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How Paula Deen and Others Could Make a Difference

educating the public on diabetes and more

Last weekend Steviva Brands and Trinity Hill Farms attended the American Diabetes, Diabetes Expo in Portland, Oregon. There were several cooking demonstrations and one in particular stuck me as interesting; that was the cooking demo by Bobby Deen, the son of Type II Diabetic and celebrity chef Paula Deen. His new show “Not My Mama’s Meals” is set to debut on the Cooking Channel this summer. Bobby Deen’s show will focus on a more healthy approach to his mother’s high fat high sugar “heart attack on a plate” meals.

While Paula Deen’s sons are taking a health conscious approach their mother continues unapologetically touting recipes that no doubt contributed to her own Type 2 Diabetes. Herein lies the rub. When we accept our roles as a public figures there is a certain unspoken, unwritten covenant you make with your audience. This promise is what you are selling is for the greater good of your audience. Paula’s Deen’s solution to her own diabetes was to take the “better living through chemistry” path of taking a pill. There is conclusive scientific evidence that type 2 diabetes can be controlled in most cases with a change in diet and exercise. But, she has ignored this in favor of taking endorsement money from big pharma and perpetuating the belief the solutions to all our problems are contained in pill form and not a change in lifestyle.

I apologize if I am singling out Paula Deen. She is an amazing and talented television personality and chef. This breakdown in our public figures and celebrities is not exclusive to her. We see it all the time in our athletes, singers, actors and politicians. Perhaps they believe they are just above the whole public benefit thing. Public figures have a unique opportunity to make real change and some of them do such as Matt Damon, Bono, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and dozens more. As a father of a seven year old I find this particularly important. Everything things she sees forms her personality both good and bad. And in some way I rely on celebrities to use their clout to set a good example for her and all of us for that matter. Paula Deen and many others could use our proactive positive public figures as an example and help promote a healthy lifestyle and make the world a better place.

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