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Celebrity chef cooks up a buzz about diabetes

National tour focuses on education public about disease

POSTED: November 13, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Celebrity Chef Charles Mattocks thought he was healthy until he was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago.

But after his diagnosis, Mattocks realized he didn’t know very much about diabetes. He started researching and found a lack of education and support for the millions of people in the country who have the disease.

“I thought I was a healthy person,” said Mattocks, who regularly appears on the Dr. Oz Show and on national TV showing people how to prepare healthy meals on a budget. “Then all of a sudden I was diagnosed and that was when my battle began, so to speak. I looked around and I didn’t see anybody doing a great job of supporting diabetes. I didn’t see any companies doing a great job of supporting diabetes. And I thought you know we really need to have someone get out here and get on the front line and reach the people.”

Mattocks, known as “The Poor Chef,” and nephew of the late reggae-legend Bob Marley, is on the second leg of his Diabetic You RV national tour and has a mission of educating and inspiring people with diabetes to live healthy. He will make a stop in Gainesville from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Wound Healing Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lanier Park. Mattock’s will make additional appearances Thursday in Atlanta for World Diabetes Day.

The tour stop will feature several small cooking demonstrations and diabetic recipe cards, free year-long subscriptions to Diabetic Living magazine, talks with diabetic educators and wound care specialists.

“Really it’s about getting the word out and creating a buzz,” Mattocks said. “And getting people to come out and support their families and people who not only try to live right and eat right but survive diabetes.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 25 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes in 2011. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and blindness and a major cause for heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death.

“Diabetes attacks every organ in the body,” Mattocks said. “It is attributed to things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure. It literally is attacking everything in our body. ... With 4.8 million deaths last year from diabetes complications, it took more lives than AIDS and cancer combined. So it’s a pandemic.”

Mattocks said he’s seen a lot of families bring diabetic members to the tour stops in the hopes they’ll be encouraged to take charge of their health and well-being.

“A lot of times, let’s say a wife brings her husband, it’s because she can’t talk to him and she can’t push him in a way that she would like to,” Mattocks said. “Meeting me allows her or him to say ‘Here, hear it from someone else.’”

Leigh Pascucelli, operations manager for the Wound Healing Center and Diabetes Education department, said the center is excited to have the nationally recognized chef make an appearance.

Many of the patients treated at the center have diabetes and chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers.

“We can often heal these chronic wounds and reduce amputations,” Pascucelli said. “Ultimately, that helps save money and improve the patient’s quality of life, which is what our whole goal is.”

Everyone who is interested in learning more about diabetes for themselves or a loved one is welcome to attend the event. Mattocks said he hopes the grass-roots approach to supporting people with diabetes will result in better health for everyone.

“Whether it’s one person of 1,000, if you’re able to help one person come through that stop that may have been misguided or may have needed some information (then) that’s what you’re trying to do because that one person you help, that may literally save their life,” he said.


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