Sam Talbot is a talented chef, scoring high ranks as “Fan Favorite” on Top Chef. My mother-in-law thinks he’s handsome (and she’s not alone – ask half of the ladies at FFL!). And he is “one of us,” living with type 1 diabetes since he was twelve years old.
Recently, Sam joined the LifeScan crew as one of their celebrity spokespeople for the “Life First” campaign, joining fellow PWD Crystal Bowersox and B.B. King. And yesterday, he took some time from his very busy AADE schedule to take my phone call to talk about his LifeScan partnership, food, diabetes, and … Tank?
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Kerri: Hi, Sam! Nice to talk with you again. We actually met at the Friends for Life conference a few weeks ago, during the Adults with Type 1 Reception. I was with the girl who has the diabetes service dog.
Sam Talbot: Hello, again! I was talking about that dog yesterday. Such a cool dog. They have a diabetes service dog here at AADE; it gave me a sniff but must have decided I was okay, because it left me alone after that.
Kerri: So to jump right in with my questions, I’ll start with this: What made you decide that LifeScan was the right partner for you … and do they ask you to cook things for them?
Sam Talbot: Did they make me cook for them before the partnership, as like a test? (He laughed.) No, I partnered up with them because it was a really easy, organic partnership. I’m all about the “Life First” concept. It speaks to how I live my life with diabetes. It’s about diabetes living with you, not you living with it. It really is about life, first.
Kerri: Totally. Food is often a double-edged sword for people with diabetes. It’s awesome, it’s evil … and everything in between, depending on blood sugars and all that. With your diabetes-focused cookbook coming out, what’s the message you want resonating for people with diabetes?
Sam Talbot: My whole approach with the book, The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries, was about showing people that, as a person with diabetes, you don’t have to be pigeon-holed into thinking there’s no carbs, no this, no that. That a militant lifestyle, and anyone who knows me knows I’m not a militant lifestyle kind of guy. I have had carbs. And a beer.
Kerri: Oh, a beer? What were you thinking?!
Sam Talbot: I know, right? It’s not about limitation, but moderation. In my cookbook, I talk about making small changes for a bigger impact, Alternatives like light flour, less processed sugar … smart changes. It’s a good mentality for anyone looking to eat well overall, not just for people with diabetes. This book, and my message, is about 75% cooking, and 25% lifestyle. It’s about continuing to educate people, and really showing this “Life First” message. We have a lot of events and appearances scheduled, and I’m planning to really get out there with this.
Kerri: So what message do you have for the diabetes community?
Sam Talbot: When you’re diagnosed, you’re told that you’re limited and that you have to live this limited lifestyle. And that’s not true. You are not alone with this – there are a lot of people out there living with diabetes who are doing everything. Like you. And like me.
Kerri: And one last question: Are you looking into getting a diabetes service dog of your own?
Sam Talbot: I can’t. Tank wouldn’t let that happen.
Sam Talbot: My dog.
Kerri: Does Tank ever sniff out a low?
Sam Talbot: Nah. But he does search for surf.
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Thanks for talking with me, Sam, and I’m looking forward to checking out your cookbook The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries (comes out on October 25th – preorder, anyone?) and watching you make the most of this LifeScan campaign. I’m proud to have someone like you representing our community.