Reversing Diabetes Cookbook : More Than 200 Delicious, Healthy Recipes
By Julian M. Whitaker, M.D., Peggy Dace
Here is some basic information about the ingredients used in this cookbook. You should be able to find almost everything in your grocery store; the few exceptions are available in most health food stores or they can also be ordered.
You probably already have most everything you'll need in your kitchen: good knives, a cutting board, wooden spoons, a wire whisk, measuring cups and spoons, and assorted baking dishes and saucepans. One inexpensive kitchen gadget we do recommend is a garlic press. You will also need nonstick skillets to cut down on the amount of fat you need to saute vegetables and other foods. Several recipes require a blender or food processor, and a few call for a microwave. You can do without the microwave-we don't use it for much except heating things and steaming vegetables. If you have an outdoor grill and/ or a George Foreman grill, you'll find yourself using it often, but it isn't a necessity.
You'll see extra-virgin olive oil in a lot of our recipes. Olive oil (make sure it's extra-virgin) is a heart-healthy monounsaturated oil. It can tolerate moderate heat, but don't heat it over high heat. Other good monounsaturated oils, which are especially nice when you don't want (he strong flavor of olive oil, include hazelnut, almond, avocado, and, when you want an Asian flavor, sesame oil. (We're not crazy about canola because it is highly processed.) You'll also use a lot of olive oil spray to coat skillets and baking pans. You may want to purchase an oil mister and fill it with olive, almond, or avocado oil.
Expeller-pressed, minimally processed polyunsaturated oils, such as those from grape seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts, have health benefits, but they are not appropriate for cooking. Polyunsaturated oils are very fragile and break down into free radicals and other undesirable by-products when heated. Use them in salad dressings, if desired, or add them after dishes are cooked. You'll find expeller-pressed mono-and polyunsaturated oils in your health food store. Buy brands that are packed in dark bottles, and store them in the refrigerator. Our favorite brand is Omega Nutrition.
A few of our recipes call for butter, and organic is preferable. We do not recommend margarines, for almost all of them contain at least some partially hydrogenated oils. If you feel the need for a bread spread use butter or mix equal parts of butter and olive oil.
A little sugar of any kind isn't going to hurt anyone, but everyone and especially diabetics need to be smart about sweeteners. In addition to honey (which we use in only one recipe), here are the healthy sweeteners we use in this book. (If you can't find these in your health food store, see "Resources" for ordering information.)
Xylitol: Extracted from birch trees and corncobs, xylitol looks and tastes similar to white sugar (it's lighter and fluffier). This makes it an ideal substitute for sugar in baking and other recipes. Although xylitol is not calorie-free, it is very slowly metabolized and has a very low glycemic index. It's a little pricey but you're not going to be using too much of it.
Stevia: An herbal sweetener from Stevia rebaudiana, a plant native to South America, stevia comes in both unrefined extracts and refined, concentrated liquids and powders. Our favorite for cooking is the refined dear liquid extract. The powder is acceptable, but it's easier to squeeze a few drops out of an eyedropper or bottle than to measure the powdered extract. Be careful when you use stevia-it is 200 to 250 times sweeter than sugar, and if you use too much, it has a rather strong aftertaste. If you've tried stevia and didn't like it, try using less, or experiment with another brand, for some have more of an aftertaste than others.
Brown Rice Syrup: Thick and syrupy, brown rice syrup has a stronger taste than honey. It is very slowly metabolized, so it causes no dramatic rises in blood sugar. Brown rice syrup makes a nice topping for French toast, pancakes, and hot cereal. It may also be used in recipes that call for honey.
We do not recommend the artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutra-sweet and Equal) for it is metabolized into several toxic by-products and has been linked to headaches, seizures, mood disorders, vision problems, and brain tumors. Nor can we recommend other artificial sweeteners-there just isn't enough research to prove their safety. We also recommend staying away from fructose as an added sweetener, especially in the form of high-fructose com syrup. Even though it has a very low glycemic index and doesn't affect blood sugar much, excessive amounts raise fatty acid and triglyceride levels and interfere with insulin sensitivity. Excesses also contribute to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, which plague many diabetics.
Salt and Salt Substitutes
Many people who have diabetes also have hypertension because insulin resistance is an underlying factor in both conditions. Even if your blood pressure is in the normal range, we suggest that you monitor your sodium intake-and not just for the sake of your blood pressure. High intake of sodium is also associated with increased risk of osteoporosis (it leaches calcium out of the bones), ulcers, and stomach cancer.
Since sodium is ubiquitous in even minimally processed foods such as canned tomatoes and beans, always shop for low-sodium varieties. Soup stock or broth is another high-sodium item we use often in these recipes, so you'll need to find low-sodium brands.
We do call for a little salt or seasoned salt in many recipes, and we always give the option of salt substitute. Nu-Salt (potassium chloride) contains no sodium and 528 milligrams of potassium per 1/8 teaspoon. Although some people find that it has a slightly metallic taste, for most it is a fine substitute for salt. Another option is Cardia Salt, which is a combination of sodium (135 mg per 1/8 teaspoon), potassium (90 mg), and a little magnesium and 1-lysine. Seasoned salt like Lowry's provides more flavor with less sodium. Try our Low-Sodium Seasoned Salt - we think it's quite good.
Go as low as you can, but don't fret about every milligram of sodium, for it is balanced by the large amounts of potassium you'll be getting in all the plant foods you eat on this diet.