Home > Friday Fun! > Friday Fun! (Paula Deen)

Friday Fun! (Paula Deen)

Hello my lovely readers!  Today I want to talk about something that’s been all over the American news this week.  Paula Deen has announced she’s been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

I know a lot of my readers are not Americans and thus may have no clue who Paula Deen is.  Paula Deen (always referred to with both names) was one of the first cooking stars on the Food Network.  She’s known for her traditional southern fare, heavy accent, and mothering personality.  She has a couple of restaurants that she runs with her sons.  Now, since she does TRADITIONAL southern cooking, her food is about as far from healthy fare as you can get.  She is well-known (and teased) in the US for adding copious amounts of butter and cheese and heavy cream to everything.

I was the first generation to grow up with the Food Network.  Cooking is a hobby I share with my dad, and I would hang out with him in the garage while he built things and watch the shows.  I distinctly remember the first time I saw Paula Deen’s show.  She was making hamburgers and she took a wad of blue cheese mixed with something and wrapped the meat around it, thereby making a hollow of melty cheese when it came time to eat.  Naturally, middle school aged pre-vegetarian Amanda’s mind was blown.

It was only when I became older and a healthy America advocate that I realized how incredibly unhealthy all of Paula Deen’s food is.  People have joked about it for years, but her announcement of having type 2 diabetes brings back the stark reality of the standard American method of treating the sickness and not the cause does to people.

The backlash against Paula Deen has been incredibly loud and surprisingly harsh this week.  Some vegans and vegetarians I respect have been almost gleeful at this woman’s illness.  Don’t get me wrong. Paula Deen made herself sick, and yes, her diagnosis is proof positive that we healthy food advocates are RIGHT in what we say.  But celebrating another person’s illness is wrong too.

Now the backlash that I do agree with includes everyone from vegans to diabetes experts.  Paula Deen has announced that she will not change her diet or lifestyle AT ALL.  In spite of the fact that diet changes and increased exercise have been proven the MOST effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.  Instead she has signed on to be a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication.

So here we have a famous American woman diagnosed with a PREVENTABLE disease and instead of treating the CAUSE she is treating the SYMPTOMS.  That right there is everything that is wrong with the current American approach to health.  That is not health.  That is sickness and death walking.

What is far worse in my opinion is this:

Not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills. –Paula Deen

First, the examples she gives are not even HEALTHY FOOD.  You can get a bag of lentils–aka healthy protein–for around $2 with around 12 servings in that one bag.  Healthy food is NOT expensive.  Time and again healthy food advocates have proven this.  The problem is that “regular families” don’t know how to cook from scratch, how to wisely shop, how to plan ahead for days when they’re busy.  These are lost skills that are no longer taught in school or at home.  And, for the record, dairy is EXPENSIVE and something Paula Deen adds to pretty much every single recipe she makes.

What is absolutely hypocritical in this quote, thought, is that Paula Deen is claiming regular people can’t afford healthy food (false) but also advocating medicating type 2 diabetes instead of treating the cause with a medication that costs $500 a month!

What we have here is a stubborn woman refusing to admit that her lifestyle caused her disease, refusing to change, and refusing to do anything about the negative impact she’s had on her loyal American fans.

Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself. –Paula Deen

You know, there’s a saying in the fitness world.  Fitness is 80% food and 20% exercise.  Notice how neither of those percentages are the DOCTOR but 80% of fitness is directly related to YOUR COOK.

Paula Deen is a woman who has made a FORTUNE selling high-fat, high-sugar, unhealthy food to the American people and then turns around and says well, health is up to these people’s doctors.  I’m not responsible for my fans at all.  Quite the person to respect, eh?

I can tell you right now what this all boils down to.  Paula Deen’s fortune rests on being the queen of butter.  If she changes her tune this late in the game, she thinks she’s going to lose it all.  Or at the very least stop raking in the cash.  She doesn’t care about doing what’s right for her own body, let alone for America.  She is a woman diseased by far more than type 2 diabetes.  She is a woman diseased with greed.

  1. bookzilla
    January 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    On one hand, I totally agree with you — Deen is a woman in the public eye, and morally I think she has a responsibility as a public figure to set a good example.

    However, we as people (especially Americans, since we’re mostly the only people who know her) have to realize that putting a human—with all his or her weaknesses and flaws—on a pedestal is a mistake. We’ve always known that Deen’s cooking is unhealthy; it’s my job as a (hypothetical) parent to talk to my kids about what “healthy food” is, and how it’s important to eat well and exercise, etc.

    Deen is not a doctor, a trainer, or a fan of health food — why should anyone look to her for advice on any of those things? Just because she’s a successful cook with her own television show, doesn’t mean she’s any more perfect than anyone else. I agree with you that her refusing to change her diet and merely treating the symptoms is irresponsible, but that’s her decision, and none of my business. And if other people out there are dumb enough to follow in her footsteps, that’s also their decision and none of my business.

    I think Americans do a lot of blaming of our “heroes” (be they politicians, musicians, celebrities, or cooks) when they act like humans and make poor decisions. But at some point we have to take responsibility for our own behavior, and stop looking to people who are just as flawed as we are to take on the morality of saints and lead us to the metaphorical promised land.

    • January 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      If you make your career out of promoting something BAD or UNHEALTHY, then you are worse than flawed. You are making your living off of evil. That’s all there is to it. It’s not like the lady makes desserts once in a while. She has NEVER done a SINGLE healthy recipe. Additionally, she is in the public eye and CHOSE to be. By seeking that out, she accepted a certain responsibility as a role model. Whether or not we agree or disagree on what she did prior to being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, nobody in their right mind can disagree that promoting medication for a disease that is treatable by lifestyle changes is not just irresponsible. It’s detrimental to everyone, Paula Deen herself included.

  2. bookzilla
    January 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    But you can’t put the entire blame on Deen’s shoulders. Someone decided she should have a cooking show, and promoted it; people who watched and recommended it to friends; the pharmaceutical company who signed her on…her show is popular because people watch it — if no one watched it, it wouldn’t be on television.

    I agree completely that she’s being irresponsible, and that her health will likely suffer. I just hope that people are smart enough to realize that, and perhaps show their disagreement by no longer watching her show.

    • January 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      But there wouldn’t be a Paula Deen show period without her, would there? There may be a support-structure, and they are certainly to blame as well, but Paula Deen herself is just being a stubborn old biddy continuing to promote a lifestyle that has made her DISEASE-RIDDEN and most likely will KILL HER let alone anyone else following it.

      Refusing to take responsibility for individual actions is what leads to atrocities. “Oh, I didn’t do it. My superiors ordered me to do it.” “Oh, it’s just the way things are.” And then you end up with things like genocides. The overwhelming willingness of Americans today to refuse to ask people to be responsible for their actions and the impact of those actions on others is frankly disgusting. Do more people than Paula Deen do it? Hells yes. But calling them out one by one is all we can do.

  3. January 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

    I’m afraid being from the UK I don’t know really know who Paula Deen is, but can relate as here we used have a show called The Two Fat Ladies….and yes they were very fat and cooked (probably delicious) unhealthy food. The title says it all really though?! One of the ‘two fat ladies’ has now died, although from cancer, they do say that diet and lifestyle play quite a key role in many cancers now.

    Great discussion Amanda, and goes well with your new challenge.

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