3 Choices to Make to be as Healthy as Paula Deen

I recently had a nutrition client come in. I remarked that she has an advantage in getting started with healthy meals because she loves to cook. Her response: while she does love to cook, she can “Paula Deen out” with the the best of them. Deen announced in January that she has Type 2 Diabetes. What’s sad is that, probably in her case (as in many cases), Type 2 Diabetes is avoidable – and even reversible – through preventative measures such as making good exercise and nutrition decisions.

Here’s 3 must do choices to make and actions to take so that you can be as healthy as Paula Deen – and conversely, what you can avoid doing (or do instead) to escape this disease.

1. More BUTTER, please! Paula Deen loves cooking (and she’s fantastic at it!). But many of the recipes she provides are fried and heavy on the cheese and butter. If you’re looking to harness your cooking skills 1. Not all cooking oil needs to be butter – you can use a host of other oils while cooking (olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil). There’s a lot of choices out there – even among olive oils! If you’re looking for something new (or just more information), this is one of my favorite shops for oils and vinegars: Fiore. 3.Try something that’s not as refined – challenge yourself to eat meals where you could look at the food and say “I know EXACTLY” what that is (aka eat food that’s less processed). That is a grain of brown rice. That is a leaf of kale. That is a walnut. The list could go on for days because there are SO many foods out there – many of which you may have never tried, but that you may learn to love. Just out of curiosity, we threw the ingredients from Paula Deen’s 10 latest recipes into the word cloud maker – wordle:

Wordle: Paula Deen Recipe Ingrediants

2. Don’t move. Diabetes is only one of the many health concerns that correlate with obesity – a problem that over 33.9% of American adults face. When you want to maintain a steady weight, your calories in must equal your  calories OUT. If your caloric balance is off, you must move more (or you must consume less). Yes, it’s good to exercise for weight loss purposes, but even more important, exercise increases bone density, and releases hormones that block stress and improve mood. Just like with eating (perhaps trying new dishes and savoring a little creativity), try to have some fun with exercise. We aren’t all thrilled by the same activities. You love swimming, I love basketball – po-ta-to/po-tat-o. The most important thing is to find what you love to do and DO IT. That might change over time or even within seasons. Recognize that that’s ok. You can change what you do – it might even be GOOD for you to cross train! If you have trouble getting out on your own, join a group like New York Social Sports or Zogg Sports.

3. Rely on medicating symptoms rather than taking measures to prevent ill-health. Paula Deen’s not healthy. Fine. She can start moving and start eating nutritious foods. Wrong. The part that is most disturbing is that, instead of learning how to cook healthier meals and causing a tremendous ripple effect by sharing that information with her fans (she has nearly 1.7 million Facebook followers), Paula Deen has become the spokes person for the Novo Nordisk, pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medications. Maybe she’s actually taking better care of herself behind the scenes (and she does have a special website just for diabetes friendly recipes). While she does have an immediate need to treat her symptoms, I hope that, even as the spokes person for Novo Nordisk, she is also working towards a healthier lifestyle (eradicating the unhealthy lifestyle that caused her diabetes in the first place).

Questions? comments? let us know…


Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. “Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors.” Type 2 Diabetes. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 0000. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356/>.
“Choose the Right Cooking Oils — for Great Taste and Nutrition.” EverydayHealth.com. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipes/oils.aspx>.
“Paula Deen on Diabetes Backlash: Some ‘were Kinda Mean about It’” Bites. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://bites.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/24/10496737-paula-deen-on-diabetes-backlash-some-were-kinda-mean-about-it>.
“Pauladeen.com.” Recipes, Home Cooking and Decorating —. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.pauladeen.com/>.
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