Thu | Oct 6, 2022

J’can family serves meals for diabetics in New York

Published:Monday | August 8, 2022 | 12:05 AMPaul Williams/Gleaner Writer

The biggest challenge for persons living with diabetes is to find meals that are tasty, but which do not undermine their health. For these persons, foods rich in carbohydrates are a big no-no. So there is the constant vigilance to make sure they...

The biggest challenge for persons living with diabetes is to find meals that are tasty, but which do not undermine their health. For these persons, foods rich in carbohydrates are a big no-no. So there is the constant vigilance to make sure they are not present in the diet. It’s a life of inspecting and nitpicking at foods.

But it does not have to be this way, as Tasty Diabetic Meals (TDM), a US-based company, makes healthful, tasty meals and offers guidance on meal planning for diabetics.

Started on September 4, 2021, by a Jamaica-born family based in Newburgh, New York, TDM produces ingredients for meals.

“We are marketing a platform in which diabetics can go to and thrive in. The main feature of the platform will be the meal kits that we sell, as well as the one-on-one diabetic coaching services we provide. Ultimately, we will be a hub that diabetics can go to, with [the] confidence that they will always get information or services to make their lives as a diabetic easier with every visit,” Matthew Hood, director of technology at TMD, told The Gleaner.

TDM also guides diabetics about their diet and lifestyle, and offers a series of food product substitutes. Speciality ingredients are used to make things like pancakes, maple syrup, different kinds of breads, brownies, cookies, and much more. Meal kits, along with easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes, are mailed to clients, as there is not yet a storefront.

Hood, a type one diabetic, uses his own products, and says that up to this point, his blood sugar is even lower than some persons who do not have diabetes. He says his inspiration for establishing the business was his personal struggles with this very difficult type of diabetes.

“The idea was a collaborative initiative based on how Matthew Hood was able to overcome his struggles with handling type one diabetes through diet, lifestyle, and knowledge,” the family said.

Hood was diagnosed when he was 19 years old. He played varsity sports in high school, and was ahead of his class and top of his game in college when he was rushed to the emergency room, after which he got the “quite shocking” news.

EMOTIONAL PERIOD

He says it was an emotional period for him to learn how devastating the disease could be, and the (possible) reduced life expectancy. Although he accepted his lot and tried to adapt to his new lifestyle, he was not inspired. It was stressful, day after day, because of the constant worry over blood-sugar levels and what to eat.

He was influenced even further as he saw the devastating effects of the disease on the lives of other people, including his grandparents and an uncle. He felt that there had to be a better way, which he had to find to eliminate the stress from his own life.

Hood told himself he didn’t have to live with the stress, and decided to take care of himself to extend his life. But what started out as a personal fix-it has evolved into a business.

“The company was started to make the lives of diabetics around the world easier by providing a solution to a very difficult disease to deal with. We want to help people manage the disease seamlessly, and in turn save them from complications such as loss of limbs, loss of eyesight, and death,” he explained.

“Just seeing all the horrible effects of this disease provided me with even more inspiration to get the company up and running, to keep people from suffering.”

The response has been encouraging.

“The feedback so far is to include more options for the meals we provide. This is something we are actively working on improving, and we will be rolling out new meals continuously in the future. Solids and liquids will be added to the list of regimens.”

Also, there is much support from his doctors, and he has been encouraged by that.

“It was a struggle at first, but it made my life better, and it showed me that you can really overcome anything that comes into your life, and what you face. You just have to figure out how to adapt to it,” he shared.

To learn more about TDM’s work visit: https://tastydiabeticmeals.com/.

paul.williams@gleanerjm.com