Paula Deen's recent announcement that she has type 2 diabetes set the media ablaze with speculation and discussion regarding the role of her diet and the potentially deadly disease. Some critics claim that her high-fat, high-calorie, high-sodium Southern-style cooking increases the risks of hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks, in addition to type 2 diabetes. Others take note that she was diagnosed three years ago but is only coming forward now that she and her sons have a business deal with a diabetes company to share new recipes and healthier living ideas.
From Paula's perspective, she reports telling those close to her when she was first diagnosed but chose not to tell the world because she needed time to figure out what this new diagnosis would mean. She is also quick to point out that every food is OK in moderation, including her tasty Southern-style cooking. Paula cautions viewers and fans alike to remember that she is a cook: She is simply teaching you how to make a great-tasting meal or specialty dish. She's not your doctor, telling you what you should eat. She reminds people that they need to take personal responsibility when it comes to what they eat and how it influences their health. Paula is excited to help people see diabetes in a new light by encouraging them to establish healthy habits including lighter cooking, getting more exercise, and working with their health-care team to manage diabetes so they can live a full and active life.
Well, we agree with both the critics and Paula. Consuming a diet that is consistently high in fat, calories, and sodium does increase a person's risk of developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. This is especially true if you also have someone in your immediate family who has hypertension or diabetes and you are overweight or inactive. We also agree that everyone has to be responsible for his or her own health. Just about any food can be included in a healthy diet but the key is to include moderation and portion control in your healthy eating plan as well.
We totally understand why Paula initially kept her new diagnosis to herself. It most certainly takes time to accept any new medical condition and to understand what it will mean for your life and career while also learning to live and thrive with it. Anyone that gets a new diabetes diagnosis deserves the right to work with their medical team to find a treatment plan that works to manage their condition while allowing them to live a full and vibrant life. You can't accurately answer questions about something that you don't fully understand yourself. Paula seems to have developed a great plan with her family and medical team and is now ready to help other people take control of their health as well.
Perhaps you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or maybe you just haven't taken your diabetes diagnoses as seriously as you should. Regardless of which of these fit your situation, here are three tips to help Paula and you, spark your way to a healthier life with diabetes.
Eat right to maintain a healthy A1C. Glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C or A1C for short) is a blood test used to index blood glucose averages to help your medical team know how well your diabetes is under control. The goal for people with diabetes is to have an A1C that is less than 7 percent. The higher the A1C the higher the risk of developing diabetes related complications. Following a healthy diet along with exercise to achieve a healthy weight is the best way to control your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of diabetes related complication. The key to eating well with type 2 diabetes is to include healthier carbohydrate choices such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and low-fat diary in the correct portion sizes for you. Your health-care team, including a Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator, will help you determine the right amount of nutrients as well as the correct meal and snack timing to coordinate with your medication regime. Learning to cook healthier recipes and making wise choices while eating away from home will also help you successfully control your blood glucose levels and reach your perfect weight.
Live an active lifestyle. Being active not only helps you control your weight but also your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Keeping these numbers under control reduces your risks of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke while helping manage your diabetes as well. Your health care team will help you determine the best exercise plan for you. Many people with type 2 diabetes can successfully exercise with an exercise plan that includes regular cardio and strength training in the routine. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels before and after exercising as well as drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. Always wear proper socks and shoes while checking feet for blisters or sores after exercise. If you are exercising with people who are not aware of your medical condition, it is best to wear diabetes identification in some way. Be sure to bring a fast-acting carbohydrate snack such as 2 tablespoons of raisins or a half cup of orange juice in case you experience hypoglycemic symptoms. A smart and regular exercise plan along with healthy eating helps people with type 2 diabetes improve their blood sugar control, increase insulin sensitivity, and manage their weight. Many have found that this approach helps reduce, or even eliminate, the need for glucose lowering medication.
Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress can have negative effects on your health especially when you have diabetes. Stress can influence blood glucose levels through increases in stress hormone that alters levels or by diverting your focus from healthy self-care. In either case, uncontrolled blood glucose levels from uncontrolled stress negatively influences your health. Learning how to rate your stress levels and then implementing techniques to reduce stress are important keys to healthy living with type 2 diabetes.
If you consume high-fat, high-calorie and high-sodium foods and snacks often, you increase your risks of heart disease and diabetes. This is true whether you are enjoying Paula Deen's Southern cooking, frequently selecting fast-food burgers, or snacking on bags of chips. Paula Deen overcame many things in her life through her delicious Southern-style cooking. She offers hope and entertainment to people through her good sense of humor, positive attitude, and enjoyment for what she is doing. Paula, like many others with type 2 diabetes, has learned that you don't have to change everything you love in your life to learn to make simple changes in your life to live healthy with diabetes. You can start today and make small changes in your life too. We wish Paula Deen the very best with her new program and hope she encourages others to make small changes in their life that leads to a healthy new lifestyle right along with her.
What do you think, are people being too hard on Paula?
Have you taken your risk of diabetes or diagnosis of diabetes seriously?
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