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Living with diabetes

Posted: January 25, 2012 - 9:24am

When we heard that our ever-smiling Southern maven of cooking  was diagnosed  with type-2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, some of us were sad, some of us were not surprised, and others of us were just plain mad. Fortunately, I do not have diabetes, but of the many folks who do, some found they were experiencing feelings of indignation and betrayal. And, who could blame them?  On the heels of learning about Deen’s diabetes, a full three years after the initial diagnosis, came word that Deen would be the paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the drug company that supplies Deen with her diabetes medication, Victoza.

Diabetics were left wondering why Deen did not disclose her illness sooner or, at the very least, did not do more to offer healthy alternatives to her trademark high fat, high calorie repertoire.  But, in all fairness, the choice has always been ours.  In 2007, we loved the recipe that appeared here for Deen’s “Not Yo Mama’s Banana Pudding.”  And, despite suggestions to use lighter ingredients in the pudding, many of us opted for the full monty of fat, sugar and calories, declaring it was the “best darn banana pudding we had ever eaten.”  I do not regularly watch Deen’s Food Network show, nor do I totally embrace  her inimitable cooking style, but I continue to believe that what she says is true and will continue to be so,  whether she is hawking drugs, or hamburgers sandwiched between glazed donuts.

In addition, Deen’s recent statement, “Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor. You’ve got to be responsible for yourself,” is, perhaps, her best advice (and truth) of all, serving to remind us that all the recipes (and things) can’t be intended for all people.  In her effort to come clean and now sell us drugs, Deen may have revealed too much of herself, at the expense of her privacy. We know of her diabetes, the drug she takes to control it and the people who make it for her.  We know, too, of the medical challenges of diabetes that she is facing and of the lifetime it will take to meet them. Deen, like us, will be responsible for herself and truth or dare — Deen will do it. Truthfully, Deen will do it. 

For more information about diabetes, including links to resources for diabetes and diabetic-friendly recipes, visit the American Diabetic Association website at, or call 1-800-342-2383.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at   

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