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Celebrity Chefs and New Classes Teach Plant-Based Diabetes Prevention

The new season of the TV show Top Chef just started and it’s packed with celebrity chefs. In the show’s challenges, chefs typically create high-fat, cholesterol-laden meals—like the ones that have contributed to America’s diabetes epidemic. But last month, PCRM presented its own challenge to celebrity chefs: Prepare delicious, plant-based meals that can prevent diabetes.

During the “Celebrity Chefs Cook Vegan and So Can You” continuing education program at the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ (AADE) Annual Meeting, diabetes educators learned how to inspire their patients to cook and eat more healthfully.

Toni Fiore

More than 600 diabetes educators attended the program that brought together four celebrity chefs. Toni Fiore, host of PBS’s Totally Vegetarian, and Rip Esselstyn, firefighter and author of The Engine 2 Diet, were among the chefs who prepared low-fat vegan cuisine. The event also featured presentations on the science and practical aspects of plant-based nutrition for type 2 diabetes.

“Research shows type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed with a healthy plant-based diet,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., a PCRM nutritionist. “A vegan diet can help people with diabetes control blood sugar more effectively than the standard diabetes dietary regimen.”

For diabetes educators who could not attend the program—and for those who did but want to learn more—on Sept. 9, PCRM launches the Diabetes Educators’ Forum conference calls. This program gives diabetes educators the opportunity to discuss issues related to plant-based nutrition for diabetes. Each call features a 15-minute interview or a presentation by an expert in nutrition, followed by a 15-minute Q-and-A session. The forum takes place on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m. ET.

And in a new series of free cooking classes, people with type 2 diabetes can learn many of the same things PCRM is teaching diabetes educators: how to prepare low-fat, plant-based meals that can help cut down on complications from the disease and reduce or eliminate the need for medications.

PCRM’s Food for Life Diabetes Nutrition and Cooking Classes teach participants how food choices can prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and arm them with practical cooking skills for making healthy and delicious meals.

The classes, designed by physicians, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and professional chefs, offer an easy-to-follow dietary approach based on scientific research. Population studies and clinical research 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.

Instructors will cover important diabetes-nutrition topics and guide students through the preparation of tasty and easy-to-prepare recipes. Participants will also watch a 30-minute DVD featuring PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., and inspiring interviews with people who reversed their diabetes with a vegan diet.

Diabetes educators can register for the Diabetes Educators’ Forum, and the general public can register for Food for Life Diabetes Nutrition and Cooking Classes through PCRM’s Food for Life Resources for Diabetes page.

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

PCRM Online, September 2009
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