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Eating plan focuses on prairie food

EDMONTON — A Mediterranean diet with a dash of savoury prairie flavour is the theme of a new cookbook.

Originally created as a dietary guideline for diabetics that used locally available ingredients, the Pure Prairie Eating Plan was created by nutritionists at the University of Alberta.

“The Mediterranean diet is a diet-ary pattern, the way people eat. It is not a diet in the clinical sense for losing weight,” said the university’s Cathy Chan.

Current data suggests 70 percent of Albertans are overweight or obese, putting them at risk of becoming diabetic. Research suggests this type of diet could help people avoid chronic disease later.

“There is a growing body of re-search that people who subscribe to the Mediterranean diet have a re-duced risk of chronic disease,” Chan said at the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency annual meeting in Edmonton last month.

The prairie diet is a four week eating plan with three meals and three snacks daily that follows Canada’s Food Guide with a reliance on prairie foods. A nutrient breakdown for each recipe and meal plan is provided.

“We hope the ingredients are easy to find in your local grocery store throughout Alberta,” she said.

There are also tips to adjust the menu to increase or decrease caloric intake, with the diet allowing for 2,000 calories daily.

Grocery lists are also provided to help people with meal planning.

The plan has been tested on people with Type 2 diabetes.

Some lost about two kilograms of weight but for most, the greater benefit was improved blood pressure, decreased sodium intake and better blood glucose levels.

“These people were getting better three months after following our menu plan,” Chan said.

The nutritionists worked with ALMA and commodity groups to promote the book. All proceeds go to diabetes research.

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