Saburba: "Honest Eats from the 'Burbs" Inspired by a Family's Struggle with Diabetes
Diabetes already affects the lives of over 25.8 million Americans and is growing in leaps and bounds. In fact, researchers are saying that number could triple by 2050!
This plight is one that's personal to me. At the age of 11, my youngest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes - an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin, causing the body to become toxic. The impact this has had on her and our entire family has been significant, to say the least. Since her initial diagnosis, I have come to know many people in the diabetic community and have heard many of their own all-too familiar and heart-wrenching stories.
One inspiring story came from a person I met through my involvement with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Ride to Cure.”
Sarah Andro has been impacted by diabetes on a multigenerational level. Her contributions toward finding a cure have been partly fueled by the fact that her daughter Sophie was diagnosed at the age of three - but that’s not all. Her mother and father were diagnosed many years ago, and her youngest daughter, Hazel, is also showing signs.
Sarah describes the day Sophie was diagnosed as a routine doctor’s visit that quickly turned into a nightmare. Her daughter had been complaining of urinary pain, and Sarah thought she may have a UTI or some other infection that could be cured with simple antibiotics.
“My mom had come with me that day, because we were going to go shopping afterwards,” Sarah says. “I’ll never forget it. Sophie was sitting on the table in her little gown and the doctor came back in and asked, ‘Does anyone in your family have diabetes, or is there a family history?’ The sound that came out of my mother’s mouth...” she paused, “…just so eerie. I had never heard her cry like that before.”
Sarah’s mom knew all too well the horrible implications this disease would have on her granddaughter’s life. However, when asked if having parents with diabetes helped her in dealing with her own daughter’s diagnosis, Sarah agreed:
“Absolutely. I always think of those people who don’t know anything about it and have to take home a three-year-old kid. It was so scary even for me and I knew how to test blood sugars and I knew what a low looked like and I knew what to look for in a high and what to do about it. It was scary to me knowing these things and I can’t even imagine what those parents felt who had no idea what diabetes was until the day their child was diagnosed.”
Nature or Nurture?
My impression of this family was that they were a strong, supportive bunch, but meeting them and hearing their story made me wonder - with diabetes being so prevalent in her family, how had Sarah and her brother managed to avoid the disease themselves? Is diabetes truly hereditary, or could its cause be environmental?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes; yet, two factors are important in both: 1) genetic predisposition, and 2) environmental triggers.
Strangely enough, one common environmental factor for type 1 is cold weather. Type 1 diabetes develops more often in winter than summer and is more common in places with cold climates. Another trigger may be viruses. Perhaps a virus that has only mild effects on most people could trigger type 1 diabetes in others. Early diet may also play a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfed and in those who first ate solid foods at later ages.
Although none of these factors has been proven absolutely, Sarah feels strongly that diet plays a main role in diabetes as well as a host of other autoimmune diseases and allergies:
“There are all these weird allergies and autoimmune diseases that are on the rise. They are all food related. The first thing the doctor said to me when Sophie was diagnosed was, ‘Does she drink organic milk?’ As a single mom, I felt I couldn’t afford an organic diet, but the doctor said, ‘You need to make those sacrifices immediately and give Sophie organic milk.’ That spoke volumes to me.
“It makes me angry how big food companies misrepresent what they are selling and how they communicate what’s healthy. People think a Little Debbie Blueberry Muffin is good for you. What they don’t realize is how much of it is processed, and the kinds of preservatives it contains.”
Saburba: Honest Eats from the 'Burbs'.....
Sarah has always been a foodie and involved in the food community on a retail level. After opening several restaurants, running a beverage catering company, and managing a gourmet food store, she has a keen understanding of what people are eating and what they want.
Her cooking is a study in pure flavor and fresh ingredients - she understands where they come from and how they affect the body. Inspired in part by her family’s struggle with diabetes, Sarah’s food is guided by her belief that we are affected by the foods we eat and that the foods that are the best for us are the foods nature provided: fresh, whole foods free from preservatives, as close to their natural state as possible! Now with partner Peter Davidson, she’s bringing that philosophy to the public arena in a new restaurant/take-out concept called “Saburba,” whose cuisine she describes simply as “Honest Eats from the Burbs.”
Saburba is dedicated to using only fresh ingredients produced without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones. Located in the quaint marketplace of rural Ada, Michigan, Sarah’s concept is straightforward - keep the food simple, keep the ingredients in their simplest form, and offer these things at a price people can actually afford.
They’ll offer a seasonal menu of sandwiches, soups, and pastries that will change with the availability of fresh local ingredients.
“Local?” I said. “That’s wonderful.” But when pressed more about the “Local Thing,” both Sarah and Peter sort of shrugged.
They explained that it’s not just about “local” – a trendy term they feel is a bit over- and mis-used. As the team humbly explained, they are simply going to purchase local whenever possible and rely on the small farms and the Ada Farmers’ Market (located right behind their shop) whenever they can.
And in the winter, when fresh Michigan produce simply cannot be had by anyone?
“We will commit to making foods – that are not processed or containing preservatives – that can be done honestly.” Peter promised.
And “honest” is exactly what food should be.
Opening day for Saburba is August 6th 2012.
Be sure to get there early and be ready for some honest-to-goodness, feel-good eats!
7277 Thornapple River Dr.
Ada, MI 49301