What We’re Reading: Health At the End of the Rainbow

We’ve all heard the old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." But this advice can be difficult to follow if just thinking about apples makes you cringe. As diabetes blogger Birdie Loo admits on Aiming for Grace, knowing that fruits and vegetables are healthy doesn’t necessarily make incorporating them into your diet any easier. But for her, inspiration to adopt a healthier diet came from an unlikely source: a project by Malaysian-born artist Tattfoo Tan.


The installation, known as NMS, or the Nature Matching System, is a large mural composed of several rows of colored squares. But these aren’t just ordinary squares: All of the colors in the piece are drawn from various fruits and vegetables, including purple cabbage, artichokes, sour cherries, and golden kiwis, available at the artist’s local farmers market. In Tan’s words, the piece is “a reminder to consume your daily recommended doses of color.”

Tattfoo Tan isn’t the only one encouraging people to put some color on their plates. At www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, a Web site run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is information about consuming the “colors of health,” including tips for getting a wider variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet, fruit- and vegetable-oriented recipes, and a tool for analyzing the nutrition content of meals.

No matter where you find your inspiration, adding color to your palate can be fun—and it’s good for you!

This blog entry was written by Assistant Editor Diane Fennell.

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  • CalgaryDiabetic

    I like green beans but in Calgary the Houston of the north (being on the far end of the food supply chain from southern California) they are disgustingly rotten by the time they are put up for sale. Still a poor excuse becase yams and oranges (because of our 40 F garage most of the year)store very well also there are frozen veggies. Canned veggies, you wonder about the bis-phenol A from the plastic liner that has been heated to pasturize the contents after canning. Culture here is greater American: meat and patatoes (one patato no E). This and the exhorbitant price of veggies makes them unattractive.

  • gardener

    I like so much about your magazine and find many of the articles and attitudes about handling diabetes helpful. However, I do not understand why such a large percentage of your recipes are high in carbohydrates. Though I am a Type 1 and use insulin, there is no possible way for me to eat these foods without a significant rise in blood sugar and they certainly couldn’t be healthy for Type 2’s either. It seems that everyone is trying to find a way to eat an ordinary “American” diet without accepting the limitations that diabetes imposes. Delicious, healthy choices are available to diabetics but your recipes seem to be sending the message that we don’t need to worry too much about carbohydrates. This is missleading and unhealthy. Yes, it is important to consider limiting salt and fats in our diets, just as others should do, but we diabetics must understand that our metabolisms will not handle carbohydrates in a “normal” way.

  • CalgaryDiabetic

    Gardener hits the nail on the head. People with peanut allergies are not told to keep eating a normal amount of peanuts and shoot tons of adrenaline or whatever you need to stay alive. Eating the normal American diet I need prodigious amounts of insulin compared to a reduce carb diet. And even for non-diabetic americans is the high carb diet good? You wonder when 1/3 are overweight and 1/3 are obese. Keep the articles comming. Maybe a review of Dr. Richard Berstein ideas for diabetics would be good. Mind you I love fruits: pears, apples and oranges and eat a lot but is this good. They affect BG much less that horrors like pizza or bread or patatoes.