Paula ‘Diabetes’ Deen: In a few short days, it’s almost as if the disease became her middle name. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, web sites or tabloids, you won’t find a story today without seeing her name and diabetes used in the same sentence.
The first time I saw Paula Deen she was making a frosting for a cake. “And now just add a box of confectioner’s sugar,” she said. These words rolled off her tongue as easily as butter melts in a hot pan. She is known for her sugar-filled, fat-laden style of cooking, and for portraying these meals as everyday foods instead of decadent “sometimes” treats. Her approach to food preparation could exacerbate diabetes rather than control it.
So now that her hidden 3-year-old medical issue has become public knowledge, where will she go from here?
Will Paula Deen continue to be afflicted with “Cleopatra Syndrome,” as a patient of mine calls it, and live in de-Nile? Or will she take advantage of the incredible power she now has to change what goes on the forks of her loyal fans? As Spiderman said, “With great power comes responsibility.”Paula is not just a celebrity chef — she is a role model. She can inspire millions of people who have diabetes to learn that all foods can fit, if you learn to balance what you eat with how you move. She could rely on a dietitian instead of a drug company to help slash blood sugar numbers so that she could perhaps not even need any medication.
Imagine her on the Food Network promoting food for her friends that will please their palates and their doctors. She could talk about proper portions. And perhaps most of all, she could show how she could tweak her own recipes to create a safer state of wellbeing without deprivation.
It is predicted that by 2050, 1 of 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes, and I predict that many of those people will be sitting on the couch watching TV. Paula, I’d be happy to help you demonstrate how the words “delicious” and “healthful” can coexist.