Picture is unrelated, mostly. But TOTALLY related to my love of Paula Deen Riding Things.
I love Paula Deen. I do. I find her infectious, and I love that she understands southern cooking and has used food as a means to overcome agoraphobia and other issues. I adore her, really. I love southern women who are loud and boisterous and understand the power of a good hug and good macaroni and cheese.
While I will turn to her recipes first if I need to cook a southern classic, I am leery of putting more than one dish of hers on the table. They are mightily unhealthy. Macaroni and cheese is good. But it needs to be surrounded by steamed veggies and lean proteins. Not more fried, carby goodness. (Mmm. Carby.)
So I was saddened but not surprised when news broke this morning that Paula Deen has Type II Diabetes and will soon serve as the spokesperson for a drug related to the disease. What I find saddening is that Paula seems to feel like most adults of her generation feel – that Type II Diabetes is something they must live with and medicate. That it cannot be cured.
I feel the need to caveat my words every time I mount my nutrition soapbox because, look, I know. I know you look at me and think there’s no way someone like me could know anything about food. You look at me – overweight me – and think I don’t know anything about food.
But – thing is, I do.
I may be overweight. I’m not at what my doctor refers to as “my fighting weight” – I’m about fifteen pounds over. But my stats? My doctor is AMAZED at my stats, so much so that he doesn’t see the need for me to lose any more weight. Because I eat well, and I try and feed my family similarly, my numbers are PERFECT. I may not be proud of my body, but I’m damn sure proud of our health.
I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve seen come down the food journey with me the last few years and turn their lives around. I have had friends who came off of meds for: high blood pressure, dangerously high cholesterol, arthritis, and yes – Type II Diabetes. They did it through portion control, through exercise, and through eating well.
I applaud Paula for coming out about her disease, because the nation needs a wake-up call that fried butter may be delicious (mmm, butter), but it’s not healthy in mass portions. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to admit that her eating and her cooking – both of which are her BRAND – led to this disease. But I wish she had taken the harder route. I wish she had said, I’m not going to back the pharmaceutical companies. I’m going to go to the farmers and the gym. Because THAT’S what the nation needs to see. Not another Wilfred Brimley hawing diabetes care supplies midday during Divorce Court.
I worry about the generation before us. I see the wrongs that our FDA started cramming down their throats start to come to fruition. They didn’t know about High Fructose Corn Syrup and what a number it does on you. They didn’t know that so much bread and grain can wreck your digestive system. They didn’t know because they were doing what they were told, and making good with what they could. I totally get that.
I just wish someone could stand up to the FDA and its cronies now and say: ENOUGH.