Paula Deen a vegan? Group says, ‘Try it!’

The medical profession is stepping up to the plate and offering TV chef Paula Deen a way to reverse her type 2 diabetes with a new weapon: A vegan diet.

In an open letter to Deen posted on the group’s website, Susan Levin of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also takes a swipe at reports that Deen has an endorsement deal for a diabetes drug.

Levin makes an impassioned plea for the TV chef to ditch her artery-clogging dishes for a diet free of animal products. Not only will Deen reverse her diabetes, her pounds will “melt away,” Levin says. Touting the group’s “21-Day Vegan Kickstart”  program, Levin says the chef doesn’t have to balk at the absence of meat and cheese.

“Many people who switch to a plant-based diet report a newfound love for food—they feel it encourages them to experiment more and be more creative in the kitchen…. This way of eating is so healthful and so low in fat that you don’t need to worry about counting calories! And unlike diabetes drugs, vegan diets have only positive side effects.”

Levin’s group, which promotes preventive medicine and animal rights, named Deen’s book, “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible,” as one of the five unhealthiest cookbooks of 2011, citing recipes that raise the risk for diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

The star of the Food Network’s “Paula’s Best Dishes” has had the condition since 2008.

No word yet on whether Deen will take the group up on its offer.

63 comments Add your comment

concerned doc

January 18th, 2012
1:46 pm

Given that fructose is now considered to be the primary dietary instigator of diabetes, why on earth would anyone recommend a diabetic eat a diet that’s high in…fructose.

The last diabetic patient I had who decided to vegan (based on some bad advice he’d receive elsewhere) saw his HgbA1c rise from 8.8 to 12 in 3 months and his peripheral neuropathy go from mild to severe.

#don’ttrustdocswithahiddenagenda

Sally

January 18th, 2012
2:10 pm

This group is NOT “the medical profession”–it is a front group for PETA. Just think that should be stated, since they have an agenda.

Jose

January 18th, 2012
2:23 pm

Why is it that critics are so willing to pile on to Deen when male chefs, i.e. Jaques Pepin, use just as many fattening ingredients, especially butter, with no negative response from this group or others?

Emma

January 18th, 2012
2:32 pm

Anybody saying that being vegan is detrimental to health has investments in the meat/dairy/egg industry! I wouldn’t trust *any* doctor that advises against veganism. It is very well researched to be THE best dietary choice we could make. More & more people are developing cancers, heart disease and many other degenerative diseases every year due to consuming animal products. Suggested viewing – “Forks over Knives”.

sad

January 18th, 2012
3:31 pm

You’re right, Sally, they are a front for PETA.

While there may be defensible reasons for avoiding animal products, protection from degenerative diseases is not one of them. (in spite of the “research” put out by the various peta fronts…)

Usofineunique

January 18th, 2012
4:39 pm

Paula Deen doesn’t seem to believe ‘you are what you eat’. A steady diet of junk food, no exercise, obesity, smoking – the outcome is fairly predictable. Hopefully she’ll serve as a cautionary tale for some of her culinary devotees.

What?

January 18th, 2012
5:29 pm

@Emma – Vegans are cancer and disease free?

PM

January 18th, 2012
5:35 pm

I’ve been on a vegetarian diet for over a year, with relatively few slip-ups back to the meat side of the menu. In any case, it’s not as tough as a full vegan diet and I find it easy to deal with.

But it has not helped my weight at all -what replaces meats but starches and carbs. That veggie burger is carbs with yet more carbs for the bread if you choose to eat it that way. And you don’t lose weight packing on the carbs to replace all that meat.

So sure adding veggies is a good idea but do not for a moment think going vegetarian or vegan is a magic fix for any health issue or diet issue. I do it by choice. I didn’t expect a miracle and thus I am not dissatisfied, upset, whatever. If you go vegan by force and whine about missing bacon, you’d be miserable.

Vegan Beth

January 18th, 2012
5:40 pm

Dairy made me really sick. I’ve never eaten eggs. I don’t really like meat. I’m vegan and I’ve never felt better. I follow the doctor group and the Kickstart Program that some of you say is a front for PETA. I’ve never felt like they had another agenda than good health. I don’t recall any message that was based upon animal well fare. A quick look at their Facebook page doesn’t show any either. And so what’s wrong with PETA other than some of their crazy tactics? I feel sorry for Paula Deen because she has health problems as a result of poor choices in life. She did it to herself. Us Southerners need to realize the errors of our traditional food choices – fat back for instance. I hope that she is able to turn things around….and enjoy a few more salads. :)

Peter

January 18th, 2012
5:44 pm

SALAD is the meal…….. follow that folks and eat your way to good health !

Please Paula Deen is not a chef …….but I am sure the stuff she invents taste great, but blocks the arteries !

Jake

January 18th, 2012
5:44 pm

Eat a balanced diet and your body will take care the rest…1meat, 2veggies, bread(optional)…intake quality foods, excreet what you don’t need….its not rocket science.!!

Veggies are no fun

January 18th, 2012
5:49 pm

That is so dumb. A lady like Paula Dean is not going to switch to be a vegan. I personally think she is a huge hypocrite and it irritates me terribly that she made a living eating like that and has been a diabetic for a good period time, while getting a diabetic endorsement deal but becoming a vegan is a terrible idea. Meat is delicious and eating plants is a boring way to live.

crass realist

January 18th, 2012
5:55 pm

Pawla is a fat slob who appeals to the ignorant dumb masses. If their hero has type 2, then it will be a status symbol for the losers who follow her and gorge on her not-fit-for-human-consumption death-fare. Overpriced and overhyped, her restaurant is a tribute to the pathetic state that our nation has become…”it’s ok…just eat like a Smithfield pig! Diabetes isn’t so bad! Obama will pay for your meds that Pawla hypes!!!” Unbelievably sad…

Billy

January 18th, 2012
5:57 pm

Vegan Beth are you single? How about a date to Cafe Sunflower?

Chris

January 18th, 2012
5:59 pm

@What? No vegans are not cancer and disease free, there are numerous other genetic and environmental factors to consider. However, it has been proven that a vegan diet can and typically does reverse diseases related to obesity like Type II Diabetes, hypertension etc. Take a look at The China Study from Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Oh and also Emma did not say they are cancer and disease free, but a plant based diet prevents the cancer and other diseases that are associated with eating meat and dairy products.
@PM Vegan and vegetarian only dictate what you DON’T eat, your poor diet while being vegetarian is why you saw no benefits. You can’t just say I’m going to be vegetarian then eat veggie burgers, chips and coke. Nutrition is important no matter what foods you do or don’t eat.
As a personal note, switching to a vegan diet completely reversed my chronic leukopenia that I’ve been monitoring for over a year (low white blood cell count). My wbc count has never been over 3000 cells per microliter of blood, but now sits at a healthy 5000 cells per microliter after a month and a half on a plant based wholefood diet.

@sad, Is all the research out there a front for PETA? That’s funny since PETA won’t have anything to do with things that aren’t 100% vegan, and most of the research still says animal products are ok in moderation (~5% of your diet).
Why do people immediately attack this article as if it’s a bad thing people are concerned about this lady’s health? Bottom line… plant based diet is good for you, good for planet, good for animals.

My Two Cents

January 18th, 2012
6:00 pm

Paula is making a living. If you don’t like her don’t watch, buy, or endorse. She was on Dr. Oz recently and never brought up the fact she was a diabetic. In my opinion the elimination of such an important fact diminishes the credibility of Dr. Oz.

gforce

January 18th, 2012
6:09 pm

She exemplifies the decline of the average American…fat, stupid, and ugly. Frankly, I’m surprised this over indulged non-exercising gluttonous cow is still alive. If all she has is diabetes, she should count herself lucky.

gforce

January 18th, 2012
6:11 pm

@crass realist…right on. She exemplifies the decline of the average American…fat, stupid, and ugly. Frankly, I’m surprised this over indulged non-exercising gluttonous cow is still alive. If all she has is diabetes, she should consider herself lucky.

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2012
6:13 pm

Enter your comments here

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2012
6:16 pm

The chemicals in our plastics and the constant radiation (from cell phones, microwaves, etc) are more responsible for cancer than our diets.

As for obesity, it is high fructose corn syrup and preservatives like MSG that contribute more than anything else. Butter is not exactly good medicine, but it is just fine in moderation. Milk and meat are good parts of a healthy diet.

American

January 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

Fat, stupid, and ugly

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

I have been vegetarian since I was 13, but one thing I hate more than ANYTHING is someone who tells others how to live “for their own good”. I personally don’t want to see everyone living into their 80’s..what a demographic nightmare . Orgs like PETA and science in the public interest are nothing short of socio-fascists who would not hesitate to mandate their views if given the power.

Avg American

January 18th, 2012
6:49 pm

Fat, stupid, and ugly…

Rosie

January 18th, 2012
6:50 pm

She’s fat, stupid and ugly all the way to the bank. My word, you would think she murdered somebody by the comments on here. A lot of people love her and enjoy her Southern banter. And sorry, she’s not ugly. She looks good for a woman her age.

Bones Burton

January 18th, 2012
6:55 pm

Paula Deen is a fat pig glutton and an embarrassment to Southern heritage.

Bones Burton

January 18th, 2012
6:58 pm

Hey Rosie, did you note that picture of her yesterday? Whewwww!! I mean, fat hanging skin all over her face and neck, all covered with about 10 lbs. of makeup. Those airbrush shots smiling back at us at the grocery checkout from the magazines are a HOOT!! One more thing Rosie…are you fat? Do you eat like a pig like your hero Pig Deen?

Donna P.

January 18th, 2012
6:58 pm

She could eat deep fried Ocra. I hear that is good. Vegetables are full of pesticides and taste disgusting without sauce, butter, cheese, or a batter on them.

Donna P.

January 18th, 2012
7:00 pm

Of course I do like the vegan dishes at my local Indian restaurant. Paneer anything is awesome!

PAULA FAN

January 18th, 2012
7:10 pm

@Bones Burton I would like to see what you look like!

PAULA FAN

January 18th, 2012
7:11 pm

@Avg American I would like to see what you look like!

PAULA FAN

January 18th, 2012
7:12 pm

@gforce I would like to see what you look like!

PAULA FAN

January 18th, 2012
7:13 pm

@crass realist I would like to see what you look like!

Omnivorous

January 18th, 2012
7:17 pm

It’s really very simple: eat more of God’s food (meats, fruits, nuts and vegetables) and less of man’s food (cakes, pies, candy and beer) and you’ll be fine provided you to keep getting on that secret weapon every monring…the scale!

No one gains 10 pounds overnight!

Bones Burton

January 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

@PAULA FAN, You would get moist looking at me. But let’s talk about you. Are you fat? Do you eat that cancer/heart attack/diabetes slop she makes?

Omnivorous

January 18th, 2012
7:26 pm

Bones,

Be a gentleman, please!

tim

January 18th, 2012
7:27 pm

Paulas Dollar signs got in the way of everything that is good for you.

Keep eating your cooking Paula. It’ll prove you are dumber than you sound.

Chip

January 18th, 2012
7:56 pm

Question: what is it with “vegans”? Why aren’t they happy to just live their own lives, eat whatever they want, and leave the rest of us alone?

Answer: they are liberal activists, which is a fancy way of saying “lunatic control freaks.” It isn’t about your health, people, or “animal rights…” It’s about nut jobs trying to force everyone to follow their rules. Just like loony toony religious fundamentalists, Bolsheviks, envirofascists, Muslim fanatics… they live in constant bowel-churning fear that somewhere, someone is enjoying life by doing things they don’t like… so they constantly tgry to manipulate society and government to take away other people’s freedom to choose.

The biggest example (and proof) is ObamaCare. Now that the government can dictate terms of our healthcare, how long before we are told that we must all become vegetarians? For our own good, of course, and probably “for the children,” too… all so a minority of freaks, kooks, and weirdos can high-five each other, once they force millions and millions of strangers into their fringe belief system.

Avg American

January 18th, 2012
8:12 pm

@Rosie…She’s fat, stupid, and ugly all the way to the bank WITH DIABETES.

Toxins

January 18th, 2012
10:29 pm

I’m sad for Paula, but not all that surprised. Maybe she should look into a healthier diet to treat her diabetes instead of drugs? There’s lots of interesting information available at this noncommercial, science based site (nutritionfacts.org). To quote the good doctor: “It is too bad Paula Deen missed this opportunity” to tell her fans “that type 2 diabetes can be prevented, managed, treated, and even cured” (read more at http://nutritionfacts.org/blog/2012/01/18/paula-deen-diabetes-drug-spokesperson/)

HENRY

January 18th, 2012
11:34 pm

IF ONE EXERCISES REGULARLY, ONE CAN EAT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING IN A MODERATE AMOUNT……AS FAR AS VEGAN DIET GOES, EVERY VEGAN I KNOW HAS A BAD SKIN COLOR (YELLOWISH/LIGHT BROWN), LOOSE SKIN WHEN THEY AGE, AND A QUITE WITHDRAWN PERSONALITY. AND I KNOW SEVERAL. ONE IS SUPPOSE TO HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FAT IN THEIR DIET……PERIOD.

Fred

January 18th, 2012
11:35 pm

Vegan isn’t a “diet.” it’s a nutcase, whack job fringe political statement perpetrated by folks who have too much time and too little brains.

Fred

January 18th, 2012
11:45 pm

HENRY HAS TOURRETTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right-wing Vegan

January 19th, 2012
12:11 am

I am vegan, because it works for me. I do not care what dietary choices others make. Animals don’t have rights, but animals should be treated humanely, before other people eat them. This is not the same as giving them rights. If you do eat meat, it might be nice if you kill and process at least one animal in your lifetime. I have. (not recently) Hopefully more people will opt for healthier diets, vegan or not, rather than opt for metformin and lisinopril. @Henry – I do have great skin, but you have a point. Vegans have to be pretty obsessive, if they want to make veganism healthy. You can’t just give up animal products and expect health. I consume extra fat, from flax, almonds, and walnuts, just because my skin became so dry after becoming vegan. I am 35, and I literally feel better than I did 20 years ago. My obsessively healthy vegan diet deserves the credit for it.

S

January 19th, 2012
4:24 am

If we knew how much roundup, fertilizers and other chemicals are applied to our veggies none of us would want to eat them. And then there is genetically altered veggies, milk, meat and antibiotics our animal products are loaded up with. Fish with Mercury and probably poisons we have dumped in the Oceans. We are all being poisoned just breathing the air. The bottom line, were all going to die of something, it just a matter of when. We are here on this polluted Earth, that we humans have created, just a short amount of time, so enjoy what time you are here. If Ms. Dean is enjoying her life, isn’t that all that matters?

John

January 19th, 2012
6:56 am

@Chris “However, it has been proven that a vegan diet can and typically does reverse diseases related to obesity like Type II Diabetes, hypertension etc.”

Its also been proven that a paleo (or hunter-gatherer) diet (Meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits, roots, tubers and nuts and an avoidance of grains, legumes and dairy) also typically reverses those diseases and lowers serum cholesterol and body fat.

Besides being significantly simpler to follow than a vegan diet, it actually models the diet that homo sapiens ate for many millenia before the relatively recent invention of farming started drastically changing what we eat faster than the species could evolve to handle it. Many of our ‘modern’ diseases are related to diets full of grains, legumes, sugar and other processing ‘improvements’.

a_mom

January 19th, 2012
8:47 am

I also used to think of vegans as kind of nutty/whacko because some of them seemed so obsessive about it. I eat lean meats and try to include plenty of veggies/salads in our family’s diet.

That being said, I started looking into this lifestyle because my husband is overweight & borderline diabetic and found the following books: Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal Bernard & Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I was a little skeptical about because I thought it could be managed at best, but I read the many reviews/testimonials on Amazon.com & now I’m starting to believe there might be something to it. There have been a whole lot of people who saw incredible changes to their health! I’m trying to convince my meat-loving husband to give it a try for just a month and see what happens. I agree that it’s hard to think of giving up all animal products (even butter & cheese) forever.

a_mom

January 19th, 2012
9:00 am

Oops, I spelled his name wrong… it’s Dr. Neal Barnard. Seriously, read the Amazon reviews, especially the 4-5 star ones of people who stuck with it. Most of the lower reviews were by people who just found it too hard to stick with the vegan diet, not because it didn’t work.

AWellFedWorld

January 19th, 2012
10:36 am

These conversations are important. Discourse regarding our health and the health of animals are important social justice topics that need to be a part of the public’s radar. A vegan diet isn’t healthy by default. What usually happens though is vegans begin to think of food as a means to do something good for your body everyday and therefore tend to seek out healthy whole grains, leafy greens and other superfoods to keep us feeling optimal while not contributing to animal suffering. Win/win, no?
So by default, no a vegan diet can technically be potato chips and coca cola and that obviously is not what anyone is suggesting to Ms. Deen. The reason veganism sometimes leads to activism is because we are fighting and advocating for a population with no voice. We have seen what goes on in factory farms, behind the scenes at zoos and circuses and are compelled to say no, this isnt right and feel pushed to pull back the curtain for others. We are the voice of the animals, and if they could talk, would beg for us to leave them alone. Sometimes it feels like a calling, but so be it. Some of the activists in this community are beyond selfless and dedicated., They are modern day heroes. MLK was a social justice advocate and perhaps mocked in his day? We are just trying to create some justice in the world for animals. wWhy speaking up and living out your ethics is mocked ill never understand. If perhaps you agree with the science and think leaving out meat occasionally might help you improve your health and well being please check out my non-profit that advocates reducing meat/going vegan to help draw connections to global livestock consumption and global hunger/environmental issues. http://awellfedworld.org/veg-flex

Carolyn

January 19th, 2012
10:38 am

Why does everyone have to be so angry? Non-vegans are so threatened they always feel the need to lash out. I happen to follow a plant-based, almost 100% vegan diet and my boyfriend and I have for the last 3 years. I tell people about it because we have seen first hand the benefits of it for our health (off meds, down 120+ lbs between us, etc.). Prior to finding out about this his doctors gave him no hope – nothing they could do for him. Perhaps others are in that place as well, where traditional medicine has failed you and you are searching for any kind of hope. If you’re not desperate yet, just let it roll off of you, but you can’t tell me it hasn’t helped me. You could see it for yourself if you saw us. Don’t feel so threatened by our success. You might just need help sometime yourself. Hopefully you’ll find someone at that time that cares about you and shares what they have experienced.

Melissa

January 19th, 2012
10:39 am

I have tried multiple times to go vegan. I do believe it is the healthiest diet. Living in a small southern town makes it interesting, creative, and difficult to follow. I have type 2 diabetes and I have no doubt that my bad lifestyle choices have released this disease on my body. Being vegan is not a guantee, but being a whole foods vegan goes a grea distance on keeping you healthy and your diabetes under control. I don’t have the willpower at this time. I keep trying though. I know I feel better when I actually follow a whole foods vegan diet. Paula is so popular because we as people make her so. I enjoy watching her and find her entertaining. I have even tried some of her dishes. One thing that I do find annoying is that people don’t seem to be as accepting of each other. I see that here too. Meat eaters go ahead and enjoy your food, but don’t knock those that choose something different. Vegans and Vegetarians alike also are known to bash those that still eat meat. Let them enjoy it. They may or may not suffer those consequences later. I’m sure some unhealthy vegan and vegetarians will too for their unhealthy choices. I think the key here is keeping an open mind.