Don’t Blame Paula - Blame Your Choices and The American Food Culture
I have been carefully listening to and watching the backlash towards Paula Deen and her recent admission to suffering from Diabetes.
Chefs like Anthony Bourdain and others have attacked her as being a hypocrite and an opportunist for combining her admission with an announcement that she is now also the spokesperson for a diabetes drug company.
This whole discussion and the blame and anger directed at Paula Deen speaks not of a hypocrite celebrity chef, in my eyes, but instead of a society that refuses to examine themselves, their actions, and their contributions to the overall health of America.
Over the past few months, if not year, I have encountered more and more people with Glucose intolerances and other food allergies. In walking through the bookstores and health food stores, I have seen an increase in books, foods, and other items promoted and sold to address this growing market and concern for overly processed foods in this country. I have seen politicians blame parents and entire socio-economic and ethnic groups for the increase number of illnesses among them. What I have not seen is any invested interest in changing how food is grown, developed and processed. This is because the way we treat food from it’s beginning – regardless of how unhealthy it may be – is as much a money-maker as the methods and careers later developed to try to cure those affected. I was recently diagnosed with high-cholesterol. Within days, I had a letter in my mailbox from a pharmaceutical company informing me of their medications to help lower it.
I am a huge fan of Chef Bourdain, however, he and may other chefs criticizing Deen should take a look at their own television shows and cookbooks promoting the consumption of unhealthy foods and recipes developed from animals which are on the brink of extinction.
It matters little what Bourdain or Dean or any famous chef says, at the end of the day, I am fully aware of what is best for me and the consequences of my choices.
We live in a society that lacks accountability and strives on blaming others. If you are overweight and diabetic, don’t blame it on Paula Deen. Check yourself and the choices you have made in your diet, because it really does start there.
Granted, I have always said that it is no surprise to me that most healthy foods - a lucrative business in this country - are made more accessible to those who can afford them. Despite the increase in health problems among members of lower incomes, it is often seen that the only food options for them are those full of chemicals and completely unhealthy – but also most affordable and accessible.
So, don’t blame Paula Deen. She has the right to privacy; she has the right to make whatever financial business choices she chooses. She didn’t force anyone to eat sticks of butter and fried lard.
Blame the politicians. Blame the industries, both on the food and healthcare ends of the spectrum. Blame a society that is so focused on profiting that it risks all else in the process. Blame a system (in our schools, our fast food restaurants, our markets) that is rarely concerned in the options it offers it’s less affluent members of society and lacks the desire to assist in prevention of diseases. But most of all check yourself and take responsibility for your choices. It’s not about being thin or fat, it’s about taking responsibility, educating yourself, and being careful and showing control with the choices you make.
No one more than Paula Deen is a better example of that.
Photo Credit: Getty Images Entertainment