Hey Ya’ll! Paula Deen and Her “shocking” Health Announcement

17 Jan

Hey ya’ll!!!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Paula Deen – famous for her heavy Southern cooking – has Type 2 Diabetes. She was diagnosed 3 years ago, and recently made it public, and she is now a spokesperson for a diabetes drug.

The blogosphere is filled with articles on Paula Deen’s cooking style and its role in her disease, so I’m not going to add to the pile with yet ANOTHER article.

What I would like to talk about is something Paula said regarding her grandmother. Here is the quote from the USA TODAY article:

“Type 2 diabetes is like “Russian roulette” when it comes to whom it’s going to strike, Deen says. “It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.””

Bubby’s Homemade Cooking:

This got me thinking.

My bubby also ate like this. Ok, maybe Southern Fried Chicken wasn’t a staple in the Lower East Side back in the day, but I’ve read through enough of my Bubby’s recipes to see “FAT” as the number one ingredient. Fat, Butter, Cheese… I have recipes of cakes and breads and stews…. Quite frankly, I’ve never attempted most of these recipes because to make it “Duby Friendly” I’d have to practically change the entire recipe!

So why is it, I asked myself, that our grandparents were able to eat this way and they didn’t get diabetes?

My bubby of blessed memory lived well into her 80’s and was pretty healthy for almost her entire life. There was no heart disease, or diabetes or even Cancer … (thank G-d)

So why is it that people TODAY who are seemingly much healthier (and thinner) seem to contract all these diseases and chronic illnesses???

I’d like to open this discussion, and I really want to hear from YOU guys – my readers – why YOU think this is.

Here are a few reasons that I came up with…

1) Sedentary Lifestyle: TV, Computers,

Do I need to explain this one? It’s kind of obvious. Our sedentary lifestyle is a big factor in many of the “new” illnesses in today’s world.

Years ago, people did manual labor jobs. Whether working in factories, on farms, – people were moving and doing all day long and “breaking a sweat.” Today, of course these kinds of jobs still exist, but for the most part, our industries are more service and information based (technology, computer programming, online work etc.), and how much sweat are we really producing sitting at a desk on the computer?

Speaking of computers, of course, I don’t need to tell you about how computers have COMPLTELY taken over our lives. (Laptops, iPads, computer games) It’s one of those things that if abused can be a terrible thing, but yet it is hard to maintain a balance.

Long story short, back then maybe people ate “heavier” and “fattier” foods, but people MOVED!!!

2) More Driving, Less Walking

Back in the olden days (and not even so old!) people walked everywhere. Kids drove bikes, and adults walked. (at least that’s what they tell me Smile) Before I went away for high school I remember asking the principal if there was a bus to school. She told me that since everyone lived in the area, everyone walked to school. I believe I was a little frightened by this prospect, but what an incredible way to start the school day with a cool brisk walk to school!!!

3) Toxins / Pesticides

It’s not that food didn’t have pesticides back then, but take a look at how our farming industry has become so commercialized. The attitude of “big is better” and “more for cheaper”…we’re eating unnaturally colored and oversized vegetables, and they use many pesticides to produce vegetables that last longer and grow larger.

GMO. Enough said.

Now let’s talk about toxins in the actual air around us. All around us is toxins – from the shampoo and toothpaste we use to the chicken / meat we eat – from the chemicals to steroids and antibiotics …

Another interesting point is that back then we had more homegrown (made in the USA) food, while today many of our produce is imported. Unfortunately, other countries don’t necessarily have the same regulations and standards. (another reason for eating Locally!)

4) Food is overall less nutritious than it used to be

Because of all the pesticides and ways our food industry is allowed to cut corners, it’s understandable that even healthy food (such as vegetables) is less nutritious than it used to be.

Duby’s Note:

I would like to insert here a small caveat. While my Bubby and Zeidy didn’t have to worry about GMO’s like we do today, this doesn’t mean that in those days, things were all honkey dorey.

Just last week I was chatting with my aunt who was telling me how my Bubby Rivkah didn’t let her children eat certain foods because she knew they were suspect.

For example:

a) White Flour: Back then (we’re talking the 1950’s) people used White Flour without really understanding why it wasn’t healthy. People liked the look of white bread, so companies milled and then bleached the flour, thereby stripping the vitamins. (I’m sure you all paid attention to my last blog post Smile) My bubby understood this and in ALL her baking and cooking, she would add Wheat Germ to put back lost vitamins and minerals. (I remember my mother teaching me to add Wheat Germ into my meatball mixture)

b) My bubby never let her kids have Tuna Fish in their school lunches. The companies back then weren’t regulated like today, and a scandalous report found particles of rodents(!!) in the canned Tuna. (My aunt also told me that they found shards of glass in the cans as well!)

c) Never were they allowed to have dry cereal. Why? Because Bubby understood these weren’t a source of good nutrition. It turned out that dry cereal had as much food value as Styrofoam. Once this became common knowledge, General Mills and others began to ‘put back’ the vitamins into the foods.

Even back then, it was imperative to keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to what’s going into our bodies.

5) Supersized portions

We are stretching our dollar and stretching our plates. Check out the image below from for a startling comparison of how our portion sizes have grown over the years.

So yes, maybe my bubby made cheesecake all the time … but something tells me those slices were a LOT smaller than they are today Smile


6) Margarine vs. Butter

I’ll admit – many of my mother’s recipes call for Margarine – to make the recipes pareve. But NONE of my Bubby’s recipes call for Margarine. They all call for Butter or Fat. Isn’t that interesting? Now, I know that eating a stick of butter is unhealthy. (Thank you Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live for that incredible sketch!) However, there is something to be said about eating REAL vs. FAKE.

A friend of mine in Agoura Hills, California – is an incredible baker. She bakes all these heavenly goodies for her family…and I once asked her about worrying about weight, or health. She told me that yes, eating cake isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but she knows what her kids are eating. There are NO preservatives and she’s choose which flours to use. While you shouldn’t eat an entire batch of cookies, at least she knew the products were “real” and “wholesome.”

(Duby’s Note: I agree with my friend’s opinion only to a certain extent. Sugar is sugar no matter how you look at it. Yes, it might be more “natural” than Aspartame {which may cause cancer} but sugar can be harmful in other ways.)

Long story short – margarine, while is wonderful to us Kosher bakers, it really is a terrible thing to put in our bodies.

7) More Medicines – More Illnesses

I don’t have any statistics to back me up on this one (and this is totally my opinion) but there is a REASON why it’s called “Bubby’s Homemade Remedies.” Our Bubbies all knew just the herb or tonic to whip up when we were sick, and they didn’t fear illnesses like we do today.

Walk into any school building, and you’ll find kids with every allergy under the sun:

Wheat Free

Gluten Free

Soy Free

Egg Free

Nut Free

Dairy Free

(am I missing any?)

Then we got seasonal allergies up the whazoo. As for us adults, there are an incredible amount of autoimmune disorders- and the numbers of these illnesses are increasing. Our bodies and immune systems are literally overwhelmed and while trying to survive it’s attacking itself causing all these problems.

We have a very efficient and impressive medical industry, yet, we seem to be getting sicker.

In conclusion, my Bubby certainly baked with Fat and Butter and made delicious kuchens and kichels and a whole bunch of “ich” type goodies. While I may try to emulate her recipes, as Paula Deen says that she bakes/eats just like her grandmother did, we need to remember that we live in a completely different world, and must live/cook/eat with the realities of the 21 century.

What do you think my dear readers?

Why do YOU think our grandparents were able to cook the way they did and yet we have more illnesses?

Or do you believe that our grandparents were just as unhealthy as we are today?

I would love to hear your opinions!


Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings, Physical Health


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6 responses to “Hey Ya’ll! Paula Deen and Her “shocking” Health Announcement

  1. Marci

    January 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Intervention goreret intervention. The monitors etc that we put in place to “keep us healthy,” have the added side-benefit of making us seem unhealthy. I’m not entirely disputing your points, but I think your premise, that we are sicker now, is simply fallacious. We’re more aware of where we are on the health and wellness spectrum.

    I’ll give you an example: the statistics for severe injuries resulting from car crashes has gone way up. Why? Because fatalities have gone down. Mechanical intervention (jaws of life, etc), education, seat-belts, and other safety regulations have contributed to a reduction in fatalities, while contributing to an increase in severe injuries. (ie: that which didn’t kill you, you now get to live with). If you only look at the severe injuries statistics, you could think the roads are getting less safe, while in fact, the opposite is true, you have a much better chance of surviving a car crash than you ever have.

    I think we’re seeing the same things in health care. We are living longer and healthier lives so instead of being killed by whooping cough or TB, or meningitis, we live to get hit with cancer, diabetes, and the extremely random, fibromyalga. I’m not saying the cities and the smog they produce don’t contribute to allergies, for example, obviously environmental conditions also play a part, but it is a part, not the whole picture.

    I remember when one of the “Two Fat Ladies” died, and everyone said it was just a matter of time because of that unhealthy lifestyle…well they were right. She died at 80-odd. And lets not forget Atkins, on the other side of the scale, who dropped dead of a heart-attack while jogging. Being healthy is important to you and everyone who loves you, that’s true, but don’t miss the forest for the trees; we’re not less healthy than previous generations, by and large, but we are much better documented.

  2. mrsduby

    January 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    hi Marci,
    your comment was truly fascinating and really made me think. (how dare you! 🙂

    I like what you said about the statistics for car accidents and injuries… that the interventions are preventing one thing, even though seemingly they are causing something else. Very interesting concept.

    i also very much agree with you about documentation — Shmully used to say this about Brooklyn…. it sounded like crime was going up, but really we just have access to more information!

    However, i still maintain that the nutritional value in our food supply has gone down what with more pesticides and toxins…. i’ll have to do some research to see if thats been proven (or not.)

    overall its a very interesting topic. Obviously, life wasnt all a bed of roses way back when – – and while the Brady Brunch depicts a very happy go lucky life, its really a mirage… but at the same time, i really do find it intriguing how our generation is dealing with things that they didnt have to back in the day. (boy do i sound like an old lady!!!!!)

    make a long story short, i really appreciate your input and voice…. maybe one day you’ll like to do a guest post on some of your experiences ?

    Thank you again for sharing…
    mwaaaa !!!
    ps – i only recently became familiar with the 2 Fat Ladies when Shmully was flipping the channels and he told me who they were…. were they similar to Paula Deen in their cooking style and southern charm?

  3. Shmully Litvin

    January 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    There is something to be said for the fact that we have been consistently been making life easier and easier for us, and becoming more and more complacent at the same time.

  4. mrsduby

    January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    hey Shmully,
    what are you referring to when you say Complacent ? are you talking about something specific ? Feel free to elaborate 🙂

  5. Chanie P.

    February 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I just got to reading this now…and I have to say it’s quite fascinating that your Bubby knew that much about our food back in the 1950’s! Amazing that she added wheat germ to the food and the other things.

    • mrsduby

      February 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      hey Chanie,
      yeah i was kind of surprised to hear my Aunt tell me all those stories! I had no idea. My aunt tells me that all this health stuff “is in my blood” and i had no idea ….

      thanks for your comment !


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