Greetings Readers! Welcome to Spring and a new quarter of book reviews.

Most folks get excited about Spring and new growth. I get excited about the resurgence of Farmer's Market with all the new fruits and vegetables that will soon be in season. Our local Farmer's Market parks itself on the street right next to the County Library. What fun . . . two wonderful adventures in one weekly trip downtown! It's no secret - I definitely prefer life's simplest pleasures.

Speaking of pleasure, why not put a positive spin on your diagnosis of diabetes by becoming more creative with foods? I consider myself lucky because my passion for cooking was with me long before my diabetes was diagnosed. My bad eating habits and a VERY sedentary lifestyle were a text book setup for a diagnosis of diabetes in my middle years. (I still struggle with the sedentary lifestyle challenge).

As soon as I was diagnosed, I focused on the "can-haves" instead of the "have-nots." In doing so, I was able to open all of my senses to a whole world of new tasting experiences. Even though I had thought of myself as a "good cook," I discovered just how much I didn't know about untried ethnic foods, "strange" fruits and vegetables, and fresh herbs and spices. Food culture and regional food history have recently become new "food" passions -- and they're virtually calorie-free! I now eat with better taste, am better informed and healthier than I ever was before the dreaded diagnosis.

It's my hope that with each book I review I can lift your spirits, pique your curiosity and inspire as many of you as possible to take your own culinary journey. Let this be your Spring to think of your diagnosis as your personal turning point to better taste, better health and better living!

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12 Things You Must Know About Diabetes Care Right Now Cover 12 Things You Must Know About
Diabetes Care Right Now

This book has been on the shelf for a while and I now regret that it kept being "re-prioritized for review in the next issue." In this age of HMO-controlled medical care and drive-through medical appointments (the kind where you sit for an hour in the waiting room in order to see your healthcare provider for 10 minutes or less), it's essential to know the right questions to ask and tests you should have to manage your diabetes.

How many times have you come out of your doctor's office feeling like you didn't know any more than the last visit regarding the management of your diabetes? For the first 5 years or so after my diagnosis, that's exactly the way I felt until I started researching the disease and reviewing books on diabetes and its complications.

Divided into 12 areas of concern, 12 Things You Must Know about Diabetes Care -- Right Now! covers how to choose the members of your health care team, what check-ups you need and when you need them, what kinds of medical tests you should have done and what the results mean to you, and what important questions you should ask your health care provider so you can make your own well-informed self-care decisions. Also discussed are topics such as diabetes and pregnancy, diabetic eye disease, lipids and exercise, hypertension, diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and nephropathy (kidney complications). There are two good appendices on the drugs used for the treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related world wide web sites. What a wealth of information packed into 180 pages!

Written by Irl B. Hirsch, M.D., Medical Director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington Medical Center, the book is designed to make sure the patient is getting the best medical care according to The American Diabetes Association's latest "Standards of Care" (what doctors and patients need to do for state-of-the-art diabetes therapy).

It's really a wonderful read, specifically designed to help you ask your doctor the right questions. If you want to get top medical care, you should read 12 Things You Must Know About Diabetes Care Right Now, �2000 by The American Diabetes Association, Inc. Highly recommended.

Available for only $11.96 at

Unbelievable Desserts With Splenda Cover Unbelievable Desserts With Splenda � : Sweet Treats Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories, by Marlene Koch

For those of you who still can't quite believe you can have small amounts of refined sugar (per serving) in your diabetic recipes, I've recently received three cookbooks for review which have recipes which do not use refined or natural sugars (fruit sugars). One of these three is Unbelievable Desserts With Splenda, by Marlene Koch, RD.

Marlene Koch is a culinary nutritionist who combines her love for great-tasting food with her knowledge of nutrition in the recipes she's created using Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener made from sucralose (sugar), so it tastes just like sugar.

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Splenda is made through a multi-step process that selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms. The result is an exceptionally stable sweetener that tastes like sugar but without sugar's same properties, which after consumption, is able to pass through the body without being broken down.

More from our magazine:  Endocrinology and Type 1 Diabetes

Since Splenda has no unpleasant after-taste, it can be used virtually anywhere sugar is used, and stay sweet at high temperatures so it can be used in cooking and baking. In the Low Sugar Baking Secrets section of the book, Ms. Koch informs the reader flat out that "sugar is sugar is sugar." Honey, juice concentrates, dried fruits, fructose, etc., are all different forms of sugar and the consumer should not be fooled by that "no-sugar cookie recipe" which is full of honey. Your body knows what sugars are and so should you! This section goes on to explain what the role of sugar is in the recipes and how to adjust your own recipes to use Splenda.

The recipes section of the book includes Hot & Cold Beverages; Muffins, Coffeecakes, & Breakfast Breads; Cookies; Pies, Crisps, & Cobblers; Cakes for Any Occasion; Cheesecakes to Die For; Puddings & Specialty Desserts; and Simple Sauces & Toppings. I have not tried any of the recipes but one of my sisters made the Cheesecake and said it "tasted like the real thing" and was just wonderful!

Unbelievable Desserts With Splenda, �2001 by Marlene M. Koch is published by M. Evans and Company, Inc. Since my sweet tooth is my albatross, I think I'll try it - I might even like it!

Available for only $13.97 at

Real Life Parenting of Kids with Diabetes Cover Real Life Parenting of Kids with Diabetes, by Virginia Nasmyth Loy.

Having a child diagnosed with a chronic illness is a frightening experience and parenting a child with diabetes is wrought with fear, anxiety, and so many questions. After all, how do you explain the importance of a finger prick to a small child who only feels pain? How do you help them live life like any other kid their age? How can parents learn to handle the practical, day-to-day aspects of this challenge while also figuring out how to cope -- and how to help their children cope -- with the emotional and psychological fallout?

Author Virginia Nasmyth Loy, whose two sons were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Thanksgiving Day one year apart (one was 7, the other 6 years old) gives parents a down-to-earth guide with information about raising a child with diabetes. The reader will gain valuable insight with tips and suggestions for:

  1. developing a testing and medication routine,
  2. organizing a play group,
  3. finding a doctor,
  4. making sure his diabetic child gets the exercise he needs,
  5. preparing for sports and activities,
  6. traveling with diabetes,
  7. and how to provide emotional support to your diabetic child and your spouse when the challenges of diabetes get the best of both of you.

The importance of staying positive in the face of adversity while making sure your diabetic child stays positive as well, is the primary theme throughout this book. Diabetes shouldn't keep your child from living the life he wants to live!

From making the decision to "take charge" to driving, drinking and parents' issues, this is a great guide for parenting a child with diabetes. Written in practical terms; highly recommended. Real Life Parenting of Kids with Diabetes, �2001 by Virginia Nasmyth Loy, published by the American Diabetes Association.

Available for only $11.96 at

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The Other Diabetes Cover The Other Diabetes : Living and Eating Well With Type 2 Diabetes, by Elizabeth Hiser, MS, RD.

Did you know that more often than not, Type 2 diabetes is characterized by too much rather than too little insulin? When my own MD gave me a C-peptide test, I was astonished to find that I had a system fully capable of producing large amounts of insulin, as opposed to those who have the less-common Type 1 (insulin-requiring) life-threatening diabetes. In fact, nine out of ten cases in the US are Type 2 (adult and now childhood-onset) diabetes, which typically starts out with high insulin levels.

By now, most of us know the drill: Excess calories and a sedentary lifestyle are major contributors to Type 2 diabetes; insulin resistance is the hallmark of the disease; and losing excess weight combined with regular exercise is necessary to avoid the most lethal complication of Type 2 diabetes -- early death from heart disease.

Elizabeth Hiser, a health writer and one of the founding editors of Eating Well Magazine (a favorite of mine which is now out of publication), offers the reader a consumer guide to Type 2 diabetes by debunking "quick-fix" diets that don't work, and "just thinking about exercise" more than actually doing it (did someone call my name?)

In The Other Diabetes, Hiser reviews the latest findings on fats, fiber, carbohydrates, alcohol and supplements, as well as recommending the optimal plan for controlling diabetes through a Mediterranean-style eating pattern, which she calls the Good Fat Diet. This eating pattern is based on extensive research supporting the fact that a diet rich in the mono-unsaturated and omega-3 fats is ideal for controlling both diabetes and heart disease. I've recently switched to the newer, more simplified carbohydrate counting for controlling my own diabetes, and was pleased to see that Ms. Hiser has included a section on this method.

Given the author's background in nutrition, there are many excellent recipes which fill the second half of the book. Breakfast Cakes, which incorporate nuts, cereal, buttermilk, and fresh (an orange) and dried fruits (apricots) is just one of the recipes which we'll be sharing in the Cinnamon Hearts Spring Recipe Sampler.

Breakfast Cakes, from the Small Meals And Snacks chapter, is designed for busy people on-the-go. Quick-and-easy breakfast recipes, ideas for brown-bag lunches and a variety of snacks emphasize take-along food that is good for you and helps to keep you from becoming so hungry that you "lunge at the next glazed doughnut you happen by." Salads And Vegetable Dishes, Meat-Free Entrees, Almost Vegetarian Entrees, Poultry and Seafood Entrees, and delicious Treat Yourself desserts round out the recipe sections of The Other Diabetes.

Treat yourself to this terrific book, readers. How can you go wrong with recipes from a very popular food magazine editor?

Sample Recipe: Turkey Marsala

Available for only $16.10 at

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101 Tips For Aging Well with Diabetes Cover 101 Tips For Aging Well with Diabetes,
by David B. Kelley, MD.

Aging well and staying healthy is a challenge for everyone, and aging well and staying healthy when you have diabetes is even more challenging! 101 Tips For Aging Well With Diabetes is one of the newest books in the best-selling series of self-care books published by The American Diabetes Association. It's designed to answer the most common (and sometimes uncommon yet essential) questions about how the maturing process can be affected by diabetes.

Written in a straightforward question and answer format, this uncomplicated book explores in detail such questions as:

  • Am I alone with my diabetes?
  • Why aren't my new diabetes pills lowering my blood glucose?
  • What is causing my leg pain?
  • Why has my wife's/husband's personality changed since she/he developed diabetes?
  • Why would I learn to count carbs?
  • Am I too old to exercise and what kinds of exercise are best for me?
  • How do I manage my diabetes when I am sick?
  • What precautions do I need to take if I live in a nursing home?

An easy-to-reference book, 101 Tips For Aging Well with Diabetes gives maturing people who have diabetes the guidance to improve their lifestyles.

Available for only $11.96 at

Diabetic Cooking for Seniors Cover Diabetic Cooking for Seniors, by Kathleen Stanley, CDE, CN, RD, LD, MSED, (2001) by the American Diabetes Association.

Wow, what a great follow-up to 101 Tips for Aging Well With Diabetes. I just received Diabetic Cooking For Seniors think it's a terrific offering.

People entering their senior years often need to modify their diet to stay healthy, and senior adults with diabetes face even greater challenges to eating healthy and staying on track with diabetes care.

This is actually more than just a cookbook, it first takes a look at some of the challenges faced by seniors with diabetes:

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  • Handling meal plan changes
  • Reducing sodium
  • Lowering fat and cholesterol
  • Eating out
  • Food and drug interactions
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Loss of appetite
  • Emotions, stress and boredom
  • Making food appealing (aging causes a loss of taste for many seniors, exclusive of diabetes)
  • Weight loss/gain

I love the fact that Diabetic Cooking For Seniors has published recipes which are purposely designed to eliminate timely chopping, dicing and preparation, as many of us experience painful arthritis as we age. Each recipe includes a nutritional analysis and exchange information, and most are designed for cooking in small portions, ideal for the reduced size senior family.

The recipes are divided into 10 chapters titled Breakfast Ideas; Quick Fixes; Low-Sodium Stuff; Flavor Powerhouse; Low-Calorie Concoctions; Fiber-Rich Foods; Super Snacks; Low or No Cholesterol; High-Calcium Choices and Simply Great Desserts.

I've already ear-marked several recipes such as Instant Picnic (this one will surprise you), Smothered Baked Portabello Mushroom (so Italian), Sticky Muffins (you get 2 per serving), Hot Skins (definitely not X-rated), Cows in the Orchard Salad (I'll let you try to guess what that one has in it), Apricot Candy (only 3 ingredients), and Cinnamon Rice, Chocolate Pancakes, and Strawberry Cloud Pie which will be offered to our Cinnamon Hearts readers!

This is a delightful book and you're going to be happy with your purchase. Go ahead and make your mouth happy - You don't have to be a Senior to enjoy these exciting new recipes!

Available for only $10.36 at

Until we meet again this Summer, try to stay balanced and centered. Life is too short to not "live in the moment."

Marilyn Helton