Recently, I have become interested in diabetes and the effects this can have on a person but also when this comes to the little things that we all take for granted such as food.
Anthony Worrall Thompson suffers from Type 2 Diabetes and he has just written a cookery book for those living with the condition so that they can still enjoy their favourite meals without cause for concern. “I was diagnosed as being in a pre-diabetic state in 2003. I was fat, unfit and smoked. I thought my food life was over and, looking at all the diabetic cookbooks back then, it was. They were pants.”
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to deal with the glucose that is built up in the body, this can reach a dangerous, sometimes lethal, state and diet is one way it can be controlled. We obtain glucose from the foods that we eat, and a hormone called insulin usually helps glucose to enter the cells, where it can be used as fuel by the body. After a meal, the blood-glucose level rises and insulin is released into the blood. Without insulin, the level of blood-glucose in the body rises and can cause symptoms ranging from increased thirst and going to the toilet all the time – especially at night – to extreme tiredness, weight loss, blurred vision and even unconsciousness.
Food for those with the condition has been previously thought of as staid and simplistic with a lack of interesting sugary items and with the emphasis on those uninspiring food products such as mung beans and chickpeas. (I love both of these things!) But this new book, by the TV chef who looks like the offspring of Henry VIII and a bear, is a glossy and smart affair. Full of recipes that look like something you would want to eat and with excellent personal advice. The recipes include Chinese and Mexican cuisines amongst many others and especially curries which Anthony Worrall Thompson admitted were one of the first things he missed.
“Most Far Eastern dishes are fine for someone with diabetes. Diabetics do miss Indian curry because classic ones contain a lot of ghee. I’ve added more pulses and removed the heavy fats. My main criteria for the book were that first it must have good food, and second that it should be healthy.”
Diabetes is a major health issue today. There are more than 2.6 million people in the UK with diabetes, and a further 500,000 estimated to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes (this usually develops in people aged over 40, and is linked with obesity).
The Essential Diabetes Cookbook: Good Healthy Eating from Around the World in Association with Diabetes UK by Anthony Worrall Thompson – RRP £20 – Currently £12.28 from Amazon
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