January 18, 2012

What Hypocrites

This is my two cents - you don't have to agree but please be respectful: I don't know Paula Deen's medical or family history, diet, or exercise regime.  If any of you are privy to that information, I'm impressed.  In my opinion, the way she cooks on TV may or may NOT have anything to do with her diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.  Furthermore, her decision to keep that diagnosis private for a while is a right we all expect and to which she is entitled.  While I think it would be prudent (though not obligatory) to make more mention on her show of the fact that her recipes are treats & special-occasion meals and not representative of a healthy diet, I not only support but greatly respect her if she continues to make the same artery-clogging, diabetes-aggravating, waistline-destroying food on TV. 
Image found here.
We say we are not our diseases and rightfully demand that the world look beyond these labels we must carry if we are to receive treatment and see us for the individuals we are – do we not owe Paula the same respect?  The woman made a living and a reputation out of her decadent meals, but suddenly because of the label "diabetes" we chastise her for that over which we formerly drooled?  Did we not already know eating the food she cooks on a regular basis would be hazardous to our health?  Is it not our responsibility to make decisions about our diets for ourselves?  And, if it actually were so horrific for her to cook these foods, why didn't we shun her from the start, and only now raise indignant voices after learning of her diagnosis?
I've heard the jokes for years about Paula Deen's recipes…snarky comments about owning stock in Land O'Lakes, quips about heavy chefs, and even remarks about the potential for related medical problems (aha, so we DID see that coming!).  But we've always teased her because we love what she makes and wish at least one of her creations would magically transport through the TV and onto our plates.  How convenient that we forget this forbidden love now.
Paula may or may not have eaten over-the-top foods on a regular basis.  I don't go through her kitchen scraps; I don't know.  She may have a family history like mine, with several diabetics – some of each Type 1 and Type 2.  She may have cooked extravagantly on TV then gone home and eaten a raw veggie platter…or half a cake, I have no idea.  But even if she did eat these foods, and more frequently than is wise, that doesn't completely mean she "brought this all on herself" and that she is any less deserving of our compassion.  No one knows why some people eat a certain way and have no effects while others develop life-threatening conditions.  I'm sure we all personally know of at least one person who was seemingly in perfect health only to develop something horrific, as well as someone who lives life daring disease to take them but hasn't had so much as a sniffle in years.  Why do some people smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day and live to be 90 with nothing worse than a smelly car, but someone who lived in their house is undergoing chemo for lung cancer from second-hand smoke?  I would hope Paula knew a judicial diet would be healthful and that she tried to keep one, but whether she did or didn't I don't think it's my place to assume or judge.
Paula, you've always presented yourself as a strong-willed, self-reliant, independent thinker.  This isn't the first time you've been criticized for your food, probably by people whose opinions mean a whole lot more to you than we random TV-watchers and web-surfers.  I strongly suspect you don't need to hear this at all, but I'll say it anyway for those who need to hear it: keep on keepin' on.  You love what you do, and I love you for that.  If you choose to create new paths based on your relationship with diabetes, incorporate this "news" into what you've been doing, or separate it entirely from what you do on TV, I support you.  You have the chance to exercise the right we all fight for – to be and do exactly what you want based on your qualifications and not your diagnosis.  Live it up!


  1. Really ? I don't know this show (I'm in France), but some people said she's responsible of her diabetes? It's stupid ! She was teaching how to make some meal, not eating them, as far as we know ! And some people have a great diet, and they still get an illness. An illness is not a punishment. We're not "bad" people because we are ill, we have not deserve what's happening to us !

  2. Great post Jenny. You pretty much said it all. Above all, I miss the compassion in society that used to be the norm instead of the exception.

    One of the reasons we have trouble finding celebs to help us with health conditions is just what happened here... Why on earth would they want to expose themselves by revealing a very personal health condition, which amounts to volunteering to be run thru the mill like this?

    I choose instead to concentrate on the positive things that have resulted from her revelation, and hope that she finds comfort - no matter how small - in the fact that not everyone is trying to judge her. Some of us just wish her and her lovely family health and happiness, now and in the future...

  3. It's human nature to criticize someone who appears to advocate a lifestyle which may be unhealthy and then shows up with a health issue which is commonly brought on by that lifestyle. Obviously, not our best side.
    -- Jeffrey Dorfman


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