According to the American Diabetes Association,?African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes.?Some 3.7 million, or 14.7 percent of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes. It is because of this reason that renowned chef and author Angela Shelf Medearis decided to write The Kitchen Diva?s Diabetic Cookbook: 125 Healthy Delicious Recipes for Diabetics and Those Who Dine with Them.??
Medearis?is not the first to write a book of recipes for African Americans with diabetes. There have been others, such as The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes by Fabiola Demps Gaines and?Roniece Weaver and Patti Labelle’s Lite Cuisine.??
“The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook is the perfect guide for folks who have a family like mine. The Kitchen Diva?s Diabetic Cookbook was created because my husband, Michael, my mother, father, my youngest sister and many of my other family members and friends are diabetics. This is a user-friendly cookbook that addresses the health and dietary needs of Pre-Diabetics, juvenile diabetics, Type I and Type II diabetics, women with gestational diabetes related to pregnancy, those with diabetic-related complications, or anyone seeking to embrace a healthier diet and lifestyle,” explains?Medearis.??
Diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, and certain populations experience an even greater threat. A good diet is part of good diabetes management. And, says Medearis, the menu does not have to be bland. “I’m known for creating and using flavorful blends of spices to replace fats and reduce the amount of oil in my recipes, while creating dishes that reflect the soulful tastes of American comfort foods and ethnic foods that we all love,” she says. “The Kitchen Diva?s Diabetic Cookbook is full of healthy, flavorful recipes; and there is a nutritional breakdown after each recipe. The information in this cookbook is designed to be inspirational to anyone with diabetes and those who love and dine with them.?I also wanted to create a new collection of recipes based on comfort foods, but ones that incorporated healthy ingredients, spices and cooking techniques designed to keep a diabetic?s insulin levels in balance. A detailed nutritional and caloric analysis of each recipe was provided by Jackie Mills, MS, RD to ensure that every recipe meets the requirements set by the Diabetes Association.”??
The cookbook has 150 recipes, which, says Medearis, are budget-friendly. “These recipes are specifically designed to meet the dietary needs of diabetics (and those who dine with them) by providing low-sugar, low-sodium, lower carbohydrates and highly flavorful ingredients while retaining the hearty, satisfying flavors and textures of traditional, cultural dishes and comfort foods,” she points out.” There are also recipes in each chapter that will appeal to families while meeting the nutritional needs of children with diabetes.?Fun, kid-friendly recipes such as Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars, Barbeque Burgers, After School Berry Smoothies, Crunchy Fish Sticks, and No Bake Cookies for meals and celebrations that will appeal to young and old alike.”??
When cooking for someone with diabetes there are several things to keep in mind, says Medearis. “Three tips I’d give to someone who cooks for a diabetic are: 1)?Plan a healthy meal that you also enjoy; 2) Use sugar substitutes like Stevia or agave syrup whenever possible; and 3) Use the spice blends I’ve suggested in the cookbook to maximize the flavors and boost the nutrient benefits of the dish,” she says. Bon appetit.