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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paula Deen: the Glitz and Glamour of Diabetes Mellitus

"Southern comfort" might best describe the type of food Paula Deen prepares in her cookbooks and on her Food Network shows. High-calorie, high-cholesterol, trans-fatty, starchy, sugary, salty, greasy, buttery.... Yummy! Today, Missy Deen came out of the closet as a diabetic. And are you really surprised?

So, it is tonight that I throw caution to the wind and out myself as a person with type-2 diabetes. I mean, I don't want to cast stones and be a hypocrite, so I have to come clean if stone-throwing's on my agenda tonight. And it is, I assure you! I'm just warming up the rocks.

Now, diabetes mellitus is not a particularly tres-glamoureux disease despite Mary Tyler Moore, honeys, is it? (Did I dare to even mention "honey?" Scatch that!) I mean, it's not like tuberculosis, throughout the 19th century, with a patina of Romanticism all around it! It's not Greta Garbo in Camille! It's not Bette Davis in Dark Victory! It's Paula Deen chowing down on potatoes au gratin!

At least that's the perception, with the buzz being one must be overweight, sedentary, or an unhealthy eater. Halle Berry has type-2 diabetes, for heaven's sake! Wrap your brains around that! There can be a glitz and glamour to this disease, after all! All we need to do is re-educate the public.

More and more people in the USA are classified with adult onset (type 2) diabetes these days because, for one thing, the American Medical Association keeps lowering the bar on what qualifies one as diabetic. A fasting blood sugar of 126 or higher is enough to brand you with the scarlet letter ("D") and, quoth the raven ever more, you'll live that shame to the grave (not necessarily dying of complications from diabetes). You can never "recover" from diabetes or become non-diabetic. You are branded and must be monitored. For life.

I mean, I do take my condition seriously. I wouldn't want to be with someone, feet in the air, and have a toe drop off!

Ok, quite frankly, I'm not surprised Delta Burke, David "Boomer" Wells and Sherri Shepherd have the Big D; but Dick Clark and Billie Jean King too?

Patti Labelle collected her recipes and put out some cookbooks. She found out she was a diabetic! (Better cut out that marmalade, lady!) She's since written cookbooks regarding healthier eating. I've looked them over. Puh-leeze, Ms Patti! My doctor would strangle me if I made half the things you suggest. Peach cobbler?!!?

Sipping a mango margarita, I contemplate how I may have become diabetic. Sure, I could lose some weight, I could exercise more consistently, but I want to examine any drastic options with more scrutiny for now.

Paula Deen, our butterball queen, has probably become more associated with that deliciously fatty condiment/additive, butter, since anyone in the wake of culinary grande dame Julia Child. (The three secrets to french cooking, my sweets? Butter, butter and more butter!)

You just know Paula's not the only host on Food Network with diabetes. Who will come out of the insulin closet next? Guy Fieri, of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, seems like a perfect candidate, for one.

Deen has known she is diabetic since 2009. Speaking on the Today show, the 64-year-old kitchen queen said,"I'm here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence," (big news!) and then happened to add that she will be a paid spokesperson for drug company, Novo Nordisk. Interesting timing and spin cycle.

Why, I should be their spokesperson! I'd love to share my deep, personal philosophy with diabetics: "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die!" (Am I quoting Pope Benedict, does anybody know?)

Deen said she will talk about her life with diabetes and recipes that fit her lifestyle for her company's "Diabetes in a New Light" program. "I've always encouraged moderation," she told Today. (That's news to me, sweetiepie!)

In the meantime, enjoy Paula Dean's butter-flavored lip balm from the store on her web site. Other flavors include peach cobbler, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, key lime pie and banana pudding. Sweet dreams, y'all!

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