Diabetes is Guilty of Racial Discrimination…

16 Million Americans Have Diabetes and Hispanics are Diagnosed More Frequently.  As the Hispanic population continues to grow the prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics is expected to reach epidemic proportions.

Traditional Meals Take on New Twist…. High Flavor, Low Fat

Traditions are hard to break and fond memories of the family table are dearest to our hearts. Let’s take a few minutes to think about our hearts, literally.  If our grandmothers had believed that they were preparing food that would have promoted obesity and contributed to heart disease and diabetes, there would be little chance that they would have continued to cook in the “old ways”.  In the past, we lived in an agriculture society and our forefathers got plenty of exercise farming and performing physical chores, consequently obesity was rare. Most often, the calories they consumed were necessary to provide the energy needed to handle their daily tasks. The concept of feeling guilty about not going to the gym did not exist.  Today, however, most of us do feel a sense of guilt since we don’t get enough exercise to burn the calories we eat.   Excess calories are stored as fat and we quickly become overweight.

 Fortunately, we now have helpful information available and can learn to improve our health while continuing to honor our culture.   So without attempting to discard one of the most important pleasures in our culture, eating traditional foods, our efforts should focus on maintaining high flavor while reducing calories and fat, factors which have been shown to lead to the chronic diseases associated with obesity.  Can’t be done, you say….  You will be surprised.  Even if you believe you are eating healthy, give these recipes a chance.  Your willingness to try something new, for the sake of your family’s health, will be an important step toward improving dietary habits and creating new traditions for your children and grandchildren for years to come.

Nina’s Lowfat Beans [Nina Granja was born in Spain and adapted her grandmother's recipes to accommodate a low fat vegetarian diet.]

1 lb. pinto beans

1 bell pepper                                      

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 ˝ cups diced tomato                

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 bunch cilantro, chop & reserve                                              

1 tsp. Salt                                           

2 celery stalks                                   

jalapenos to taste

Pour water and bouillon into a large pot, boil. Quarter vegetables, put in boiling water. Cook on High for 15 minutes. Rinse beans & add to pot. Cook on high for 15 min. Cover. Let simmer for 2 ˝ hours, or until beans are very soft. Add cilantro for last 5 minutes of cooking time.  Stir every 20 minutes. Serves 10

91 calories, 16 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, 273 mg sodium. Diabetic exchange: 1 starch serving.


Nina’s Healthy Rice [Nina Granja was born in Spain and adapted her grandmother's recipes to accommodate a low fat vegetarian diet.]

1 Tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning

1 jalapeno           

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil

2 cups white rice (uncooked)             

2 garlic cloves

2 cups of water (If using brown rice, use 2 ˝ c. water)                             

˝ green bell pepper                       

1 tomato                                  

˝ red bell pepper

1 bunch of green onions                     

In a large deep skillet, heat oil and salt. Sauté diced vegetables. Put rice in skillet and sauté until it is golden brown. Add water, bring to a boil, lower heat and cover until the rice is flaky and all water is absorbed, (about 35 minutes). Serves 8.

197 calories, 38g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg saturated fat, 331 mg sodium. Diabetic exchange: 2 starch, 1 fat.


   Daily use of above recipes, when substituted for traditional recipes, should result in a 12 pound

    weight loss at the end of one year, if all other factors remain the same.  Here's a comparison of 

    new healthy recipes to traditional recipes showing reduced calories, sodium and fat.

            Healthy Rice                        Traditional Rice

Calories                                 197                                          276

Fat                                            3 grams                                 5 grams

Saturated fat                          0 gram                                   2 grams

Sodium                                   331 mg                                   980mg


                                             Low fat Beans                       Traditional beans

Calories                                91                                            127             

Fat                                          0 grams                                  8 grams

Saturated fat                        0 grams                                  2 grams

Sodium                                 274 mg                                    428 mg

You can join one of the first Consejeras Programs to be conducted in the state of California by the American Diabetes Association!  Through this unique program, trained community volunteers arrange informal parties in their homes or community centers for their families and friends. 

At these gatherings, diabetes and related issues are discussed in a non-threatening environment, featuring videos, educational materials, and tasty low-fat Hispanic foods. Other communities have found these parties to be an effective way to get information distributed to the community and motivate individuals to seek proper care.  Volunteers will become neighborhood counselors after being trained to improve the health of their friends, family and neighbors.

Consejeras are Latinas who:

Diabetes home health parties may be held in neighborhood centers as well as homes.

…Get Involved …Volunteer to be a Consejeras….

Here's How.  Call the American Diabetes Association Consejera Program Chairman, Charlotte Hodge at 909-276-6243 and volunteer today.

Charlotte Hodge RN, NP,CDE/posted 8.22.2001

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