Let’s Not Attack Paula Deen

It has been confirmed that Paula Deen has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and since it was announced there has been a firestorm of comments and criticism of the Food Network star. Comments stating her recipes, eating habits, etc have contributed to her health condition. Is this true? Sure- her recipes can be high in fat, calories, and refined carbohydrates at times, and this certainly could have contributed to her diabetes. However, as a Certified Diabetes Educator, I have worked with thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes and before we crucify Paula Deen for developing this disease, I want you to keep in mind I have had skinny, young patients with no family history (and healthy eating habits) develop the disease.

Sometimes the cause can be genetic, sometimes there could be an underlying medical condition that brings on diabetes (for instance I have had clients with rheumatoid arthritis on high doses that ended up with type 2 diabetes), but it is important to remember that just because someone was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean it was certainly their fault and could have been completely prevented. This stigma is what makes many individuals embarrassed or ashamed that they have diabetes, which is unfair. Could it have been prevented in many cases, possibly. And prevention is always best in the cause of a chronic disease like diabetes. But would you tell someone newly diagnosed with cancer “it’s your fault because you didn’t eat enough vegetables?” We could make that argument with almost any disease, but instead of pointing fingers at those diagnosed, let’s instead focus on supporting them and helping them make healthy lifestyle changes now to control this disease.

Instead of criticizing a public figure who is coming out to discuss a deadly disease effecting millions of Americans, let’s look at this as an incredible opportunity to educate all of us on the dangers, symptoms, and treatment of diabetes. When a client comes to me after just having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 90% of them tell me they think they can never eat many foods, such as cookies, ever again. They are under the misconception “sugar is evil” and don’t understand that it is carbohydrates (which include sugar) they need to watch to control their blood sugar levels. My motto for everyone with diabetes is “you can eat any food, but moderation is key.” People with diabetes can still enjoy foods such as desserts and pasta, as long as they keep portion size in check and limit how often they have these foods (just like we all should be doing anyway!).

A Food Network star like Paula can show people with diabetes everywhere how any recipe can be adjusted to be meet the needs of a diabetic meal plan. For instance, maybe Ms. Deen can start to use whole grains vs refined flour or find substitutions to reduce the sugar and fat content in some of the foods she uses. In fact, I feel if a famous person with less-than-perfect eating habits like Paula Deen can show us all that simple changes can make a big impact on controlling blood sugar, it shows us we can all do it. Just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes does not destine you to a life full of boring, flavorless food.

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Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.


New Years Resolutions- Revisited!

Has your New Year’s resolve to adopt healthier eating habits already started to crumble? Part of the problem may be that you set yourself up for failure by deciding on some huge resolutions that you want to accomplish in a really short amount of time. A better approach is to start off with something simple, like increasing your daily water intake in a given week or vowing to stick to just one dessert at a family dinner. As you conquer each smaller goal, you’ll soon find yourself moving in the right direction more times than not!

It’s also important to be realistic with yourself and to keep variety in your diet. For instance, rather than eating the same lunch for a whole month, which will be hard to maintain, try incorporating different fruits or vegetables to avoid getting in a food rut.

Other common situations that can undermine a desire to eat healthier include feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of changing food habits, using food as stress relief, or needing to soothe a sweet tooth. Getting into the right frame of mind to eat better often starts by changing thinking patterns before you can modify your behavior.

Remember, too, that our minds are trained to adopt an “all or nothing” approach, and perhaps nowhere more true than with diet and exercise. So, instead of getting discouraged if you missed a gym session or overate at one meal, start making a list of your successes — however seemingly small — to help build your confidence. Realize that one snack, meal or even a whole day of unhealthy eating isn’t going to make or break your overall healthy eating goal – just as long as you remember to return to the routine.

What New Years resolutions have you successfully been able to reach? What worked for you?

For more information visit erinpalinski.com

Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.