After my stepfather was diagnosed as prediabetic 20 years ago my mom followed the doctor's orders to prepare meals that kept to strict no-sugar, no-fat guidelines. Shortly thereafter he told me he hated his new diet that also had no-flavor.
Thankfully I am neither diabetic nor prediabetic, but if I were I'd quickly turn to certified authorities for the best advice on what lifestyle changes could keep me from either becoming diabetic, or help me to manage my diabetes. I'd turn to world-renowned Mayo Clinic and its new "Diabetes Diet" ($25.99).
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When you open the book you'll find the strongest recommendation: "Lose It." It's not an order; it's a how-to with Mayo's staff knowledgeably guiding you through steady weight loss over 14 days. Here they share three great concepts: add five good habits (like, eat a healthy breakfast); break five bad habits (no television while eating); adopt five bonus habits (keep food and activity records).
With new habits in place, bad habits in check and healthy weight loss to be proud of, Mayo moves you into "Live it." In this section you'll continue losing weight using what you learned and now add ways to build this into a lifestyle. You'll learn how to set dietary goals, eat using Mayo's version of the food pyramid and how to burn calories by elevating activity levels.
You'll also find out how to determine a healthy weight, understand nutrients, energy and calories, and discover how to eat the right foods in the right amounts at the right times. You'll learn how to change behaviors in positive ways (keeping a food diary and sticking to your meal schedule), how to reduce stress (examine your stressors and learn to relax), how to stay motivated (recognize success and create a support team).
You'll discover what to do if you slip up (don't let negative thoughts take over), as well as how to ford the difficult rivers of mealtimes (intentionally planning for leftovers, shopping the store's perimeter for fresh foods and enlist others at home to plan menus) and dining out (selecting the right appetizer and using clear soups to fill up before the entree).
The final three chapters shares numerous strategies for weight-loss obstacles; a 25-page guide to serving sizes, including mixed foods (like breaded and fried shrimp) with blue stars indicating best choices; and finally a dozen recipes to get you started.
The professionals at Mayo teach you how to reformulate your own recipes to make them work for a diabetic diet. If you find yourself craving more diabetes-friendly recipes to add to your eating plan, head to mayoclinic.com where you'll find hundreds of recipes with complete nutrition information and diabetes meal plan exchanges.
"Diabetes Diet" overflows with information that, if utilized, will quite literally change your life. It wasn't around in time to help my family, but it can help you and yours.
Try this recipe: Here's one of the dozen recipes from "The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet" that everyone can enjoy.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.