The hoo-la over the diagnosis of the Queen of Fat & Sugar, Culinary Marketing Guru, Paula Deen, with Type-2 diabetes has simmered down a bit in the last week. I guess. At risk of sounding self-righteous: I really don't know because I rarely flick on the boob tube and best I knew, the controversy was never reported on my only news source, NPR. It was the blogosphere that tipped me off to the mean and nasty fest that was broiling over Deen's diagnosis. Talented blogger, special needs dad Rob Rummel-Hudson (Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter) posted on Facebook that making the Savannah-based Diva the butt of jokes was in poor taste. But via local Nashville fitness blogger Dyan of Don't Diet, Live It! that I learned the distasteful back story....
From the headlines I expected a reformation. A new movement. I imagined the lives of foodie followers led down the table runner to salvation with Deen seated at the head teaching new math with a division of loaves and fishes and reversing her condition. (It is done. It is possible. I've witnessed it multiple times.) A reformed sugarholic for nearly 25 years now, I was excited, enthusiastic, as I clicked the news link, anxious to savor the details. Maybe this will be a wake up call for America's choice-ridden slide into obesity, I fancied. But. No. The scoop is Deen has known for three years about her diagnosis and sidles up to the public now with the endorsement of Big Pharma--Novo Nordisk-- a company that manufactures injectable diabetes meds. Her two sons, who do not have the diagnosis flank her as company spokespeople....Dialing up the heat of insult, Deen states in all seriousness:
She does not plan to limit her dietary excesses except her propensity for sugar-shocked, Southern tea. Writes "Coach Dyan" who watched Deen perform in a media circus parade, including The Today show: "She does not plan to change her lifestyle or cooking style[....]She said that she, like all other baby boomers, must face the reality of developing diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol."
There. Someone said it. Deen vocalized the sentiment of too many Americans. Descending into old, decrepit age, chock full of prescription meds and frequent consultations with allopathic medical doctors is just. The. Way. It. Is. Disease Rules.
Why am I passionate about this? Am I trying to pick at Paula? No. But I will speak the truth of my experience here. This mentality, as spoken aloud and lived by Deen, is a very real, negative reality in our culture today. But, I have chosen and live and believe in an alternative reality where Choosing Health Wins. As a young post-college adult, I began eating poorly, indulging in fat, excess sugar and fake foods. By my mid-20's, I developed a host of annoying gastric and transfered conditions. My trips to doctors became routine. By the end of that decade I was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning, chronic intestinal yeast, chemical sensitivities and chronic fatigue syndrome. Eventually I found the ways of Western medicine and synthetic pharmaceuticals made me sicker. I quit listening to standard medicine and went the way of the quack, as our culture considered natural and alternative and diet-based medicine back then. Now? Science has proven those weird ideas...that too many in our culture still consider foreign. In one year I cured my chronic fatigue syndrome and heavy metal poisoning with the help of innovative, open-minded medical doctors in Atlanta, where I was then living. By first changing the content of what I ate, I immediately saw results in my weight, hair, skin and nails. I ate then and now a whole foods-based diet. Real. Food. Fruits. Vegetables. Whole grains. Some dairy and some quality meats. Organic as much as possible and lots of pure water. I have my dark chocolate and I drink wine on occasion. And if I let off the lid my sugar tooth will still rule. So, yes, those who know me have seen me big at the party buffet. The contents of my pantry? As pristine as a health food store.
My journey to whole food led me not only to whole health but to yoga and then to environmentalism because I saw how I ate affected how I treated the earth and in turn the earth's ability to sustain humankind. I learned as my mind cleared and my body cleaned itself from the inside out, that it is difficult to be fully conscious when I crammed fake stuff that my body could not process. And that clarity, slowly over the next couple of decades led me to a wider more inclusive spiritual path. In my experience, one led to the other, all so beautifully connected. I am so grateful for the journey that started with getting sick from a contemporary American diet and has served by body, mind and spirit so well the two ensuing decades.
We do have a choice about our health. And making a choice for optimal health is particularly important if you, like me, are a special needs parent. How can I meet the lifetime demands of my differently abled daughter if I am not preparing my body to sustain the long journey ahead? I do this--I eat pure the majority of time and I excercise regularly first for me and my quality of my Life. And then I do it for Her and any other loved one that may be in my life at a given time. And then, I do it for Us. What our culture is failing to realize is that WE ALL pay when some of us choose the path of disease. All of our costs go up. Preventative medicine via preventive diet, the bountiful foods of Mother Earth, are mighty cheap in comparison.
My Truth: Eat Well. Eat Real. Eat Whole. And do not accept that doctors, disease and decrepitness are the future. You bet the hell I am not. Make that I'm choosing the heaven of living well. Diss Dean and preventable disease and follow the path toward health. Quality lies there.
What Deen's not taking into consideration with her refusal to change her diet and simply take medication: According to Mayo Clinic those with Type 2 diabetes may feel fine at first in the early stages but complications include: heart and blood vessel disease; nerve, kidney, eye, foot damage; skin and mouth conditions, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's.
Monday Morning Addendum: below, I've added three comments. The longest one shares two aspects of clarification, including more of my recent journey here for greatest authenticity. Thank all you who've visited here already this morning!