True Confessions: I Love Paula Deen

True Confessions: I Love Paula Deen

I know Paula Deen has gotten a lot of bad press lately about her Type 2 Diabetes. I have to confess I love her. I don't have any of her cookbooks as she does not cater to the allergy-free but I love her warmth and spirit. I must be the strangest foodie because I love her AND Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain has expressed that he feels she is one of the most dangerous people in the world because of her decadent cooking style. All that being said I do hear y'all when you say you are disappointed in her recent endorsement for the drug Novo Nordisk. As a holistic health coach I'm a diet-first-drugs-last kind of gal.

To break it down here's how I feel about the whole thing y'all:

What I Love about Paula:

  • She's really seems genuine and like she is just loving life, that is a rare thing on television.
  • She's a survivor. She's survived agoraphobia and poverty.
  • She values family, sitting down to the table, sharing and the slower pace of life.
  • I love that Paula Deen has awesome gray hair. She's comfortable in her skin. She accepts her size and age. She's not trying to look younger or be anyone else.
  • I love that she has a ton of fun on her shows flirting with younger men like cute pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.
  • Now keep in mind her show is called Paula's Party not Paula's Everyday Healthy Eating Show. She cooks party food and special occasion food. A part of me is kind of wowed that she's staying true to who she is and not changing her cooking style (my only hope for her is that she keeps it moderate indeed). Party food is her niche.
  • Is all this attention sort of a double standard? Aren't there a ton of over-weight male chefs with health problems?

Okay, yes and now to contradict myself as I'm with popular opinion on a few of these points:

  • Yes, the food she cooks is fatty, too sweet and nutrient poor.
  • I find it creepy when celebrities promote drugs. Drugs are not magic bullets and more often than not they cause dangerous side effects. A vicious cycle is created because the consumer might need more drugs to counter the effect of the first drug they took.
  • Her demographic is mostly obese Americans who do not need to be eating her food EVERYDAY.
  • I believe in a balanced diet. The last episode I saw of her show Paula's Best Dishes¬†she joked that she believed a balanced diet was equal to a cookie in each hand. That kinda diet is not going to get you very balanced.

As the spiritually-minded will say, "It's all good". Maybe Paula Deen's diagnosis will wake up a lot of Americans to a healthier way of living. She has a rather large demographic of rather large Americans. If Paula Deen were my client I would say, "Girl you got the primary food aspect down pat. You love life and that's great now lets work on the diet and exercise." I could see Paula having a ball with dance classes like Zumba or Nia. I would have her gently add more green foods and some of my tastiest plant-based recipes. Although I'm not a vegan, Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live program has helped a lot of diabetics. My truest confession: I wish Paula Deen nothing but the best in her recovery.


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  • First, I think Paula Deen is one of the best southern cooks out there. She is a happy, down to earth sort of gal.

    I am a type II diabetic, as well as gluten intolerant, so I can not eat many of her dishes. For her to have been diagnosed with something as serious as Diabetes, and not publicly change her cooking and eating style, is doing a huge disservice to her fans. When people see someone like Paula cooking and eating sugar and a fat laden recipes, and they know she has diabetes, they may think that they, too, can continue to eat that way and not suffer consequences. While she may privately change her eating habits, her fans SEE her every day eating those things.

    She could do a world of good for Diabetes awareness if she would. I feel that by endorsing a diabetes drug is like saying "this pill is all you need to be able to continue to eat krispy kreme bread pudding and still keep your blood sugar under control."

    I'm not famous, not on TV, and certainly don't eat right every day. But the recipes I post on my blog reflect that I am at least trying to eat a more healthy diet that excludes wheat and gluten, and less sugar.

  • In reply to FabGrandma:

    FabGrandma, you are right on the mark! Talk about a wasted opportunity to truly help thousands of her fans.

    As a heart attack survivor, I saw first hand the lack of enthusiasm any of my fellow survivors had for making any dietary or lifestyle changes while in rehab - some for the 2nd or 3rd time. They went through 12 weeks of physical reconditioning and nutrition counseling only to mark it off on their health insurance company's recovery checklist and go right back to their old ways.

    The tendency to look for a "magic pill" is the real problem. Chronic disease (or the new name, "metabolic syndrome") can be reversed and prevented with a commitment to dietary change and the addition of exercise to the daily routine. A drug can't fix the continual damage being done by a poor diet and as mentioned, the side effects can complicate matters further in the long run.

    Let's face it, Paula Deen may appear to be all those warm, wonderful, genuine things in her appearances, but deep down, she's in just as much denial as everyone else who can't find the motivation to make significant and permanent lifestyle changes. Worse, rather than undertaking the difficult task of remaking herself and her show, she chose yet another way to profit from it by endorsing this drug.

    She's genuine alright - a genuine entertainer...

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