Hey, Hey Paula!

January 26, 2012

Hey, Hey Paula!


There is SO much to admire about Paula Deen. She started out her career so afraid to leave her house that the only work she could do was make bag lunches for her sons to take out and sell. 

Today, she’s got the following titles to her credit: restaurant owner, cookbook author, TV show host, and actress. Her yearly income in 2010 was estimated at more than $9 million, counting her endorsement deals.

But now there’s one more title to add to her list: paid diabetes drug spokesperson.

Shucks! Here at True Citrus, we always liked Paula because she’s warm and attractive and funny and she just seemed “real”. Plus who doesn’t want to eat her recipes like Chili in a Biscuit Bowl? We do!

But now, with the news that Paula has known she’s had Type 2 diabetes for THREE YEARS, it turns out that the Paula we were seeing wasn’t the Paula we were getting.

The Paula we were seeing cheerfully showed us all that rich food and told us how great it was. Meanwhile, the real Paula had a chronic disease “primarily caused by lifestyle factors or genetics” that usually can’t be cured, and that often leads to heart disease, eye damage, kidney failure, nerve damage and gangrene of the feet, among other things.

So without telling us, that Paula cut down on rich food and started getting a daily drug injection to help manage her blood sugar.

Yes, we know that Paula’s style of cooking, with all the frying and sugar and meat, isn’t exactly what anyone would consider good for you. In fact, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine listed Paula Deen’s cookbooks as one of the “Five Worst Cookbooks” of 2009 and 2011 because of the all the calories, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat involved. 

For instance, a SINGLE serving of Hot Buffalo Wings from Paula’s “Southern Cooking Bible” has 910 calories and 85 grams of fat. That’s about half the calories an adult needs for a whole day, and way over the 65 grams of fat recommended on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. In one serving!

But here at True Citrus, we believe each person gets to decide for him or herself what’s best. Yes, we’re about healthy, all-natural foods, yes, but we’re also about informing and recommending, not preaching (we hope so at least!).

And that’s our problem with Paula’s Big Reveal. We didn’t have all the facts. And it could be very easy to believe from her food promotions for the last three years that there aren’t any health consequences for eating a diet of fried peach pie and cheesy shrimp on grits toast (doesn’t that sound good?  We can’t help wanting some right now!).

When she found out about her diabetes, Paula Deen could have started taking her millions of admirers in a more honest direction by letting them know then about the changes she was making in her life – like losing weight and doing a mile on the treadmill every day.

But instead, she pretended nothing had changed, while she lined up a drug sponsorship and a new website “Diabetes in a New Light™” promoting her “lighter recipes”.

We can’t quite come up with the right comparison for this behavior - maybe it’s like poisoning a well and then selling the antidote to someone who drinks the water.But whatever it’s like, it sure ain’t keeping it real, y’all.