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Local children's author honoured

Wilson Creek's Colleen Bartley was recently honoured with an Excellence in Education Award for her revised book: Canada's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes.

Wilson Creek's Colleen Bartley was recently honoured with an Excellence in Education Award for her revised book: Canada's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes.

She first released the book in 1995 six years after her daughter was diagnosed with children's diabetes. At the time she was a caterer and she spent a lot of time trying to create foods that were tasty and diabetic friendly.

"At that time there was one major diabetic cookbook and it was for people with Type 2 diabetes who often have to lose weight, so a lot of the recipes weren't appealing to children. I thought why not create a cookbook with recipes for pizzas and hamburgers and things kids like to eat," Bartley said.

She did just that. Her first diabetic kids' cookbook was ready to be printed in 1995. That book was then picked up by publisher Robert Rose who saw it at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

"He wanted it to be redone with pictures and the new CDA Beyond the Basics Meal Planning Guide because the way children manage their diabetes has changed," Bartley said.

She said most diabetic children now count carbohydrates and base their insulin intake on the amount of carbohydrates instead of the whole meal.

"But it's important to still eat each of the food groups every day," she said, which is where the meal planning guide comes into play.

Her revised cookbook boasts simple recipes for everything from banana cream tiramisu to fettuccine Alfredo with easy to follow instructions and tips for the chef.

It took Bartley about a year to revise her cookbook and add some new creations.

She consulted with dieticians and the Canadian Diabetes Association and reworked some recipes based on their advice."We would email back and forth and every time there was a change I'd have to remake the recipe to make sure it still tasted good," she said.

She worked very closely with dietician Doreen Yasui who helped her with her first book and wrote the introduction for the revised edition.

Yasui was so impressed with Bartley's commitment to offering fun, healthy choices to children with diabetes, she nominated her for a Children and Women's Excellence in Education Award With Distinction for the development of patient and family education tools and resources.

On May 25 Bartley accepted the award sponsored by B.C. Children's Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and the B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre.

The judges were impressed with Bartley's effort. "Unlike other recipe books that appeal to users on appearance and taste, this cookbook provides all the information that is necessary for the person with diabetes on insulin or medication to balance food with medication in order to have the best possible blood sugar results," said one of the judges. "During their initial teaching at diagnosis the family must learn an incredible amount. So they go home and they must feed their newly diagnosed child. I have had so many parents ask if a dietician can come home with them to help with what to feed them. This cookbook comes close to this help."

Bartley was thrilled to receive the award and she hopes the revised cookbook will help kids and parents manage childhood diabetes, as she knows the challenges first hand. "Anything that makes it easier is wonderful," she said.

You can pick up a copy of Canada's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes for $19.95 at Talewind Books and the Upstairs/Downstairs Shop in Sechelt.