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On Paula Deen

An Outdoor View

Posted: January 27, 2012 - 9:25am

This week I was gladdened to hear that Food Network chef Paula Deen was being hounded by the media.

Deen, a bubbly woman who oozes Southern folksiness like a pork roast oozes fat, has been overdosing her television viewing audiences with lard, sugar and butter for 10 years. Her latest book, "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible," was named one of the five unhealthiest cookbooks of 2011 by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The media accuse Deen of being a hypocrite. After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago, she kept it to herself, all the while promoting foods that can contribute to the development of diabetes. What's more, the very day she announced that she had diabetes, she started hawking diabetes medicine for Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company.

Age, race and family history can contribute to the development of diabetes, but obesity definitely plays a part. Two out of three Americans are now overweight. Nearly 80 million have prediabetes, and more than 25 million have diabetes.

Paula Deen personifies a universal problem. While television shows such as "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" promote unhealthy eating habits, the media also promote drugs for treating the various diseases that we inevitably contract by having these habits. They push the fatty foods, then peddle us cholesterol-reducing drugs. They get us coming and going.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up eating "comfort" food, which is what Paula Deen and Southern cooking is all about. I yearn for the tart and crunchy sweetness of a rhubarb and strawberry crisp topped with ice cream. I long for pineapple upside-down cake, banana cream pie and strawberry shortcake. I never met a meatloaf, a bowl of gumbo or a chicken-fried steak I didn't like. If life was fair, I'd eat this stuff at every opportunity.

However, life isn't fair. Whenever I do something -- anything, it seems -- there are aftereffects, or "unintended consequences." Among the aftereffects of unhealthy eating habits are agony, sickness and an early death. We all have to die, but I'd just as soon spend the last part of my life being able to walk and to climb hills. I want to be able to wade rivers. I want to be able to land big fish, and to climb in and out of boats. I want to continue to enjoy the outdoors. If I don't "eat healthy," I can't expect to keep doing the things I want to do.

Having lost 70 pounds and kept it off for well over a year, I've learned to avoid certain things. As alcoholics avoid bars, I try to avoid people who push unhealthy eating habits.

To be fair to Paula Deen, I watched a couple of her shows the day before I wrote this column. Watching her pour a cream-and-powdered sugar glaze over a pan of sugar and butter-laden cinnamon rolls, and then preparing a "snack" of chicken pieces wrapped with bacon and rolled in brown sugar, I found myself at once drooling, shaking my head and covering my eyes.

While preparing chili-topped cornbread waffles, this overweight woman who has smoked for 50 years, said, "Sometimes I will just set up the waffle iron and just let my family eat at their leisure, oh my goodness, we'll just eat like pigs!"

hat pretty much summed up why I don't watch Paula Deen.

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.

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starson
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starson 01/31/12 - 04:33 am
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People think diabetes is all

People think diabetes is all about sugar, but the saturated fat in meat and dairy appears to be the main culprit:
http://nutritionfacts.org/blog/2012/01/18/paula-deen-diabetes-drug-spokesperson/

pamelita
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pamelita 02/02/12 - 05:40 pm
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Give me a break

Paula Deen is not shoving food down anyone's throat. Everyone knows that eating a regularly healthy diet is one of many things we can do to be healthy. Eating an "unhealthy" meal every once in a while is not going to kill anyone.

She is a role model...yada...yada... When are we going to turn off the tv and stop looking to those people as role models and start becoming a role model ourselves? A model to those young people around us. That is where they learn a healthy lifestyle. Paula Deen could change her nasty ways and it still won't change a darned thing about how you eat.

cbeard
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cbeard 02/03/12 - 04:44 pm
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Annoying

It's annoying to hear people whine about food. Most people have food problems, but the solution is to not chastise people for wanting to cook extreme food, especially if it's part of how they became a successful person in life.

The only way you can truly overcome any type of addiction is to be able to say no to enablers right in front of your face. If you can't be a sober alcoholic without avoiding looking at a bottle for the rest of your life, you have done nothing and are basically just a ticking time bomb for a relapse.

The same goes with people who get "offended" by the promotion of food. Just say no. What's the problem with that? Can't just say no?

Well that's your problem, not Paula Deen's, not a restaurant chain, not any food channel, that's your personal problem with your own mental issues, your own emotional issues, and your own physical issues.

More people would be able to overcome food challenges if they stopped trying to blend into the crowd, blamed something intangible and immeasurable like "culture of excess", ignored all the diets and tips and "biggest losers" on tv, and made it personal for themselves.

I'm glad to see this author lost 70 pounds, but he clearly hasn't lost any emotional or mental weight if he's so concerned about Paula Deen thousands of miles away.

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