Beat it

Beat it

Dietitian takes diabetes head-on with food


For years, nutrition coach Susie Fricker has been touting the benefits of a veggie-rich diet through countless classes at local libraries and health care facilities. Participants in the class have repeatedly asked Fricker to expand her curriculum to include classes on warding off diabetes, so Fricker is obliging.
She will kick off her new “Food for Life: Diabetes Initiative” classes with a free introductory presentation from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Cocoa Beach Public Library, 550 N. Brevard Ave.
“We’ll be discussing the prevention of diabetes through a plant-based diet,” she said.
“We want to offer options. There are some people who are happy to be on diabetes meds the rest of their lives, but there are a lot of people who aren’t happy with that.”
The class is based on Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine Diabetes Initiative materials. Fricker’s cancer-fighting classes are also based on the PCRM’s curriculum. Sponsored by Healthy Planet of Brevard, the class will serve as a “taste test” for the four-week sessions Fricker plans to offer later in the year.
Fricker’s goal with the class is to offer options through an entertaining — and tasty — program. As she does with the cancer-fighting classes, Fricker will prepare specifically designed healthy recipes and offer samplings to the crowd.
At the core of Fricker’s new classes is Dr. Neal Barnard’s “Program for Reversing Diabetes.” If the name Barnard seems familiar, you might have caught the good doctor speaking on the connection between disease and food in the many health-related specials PBS carts out during pledge weeks.
The “Food for Life” series of classes was designed by physicians, nurses and registered dietitians. The format features information on how certain foods and nutrients work to promote health and cooking demonstrations and samplings of simple, nutritious recipes. The introductory session includes a 30-minute video from Barnard.
The program is aimed at individuals who have diabetes and would like to wean themselves from medications, as well as for individuals who just want to ward off the disease.
“Diabetes is a hot topic these days, right up there with cancer,” Fricker said.
“Everybody knows someone with diabetes or cancer. Turning things around is not rocket science. Some people think that going to a plant-based diet is too drastic, but I tell them that what is really drastic is taking meds for the rest of their lives.”
Signing up for classes
Registration for Susie Fricker’s Cocoa Beach workshop is not required. To contact Fricker about additional class sessions, call 321-652-0563. For details, see fflclasses.org.