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Books for Holiday Gift Giving

By Marilyn Helton

Greetings and welcome to the end of the year! As we start our journey toward another year, I can't help but wonder how many of you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, and whether you have postponed any lifestyle changes that you may need to make until "after the holidays."

If you have made that choice, it's a perfectly normal reaction so don't feel too guilty about it. My job is to help you find resources to better cope with the many changes you'll be experiencing when finding a new and healthier lifestyle.

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Making a commitment to change begins with a dedicated and positive mindset, so the first book on my December list of recommendations is 365 Daily Meditations For People With Diabetes, by Catherine Feste, published by the American Diabetes Association.

Catherine speaks from her own experience of over 30 years as a health educator, and from the heart with her personal experience of living with diabetes for 47 years. Author of The Physician Within and coauthor of 101 Coping Tips For People With Diabetes, Catherine Feste is one of my favorite inspirational authors.

Special features of 365 Daily Meditations include:

  • One meditation for every day of the year which will help you to reflect on what really matters most in your life
  • Inspirational quotes from famous people as well as quotes from the Bible, the Koran, Buddha and Rumi to help you find understanding, inner strength and spiritual peace with your life in order to better cope with your illness
  • Practical diabetes tips and healthy ways of coping with stress and strong emotions
  • A guide to your inner resources and strengths, i.e., being able to see yourself as a hero, not as a victim
  • A book you can use as a practical guide to help you to move beyond day to day obstacles so you can gain a deeper understanding of your life and the challenges that living with diabetes presents

I've long believed that the mind and body are inseparable when coping with a chronic disease. The introduction to 365 Daily Meditations is written by Rachel Naomi Remem, MD (another favorite on my bookshelf), bestselling author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings.

Dr. Remen succinctly sums up the whole of this book in stating, "Through illness, people may come to know themselves for the first time, to recognize not only who they really are but what really matters. Illness shuffles the hierarchy of our values like a deck of cards. Often a value that has been on the bottom of the deck for years turns out to be the top card.

In illness, people abandon values that they have never questioned before, and uncover ways of living far more genuine and unique. Often these ways are also more soul-infused." Dr. Remen further states, "In all the years that I have listened to people with cancer, no one has ever said to me that if they died, they would miss their Mercedes, even though such a car and all that it represents has been the focus of their lives for many years. This shift may represent a kind of healing."

365 Daily Meditations, by Catherine Feste, is a wonderful book which will help you to find your way if you are newly diagnosed or if you have many years of experience with diabetes. I highly recommended this book as a must-have for anyone searching for inner strength to cope with a chronic disease.

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


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An estimated 18 million Americans already have type 2 diabetes and another estimated 16 million Americans have prediabetes. The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan, A Guide to Understanding the Emerging Epidemic of Prediabetes and Halting Its Progression to Diabetes (Avery/Penguin Group USA) is written by two of the country's leading authorities on nutrition and diabetes.

Sandra Woodruff, MS, RD, author of several books on healthy cooking (all of which are already on my personal bookshelf), and Christopher Saudek, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center and former president of the American Diabetes Association have combined their expertise to present a total life plan that addresses the emerging epidemic of prediabetes.

Complete with information on preventing, or even reversing, the development of diabetes with a total nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle program, The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan is highlighted with a checklist of diabetes risk factors, thoughts on drugs versus diet and lifestyle changes, strategies for weight-loss success, foods that help fight diabetes (what belongs in your pantry), eating out, and the power of physical activity (the big-E word).

The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan features 150 easy and appealing recipes that emphasize good carbs, healthful fats, and controlled calories -- all crucial elements in a diabetes-fighting meal plan. Useful Appendices include a body mass index table and sample menus (14 days of meal plan options ranging from 1,200 to 2,100 calories/day) using recipes by Sandra Woodruff, who has also written the bestselling cookbooks The Good Carb Cookbook and Best-Kept Secrets of Healthy Cooking.

The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan gets two thumbs up for its simplicity of language, completeness of subject matter, ample recipe and meal-planning sections and easy-to-read format. This book is well worth your investment and highly recommended.

Many of us who have lived through a diagnosis of diabetes probably remember that one of our first thoughts was "Well, there go my desserts!". For most diabetics, this is the hardest part of adjusting to a new way of eating. What better opportunity to slip in another good word for Sandra Woodruff's recipes than a recommendation for her recently revised and updated Diabetic Dream Desserts, 1997, 2004 (reviewed below).

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


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Diabetic Dream Desserts contains more than 130 low- and reduced-sugar dessert recipes for cakes, pies, puddings, cookies, dessert breads, and other sweet treats. You'll find dozens of useful tips for creating and converting your own favorite recipes into more healthful versions, and you'll learn just how using sugar and other nutrients can affect your diabetes. Knowing how a wise diet can contribute to your overall good health will help you keep your symptoms under control.

Each recipe in Diabetic Dream Desserts has a complete (per serving) nutritional analysis along with diabetic exchanges. Included are the secrets to making such tasty delights as "Fudge Cake with Raspberry Sauce," "Cherry-Cheese Kugel," "Molasses Oatmeal Cookies," "Triple Berry Sorbet," "Biscuit-Topped Blackberry Cobbler," "Cranberry-Pecan Bread," and more.

Unfortunately, we don't have space in this column for sample recipes, so I'm planning to include some of them in the December 2004 issue of the Cinnamon Hearts website. Diabetic Dream Desserts gets a healthy recommendation for having your cake and eating it too!

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


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In November 2004, the American Diabetes Association focused on the link between diabetes and heart disease for American Diabetes Month. People with diabetes are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke, and their heart attacks tend to be more serious and can happen early in life. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke and both women and men are at risk.

Charting A Course To Wellness, by Treena and Graham Kerr (the former Galloping Gourmet) have teamed up to share their inspiring journey of partnership in love, food, and life with the story of Treena's stroke, heart attack and diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. With a focus on using food to make you well, the Kerrs have learned that it helps tremendously to have a partner in getting well.

From my perspective, one of the best sections of Charting A Course To Wellness is found in "The Nine Stages of Change," which the authors have broken down as follows:

  • Stage One: Aware Yet Disinterested
  • Stage Two: Relative Impact
  • Stage Three: Concern Leads to Enquiry
  • Stage Four: Denial
  • Stage Five: Acceptance
  • Stage Six: Possibility of Success
  • Stage Seven: Engagement
  • Stage Eight: All Things Can Work Together for Good
  • Stage Nine: Taking Action

The Kerrs have devoted over twenty pages to this formula for success in making the necessary lifestyle changes for maintaining control of diabetes.

Charting A Course To Wellness also provides you with more than 430 ways to learn how to eat right with recipes for breakfast, brunch, main dishes, side dishes, desserts and sauces. Each recipe is lower in fat and carbs and is accompanied by a complete nutritional analysis and diabetic exchanges.

In addition, the book introduces "The Food Preference Sheet," a really innovative food inventory tool which you can use to design your food choices according to tastes, aromas, color, textures and ambience (in serving style). Change isn't so hard when you like the way your food tastes. There's a plethora of creative and innovative ways of looking at food preparation in this book to keep your mouth satisfied and your body on track.

In summarizing the content of Charting A Course To Wellness, Graham and Treena Kerr say it best in their own words: "Food can make you sick, and food can make you well. Getting well is a challenge, and it helps tremendously to have a partner. We have learned that there is no better gift you can give to yourself, to each other, and to your family. With the epidemic of obesity and diseases caused by poor diet in our country, all of us are learning (or relearning) the value of coming home, cooking dinner, and gathering around the table together."

Having reviewed and published many food articles from the American Institute for Cancer Research, I am extremely pleased to see the number of recipes in this book that use foods healthy in phytochemicals and antioxidants (natural cancer-fighting properties found in fresh fruits and vegetables). Charting A Course To Wellness (published by the American Diabetes Association) is well worth your time and gets a super-star rating.

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Whether you're newly diagnosed or you're just finally ready to tackle your diabetes, you'll want to take a look at Diabetes, A Guide To Living Well (Updated and revised, 4th Edition) by Gary Arsham, MD, PhD and Ernest Lowe. Once again, I'm impressed with how easily these authors have managed to help those of us living with diabetes learn how to take charge of our disease, face its challenges, and prepare to welcome the gift of wellness.

In Diabetes, A Guide To Living Well, the reader is given two different treatment plans (moderate and intense) to consider based on current lifestyle, health (both physical and mental) and level of control. Included are discussions about diabetes medications, emotional issues, heart health (remember, there's a direct link between a heart disease and diabetes) and weight loss, just to name a few.

Chapter 2, "How To Choose Wellness," is one of the best chapters in this book. It is a storehouse of information which will help you become aware of your strengths and resources, uncover your beliefs about diabetes, learn how to neutralize patterns that weaken your ability to care for yourself, handle the feelings that come up as you work toward wellness, and how to create solutions to your problems that really work. This chapter goes a long way in helping you to build a strong foundation for success in living a healthier lifestyle.

Completing the circle of wellness are two special and separate chapters on the unique needs of women and children, introduced at the end of the book. The special needs of just being female are addressed in "Women and Diabetes" (authored by Catherine Feste, author of: 365 Daily Meditations for People with Diabetes) and the special partnership between parent and child in "Children and Diabetes."

Authors Arsham, Lowe and Feste have combined more than 140 years of living well with diabetes to bring you the guidelines and power needed to take over your own diabetes and to create a long and healthy life in Diabetes, A Guide To Living Well. This is an excellent resource for all levels of living with diabetes. Highly recommended.

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


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As we learn more from organizations like the American Institute for Cancer Research, plant-based diets are assuming a larger role in promoting better health through natural ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthier fats found in nuts and seeds and smaller servings of meat have taken the spotlight on the "new American plate." It appears that a vegetarian diet has finally found its place in time and those of you who have visited the Cinnamon Hearts website know how much I admire and respect the recipes and food history presented by Nava Atlas, my favorite vegetarian author.

It can be challenging to create nutritious family meals that appeal to everyone at your table, including the picky eaters, but Nava Atlas has solved the dilemma with a collection of down-to-earth recipes reflecting the way families really eat in The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Flexible, adaptable, and filled with ideas for creating wholesome foods which are more attractive to children, Nava's latest cookbook tackles breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time like no other vegetarian cookbook on the market.

Covering everything from family-friendly salads to comforting casseroles, the recipes take the reader through the day, from luscious breakfast smoothies and crunchy granolas, filling soups, light salads and snacks to the more substantial dishes of a main meal. Atlas draws on inspiration from regional and international cuisine to sensational sandwich fare for home or school, as well as energy-packed choices to sustain you through your busy day. She also takes the mystery out of cooking with soy and provides dozens of delicious whole-grain, low-sugar desserts. Most of the recipes include vegan substitutions for eggs or dairy products. The recipes vary in complexity but are aimed at the busy household, so most can be produced within a reasonable amount of time. Each recipe is complete with a nutritional analysis (dietary exchanges are not included but you can manage very well if you count carbs), along with great "Make It A Meal" menu suggestions.

Whether motivated by economic, ethical, or health reasons, a record number of Americans are now down-sizing their meat portions and emphasizing more fruits and vegetables in their daily meal plans. The Vegetarian Family Cookbook goes a long way to help make this an appealing, stress-free decision. Five full stars for this terrific cookbook!

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.



Those of you who follow this column know I typically do a Top 10 List for Christmas gift-giving with my end-of-the-year column. Since I was unable to write as many columns for you as I normally do this year, I've decided to give you a Top Picks List of some of my all-time favorites. Some will be books from the current column and others will be picks from a few years back. Here are my choices -- the rest is up to you.


TOP PICKS LIST

Book Cover 365 Daily Meditations
By Catherine Feste

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan, A Guide to Understanding the Emerging Epidemic of Prediabetes and Halting Its Progression to Diabetes
By Sandra Woodruff, MS, RD, and Christopher Saudek, MD

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The Everything Diabetes Book
By Paula Ford-Martin with Ian Blumer, MD

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Sorry..No Image 101 Tips For Coping With Diabetes
By Richard R. Rubin, Gary M. Arsham, Catherine Feste, David G. Marrero and Stefan H. Rubin

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet
By Nava Atlas

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Food FAQs
By Linda Resnik & Dee Brock

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Cooking Up Fun For Kids With Diabetes
By Patti Geil & Tami Ross

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The "I Hate To Exercise" Book For People With Diabetes
By Charlotte Hayes

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The Diabetes Snack Munch Nibble Nosh Book, 2nd Edition
By Ruth Glick

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover 1,001 Delicious Recipes For People With Diabetes
Edited by Linda Eugene, Sue Spitler, and Linda R. Yoakam

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover 1,001 Delicious Desserts For People With Diabetes
By Sue Spitler with Linda Eugene and Linda R.Yoakam

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover One Pot Meals For People With Diabetes
By Ruth Glick and Nancy Baggett

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Diabetic Cooking For Seniors
By Kathleen Stanley

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Quick & Easy Diabetic Recipes For One
By Kathleen Stanley and Connie C. Crawley

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Sorry..No Image Eat Up Slim Down Annual Recipes 2003
By Kathy Everleth

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The New Soul Food Cookbook For People With Diabetes
By Fabiola Demps Gaines and Roniece Weaver

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Forbidden Foods Diabetic Cooking
By Maggie Powers and Joyce Hendley

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Flavorful Seasons Cookbook
By Robyn Webb

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover Express Lane Diabetic Cooking
By Robyn Webb

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Book Cover The New Family Cookbook For People With Diabetes
By the American Diabetes Association and The American Dietetic Association

For more information about this title, including editorial and reader reviews, descriptions from the author and/or publisher, and ordering details, click here for it's Diabetic book archive listing.


Well, that's a wrap for 2004, all tied up with a holiday bow. Remember to stay focused in the moment because your future is now!

See you next year,

Marilyn Helton

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