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Diabetes Awareness Month: PCRM Debuts Healthy Native American Cooking Program

Food for Life Healty Native American Cooking Programnativ One in five Native Americans adults has diabetes. For Diabetes Awareness Month, PCRM is piloting the Healthy Native American Cooking Program to turn this trend around.

The program, taught in New Mexico and Arizona, emphasizes that food can prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. Native American teens are the fastest growing demographic group with type 2 diabetes. The classes also teach practical cooking skills for making healthy and delicious meals.

The program’s recipes are based on traditional Native American fare. One class focuses on the “Three Sisters,” and incorporates squash, corn, and beans into satisfying and healthful recipes. Another class demonstrates healthier recipes for popular dishes, such as fry bread, Indian tacos, and breakfast blue corn posole. Chefs Lois Ellen Frank and Walter Whitewater are making their Native American ancestors proud.

“Research shows type 2 diabetes can be controlled and its progression reversed with a varied and balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes,” says Caroline Trapp, M.S.N., C.D.E., PCRM director of diabetes education and care. “This new approach turns out to be centuries old. There are no calorie limits or portion control. And the benefits go beyond diabetes—weight loss, more energy, and, for many, less medication. It has been gratifying to see people benefit after just a few weeks of classes.

The program, based on meals created from foods on the Power Plate, was designed by physicians, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and local professional chefs. It is based on population studies and clinical research that show that a low-fat plant-based diet is effective at improving blood glucose levels, promoting weight loss, reducing cholesterol, and lowering the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. While enjoying delicious foods, participants explore a modern approach to ancestral foods that may put them in control of their diabetes.

On Nov. 19 in Broward County, Fla., PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., will present his three-rule system for taking control of diabetes through a vegan diet, a diet low in fat, and consuming foods with a low glycemic index. He’ll also sign copies of Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. The event is at 1 p.m. at the North Regional/Broward County Library, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek, FL 33066. This program has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for 1 CPEU.

To learn more about Food for Life Diabetes Nutrition and Cooking Classes, visit


PCRM Online, November 2010

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