There has been a fire storm surrounding the controversy of Paula Deen’s recent public announcement that she is diabetic. Many suffers of diabetes are calling her a hypocrite for continuing to promote high fat and high sugar foods while knowing that she is suffering from diabetes.
Paula Deen has a unique opportunity to use her television show to help teach people how to turn around their diets. Instead, she is promoting drugs and plans to continue to prepare food similar to the way she has for years. What she does not know, is that while drugs can help mask the symptoms of diabetes, it cannot prevent the disease from taking a life.
I was extremely close to my Grandfather growing up as a child. When my Grandfather got diagnosed with diabetes – his life changed forever. Although he did everything to change his diet habits, exercise and take his medications – the disease slowly took his life. I had to grow-up watching him slowly get his body dismantled with amputation after amputation. He would have to go every day and sit in a chair for hours of dialysis. The disease slowly killed him in a way that I felt was the most horrible way to die. He suffered for years up until the day that his kidneys finally failed. He died just a body without limbs in horrible pain. Hours before he died he whispered into my ear, “Do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening to your children.”
Now, I am watching the same painful experience slowly happening to my father too. When I go into his bathroom, it resembles a pharmacy, with drug bottles covering the counter. The amputations have just begun with the lose of his first toes. If he does not change his lifestyle, it will slowly be followed by more amputations. He has tried to change his eating habits and manage his weight, but it is not easy.
The disease is almost unstoppable.
I feel that Paula Deen has a social responsibility to help guide her followers to change their eating habits. It is heartbreaking to think about the amount of people who are losing their lives today, because of the high sugar deserts that she made look so desirable on her show.
The bigger problem is that many people do not know how to change their eating habits. It is like a circling drain that keeps sucking people in. People might attempt to eat healthy, but then watch a celebrity on television encouraging them to eat a 3,000 calorie piece of cake.
Paula Deen is quickly going to learn that no matter how much medication she takes, that unless she makes drastic diet changes she will also start to feel her life slip away just like my Grandfather.
I hope that she makes the powerful decision to use herself as an example to help encourage people to change their eating habits, using her social status to make a difference in the world.
Shelby is the author of Glitterful Felt Stories, where she writes about parenting, work-life balance, healthy eating, and life as a Mom. She is also a columnist for a local newspaper and various magazines. She has three little children under the age of nine, and lives in Orange County, California.