Paula Deen & Diabetes leaves a bad taste in my pre-diabetes mouth
Paula Deen has diabetes. Why is it we’re so angry and disgusted at this news?
I think the crux of it is she’s been selling us her “down-home cooking” lifestyle for years. She’s been asking us to become fans of her, her taste, her choices, and ultimately approve and emulate her through viewership, buying cookbooks, and supporting her advertisers.
No one is blaming her for being diagnosed with diabetes. As I mention on my About Me page, I was worried that (and still am) I will be diagnosed with Type II diabetes at some point in my life. My father was diagnosed with it (and after changing his lifestyle & eating habits, has since been in normal blood sugar levels), so I know it’s not an absurd thought.
I wouldn’t wish diabetes on anyone.
But. She also has to be accountable for the responsibility she has not only as a public figure, but one whose main purpose is promoting her culinary lifestyle.
Two things stick in my craw the most:
- She partnered up with a diabetes drug company.
Medicine is doing some great things for people in the world, but I don’t think the response to “I have Type II diabetes” is to say “don’t worry, there’s a medicine for that”, especially when healthier eating and exercise can have an impact on Type II diabetes.
A drug company wants to make money. Drug companies make money when patients buy their drugs, not when they become better & don’t need the medicine anymore. I sense a conflict of interest in peddling a “Diabetes in a new Light” lifestyle that involves medicine.
It looks worse that, following the public outcry about this announcement, she only then decided to pledge some of her earnings to the American Diabetes Association.
- She waited to say something for three years.
This news wasn’t immediately available in the first press releases about how long she had known, but now we know. 3 years. It makes the drug partnership even more calculating.
Three years of continuing the lifestyle she portrays online, and now coming out with a very recent articles advocating the “other lifestyle” she follows:
Her sons agree that her typical meals at home are different from the ones on the show. “When we go to her house, we eat a lot of seafood, chicken on the grill, big chopped salads,” says Jamie, 44, who helps manage the family restaurant and business.
Bobby Deen, 41, star of Cooking Channel’s Not My Mama’s Meals, which offers healthier versions of his mom’s classic recipes, says, “Although my mother does cook traditional for 30 minutes each day (on TV), she only eats that way in moderation and encourages her viewers to do the same (source)
Did you notice that the son has a show about how his healthier version are so different from his mother’s cooking that it’s in the name of his show, “Not My Mama’s Meals” ?
I think ideally people see the public figure and want to be a part of that struggle, that change, and they want to see its effects, too, right along with her. That is why so many healthy living bloggers have followings, too – they are involving people directly in their progress, their failures, & successes. It feels real, it feels human.
The way her new insta-moderate-lifestyle living with diabetes was presented, it feels manufactured, fake, and a little dishonest. The process of change and transition would have added the same authenticity that she has with her “home cooking.”
Caron from San Diego Foodstuffs says it much better than I.
Badly played, Ms. Deen.