HUDSON — For Parry Shaw, a foot ulcer and fever that landed him in the hospital for 12 days was just the beginning of a series of drastic changes he had to implement to save his own life.
The diagnosis was diabetes. Shaw’s blood sugar level was 330, well above the normal range of 80-120 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
To combat the metabolic disorder, Shaw has completely cut out red meat and alcohol and is limited to many other things he can eat.
He regularly receives care at the Regional Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine office on the campus of Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, where he visited to meet celebrity chef Charles Mattocks on his “Heal Together Diabetic You Mobile Tour.”
Mattocks, who has appeared on “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The Martha Stewart Show,” CNN and “The Dr. Oz Show,” made a career as the “Poor Chef,” teaching people how to cook healthy meals on a budget after struggling to do the same as a single father.
After being diagnosed in late 2011 with type 2 diabetes, Mattocks, the nephew of the late Jamaican music legend Bob Marley, set to work creating a mobile campaign to educate people about the disorder and how to cook for someone with it.
“The Diabetic You,” a documentary, website and movement, was the result of his desire to educate people about a disease that before his diagnosis, Mattocks had known little about. He also developed a diabetic-friendly, gluten-free treat called the Charles Bar, which is in national distribution.
Four months of research and phone calls culminated in a partnership with Shire Regenerative Medicine and Heal Together, along with a few other sponsors, to fund an RV and cross-country tour to give out diabetic reading materials and do cooking demonstrations.
“Diabetes doesn’t get the same notoriety as breast cancer and other diseases,” Mattocks said.
Hudson was one stop of many on the east coast and Florida that includes Tampa, Ocala, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami.
Gift bags were given out to visitors to the RV and were filled with diabetic literature, contact information for resources, an “Act on diabetes now” rubber bracelet, World Diabetes Day pin and a one-year subscription to the Diabetic Living Magazine. At some stops, Mattocks also gave simple cooking demonstrations, such as how to make deviled eggs with hummus instead of the typical yolk and mayonnaise filling.
“This really is his mission,” said Rick Paltridge, an associate of Diabetic You and pharmaceutical company Immunotec. “He really is trying to make a difference. When he found out he had diabetes, he realized there were a lot of things in his own life he could change.”
During a humanitarian trip to India, Mattocks helped test hundreds for diabetes. He is also the author of “Eat Cheap but Eat Well,” featuring 120 ways to slash weekly food bills with meals for only $7.
For more information about Mattocks or the RV tour, visit www.thediabeticyou.com or www.thepoorchef.com.