So…Paula Deen has diabetes. I’m not sure who is surprised by this. A blind man could have seen this news coming. For years Paula Deen has shown us various ways to prepare high fat, high calorie meals that are drowned in butter, oil and sugar.
When I first heard the news I immediately began to anticipate the “new” recipes she’d be sharing with her fans (myself included). I couldn’t wait until she made her stop in Atlanta for her diabetes cookbook signing. I was prepared to stand in line and get a picture snapped with my girl, Paula.
But then I saw her interview on the Today show and my heart began to ache. Paula said not one word about the fact that diabetes affects 25.8 million children and adults in the United States. Not once did she mention that in 2007 diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 American deaths. But she did say ” I’m not your doctor, I’m your cook”.
Paula Deen neglected to mention that more than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. But she was sure to state her new partnership with a particular drug company.
And Ms. Deen certainly did not tell us that being active is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle and people with diabetes or those at risk for type 2 diabetes could benefit greatly from exercise and activity. But she adamantly defended her cooking show by saying its “for entertainment”.
I could go on and on about my disappointments with this 6 minute interview but instead let me sum of my feelings by saying this…
Since 1995 I have watched my father sit at the end of our dining room table and stick needles in his stomach. I’ve seen him fill vile after vile with his diabetes medication and I secretly lived in terror that that would one day be my destiny.
In 2002 my uncle had his toes and part of his foot amputated after suffering from diabetes. And my sister is now on diabetes medication.
In 2008 when I was pregnant with my youngest child my doctor, after forcing me to drink this disgusting orange liquid then wait 3 hours in his office with no food or water, tells me that I, in fact, had gestational diabetes. That was my death sentence (so I thought). For months I had to prick my finger, smear my blood on a stick and take 3 pills a day to manage my higher than normal blood sugar.
Diabetes sucks. And I thank God that after my son’s birth my levels returned to normal and have remained so for the past three years. So, this is my problem with Paula Deen: She has a responsibility to her audience….you know, the people who rearrange their schedules just to watch her show, or stand in line for hours to get her autograph, or spend money on tickets to see her speak, or buy her products, or eat at her restaurants.
She has a responsibility to tell those people, and the millions of diabetes patients in the world that there are ways, other than taking drugs from the pharmeceutical company that’s paying her so handsomely, to manage diabetes and live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
You dropped the ball on this one Ms. Deen. You really dropped the ball. Moreover, in the three years that you were “keeping it close to your chest” you could have partnered with the American Diabetes Association and done amazing work to educate people on the risk factors and effects of diabetes. You could have created some amazing meals for people living with diabetes. You could have even created a work out video for baby boomers like yourself in order to promote a more active lifestyle.
But instead, you decided to promote medication and continue cooking your cakes with 5 sticks of butter. I admit, it’s your right to make decisions about your own life. But you’ve lost a fan Ms. Deen. You’ve really lost a big fan.
For more on me and Paula Deen click here (you can also type in “Paula Deen” in my search box).
*All statistics come from the American Diabetes Association .