a nice, oversized, ginormous cup of coffee! I have been having two cups (mind you my cups are of gigantic proportions- but nonetheless- it's still ONLY two cups a day-HA!) and enjoying them more and more each day! Trying new flavors and bold brews, dare I say it, coffee is almost a hobby for me LOL!

I also have a humorous share for you all this afternoon, as I have been slowly, but surely getting into the holiday spirit (it's about time huh? There are 18 days until Christmas-YIKES!). I have started my holiday shopping from the comfort of my home (Thank goodness for online shopping), and am still in "brain-storming" mode for some gift ideas- and need to get my butt in gear- but before I do- I want to share this humorous cartoon I found that a lot of my chronically ill friends will relate too! LOL Even though the posts refers to Santa's old age and aging, I know you will all get a good giggle out of it, as we have all had to say our own "No-No-No's" around the holiday season. I know how hard it can be  to turn down events and activities that we want to take part in- but listening to our bodies is always most important- Although I tend to over do it and push myself from time to time - as I know many of us do, especially this time of year so that we can enjoy a bit an indulge/spend quality time with our loved ones...I must be getting back to my freshly brewed java, so I wish you all a fantastic Thursday afternoon and evening, and  hope you are all getting into the holiday spirit and can enjoy it with loved ones by your side!

It's A Wonderful Life!

" Don't let a bad day, make you feel like you have a bad life."-Karen Salmansohn author and best seller at (her site has lots of inspirational bursts, quotes, posters etc. and I am always looking to her for inspirational guidance. This morning, this poster caught my eye and is something I felt we could all relate to. Sometimes having a bad day takes things out of perspective for many of us and leaves us feeling down and out, in the dumps and as if our "lives" are "over!" Which, rarely, is the case. So today, on this wintery Thursday here in the northeast, try to live by her wise words and "Don't let a bad day, make you feel like you have a bad life." Have a wonderful day loves and remember it is a wonderful life!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coffee Time!

It's coffee time around these neck of woods (my second of the day- even though it is like a 32 ounce mug LOL- it is still ONLY my second!) and I am having a relaxing day. Coffee time is almost like an afternoon ritual I look forward to, especially during the holiday season when I need that extra perk to get me through my days! Today for coffee time, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite quotes, or "Jolts-of-Java," as I refer to them here @ CHRONICLYsILLy! To offer you all an afternoon pick-me-up, just as my coffee offers me my afternoon pick-me-up each and every day! 

"The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don't think of retiring from the world, until the world will be sorry that you retire..." -an adaption from Robert Cushing & Samuel Johnson

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world, indeed, it is the only thng that ever has..." -Author Unknown

"90% of a coping with a Chronic Illness is mental, the other half is physical"-Yogi Berra 

"Flatter me, I may not believe you, Criticize me, I may not agree with you, Ignore me, and I may not rely on you, Encourage me, and I will not forget you." - Author Unknown

Hope you all have a lovely afternoon- ( I always forget that it may be morning, or evening in your neck of the woods depending on where you live- so forgive my time references throughout my posts!- just a side note I thought about as I typed "afternoon" LOL) - and enjoy the remainder of your day!