21 April 2012

Frozen Yogurt: A Diabetes Dream!

For the last few years, on the other side of the Atlantic "frozen yogurt" has esculated in popularity, thanks to Hollywood's championing of it as a 'healthy' ice-cream alternative. However, it has yet to take Britain by storm and, after having had my first 'fro-yo' experience a couple of weeks ago, I have just one question: "Why not?!"

My older sister is currently studying for a year at the University of Mississippi as part of her degree, ('Ole Miss' - any fans of 'The Blind Side' will know what I'm talking about!) and this Easter Mum, Dad and I went out for a week to visit her. Ever since she'd told me about the "Ya Ya's Frozen Yogurt" shop in the Univeristy Town, Oxford, (which is literally like stepping through a time portal) it had been on the top of my "to-do" list when we got there; mainly due to it seeming like such an 'American thing' to do, along with drinking a Starbucks iced latte and going to a baseball game!   

So the day before our trip ended, (after having nearly fallen to sleep during the baseball game!) we went into Oxford to Ya Ya's. It was AMAZING! The average serving only contained about 10g carb, which shocked me, and is also made with fat-free yogurt for those 'health-conscious' celebs in Hollywood. The flavours range from Tirimisu, Peanut Butter and Birthday Cake, to fruit ones such as Mango, Watermelon and Apple Pie! And then there's the toppings. I didn't try the more chocolatey ones and the sauces, but they had a huge selection of fresh fruit, including my favourite: Strawberries! I had as my flavours tirimisu, cheesecake and a tiny bit of peanut butter, with fresh fruit and nuts - 15g bolus and my blood sugar was 7 about 2 hours later! And the great thing about it is that you don't get that sickly feeling that sometimes comes from eating ice-cream. It is so refreshing and the perfect snack, and much better for BG control too; ice cream can often send mine high.

The 'Frozen Yogurt Bar'; think Pizza Hut ice-cream machine!

Our frozen yogurt experience was a bit of an epiphany, with my Dad forming in his head a 'global' empire of frozen yogurt, (I suggested we go on 'The Apprentice' for Lord Sugar's £250,000 business investment....) and making my own realisation that there was an alternative snack to fruit that Mr Diabetes wasn't going to throw a tantrum over. Since we've come back my mum's had a go at making forzen yogurt, and it really is the simplest thing to make: non-fat greek yogurt, condensed milk for sweetener and then the fruit/flavour of your choice; we had rasberries, which we blended first. It was delicious and perfect after a filling dinner. It is now going to be my summer staple snack, and I've already made a list of 'to-try' flavours, including green tea and pumpkin! 

There are many benefits to living as a type 1 diabetic in the UK, most obviously not having the financial pressure of equipment. We've only really had that when I've needed strips, so have gone to Boots only to stare with abject horror at the £35 price tag for one box of 50 (that will only last me a week). It does make me appreciate just how lucky I am, that everything I have is paid for (including my insulin pump). The only thing I may potentially have to pay for in the future is the CGM, which costs £60 per sensor, due to a shortage of supply, and even then it is not like it is an essential piece of equipment.
However, in the US there is one great advantage being a Type 1. Everything in stores is labelled clearly with carb/sugar for each portion, whereas in the UK i've had to become an expert at trying to convert things from 'per 100g'. But also in the US, there's great food available for diabetics. Whilst bolus is calculated on carbs, not sugar, things that have a reduced sugar content means that your blood sugar doesn't 'spike' so quickly after eating (my body isn't great at absorbing insulin quickly, so it's not good for me to eat things with a very high sugar content). So we bought some 'sugar free' oreos (continuing the 'US' experience!) which have been great as snacks in terms of maintaining BG balance.

One of the things I hate is seeing my BG rise, as highs for me are always the most horrible feeling;  'breaking the rules' when it comes to eating really isn't worth it, as the after-effect is much worse than the positives before (we've all had that moment when a slice of icing-coated chocolate fudge cake has been too hard to resisit!); for me even a simple snack-bar can send my BG sky-high.  In the US though, there are 'diabetes-friendly' alternatives for nearly everything, that isn't tthe british concept of 'diabetic chocolate' which is disgusting and just as anti-blood sugar as real chocolate!Frozen  Yogurt, therefore, is for me a diabetic's dream. It is absolutely delicious and more fun than ice-cream, in terms of flavours and all the amazing toppings! But it's also healthy, low in sugar - BG friendly and not so filling therefore great for an afternoon snack. I really hope frozen yogurt finds its way across the Ocean to the UK, and if not you might just see a certain seventeen-year-old on next year's Apprentice UK, going on about a 'new, amazing business concept'...!



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