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Homegrown cookbooks useful tool in diabetes fight.

Aboriginal organizations across the country are using specialty cookbooks to help people manage diabetes or decrease their risk of developing the disease.

What makes these cookbooks different is that they feature recipes for everyday foods that were submitted by local Aboriginal people.

One organization that has created two such cookbooks is the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. The first cookbook, filled with recipes for children, was created last year by participants in the federation's summer camp. The second cookbook, aimed at adults, was printed this past February.

"It's based on traditional Newfoundland foods, and the recipes were sent in by the members of our federation," explained Shelly Garnier, co-ordinator of the federation's Diabetes Awareness and Assessment Initiative.

"I took them and put them with this program called Food Quest, which is a computer program which breaks down a recipe into diabetic numbers--how many starch, how many proteins, are in each serving size. That's what we did for both cookbooks," she said.

Additional information was also included at the bottom of each recipe, such as tips for how to make the recipe more healthy.

The decision to produce the two cookbooks was made to get people to think about healthy eating on a regular basis.

"We felt that the way to get to our members was to give them something they could take into their homes and use every day," she said. "There are several different recipes and everyday meals, and we find that if it's something they're looking at often and reading, the message is there and it's more on hand than going to a lecture once a year. So we feel this is something they have in their homes and they can use as often as need be."

Another strength of the cookbooks is that they feature simple recipes using common ingredients people have in their cupboards, unlike some cookbooks that use ingredients that are more expensive and harder to find.

This is especially important for the members of the federation, as some ingredients that may be easy to get on the mainland may not be so easy to find in Newfoundland.

The cookbooks aren't the only tools designed for everyday use created under the federation's diabetes program since its inception in October 2001. Another project was the creation of a reusable magnetic calendar that will be sent out to federation members.

"It's something you can reuse every month for your menu, for your important dates, things like that," Garnier said. "It's something on hand and it has on it different information. For instance, there's a little caption that says whole milk is a certain amount of fat, skim milk is a lower fat, how much sugar is in cola and apple juice ... It's something they can have on hand. It's readily useable."

The Manitoba Metis Federation, Southwest Region, is creating a cookbook to help encourage its members to adopt healthier eating practices, explained Karen Mclntyre, the diabetes co-ordinator for the region's Diabetes: Discovering Your Options program.

McIntyre has been working to gather traditional Metis recipes and old family favorites from Metis locals. She is working with nurses and dieticians from Prairie Health Matters, a program through the Brandon Regional Health Authority that teaches about heart disease and diabetes, to convert the recipes for use by diabetics.

The region decided to create a cookbook as part of its diabetes initiative, McIntyre explained, because cookbooks are almost guaranteed to be a hit.

"It was a way to provide a guideline to our communities. And our people really, really are into cooking. They're so interested in new recipes, or even old favorites. I don't know, you just seem to be able to throw a cookbook out there and everybody's interested."

In addition to the recipes, the cookbook will also include a cooking for one section, information on different spices and fats and how to use them, and nutritional information.

By Cheryl Petten

Windspeaker Staff Writer

COPYRIGHT 2003 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Health & Well-Being; Federation of Newfoundland Indians develops specialty cookbooks
Author:Petten, Cheryl
Publication:Wind Speaker
Geographic Code:1CNEW
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:Canada's First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times.
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