Paula Deen announced in mid-January on the "Today Show" that she has Type 2 diabetes.
She has been diagnosed with it for three years. She turned 65 on Jan. 19.
“I told you so” rings hollow. Her career, TV shows and cookbooks are dedicated to butter-enriched, high-fat indulgences, so we have long expected diabetes to come into her life.
Leave it to bad boy TV chef Anthony Bourdain to say what many have thought. He notes that she has known about the diabetes for a long time and has had to figure out how to position herself.
“When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got Type 2 diabetes — It’s in bad taste if nothing else,” Bourdain said on Eater.com.
That dish is the Lady’s Brunch Burger — a half-pound beef patty topped with bacon and egg fried in butter served between two glazed donuts.
I am with Bourdain on not liking the food produced from her recipes. I have gagged a couple of bites down at family functions, and one time stowed the rest of the plateful behind the Christmas tree when I thought no one was looking.
My advice is to avoid the Better Than Sex cake. It is not.
How can anyone think that is Southern cooking? I prefer collard greens.
The Butter Queen and her two sons have become shills for drug company Novo Nordisk, which manufactures a diabetes drug. That has gotten Bourdain’s snarky goat.
He tweeted a comment that has been widely passed around in the Internet: “Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”
Seems like the opportunistic Bourdain has jumped on Deen’s opportunism to promote himself by knocking her for promoting herself.
Deen reports drinking less sweet tea and jumping onto the treadmill more often, and she admited her recipes “were part of the puzzle” of fighting diabetes. However, she said it is up to people to enjoy her food in moderation.
“Like I told Oprah a few years ago, ‘Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself,’” she told Al Roker on the "Today Show."
She repeated her lines on “The Chew” TV program on her birthday.
“I do not eat every day like you see me cook on the show,” she said.
One of her sons, Bobby Deen, has a show that premiered Jan. 4 on the Cooking Channel called “Not My Mama’s Meals,” where he promotes lighter versions of his mother’s dishes.
Apparently it is one of the things they have been working on in the three years since Paula Deen was diagnosed. It is a positive way to build their Paula Deen Family Inc. franchise.
I have too many friends and relatives who have come to the same diagnosis. Remember your friends who have been stricken.
Genetics plays a big role in determining who gets diabetes and who doesn’t. However, people who are more suscepitible can stave off diabetes by eating more healthfully, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
Even someone diagnosed with diabetes can stay off or get off medication by a 10% or 15% weight loss, doctors at Webmd.com say.
Some of my friends and family members with diabetes embraced some needed lifestyle changes as if they were waiting for the challenge. They were amazing, the way they broke out of the mold their life had been poured into.
Others continued in their merry ways, unable to let go of diet and physical fitness habits that exacerbated whatever genetic disposition they had inherited. Paula Deen reminds me of the latter. Many of my diabetic friends rely on their medicines and injections, and most of them would jump at the chance to get free medicine. We can’t blame her for that.
It is a lot for someone diagnosed with diabetes to accept the error of their ways and the need to change. We can’t fall into the blame-the-victim trap because it doesn’t address the root of the problem and distracts us from the positive things we need to emphasize.
Our industry has produce to sell, but we also have a mission, and that is to get people off the high-fat diets and eating more heathfully.
We are on the right side of this issue, so don’t be disuaded.
What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.