Tuesday, January 17, 2012

diabetes and diet

There's been a lot of buzz around the internet the last week about a celebrity chef who has Type 2 diabetes.  This morning the rumors have been confirmed.  Paula Deen spoke with USAToday this morning and shared that she has been struggling with type 2 diabetes for three years.  She's also inked a new deal with Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company which makes diabetes medication.

First, I'd like to start by saying I'm very sorry to hear of Paula's diagnosis.  Diabetes can be a challenging disease to deal with and the health complications from it can be very serious.  I hope that she manages to get her diabetes under control and wish her well on this healthy journey.

On the other hand, I'm wondering about how this will change or affect her cooking and the food that she has promoted.  She does say that she and her sons have created diabetic friendly versions of some of her recipes.  And she is exercising and has given up sweet tea.  But she still plans to promote, for the most part, the same type of food.  In the USAToday article they quote Paula as saying she's not changing her show because of the diagnosis but, "I suspect I'll stick to my roots but will say a little louder, 'Eat this in moderation.'"

That's really not the answer.  Paula Deen is uniquely poised to be a beacon for nutrition education, to help people understand the connection between your food, your thinking about your food, and your health.  To continue to eat food which you know is a major cause of your illness and expect to simply take medication to correct it is not honoring your body.  It's time to grow up and move past the child-like petulance that says 'I like this so I'm going to eat it anyway.'  There is so much wonderful food out there, so many flavors, textures, methods of cooking, and more.  There's no need to limit yourself to one type of cooking, especially if you know it's making you sick.  As someone who works with food every day she is certainly in a position to make delicious food that is also healthy.

Diabetes is an illness that, for many, responds very well to dietary changes.  Reducing sugars, increasing nutrient density, using healthy fats, etc.  Yes, changing dietary patterns takes some time.  Yes it takes some time for your palate to adjust as well.  But it is possible and it is so very worthwhile.

It is my sincere hope that this is early days yet.  Perhaps now that she is becoming a public face for diabetes and diet Paula Deen will learn to make healthy, delicious changes.  I always say "Eat well to be well." I hope that she can learn to do this and teach others to do the same.


Valerie said...

What a coincidence that you write this story. I just happened to turn on TV one day and saw her making her good ol' Southern food loaded with products known to have HFCS, transfats and on and on. I thought to myself and wondered if she had any health issues and lo and behold here's your confirmation to my thoughts. I totally agree with you that what a waste of time and energy to promote such unhealthy foods. But in all fairness does she really know anything else? So many people are in a coma hypnotized my health education on TV that they really don't know the truth. I am sorry for Ms. Dean and yet, like you, I could reverse her diabetes (like I have with other clients) if she would only open her mind to the truth and desire to know it.
Thank you for your great posts and I love your new website photo! Keep on posting friend!

Valerie said...

oops, typo that I missed. Its hypnotized by health education from TV. hugs

Sam said...

I hope Ms. Deen has a thick skin because she has a lot to answer for. As you said, she could do wonders for changing diets on her show. If she has the gumption to do it. Think of how many recipes she could re-do to be more diabetci friendly...