Thrive With Diabetes: Lead an Optimistic, Fun, Challenging, Fit, Tenacious, Enlightened, Innovative & Heroic Life.
By Laurence D. Chalem MBA, M.Mus., CPM
Reviewed by Tim Boyd
Thrive with Diabetes starts off with a lot of technical detail— the three main types of diabetes, symptoms, treatments, and what is happening down to the molecular level. While it was slightly intriguing to learn of a Type 2 diabetes treatment based on lizard drool (more specifically Gila monster saliva), the first 180 pages are pretty dry and tedious. Some of the technical details are a little beyond my expertise or ability to pass judgment on.
On page 180, the book suddenly and uncharacteristically starts to get more interesting. Then I noticed that the author is quoting extensively from the introduction of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD. Chalem also has several quotes from Know Your Fats by Mary Enig. He recognizes the importance of fat in the diet, but beyond that he starts to diverge from Weston A. Price principles. There is a comment about saturated fat being associated with cardiovascular disease and in several places unsaturated fat is recommended over saturated fat. He also says that all vegetables should be eaten raw. I was hoping to see some discussion of the role of trans fats in insulin resistance per Mary Enig. He does point out that they should be avoided, but that is one area where he doesn’t go into a lot of detail.
After this somewhat distorted view on what is supposed to be good nutrition, Chalem goes into lifestyle advice. The psychology section is based on the work of Erik Erikson, who was inspired by Sigmund Freud. I’ve never been a fan of Freud and this section contains occasionally obvious statements separated by long stretches of psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo.
One of the main points of the book is that a carefully balanced low-carbohydrate diet makes diabetes much easier to control and easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels. I have no argument with that, but this is a thumbs downer book that the average reader, diabetic or not, will probably not have the mental endurance to make it through.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2008.