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Marilyn's Diabetic Book Review
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Spring Book Reviews

It's April, do you know where your New Year's resolution is? Did you even make a New Year's resolution? If so, how is it coming along?

If you're like most people, you made a New Year's resolution, but by February you probably found yourself losing steam. Setting goals is fun, but achieving them is even better. Don't give up - help is on the way. And with a few good books to help you reset your compass, you'll be right back on track with your 2004 resolutions.

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If exercise is your biggest hang-up, then you can take a big step in the right direction with ADA's SMALL STEPS, BIG REWARDS, WALKING YOUR WAY TO BETTER HEALTH. No matter what your fitness level, age, or physical condition, you can improve your circulation, lower your blood sugar, burn fat and even lose weight by walking. The easy-to-read format of this little book is full of helpful advice and tips, including:

  • The best time to walk to burn off fat and calories
  • Stretching and strengthening techniques
  • Motivation to get you moving
  • Best foods to fuel your body
  • Expert advice on maximizing your results

There are big rewards in regular exercise for anyone who has diabetes. Regular exercise will help you to lose weight, reduce stress, lower your blood sugar, improve circulation, boost your memory, and re-energize your mind -- not to mention the bigger picture of helping to prevent heart attack/strokes, lowering your cancer risk and diabetes-related complications.

The bonus in the Small Steps, Big Rewards walking kit is the inclusion of a high quality pedometer which will count every step you take. Wear it for a few days to see how far you normally walk and then gradually increase your daily step count -- at your own pace! Turn every step you take into a do-your-mind-and-body-good walk, whether heading to the mailbox, a meeting, the garden or even the mall.

Conclusion: Highly recommended to jump-start or re-energize your exercise program. See sample chapters and/or order for only $13.97.


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Having professionally reviewed hundreds of books on diabetes for both online and print publications, I was happy to find one that was "just right" for all needs in THE EVERYTHING DIABETES BOOK, 2004 by Adams Media. Author Paula Ford-Martin with Ian Blumer, M.D., effectively pair their collective writing and medical expertise to serve the needs of all readers, from the newly diagnosed to parents and caregivers of those with all types and levels of diabetes.

I especially appreciated the FAQ, easy-to-read format of the book, which allows the reader to access specific information on an as-needed basis. In The Everything Diabetes Book you'll find:

  • In depth information on Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes
  • 22 chapters covering treatment, diet, lifestyle issues, complications, coping and more
  • Special chapters on diabetes in men, diabetes in women, and diabetes in childhood
  • Three appendices with internet resources, conversion charts, and preventive care

Diabetes is a family disease and in the simplest terms, this is the single best resource I've reviewed for meeting the needs of anyone or everyone who must deal with the complex issues presented by a diagnosis of diabetes. I have a brother who was just diagnosed with adult-onset, type 2 diabetes, and if I could choose just ONE book as a road map to help him through the complexities of understanding diabetes, The Everything Diabetes Book would be just what I would pick.

Conclusion: Highly recommended! For more information on The Everything Diabetes Book, the authors, contact information, or quantity discounts for bulk purchases, visit the book website at http://www.everythingdiabetes.com. See sample chapters and/or order from Amazon.com for only $10.47.


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Caring for your emotions is just as important as caring for your physical health. According to a recently released study, researchers state that depressive symptoms appear to be predictive of the development of type 2 diabetes (Diabetes Care 2004;27:429-435). Researchers found that more than 11,000 individuals, subjects in the highest quartile of depressive symptoms, had a 63% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those in the lowest quartile (relative hazard 1.63).

These new findings further support the importance of taking care of the emotional side of living with your diabetes after the diagnosis. DIABETES, CARING FOR YOUR EMOTIONS AS WELL AS YOUR HEALTH, Revised Edition, by Jerry Edelwich and Archi Brodsky, is a great tool and reference guide to help you get started.

Authors Edelwich and Brodsky are right on point with helping you to understand how emotions can strongly influence your diabetes control. Doctors just don't have time to discuss all the vital information about the emotional side of living with diabetes, and that's where this book begins.

From adjusting to the initial diagnosis to making decisions about diet, exercise, types of medication, and new technologies, the authors take you through the twists and turns of facing the uncertainty surrounding complications and how diabetes can affect your marriage, family, sex and career choices. Especially helpful is the "further reading" resources at the end of each chapter. One only has to glance through the table of contents to realize how extensively the authors have covered just about every area of life touched by a diagnosis of diabetes.

Conclusion: Great anecdotal examples in the form of "true life" stories bring Diabetes, Caring For Your Emotions As Well As You Health, 1998, home to roost. Good resource for your bookshelf and especially recommended reading for physicians and health care practitioners who care for patients with diabetes. See sample chapters and/or order for only $15.00.


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Back in 1999, a handy little book titled FOOD FOLKLORE, TALES AND TRUTHS ABOUT WHAT WE EAT, was published by Chronimed Publishing (currently available through John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). It was written for The American Dietetic Association by Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, CFCS. Five years later, we're still embroiled in the heat of controversy over some of the same topics covered in this book: Do carbohydrates cause weight gain? Are honey and raw sugar more nutritious and lower in calories than refined sugar? Do you need to avoid any food or recipe with more than 30-percent of calories from fat? Is sea salt healthier than table salt? Is a vegetarian diet always low in fat and calories?

According to author Duyff, "As long as people want quick and easy solutions to health concerns, food folklore will continue to be a part of our culture." But what are the facts and what are the tall tales and how do you tell the difference? An easy checklist can be found in Duyff's "10 Signs of 'Junk Science'," which is included in the book's introduction.

"Food folklore has been part of history for all time," continues Duyff, "Each era and each culture has discarded some foodlore, kept some, and introduced their own. Some foodlore eventually has been proven helpful, and as science has emerged, has become part of sound nutrition advice."

In this fun and informative book, Roberta Larson Duyff and The American Dietetic Association reveal which commonly-held beliefs about food can be supported by science and which are just myths. Before you accept the "latest" health or nutrition advice, make sure the advice is backed by science, not simply the next generation of foodlore. Food Folklore will help you to see the difference between a food tale and the truth.

Conclusion: Recommended reading. See sample chapters and/or order for only $8.95.


No column would be complete without at least one or two new books from my favorite part of the shelf, and anyone who reads this column regularly knows that means a cookbook review. I firmly believe that good nutrition is the medicine of the future, and it's really important that what you eat tastes good.

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Are you a vegetarian who counts carbs and happens to care for someone with diabetes? Are you looking for a terrific source of simple recipes with dozens of healthy menus? Looking for kid-friendly choices, too? You'll find them all in Nava Atlas's THE VEGETARIAN 5-INGREDIENT GOURMET.

Anyone who is a regular visitor to the Cinnamon Hearts website will know that Nava Atlas is my favorite vegetarian cookbook author. Her recipes are so naturally healthy, we've frequently highlighted her menus in feature articles over the past eight years!

In today's fast-paced living, Atlas pares meal prep down to the essentials, using just a few high-quality ingredients in each delicious dish. Focusing on whole foods and fresh produce (with a little help from convenient natural sauces and condiments), she serves up a varied range of choices for everyday fare. More than 250 recipes fill this delightful cookbook with soups, salads, and pastas; grain, bean and soy entrees; wraps, sandwich fillings, simple sides and fruit-filled finales.

Stocked with ingenious shortcuts and sprinkled with kitchen wisdom and tips throughout, Nava Atlas makes it simple for busy families or active singles to eat the kind of high-nutrient foods everyone longs to enjoy. Although the diabetic exchanges are not included with each nutritional analysis, calories, fat, carbohydrate, cholesterol, sodium and protein content per serving are available with each recipe.

Conclusion: Whether you're a vegetarian hungry for new choices or just want to sample a healthier way of eating, The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet is a real winner all the way around the table. Highly recommended! See sample chapters and/or order for only $11.17.


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If you like to cook it easy and get it to the table fast, you'll just love DIABETES SNACKS, TREATS & EASY EATS, by Barbara Grunes with Linda R. Yoakam, RD, MS.

This brand new, hot-off-the-press 2004 release features 130 recipes you'll make again and again. Barbara Grunes, author of over 40 cookbooks (many of which are in my personal collection), has written another winner. Grunes is no stranger to diabetes as her husband, Jerry, has Type 1 diabetes. She stresses the importance of having some "safe and ready" snacks available when he comes home from work, tired, hungry and looking forward to dinner.

Diabetes Snacks, Treats & Easy Eats focuses on the consumption of good, wholesome foods, and not just "making junk food less junky." All the dishes in this cookbook are really easy to make and most take less than 20 minutes to prepare. Cooking level is easy to moderate and all recipes, with clear identification of those low in fat, carbohydrates and sodium, are created especially for people with diabetes.

Conclusion: You'll love this quick and easy cookbook, complete with nutritional analyses and Exchanges; another great find published by Surrey Books, Inc. Very highly recommended. See sample chapters and/or order for only $10.36.


That's it for the spring issue, folks. If you're still buried under a layer of snow when this reaches you in April, come and enjoy the daffodils in *The Daffodil Principal* on the Cinnamon Hearts website. In the meantime, make your own sunshine wherever you're planted.

Marilyn Helton

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