The DX regularly features The DX Diabetes Dish, a profile about life and life with diabetes. This month, we dish with Chef Robert Lewis, The Happy Diabetic, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1998. Since receiving many requests to share his tips and recipes for nutritious, easy-to-prepare dishes that taste great, Lewis has published two cookbooks – Get Happy, Get Healthy and Simply Desserts – and he speaks to audiences at hospitals and health fairs across the country, delivering a message of hope and encouragement.
What is your state of mind today?
Blissful! I have an incredible family. I have a wife of thirty-three years and a happy marriage. I am hopeful for my future. I am successful in managing my health and I have a passion for life. I’ve never had it so good!
What three words would you use to describe who you are?
Funny. Loving. Joyful.
Why are you passionate about diabetes?
I am passionate about sharing the message that you can live well with diabetes! Diabetes motivates me to maintain my own healthy lifestyle. It is also the reason that I travel and speak to people about how to find happiness in being healthier. I truly want to make a difference in people’s lives.
If you could take away one aspect of diabetes, what would it be?
I would take away the denial that may come with a new diagnosis. It can be the biggest roadblock on the way to a healthier, happier life! I say, “own your diabetes!”
What inspires you to do what you do?
I listen to the stories of people who have been diagnosed and are struggling to find a balanced lifestyle. I understand those challenges because I live them every day. But I have personally found some strategies for healthy eating that have worked well for me. I know a little bit about cooking and eating, and I want to share this good news with other people living with diabetes.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
I appreciate honesty. It is the honesty of my closest friends and family that helps me to be the best person I can be.
What would you pack for your favorite vacation?
My favorite vacation would include my iPod® filled with favorite music for the road trip. I would take my guitar and enjoy the company of my wife and grandkids!
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Almond milk, 2% organic milk, garlic, lots of fresh veggies, lean proteins, string cheese, pesto, eggs, hoisin sauce, and did I say garlic? I have some garden-picked fresh basil, Swiss chard, and kale. Mmmm, this is making me hungry!
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
I like to play my 1968 Guild® Starfire electric guitar – loud!
What is your idea of happiness?
Giving back to people who are less fortunate, living a healthy lifestyle, and being surrounded by family, friends, and our cat Tucker.
What do you most dislike?
Negativity. It’s extremely important to me to stay positive and look on the bright side. It’s always my goal to bring a smile to the face of each person I meet.
What words do you try to live by?
“Life is like an ice cream cone, you’ve got to lick it!” and “You are not what you eat, you are how much you eat.”
What is your greatest fear?
Running out of garlic.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My guitar collection.
On what occasion do you lie?
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Our family is spread across the country. I would like it if everyone could live just down the street – just think of the dinner parties!
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mother, Charlotte, was my hero. She was an incredible woman with a loving and exuberant spirit who brought joy to everyone. Another hero is my niece, Annie, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five. She is a beautiful sixteen-year old who has accepted her reality and embraced it like a champion!
What would you choose for your last meal?
Macaroni and cheese. Go big or go home!
All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience