Diabetic-friendly recipes from Charles Mattocks
MATTOCKS... it is all about moderation

FROM knowing nothing about diabetes to literally travelling the world to raise awareness about the condition, Charles Mattocks, a Type 2 diabetic, embarked on a lifestyle change to save his life and is now sharing his knowledge with others.

A spokesman for the American Diabetes Association, Mattocks' need to create tasty, nutritious and affordable meals has led to his career as The Poor Chef.

The Jamaica Observer sought to find out from him, in a recent interview, the three worst foods and the three best foods for diabetics. However, Mattocks did not single out six different foods, but instead told the Sunday Observer that where food and diabetics are concerned, self-discipline, moderation and practising portion control are key.

"...You really want to avoid carb-filled foods and sugar-filled foods. So as a diabetic, those are our weaknesses," Mattocks said. "So really it is all about moderation."

He used the Jamaican favourite, curried chicken, to explain further.

"Now the curried chicken in itself is not a bad thing, it's what you add with the curried chicken," Mattocks insisted. "So if we are adding rice and peas with dumpling and banana, that's where the issue comes into play; but if we have curried chicken with fresh vegetables or even some fresh fruits, we are in a great situation."

He said whether it is curried goat or oxtail, diabetics should really focus on portion size and moderation control.

Mattocks told the Sunday Observer that when he first found out he was diabetic, he was surprised and took to learning all he could about the condition. Vegetable, fruits and lean meat became his best friends.

"If you want to have some rice, make it a treat, have it once or twice per week," shared Mattocks. "We have to look at food as a medicine and realise that we can't overdose on this medicine."

What are the must-haves in a diabetics diet?

Raw foods, natural foods, natural vegetables, and pure water, Mattocks insisted.

Mattocks said Jamaica needs to do more to raise awareness about the disorder that is one of the leading causes of deaths on the island. He also suggested that parents make an effort to inculcate within their children the habits of healthy eating.

"People need to make a total change. They have got to educate themselves on these conditions and they have to also instil proper management skills in their children," said Mattocks. "They have to allow them to realise that eating fresh foods is the best thing, take them shopping, bring them to the place where they can learn how to shop, what to eat, how much to eat, and then put these things on the dinner table.

"Parents have to be focused on putting proper food on the table," Mattocks continued. "Parents need to make it fun and engage their children."

Try three of his diabetic-friendly recipes.

Bountiful Harvest Vegetable Salad

Serves: 6

Serving Size: 1/6th recipe


1 tbsp hazelnut or olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3/4 cup malt vinegar

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 cup chopped parsnips

1 cup chopped turnips

1/2 cup parsley and cilantro leaves

3 cups baby salad greens

1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces

1 cup chopped radish

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 second more. Stir in vinegar and sugar and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and keep dressing warm.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add parsnips and turnips and simmer until vegetables are just tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain well.

3. Arrange parsley, cilantro and salad greens, and top with hot vegetables, then garnish with walnuts and radish. Drizzle with warm dressing, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 145

Calories from Fat: 80

Total Fat: 9g

Saturated Fat: 0.8g

Trans Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 45mg

Potassium: 415mg

Total Carbohydrate: 14g

Dietary Fibre: 4g

Sugars: 6g

Protein: 3g

Phosphorus: 85mg


2 vegetable, 2 fat

Fiesta Fish Tacos

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 taco


Juice of 1/2 lime

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb tilapia fillets

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 tbsp minced cilantro

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

4 (6-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup cubed mango

Black pepper, to taste


1. Mix lime juice, garlic and olive oil in a glass bowl.

2. Add tilapia and marinate in refrigerator for one hour.

3. Place tilapia in a glass baking dish surrounded by green and red bell peppers, minced cilantro and tomatoes.

4. Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

5. Divide fish and veggies into four servings and place on each of the warmed tortillas.

6. Top with lettuce, cubed mango and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 260

Calories from Fat: 55

Total Fat: 6g

Saturated Fat: 1.4g

Trans Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 50mg

Sodium: 190mg

Potassium: 675mg

Total Carbohydrate: 27g

Dietary Fibre: 4g

Sugars: 9g

Protein: 26g

Phosphorus: 260mg


1 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

Avocado Summer Soup

Serves: 8

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp canola oil

2 large ripe Haas avocados

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbsp sherry

1 (14-oz) can low-sodium chicken stock (or 11/2 cups homemade chicken broth)

1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups low-fat milk

Dash kosher salt


1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until soft and fragrant. Set aside.

2. Peel and chop the avocado. Purée in a blender or food processor with the onion and garlic mixture, the lime juice, and the sherry.

3. Add chicken broth and hot sauce. Process until blended. Pour into a large serving bowl and add the chopped cilantro and milk. (Use more or less to achieve desired consistency.)

4. Add salt to taste and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

5. Garnish with more chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 125

Calories from Fat: 80

Total Fat: 9g

Saturated Fat: 1.5g

Cholesterol: 5mg

Sodium: 50mg

Potassium: 380mg

Total Carbohydrate: 9g

Dietary Fibre: 3g

Sugars: 4g

Protein: 4g

Phosphorus: 95mg


1/2 carbohydrate, 1 fat

Recipes are from The Budget-Friendly Fresh and Local Diabetes Cookbook by Charles Mattocks and were reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. Charles Mattocks Productions may be contacted at junior.reversedcaribbean@gmail.com


Bountiful Harvest Vegetable Salad
Fiesta<br />Fish Tacos and Avocado Summer Soup
BY ANIKA RICHARDS Sunday Observer staff reporter richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

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