As the holiday season demands the attention of caregivers and their loved ones, it’s important for everyone to maintain focus on dietary balance. After all, cold weather invites a desire for comfort and convenience, which isn’t always conducive to healthy eating. November is National Diabetes Month, and traditional holiday recipes can certainly spark conversations about how to manage, improve and even enjoy a diet that requires long-term adherence. Below are some quotes from well-known chefs currently living with diabetes and their tips for staying on track.
“Unfortunately, nothing can replace a good plate of pasta, but motivation comes from results, and results mean a lot. For me, the result has been losing weight and feeling much better. You have to be so determined, but at the same time, you can’t be a prisoner within your own skin. You have to indulge sometimes, you can’t suppress that.
“It’s important to get out of the box from time to time—and enjoy it. It’s like when you go to a party and you let your hair down. That’s fine, but when you see how you feel the day after, maybe next time you’ll let your hair down, but not quite as much.” – Chef Giancarlo Caldesi
“So this is Chef Robert talking because I’m not a doctor or dietician or certified educator—though I have had so many conversations with professionals in health over the years. The reality is, and what I like to use as my standard, is sharing what works great for me, in the hopes it’s the best way to help people. I like to look at it as a ‘lifestyle way of eating.’ I’m not into fad diets or trends, but rather adopting ways of eating that are manageable to maintain over a long period of time and work with your lifestyle. I’m all about higher fiber, less carbs, less sodium, lots of high flavor and balanced eating. Generally, of course, that means balanced foods with more vegetables, less processed foods, less on the simple carbs, but not a ‘diet.’ I don’t like that word because it means you’re sacrificing something—giving up something you like.” – Chef Robert Lewis
“When I say there’s no food that’s off limits, there really isn’t. You just have to have that desire to go out and find alternatives. The list of things that you can find alternatives to is long; it goes from sugar to fat to refined flours to sodium. Whatever it is you’re talking about, there’s an alternative out there for it. It’s really cool when you start to get into these products and learn just how accessible they are to everyone, anywhere, who has access to a computer.” – Chef Sam Talbot
“The research is clear. The more plants you eat, the better your health outcomes. This is from a statistics point of view. There will always be outliers. We all know that smoking is bad for you, but there are people like my grandfather who smoked several packs a day and lived until he was in his mid 80s. Specifically, what I saw with myself is my energy improved, my skin stayed healthy and I’ve barely started to get gray hair and I’m 47 years old. I’ve helped people reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity by showing them how to eat a healthy, plant-based diet. The big drawback I see is that it’s easier than ever to go vegan now, but it’s hard to stay on a healthy path because there are so many vegan junk food options available. You still need to eat a primarily whole-foods plant-based diet.” – Chef Jason Wyrick