March 16th, 2012 - By Lari Robling
A diagnosis of diabetes, type one or type two, doesn't mean you are condemned to boring tasteless meals. British actor Robin Ellis (you might remember him from the BBC series Poldark) shares his experiences as a home cook and a diabetic in his book, "Delicious Dishes for Diabetics."
These days almost everyone lives with or knows someone with diabetes. Robin Ellis, the British actor some may remember as the dashing Captain Ross Poldark in the classic 1970's BBC series, lived with his mother's diabetes, so when he was diagnosed with type 2, a little over twelve years ago, the message was clear. "It made me take the diagnosis seriously and that is the problem it is a sly beast, diabetes 2, it doesn't manifest itself very clearly early on."
Ellis advises everyone to make sure their glucose levels are tested annually. And, from his mother's illness he learned to take the disease seriously, even if you feel fine. "I was lucky myself because it put me in mind that diabetes was a serious condition, either 1 or 2." Ellis is here stateside promoting his cookbook, Delicious Dishes for Diabetics and we chatted about adjusting to the disease. "I love eating! I always have, but, I discovered you don't have to deprive yourself. We live in southwest France, I go to markets four times a week, I think roughly. The life is different to that in London. When I go back now and go into a supermarket and I see green beans in winter and it feels odd because I cook seasonally. So, in that sense my life has changed in terms of how I eat for the better."
Author Amy Riolo agrees. Riolo helped her mother cope with a diabetic diet and shares those recipes in The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook. "Here we tend to think about our protein and build our meal around it. But, over there, if it is zucchini season you are going to have zucchini lots of different ways, and the protein is an after-thought."
A Mediterranean vegetable Ellis enjoys is fennel, or anise. You've probably seen the big bulb with feathery fronds in the market and it makes a delicious raw salad. "The trick with it is to slice and the parmesan really thin, and now I add some red onion and red radish and then olive oil. And it goes very well with mackerel fillet. It's a good oil fish so the fennel salad cuts against that and suits it very well."
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