Known for her My Bizzy Kitchen blog, Velatini shares her tips for managing diabetes and eating healthy — the easy way.
When did you find out you were living with diabetes? How did it impact your daily life after diagnosis?
My dad was diabetic, so it was always in the back of my mind that I could get it one day. I was working at a law firm in Chicago, and they were doing a health fair. My boss hadn’t been to the doctor in over 20 years, so I told him we would do it together. Simply fast overnight, they would take some blood samples, and we would be good to go.
I was immediately called the next day and told to find a doctor. My blood sugar was in the 400 range, and I had no idea. I had recently started Weight Watchers and had attributed my weight loss to that, but I realized that rapid weight loss is one of the symptoms of an undiagnosed diabetic.
That was the wakeup call I needed, and over the next 15 months I went on to lose 70 pounds.
How do you manage your diabetes and keep track of your blood sugar levels?
I love my Freestyle Libre 2! I am a widow with grown children, and I live alone. I love that the Libre 2 alerts me if my blood sugar goes too high or too low — it syncs with my Apple Watch and my watch vibrates in the middle of the night on my wrist and wakes me up every time.
The best part is my Freestyle Libre 2 app is linked to my doctor’s office, so they have instant access to my readings when needed.
What motivated you to start sharing your story and recipes online? What are some of your favorite meals and recipes?
I wanted to share my stories and recipes online to show people that having diabetes is a manageable disease, and by being in control of it, it won’t control you. My recipes are simple and don’t require hours spent meal planning or cooking, but they include lean proteins, complex carbs, and I am trying to get better about eating veggies, but that’s a work in progress!
I am known for a pizza dough that I make with Greek yogurt so that the protein helps not spike my blood sugar as much as traditional pizza dough.
What are some common products and ingredients in your grocery list that you would recommend for other people living with diabetes?
Since I cook a lot from scratch, I don’t rely on many processed foods, but I always have corn tortillas, low carb flour tortillas, whole wheat pasta, no sugar added pasta sauce, and chicken sausage in my cart. I also always buy cut fruit, even though it’s more expensive because I am more likely to eat it! My go to fruits of choice are apples, blueberries, strawberries, and grapefruits.
Rotisserie chickens are great for meal prep. I’ll slice for sandwiches, and then pull the meat to make chicken fried rice, tacos, or soup.