Monday, January 23, 2012

Paula Deen has Diabetes and the World Goes Insane

On the Today Show, Paula Deen confirmed she has Type 2 diabetes.

The most interesting thing is the public’s reaction to the news.  


People are quick to criticize what other people eat and imply that they are too fat, too thin, bad people, bad parents, or too uptight because of what they eat. However, don’t you DARE take away their favorite food because that’s.just.wrong.

Paula Deen built her personal brand on her cheery, folksy, grandmotherly personality who cooks traditional, rich Southern heart attack on a plate food. People flock to her restaurant, watch her on TV, and buy her cookbooks because let’s face it, that kind of food tastes good.

Do people really make the recipes Paula develops for her product lines? It’s hard to say. I suspect many people do, because those butter and sugar-laden goodies look tasty even though the calories pack a wallop. I know several of the older members of my family who made similar meals. Their lifestyle triggered the family history of heart or sugar issues.

The only difference is they took their doctor’s advice and drastically changed their diets and started to exercise.

Paula Deen's Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt - not for you Type 2

Paula Deen’s keep eating my food, take two aspirin and don’t worry about it approach is unsettling. Of the diabetics I know, they say there is a learning curve about what they can eat and when. They say the pill is a welcome option. They agree with Deen that diabetes isn’t a death sentence. However, they say you still need to make diet and exercise modifications. It would be nice to hear a celebrity chef acknowledge that.

Instead the Queen of Butter back peddles to save her brand of Southern fried high fat, high sugar, high starch comfort food. She claims she says to enjoy her food in moderation. As nice as she is, I don’t buy that business for a second. While she may only take one bite (or none) at the end of a cooking segment, I have never, ever, heard Paula Deen say we should make her recipes only once in awhile.

What amount IS considered moderation anyway?  That’s a matter of opinion. I’m sure everyone’s number is different.
In all honesty, I assumed Paula Deen cooked and ate as she does on TV for every meal. How else could she develop new recipes for her business? She told Al Roker she only eats her recipes 30 days out of the year for TV and doesn’t expect her fans to make her recipes frequently.

Huh?

Paula, uou’re saying you want your fans to buy your cookbooks devoid of anything healthy and read your detailed fried butter ball recipe on Food Network and never make it? Why do you have a restaurant that serves it? You built a business on making all of this crazy fattening, sugar-laden food and now after all these years; now you want us to believe you do not eat it? What kind of business plan is that Paula?

Oh wait. She said she gave up sweet tea. Big whoop.


From a pure business standpoint, I understand why the Queen of Butter kept her diabetes a secret for three years. During tough economic times, people crave comfort food. That’s exactly the type of food Paula provides, although such high fat, sugar, and calorie-laden meals are outdated for the type of sedentary lives most Americans lead.

They may be more fun for Paula to develop than developing healthier recipes. From personal experience, I have more fun developing desserts and baked goods than healthy stir frys. From my blog stats, you like them too. Give the people what they want is necessary when you are building a successful business.


I agree with Paula Deen when she says people need to be responsible and held accountable for what they eat. No one forces you order a Paula Deen sausage and egg sandwich made with two glazed doughnuts. If you chose to eat that type of breakfast frequently, any outcome is all on you, not the person who developed the recipe. 

Those really are doughnuts, not bagels

But Paula, honey, personal accountability is a two way street. You have a health issue triggered by your age, family history, and weight. You continue to make crazy fattening and delicious food that all of your fans assume you eat regularly after your diagnosis. Telling your fans that you don’t eat your recipes while expecting them to buy your books and eat at your restaurant is hypocritical. Throwing in a yummy low fat, low sugar comfort food recipe every once in awhile since your diagnosis would have gone a long way in the PR department now that you are outed.

What I would have liked to see in personal accountability department is for Paula Deen to say, you know what, yes my comfort food tastes good and is a heart attack on a plate. It may not be healthy but people sure like it because that’s why they watch me on TV. I was afraid I’d lose my business if all of a sudden I started making vegetable dishes that aren’t breaded and deep fried. For now, my son Bobby is creating lower calorie, sugar, and fat versions of my recipes while I’m going to keep on keeping on.  

I understand the frustration of changing your diet due to health reasons. I’m struggling with that via my lactose intolerance. It sucks. While there are medications I can take and do, I still need to make changes to my diet. From Paula’s interview, she looks like she’s cooking as usual, gave up sweet tea, takes a pill, and is fine and dandy.  

I wonder how many Paula Deen fans that have a family history of diabetes eat at her restaurant or make her recipes find themselves in the same medical situation?

What do you think?