Healthy Mexican Cooking with Chef Lala
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Breaking the Diabetes Cycle
Despite having two parents, three grandparents, and eight uncles with diabetes, Chef LaLa (Laura Diaz) is determined to change the course of history. "Mexican food has a bad rap for being high in calories, carbs, and fat. But it doesn't have to be," she says. "I grew up in our family restaurants, so authenticity is important to me. And health is equally important."
Inspired by her three passions in life (her son and family, cooking, and health), this Los Angeles-based chef uses her culinary and nutrition training to show people how to enjoy traditional cultural cuisine in better ways. As a motivational speaker for several health outlets, including the American Heart Association, NBA FIT, and the Let's Move! campaign, LaLa kept getting audience questions related to diabetes. "I realized people didn't have enough solutions for how to enjoy the foods they love while managing their diabetes," says LaLa, who is also a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and an honoree for the Joslin Diabetes Center's Latino Initiatives. "Everyone talks about the diabetes epidemic, but I think we need to focus on the solutions."
And that's exactly what LaLa does.
"You can't hand someone [who is newly diagnosed with diabetes] a list of vegetables and expect them to change the way they eat. If tortillas or pasta or bread is a big part of their cultural cuisine, a better solution is to show them how and when to eat those foods."