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Paula Deen has announced she has type 2 diabetes, and that her condition will effect some of the down-home cooking that made her famous.
“When I learned I had type 2 diabetes, I decided to approach managing the disease with the same positivity and ‘go get ’em’ attitude I have everyday,” the Food Network star wrote in a post on her official website.
“In the past, I’ve heard so many stories of people like me that let diabetes control their lives, but I didn’t want to let this slow me down. I wanted to take control and delicious time doing it.”
Deen has launched a new campaign, dubbed “Diabetes In A New Light,” to raise awareness of the disease and offer support for those who have it. ” As part of the initiative, “I will continue to share my favorite Southern recipes, just like my mama, grandmother and family shared with me over the years. And now, I’ll be adding a little bit of a lighter touch to some of these wonderful dishes,” she said.
In a interview with NBC’s Today show on Tuesday, the popular TV chef and host of Paula’s Best Dishes said she was diagnosed three years ago during a routine doctor’s visit.
“I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence,” said Deen, who is now a paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company specializing in diabetes medication.
When asked what took her so long to announce the news, Deen — who turns 65 on Thursday — recalled telling her family at the time, “I’m going to keep this close to my chest for the time being.” She added: “Because I had to figure things out in my own head. I had to give time to think about it, talk with my doctor … I could have walked out and said, ‘Hey, ya’ll, I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and walked away.’ I had nothing to give.”
Last year, the good-natured Deen was involved in a war of words with Anthony Bourdain, author of culinary-themed books such as Kitchen Confidential and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations. In a TV Guide interview, Bourdain sniped: “The worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen. She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is f—ing bad for you.” (Deen fought back, saying: “My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills . . . It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.”)
Is she afraid her announcement will damage her reputation?
“People are not gonna quit eating. We quit eating, we’re all outta here,” she told Today‘s Al Roker. “No, I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward.” She noted genetics, age and stress can lead to diabetes in addition to lifestyle and eating habits.
Watch the clip of her interview below.
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