I am a fan of Paula Deen. I know that may seem odd given that I am all about healthy eating and on a bad day Anthony Bourdain proclaimed her "the most dangerous person in America" because of her decadent cooking. Time.com created a slideshow of her 9 most gluttonous recipes. Fried Butter Balls, y'all!
Paula reminds me of that larger-than-life aunt who is always fun and the life of the party. You love her to death because her cheeriness is so infectious but yet you also know that she doesn't always make the best choices and who knows when she'll say or do something flirtatiously inappropriate. But that's okay, those are her quirks and we take the good with the "needs improvement." We all have a relative like that.
I love Paula's energy and her obvious love of family and friends. As far as her cooking style, to me she is the Queen of comfort food. I would never recommend Paula's food for everyday eating but when it's time for those 20% days, the times when anything goes, Paula knows how to do that well. Remember, we're all about 80/20 eating here at Noshtopia.
But Paula is not just a grandmother, mother, wife and daughter, she is a brand. She has a built an empire around her style of cooking and now that she has gone public about having Type II diabetes her brand will have to change. Her brand must change because people will not watch her continue to cook the way she used to and be almost complicit in her unwellness by supporting with ratings even if Paula (and we) like to believe that her style is about moderation. Watching a diabetic eat Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding on TV is just not going to fly. At that point, it is no longer entertainment auntie Paula.
What I found most telling in her interview with Al Roker when asked if she was going to change the way she cooks and the way she eats, Paula dodged the question like a politician and simply said, "I've always eaten in moderation." If the answer was yes, she would straight out say, "Yes!" So clearly, the answer is no. She has not changed the way she eats and with her new deal with Nova Nordisk, pharmaceuticals and exercise are her means of diabetes management.
Frankly, I'm put off by the pharmaceutical endorsement but I get it, it's a business decision, and it's Paula's choice. As someone who also promotes a certain eating style, I have found it educational to read the tweets and posts reacting to Paula's diabetes announcement. People are definitely looking for consistency, authenticity, and accountability. Paula Deen has definitely disappointed many but she's also captured compassion from many others. The spectrum of reaction is wide, but clearly, the obvious is that we all now expect her cooking to change and evolve with her health.
Idealistic eating wellness wish
I would love Paula Deen to watch movies like Forks Over Knives and see that her Type II diabetes can be reversed with food versus pills - the Farmacy versus the Pharmacy. She can still eat okra, just sauteed instead of battered and fried. Of course, that would be an idealistic situation and Paula is not ready for nor desires that kind of change, obviously, at least for now. But we'll see what happens with her show ratings and product sales going forward.
Paula is in a wonderful position right now, if she chooses, to show how food can heal and affect a demographic of people especially in the Southern states where Paula is from where obesity and diabetes rates are highest in our country. Many can relate to Paula and the lifestyle changes she has to make for her health.
What did she bring to the table
Out of curiousity, I visited her new co-branded site with Nova Nordisk, Diabetes in a New Light. Of course, the first place I went to investigate was the recipe section. Now being a former marketing/advertising Pro who has done many launches, I was expecting at least a half dozen recipes to get people started. I was curious to see what these lighter Paula Deen recipes would look like.
Surprisingly, there was only one recipe. Just one, and the solo recipe was for a lighter version of her Lady and Sons Lasagna. More shocking to me was that the lasagna recipe listed 7 cheeses in it: Ricotta, Cottage, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Gruyere, Sharp Cheddar and Neufchâtel. Granted, the recipe called for no-salt, fat-free and reduced fat versions of these cheeses, and I'm no dietitian but really, 7 cheeses?
You can make delicious lasagna with just 2 of these cheeses. In fact, you can make an awesome dairy-free lasagne. The recipe does list nutrition information: Per serving: 260 calories, 9 g fat (5 saturated, 0 g trans), 55 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 23 g protein. Before eating though, you have to cut the lasagna in 12 pieces to ensure you are getting a single serving size. I'm thinking these servings are very small and most would easily eat 2-3 servings for a dinner portion.
What I found off-putting about the Diabetes in a New Light website is that I wanted to sign-up for the newsletter to get future recipes but Nova Nordisk makes you list your home address and asks you a whole bunch of health-related questions that felt intruisive to me obviously to data-mine and create a database to let me guess, sell us more drugs and services. Dear Nova Nordisk, to get more people to sign-up just ask for the email at sign-up. Let us mingle with the recipes first and like the value we're getting. You can hit us up later for deeper information.
I wish Paula Deen all the best with her healing and health. Indeed, it will be fascinating to watch what she does on her shows and other ventures going forward.Pin It