Before I begin this cookbook review, I have to clarify one thing: I don't cook. Not that I can't cook, I just don't like doing it. I do, however, love to eat. Lucky for me, I married a man who enjoys whipping things up in the kitchen, so we make a great team.

My husband, Erik, was a big help in making three of the recipes in the cookbook by Michael Moore — not the documentary filmmaker from the Motor City, but the award-winning Australian chef who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 35 (although some places report him as type 2, and the cookbook does not specify). Later, he had a stroke at age 45. This inspired him to create a collection of "diabetes-friendly" recipes for us all to enjoy at home.

Published last year on Nov. 1, the cookbook has a mouthful for a title: "Blood Sugar: Inspiring Recipes for Anyone Facing the Challenge of Diabetes and Maintaining Good Health."

My first impression of the book was that it is lovely. I've never seen a prettier cookbook. It has a textured cover and beautiful photography. It looks like a coffee table book. Erik and I enjoyed flipping through the pages, looking at what recipes we might try for the review.

And aside from the lovely look, the cookbook's design makes it really more than just a cookbook, but more like a lesson in culinary thought. The first section involves Michael explaining his food philosophy. He breaks food down into three categories, based on the Glycemic Index: There are the Fire Foods, which are high on the Glycemic Index, meaning they digest quickly and have little nutritional value; the Water Foods, which have low GI and are fresh, like veggies, and have smaller effects on blood sugar; and Coal Foods, which are also low GI and digest slowly.

He lists his Fire Foods as: rice, pasta and white bread, potatoes, fruits and juices, and "sweet things."  To minimize the impact of Fire Foods, he opts to use agave syrup in his recipes. Now, I have written previously about agave syrup, and how it's not all it's cracked up to be for diabetics, but I wasn't going to hold it against Chef Moore. Lots of people love using agave syrup.

As most healthy cookbooks are, this collection is chock-full of meals that are low-carb and high in veggies in protein. In fact, there is a whole section just on salads, with 10 recipes! Chef Moore does have a section called "Pasta, Rice and Eggs" (I still can't figure out the connection between those three...), even though pasta and rice are on his hit list. Most of the recipes look absolutely delicious, but unfortunately, that's where the praise ends.

We chose three recipes to make, so we thought our odds would be pretty good. We tried the Veggie Lasagna, the Grilled Sirloin Steak with Roasted Mushroom Pate, and the Polenta-Crusted Pork with Fennel and Orange Salad.

First, we weren't even able to eat the Veggie Lasagna. Perhaps one of the trickier items to make, the lasagna didn't even cook fully despite following the directions to a T; the shells remained uncooked and completely inedible. The Sirloin Steak and Pork came out slightly better, but we were instructed to keep the Roasted Mushroom Pate cold, which was unappetizing against the warm steak, and the Pork was mostly flavorless and needed a heavy dose of salt and pepper (and applesauce, in my case).

Most of the recipes are not complicated to make, though Erik found them a little lacking in explanation for how the food should be prepared. Perhaps more experienced cooks can handle it, but Erik appreciates the depth that other cookbooks go into, especially when trying a new recipe for the first time. This one just didn't cut it.

So we found ourselves with three strikes, and we're pretty sure this cookbook is out of our kitchen.

Not only that, but I found some of Chef Moore's photo captions for the pictured meals a bit peculiar and his advice a bit old-fashioned. One caption declared, "Everyone will be on your case about what you eat. You must be prepared to be honest with yourself." Say what?! Sure, people will be on my case, and do you know what I say? "Back off!"

And this gem: "If you are diabetic, you should accept that you have probably eaten your last potato chip."

I suppose we probably shouldn't tell him about the DOC's obsession with cupcakes...

Another disappointment with the cookbook — and I should add that this is a criticism I have of all cookbooks — is the lack of nutritional information. This book is a guide for people with diabetes. The least they could do is list carbohydrate count of each recipe, right? It's very silly and unhelpful that so many cookbooks don't do that, and you would think a cookbook marketed to PWDs would have it as a main feature. Nope!

Even though our trio of test recipes didn't come out so great, I have a hard time believing that the entire cookbook is a loss. I know that we often get stuck in a food rut, eating the same kinds of foods week after week, and we have really enjoyed using a variety of cookbooks that are stocked in our kitchen to mix it up a little. So really, despite the flaws I see with it, I think that if you're interested in broadening your culinary horizons, this cookbook could be worth a try.

You'll just have to do the carb-counting for yourself!

(Or at least it will look pretty on your coffee table.)

{Published by New Holland Australia,  Nov. 1, 2011; hard cover $23.07 on Amazon}

The DMBooks Giveaway

Once again we're giving you the chance to win a free copy of our latest book reviewed. If you're interested in winning this Blood Sugar cookbook to try, check out the instructions below.

Entering the giveaway is as easy as leaving a comment!

Here's what to do:

1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in the comment (beginning, end, in parenthesis, in bold, whatever). That will let us know that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. You can still leave a comment without entering, but if you want to be considered to win the book, please remember to include "DMBooks."

2. You have until Friday, Oct. 19, at 5pm PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.

3. The winner will be chosen using

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The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. Best of luck!

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.