By Elizabeth Drumheller
During his first 15 years as a chef, Mark Allison loved using butter, cream and fatty meats. That changed when his son Matthew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14 months. “We were determined that he would not grow up on some special diet,” says Allison. “Matthew [now 9] eats the same as we do, and his blood sugars are as near to normal as you can get.” (People with type 1 diabetes must also be treated with insulin.) Given his family’s success, Allison was determined to help others.
Last year, Allison introduced “Diabetic Cooking or Just Plain Healthy,” a four-hour cooking course open to the public at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. The class—which runs twice this spring—includes talks by an endocrinologist and dietitian. The rest of the time, Allison leads participants in making delicious dishes based on whole grains, fresh produce and lean proteins, like fish and chicken. One of his biggest hits: shrimp and galia melon with garlic-lime dressing.