1.19.2012

Paula Deen, Something You Just Can't Keep Ignoring

Ok, this is a subject I have been a bit hesitant to blog about because I wasn't quite sure what my thoughts on the subject were, till now.  As I'm sure most of you have heard by now: Food Network star Paula Deen has come out to the public that she has Type 2 Diabetes.  And I won't be the first to say that this is no surprise to the health food blogging community.  Obviously we see the apparent cause and effect that is occurring here.

I've been hesitant to post on this because, at first, I felt bad for Paula.  I've grown up enjoying cooking shows not because of what they were cooking, but because of the beautiful kitchens, the wonderful gadgets, and warm inviting personalities.  Paula Deen is no exception to this pattern.  Personally, I have never made any of the recipes I have seen on Food Network, and I definitely wouldn't now that I eat nutritarian.  This does, however, create an issue for those that do copy her style of eating when we are living in a nation that such a huge (no pun intended) obesity and Type 2 Diabetes problem.
The issue about Paula's T2D is not that she has it, but that she has had it for nearly three years and has decided to announce it to the public only after making a deal with Novo Nordisk to promote their diabetes drug.  When hearing this news, I immediately made up my mind: this is scummy and shame on her!  If she's has diabetes for three years, she knows the severity of the condition when it comes to affecting your daily life and health.  I'm sure she was not jumping for joy when she was diagnosed, so the next logical step for her would have been to discontinue or change the thing that created the problem in the first place: her overly indulgent, butter-fried, over-sugared, over-salted diet, AND the shows that largely broadcast that diet to the public.

I know that I enjoy every reader of my blog whether I have directly talked to them or not, and I'm sure that Paula is no exception to this feeling either.  She has to love her fans that have made her so famous and loved (and rich).  But, if you do love, or even respect your fans, how could you continue to advertise these terrible choices that lead to terrible health issues?  Shame on her.

A whole other issue is the Food Network.  As I said earlier, I spent time as a kid and teenager, and even now sometimes watching the Food Network because of the aesthetic beauty of it all.  I'm envious of the kitchens and gadgets the Food Network stars get to use, and I always loved the presentation of food (something I am still learning to make better for my blog recipes).  This is not only an issue down to an individual, but down to the responsibility of the Food Network.  It is not right to be promoting lifestyles of eating that encourage a national problem such as Type 2 Diabetes.  We need to demand better of the Food Network to provide chefs that not only have pretty kitchens, cool gadgets, and warm personalities, but that can make great tasting healthy foods.  By this I am not meaning "healthier" than deep fried mac n cheese wrapped in bacon, but something that nutritarians, vegans, or plant-strong vegetarians might eat.

I found this article while looking into Paula Deen T2D news and found that I fell between two opinions.  Here are the three that the article provides:

1.  Moderation is the key, and home cooks need to take responsibility for what they eat.

2.  Paula missed the opportunity to encourage people to eat healthier and make better choices.

3.  It is irresponsible of Paula Deen to not change how she cooks on her show, and to appear in Nova Novartis ads that supply her diabetes medication.

I find that I'm somewhere between opinions 2 and 3, although I think all three are valid opinions.

Where does your opinion fall?  Do you have an opinion that falls out of these three categories?

2 comments:

  1. Hmmm...So I completely agree with you about Paula Deen's behavior as appalling. But I can't totally condemn the Food Network. You know when you watch it that the Chefs are preparing more 'gourmet' delicacies, so are going to use richer and less healthy ingredients. And really, how many recipes have you actually made from their shows? I over the last 7 years since starting to watch the network have only made a handful. So they are a once in a while thing. And now I always change them to use less fat, oil, salt, and sugar so they are healthier. And while I also agree that they should do a better job of having more health conscientious episodes or shows, at the same time we can't lay all the blame for our national health epidemic on other things. A lot of it lies with people themselves. People need to be more accountable for their actions instead of always trying to blame it on something else. The majority of the nation chooses to eat poorly and not exercise because it is easier. And a lot of traditional food that are laden with fat and calories were intended for a society that was mainly hard labor based and not sedentary desk job based. Unfortunately there are a lot of die hard people out there who don't want to try to make those traditional meals and recipes more healthy. However, I think with our generation we are starting to see the trend move the other way. Granted in some parts of the country, that is going to take longer than others. But I think change is on it's way, and I don't think we are the only people who are appalled by Paula's behavior. I think there are a lot of people out there who agree with our philosophy and hopefully a few that haven't will take her situation as a wake up call. So keep on blogging healthy recipes, and promoting it to others, and we'll start a health revolution. :)

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    Replies
    1. That is true that many of the chefs featured on Food Network are preparing "gourmet" meals and things for entertaining, and I have to say that I have never followed a recipe from one of them, but sometimes have used their recipes for inspiration for dishes of my own. In particular, I know that the shows that nearly always do cooking for entertaining is Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. But, I feel that the majority of shows do not have a fleck of healthy in them and do no such thing to encourage better choices, even outside of entertaining. Those shows include Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Paula's Best Dishes, Guy's Big Bite, Sugar High, and Sugar Rush.

      I am in no way blaming the Food Network for the country's obesity problem. The individual is the only one who can control their weight and health decisions. However, I don't think it helps to have so many shows about things that could encourage the obesity problem. I would just like to see a new show or two that cater to making healthy vegetarian or plant-strong meals instead of the meat-centered, oily, salty, and fatty dishes that they often feature on many of their shows.

      I too feel that change coming soon, and I cannot wait for the day when you go out for dinner and plant-strong meals are the majority of the menu and there are oil-less salad dressing options, when coffee shops carry alternative milks that don't cost extra, when kale is as abundant as romaine at all grocery stores, and so much more. That will be a great day when the true health revolution is here. Thanks for supporting my mini-revolution for now. :) ANK

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