Two new diabetes food books worth chewing on



Not food in the sense of recipes and cooking, but food in the sense of how to eat healthy. This Spring I had the pleasure, along with several other women, to contribute to Amy Mercer’s new book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Eating Right with Diabetes: What Will Work.

This is a great read if you’re still trying to figure out how to eat sensibly and not give up everything you love – and who among us isn’t to some degree? Amy shares her own struggle and successes with food and invites about 10 of us fellow smart, successful women with diabetes to share what we do so that we manage to control our blood sugar, and manage our carbs, while still eating things we love. Not only will you get tips, but I guarantee you will feel you have a community of women to hang out with while yore reading and a cheering squad who get “it”.

This is also an exceptional book for health care providers to get, and share, a real-life picture of what actually works for patients, rather than just dispense the standard dietary guidelines.

Two weeks ago I read Ginger Vieira’s new book, Emotional Eating with Diabetes: Your guide to creating a positive relationship with food. Ginger is not only an amazing diabetes videographer, power-lifter and writer, but she’s also a health coach. So when Ginger talks about ‘emotional eating’ she knows of what she speaks.

The book is big in size, yet short in pages. Just the right length to cover just the essential, most important topics regarding eating: both the difficulties and hardships, the battling and fighting food, and how to be more successful with an eating plan and staying positive. 

Ginger’s topics include: Habits that lead to overeating, Over-treating lows, (boy, don’t I remember early on eating everything in sight from pie to toast and jam, cookies and fruit, all at the same time, to get my blood sugar up!), Using food to stuff emotions and then coming into the light to develop a more positive relationship with food. 

Psychologist, Dr. Bill Polonsky writes the forward and there are several worksheets in the book, for as any good coach does, Ginger asks you to do the work. You’ll also get Ginger’s insightful questions to help you, and her mantra, which I love, which is that we are all a work in progress. 


Dear Santa, won’t you please take this diabetes away?

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You may have seen this before as I’ve decided I will repost this every Christmas, because, frankly, fun is healing. And if you’re stuck with diabetes, you need as many laughs as you can get!

Dear Santa,

All I’d like this Christmas is for you to take this diabetes away. I’m so tired of it already. All the time stabbing my fingers for blood and guessing when my sugar’s too high or too low.

Now that I’m in menopause I can barely tell whether I’m sweating because I’m losing estrogen or because my blood sugar’s crashing at 50 mg/dl!

And, can we talk… I mean the constant figuring out how many carbs are in a ravioli or bread stick or that fried calamari that will be at the company Christmas party. Some days I just want to lie down and shoot myself. Please, please, Santa, would you take this diabetes away?


Dear Riva,

I’m very sorry you’re having a tough time during my favorite season. I only want people to be singing carols and drinking eggnog and feeling good cheer. Unfortunately, it says in my contract that I’m not allowed to interfere with life’s natural occurrences. So here’s my suggestion: although you’ve already opened your holiday gifts, go back and look under your Hanukkah bush for the gift in having diabetes.

You may have to spend a few days looking, so why don’t you schedule it for the week between Christmas and New Year’s while you have some down time? Then you can start the new year fresh.

Best wishes,
Santa and the gang

Dear Santa,

A gift in my diabetes? What are you, crazy? Meshuggah? Thanks, but no thanks!


Dear Rabbi,

I seek your wise counsel. I wrote to Santa to take away my diabetes, but he wasn’t helpful at all. Surely you who have studied the Torah and represent our people who have suffered throughout history can help me with this awful diabetes.

It’s such a strain, Rabbi. I have to test my blood sugar when I really want to be lighting the sabbath candles. I forgot all about the High Holy Days this year because I was so busy counting carbs in the Challah, bagels and honey cake.

Rabbi, please, what solace can you offer me? What words of wisdom? Surely you would tell me to just forget about this diabetes thing and go shopping, right?

Please write soon,

Dear Riva,

Santa and I just returned from the Caribbean, and he told me about your difficulty. He said he told you to look for the gift in your diabetes. I concur with Santa; there are many gifts to be found in diabetes, if you look. For one, my child, you won’t have to drink the traditional Manishewitz holiday wine anymore. The Counsel all agree that it is much too sweet. Bring out the Chardonnay!

When Santa asks you to look for a gift in your diabetes, he is not saying this because you are not Catholic and he is not bringing you anything, although this is true. He is speaking like our brothers the Buddhists, who profess that there is a gift in everything if you look for something positive that it can bring into your life.

Let me tell you a story, my child. My own Aunt Sheila had diabetes, and after she stopped kvetching, she went to a spa and learned how to eat healthfully. She shopped along Rodeo Drive and bought a cute little jogging outfit and started running. On her jog along the ocean she met her fourth husband, Marvin, and they’re very happy. They just moved into a $6 million mansion in Jupiter, Fla. — right next to Burt Reynolds! Everyone’s plotzing! The house was in foreclosure so they have even more money to decorate!

Darling girl, find a gift in your diabetes, because to be honest, since you’re not orthodox, and all I have are these great wigs I got on sale from my cousin Schlomo, I’m not bringing you anything, either. And really, it’s not very pleasant to whine.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi, Local Union 107

Dear Rabbi,

I thought about what you and Santa said and have decided to become a Buddhist. I picked up the Dalai Lama’s book, “The Art of Happiness.” He says, “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” I told my friend Joe I like butterflies, and I like the robe, so these aren’t bad gifts.

Joe said the quote meant that we are the source of our happiness, that happiness can only come from inside us, regardless of what happens in our lives. Hmm, I said, maybe I need to learn more. So I booked a flight to Tibet.

Now if only I didn’t have to drag all this damn diabetes stuff with me…. ohm… ohm… oy.

4 Ways To Boost Diabetes Funding and Holiday Cheer


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‘Tis the season to be jolly, and I can’t think of an easier, faster way than by doing something for someone else. As my own financial planner, who’s still dealing with the fall-out from Hurricane Sandy, said to me recently, life’s not about money or possessions, it’s about friends and family and who will take you in when you need it.

So I did a little investigation and saw there are four ways in which you might like to spread some holiday cheer and “take someone in” who has diabetes. These four worthy causes help fund diabetes research, put a smile on a child’s face, let someone know you care about them, and are guaranteed to turn a little glow light on in your heart.

Santa and the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation have joined up. With a $15 donation, Santa will send a personalized letter to your child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or anyone you designate, anywhere in the world — complete with a North Pole stamp! Santa will even congratulate your child for how well they’ve been taking care of their diabetes if you wish. You supply the letter’s details. How can you lose? A child goes to bed happy and we all take a step closer to the cure. Deadline: Dec. 18 at midnight.

A Tribute Through JDRF. It’s a true tribute to recognize someone special by making a gift in their name through JDRF’s “Make a Tribute Donation program. The person whose name you donate in receives a letter that they were honored by you. I know I’d feel rich if someone did that for me. 

American Diabetes Association’s Gift of Hope. Founded in 1971 by parents of children with diabetes, “Gift of Hope” has raised more than $24 million to help find a cure for diabetes. You’ll find an array of beautiful and affordable gifts, from candles, cards and ornaments to jewelry, kitchenware and travel gear — and 100% of the profits go to fund research for the millions of children and adults living with diabetes.

The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes. This is my first book, from which each year I donate a portion of the proceeds to organizations making life better for those of us living with diabetes. Its inspiring, positive and educational essays guide you to develop greater self-love, strength, appreciation and emotional resilience, which makes managing diabetes easier. Plus, the fanciful, colorful drawings make it a perfect read for adults and families alike, as you can see above. Donations have been made to the Diabetes Research Institute, JDRF, Diabetes Hands Foundation among others.

So don’t miss the opportunity to give yourself a gift this holiday season. Make a choice above that changes a life. That truly is the greatest gift of all.