I love Paula Deen. When I look in to those gorgeous baby blues, my soul just melts. Now, all I see is a PR nightmare meets a dangerous image of food that will kill people. (I won’t even get in to her being paid off by a pharmaceutical company. That’s for another blog.)
For those of you who haven’t heard, this morning Paula Deen was on Today this morning and proclaimed that she has Type 2 diabetes and that she doesn’t see it as a death sentence. Instead of recommending that those afflicted with the same illness should exercise and abstain from eating her fattening food, she believes in her support program and some medication that she (and Al Roker) is a spokesperson for.
The tone of the Paula Deen Interview was frustrating to me. She made it sound as if type two diabetes was like a cavity or a canker sore that you just bear with until it goes away (or kills you, or takes a limb like your foot, or… well you get the idea.) I understand her motive to down play diabetes, she has an image to protect and a product to sell. Sadly though, she represents the American ideal that it’s our right to eat all of the fattening crap we want and no one can take that away from us. Who cares if it rots our insides? Who cares if it builds up plaque in our arteries? Who cares if it makes us contestants on the Biggest Loser? As long as our taste buds are happy right? While Paula Deen repeatedly says in the interview that she stresses moderation on her show (which I have never heard her say that, but that’s beside the point) most people have no idea of what true moderation actually looks like. Heck, I don’t even know. I’m still trying to figure that out. I think this all really hit me hard today because I just dealt with the idea of food rewards this week and how crappy I felt after the fact. I know it’s cliche, but food really is fuel and nothing else.
On a lot of levels, I can relate to poor Paula. In an interview I heard with Deen on NPR a few months ago, she talks about each recipe and each meal as a way to commune with loved ones that she has lost. For the longest time, eating out equated to community. I’ll never forget all of the Taco Bueno and Pizza House I ate with my brothers in Frater Sodalis at ACU and the fun we had around those tables even though we were going through the hell of pledging. Since then, my idea of food has had to change. I’m now to the point where I finally am able to balance the social aspect of eating out while being able to stay within my points. With that all being said, coming from a family of diabetics, I knew the danger I was in when the scale kept climbing and my waist kept expanding. Even in middle school, I wanted to get tested for diabetes (I was 275 pounds in 8th grade with a 44 inch waist along with the genetic history. I was a prime candidate.) because I knew the dangers of it. I had already accepted that the Big D (and I don’t mean Dallas) was going to be a part of my life. Thankfully, the changes I have made in my life are constantly lowering those chances.
As a society, we need to rethink how we view food. A lot of us are still eating the way our grandparents did, except they were out in the fields or in the mines while we are sitting behind a desk in a sedentary lifestyle. I think this new concept looks different for everyone. Either way, you have control of what you put in to your body. Don’t let food have so much control over all of your life. When you are able to say no, it slowly (emphasis on slooooooooowly) becomes easier which helps you in turn make better decisions.
So Paula, (oh yeah, that’s what the post was about) you have a platform that could be used to show that diabetes could be overcome (or at least handled) with eating right and exercise. Instead, you are once again promoting the lie that pills make it all better. I guess we’ll see how that turns out for you. See ya tomorrow.