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THE KICK DIABETES COOKBOOK REVIEWED BY TIMAREE HAGENBURGER, MPH, RD, EP-C THE KICK DIABETES COOKBOOK by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, Book Publishing Company, 2018, 181 pages, $19.95, ISBN: 978-1-57067-359-7. Davis and Melina have produced another excellent resource. The Kick Diabetes Cookbook is much more than a collection of recipes, as the first several chapters provide a surprisingly comprehensive collection of very specific information needed to empower individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes to take back control of their health. This is an extremely user-friendly book, as the educational information in the first chapter, The Power and Promise of a Plant-Based Diet, is presented in a very succinct paragraph format that keeps the reader’s attention with catchy titles, bolded text for key vocabulary words, and one-line explanations. This format makes learning the material fun and engaging. Text is further broken up by easy-to-read and interesting tables (e.g. Fiber in Common Foods, GI and GL of Common Foods, Top Diabetes Food Friends and Foes) and features (e.g. Can everyone overcome type 2 diabetes?). The first chapter ends with a well-organized list of strategies to make the “Kick Diabetes Lifestyle” sustainable and addresses additional features beyond nutrition, including support, environment, resilience, physical activity, sleep, stress, goals, challenges and monitoring progress. The second chapter, Meals and Menus to Kick Diabetes, is exceedingly practical, providing the tools needed to enable the reader to design their own nutrient-dense, plant-based plates. In addition to a chart that lists the key food groups and minimum serving recommendations, specific guidance is provided regarding the “Essential Extras,” including vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids. The next sections are a gift to the reader (and the dietitian counseling patients), as each food group is addressed with a step-wise approach to reaching the Kick Diabetes Target (e.g., 7 or more servings of nonstarchy vegetables per day – include a rainbow of colors), with detailed targets for “Levels 1, 2, and 3,” Best Choices, Tips for Success, and Common Questions (e.g., Are frozen, canned, and jarred vegetables good choices?  

Kick Diabetes Front Cover

What are the best ways to cook vegetables?). Two menu plans are provided at 1,600, 2,000 and 2,400 calories (“Fast and Easy Preparation” and “Moderate Preparation”), with detailed nutrition analysis, and charts that list servings for each food group at the three calorie levels. Meal timing and frequency are also addressed. Chapter 3, Get Cooking with Whole Plant Food, discusses equipment, shopping lists, and basic cooking techniques to support success. The remaining 7 chapters provide 100+ recipes with some pictures and many tips sprinkled throughout. Some interesting selections include Sweet Breakfast Bowl (mix and match approach), Better Broth Base, Black-Eyed Pea and Eggplant Soup, Quinoa Broccoli Salad with Lime Dressing, Full Meal Salad (mix and match approach), Sun-Dried Tomato, Bean and Barley Salad, Orange Ginger Dressing, Spicy Bok Choy, The Three Sisters Go Green, Beet and Lentil Patties, and Pumpkin Parfaits. Nuts and seeds are incorporated into many recipes, and dates are used for adding sweetness. While the book is intended for consumers who have prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and those who care for them, this is also a “go-to” guide for all dietitians and nutrition educators, since these health challenges are ubiquitous in our communities. Davis and Melina do a superb job clearly communicating specific and evidence-based information, translating it into practical guidance with a non-judgmental, non-threatening tone that is not only hopeful, but also realistic and values the journey, no matter where the reader finds himself/herself at the present moment.

Brenda Davis RD and Vesanto Melina MS RD
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