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Paula Deen’s diabetes

From the mouth of the babe: “I’ve always said, `Practice moderation, y’all.’ I’ll probably say that a little louder now.’’ So says Paula Deen, Southern belle and queen of buttery and heavy creamery dishes and deep-fried cheesecake covered in chocolate, after revealing her secret that she has type 2 diabetes. “You can have diabetes and have a piece of cake. You cannot have diabetes and eat a whole cake.”

She’s taking some flack about this. Knowing for 3 years, yet still smiling away on her show as she keeps shoving shrimp Po’ bubbas,Three Meat Pasta (2 c. cheese along with sausage, ham, cottage cheese and sour cream), and Wayne’s Beef and Macaroni & Cheese at us. All the while partnering with a diabetes drug company and using their drug as her first defense. Instead of lifestyle changes so the media screams.

But wait. She’s on the treadmill or walking with hubby, Wayne, every day. She stopped drinking swee’tea. She’s created a lighter fare program for Novo Nordisk’s new online program, Diabetes in a New Light (OK, so a ghost writer is right behind her). This program offers food prep tips, lighter and diabetes-friendly recipes, and stress reduction tips (an all important measure no matter what, disease or no disease).

I have to be honest. After nearly 9 years in a clinical outpatient endocrine/diabetes/weight management clinic, there are tons of folks out there who just want the drugs. They resist giving up the dietary lifestyle they’ve come to love. Paula is making small lifestyle changes, which is the number one counseling tool for behavioral change. Yes, she’s digging in her heels on changing her choice of victuals and she’s taking Victoza, a once-daily noninsulin injection (that is wildly successful BTW in a financial sense). Maybe this is a strategic move since her cooking show may sink to the bottom of the ratings.

In her defense, Paula Deen is not alone – on 2 fronts. Over 28 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, 7 million of which are undiagnosed. Being overweight and sedentary, along with a diet heavy in saturated fat, sweets, desserts and processed food, and low in fruits, veggies and whole grains all play a part in increasing risk of the disease. Her body has been leading up to this for at least 12-15 years. My goodness, of course it has.

And, the 2nd front. Let’s pull out an Ina Garten cookbook. I see butter, cream, and heavy dishes, too. Why is she not taken to the carpet? Because she can cook and eat rich foods without getting diabetes? Because she’s not Southern? That she’s classier (I think Paula Deen is truly a dream, drawl and all, ya’ll). Or that she didn’t sell herself to the Drug Lords? Sounds a bit harsh and judgmental to me to be down on Paula.

And, I have to hand it to her – at least she’s turned over the good health messages to her sons. Diabetes in a New Light is front and center on her Home page.

All of us crunchy, granola types who dine on flax, hemp and sesame seeds afloat in our brothy vegetable soups and green smoothies may remember a day when we weren’t so – and how long it took us to get where we are. Kudos to Paula Deen. Small Changes = Big Results!

Soup to chase the chill
Skinny Fig Bars

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