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Diabetic children make low sugar pie with Rod Streater

on November 26, 2014

Crowded into a small room with wood paneling and snowman paintings on the walls, children battling diabetes gathered with their families for a cooking demonstration on Nov. 24 at Whole Foods Market in Oakland.

“I’ll be handing out some chef hats and making some pies. I hope everybody is ready to eat,” said Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders wide receiver. He sat at the table with the kids as parents crowded at the entrance of the room, watching, and a mom shouted “Go Raiders,” from the back.

The event was an effort to teach families with diabetic children how to cook Thanksgiving meals using less sugar. Type 1 diabetes, which develops in childhood, differs from Type 2 diabetes in that it can’t be prevented. But, some negative impacts of the disease, like sudden spikes or plunges in blood sugar, can be curtailed through proper diet and exercise. By consuming the right foods, young diabetes patients can avoid slipping into ketoacidosis, or a diabetic coma. An estimated 18,000 youth are diagnosed each year with Type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Ruby Beaupre, a healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods, told families to follow three main principles to maintain healthy blood sugar: Eat at least three different colored food items each meal, always eat greens first, and opt for whole foods instead of processed foods. She then played a game with the kids, holding up pairs of food items – like a potato and potato chips – and asking them which was the “whole” food.

Ruby Beaupre teaches children healthy eating tips. Photo by Naomi Nishihara

Ruby Beaupre teaches children healthy eating tips. Photo by Naomi Nishihara

 Victoria Reyes said she had just been searching for Thanksgiving recipes for her 10-year-old daughter, Alexis, when they were invited to the “Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner” event. Alexis was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over a year ago, and Reyes said it was a shocking and challenging lifestyle change.

“It’s constant management, but it’s starting to be a normal way of life,” Reyes said. “Now she knows that pizza will keep her blood sugar high for two days. But it’s hard because she’s in elementary school, so there are birthday parties.”

Toni King’s 10-year-old grandson Jayden was diagnosed on Sept. 30 of this year, and she said they’re still adjusting to things like counting carbohydrates, insulin shots and worrying constantly about fluctuations in his blood sugar levels.

“I’ve got a sugar-mouth,” said Kev-ve-on Chilton, a 10-year-old with Type 1 diabetes, as she watched Beaupre compare apples to apple juice. “But I want to try to make something Ruby was talking about.”

 Attendants decorated oven mitts, and then, dawning chef’s hats, the kids and Streater followed Beaupre’s instructions to make low-sugar apple pies. They mixed apple slices and spices with date paste instead of sugar, and poured the mixture into pre-made whole-wheat crusts. The pies were boxed, for the families to bake on Thanksgiving Day, and the group took a photo shouting “Go Raiders!”

Children with Type 1 diabetes pose with the parents. Photo by Naomi Nishihara

Children with Type 1 diabetes pose with the parents. Photo by Naomi Nishihara

The evening cooking class was a partnership between Rod Streater’s personal charity foundation, which is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles, technology, culture and art for local children, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, the American Diabetes Association and Whole Foods.


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