Yesterday during a visit to NBC’s Today Show, Food Network star, chef, restauranteur, and author, Paula Deen, confirmed the rumors that she has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This was not a surprise to most, since the types of foods Paula cooks on her show (filled with butter, heavy cream, sugar, etc.) are not the healthiest recipes one can prepare. However, I do not think it is a laughing matter either.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can be deadly. I know firsthand the toll that diabetes can take on someone, being that my father has been living with it for over ten years, and I myself, developed gestational diabetes during both of my pregnancies. When I learn that someone has diabetes, my first thought it not to judge them. My first thought is to hope that they can avoid becoming ill with the disease, since it is a matter of health (and life or death).
I have written at length on my blog about diabetes and have done so for two years now. Through my writing and research, I have learned that diabetes does not discriminate. Diabetes strikes the rich and the poor. It also is not always about what you eat. There are those that have been diagnosed with diabetes despite the fact that they prepare healthy foods and are not overweight. Diabetes can be hereditary. Blacks and Hispanics seem to be more predisposed to diabetes than other races.
To think, of course Paula Deen has diabetes—look at the way she cooks is a tad bit judgmental. Paula is not the first TV chef that uses creams and butters and sugars in their recipes. Have you ever watched Julia Child’s old cooking footage? It makes Paula’s recipes look like fig leaves. Other chefs like Emeril, The Neelys, Barefoot Contessa, and plenty more use ingredients that are not considered healthy. It is up to us as viewers and consumers of these shows what we want to put in our bodies and who we shell out our money to in terms of cookbooks, merchandise, etc. (Yes, Anthony Bourdain, we have a choice here).
I will say that Paula coming out with her diagnosis is a rude awakening for us—diabetes is a serious disease and can come with a lot of consequences. Paula will need to change her eating habits for sure to comply with her medical condition.
There is nothing funny about Paula Deen having Type 2 Diabetes, and for her health, I hope that she can also show that healthy foods can be prepared just as good as ones with heavy butter and sugar.
The fact that she has also parlayed her diagnosis into a paid endorsement for Novo Nordisk does concern me—having diabetes shouldn’t be a payoff and as someone who is wealthy. I feel she should share her knowledge about diabetes through community service at no charge. But I do understand this is show business.—I ain’t mad at Paula.
The lesson I hope that Paula has learned is not to hide something such as this for three years, while peddling bad food habits in front of others. The threat of her having diabetes shouldn’t be the reason why she shares it with the world—she should share it because she cares about her health and the health of others.
To those who think it’s a laughing matter, you are entitled to your opinion. I just hope that you never have to deal with diabetes. It isn’t a joke. At all.
Photo credit: Eater.com