Thursday, February 9, 2012


I’ve waited a bit to say anything about the Paula Deen thing. The fact that she has Type 2 diabetes. I just found the whole situation pretty disturbing.

Full disclosure: I come from a family with weight problems. Like most Americans, really. Not the super-sized weight problems. But the every-day, your doctor wants you to lose some weight kind of problems. The kind that can lead to diabetes. And in some cases, already have. I’ve known this for a lot of years.

I also come from a family that eats not far from the kinds of food that Paula Deen cooks. As a kid, I was completely unaware that it was possible to serve vegetables without butter. Chicken-fried steak is a sacrament. Biscuits and gravy aren’t just for breakfast. In some ways, eating healthy disconnects me from family tradition.

And watching the health problems that my family has gone through also has given me a very clear window into what the consequences can be of “everything is better with butter” lifestyle. For myself, I decided that eating healthier was the better option. Because I’ve also seen what the drug intervention route can do. Too many medications, for too many problems that have one major contributing factor - bad eating habits. I’ve seen older members of my family swallowing handfuls of pills for “my heart, my cholesterol, my sugar.” Doing pretty much everything but cleaning up their diet. And also seeing the number of times that drug interactions have created even worse issues. I can’t do it.

But I also can’t condemn Paula or anyone else for going the other route. Food is a powerful thing. It is nourishment, it is cultural, it is pleasure. And I can’t completely walk away from those foods that are so closely related to my history. A little butter makes life worth living. I just have to balance it with making my life livable.

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