Paula Deen and Her Type 2 Diabetes

Paula-Deen (1)

Those are some white teeth ya’ll…:)

I do see how some of her comments don’t help us diabetic people out.  She just said that diabetes is “not a life sentence”.  This doesn’t bother me much because I take it into context and I know she is talking about her type 2 diabetes.  However, I do understand that the majority of the world out there doesn’t know that type 1 and 2 are different diseases (though we haven’t actually figured those details out for 100% certain, yet).  Anyway, the point is that I completely understand the frustration to those with diabetes who say, “Wait just one minute!  Diabetes IS life threatening for me and can definitely be for other people with diabetes!”  I get it.  I don’t however, want to punch the lady in the face for not being specific enough when I know she was just trying to spread a little hope to others.  Even if that hope came across a bit rehearsed.  After all, she can most likely pay for any operation she ever needs of pocket and the rest of us, cannot.

I see the backlash on Paula Deen as a way of our collective society screaming out  and saying “I don’t eat enough healthy food and exercise enough and as a result I am not as healthy as I could be and this affects everything in my life”.  We’re speaking through Paula in light of her type 2 diabetes.  I honestly believe that.  We relate to her.  We enjoyed our processed food and then realized the hard way that those delicious foods are hurting us more than they are pleasing us.  Maybe some of us have gained a lot of weight, maybe some developed a thyroid problem, while others might have developed type 2 diabetes thanks to the last kicker of their predisposed genes.  But all of us who have ate a more or less standard American diet HAVE felt the negative consequences of it in some way, shape, or form.  Whether we know it or not.  You see, that food isn’t meant to be abused and since we’re human, and since that food is cheap and convenient and addicting, the easiest thing in the world is to abuse it.  Paula Deen is just one of us.

Those of us who can afford to buy healthy whole foods vote every time we shop.  If we buy cookies and chips every time we go to the store then we have to know that we are part of the ongoing business for these companies who don’t make healthy food.  We help keep them alive.  Does that mean we should be judged for wanting some treats throughout the week?  As a whole I tend to think we have as much power as someone as famous as Paula Deen.  It’s way more complicated than that though isn’t it?  And I assume it’s more complicated for her than we realize, too.

I’ve heard a few people say that they don’t care what Paula does or doesn’t do because it’s none of our business  I believe people’s actions does affect us all.  So I absolutely do care if you are drinking and then driving.  I care if you are making babies over and over again and dropping them all off at an orphanage.  I care if you are dealing with type 2 diabetes.  I care that you have depression.  It affects you if I have type 1 diabetes and if I use up all my FMLA at work and if I smoke and if I neglect my kids and if I find a cure for diabetes (Ah, we’d all like that one wouldn’t we!).  But it’s not a “just don’t hurt me or mine” kind of caring.  It’s a caring that wants good for all.  I don’t want you to drink and drive because you might hurt someone I love or you might hurt some other innocent soul or…you might hurt yourself.  It all matters.

I believe in something between judging and “live and let live” and it’s caring.

That’s how I feel about Paula Deen.  I respect that she has fans and that those fans cook what she teaches them to cook.  I respect that they look up to her as a jolly country hostess who hugs her southern roots, butter, flour, sugar, and sparkling white teeth and blue eyes, and runs with them all the way to the bank.  But, I also know that if she has type 2 diabetes, she suffers and so do her family and friends.  She is a famous type 2 diabetic that others are going to look to as an example.  It’s possible that her diet contributed very much to her diagnosis.  Let’s not pretend that isn’t possible.  Genes aren’t entirely responsible for type 2 diabetes since in most cases obesity is a factor (another issue we shouldn’t judge, by the way).  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve compassion and that doesn’t mean we let her completely off the hook.  But while her diagnosis is her business, her having diabetes is…in an indirect way, our business.  When our society suffers a lot of health problems, we all suffer.  The solution isn’t pointing fingers though, it’s just caring.  After all, the most charming and successful kind of family I’ve ever known is the non-judging, forgiving, communicative, confronting, nosy one.  If we act that way more often as a people, as a society, wonderful changes will come our way.

I think we can say that we want her to be straightforward and sincere and responsible with her position as a famous person with type 2 diabetes and the implications of that.  I think most people rise up to the occasion when we kindly demand that.  Especially if we expect them to with open arms.

As a fellow southern gal, I have a feeling Paula Deen will help us out if we expect her to.  Call me naïve.  The ongoing insults will only make her hide in a closet.  A closet that’s probably as big as a mansion, but still.  We can call her out but do so respectfully. We can ask her questions and persist to get them answered.  If I were her and I read all what is being said online, I’d stick my head in an apple pie for all eternity.  We don’t want that.  We want her on our side.  We gotta stick together, folks.  Diabetes or no diabetes, we’re all in this together.

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Thanks for the post Sysy! I hate that she is under such fire! We are all in this together and we need to support each other. “I’d stick my head in an apple pie for eternity” this made me laugh out loud…I want to do that sometimes too.

Hi Sysy! Thanks for the post – I agree, caring is the best thing we can do, for everyone!

And I totally thought the same thing when I opened this post, “Wow! Those are some fabulous teeth!” Haha!

Wonderful message, Sysy. We could go around all day, day after day, pointing out the bad choices people have made, many of which do effect us. But we do this in lieu of looking in the mirror and acknowledging our own missteps and paths wrongly taken.

So she deceived everyone for three years (lying is what I would call it) and she earned herself some lucrative endorsement (shame on you, Novo Nordisk, you need a new PR team–everything can’t just be about money and celebrity). This is a free market. It is our choice to buy in her stock.

Like it or not though she is now part of the community of people with diabetes. Like the south she was raised in, it’s up to the welcome wagon to show her in. But it’s up to her then to do some good. And if she doesn’t? If she just uses her diagnosis to further herself and meet her own needs, well then I’d say it’ll be time for some good old, down home, southern (cook)book burning.

Great post (great message!)

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