Adjusting to a new diet is a challenge for any diabetic, one made doubly difficult if it also means crossing favorite ethnic dishes off the menu.
Filling this void for Hawaii is the aim of the Lyte Bites Cookbook project, a new nonprofit venture aimed at gathering and testing low-fat and low-carb versions of Island recipes and publishing them in a handy format for local kitchens.
Project coordinator David Tasaka is assembling a board of directors and believes the project could be adapted for other ethnic communities in future editions.
“The ultimate goal would to develop a model for ethnic diabetic cooking,” Tasaka said. “That’s very exciting. There could be books for African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and they all have high rates of diabetes.”
Tasaka is an entrepreneur who in 1983 founded the Lyte Program for weight loss (www.lyteprogram.com) The cookbook project fits well within the Lyte family because it is being designed to help those who want to control their food intake and eat healthier, whether for weight-loss purposes or diabetic management.
Lyte Bites is applying for 501(C)-3 tax-exempt status to raise seed money, underwriting the cost of food purchase and testing.
What Tasaka hopes will set this project apart is its multimedia approach. Recipes are being accepted through its blogs and social networking sites as well as from sources on-island.
The finished book is envisioned to include a CD-ROM video providing some tips and basic instruction in healthy food preparation. Hawaii chef Mel Arelano, who also is assisting with the recipe testing, will be featured.
There is also potential for establishing an online community enabling sharing and further support.
Tasaka said the aim would be to produce short cookbooks of about 90 recipes to be supplemented by annual editions, and that all the recipes would be evaluated for diabetic exchanges and nutritional content.
Lyte Bites has drawn tentative interest from several medical groups in Hawaii as well as from nonprofit health-promotion organizations.
Tasaka also said there’s interest from Native Hawaiian organizations, given that there’s an elevated rate of diabetes within this ethnic group in particular.
Recipe submissions are being accepted via e-mail sent to email@example.com, through the Facebook fan page (http://tinyurl.com/lytebites) or through the blog at http://lytebites.wordpress.com/.