What is Paula Deen’s Responsibility?

Paula Deenphoto:  Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of buzz today about Paula Deen announcing that she has type 2 diabetes.  And there’s been no shortage of criticism that her decadent, high-fat cooking has caught up with her — and is doing lots of harm to the American public. 

I just turned on the TV in my hotel room and there she was.  I stopped to watch her cook with her son Bobby and it was rather shocking.  In the first few minutes I heard everything from “dangerously delicious” and “guilty pleasure” to “the devil is in this kitchen today! and  “I should be arrested!”

Well, maybe so. 

OK, perhaps  not arrested.  But I do think it’s time she changes her ways.  It’s just not funny anymore.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a passionate food lover and believe there’s a way for all foods to fit.  And I think Paula has a lot of charm, she’s an enthusiatic cook with a tremendous following.  People LOVE her.  And I think that type of dedicated following brings with it a certain responsibility.

I know Paula isn’t a nutritionist and she doesn’t claim to be.  (Although I did have a few complaints about her children’s cookbook that I previously wrote about on Nutrition Unplugged:  Paula Deen Serves Up Food Advice for Kids.)

To give her some credit, I did hear her say three times on her show that she doesn’t eat this way every day.  That’s great.  But why does she choose to cook this way on her show?  

To me, this is just a tragic missed opportunity.  We need to inspire people to cook more often.  I truly believe that’s one of the best ways we can take control of our health.  But this type of cooking is not the answer.

I wish Paula all  the best.  I just hope she can use her power now in different ways.

Am I wrong?  Doesn’t Paula have some responsibility to make some changes?  What do you think?

paula deen burger

Paula Deen Burger by mdclarke on flickr.

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