Rejoice. It has arrived: "The Complete Diabetic Cookbook," by P.J. Palumbo, M.D., R.A.C.P., and Joyce Daly Margie, M.S. It is a book that could change the way diabetics think about themselves.

In this cookbook, Palumbo and Margie place great emphasis on creating healthful recipes that are not only necessary for the diabetic, but that the whole family would enjoy. "The diet we are proposing is a diet that an American should follow in general. It's high in complex carbohydrates, low in fat and cholesterol and controlled sodium. It's good as a general recommendation."

Thoughts have changed over the years about what is the best diet for a diabetic. From a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, the emphasis has changed to a high-carbohydrate diet with little fat. There has also been a shift from a fear of sugar to a consensus that using sugars with moderation is acceptable. Palumbo suggests a diet of 50 percent carbohydrates with 20 percent of the carbohydrates available in simple sugar. "Recent studies have shown that the high rise of glucose in the blood sugar can be moderated by diet and medication. Sugar, therefore, can be incorporated with other food in the diet, as part of the meal."

He also suggests a high-fiber diet because fiber helps the level of sugar in the blood to rise more slowly when a meal is consumed.

Palumbo frowns on nonnutritive sweeteners such as nutrasweet and saccharin, believing there have not been enough studies to conclude that they pose no danger. "You can't escape the fact that everything these days seems to have it. But children, in particular, who are growing should stay away from non-nutritive sweeteners."

A full third of the book is devoted to helping the reader understand diabetes. It offers meal planning, fast-food analyses, a glossary of medical terms and an extensive list of American Diabetes Association affiliates. And with more than 350 recipes, it is a comprehensive cookbook suited to most occasions.

According to Palumbo, the future for diabetics holds great promise. Work is continuing on a pancreas transplant and researchers are examining ways to mimic, with an artificial gland, the pancreas' function of producing insulin.

There is also genetic engineering, he says. "We are trying to reprogram the cells to do the job they were meant to do." Some day, he says, far into the future, we will be able to fix the cells that have gone haywire.

But currently, one of the main concerns of people who have been diagnosed diabetic is the impending change in their life styles. There is also a tremendous psychological impact, says Palumbo. "Many question 'Why do I have it and not someone else.' " If they are having problems with who they are and what they are doing, it just aggravates it."

The point of "The Complete Diabetic Cookbook," therefore, is to offer a balanced, healthful diet, to bring the whole family together at mealtimes and to help alleviate the overwhelming sense of being different.

Below is a recipe from the book. With just salt and pepper in your cupboard, it's a quick trip through the Express Lane.

Lane List: chicken, bay leaf, coriander, lamb, pine nuts or walnuts, rice, allspice, margarine, parsley (optional) LEBANESE CHICKEN AND RICE (6 servings)

3 8-ounce boned and skinned chicken breasts

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1/2 pound lean ground lamb

2 ounces pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 teaspoon salt

Dash freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons snipped parsley (optional)

Place chicken in large skillet. Add bay leaf and coriander and just enough water to cover chicken. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool chicken in broth. Cut cooled chicken into 2-inch pieces. Reserve broth.

Cook and stir lamb in medium saucepan until light brown. stir in pine nuts, rice, salt, pepper, allspice, margarine, and 2 cups reserved broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Per serving: 397 calories, 38 grams protein, 17 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 452 milligrams sodium, 99 milligrams cholesterol. From: "The Complete Diabetic Cookbook," by P.J. Palumbo, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Joyce Daly Margie, (New Amerrican Library, 1987)