News dump: Paula Deen’s diabeetus and gettin’ hooked on nuggets

A choice selection of the health news that was. All in one convenient dump.

Mic check.

Is this thing on?

A thousand apologies for missing last week, Constant Reader. Between a morning class, the gym and three hours of rehearsal a night, by the time it comes ’round to writing a post, I am completely pooped. But not tonight. (Cuz I got the gym in earlier today, thank goodness.) The play, by the way, is coming along well in advance of our Feb. 17 opening (holy sh*t that is getting closer and closer).

Aight, let’s get on with the news before I get too full of sleepies to type. We’re going to start off with the big news from last week before picking up a few nugget-related items.

So first off — Paula Deen. And diabetes. (If you were thinking it was going to be anything else, what’s wrong with you?)

It seems like everyone had something to say about Paula — including some pretty thoughtful analysis from Time.com:

Maybe we just expect too much from food. It’s not our fault; it’s just history. The 1968 Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt would be blown off the road by the Camry my aunt drives. Food has evolved the same way. Chickens a few decades ago were as lean as quail; hamburgers were the size of canapés. Vegetables were mush; fish were routinely cooked until not a drop of moisture remained in them (which was why they also came covered with sauce, crabmeat, butter and other junk). Every year market pressures have amped up the horsepower on all the most pleasurable elements of food.

And yet it doesn’t have to be that way. A few chefs have embraced a cuisine of limitations. Some have done it for aesthetic or philosophical reasons; others because it was forced upon them. My friend Seamus Mullen was as sybaritic a cook as you could ask for, until he woke up one day, paralyzed with pain from an attack of rheumatoid arthritis. He eventually found a diet that worked to help him stay pain-free and even on his feet all day and has written a cookbook about it. Seamus’s method, which he found through his own research, involves using 18 key ingredients including olive oil, stone fruits and sardines that act as natural anti-inflammatories and avoiding nightshades like tomatoes and eggplant. “I can’t eat corn,” Mullen says, “but the tiny amount I do eat is at the very peak in summer, and the feeling of happiness it gives me is itself a gain for my immune system.” For Mullen, there’s nothing he can’t eat a little of; the trick is to capture it at the perfect moment, when you want it most.

Sadly, that’s the kind of mindfulness that probably won’t drive my lifestyle until it has to. I’m just being honest here. I like corn in summer, but I like it now, too. I like tiny amounts of steak, but I like bigger amounts more. What gives me hope against the inevitable upshot of my pleasures, my own Paula moment, is the possibility that there are ways of eating that aren’t grim and hideous; that the false dichotomy between Krispy Kreme bread pudding and a raw food diet is as misleading as the promise of endless nachos. There’s a way out there for me; I just hope it doesn’t take diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis to find it.

The timing of Deen’s announcement has a strange interplay with the debut of a new show on Food Network: Fat Chef — basically a Biggest Loser using chefs. Here’s more from the Daily Mail:

Paula Deen’s diabetes revelation pretty much sums it up: Kitchen pros at all levels struggle with obesity and its dangerous aftertaste in the high-pressure, high-calorie world of food.

The queen of Southern comfort cooking, now a spokeswoman for a diabetes drug-maker’s health initiative, announced last week that she hid her Type 2 diabetes for about three years while continuing to cook up deep-fried cheesecake and bacon-and-egg burgers between doughnuts on TV.

Choosing to digest her ill health privately all those years, Deen’s story is familiar to those in chef’s jackets who already had gone public with the question few in their world love to talk about: How do you stay healthy while trying to earn a living making food?

On Thursday, a dozen obese chefs, restaurant owners, caterers and others will search for the answer. That’s when the Food Network premieres Fat Chef, which follows participants for 16 weeks as they struggle to lose weight and learn a healthier way of life with the help of trainers, nutritionists and therapists.

‘You have this abundance of food all around you,’ said pastry chef Michael Mignano, who’s one of the dozen. ‘You’re doing parties, you have weddings. There’s always a lot of food left over. You’re constantly tasting, working late hours, eating late.’

Of course, there had to be something completely absurd in the Deen story. Leave it to TMZ’s sensational coverage of Paula eating a cheeseburger (via ABC News):

Last week, TV chef Paula Deen announced that she’s been suffering from type 2 diabetes for the past three years.  She acknowledged that a person has “to make changes in your life” but apparently, Deen hasn’t apparently changed all that much.  TMZ posted a photo of Deen woolfing down a cheeseburger on Monday while on a 7-day Caribbean cruise.  The 65-year-old chef was hosting her annual Party at Sea vacation for 400 fans.  TMZ says Deen also had fries on her plate.

She had a burger and fries? Thanks for that hard-hitting reporting, fellas.

Is the Deen story surprising? No, not in the least. At some level, I suppose you (or at least I did) just assume the chef already had diabetes — and that is somewhat truthful as she was diagnosed three years ago. Was it right for her to hide her diagnosis as long as she did? That’s a tricky question. I don’t think celebrity status means you should forfeit all privacy rights — especially when it comes to medical issues. BUT (and that’s a big but) when you specialize in such rich and righteously unhealthy food (as Paula did/does), to sit on your diagnosis and to make the same food seems a bit disingenuous.

Also, Paula’s “only in moderation” refrain might help her sleep at nights, but it won’t do any real good until she shows that you can make healthy food that is also tasty. Do I expect her to change her show? No. Should she? Yeah — probably a little.

Leaving Paula for the moment, let’s look at a new product from McDonald’s — the Chicken McBite: (from the LA Times)

McDonald’s now has its eye on the KFC customer, launching its new Chicken McBites in the U.S. on the same day that it announced record revenue of $27 billion for 2011.

The variation on popcorn chicken, featuring chicken breast and home-style seasoning, will complement the fast food giant’s existing poultry menu items such as the McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches.

The McBites will be available in 3-ounce snack, 5-ounce regular and 10-ounce sharable sizes through April 20.

The new offering is one of the many tactics McDonald’s is trying to stay ahead of what Chief Executive James A. Skinner called “significant headwinds” in the industry, including flat to slow growth, low consumer confidence and volatile commodity prices that are expected to rise as much as 5.5% in the U.S. this year.

I’m still trying to figure out which part of the chicken makes up the “nugget.” Now McDonald’s is telling me I have to find the McBite? Oh to hell with that. Still, there’s one English teenager that remains a big fan of the McNugget — and that’s probably to her detriment. From the Daily Mail:

Ever since she was a toddler, Stacey Irvine has eaten little else but chicken nuggets and the occasional portion of chips.

Now, at the age of 17, she has been warned by doctors to change her appalling diet or die.

The factory worker – who says she has never tasted fresh fruit or vegetables – had to be taken to hospital earlier this week when she collapsed after struggling to breathe.

Doctors found that her 15-year ‘chronic chicken nugget addiction’ has left her with anaemia and inflamed veins on her tongue.

So deficient was her body in vitamins and nutrients that she had to be injected with them.

Although she has been urged to drastically change her diet, she says she cannot give up the fast food.

Stacey, who is recovering at home on a high-dose course of vitamins, has been hooked on chicken nuggets since her mother let her try them in a McDonald’s restaurant at the age of two.

‘I loved them so much they were all I would eat,’ she said. ‘I just couldn’t face even trying other foods. Mum gave up giving me anything else years ago.’

Never tasted fresh fruit or vegetables? That is some f*ck*d up sh*t right there.
F*ck*d up sh*t that I will leave you to think about. Enjoy the weekend, folks.
The Thrill is OUT.
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12 Responses to “News dump: Paula Deen’s diabeetus and gettin’ hooked on nuggets”

  1. 1 Braxton
    January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Wait, wait, wait. People get so hungry that they will literally eat mud pies, and this idiot mother gives in to her 2-year-old’s tantrums for McNuggets?! For 15 years?! That girl should have been left to cry her two-year-old eyes out until she realized her mother wasn’t going to cop out and let her eat whatever she wanted regardless of how healthy/unhealthy it would be.

  2. 2 Janegoth
    January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    That kid is still only 17 years old. Still time to do her parents for child cruelty I hope. FFS there is no excuse for her to get that way. Her mum could have got help from their GP or health visitor or school nurse any time in the last 15 years instead she was happy to poison her daughter with crap.

  3. 3 Mommy to a princess
    January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    My daughter who is 3 used to have mcdonalds once a month. It was a “treat” for her since i get paid twice a month and the first paycheck goes to bills, the second one went for a treat for both of us. Last year I was cleaning out our van and found a chicken nugget that had fallen under her car seat. It had been there for at least a month.

    Gross right? Well what was really gross and scary was the thing still looked like it had come out of the box. There was no smell, no mold, nothing. That terrified me.

    So now I make “chicken nuggets” at home out of fresh chicken and a batter that I found online using low fat ingredients.

    I learned my lesson!

    • January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      I remember reading about a guy that collected Big Macs (or some other burger from McDonald’s) and kept them to see what happens given time/air/the random nasties we breathe. You know what happens to a McDonald’s burger after a month? A year? A few years? The freaky thing is not much.

      • 5 Darrell
        January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

        I also remember hearing about that story.. and I remember some other story of a person that ate some other McDonald’s/Burger King food every day.. Big Macs or Whoppers or something..

      • 6 Braxton
        January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

        I saw that too and researched it to see if it was true. Apparently it is true. But importantly, I also go some context: Somebody else did the same experiment with a homemade, hand-ground burger, and it did the same thing. The burger just dries out so there’s nothing for the mold or bacteria (which would otherwise break it down) to live on. Same goes for the bun, which dries out and hardens so it doesn’t mold. The nugget Mommy to a princess found probably resulted from the same effect.

  4. 7 Darrell
    January 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I really dont understand how someone can eat just one food her WHOLE life, apparently for every single meal. I dont care how good a food is or how healthy/unhealthy it is to eat, there is no way I would eat the same thing every meal. I think she has SERIOUS psychological issues!!

  5. 8 Brian Anderson
    January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Kind of off-topic, but did anyone else think it was weird this 17-year-old was described as a “factory worker.”


  6. 10 Becky P
    January 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    The best summary of Paula Deen I’ve seen was from SeriousEats.com:
    “..any public figure who suffers from a disease but conceals it until the sponsorship check cashes—well, comes across as a clumsy self-promoter, at best, and a crass opportunist willing to turn even her own health into a marketing opportunity, at worst.”

    • 11 Tonya
      January 28, 2012 at 8:19 am

      That’s my issue with the whole thing. It just seems so tasteless and tacky. If she had come out about her diabetes like a year ago and started promoting a drug now, it wouldn’t be so bad.

      “Oh hey, I’m gonna be pimpin this new diabetes drug … wait? I never told you? Oh. Well, I got the diabetus. It’s cool tho, cuz I’ma be loaded!”

  7. January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Nothing but Chicken McNuggets? That’s insa…wait a minute…

    …[checking for source of story]…

    Aha. Daily Mail. Yeaaaah, okay. So anyhow.

    And you fell for it.

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My name is Will. This is my story.

After a life of overindulgence and great fun, I tipped the scales at somewhere on the wrong side of 350 pounds in February 2010.

In less than a year, I lost 16 inches on my waist, 5 inches on my neck, three shirt sizes and 175 pounds.

I earned this new body. I intend to keep it.

Got questions? Need advice? Email DTWRmailbag@gmail.com and I'll try to answer 'em.

Before (Fall 2009): 350 pounds

During (August 2010): 250 pounds

After (December 2010): 180

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