Kick Diabetes Essentials Just Released!

I am excited to tell you that Kick Diabetes Essentials has been released. This book provides the fine details of how to kick diabetes with a plant-based diet and lifestyle. It is jammed packed with research, practical guidelines and delicious recipes. This book provides a thorough analysis of plant-based vs low-carb (e.g. keto) diets. It is a must read for everyone who wants to prevent or treat diabetes with the healthiest diet on the planet. The guidelines are not only appropriate for those with diabetes, but also those who have or are at risk for other chronic diseases. 

Just Released!

Just Released!


Whole grains (also called cereals) are small, hard, dry seeds that grow on grass-like plants. They are staples for most populations around the world. The most widely consumed grains are wheat, rice and corn (botanically, corn is a grain, but from a culinary sense, it tends to be used as a starchy vegetable). Other popular grains are barley, rye, oats, kamut, spelt and millet. Pseudograins such as amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice, are similar to grains in both their nutrition and culinary uses, but they are not in the same botanical family.


Are Whole Grains Healthy Foods? Absolutely! Whole grains provide about half of the world’s protein and fiber. They are rich sources of B-vitamins (especially thiamin and niacin) and vitamin E. They are also good sources of minerals, including manganese, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper. Whole grains contain a variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants.


Are Some Whole Grains Healthier than Others? Yes, there are several considerations when trying to select the healthiest whole grains:


  1. Type of grain. Like all foods, there are variations in the nutritional value of different grains. Pseudograins tend to be slightly higher in protein and minerals than true grains. Of the true grains, oats, wheat, kamut and spelt are the richest in protein. Whole grain rice is higher in vitamin E than most other grains; kamut is higher in selenium; oats are higher in manganese and copper; spelt is higher in zinc, rye is higher in potassium; wheat is higher in magnesium and wheat and oats are higher in iron. Eat a variety of whole grains to ensure maximum benefits.


  1. Color of grain. The more colorful whole grains generally contain more antioxidants and phytochemicals. For example, red or black quinoa or rice would contain more phytochemicals than beige quinoa or brown rice.


  1. Processing of grain. We use whole grains to make many popular food products such as bread, pasta, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies and snack foods. Generally, the more heavily processed the grain, the lower the nutritional value, and the higher the glycemic index (a measure of how much a food affects your blood sugar after eating). The most nutritious whole grains are called “intact whole grains” (e.g. barley, kamut, spelt and wheat berries, quinoa, wild rice, brown, red or black rice, buckwheat, etc.). Sprouting these grains further increases nutrients and phytochemicals, reduces antinutrients and releases stored forms of nutrients. Cut grains (e.g. steel cut oats, 12-grain cereals, bulgur, etc.) are also healthful choices as they are minimally processed and generally contain no additives such as sugar, fat and salt. Rolled grains (rolled oats, rolled barley, etc.) are also nutritious but are more quickly absorbed into the blood stream than intact or cut grains. Shredded grains are also acceptable choices. Ground grains (e.g. whole wheat flour, oat flour, etc.) should be used less often, and in moderate amounts as foods made with flours tend to contain more additives and are much more quickly absorbed. Flaked and puffed whole grains are more heavily processed, and are best minimized.  The whole grain hierarchy below summarizes the least to most healthful whole grains.


 Whole Grain Hierarchy



Frequently Asked Questions


Why are refined grains less healthful? When grains are refined, most of the fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals are lost. For example, when we turn wheat into white flour, we lose about 80-90% of the fiber, 70-80% of the vitamins and minerals and 90% of the phytochemicals.  No one sits down to a bowl of white flour. Before eating white flour, fat, sugar, salt, colors, preservatives and/or flavor enhancers are added, then white flour is transformed into bread, crackers, baked goods, etc. For optimal health, we want to avoid or minimize the use of refined grains (e.g. white flour, white rice, couscous, white pasta, etc.).


How many servings of grains are recommended per day? Many food guides suggest about 5-8 servings of grains per day, at least half of which should be whole grains. Of course, for people needing less calories than most, intakes would be lower, and for those needing more calories than most (e.g. athletes), intakes would be higher. For optimal health, most, if not all grains should be whole, preferably intact, broken or rolled.


Should gluten be avoided? Not necessarily. An estimated 6% of the population is sensitive to gluten. Affected individuals need to minimize their intake, and people with the most serious form of gluten sensitivity (those with celiac disease) must avoid gluten completely. Others can generally include gluten-containing grains without adverse affects. If there is a question, testing can be done.


Aren’t grains “high-carb” foods? Yes, whole grains are high in carbohydrates. Most of the calories (~65-80%) from grains are carbohydrates. This is not a bad thing. In fact, most of the calories from plant foods (with the exception of nuts and seeds) are from carbohydrates. These foods are the foods most strongly linked with disease risk reduction.


Is bran a good choice? Although bran is extremely high in fiber, it can interfere with nutrient absorption. So, for most people eating plant-based diets, it is best to minimize use (except when it is present as part of a whole grain!).


What type of bread is most healthful? Bread is a very popular food around the world. Unfortunately, it is generally flour based and is light and fluffy, hence has a big impact on blood sugar. The good news is that not all breads are equal, and some can be quite healthy. Sprouted breads (bread made from sprouted grains and dehydrated or cooked at a low temperature) such as manna breads are an excellent choice. Breads made from sprouted grain flours are preferable to regular flour breads but still can be quite light and fluffy. Generally, the denser the bread, the more slowly it is absorbed, and the more healthful it is. Breads containing intact grains, nuts and seeds are better choices. Very heavy breads (e.g. breads you can practically stand on) are best. Sourdough bread is less likely to cause food intolerance, and is more slowly absorbed than reduced.


5 Whole Grain Superstars

The Kick Diabetes Cookbook is Out!!!

The Kick Diabetes Cookbook by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (publisher – Book Publishing Company) is available now. This book provides a tested plan for managing and reversing type 2 diabetes. With over 100 recipes and step by step guidelines, it will serve as an invaluable resource. All the recipes included are sugar-free, oil-free and meet the guidelines for <1500 mg sodium per day. The are based on whole, plant foods and help you to maximize the most protective components in the diet, while minimizing those found to be the most pathogenic. You will love how easy they are to prepare. 


Dr. Michael Greger (founder of and author of How Not to Die) says, “If you intend to reverse diabetes or support someone in this process, get a copy of The Kick Diabetes Cookbook and make it your constant companion.”

Dr. John Kelly (founding president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine) says, “Properly selected and prepared plant foods can reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Reverse your diabetes and enjoy full remission using the nutritional approach so enjoyably presented in The Kick Diabetes Cookbook.”

Dr. Wes Youngberg (assistant clinical professor at Loma Linda University, founder of Diabetes Undone and author of Goodbye Diabetes) says, “I’ve been helping patients reverse diabetes for nearly 20 years. There is no one I would trust more to give me nutritional advice than Brenda Davis. Using this cookbook is your best bet for reversing diabetes.”

Julieanna Hever (co-author of Plant-based Nutrition Idiot’s Guide and The Vegiterranean Diet) says, “With the unprecedented rise of type 2 diabetes, there has been increasing confusion surrounding diet-related treatments. The Kick Diabetes Cookbook is a welcomed solution packed with simple advice, detailed charts and guidelines and delicious, easy recipes.”

Check out the recipe section for recipes featured from the book!




The Kick Diabetes CookBook




10 Ways to Lose Weight

Optimal Eating Guidelines




An optimal diet is one that:

  • minimizes risk of disease
  • treats existing disease
  • meets all nutritional requirements


The following guidelines are meant to help you achieve optimal health. Be sure to include variety in your choices to maximize nutrients and other protective dietary components, and also to minimize potential contaminants.

  • Whole foods, plant-based diet
    • 7+ servings non-starchy vegetables
    • 3+ servings fruits
    • 3+ servings legumes/legume alternatives
    • 3+ servings grains and/or starchy vegetables
    • 1+ serving nuts and seeds


  • Unprocessed or lightly processed foods*
  • Minimal refined carbohydrates
  • Minimal concentrated sweeteners**
  • Minimal ground grains such as flour (intact or cut whole grains are preferred)
  • High fiber (35-60+ grams per day), including a variety of fiber-rich foods
  • Moderate fat from healthful sources; mainly from whole plant foods (15-25% of calories from fat)
  • Minimal added fats or oils***
  • Low saturated fat (<5-6% of calories)
  • Zero trans fatty acids
  • Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids
  • Generous inclusion of colorful, anti-inflammatory, phytochemical and antioxidant-rich foods
  • Low dietary oxidants
  • Low environmental contaminants
  • Low glycemic load
  • Moderate sodium (< 2300 mg/day; <1500 mg/day for sodium sensitive individuals)
  • Organic, where possible
  • Nutritionally adequate


*Gentle processing such as blending, grating or other simple methods of food processing are acceptable.  Heavily processed foods with added fat, sugar and salt are to be avoided.


** Concentrated sweeteners are minimized, and, if used, are used sparingly for culinary purposes (e.g. 5 ml/1 tsp maple syrup in a sauce or dressing).


***Fats and oils are minimized, and, if used, are used sparingly for culinary purposes (e.g. 5 ml/1 tsp sprayed to prevent sticking; a few drops of sesame oil as a flavoring).


Eating Disorders in Vegans and other Vegetarians… setting the record straight


(From Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition, 2014)


Many experts believe that vegan diets (and other types of vegetarian diets) can increase the risk of eating disorders. Some treatment centers consider the reintroduction of meat a necessary part of recovery. These beliefs are based on data released between 1997 and 2009 that reported significantly higher rates of disturbed-eating attitudes and behaviors, restrained eating, and disordered eating among vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians.1-5


Currently, approximately 50 percent of adolescents and young women with anorexia nervosa eat some form of vegetarian diet; whereas only 6 to 34 percent of their nonanorexic peers in the general population eat a vegetarian diet.6 Although one might logically conclude that vegetarian diets cause eating disorders, evidence indicates that vegetarian diets are typically adopted after onset and simply mask eating disorders. In other words, vegetarian diets are used as a means to facilitate calorie restriction and legitimize the removal of high-fat, high-calorie animal products, and processed or fast foods made with these products.6, 7 One research team quite appropriately labeled this phenomenon “pseudovegetarianism.”8 This isn’t to say that vegetarians can’t develop eating disorders or that individuals with eating disorders won’t decide to become bona fide vegetarians while they’re ill. Both possibilities exist. However, true vegetarians can typically be distinguished by their motivation.


A 2013 study of 160 women (93 with eating disorders and 67 controls) examined the motivation for becoming vegetarian in those who were vegetarian or who had ever been vegetarian. Almost half the participants with a history of eating disorders cited weight concerns as a primary motivation for becoming vegetarian; in the control group, none of the participants became vegetarian as a result of concerns about body weight.6 In 2012, two research papers provided valuable insights into the supposed link between vegetarianism and eating disorders. The first paper reported that vegetarians and pescovegetarians weren’t more restrained in their eating patterns than omnivores; however, semivegetarians (no red meat consumption) and flexitarians (occasional red meat consumption) were significantly more restrained than omnivores or vegetarians.9 In addition, the fewer animal products the vegetarians ate (in other words, the more vegan they became), the less likely they were to exhibit signs of disordered eating. The authors noted that while the semivegetarians and flexitarians were motivated by weight concerns, vegetarians and pescovegetarians were motivated by ethical concerns. The second paper (which included two separate studies) carefully separated true vegetarians and vegans from semivegetarians and omnivores.10 The findings added to the evidence suggesting that semivegetarians are at greater risk for disordered eating than omnivores or vegetarians. The investigators found that vegans had the healthiest scores of all dietary groups and speculated that vegan diets may actually be protective against developing eating disorders.10 Although these are preliminary findings, they do effectively challenge conventional thinking. Furthermore, the conclusion makes sense, given the other-directedness of vegans (their concern for animals and the environment) as opposed to the innerdirected nature of eating disorders.


To provide effective treatment for vegetarians with eating disorders, the first determination must be whether the patient is a true vegetarian or a pseudovegetarian. If the individual is a pseudovegetarian, the reintroduction of animal products can reasonably be considered a valid step in the normalization of eating. On the other hand, the reintroduction of animal products is unnecessary and potentially damaging for true vegetarians or vegans. Individuals who are ethically committed to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle will resist any attempts to force them to forgo their values. They’ll feel disrespected and disconnected, making it difficult for them to trust their health care providers and work honestly at recovery. For true vegetarians, the addition of higher-fat, higher-calorie vegetarian foods is recommended. For vegans, this includes nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, tofu, legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.


Vegans and vegetarians who have eating disorders should ask themselves this question: Was the decision to become vegetarian influenced by a desire to achieve a lower body weight—and is this still true? Some who initially select a vegetarian or vegan diet as a means of eliminating fattening food end up becoming convinced by the ethical, ecological, or health arguments in favor of this eating pattern. Although returning to an omnivorous diet is a part of recovery for some individuals, it’s not necessary for everyone; recovery doesn’t require eating animal foods again. Vegans and vegetarians can achieve complete recovery without forsaking the beliefs and values of this empathetic lifestyle.



1. Lindeman M et al. Vegetarianism and eating-disordered thinking. Eating Disorders. 2000; 8(2):157–165. 85.

2. Bas M et al. Vegetarianism and eating disorders: Association between eating attitudes and other psychological factors among Turkish adolescents. Appetite. 2005; 44(3):309–315.

3. Klopp SA et al. Self-reported vegetarianism may be a marker for college women at risk for disordered eating. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003; 103(6):745–747.

4. Neumark-Sztainer D et al. Adolescent vegetarians. A behavioral profile of a schoolbased population in Minnesota. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 1997; 151(8):833–838.

5. Robinson-O’Brien R et al. Adolescent and young adult vegetarianism: better dietary intake and weight outcomes but increased risk of disordered eating behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(4):648–55.

6. Bardone-Cone AM et al. The inter-relationships between vegetarianism and eating disorders among females. J Acad Nutr Diet. 201;112(8):1247–52.

7. Amit M. Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee. Vegetarian diets in children and adolescents. Paediatr Child Health. 2010;15(5):303–314.

8. O’Connor MA et al. Vegetarianism in anorexia nervosa? A review of 116 consecutive cases. The Medical Journal of Australia. 1987;147(11-12):540–542. 92.

9. Forestell CA et al. To eat or not to eat red meat. A closer look at the relationship between restrained eating and vegetarianism in college females. Appetite. 2012;58(1): 319–25. 93.

10. Timko CA et al. Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. Appetite. 2012;58(3):982–90.

The Vegan Plate

Vegan Plate art BIG hi res (2)


Graphic from “Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition”  (2014) and from“Becoming Vegan: Express Edition” (2013), both by Registered Dietitians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Book Publishing Co.

This vegan food guide was designed to ensure that your diet provides all the nutrients you need for good health. While following the guidelines provided will ensure most nutrients, some deserve special attention. These are addressed in the section titled “Other Essentials”.


Food Guide


Other Essentials

Here are recommendations on a few essential nutrients of interest to vegans: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D iodine. For more.


Omega-3 fatty acids. Include at least one of the following:

• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
• ¼ cup (60 ml) of hempseeds
• ? cup (85 ml) of walnuts
• 1½ teaspoons (7 ml) of flaxseed oil
• 1½ tablespoons (22 ml) of hempseed oil
• 2½ tablespoons (37 ml) of canola oil

Taking supplement of 200 to 300 mg of supplemental vegan DHA two to three times per week may be beneficial for some individuals (such as during pregnancy or for those with diabetes). A supplement that combines DHA with EPA can also be used.


Vitamin B12. Include one of the following:

• A daily supplement that provides at least 25 mcg of vitamin B12
• Twice a week, a supplement that provides at least 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12
• Three servings daily of foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as nondairy milks, vegan meats, or breakfast cereals, totaling 4 mcg of vitamin B12 for the day (100 percent of the daily value). For one of those servings, you can use 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast flakes.


Vitamin D. Get vitamin D in the following ways:

• Expose your face and forearms to warm sunlight (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., without sunscreen) day, for fifteen minutes if you have light-colored skin, twenty minutes if you’re dark-skinned, and thirty minutes if you’re a senior.
• If you can’t get enough sun exposure—for instance, during winter, especially in northern latitudes—take a supplement or eat fortified foods. The recommended daily vitamin D intake for adults is 600 IU (15 mcg) to age seventy and 800 IU (20 mcg) after seventy. Amounts of vitamin D as high as 1,000 to 2,000 IU (25 to 50 mcg) are considered safe.


Iodine. Include one of the following:

• A multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides 150 mcg of iodine
• About ? teaspoon (2 ml) of iodized salt. Note that sea salt generally isn’t iodized; if it is, this will be declared on the label.

Practical Pointers

In addition to the preceding tips, a few simple dietary approaches will help ensure optimum nutrition and well-being:


Eat a wide variety of foods from each food group. Variety helps ensure you consume sufficient quantities of a broad range of nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber. It also makes meals much more interesting.
Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
Be moderate in your intake of concentrated fats, oils, and added sugars. These foods are generally rich in calories but poor sources of nutrients. Excessive intakes of fat and sugar will crowd out foods that offer valuable nutrients. It’s better to use whole foods such as seeds, nuts, avocados, and olives as your sources of fat, and fruits as your source of sugar, rather than extracted oils and sugars.

Watch your sodium intake. Using ready-to-eat processed foods can make life easier, but relying excessively on canned, frozen, and other processed foods can result in excessively high sodium intakes.

Aim for an hour of physical activity each day. Activity is central to energy balance and overall health. It also helps maintains muscle strength, bone density, balance, and mental well-being.

Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Fluids such as water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices can help maintain good health and prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Let thirst be your guide.