Dieting on Paula’s news


Last week, Paula Deen, the deep-fried queen of unhealthy eating, announced she has Type 2 diabetes. She has made a fortune with her down-home, sugar-coated Southern drawl and addiction to lots of butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise, processed foods, salt and sugar in her everyday diet. Obesity is the overwhelming cause of Type 2 diabetes.

Barbara Walters chastised Deen when she wrote a kids’ cookbook telling children it was OK to eat cheesecake and chocolate cake for breakfast.

Author/chef Anthony Bourdain is appalled by Deen’s work. Several months ago, he said “I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.”

Deen went on national television last week telling us folks it’s OK to eat certain foods “in moderation.” I guess she got her alarming wake-up call. This could be too little, too late.

During an appearance on “Top Chef All-Stars,” Deen told the chefs if it’s food, you can fry it. She’s fried macaroni and cheese, lasagna and balls of butter.

Obesity is epidemic in America. There is much blame to go around. Television programs, like Deen’s, and commercials are doing America a great disservice.

Madison Avenue targets gullible kids and nutritionally-ignorant moms. Would you pour out a bowl of Lucky Charms for your kids? How about giving kids lots of sugar and processed ingredients in the form of Pop-Tarts for breakfast?

Supermarkets are no better. Why do you think managers stock sugar-rich processed cereals on the lowest shelf? Simple! It’s easy for a three-year-old to just pull it off the shelf, tell mom “I saw it on TV and I want it now.” If Mom has any sense, she would reach for oatmeal and cream of wheat in the winter and healthy dry cereals during the warm weather months.

America’s kids also are deficient in Vitamin D. Why? They stay indoors and play video games instead of riding their bikes in the sun and they don’t drink much milk. The big boys in their cushy ad agency jobs push sodas and Kool-Aid.

To be fair, there are some commercials that hail the virtues of healthy eating. Kashi Cereals, Quaker Oats and Greek-style yogurts made without the sugary fruit on the bottom come to mind.

I now write in defense of Southern cuisine because much of it is not fried and not prepared with lots of salt, fat, sugar and processed ingredients. I have several Southern cookbooks in my home library that contain recipes for dishes prepared with real ingredients.

Substituting a healthy ingredient for one that puts on the pounds is not difficult. I always purchase corn tortillas instead of those made with white processed flour. Sure I love a light schmeer of cream cheese on my bagel before topping it with nova, but I always use whipped cream cheese because it is so soft, I can use much less.

Greek yogurt has become a staple in our home. U.S. sales are souring to such heights, a Greek yogurt plant in Sullivan, N.Y. has to expand, look for larger quarters, hire more employees and more dairy farmers. New York cows are going to be very busy, indeed.

During an episode of “Top Chef D.C.,” White House chef Sam Kass was the guest judge. His mission is one he shares with first lady Michelle Obama. They want to eliminate childhood obesity in one lifetime. Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga took plain yogurt, put it into a whipped cream container and fooled middle school students into thinking it was whipped cream. He squirted it on cubes of fresh fruit. Another team made coleslaw replacing nearly all the mayonnaise with yogurt. It worked. The kids loved it. I now make My Coleslaw with Greek-style yogurt.

My Coleslaw


1 12-ounce bag of shredded green cabbage
1/2 small head of red cabbage, shredded
1 large handful of bagged shredded carrots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Celery seeds, to taste
1 tablespoon of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
Enough Greek style plain yogurt to hold the slaw together


Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend well. Start with eight ounces of yogurt, but you may wish to add more. You can add diced scallions or any diced vegetable to the slaw.

Serves six to eight.

Salmon Baked in Parchment


4 6-ounce salmon fillets, patted dry with paper towels
Olive oil to brush on salmon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Chopped fresh herb of choice such as parsley, dill or tarragon
1 cup of dry white wine


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut four pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to hold the salmon. Place each fillet on the parchment or foil. Brush each fillet with the oil then top with remaining ingredients.

Fold each fillet up like a package. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the fish.

Serves four. SPR

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