Diabetes 2, Southern Cooking and Paula Deen

Didn’t get to watch Paul Deen on TV the other  morning, talking about her Diabetes 2.  I was up late and sort of over slept! 

I’ve often wondered, when watching her show, if she ate all the time like she cooks, or was just giving people recipes and ways to cook foods that are Very Southern and need to be seasoned and cooked in a certain way to duplicate what her Mother or Grandmother did to change these staples around a little and make Dinner time a little festive.  Of course way back then no one had a thought in their head about diabetes and how to control your sugar for the simple reason that the most common diabetes was “juvenile or born with diabetes not type 2 diabetes.”

Where I Learned Southern Cooking

I grew up on a backwoods farm in the “Foot Hills of the Smoky Mountains” in North Western South Carolina.  For the most part, the farm was self sufficient.  There was No electricity, No running water (had a spring down in the “holler”) until they finally dug a well next to the back porch and therefore no refrigeration so my Grandmother spent a lot of time canning, pickling and drying fruits and vegetables for later use.  In the fall Grandpa dug a pit in the middle of the smoke house, lined it with straw and then Apples, Pumpkins, Onions, Turnip roots, sometimes a few green tomatoes, hard squash and a water melon or two were stored wrapped in straw, if they had survived  8 kids, the rabbits and the birds!

Some of these processes…like making pickles and sauerkraut involved a lot of salt.  So did the meat preservation…Grandpa and our Uncle would slaughter the Hogs, then they were butchered and placed in the smoke house which had shelves laden with salt so it was heaped over the meat and the hams and shoulders were hung up on the rafters.  They then smoked the meat for days.  I don’t know for how long or even how they knew when it was time to stop! I can just remember the smoke curling out of the vents they had placed in the smoke house and that wonderful smell…like bacon!

Paula Deen and her Southern Cooking

But back to Paula Deen and her Southern Cooking.  Even if she is from Georgia, there is a great similarity in the farm food or Southern as you might want to classify it in South Carolina and Georgia.  Since we had cows, chickens, the pigs and really a lot of wild game:  deer, possum, raccoon and of course squirrel and rabbit, a cook had to be on her toes to make meals, then get it all eaten up before it spoiled as you had no freezer or refrigerator.

As a general rule anything fresh was used first, this included “sweet”  milk, eggs, butter, butter milk and any fresh meat.  Chicken wasn’t on the menu often, unless we had a lot of roosters cause my GrandMa liked her eggs for making breakfast, pancakes, cakes and muffins which also used up some of the butter.  There was a spring house that had been built in the spring that would help to keep milk and butter cool so they didn’t spoil so quickly but they did not have  a long shelf life.

“Lard” or Shortening makes great Biscuits, Pie Crusts and Prevents Rust!

Then you get down to the Shortening thing.  When the Hogs were slaughtered, the fat was “rendered”, strained and stored in shiny metal cans.  The little scraps tuned into Chittlings which were used for seasoning, making cornbread with them in it or for black eyed peas or white beans.  But the fat was used for all the frying of meats, okra, potatoes and sometimes little apple pies.  It was  mixed in with the flour to make biscuits, greased the black cast iron skillets and the  black Iron Wood burning stove in the kitchen all to keep them from rusting.

Nothing much was wasted.

While a lot of people used the intestines of the hogs to make chittlings,  most of ours were the trimmings off the meat because Grandma used the long intestines (turned inside out and scraped) to make sausage links that were hung in the smoke house, smoked and then stored on the shelves in their bed of salt.  This all took place as fast as you could do it.  They usually waited for a cold day to begin this process as it helped control  “spilage.“  Of course the Liver, Kidneys and Heart all had to be cooked and eaten unless small amounts were included in the sausage, but Grandma didn’t usually because they spoiled so easily.  There was a woman across the hill who got all the blood (caught in a milk pail and delivered) and sometimes a liver because she made Blood Sausage which my Grandma didn’t like.  She and her husband  would slaughter a cow once a year and swap beef for pork with all the neighbors.

We ate what we had.

Corn was taken to Salem where a man had a water turned  Grist Mill and made it into grits and cornmeal.  No money exchanged hands.  He kept part of the corn for his pay and sold either the corn, grits or meal to others.  Grandma also made Hominy which again involves a lot of salt!   Some of the corn was also sold and used for Chicken and Pig feed.

What we bought at the Store, including “Treats”

About the only things we did buy were Real Mayonnaise, Sugar, Coffee, Luizianne Tea (Grandma liked the dishes they gave away), Salt, Pepper, a few spices and occasionally a loaf of  “lightening” bread  the name they used for just plain white Merita Bread which was a treat for sandwiches instead of using left over breakfast biscuits with  ham, bacon or sausage for lunch sandwiches.

Paula Deen says Diabetes “is not a Death Sentence”,  This isn’t True for Untreated Diabetes

But I have strayed away from Paula Deen and her Diabetes 2.  I know from the personal experience of living with a diagnosis of Type 2 or Adult Onset Diabetes that the only REAL way to live with diabetes is to control it with: 1. weight loss, 2. exercise, 3. scheduled eating times and integrate 4. Meal planning into your way of life.   There are several articles on this site that go into more details on these 4 important items.  Or check the RSS feeds on the side for relevant information.

As Paula  explained in her interview  (through the magic of computers and the internet I went and watched a rerun)  She has never eaten like she cooks on the show for the most part.  She  also emphasized  that there are only about 30 shows per year which are filmed for entertainment and not life style blueprints and she was including Southern  “treat” or special recipes which are usually sweet or loaded with butter.  As I explained above…a lot of  Southern Cooking has its legacy in “use up what you have before it spoils.”  

Where does Diabetes Come From?

As the Doctor who was also on the show explained, there are predispositions to Diabetes which include:  Race, being overweight, not getting enough exercise, and having a sibling or parent with Diabetes as there is a genetic factor associated with Diabetes.  Also age can be factored in because as you age your metabolism tends to slow so it is easy to NOT exercise enough to burn off extra calories.  I have also noticed that abdominal fat accumulated faster than fat on arms and legs.  Is that the Diabetes or is the Fat the Diabetes?

It is still true:  You are What You Eat.

I wish Paula much success in her Fight with Diabetes, because that is what it is.  You can let it take over your life, or you can figure out what you need to do to win the battle with Diabetes 2

 It doesn’t mean you have to count every last calorie or even eliminate foods you like from your diet.  What it means is that you do some planning, pay attention to your caregiver and Educate yourself about Diabetes.  It is you and your body and your Future, so decide what you want and go for it.

I will say, if you want to succeed at controlling and  hopefully eliminating  diabetes and all its sneaky side effects from you life, you are going to need to pay attention to what you have learned and act on it.  The most important thing you must learn is how to Control Your Sugar

Not on the adgenda is overeating, sitting on the couch watching TV or playing video games, not taking any medication you have been prescribed or in general just ignoring that you have Diabetes.

Diabetes is what I call a Sneaky Disease.

You don’t hurt, the visible symptoms are tiredness, lack of energy, fatigue, frequent thirst and urination (especially at night) sometimes urgency and later blurred vision to name a few. 

Occasionally if left untreated there is a sudden unexplained weight loss, but as you could see Paula has not had this symptom.  Neither did I.  As I get older, keeping my weight in check is still a chore if I overeat and don’t get in my daily exercise.

Just for your information, below is  the video rebroadcast of Paula Deen’s interview with Al Roker.   My only advise to you is Read, Search, Learn and Apply what you have learned.   You are still What you Eat and Success can be yours if you make up your mind that YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO!  Just remeber control your sugar and that in turn controls your Diabetes.

 

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