Delicious and healthy meals were the order of the day at Fanatic Kitchen Studio, Port of Spain as Sanofi held its first Diabetes Cooking Demonstration in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
Sanofi, a diversified global healthcare company focused on patients' needs, invited people with diabetes and the media to help raise awareness of diabetes and its effects.
In Trinidad and Tobago diabetes is a serious condition; approximately affecting one in eight adults. These statistics, taken from the Ministry of Health's website, also state that in the Caribbean region the prevalence of diabetes is more common in females than in males.
Described as a global epidemic by the World Health Organisation, there are currently 220 million people worldwide with the disease. Trinidad and Tobago is ranked in the first five in the world, percentage wise, with diabetes; the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in Trinidad and Tobago.
With this in mind, Sanofi launched its campaign titled "Together Against Diabetes" as a way to help people manage the complex challenge of diabetes. This inititiave is just one out five events that will be done throughout the year; all geared towards diabetes management, prevention and education.
Area sales manager, Sanofi, Glenda Camps said, "It is clear that diabetes affects not only persons suffering from the disease but it impacts their families as well. We are certain therefore that these few cooking tips, dietary suggestions and recipe ideas that you will receive today, will assist diabetics in living a normal healthy lifestyle as well as those who are charged with the responsibility of preparing delicious and healthy meals for them."
"Since diabetes is a lifestyle disease, it is critical that persons suffering with the disease recognise the importance of changing from the old ways of doing things to developing new habits that would allow them to lead more comfortable, healthy and productive lives. Since Sanofi is aware of the importance of food preparation in the life of the diabetic, the company has thought it extremely important to include this cooking demonstration as part of the company's corporate social responsibility initiative to show diabetics how they can easily prepare nutritious and delicious meals while maintaining a healthy lifestyle," she added.
Under the watchful eye and skilled
hands of chef Joe Brown and entertainer Nikki Crosby, Brown prepared healthy recipes packed with tonnes of flavour.
From a trio of bruschetta; to cous cous filled white fish fillet and spinach stuffed chicken breast; nutritionist Diane Charles was also present to advise attendees on portion size and the right way in which a diabetic patient can have a balanced and varied diet.
From steaming to baking; guests also saw how easy it was to extract the natural flavours from food without ever having to add salt.
During the demonstration, the myth that people with diabetes have to eat food different from those prepared for the rest of the family was broken. Charles noted that people with diabetes can eat the same food as the rest of the family.
"The current recommendations of nutrition for diabetes are very flexible and offer many options, allowing you to include food of choice for the patient and also those foods that are prepared on special occasions," she added.
"Just because you are diabetic that does not mean you can't have desserts. You just have to remember: keep everything in moderation," she said.
"One thing you should keep in mind is to avoid saturated fats. They are found in foods such as butter, meat, cheese and fatty dairy products and vegetable fats (shortening and margarine). They are responsible for increasing cholesterol and the risk for heart disease," Charles said.
Chef Brown said, "When you're cooking at home, I believe you should do it right. What I mean is using good knife technique. Another thing to note—that a sharp knife is not dangerous but a blunt knife is. However, once you practise your knife skills; things get easier in the kitchen."