Paula Deen. Love her or hate her, she seems to be on every food lover’s mind at the moment, thanks to her ill-advised decision to admit she’s had Type II diabetes for three years and that she’s now a spokesperson for controversial diabetes meds from Novo Nordisk. And days before her birthday, no less!
I’m really not a Deen fan at all–anyone who’s created a beef burger topped with bacon and a fried egg sandwiched between two doughnuts has got to be batshit crazy. But I thought of her diabetes debacle as I piled four huge Cadbury Dairy Milk bars into my shopping cart at the grocery store, with the intention of using them in yet another baking experiment, and wondered whether I was slowly killing myself and the people around me with my cooking and baking as well.
Type II diabetes runs in my family: my mom, grandma, uncle and aunt all have/had it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up getting it, too. Sure, I try to sub out stevia for sugar in my coffee and I work out occasionally, but damn, I love me my sweets. In fact, I just annihilated four Dare Raspberry Whippets (the Canadian version of Mallomars, but with a raspberry jam center) while writing this post, and I don’t care who knows it!
I get that diabetes is a hard pill to swallow if you love to eat and prepare food as much as someone like Deen does. What I don’t get is her apparent lack of self-awareness. I wonder whether she thought twice before dumping a box of butter into a pie on her show, or whether she even blinked while serving up her chocolate cheese fudge–complete with two sticks of butter and a half-pound of Velveeta cheese ::gag::
It would seem that as a celebrity figure that people look to for culinary guidance, Deen could have used her diagnosis more thoughtfully and promoted healthier eating without hawking a questionable medication. At first glance, it looks like she’s doing just that–her website now features a microsite with healthier versions of some of her recipes, although I think there’s just no saving the donut burger–but the microsite is brought to you by Novo Nordisk. For shame.
As home cooks, though, do we have the same responsibility to give our loved ones healthy food? Of course, to some degree, yes. But, as with most things in life, moderation is key–and exercise is a must. After all, the French eat croissants all the freaking time–so much so that a recent French “fat tax” got everyone’s culottes in a bunch when they thought the tax would jack up croissant prices–but they walk and bike everywhere, so there you go.
All right, I’m rambling now. I actually didn’t intend to write a full post tonight, actually, but, hey, y’all get a freebie tonight. What I really wanted to do was post a few of my favorite Deen memes. (More awesomeness here.) Good night, and good luck.
And, for good measure, the OG of diabetes himself, Wilford Brimley.