How I Took My Diabetes Diagnosis to Heart

How I Took My Diabetes Diagnosis to Heart

Art Smith, an award-winning cookbook author, executive chef, co-owner of 5 restaurants, and personal chef to celebrities, shares the personal journey of how he reclaimed his health after a diabetes diagnosis and how you can too!

Here at Recipe4Living, we can't get enough of celebrity chefs. If you want more content from some more of our food heroes, try these: A Chat with Art SmithRachael Ray's Portabella CacciatorePaula Deen's BBQ SauceThe Barefoot Contessa's Flag Cake

As a chef living with type 2 diabetes, I know that managing the way you eat is critical and can be difficult. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008, when I weighed more than 325 pounds.  Diabetes runs in my family. Both my father and grandfather passed away from complications from diabetes and my mother also has diabetes on her side of the family.

After my diagnosis, I worked with my doctor to develop a personalized diabetes-management plan that was right for me. I also made some changes to my diet to include more vegetables and started exercising five days a week. By sticking to this plan, I lost more than 100 pounds and now have my diabetes under control.

I’m partnering with Merck on Taking Diabetes to Heart to help the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes understand that small, but important changes in their lifestyle, including food choices, can help them better manage the disease. Through Taking Diabetes to Heart, I’m cooking up delicious, diabetes-friendly dishes that the whole family can enjoy. I want to show people that having type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you have to make separate meals or feel alone at meal time. I’m challenging restaurants and food trucks in select cities to make at least one of their menu items healthier for people with diabetes while still maintaining the same delicious taste.

We have a great website,, where you can find my delicious diabetes-friendly recipes, information about how restaurants and food trucks in your area are participating in the program and more resources for you and your family. My doctor told me that people with type 2 diabetes can help reduce their risk of serious complications by setting individual goals to manage the ABCs of diabetes—that’s A for A1C, also known as blood sugar, B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol.1,2 There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to diabetes-management, so work with your doctor to talk about your goals and develop a plan that’s right for you including diet, exercise, and, if appropriate, medication—and stick to that plan.1,2 

One of the more difficult aspects of diabetes management can be adjusting the way you eat and not giving in to temptation, but as a chef I know it’s possible to make favorite recipes in a healthier way and that moderation is key. I can’t resist bringing people together with food, so I shared my personal journey to good health as well as healthy recipes in my new cookbook, Art Smith’s Healthy Comforts.


About Art Smith 

Art Smith is an award-winning cookbook author, executive chef and co-owner of 5 restaurants, including Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., Southern Art in Atlanta, Joanne Trattoria in New York, and LYFE Kitchen restaurants in Palo Alto and Culver City, CA.

As the former personal, day-to-day chef to celebrities, Smith has received some of the culinary profession’s highest awards and has made regular television appearances on programs such as “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Iron Chef America.” This year, Art has also released his newest cookbook, “Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort.” Art is working with Merck on the Taking Diabetes to Heart program to help people living with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Diabetes Fact Sheet: National estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

2. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes–2013. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(suppl 1):S11–S66.

(Photo by Kipling Swehla)


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