Hello. My name is Tania and I’m a sugarholic. So are you (more than likely). In fact, sugar-addiction is so rife, we’re in danger of crystallising. Sure, we’re cottoning onto the fact that even our most savoury foods – those that tingle the tongue with that salty edge – are also packed with sugar, but do we really realise just how very much? In fact, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find any partly processed foods without a sizable dose of both salt AND sugar.
Is it any wonder diabetes is on the increase, obesity is out of control and behavioural conditions are now considered normal?
Chef Michael Moore knows sugar well. At 35, he was diagnosed with diabetes. His doctor said he was a most unusual person to become diabetic – he was fit, active, healthy, never smoked, was not a big drinker. Struggling to accept his diagnosis and sort of hoping the condition would just ‘go away’, Michael self-treated – exercised even more, watched his sugar intake yet eventually became insulin-dependent. He truly thought his healthful ways were enough, so he continued on this path, all the while remaining dangerously unaware of the serious health risks associated with his condition.
It wasn’t until collapsing from a stroke, in front of his family, that Michael knew he had to change his whole way of life. His beatiful new book Blood Sugar – inspiring recipes for anyone facing the challenge of diabetes and maintain good health – is not a diet book. Michael developed these recipes over time to keep his health on track, yes, but also feed his desire for sensational food. And his passion for both really shows.
You do not need to be diabetic to enjoy and thoroughly appreciate this book. From the blood red beets on the cover (bursting with healthful, natural sugars and nutrients that fuel the body to perfection), this is a book that typifies the ideal way every modern consumer should feed their body.
Michael has divided his book into dish selections such as snacks, salads, soups, meat, dessert, but what I really love is his introductory chapters on food types and exercise, entitled Fire, Water, Coal and Burn.
In Fire, we learn about foods that are the hardest to resist. The processed, the starchy, the high GI. These foods spike blood sugar instantly but offer no other energy benefits. As Michael says ‘the flames are impressive but it is all show and no go’.
In Water, we enter far better nutritional territory. Water foods leave us feeling hydrated. They are crunchy, delicious and satisfying. They make us well.
In Coal, we ponder the foods that are slow to fuel – that take time to break down, that nourish us and sustain our energy. They are power foods.
Each of these foods are then discussed at greater length, offering examples and nutritional information, inspiring us and calling us to action.
In Burn, Michael talks of the importance of strong and consistent exercise – not only for the body – but for the heart and mind. He reminds us that the sugar in our blood can only be consumed through insulin or exercise. He also offers advice on great ways to incorporate exercise into your life and tips on dealing with blood sugar levels – not only through diet but through the heart and mind – making Blood Sugar a book that transcends the category of ‘recipe’ and takes it into ‘life’[changing].
All health benefits aside, I must say that the recipe component of this book is indeed a major highlight. Everything – and I mean everything – Michael features is not only bursting with chlorophyll, protein, antioxidants and other eye-brightening wonders, it’s also snap crackle popping with delectability.
Slow-baked Turkish dates and peaches with porridge? Strone-ground museli hot cakes? Blueberry and tofu protein shake? And that’s just breakfast.
What about Asian-style grilled tuna, a power food salad including beans, chickpeas, celery and apple or a myriad mezze platters that will send your eyes rolling skywards in delight?
Then there’s the mains – calling on pasta, rice and eggs, seafood and meats – with personal standouts including open cannelloni with pork meatballs, pumpkin-crusted fish on mash and green roast herb and lemon chicken.
I must admit, despite this smorgasbord of palatables, Desserts was the chapter I flicked to first. Being a sincere and long-standing friend of sugar, my teeth were positively itching to know what treats Michael had in store. Poached pears with nut and seed crunch cookies, baked choc ‘n’ nut ricotta cheesecakes, baked fig and almond custard, warm cherry custard pie with roasted cherry sauce. Hmm (or should I say ‘mmm’). Seems my fear of ‘going without’ is totally unjustified.
Michael has also included a section on sauces and dressings, making this a well-rounded book, crammed with deliciousness and a totally wholesome feel, without a single crumb of deprivation in sight.
The book is gorgeously produced, with stunning, clean, modern photography, warm pictures including the author, and a personalised feel that bypasses pretentious and takes you straight to scrumptious.
Modern day life is stressful and hectic enough without fuelling our precious bodies on a diet of processed rubbish. Michael Moore’s book is testament to the fact that eating healthfully is simple, delicious and vital. His combination of factual information and a deep love of food is clear to see in this beautiful book – and his journey is nothing short of inspiring.