Paula Deen, Her Alleged Diabetes, And Why I Can't Stand Her | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Paula Deen, Her Alleged Diabetes, And Why I Can’t Stand Her


Originally posted 2012-01-16 13:04:54.

I don’t even know where to begin with this:

Paula Deen — the queen of high-calorie, Southern cooking — is about to come clean and confess that she can’t eat her own dishes anymore because she has diabetes.

The Georgia-born chef — a Food Network star who has written five best-selling cookbooks — has been trying to keep her condition a secret, even after the National Enquirer reported in April that she has Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with fatty foods and obesity.

Sources say Deen, 64, who never addressed the diabetes question, has worked out a multimillion-dollar deal to be the spokeswoman for a pharmaceutical company and endorse the drug she is taking.

Novartis, the drug company she is said to be working for, declined to respond to Flash’s questions, as did Deen’s agent and Deen herself.

“Paula Deen is going to have to reposition herself now that she has diabetes,” said one source. “She’s going to have to start cooking healthier recipes. She can’t keep pushing mac and cheese and deep-fried Twinkies when she is hawking a diabetes drug.”

Let me explain something, clearly. I don’t like Paula Deen. Not because of the fact that she will, easily, use two sticks of butter in a pie and think nothing of it. In fact, I’d be a hypocrite if I felt that way. There is, at least, one recipe on this site that calls for an entire stick of butter (even though it serves eight.) I like my butter. If it weren’t for my real problem with Deen, she’d be my sister in the stick. (Pause?)

No, my real problem with Paula is the fact that her excuse for cooking – and eating – the way she does, when called to the carpet on it by Anthony Bourdain (who I have, um, strong feelings for), was “Not everybody can afford to pay $58 for a prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills… It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.”

So her excuse for her gratuitous use of butter and sugar and baking and every available method of delivering as many calories as possible… is frugality? What?

Listen. Because I love butter, I can tell you up front – using that much of it in one recipe? It’s gonna cost you, especially if you’re talking about quality butter… but really, that’s not the problem, here.

The problem is that she tries to write off any complants about the fat and sugar content of her food as sheer elitism. It wasn’t legitimate concern for the fact that she’s never seen a pound of sugar she didn’t like. It was “well not everybody can eat $58 prime rib like you, Anthony Bourdain!” It was a hyper-aggressive, “I eat this stuff because I can’t eat like you,” which is a battle cry I hear far more often from people who eat poorly at home because they don’t have time to cook, not because they have time to cook but just don’t have the money.

Pairing it up with “y’know, I was poor once” only makes it that much more insulting, to me. Paula Deen has “written” at least 13 books thus far. She has done several TV shows, TV specials, speaking engagements and more. She signs checks for more than many people make in a year. You might’ve been poor once, but you aren’t poor anymore, Paula. It was a pathetic attempt to use classism and manufactured elitism as an excuse for why she pushes the food she does.

That’s what’s so peculiar about a TV chef saying “not everyone can afford a $58 prime rib.” Who’s charging $58 for a prime rib? Hell, who is talking about a prime rib? Who is saying “a step down” from Deen’s cooking must automatically be a $58 prime rib? You cook on TV for a living. Your fans are people who, ostensibly, have time to cook. You mean to tell me that neither you nor your fans desire to take on the challenge of cooking a tad bit healthier and still making it delicious? In a country where two thirds of us are overweight?

Someone that we deem to be knowledgeable about food, then taking it upon themselves to imply that the alternative to her cooking is only a $58 meal is disgusting. People – like me – who write all damn day about how we can eat much better, and for less, have our efforts thwarted when someone like Paula Deen says “my cooking is for people who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills.” Get the entire hell out of here. She wrote a freaking book, for kids, telling them to “eat cheesecake for breakfast, chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch…and french fries.” People who “worry about feeding their kids” don’t eat all that for breakfast and lunch, and they certainly don’t have the time to cook it. Not even on a Saturday.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s responsibility, so to speak, to teach you how to cook healthier and, therefore, don’t think it is Deen’s responsibility to educate anyone on how often to cook her dishes. I also don’t, necessarily, think she has an obligation to tell the world about her personal ailments. I do, however, think it is incredibly problematic when you say “we eat this way because we don’t have money,” but then you wind up with type 2 diabetes… and the only time you stand up to admit it is when you stand to gain another slew of money from promoting a diabetes “management” product?

You’ve got to be kidding me. If you think Paula just got diabetes, I’ve got a oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you. And if you think she would’ve admit it if the Novartis money wasn’t involved… I’ve got a bridge out in Brooklyn to sell you, too. Cash only.

I don’t care that Paula doesn’t look or cook like Giada, who I adore, or Laura Calder – who is my friend in my head. I actually think Paula is, probably, syrupy sweet. But either you’re someone we should look to for lifestyle advice, or you’re not. We should “practice” moderation, as you say, and when our “moderation” gets us diabetes like you, we should buy the products you’re hawking? Okay. Pair this with the timing of her son’s new TV show, “Not My Mama’s Cooking,” and… I just… there’s a major credibility issue here, to me – it says that you’ll manipulate anything just to make money. You’re a brand, I get it, but I tend to take food seriously.

Paula is, reportedly, talking about this tomorrow on the Today show. (Update: Video and summary viewable here.)This news was floated Friday afternoon and, as far as I’ve seen, we haven’t heard a word from Paula yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire thing was squashed tomorrow as being “untrue,” because companies are notorious for floating things out to the media as a way of testing to see how the public will respond to it, and then reneging on it. (Verizon’s $2 online bill pay charge, anyone? Bank of America’s $5/mo debit card fee?) If she admits it, I’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing her explanation.

But in the meantime, I’ll go back to hoping for the best for her, while proving that “eating healthier” doesn’t mean “$58 prime rib.” Yuck.

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The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.


  1. Paulette

    January 16, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    And I had my checkbook already for that oceanfront property and bridge. :)

    I have always felt that Paula wasn’t all that she seemed to be. Now we know the truth.

  2. Biolobri

    January 16, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I just about lost it when I heard Paula’s reply to Tony. First off, if you know ANYTHING about Anthony Bourdain, he is AGAINST culinary elitism. He supports quality, sure, and sometimes that may come with a price, but actually he is all about eating with the poor and the power of a good home-cooked meal.

    Secondly, he says he is finally making rent for the first time in his life, so actually he is exactly who Paula thinks she is addressing. While he showed some real promise early in his career (and ran a few restaurants), he gave up the cooking and was washing dishes and doing drugs through his 30s/40s when he ran into some old culinary buddies and got a wake up call about his squandered potential. Now he’s in his 50s with a young daughter traveling the world eating native dishes for a living.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      January 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Which of his books have you read? I mean, Bourdain was just the WRONG person to fire back at with “elitist!” Dude eats food cooked in stone bowls in people’s backyards (or makeshift backyards…I guess the desert is everyone’s backyard.) He’s clearly not an elitist. I just… if I felt like leaving my spouse and knew he’d leave his… I’d make him love me. Diana Ross style. ROFL

      • Heidi Calaway

        January 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        Her restaurant sucks too. Mediocre at best. I guess being obnoxious gets you a show.

      • Heidi Calaway

        January 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        Girl, you got it bad!

      • marilyn

        January 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        I feel that you’ve got this one wrong. Paula Deen is not the sole responsibilty for anyone being over weight. And for years, she has said that she doesn’t eat fatty foods all the time. To say that you wonder why she has diabetes, implying that her menu is the blame, is truly off base. What about young children that has diabetes? Is it because of their diet to? And haven’t you used your life experience to profit from and turn it into a brand? So why is that a problem for her? She lives her life the way that is good for her, and you should do the same. If you hadn’t had a weight problem, would you still have a problem with her foods? I think not.
        Yes I get that we, as a country, are overweight, but would you pull all the desert shows off the air as well? Paula can’t hold a candle to all those other shows about deserts and the ones called “Outrageous Foods” where the food is so oversized that an elephant couldn’t eat it all.
        Do I hear crickets?

        • Erika Nicole Kendall

          January 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

          I feel like you… didn’t read my post. You don’t get to come at me with all these strawman arguments then act like I’m the one wrong. From the top:

          You said:

          Paula Deen is not the sole responsibilty for anyone being over weight. And for years, she has said that she doesn’t eat fatty foods all the time.

          I said:

          I don’t think it’s anyone’s responsibility, so to speak, to teach you how to cook healthier and, therefore, don’t think it is Deen’s responsibility to educate anyone on how often to cook her dishes.

          You said:

          To say that you wonder why she has diabetes, implying that her menu is the blame, is truly off base. What about young children that has diabetes? Is it because of their diet to?

          First, I didn’t “wonder why she has diabetes.” I wondered when she received her diagnosis, if she in fact has the disease. This was reported early last year that she had it, but both she and her agents failed to respond.

          Secondly, YES, if you develop type 2 diabetes, it IS by and large the fault of your diet. NO ONE is talking about children because children have no autonomy – children eat what their parents feed them, period, and that’s why it is paramount for parents to make wise choices so that they can pass on the ability to make wise choices onto the children.

          You said:

          If you hadn’t had a weight problem, would you still have a problem with her foods? I think not.

          I said:

          I don’t like Paula Deen. Not because of the fact that she will, easily, use two sticks of butter in a pie and think nothing of it. In fact, I’d be a hypocrite if I felt that way. There is, at least, one recipe on this site that calls for an entire stick of butter (even though it serves eight.) I like my butter. If it weren’t for my real problem with Deen, she’d be my sister in the stick. (Pause?)

          You said:

          Yes I get that we, as a country, are overweight, but would you pull all the desert shows off the air as well?

          I said:

          I don’t care that Paula doesn’t look or cook like Giada, who I adore, or Laura Calder – who is my friend in my head. I actually think Paula is, probably, syrupy sweet. But either you’re someone we should look to for lifestyle advice, or you’re not. We should “practice” moderation, as you say, and when our “moderation” gets us diabetes like you, we should buy the products you’re hawking? Okay. Pair this with the timing of her son’s new TV show, “Not My Mama’s Cooking,” and… I just… there’s a major credibility issue here, to me – it says that you’ll manipulate anything just to make money.

          And, lastly, you said:

          And haven’t you used your life experience to profit from and turn it into a brand? So why is that a problem for her?

          You know what, this is the most ridiculous….

          Yes, you’re absolutely right. I am a brand. But my brand represents who I am and how I live… and a big part of me is my integrity, which means that I’m not going to sell you cookbooks and TV shows with food that causes diabetes, then DEVELOP diabetes and choose to NOT admit it – assumedly to protect my brand – only until someone offers me money to come out with it. Got that?

          You said:

          Do I hear crickets?

          You sure do, but that’s only because I’m wondering what blog post you were commenting on… because it certainly wasn’t mine.

          • Tea

            January 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM

            Just to clarify…usually children, when they develop diabetes, develop type one, or diabetes mellitus….strictly genetic/endocrine. The incidence of children developing type two is increasing, however, because of the typical standard american diet. Anyone can develop type two diabetes, but the risk factors for type two include genetics, high blood pressure, poor diet, obesity, high cholesterol, low hdl, having gestational diabetes, and aging. You can eat well and keep your weight under control, and still develop type 2, but the chances of developing it and not keeping it under control are obviously affected by your weight and what you eat. Simple carbs, sugars and processed foods are the enemy for a multitude of reasons, and in Paula Deens case her weight and diet most likely contribute to or cause her diabetes, but you can do everything right and still develop type two diabetes. Eating well and exercising cuts your risk and enables those who do develop it to better control it, so diet and lifestyle is very important, obviously!

          • marilyn

            January 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM

            Yes, I did absolutely read your blog. But I wasn’t just responding to you, but also to the other comments on this subject.. And when I say, “you”, I don’t mean just you Erika, but people in general. And when you, Erika open up a subject, do you, Erika expect everyone to agree with you? Well, in this case, I DO NOT. And if this is a problem for you, Erika, then maybe you shouldn’t let others comment at all. In other words, Erika, you be you and I will be me. I didn’t expect you to agree with me. You stated your view and I stated mine.
            And I also looked at the ‘rules’ of the blog, [commenting here is a privilege. Not a matter of “freedom of speech,” but a matter of “approved at the discretion of the the owner.” It’s how I protect our community. Everyone appreciates this until it’s their comment on the chopping block.] Since freedom of speech is not as important to you, it a matter of approval, then I as a Black woman won’t participate or support anyone that doesn’t want to hear opposing opinions. And you don’t have to worry about banning me, I won’t be back on this narrow minded blog again.

          • Erika Nicole Kendall

            January 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

            Oh, please.

            Do you know what “freedom of speech” means? It means my government cannot tell you what you are and are not allowed to say. I, on the other hand, can establish rules of engagement in my house. THIS…is MY house. Those rules are in place because I get people saying everything from anti-Black woman rhetoric to pro-eating disordered behavior to anti-woman rhetoric to racial slurs to people who simply want to call me out of my name and get me riled up. THAT is why the rules are in place.

            If I didn’t care to hear disagreeing viewpoints, I would’ve never bothered approving or responding to your original comment. I don’t care whether or not you disagree with me – but just like you want me to “open up a subject and be willing to have people disagree with me,” you need to do the same when you leave a comment on a blog where the writer actually engages their commenters. YOU left a comment that low-key called me a hypocrite who “wouldn’t have had a problem with Paula’s food had I not lost the weight,” and now you’re mad because you got a response that set you straight.

            Whose other comments were you responding to? I KNOW which comments were approved when you left your comment. You were responding directly to me, and saying you weren’t doesn’t change or “clean up” the fact that you shot from the hip trying to defend Paula and were wrong. Let that go.

            Regardless of the fact that you want to take a “parting shot” of disparaging my blog (calling it narrow minded? I’m not the one taking my toys and going home because people actually debate me about my opinion.), you’re still welcome here. I haven’t banned anyone yet, and I don’t plan on it. You won’t be the first upon which I bestow that honor. LOL

          • Sheila

            July 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM

            How much soul food is cooked in lard or bacon grease? Get over it most southern cooks both black and white cook like Ms D.
            The French use butter and wine extensively.

          • Erika Nicole Kendall

            July 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

            I’m not going to “get over it.” It’s stupid, and the woman is trash. Even doubly so now that she’s admitted to her bigotry.

            The French use butter and wine regularly, and they still aren’t making sandwiches with donuts as the bread.

            And, quite frankly, since YOU want to bring race into it where EYE did not, I’m not certain that a single Black chef could’ve EVER gotten away with making some of the trash food she’s made in the name of “southern food.” I can trace the history of southern food back well over 200 years, black AND white, and NONE of it has ever had a damn thing to do with using donuts as bread.

          • Andi

            January 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM


            You have every right to express your opinions in defense of Paula, if you wish. It’s a free country. And if you choose to put your trust and energy into defending a corporate shill who embraces pharmaceutical solutions to a problem that she created for herself, was dishonest about that problem, and then turns around promoting unhealthy meals (along with the drugs to “cure” it), that’s fine.

            Just don’t expect people to not call you out on it, OK?

          • DSweetone

            April 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

            I think I love you! 😉 lol

          • Christina

            June 24, 2013 at 9:30 PM

            Lol…love your text. I’m a Swedish freelance writer, mostly in the arts, but also w/ a keen interest in healthy — and tasty! — food. Lived in New York, btw… Had no idea who this (silly, if you excuse me) lady was, until today, when seeing many (black) friends’ posting about her so much. Asking people’s opinion about ‘Liking her or not’, and her ‘racism’…. In the beginning I thought it a bit sad, when seeing American friends and/or acquaintances talking so much about this, ok, terrible recorded interview with her, when so very big truly (global) political things are happening: Now the whistleblower Snowden, who also (Manning; Assange…) said things that needed to be aired, not the least in the U.S., and possible diplomatic ‘bad’ things going on between the U.S. and China — and Russia — due to that.

            But that’s the name of the game most probably; also: Corporate media making the audience spending time on this ‘no-news’ thing!? Trifle, in the scheme of more important political stuff. But, as more people than me have concluded: Racism & militarism go together, and corporate money, so…

            BUT absolutely agree with you on your take on food, overweight and diabetes. Interesting stuff — and fun! Although new nutritional findings have made me change my mind a bit about what ‘healthy’ fats are… Started myself to collect recipes I make myself for a possible online publication (to make easy, healthier food on a daily basis). Not at all sure I’m gonna be able to have time to finalize it; have other writing projects that might take too much of my time. But will definitely have a closer look at your side here!

            First impression: Very nice!!!! Actually all I wanted to say! :))

          • Erika Nicole Kendall

            June 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

            Thanks for the kind words, but this quote below needs a little pushback:

            “In the beginning I thought it a bit sad, when seeing American friends and/or acquaintances talking so much about this, ok, terrible recorded interview with her, when so very big truly (global) political things are happening: Now the whistleblower Snowden, who also (Manning; Assange…) said things that needed to be aired, not the least in the U.S., and possible diplomatic ‘bad’ things going on between the U.S. and China — and Russia — due to that.”

            I want to be careful how I word this, because I don’t want it to come off the wrong way.

            Quite honestly, I know the rest of the world, for some reason, thinks so very little of Americans… but contrary to popular opinion, Americans can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re intellectually invested in national security just like we are women’s rights just like we are LGBTQIABCDEFG rights just like we are in civil rights just like we are in food justice. We’re involved and interested *everywhere* and engaging in *everything*, so it’s unfair to say that we should only all be allowed to focus on one topic at one time.

            Do you know how many people would be disenfranchised if we shared your belief that we should be more focused on this *one* thing?

      • Biolobri

        January 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Okay, I’ll come clean: I have not actually read his books. My live-in bf, however, has both Medium Raw and Kitchen Confidential, so I get tidbits (and we watch No Reservations regularly). Also, I recently read a short interview with him where he said that exact phrase (“I’m making rent for the first time in my life”). The face that his show is even CALLED “No Reservations” should make it obvious he is not for the fancy pants overpriced dinners she is referring to. Sometimes it’s worth that price, sometimes eating out of a hole in someone’s back yard is much better.

        Call me an “elitist” but I think Paula, Guy, and the lot are culinary fakes looking to take advantage of the fat/sugar/salt trifecta and make a buck. Bourdain, I feel, gets at the heart of food, it’s different social and cultural implications, and truly appreciates and respects it for what it is, without needing the swank. Not that he is a 100% clean eater by any means, but I think his approach is somewhat in line with my clean eating philosophy, which, basically, is to respect FOOD (and by doing so, I eat REAL food).

        • Erika Nicole Kendall

          January 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

          Agreed, and agreed. Seriously. I’ve seen and watched some of those recipes. Just… yeah.

  3. Alice

    January 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Ok, while we’re on the “real families” food discussion, can we discuss school cafeterias? I’ve been divorced the entire time my kids have been in schools and since day 1 their father been SO committed to never packing a lunch he pays for all their school meals. I assumed, naively as it turns out, that school cafeterias serve things that have, you know…food groups in them.

    You can imagine the horror when I thought I’d wander in and share breakfast with my daughter one day. The menu options: breakfast taco with greasy hamburger meat, a sausage on a stick, wrapped in pancake, or cereal.

    And the drink options were milk, chocolate milk, or juice. There’s no oversight on who gets chocolate milk. I literally saw children pouring chocolate milk into their cereal and chugging a second container for their drink.

    I feed them at home in the morning on my days now, and pack them a lunch, but on their dad’s time it’s still cafeteria meals and why why why doesn’t anyone regulate the cafeterias? No wonder we have childhood obesity issues in this country.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      January 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      • Melissa

        June 18, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        I’m a teacher and I feel you on the unhealthy cafeteria food. However, it’s not so simple. The school district has recently moved to provide healthier food choices and kids refuse to eat it. They literally look at it and throw it straight in the trash unopened. Their young taste buds are already hooked on the processed high sugar, fat, and salt containing junk foods and they won’t even give anything less junky a try. One little girl sat there crying because she was hungry but refused to even TRY what was served. SMH on this one.

    • BalancingJane

      January 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      It’s maddening, isn’t it? We’ve been working really hard to cut processed foods and eat healthy at home, and we’re mostly successful. But my one-year-old goes to a daycare center that basically serves the same food as public school lunches, and it is abhorrent what gets served. We’re trying to send food with her, but I know that will get harder as she gets older and doesn’t want to eat something different from the other kids. We NEED policy changes in our state nutrition guidelines.

    • Biolobri

      January 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      The school lunch thing is partly a matter of money and partly of policy. My bf is a teacher at one of the best public schools in the country. The elementary school kids in his after school program get a snack every day and when he comes home telling me what these snacks are and I am just, appalled: Cheez-its, graham crackers, cereal, Chips Ahoy, Goldfish, Oreos.. you get the idea. Every once in awhile they give the kids fruit.
      Now, this is a very wealthy area with very educated parents, who, for the most part, are just as appalled as I am. The problem here is not funding – the parents would foot the bill in an instant. It is policy. In order to do any “preparation” (this includes cutting fruit) the facility must be equipped with a triple sink. In order to install this, an almost complete renovation of the space would be necessary in order to arrange plumbing and the like, and the space is already small.
      There are children as young as 4 and 5, and giving them a whole apple or a whole banana is not feasible and wasteful. Additionally the teachers are allowed to handle the food very minimally. Basically, legally they can open a package and scoop out a few goldfish into a cup. Now, being of this town, about once a week the teachers disregard the rules and secretly cut up a pear or banana for the kids, but legally if they were caught, it could be big trouble.
      There was recently a meeting about it to come up with healthier ideas and just about every one was shot down as not possible (for either legal or practical reasons). So frustrating.

      • Karen

        January 22, 2012 at 11:35 PM

        Then they should eliminate the snack. When it was in pre-school and grammar school in the 1970s, we didn’t have any snacks at all, and we survived just fine. At recess we actually played sports. As a child I ate three times a day breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that was it. After dinner my mother used to say, “The kitchen is now closed!”

  4. rae

    January 16, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Not gonna lie, I used to be a huge fan of Paula Deen’s…then I went and waited in that impossibly long line to eat at her restaurant in Savannah. I’d been eating clean for a couple months and figured that I could eat there as a “special treat”. Little did I know how sick I was going to end up from all the fat and salt served with a deep fried salt lick on the side. Yeah, that whole “moderation” thing backfired on me in a big way. But…thanks for the lesson Ms. Paula.

    • Dana

      January 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Oh my goodness this had me cracking up! When you said “salt lick” I lost it. I’ve been to Savannah a couple of times and people clamor to get into her restaurant, but I’ve heard it’s just a typical Southern buffet. I didn’t go there (trust me, I wanted to, but those lines!), but now I’m glad I didn’t.

      I do use a couple of her recipes, but they are ALWAYS for special occasions and only for large banquet type meals full of Southern black folks looking for a fix. I’m wrong, I know. But they beg for it so I make it, and don’t even bring home leftovers. I’m big enough as it is.

  5. Tea

    January 16, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I watched her on Dr. Oz. He called her out (very gently and nicely) on her cooking/eating style, and the fact that she is a smoker. Had her work several of her recipes over to a healthier meal. I think she likes eating the way she does and that she is in serious denial about the health problems it will/ does cause. Shes getting older and her unhealthy ways are catching up to her….reality is smacking her in the face. I will bet that at some point she will renounce her cooking style, and I see her charge of elitist to bourdain as someone in complete defense mode and in complete denial. I feel badly for her, and have nothing against her as a person, not knowing her, but I do not like the brand, and have to say she presents as a bit crazy! I hope she can hear what the people who challenge her are truly saying and turn it around before she strokes out.

  6. Marie

    January 17, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    I like Paula in moderation. I think she is funny. I have tried a fee of her meals came out pretty well. I believe unheard her say on many occasion that you can not eat like this everyday and that is a miss conception people have or here and people in the south. That being said you only have ton look at her to know she not eating healthy most days. But I don’t hink she going tom change there are many many many people who have diabetes who have not changed thier eating habits. As she is in her 60’s she may feel like she enjoyed her life and she going to enjoy the rest of it. It’s sad my grandfather was the same way I didn’t know he had the diease he ate whatever and always had junk food on hand even after he lost his foot then his leg. I now am prediabietic praying I don’t become diabetic. I have been trying to workout and asked my doc to refer me to dietician but insurance won’t covere it because I managed to get my numbers down a little on my own. WTH here I am asking for help but they won’t give it until I get the diease. Thank God I have a great doc and who is trying to get me into a class. In the mean time I will keep moving and hope that helps. I thought it was just a matter of cutting sweets but guess not and the books I got were ov my head. I may have to get the drug Paula is pushing. I do believe it’s all about the bottom line with her. I see both your sides shenin itto make money and has said she is your cook not your nurse. But as you said market your self with intergity. Love your blog look forward to reading more.

    • Karen

      January 23, 2012 at 12:13 AM

      Eliminate anything with high fructose corn syrup, and soybean oil.

      Eliminate processed starch: ALL bread, pasta, muffins, cornbread, etc. That includes whole wheat bread. Eliminate it.

      Eliminate white starch like white potatoes and white rice.

      Cut down or eliminate all canned and frozen foods, as they have a lot of salt. High salt (sodium) raises blood pressure.

      Eat fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, chicken and fish. Bake or broil the chicken and fish–don’t fry it. Steam or bake the vegetables, and add only a little bit of butter (1 tsp or less), not margarine. Boil the eggs.

      Eat healthy fats: nuts and avocado.
      Do not eat dry roasted nuts because they are full of chemicals and bad fats.

      ***Salad and fresh vegetables have fiber in them, and if you are full of fiber, your blood sugar will not spike as high when you eat. So eat your salad and vegetables first.***
      Eat fruit last.

      Healthy starch: beans, sweet potatoes, squash. Get dried beans if you can, and boil them. Do not fry them. Bake the sweet potato and squash. Eat no more than 1/2 cup with your meal.

      If blood sugar is atill high, eliminate the healthy starch too.

      Walk at least 1 hour a day.

  7. Marie

    January 17, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    I just found your page so I am looking forward to learning how you afford to eat healthy. I agree with Paula eating healthy is expensive. I know amcouple months a go I got 4 oranges 4 apples and couple of ban as as as for snacks and it was over $10. For a family of four that’s only enough snacks for a day or two it would have been much cheaper to grab a bag of cookies and chips and it would have lasted longer. Nothing makes me as mad as when I pay $5 buck for a small bag of tangerines or strawberries and few days lat peer they molded!!!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      January 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM


      I truly, truly hope you’re not trying to buy strawberries in the winter.

      Eating healthily isn’t expensive, and it certainly isn’t “$58 for a prime rib” expensive. Don’t get sucked into that. In that link, you will find lots of tips from the readers regarding how they save money while eating healthily. It’s a great start. You also need to shop around. There’s no reason 4 oranges, 4 apples and a couple of bananas should cost $10. Not ever.

  8. Eva

    January 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Dear Erika:

    You are so right about Paula Deen. I remember when she said that to my man Anthony. So wrong. $58 for what woman? Oh, I don’t think so, and I live in NYC. If I eat food with too much salt I get headaches and become constipated.

  9. Dana

    January 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Erika I really wanted you to be wrong when I read your previous Paula Deen post. When I saw the news report come out I rushed over here to see what you had to say.

    I was hoping – honest-to-God hoping – that she had NOT teamed up with a drug company. That she WOULD admit that her recipes are part of the problem. The “moderation” excuse is old and tired. Her so-called moderation is killing her.

    I used to enjoy watching her show for entertainment, but now I’m only going to be thinking about how she’s killing herself. This is so sad.


    January 19, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Paula Deen has exposed herself as a true “WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING”
    She is more than a Hypocite/Shill/Diabetic/Butter/Fat Pushing freak she’s even worse, she is a Pharma pusher now?

    Diabetes “IS” reversible , NOT MANAGEABLE!!!!!!

    SHE Makes me SICK!

    Anthony Bourdain has got it correct about her, she is soulless and her followers should start to realize she is NO GOOD!

    Here watch me cook this whole stick of butter, purchase my books , become morbidly obese, but moderate then go buy some GOOD ‘OL FASHIONED DIABETES DRUGS SPONSORED BY ME TO MANAGE YOUR MODERATED FAT/SUGAR INGESTION THAT IS CAUSING YOU DIABETES.

    She is obviously free to do whatever she wants to herself and her family (if they let it), but to put it on TV and call it entertainment/education is a JOKE!

  11. Naomi

    January 20, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Oh Paula. Now we learn she’s had diabetes for 3 years. The media industry, aka, the devil’s playground, knew exactly what it was doing in this scenario.

    I agree with what many have said. Eating healthily is not expensive. It does take more time to prepare those healthy, clean meals. I grew up in Savannah and some of the food my family fed me, (which Paula has personally tasted (a small connection)) was loaded with sticks of butter and grease and Crisco (before we all knew it was bad) but we also had many many days where our food was healthy, always home cooked, eating out was a luxury and we didn’t eat like that every day. Most times if we wanted Chinese food, my mom got out her Wok and cookbook and made it all herself, from scratch. All those black folks in the “Good Times” poster weren’t skinny for nothing. Ever notice how almost everyone was thinner in the 70’s/80’s? Why is that? HFCS was there back then. So was salt. So were carbs. So was sugar. So was Burger King and Mickey Ds and Snickers. Even worse, Crisco was a staple. Makes you wonder.

    Paula should come clean and lose the weight, correct her health issue and explain with an apology that she had it all wrong and then make that cook book about how to cook all those things the healthy way….sans the excess/bad carbs, sugar and butter overload.

    I think Anthony is an elitist though..not Paula’s kind. Why did I say this about Nicole’s beloved? He only likes Asian or European countries and food. Ever study his reactions when he’s in Africa? It’s still rice, meat and a sauce or carbs, meat and a sauce but he turns his nose up at it in Africa but in Asia or the Middle East, he loves it (yes, the M.E is technically North Africa…technically) And he never visits anywhere in Africa that looks remotely modern whereas Asia he will go to the city and then to the village, thus continuing the stereotypes that already exist about Africa as a whole. I mean he is just too damn happy in Asia and in Africa, it’s like he can’t wait to leave. Just once I’d like to see Anthony go to one of Africa’s major cities, (and there are many) walk around and visit local eats in the city and finish the show in the local hut if he wants but not all Africans live that way…in huts or shanty towns. Huts, nothing wrong with that (Shanty towns. Boooo)….I’m just saying, we have large cities too. And our food choices are far more than what he shows on TV and he doesn’t present them well.

    And a little side note….Anthony is noooot poor. That making rent thing might be making rent on a $10,000/month condo but he is not in any way shape or form “po”. Trust me on this one. I can’t expose my sources.

  12. April

    January 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    I’m not surprised at all that Paula has type 2 diabetes. For years I’ve watched her show and for years I’ve said there is NO WAY she can NOT have some health issue. Way too much frying, salt, butter and sugar used there. I used her recipe for an apple cake this past December. It used too much oil and sugar and was overly rich and sweet. I ate a couple of slice over a few days because I didn’t want to waste my perfectly delicious apples that I put in the cake. But I was like “I’d rather be eating an apple” my daughter said the same thing. Hubby and son never ate any. Over 3/4 of a bundt cake went in the trash.

  13. Mel

    July 3, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    As a diabetic, I feel what she is doing is terrible. How dare you cook all of this ridiculous fatty foods KNOWING you are diabetic. It is irresponsible. No, it isn’t Paula’s fault that people are diabetic, but I feel if you are in the spotlight – especially if you are a chef – then you need to lead by example.

  14. TeaJae

    July 3, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    I adore Paula always have and I think I always will. Watching her show is like being around my grandmas and their friends. It’s nostalgia. Sure she uses tons of sugar, salt and butter. She is gonna batter it, dip and fry it up maybe put some gravy on it. Paula is not a chef. Paula has said “I’m your cook, not your doctor”. I must say anyone who cooks Paula’s dishes and eats them daily most certainly isn’t using common sense. No one and I do mean no one can eat this way frequently and expect to live a happy healthy life. She isn’t clean cooking she cooking the old fashioned southern way. My family roots are deep down south. I saw my granny with the tin can of bacon fat on her stove and this is how she cooked and how I learned. Like you stated it’s not Paula’s job to teach anyone how to often to cook her meals. People must take responsibility for their own actions. There are ways that I’m learning to cook some of my favorites without using all the fats and sugar and salt while retaining the good ole southern taste. It can be done. In the long run everyone is going to do just what they want, eat how they want and nothing can be done about it. I do hate that Paula seems to be singled out by many in the media. She isn’t the only one who cooks this way. Just a side point: if generations have eaten this way why is it now that we are getting sick from this type/style of diet? Is it possibly that foods are not grown the same way and the foods used to be grown? Is it actually the chemicals and frankenfoods that we end up using that are the real reasons we are sick? There are tons of studies that show high salt, high fat, highly overly processed isn’t good for you. Twinkies, mac and cheese and fried chicken have been around a long time, why the upsurge in sicknesses and illness now?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      July 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      “Paula is not a chef?”

      “She’s cooking the old fashioned southern way?”


      Totally missed the point.

      • TeaJae

        July 4, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        What’s the missed point? I don’t have Paula’s illness but I was working my way to that. Diet/food/health connection finally clicked for me thanks to films like Food Matters, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and others. I’m proud of Paula and the changes she has made in her life. 30 lbs gone according to People’s mag cover. I don’t care if it was money driven from the drug company or what she is doing that is her business and not mine. She’ll answer to her Maker just like everyone else will in time. Maybe her face, her story will encourage others to do the same since millions of her fans may actually have diet related illnesses themselves. This could be the swift kick in the backside many need to change their lifestyle and adopt a healthier better wiser one. I say don’t worry about motive, just help heal and educate those that want it.

  15. Paul

    July 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I am a regular male who just so happened to catch the hypocritical Paul Dean. She always annoyed the heck out of me with her high calorie, high cholesterol and high fat non-sense attempt at food!
    She’s a fun character and yet it is all TV. She is a piece of work. Anyone who is capable of treating her viewers the way she does should be ashamed of themselves. She is a shill.
    The power that TV cooks have is capitalized each and everyday. 13 books, TV shows and so on. Her work is Paula Dean not the person!

    Paula Dean with Diabetes. well, Paula we “ALL” told YA SO! & if this is a shameless lie then your a bigger idiot than we thought. We all know you lie because all you ever do is lie to your viewers about your food.

    I caught a preview of Paula Dean’s son new show, please WHO CARES! We don’t need Paul Dean’s son to come along and tell us his mothers cooking was all shit and you should prepare her dishes differently. After all he grew up eating all her crap and now preaches healthy cooking AFTER WATCHING HIS MUM!

    Paula Dean is a disgrace to TV COOKS

  16. Paul

    July 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Paula Deen Talks About Her Incredible Weight Loss & Doughnut Cheeseburgers

    “After years of living in denial about her diabetes diagnosis, Food Network star Paula Deen revamped her lifestyle and her pants size. In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the queen of southern cooking reveals how she lost more than 30 lbs., shares her healthy get-slim recipes, and her son Jamie’s own 40 lb. weight-loss story. “It’s not easy to lose weight,” Deen admits to PEOPLE.”

    Notice how she admits he son was 40lbs over weight!
    Time for Paula to eat humble healthy pie and apologize! Your cooking methods, your non-sense and your BS SOUTHERN OL’ FASHIONED COOKING is a lie.

  17. Paul

    July 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    lol there is more, what a role model for healthy eating TV viewers looking for affordable comfort food.

    good ol’ fashioned southern SMOKING!

    what a witch.

    “Paula’s next challenge is quitting smoking. “I think about quitting every day,” she says. “Maybe one day I’ll be ready. I pray that I will.”:

  18. Paul

    July 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM,,20608050,00.html

    Paula Deen’s surprising new food revelations continue!

    Her latest obsession? “I am hooked on smoothies,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’d just as soon have that as a milkshake.”

    The queen of comfort cooking has changed the way she eats since coming to terms with her diabetes diagnosis and dropping 30 pounds.

    One of her last challenges was learning the importance of having a healthy morning meal. “I was bad about missing breakfast,” admits the Food Network star, 65. “I always felt like if I start the day eating, I’m going to finish off the day eating.”

    RELATED: Paula Deen: How I Lost 30 Lbs.

    A couple of months ago, she started making fruit smoothies for breakfast. Says Deen: “They’re so tasty and delicious.”

    Editor’s Note:
    In response to reader comments and concerns about Deen – a diabetic – endorsing fruit smoothies, PEOPLE spoke to Andrea Allouche, a dietician who is affiliated with the Diabetes Research Institute.

    Allouche tells PEOPLE, “Generally we do not recommend smoothies for people with diabetes or in general because once you blend fruit it digests faster than eating it whole. Fruit already is absorbed quickly and can cause a quick elevation in blood sugar.”

    But she notes that this specific recipe is for two people, “So it actually comes out to less than one serving of carbohydrate per serving,” she says, “which is 15 grams of total carbohydrate” – much lower than most smoothie recipe. As a result, she explains: “[It] shouldn’t have a huge impact on your blood sugar. It’s fine to have one serving of this because fruits are healthy.”

    But, she does add: “To make this recipe more balanced, I would recommend blending it with low-fat plain Greek yogurt and flax seed. The protein and the fat will slow down the absorption of carbohydrate into your blood stream.”

    All artificial sweeteners act on the body the same way regular sugar does but without the calories. So you will have an insulin response while consuming artificial sweeter, you can get diabetes consuming artificial sugar.

    The only solution for a sweet tooth is to lose it!
    Cease all sugar in take immediately. All diabetics need to “restrict & control” all SUGARS!

    Don’t listen to the liar Deen she knows nothing about food. OBVIOUSLY!@

  19. Nieta

    July 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Hi Erika, let me start by saying I LOVE your blog. It keeps me inspired and committed. That being said, I am in TOTAL agreement with you. I am a caterer in the Chicagoland area so I watch a LOT of Food Network. Paired with that I lost 60 pounds a few years ago, during that weight loss journey I learned a lot not only about myself, but about food. The conclusion I came to is basically the food industry wants us dead. With that being said, while standing in line in the grocery store one day I see lo and behold Paula has diabetes and, who knew,? the way she cooks has been wrong all along. Then as days followed I saw her on Dr. Oz cooking “healthy” southern classics. Then I found out her endorsement of this diabetes medication. I was floored. So let me get this right. I promote, butter, fried foods, and sugar, make millions doing it, then find out that it is not the proper way to eat (No S#@!) and I get to make millions more by admitting I was wrong. This COUNTRY! only in America. I really hate to say this because I rarely play the race card, but if she was black, let’s say…the Neely’s, there is no way she would have bounced back from that. Also I am so SICK of people using income levels as an excuse to eat poorly. Yes I admit healthy options are limited in lower income neighborhoods, however there are solutions. Go outside of your neighborhood, you can exercise at any income level, movement is free.

  20. diana

    June 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    its no ones business when she was diagnosed..i was diagnosed 10 years ago(no complications,never hospitalized) because a great doctor paid attention to my blood work)

    it could be she was diabetic but didn’t happens to folks in our community all the time..the important thing is that she is taking action now..changing diet ,exercising and losing a little weight,.(only 10% is needed for control)

    educate your self about diabetes,many folks with the disease are thin,had a healthy diet and still got the disease..its genetic (just not proven yet)

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      June 18, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      “its no ones business when she was diagnosed.”

      Yeah…something like that.

  21. Heidi

    June 18, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Ok I like Paula and I am in looove with Mr. Bourdain. I have not really followed her diabetes issues, but for the most part I am not rich but a $58 prime rib is an occasional once a year thing for our house. Sometimes even more,and that is what I think is the point when watching her or any other food cook we all know we don’t cook like that everyday just on occasion. What i like is the fact that I can take any of her recipes and alter them the way it fits for my family.

  22. Heidi

    June 19, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    and Erika I love u hate to call u out on this but I remember reading how you felt about healthy eating when your girlfriends took u to the grocery store and u were like um ” HECK NO NOT READY YET AND YALL IS CRAZY” but something happened something struck in you to get on the move and change and fortunately for u it was not diabetes.For Paula it was and she just so happened to be in a position to profit from it (can’t hate on her for that) it is our jobs as consumers to continue to seek our own truths not let someone else tell us.we all go through our own struggles Paulas mission is not over yet. Who knows how her perspective of life may and the way she eats may change. Look how yours did;)

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      June 19, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      All due respect, but I don’t really think this is the same. It’s one thing for it to be one person whose credibility is on the line – people charged Paula, for YEARS, with crafting recipes that cause the disease; she’s eventually outed for carrying the disease; she lied about it. Instead of coming out and admitting to it, possibly working with the ADA or something to bring honest awareness…she lied about it.

      How is that comparable to someone – namely, me – not having had their “come to fitness moment yet?”

      Furthermore, she didn’t opt to actually ADMIT she had the disease until she’d not only had a sponsorship lined up from a pharmaceutical company, but also until she’d had her SON’s show lined up. No one’s hating on her business acumen, but I’m allowed to call a flagrant foul on her lack of integrity. The woman is a liar, and lied about something particularly heinous so that she could continue on misleading the public, when the public was actually pretty correct in their assertion.

      I’m not entirely certain what’s there to call me out on, but I’m not above reproach. If I’m missing the point, let me know.

      • Marie

        June 19, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        I can’t believe the hatred that has come out against this woman between the media and social media you think she had personally caused ppl to get diabetes. I didn’t realized she lied about having the disease. Unless her no answering when asked is considered lying. Maybe she needed time to come to grips herself. Maybe Food Network told her not to. I know when she came out and was on Dr. Oz and think O she said she was devasted and embarrassed. Disease or not she is still a business woman. I don’t think a man would have been criticized for getting his ducks in a row like she did. No one has said anything about Buddy from Cake Boss or the big guy on the Chew. I actually think she did the right thing for protecting her brand before coming forward. I bet all the ppl that she employs or make some type of living based on her success is grateful too. I would hate to lose my job because her rep went down and took the business witth it. As a business woman she had to consider all that. And captializing on it with the drug company good business sense. She may also believe that drugs is a great say to get the diesse under control. I know i heard ppl say dr out them on drugs until they learned how to eat right n then they were taken off. Celebrities promote alcohol and ppl become addicted to it, drink and drive , develop liver and other health problems but we don’t go after them.
        Main problem is we look to strangers, hold them up to a standard and are disappointed when they fail what we think they should be. I like Paula think her souther drawl is cute in dosage and find her to be a little funny. I would never cook like her regularly but have every blue moon I try a recipe, as she and someone else said she has always said I am your cook and not your dr. dont eat like this everyday. I am really confused why a tv personality entertainment show causes such an uproar.

        • Erika Nicole Kendall

          June 19, 2013 at 8:01 PM

          “I don’t think a man would have been criticized for getting his ducks in a row like she did.”

          I can’t speak for her; I can only speak for myself. I would’ve obliterated ANYONE who did what she did, regardless of gender.

          “I bet all the ppl that she employs or make some type of living based on her success is grateful too.”

          I’m so, so very sure they are.

          “Celebrities promote alcohol and ppl become addicted to it, drink and drive , develop liver and other health problems but we don’t go after them.”

          In no way, shape or form is that the same.

          “Main problem is we look to strangers, hold them up to a standard and are disappointed when they fail what we think they should be.”

          I definitely agree there… still doesn’t change the fact

  23. RaDiggah

    June 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Southern cooking is what this woman knows and what she grew up on… Her food made her successful so she represents southern cooking on TV.. Life happened and she got diabetes..She is not promoting a 7 day diet on her show so I dont see your point.. They are just recipes.. Her point to Anthony was more about simplicity in recipes IMO

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      June 19, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      “She is not promoting a 7 day diet on her show so I dont see your point”

      Of course you don’t, especially if you think THAT is what I said. LOL

  24. Ceej

    June 19, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Paula Deen admits in court that she uses the n-word:

  25. Kathleen

    November 16, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    My mother was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, and I went with her to meet with her Diabetic Nutritionist. This nutritionist grew up on a dairy farm, on diet heavy of milk, cheese and BUTTER, and she is so severely diabetic now she needs a pump. She went to school for this and now does this for a living, so she knows what she’s talking about… so yes, the diet Paula Deen has been pushing DOES greatly contribute to diabetes. Paula is very lucky hers was only type 2 and could be managed. People may call me a ‘hater’ but I find Paula Deen to be an typical greedy opportunist…I have never liked her, mainly because of her personality and the fact that she just seems SO fake….She uses her humble southern upbringing as an excuse for her behavior and poor diet. She is far from being poor, and in fact she and her brother have signed so many contracts, that her little racist rant made little to no dent in her income. And puleeesee,,I am so tired of the word ‘celebrity chef’ the woman rarely does any of her OWN cooking, she has ‘help’ for that. And how many hard working chefs do you know live in $13 million dollar homes?? I have also learned through experience that I should never buy celebrity endorsed products, because they will signed their name to anything to make a buck. Their products are usually poor quality, I would rather buy trusted name brands, because I just don’t trust celebrities. Now, Duck Dynasty has their name on everything, why?? pure greed, in the name of southern humility.

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