The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook

More than 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss


By Dr. Mark Hyman, MD

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Following Dr. Hyman’s scientifically based program for rebalancing insulin and blood sugar levels, this cookbook presents 175 delectable recipes that are free of allergens and harmful inflammatory ingredients.

In The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, Dr. Mark Hyman shares recipes that support the Blood Sugar Solution lifestyle. In 1900, only two percent of meals in America were eaten outside the home; now it is over fifty percent. Dr. Hyman calls for readers to take back their health by taking back their kitchens.

Readers will exchange toxic factory-made foods for nutritious and easy-to-make dishes such as Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Mexican Shrimp Ceviche, Tuscan Zucchini Soup, Raspberry Banana Cream Pie Smoothie, Chocolate Nut Cake, and more. The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook will illuminate your inner nutritionist and chef.


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Table of Contents



Copyright Page

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Tools and Resources for the Blood Sugar Solution

This cookbook is designed to be used alone, and if you follow the recipes and the program, it will work on its own. But there is so much more to share and explain about how and why this program works, and additional tools and resources to help you succeed. I encourage you to review my book The Blood Sugar Solution, join our online community, and get free access to hundreds of videos, including my cooking videos. You will also get access to health-tracking tools to track your diet, exercise, measurements, and lab tests, as well as a guide to what tests to take, tips on how to work with your doctor to get what you need, information about supplements, and more. You can access nutrition and life coaching, a rich assortment of articles and educational materials, and even additional recipes. In addition, the online UltraWellness Community is made up of tens of thousands of people just like you who help guide, support, and encourage one another as they work through many of the same issues. And for those who need a bit more support, I lead a 12-week online course on the Blood Sugar Solution—go to to learn more. My goal is for you to say, "I didn't know I was feeling so bad until I started feeling so good."


Cooking Is a Revolutionary Act1

The cure for what ails us—both in our bodies and in our nation—can be found in the kitchen. It is a place to rebuild community and connection, strengthen bonds with family and friends, teach life-giving skills to our children, enrich and nourish our bodies and our souls. Yet, in the twenty-first century, our kitchens (and our taste buds) have been hijacked by the food industry. In 1900 only 2 percent of meals were eaten outside of the home; today that number is over 50 percent.

The foodlike substances proffered by the industrial food system trick our taste buds into momentary pleasure. But our biology rejects the junk forced on our genes and on our hormonal and biochemical pathways. Your tongue can be fooled and your brain can become addicted to the slick combinations of fat, sugar, and salt pumped into factory-made foods, but your biochemistry cannot handle these foods, and the result is the disaster we have in America today—70 percent of us are overweight, and obesity rates are expected to top 42 percent by the end of the next decade (up from only 13 percent in 1960).

Today one in two Americans has either pre-diabetes or diabetes. In less than a decade the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes in teenagers has risen from 9 percent to 23 percent. Really? Almost one in four kids has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes? Yes, and perhaps even more shocking, 37 percent of kids at a normal weight have one or more cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar, because even though factory food doesn't necessarily make you fat, it does make you sick! The food industry taxes our health and mortgages our children's futures. Obese children will earn less, suffer more, and die younger.

It is time to take back our kitchens and our homes. Transforming the food industry seems like a gigantic undertaking, but it is in fact an easy fix. The solution is in our shopping carts, our refrigerators, and our cupboards—and on our dining room tables. This is where the power is. It is the hundreds of small choices you make every day, choices that will topple the monolithic food industry.

We need a revolution. Cooking real food is a revolutionary act. We have lost the means to care for ourselves. We have now raised the second generation of Americans who don't know how to cook. The average child in America doesn't know how to identify even the most basic vegetables and fruit; our kids don't know where their food comes from or even that it grows on a farm. Cooking means microwaving. Food comes in boxes, plastic bags, and cans. Reading labels is supremely unhelpful in identifying the source of most foods—the ingredients are mostly factory-made science projects with a remote and unrecognizable lineage to real food.

We are brainwashed into thinking that cooking real food costs too much, is too hard, and takes too long. Hence, we rely on inexpensive convenience foods. But these aren't so convenient when we become dependent on hundreds of dollars of medication a month, when we can't work because we are sick and fat and sluggish, or when we feel so bad we can't enjoy life anymore. The average American spends eight hours a day in front of a screen (mostly the television) and spends more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.

Convenience is killing us.

In fact, real food can be inexpensive. Choosing simple ingredients, cooking from scratch, shopping at discount club stores, and getting produce from community supported agriculture associations (CSAs), community gardens, or co-ops all build health and community and save money. Europeans spend nearly 20 percent of their income on food, Americans only about 9 percent. Food is the best investment in your health.

I believe in the power of collective intelligence. Within my community are hundreds, if not thousands, of unheralded chefs experimenting with food and creating extraordinary meals and recipes. Within our individual and our national communities is the cure for what ails us. We are the answer. We are the revolutionaries who will change the face of food in America and around the world. The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook is the product of this collective intelligence. Truly, the community is the cure!

Yes, we need to change policy in order to change the food we grow and to subsidize real food instead of the walls of processed fat, sugar, flour, and trans fats that line our grocery and convenience stores. Yes, we need to end food marketing to children. We need to make schools safe zones for kids with only those products and activities that support healthy minds and bodies. There is no room for junk food or factory foods in schools. Period. Yes, we need all that and more to take back our kitchens and our health. But each of us can start at home with a kitchen makeover. Three simple actions can change everything:

1. Do a fridge makeover.

2. Do a pantry makeover.

3. Do a shopping cart makeover.

This book gives you advice on what to keep and what to discard from your fridge, pantry, and shopping cart. It also provides recipes—gathered from our own community of health and cooking revolutionaries—to delight your palate, stimulate your senses, and nourish your body and soul. The recipes are designed to be made, shared, and enjoyed with friends and family. Think of this book as a roadmap to pleasure and health.

Once you have taken back your kitchen, then you can start something really revolutionary. Find eight (or so) people you would love to know better or spend more time with. Invite them to start a supper club—once a week or once a month. Rotate dinners at one another's houses. Share the cooking by creating a potluck, or take turns choosing some favorite recipes from this cookbook and preparing a feast for all. At each dinner pick a topic—about food, health, or community—to discuss. Then let the juices flow. The stew of food and friendship will nourish you deeply.

In this way—one by one, kitchen by kitchen, community by community—we will take back our health together!




What Is the Blood Sugar Solution?

My book The Blood Sugar Solution is an owner's manual for personal health and a manifesto for us all to take back our health. First, it provides a step-by-step, goof-proof plan to reverse the root causes of diabetes and obesity—what I call diabesity. Next, it provides a roadmap for us to get healthy together—because getting healthy is a team sport. Finally, it is a manifesto motivating us to take back our health in our kitchens, homes, schools, workplaces, faith-based communities, and even in our media, our food system, our health-care system, and our democracy. A tall order to be sure, but one that is necessary if we are to have a sustainable future—for ourselves, our children, our economy, and the environment.

The Blood Sugar Solution is all about the root causes of chronic disease—and one of the major culprits is poor nutrition. The fundamental idea revolutionizing nutrition science is this: food is not just calories; it is information. And with the right information you can upgrade your biological software in real time, literally with every bite. Food is medicine. In fact, what you put on your fork is more powerful than anything you will ever find in a pill bottle. The recipes in this book were created based on the guidelines in The Blood Sugar Solution, a six-week plan designed to reverse diabesity. I have included recipes designed to be used when the six weeks are over, during what I call the "reintroduction phase." I have also added a few special low-glycemic desserts (low glycemic refers to foods that don't raise your blood sugar as much or as fast as high glycemic foods), which can be enjoyed at the end of the first six weeks of the plan as occasional treats.


Diabesity refers to the continuum of blood sugar and insulin imbalance that causes everything from mild weight problems and a little belly fat to pre-diabetes to full-blown type 2 diabetes. It affects one in two Americans, one in four African Americans, one in four Medicare patients, and one in four teenagers. It is a global problem—80 percent of the world's diabetics live in developing countries. And it affects skinny people, too! In fact 37 percent of skinny kids and 23 percent of skinny adults (only 35 percent of Americans are considered of normal weight) have diabesity—they look skinny but are metabolically fat. Doctors call it "metabolically obese normal weight." I call it the "skinny fat syndrome." Indeed, 90 percent of people with diabesity are not diagnosed. In other words, you probably have it and don't know it.

Take this short quiz to see if you might have diabesity, and then the extended quiz in Chapter 1. You can also take the whole quiz at

Do I Have Diabesity?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you may already have diabesity or are headed in that direction. If so, continue on to the Comprehensive Diabesity Quiz in Chapter 1.

  • Do you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, or obesity?
  • Are you of nonwhite ancestry (African, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern)?
  • Are you overweight (body mass index [BMI] over 25)? See Chapter 1 to calculate your BMI based on weight and height.
  • Do you have extra belly fat? Is your waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men?
  • Do you crave sugar and refined carbohydrates?
  • Do you have trouble losing weight on a low-fat diet?
  • Has your doctor told you that your blood sugar is a little high (greater than 100 mg/dl) or have you actually been diagnosed with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or diabetes?
  • Do you have high levels of triglycerides (over 100 mg/dl) or low HDL (good) cholesterol (<50 mg/dl)?
  • Do you have heart disease?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Are you inactive (less than 30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week)?
  • Do you suffer from infertility, low sex drive, or sexual dysfunction?
  • For women: Have you had gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome?

The Blood Sugar Solution translates scientific research into practical recommendations for anyone who wants to get and stay healthy. Soon you will start on the path toward balancing your insulin. But first you need to take some baseline measurements, a quiz, and a few tests to determine which version of the program you should be following, and which recipes in this book are right for you.


There are two versions of the program. The one you need depends on your score on the comprehensive diabesity quiz. The Basic Plan can be followed by anyone. It balances your blood sugar, reduces insulin spikes, balances hormones, cools off inflammation, helps improve digestion, boosts your metabolism, enhances detoxification, and calms your mind and nervous system. Eighty percent of you following the Basic Plan will have all the tools you need to heal from diabesity and take control of your health.

The Advanced Plan is designed for people with more severe cases of diabesity, including those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Some of us are genetically more susceptible to becoming insulin resistant and pump out much more insulin in response to a given sugar load, even if we are thin. The genomic revolution and our understanding of the various factors that create imbalances in our metabolism force us to move beyond the one-size-fits-all prescriptions of the past into personalized medicine and health.

If you qualify for the Advanced Plan you will need to take an additional set of supplements (see my book The Blood Sugar Solution or visit and to make a few extra dietary changes.

To determine which plan is best for you and effectively track your progress, you need to complete three action steps: gather your measurements, take the quiz in Chapter 1, and get tested.


Before you start the program, I want you to start keeping a journal. Journaling is an excellent way to get in touch with your inner guidance system, to break the cycle of mindless eating and activity, to be honest and accountable and present to yourself. You might overeat because something is eating you, or stuff yourself with food in order to stuff your feelings away. If you use food to block feelings, you can instead use words to block food. You can write in order to better metabolize your feelings so they don't end up driving unconscious choices or overeating. A diet of words and self-exploration often results in weight loss.

You can also use the journal to track your daily food intake, your exercise, sleep, symptoms, and your "numbers," including weight, waist size, and lab tests. Watching how you feel as you alter your food intake, begin taking supplements, and start to exercise more is like "innercise" that will strengthen your capacity for creating high-level wellness and wholeness.


You can quickly gather and track critical information about your health with four simple, easy-to-obtain measurements that will speak volumes about your health and metabolism. Here is what to measure and how to measure it. (You can find special health trackers and online versions of these tools at


  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning without clothes and after going to the bathroom. Track your weight weekly in your journal.


  • Measure yourself in feet and inches. Write it in your journal.


  • Measure the widest point around your belly button. Track this measurement weekly in your journal.


  • Buy a home blood pressure cuff or go to a drugstore that measures blood pressure for free, or ask your doctor to measure it.
  • Measure your blood pressure first thing in the morning, before you start your daily activities. Ideal blood pressure is less than 115/75. Over 140/90 is significantly elevated.
  • Track your blood pressure weekly in your journal.

Once you have these critical measurements you can determine other key numbers.


  • Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. For ease of calculation, use our online calculator at Or use this calculation: BMI = weight in pounds times 703, divided by height in inches squared. For example, I weigh 185 pounds and am 75 inches tall, so my BMI is 185 × 703/752= 23.
  • This gives you a way to track whether you are normal weight, overweight, or obese. Normal BMI is less than 25, overweight is 26 to 29, and obese is over 30. However, you should take into account your waist size as well. If you weigh a lot but are a muscular bodybuilder with a small waist, you could be healthy. If you have skinny arms and legs and a skinny butt but a potbelly, you might have a normal BMI but be at risk for diabesity. Furthermore, certain ethnic groups—such as Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Inuit, Indians, and Middle Easterners—have diabesity at much lower BMIs.
  • Track your BMI weekly in your journal along with your other measurements.


  • To calculate this, divide your waist measurement by your height in inches, and then move the decimal point two places to the right. See the chart opposite to interpret your waist-to-height ratio or go to and enter your height and weight online. It will then be automatically calculated for you.
  • This measurement tells whether you are fat around the middle. (If you stand sideways while looking in the mirror and have a big belly, or if you can't see your toes when standing up, then you have a problem.)
  • This number is a better predictor of diabesity, heart disease, and risk of death than almost any other number. It is also easier to calculate.
  • Measure this weekly while on the program and record it in your journal. Once you have gone off the program, you can measure it once a month.

Waist-to-Height Table


  • Ratio <35: abnormally slim to underweight
  • Ratio 35–41: extremely slim
  • Ratio 42–45: slender and healthy
  • Ratio 46–48: healthy, normal weight
  • Ratio 49–53: overweight
  • Ratio 54–58: extremely overweight/obese
  • Ratio >58: highly obese


  • Ratio <35: abnormally slim to underweight
  • Ratio 35–42: extremely slim
  • Ratio 43–45: slender and healthy
  • Ratio 46–52: healthy, normal weight
  • Ratio 53–57: overweight
  • Ratio 58–63: extremely overweight/obese
  • Ratio >63: highly obese

Go to to learn more about our online tracking tools. They can help you track all of your quiz scores, body measurements, and blood test results, as well as your daily experiences, thoughts, and feelings so you can easily measure your progress over time. Tracking your progress will benefit you, but if you share your progress at, you can also be part of our patient-driven research program and help transform health care to improve the health of others.

Take the Comprehensive Diabesity Quiz

Now that you have recorded your BMI and waist-to-height ratio, you are ready to find out whether you should go on the Basic or Advanced Plan. At the beginning of this chapter you took a simple screening quiz to see if you might have diabesity. Now you can take a closer look at the severity of your problem. Take the quiz below. Score one point for each of the questions you answer "yes" to.

Comprehensive Diabesity Quiz

• Do you ever get an urge for something sweet, give in to it, experience a brief "sugar high," and later crash into the "sugar blues"?

• Did your doctor ever tell you that your blood sugar was "a little high"?

• Would you describe yourself as an inactive person?

• If you go more than a few hours between meals, do you get irritable, anxious, tired, jittery, or have headaches intermittently throughout the day—and then feel better after you've eaten?

• Do you feel shaky 2–3 hours after a meal?

• Do you have trouble losing weight on a low-fat diet?

• If you miss a meal, do you feel cranky, irritable, weak, or tired?

• If you have a muffin, a bagel, cereal, pancakes, or other carbs for breakfast, is your eating out of control all day?

• Do you feel as though you can't stop eating once you start eating sweets or carbohydrates?

• Does a bowl of pasta or potatoes put you right to sleep, but a meal of fish or meat and vegetables makes you feel good?

• Do you go straight for the bread basket at restaurants?

• Do you get heart palpitations after eating sweets?

• Do you tend to retain water after eating salty foods?

• If you skip breakfast, are you likely to have a panic attack in the afternoon?

• Do you absolutely, positively have to have your cup of coffee in the morning in order to get yourself going?

• Do you often get moody, impatient, or anxious?

• Have you been having any problems lately with your memory and concentration?

• Do you feel calmer after you eat?

• Do you get tired a few hours after eating?

• Do you get night sweats (even if you are a man)?

• Do you feel the need to drink a lot of liquids?

• Do you feel that you get colds or infections more frequently than most people you know?

• Are you tired most of the time?

• Do you suffer from infertility or, for women, have symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (irregular cycles, facial hair, and acne)?

• For men: Do you suffer from impotence or erectile dysfunction?

• Do you have jock itch, vaginal yeast infections, anal itching, toenail fungus, dry scaly patches on your skin, or other symptoms of chronic fungal infections?

Next, score three points for each of the following questions you answer "yes" to.

Comprehensive Diabesity Quiz, Part II

• Is your BMI higher than 30?

• Is your waist-to-height ratio greater than 49 if you are a woman or greater than 53 if you are a man?

• Have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, or gestational diabetes?

• Has anyone in your family had diabetes, hypoglycemia, or alcoholism?

• Are you of nonwhite ancestry (African, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, Indian, Middle Eastern)?

• Do you have high blood pressure?

• Have you had a heart attack, angina, transient ischemic attack, or stroke?

• Do you have cataracts or have you ever had retinopathy (eye damage from diabetes)?

• Do you have levels of triglycerides over 100 mg/dl or HDL (good) cholesterol levels less than 50 mg/dl, or blood glucose over 100 mg/dl?

• Do you have kidney damage or protein in your urine?

• Do you have a loss of sensation in your feet or legs?


Once you have completed the quiz, determine how severe your condition is and whether you should go on the Basic or Advanced Plan by using this scoring key:

1–7 Mild Diabesity Basic Plan
8+ Moderate to Severe Diabesity Advanced Plan

Get Tested for Diabesity

You may want to get your blood tested to learn more about your diabesity. Blood tests are useful in helping you identify whether you have diabesity, and how severe it is, and in tracking your progress over time. Ninety percent of people with diabesity are not diagnosed. Testing helps you confirm the diagnosis. Some labs let you order tests on yourself, or you can ask your doctor for these tests. Visit to learn what tests you should have, and download the free guide How to Work with Your Doctor to Get What You Need.


Now that you know whether you have basic or advanced diabesity, you can get started. The recipes and meal ideas in this book will start you on a path to healing faster than you can say "sugar." Not only will you lose weight and reduce the need for medication and insulin, but you will have more energy, be in a better mood, and even have a stronger sex drive. And many other chronic symptoms and diseases might just go away—because you are putting healing medicine (food) in your system in ways that turn all the right dials on your biology and give you an immediate biological upgrade.

Food Is Medicine: A Calorie Is Not a Calorie!

The Blood Sugar Solution and this cookbook are based on one very simple but powerful principle: food is medicine.


On Sale
Feb 26, 2013
Page Count
384 pages
Little Brown Spark

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD

About the Author

Mark Hyman, MD, is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center. He is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers including Eat Fat, Get ThinThe Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, The Blood Sugar Solution,  UltrametabolismThe Ultramind Solution, The Ultrasimple Diet, and coauthor of The Daniel Plan and Ultraprevention.

Learn more about this author