A Cookbook for Everyone

The American Diabetes Association has published a series of excellent cookbooks, and Amy Riolo’s newest, the 2nd edition of The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, is a worthy addition. As anyone who has used the Association’s cookbooks will attest, their books have crossover appeal and can be used on an everyday basis by diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

Riolo writes, “This book was created to help people with diabetes make healthful eating and lifestyle decisions that will bring pleasure to their own lives as well as the lives of their family members.”

Unlike short term diets, most of them designed for quick weight loss, the broad based Mediterranean diet is about adopting a life-long pattern of healthy eating.  The basic format replicates the traditional diet of people living in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. 

The base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid-the foods that should be the cornerstone of every meal- includes fruits, vegetables, grains (mostly whole), olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds, herbs, and spices. Moving up from the base, fish and seafood should be eaten two or more times a week. Moderate portions of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt can be eaten daily or weekly, while meats and sweets are to be eaten less often and in smaller quantities.

In general, the regimen that works for diabetics also works-with a tweak or two- for a large segment of the population. We, as a society, seem to have forgotten the meaning of the word “portion,” Weight gain-a major trigger for diabetes- is epidemic, and, according to current estimates, as many as one in three Americans could be diabetic by the year 2050.

We all need to pay attention to what we’re eating, and Amy Riolo’s newest book points us in the right direction.  Her recipes are easy to follow, and the ingredients, for the most part, are readily available.

Basmati Rice with Raisins and Almonds 

Serves: 6  Serving size: 1/3 cup

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained.

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon turmeric

I tsp organic Ceylon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained

1/4 cup blanched almonds, slivered

  1. Combine olive oil, boiling water, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger over high heat. Cook uncovered until all of the water is absorbed.
  2. Stir in the raisins, lower the heat to the lowest level possible, and cover tightly. Cook for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Place a small skillet over medium heat and add almonds. Toast for 5-10 minutes or until they start to turn golden and release their aroma.
  4. Stir almonds into rice and keep covered until serving. Season with salt to taste (if desired).

Choices/exchanges 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1 Fat

Calories 200, Calories from fat 50, Total Fat 6.0g, Saturated Fat 0.7 g, Trans Fat o.0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium. 0 mg, Potassium 180 mg, Total Carbohydrate 34 g, Dietary Fiber 3g, sugars, 8g, Protein 4 g, Phosphorus 120 mg

The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd edition, 2019 by Amy Riolo. Published by The American Diabetes Association, $22.95.

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