Author, The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries(2012)
Executive Chef, Surf Lodge, (Montauk, NY)
Trained at Johnson and Wales University, Charleston, SC
Semi-finalist on Bravo’s 2008 season, Top Chef
Voted Fan Favorite on Top Chef
Sam Talbot: The Sweet Life
The 700 Club
CBN.com -DIABETES AND FOOD
When Sam was 12 years old, he was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. “When you’re 12, you don’t really understand the words terminal illness,” says Sam. When the doctor gave Sam and his mom the news, Sam downed six ice cream sundaes. While the door on that kind of sweetness was slammed shut, he believes another door opened. Sam got his first cooking job at 15 and fell in love with food at his grandparents’ house in Ohio, where he first tasted eggs from a local farm. Sam cooked all through high school, using his body as a laboratory for educating himself about the effect of food on his blood sugar and insulin levels. “Using only unadulterated, natural foods allowed me to know exactly what I was eating at any given time; food that…couldn’t be harboring any hidden sugars, starches or other additives that might do a number on my blood sugar without my knowing it,” says Sam. He believes his love for cooking has made him a healthier diabetic, and being a diabetic has made him a better cook. “I’ve been eating and cooking with one eye on the stove and the other on my blood sugar levels for just about as long as I can remember,” says Sam. (He wears an insulin pump on his leg.)
At 24, Sam moved to New York City as Executive Chef of the Black Duck Restaurant in Gramercy Park. Two years later, he opened his own restaurant, the Williamsburgh Café in Brooklyn where he was nominated Best New Chef in Brooklyn by CitySearch and Best Restaurant in Brooklyn by tne New York Post. In 2008, Sam was a semi-finalist on season 2 of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and was voted “Fan Favorite.” (He lost on a technicality that he didn’t cook for the last challenge. Sam prepared ceviche which was raw Hawaiian pink snapper marinated in citrus juice and rice vinegar. While no actual heat was applied, Sam says the citric acid denatures the protein in the fish, like pickling.)
NO BLAND OR RESTRICTED FOOD
Sam says there are no restricted foods being a diabetic. When he first got his diagnosis, the nurse handed Sam a list of forbidden foods – soda, cookies, fried foods, ice cream – everything on a 12-year old’s Top Ten list. “If you really think about it, none of these is a food that anyone, regardless of health status, should be chowing down on regularly,” says Sam. While nothing is completely off the menu, Sam says he has to put a little thought into putting a menu together every day. “If everyone ate the way diabetics should eat….we’d all be healthy and we’d all eat well.
It’s important to keep blood sugar levels steady, diabetic or not. The key is not only what we eat but when we eat. It’s important to eat at regular intervals with a light healthy snack. Sam says the following is a great menu for one day:
Breakfast: Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes, page 60
Lunch: Shiritaki Noodles with Cashews and Chili, page 165
Snack: Kale Chips with Toasted Nori, Page 28
Dinner: Fish Tacos with Tomato Salsa and Citrus Crema, page 198, 200
Dessert: Charred Pineapple with Honeycomb, page 219
Sam teamed up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization that provides resources for diabetics and is working for better ways to create and ultimately cure type-1 diabetes.
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