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oh paula

January 20, 2012

I want to talk about Paula Deen.

As I am sure 99% of you know, she announced this week on the Today show that she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes over three years ago.

This has had an explosive reaction across the foodie community and I, of course, have my opinion on it. Many people are upset that Paula has “hid” her diagnosis and continually (over the last three years) made and promoted her Southern style of cooking that is based on deep-frying and using ingredients such as heavy cream, butter and sugar. All of which can cause diabetes in a person. And now that she is coming forward she is going to be a paid spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company which provides her medicine.

So I have a few thoughts to share here.

First, I have a hard time saying that Paula should have told America that she was diagnosed with diabetes. I feel like a person’s medical history and medical records are really no one else’s business but their own and whom they choose to share them with. I really strongly believe that I don’t have a right to know anyone’s medical business. No right.

Now, do I believe that Paula’s way of eating would (or could) cause diabetes in a person? Yes. Do I think that is why Paula Deen got diabetes? I don’t know. Neither of us know for 100% for sure that her way of eating caused this. But I do think Paula has missed a really great opportunity here. Had she come forward three years ago she could have spent the last three years teaching people how to live and manage theer diabetes while still enjoying her Southern food. She could have spent time making substitutions and revamping her recipes so that people could “have their cake and eat it too.” I definitely think an opportunity was lost.

As far as her benefitting from her pharmaceutical company…I don’t really care. Companies use paid spokespeople all the time. All the time. 99% of public figures who promote or speak for a company aren’t doing it for free…so why would we expect her to?

I also refuse to believe that in today’s society people don’t know that a hamburger between two donuts is not healthy. I refuse to believe that people think eating deep-fried food everyday would benefit their heart. Moderation, moderation, moderation is key. What I think people need help with is the hidden sugars. Sugars found in Sweet Tea (a staple in the Southern diet) or Coke. I think that this is where Paula missed the opportunity. She missed an opportunity to help people make small changes that would make significant impacts on their lives.

But moving forward, I think we need to just let it go. I am sad for Paula. I wouldn’t wish Type 2 Diabetes on anyone…not any one! So I am sad for her. But I don’t hate her, or wish her any more harm. I hope that she can manage her disease and still continue to enjoy the food she loves while also helping people by her experience and her knowledge. Not everyone knows how to make substitutions and still make food taste good. I think that should be Paula’s next challenge.

So there it is.

I know you probably have an opinion too…so feel free to share it but remember to be respectful!! Thanks!

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 8:25 am

    I agree with you that no one thought that what Paula Deen was making was healthy. My first reaction when I found out she had diabetes was not one of surprise. Yes, she could have made it an educational experience for her viewers and taught them small changes, but that’s not what Paula Deen is about. She’s an entertainer. She doesn’t have any obligation to teach the public anything. Yes, she could if she chose to and I hope that she makes some changes for herself, but I don’t think that she has any obligation to her viewers.

  2. January 20, 2012 8:32 am

    This is the best Paula recap I have read. I completely agree with your thoughts and hope that she can use her influence to show others how to modify their diet but not have to give up all of the foods that they associate with home.

  3. January 20, 2012 9:12 am

    i completely agree with you that a great opportunity was lost. in her announcement she treated it like it was no big deal! she did not take responsibility for it, just had a “i dont get the big deal attitude” and it bugged me!! she could have used her brand to raise awareness and also show any effort to create balance without losing that southern home cooking culture. i was also very disappointed!

  4. January 20, 2012 9:23 am

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am a Southern girl who loves butter, heavy cream, sugar, etc, but totally agree that someone’s lifestyle and medical history is nobody’s business. We hold public figures to a higher standard and it’s not right. They are people too. Everyone has their own lives to deal with and I feel bad that she had to hide this because she thought people would judge her or something. I agree an opportunity was lost, but now she can show moderation and be a model for the disease.

  5. January 20, 2012 9:56 am

    I agree with you, and think people need to relax and calm down about the whole situation. There are A LOT of people in this country with type 2 diabetes, and just because she has a cooking show where she uses tons of butter and heavy cream, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all she’s been eating. We don’t know, so people need to chill.

  6. January 20, 2012 10:10 am

    I totally agree. Its not like people look at her food and say, “that looks healthy.” We all know adding butter to hot chocolate is crazy – but I bet its delicious. Paula Deen is a chef. She makes delicious, Southern food. She is not a doctor, she is not a nutritionist. For some reason, people expect everyone in the public eye to be responsible for everyone else’s actions and that’s just not right. Yes, she definitely missed some opportunities to teach, and to expand her business, but if she chose to keep her diabetes a secret until she got paid to talk about it, that just makes her smart.

  7. January 20, 2012 10:53 am

    My issue actually is with the pharmaceutical aspect of it. I agree with everything you said except that part. It’s not our business that she has this disease, but as a public figure I think she could have better used her time like you said educating the public about moderation and small changes. HOWEVER, I really dislike pharmaceutical companies, and I think there are things she could do (maybe…we don’t know exactly why she has diabetes) to avoid or lessen her dependence on medicine. I wish people would talk/think about that – instead of just immediately developing a dependence on a drug.

  8. January 20, 2012 12:18 pm

    She’s has an entrepreneurial spirit – and I think good for her for using it to her advantage.

  9. January 20, 2012 1:11 pm

    Every single thing you said is what I also believe.

    I love Paula. I love watching her show. Yet, I don’t eat like that every single day. Nor does she. And she never said, “eat as much as you want!” People should really know better. I feel like it all circles back to the lack of education people have on the matter. Sigh…

  10. January 20, 2012 2:16 pm

    Im conflicted. It is such a serious disease. I think she is being strategic with her brand and preserving her image while treating her condition. Great. but why on earth did she say…”having Type 2 Diabetes is not a death sentence.” ?
    I hated the idea of that perception. I would have rather heard her say, I am doing everything in my power to cure my condition. I don’t want to have this! instead she is pushing treatment drugs and “living” with a curable disease. It pisses me off she would encourage people to “live” with something they don’t have to have.

  11. January 21, 2012 10:35 am

    I feel bad for Paula. Parts of it were totally in her control, of course. I also doubt that she ate the way she cooked on her show every day. She stated on “The Chew” last week that her show is shot over the course of 30 days/year. And that she doesn’t eat that way on a daily basis. I believe her.

    Also (and I know you can’t blame your parents), but she was raised with a generation of eating down home, cheap, fattier foods. It was how my parents were raised too. And it’s very hard to re-program your wiring from childhood. Her sons are doing a better job of that with all the newer education out there.

    I just hope she starts taking better care of herself. And it’s always good to get more information out there about type 2 Diabetes and how to help prevent it.

  12. January 22, 2012 11:26 am

    So I haven’t sat down and watched the news but I keep seeing her face splattered on the tv so I knew something was up but not what exactly.

    IDK about this, kind of conflicted. I dont think she should hve disclosed this since it’s her personal health but hopefully she eats right at home but at the same time it’s just ironic because of what she represents. She has built a brand of fatty, fried Southern cooking so she has to keep up with that and giving the people what they want so to speak. And if I could, I would eat that stuff every day. Yeah I love my veggies and healthy food but sometimes there is nothing like fried chicken and red velvet cake.

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