Three-year-old Elliott Amann has type 1 diabetes. He likes Farrelli's pizza. But pizza and diabetes are generally a bad pairing: Refined flours and carbohydrates in the crust and high fat in cheese and meat toppings raise blood-sugar levels.
So what's up with Farrelli's Elliott's Pizza, a pie that the South Sound restaurants developed for the Tacoma kid? The crust is made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour and adorned with low-fat toppings.
Voila! Diabetic pizza.
On Saturday, all five South Sound Farrelli's (Tacoma, DuPont, Lacey, Sumner and Parkland) will help raise money for the 12th Annual South Sound Walk To Cure Diabetes. Farrelli's will donate 50 percent of the proceeds from every Elliott's Pizza it sells that day. (A 12-inch pie is $15.69).
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Said Katie Farrell, a registered dietician and diabetes educator who developed Elliott's Pizza:
"The pizza was created after my dad (John Farrell, founder and co-owner) talked with Elliott, who was eating in the Tacoma Farrelli's. Elliott asked, "What can I have here? I have type 1 diabetes."
Katie Farrell said the whole-wheat crust contains 38 percent more fiber than Farrelli's white-flour crust.
"For those who live with diabetes (type 1 or type 2), they tend to find high blood sugars after eating pizza, due to the refined flours used in the crust as well as the high fat content of the toppings," she said. "The crust tends to be the cause of the rise in blood sugar and the high fat hold the blood sugar high."
Toppings on Elliott's Pizza, she said, are lower in fat. There's no mozzarella, just an olive oil base, a small amount of feta cheese, roasted chicken breast, pepperoncinis, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, red onions and basil.
Unlike some finicky kids who prefer refined white flours, Elliott took to the whole-wheat pie immediately. "He didn't even notice the difference," said his mother, Pam, a registered dietician, who noted that Elliott's favorite Farrelli's pizza is the Hawaiian.
"It might not sound like a kid's first choice, but they do like it," Farrell said of Elliott's Pizza. "My 14-year-old daughter and her girlfriend order this pizza every time."
Speaking of whole-wheat pizza crust, national chain Papa John's will debuts its whole-wheat pies on Monday.