(Family Features) For the more than 25 million Americans living with diabetes, food choices are critical to maintaining their health.
Chef Sam Talbot, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old, understands those challenges. But with his new cookbook he proves that diabetics don't have to sacrifice flavor in order to follow a healthy eating plan.
Talbot earned national recognition as the runner-up in Season 2 of Bravo's hit TV show "Top Chef." In his new book, "The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries," he shares how diabetes has affected - but has not compromised - his life and career, and offers 75 fresh, all-natural recipes that can be enjoyed by both diabetics and non-diabetics.
Cooking to Manage Diabetes
Doctors recommend that people with diabetes follow a healthy, well balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and carbohydrates that rank lower on the glycemic index (GI).
"Pears are one of my favorite fruits to use in recipes," says Talbot. "They are a low GI fruit, they're high in fiber, and the flavor of a ripe pear is just out of this world. They are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes in all types of world cuisines. They can be part of any meal of the day."
The two recipes here are from Talbot's book, and showcase the fresh, sweet flavor of pears. For more information, visit www.SamTalbot.com, and for additional pear recipes visit www.usapears.org.
- One medium pear provides 24 percent of your day's fiber, and 10 percent of your day's vitamin C - for only 100 calories.
- There are ten different varieties of USA Pears, each with its own color, flavor and texture.
- More than 80 percent of the fresh pears grown in the U.S. are from the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon. USA Pears are in season from early fall through early summer.
The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) rates carbohydrates on a scale of 1 to 100 based on how rapidly a food item raises blood sugar levels after eating. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index are digested rapidly, which produces marked fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested slowly and raise blood sugar and insulin levels gradually.
Source: University of Sydney Glycemic Index Group, Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular Biosciences.
Check the Neck for Ripeness
Ripeness is the key to enjoying pears at their sweetest and juiciest. To judge a pear's ripeness, USA Pear growers advise you to "check the neck." Press the neck, or stem end, of the pear. If it yields to gentle pressure, it's ripe, sweet and juicy. If it feels firm, simply leave the pear at room temperature to ripen within a few days. Don't refrigerate your pears unless you want to slow their ripening.
Sam Talbot's "The Sweet Life" is available on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, and at book stores nationwide.
Recipes excerpted from the book, "The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries," by Sam Talbot. Published by Rodale. Copyright (c) 2011.