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Book Review: Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program to Prevent and Control Diabetes by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro and Chef Franklin Becker

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As a daughter of parents who are diabetic and a mother to a diabetic son, I am always looking out for their best interests and ways to help them live a healthier lifestyle. When I was approached to review the book, Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program to Prevent and Control Diabetes by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro and Chef Franklin Becker, I was ecstatic to learn more about how to help my loved ones.

As I began reading this book, I quickly learned that I did not know very much about diabetes. From the very first page of the introduction, I learned about the statistics regarding the dangers of diabetes. One of the most interesting statistics is that 64 percent of Americans, that is 129.6 million, are overweight or obese, which means more than half of Americans are in danger of developing diabetes. Therefore, as Americans we need to be healthier in our eating habits to help decrease the effects of this dangerous disease.

Dr. Howard M. Shapiro is the author of the New York Times bestseller Picture Perfect Weight Loss and founder and director of Howard M. Shapiro Medical Associates specializing in weight control, nutrition counseling and life management. Franklin Becker has served as executive chef at several of New York's premier restaurants and at the age of twenty-seven was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Following his diagnosis, he lost 35 pounds and now creates dishes that are healthy and flavorful. In their new book, Eat & Beat Diabetes with Picture Perfect Weight Loss, they use a technique of presenting two different pictures of similar meals. The first picture shows and describes what the regular, everyday meal consists of, including calories, fat grams, sugar grams, protein grams, etc. The second pictures shows and describes a healthier option for your favorite foods including the nutritional information.

I love the pictures and this or that comparisons. A lot of the healthier options include recipes, and I love cooking, so I had to try a few of them. The recipes throughout the book are super easy to make. Then at the back of the book are some amazing recipes contributed by celebrity chefs. These recipes would take a little more time, so I stuck with the easy recipes for my trial. The Beat Diabetes Brownies were a hit at my house. Made with whole-wheat flour, Splenda and soy protein powder, each 2-½ ounce brownie contains 110 calories and 9 grams of fiber compared to a regular brownie which has 360 calories, 14 grams of fat and 20 grams of sugar. Wow! It is amazing that I can still get my chocolate fix without all of that sugar and fat.

Even though I am not diabetic, I still love to watch what I eat and make healthier food choices. The picture comparisons in Eat & Beat Diabetes make reading about diabetes more interesting and understandable. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words. When you can actually see what you are eating and read how it will affect your body, the reality of your food choices is riveted into your mind. And when you consider that children today are more obese than ever before, the included tips and healthy meals for kids at risk are so beneficial.

Are you ready to try one of these recipes for yourself? Check out this comparison and then make a healthier, more filling meal for your family tonight. Notice that two servings of the Creole-Style Red Bean Soup equal the same amount of calories as one serving of shrimp fried rice. Oh, by the way, I love this book, and I am sure you will love it for your family, too.

Creole-Style Red Bean Soup with Shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped

2 cups vegetable broth
1 15½-ounce can red kidney beans
1 14-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon marjoram, crushed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the scallions, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for four minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, adding some of the broth, one tablespoon at a time, if the pan gets dry.

2. Stir in the beans with their liquid, tomatoes with their juice, marjoram, black pepper and the remaining broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the flavors have blended.

3. Add the shrimp and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 210 calories, 5 grams fat

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