Diabetes Initiative: The Power of Food For Diabetes Prevention & Treatment
Weekly Event - Every Wednesday: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)
Thank you for your interest in the Food for Life: Diabetes Initiative, The Power of Foods for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment, the plant-based nutrition and cooking program for type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment, developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The intended audience for this program is people with diabetes, prediabetes (defined below), a family history or risk factors for developing diabetes, and their adult family members. It is also designed to introduce health care professionals to the basics of plant-based nutrition for preventing and treating diabetes.
Diabetes is a major public health problem of epidemic proportions. Eleven percent of the United States adult population has diabetes (up from 8 percent in 2007), and nearly one-third of those 65 and older have the disease.1 Uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to complications from head to toe, including stroke, loss of vision, heart disease, kidney failure, and various problems due to nerve damage and circulatory problems, such as erectile dysfunction or lower-extremity amputation.
An even greater number of people have prediabetes, which used to be called impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose, or borderline diabetes. With prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. There are 79 million people in the United States who have prediabetes and they are generally without symptoms. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during prediabetes. A blood test is used to diagnose prediabetes. One study showed that those with prediabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Weight loss can prevent or delay this onset.
An astonishing one in three children born in the year 2000 is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (and one in two African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans) in his or her lifetime, unless there are significant changes in diet and activity levels. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is largely a disease of over nutrition and sedentary lifestyle. The disease can be prevented, and complications can often be avoided or treated with a significant change in lifestyle.
Each two-hour class features a DVD, discussion, and the opportunity to taste plant-based dishes, usually following a cooking demonstration. Eight classes have been developed. The first class can be a stand-alone program, and provides an excellent overview and introduction for a site that wants only a single class, such as a hospital diabetes education support group that meets monthly. This manual also describes a four-week program, which includes the first four of the eight-class series, or an eight-week program, which adds four classes to the first four. This format makes it easy to offer an additional program at a site that hosted a four-week series. We do not recommend you teach this as a four-week program, as it is well-documented that lifestyle intervention programs of longer duration have better outcomes, but provide the option for those sites where it is preferred. The basic class format summary is as follows:
1. Introduction – 10 minutes
2. Show a lesson from the DVD A New Approach to Nutrition for Diabetes. This DVD was awarded the “Favorably Reviewed” seal by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. – 9-45 minutes
3. Quiz/Discussion – 10 minutes
4. Cooking Demonstration and Sampling – 50 minutes
5. Resources and Recipes – 10 minutes
6. Questions/Evaluations – 10 minutes
Four-Class Series Description
Class 1: How Foods Fight Diabetes
The road to diabetes does not have to be a one-way street. There is reason for hope! People who eat plant-based meals are less likely to ever develop diabetes, and for those who have diabetes, plant-based meals can help to improve blood sugar levels and prevent complications. These meals are affordable and can be quite delicious and satisfying. A low-fat, plant-based approach offers a new tool that many have found to be very useful. Review the latest science behind this approach, consider some simple ideas for getting started, sample four dishes, and explore useful resources.
Class 2: The Power of Your Plate and Grocery Cart
Let’s get practical. This class provides the knowledge and resources for trying out a new way of eating. By using the tools provided, participants often experience better blood sugar levels, weight loss if needed, and other health benefits within a surprisingly short time. The Power Plate is a diagram that illustrates the essential food groups: vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits. From these groups, you will be assisted to create your own Weekly Meal Planner and learn how to navigate the grocery store to find the treasures (and avoid the troublemakers!). We’ll discuss common concerns, including how to prevent and treat low blood sugar for those taking certain medications, and how to ease your transition into a filling, high-fiber way of eating. Taste some of the staples that you’ll want to bring home from your grocery store.
Class 3: Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
New research shows that reducing the fat we eat helps to reduce the fat that can build up in muscle cells, which can improve the body’s ability to use insulin. Common dietary fat-lowering techniques, such as taking the skin off the chicken or switching to low-fat milk, do not go far enough in reducing the total amount of fat for many people to really repair this underlying problem in type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, the Power Plate foods are all naturally low in fat. Sample several flavorful dishes that are sure to become favorites— chances are good you won’t even miss the fat.
Class 4: Designing a Diet for Maximum Weight Control
This is not a “diet” that asks you to walk around hungry or feel deprived. How can you lose weight, if needed, without skipping meals or limiting your portions? In a word, it’s all about FIBER. Plant-foods have it, animal foods do not. Fiber is what makes us feel full, and, as a bonus, it also helps to control blood sugar levels, protects against certain cancers, and, of no small importance, it keeps us “regular.” Learn to comfortably fill up on whole foods and watch the pounds melt away. Enjoy some delicious high-fiber dishes—without any cardboard taste.