Diabetes among the Hispanic community is an increasing problem. Although there is concern for the rise in diabetes, there’s often limited information to the community. According to the Center for Disease Control, nationally nearly 13 percent of Hispanics are living with diabetes. In the U.S., there are more than 50 million Hispanics and Latinos or 16 percent (Diabetes.org).
Further studies indicate that, age is a contributing factor to the prevalence of diabetes among the culture. Also, it’s just as important to be educated about the disease (Diabetes.org). With Thanksgiving approaching, making positive food choices isn’t always easy for someone living with diabetes.
In an interview, Latina celebrity chef, Lourdes Castro discusses her partnership with Novo Nordisk and the importance of proper diabetes management among the Hispanic community.
How important is your partnership with Novo Nordisk, and encouraging the Hispanic community to manage their diabetes better? The combination of food and culinary knowledge along with the nutrition knowledge was interesting because food is very important in the management of diabetes. Creating flavorful recipes that are also healthy and diabetes friendly was important. [Also] creating recipes that everyone can enjoy is important because ultimately we all live and eat together as a community.
How do you get people to become more open about diet change? I think the flavor is the most important. I’m Cuban, and the recipe that you have that’s made with a pork loin made with the garlic mojo (sauce), the spice blend is something that is quite Caribbean. From a Hispanic perspective, our pantry is very rich with flavor and using those coupled with lean protein. I think the idea is not creating bland, tasteless diet food. Diabetes food is just healthy food that everyone can and should be eating.
Is there a seasoning that we can use in our food to give it great flavor, but also healthy? All sorts of dried herbs, citrus are great, aromatic vegetables [such as] garlic, onion, ginger, that kind of stuff. It’s calorie-free and has no carbohydrate content.
One of the problems that many families encounter on Thanksgiving is overeating, is there a recommended portion size? Absolutely! I think portion sizes are the key [because] you really don’t keep track of what you’re eating. I like to give the visual of a dish, [so] whatever your dinner plate is going to be make half of it fruits, and [the other half] vegetables and salads. Leafy greens would be great because they fill you up, offer a lot of fiber that also fills you up, [and] low in calories. If you can do half your dish with leafy greens and vegetables then, a quarter could be lean protein or turkey, and it leaves you with just a quarter of something else. One of the tricks that I have is combining leafy greens with something else.
Are there any particular foods to avoid this Thanksgiving? You know, I think moderation is the key. Moderation and being smart with your ingredient choices, [and] not feeling deprived. I think if there’s something you want, you do in addition to [considering] your portion size over the holiday. Something I think that a lot of people forget is hydration. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water because oftentimes we’ll confuse hunger with thirst.
I often volunteer for the American Diabetes Association and hear from people that they restrict certain foods or fast, can fasting contribute to the onset of adult diabetes? You want to keep your meal times consistent. People think that by banking your calories you’re going to be better off in a day, and that’s definitely not something you want to do. You want to keep your meal times consistent, and keep your meals consistent so that you’re not making poor decisions later on.
To find out more information about diabetes in the Hispanic community and find amazing recipes from Chef Castro, visit http://espanol.cornerstones4care.com