Southern chef Paula Deen just confirmed she suffers from Type 2 Diabetes, but the fried food-loving Food Network star says she'll continue to prepare recipes using real butter -- not a substitute.
"I will never use a substitute for butter. Margarine is one molecule away from eating plastic," Deen, 64, tells Parade.com of using the staple in her recipes and own diet. "If I'm going to eat that type of food, it's going to be the real deal. There is a good chance that I can cut down on the amount of butter now that I'm aware, but will I cut butter out of my life completely? No. I will take measurements to manage it."
As a paid spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk, Deen is spearheading the Diabetes in a New Light campaign, which offers "simple ways" to manage the disease.
For Deen, one of those simple ways was to cut out sweet tea, a popular beverage choice for the Georgia-born cook. "I'd start drinking at lunchtime and wouldn't set it down until I went to bed," says Deen, who swore off the beverage three years ago, shortly after she was diagnosed with the disease during a routine physical. "When you calculate how much empty calories and how much sugar I was consuming, it was staggering."
Disclosing her diagnosis Tuesday in an interview on NBC's Today Show, Deen says she worried her new medical challenge would call for a drastic lifestyle change.
"My biggest fear was people expecting too much out of me, more than I could possibly give. [I worried] I wouldn't want to hop out of bed every morning loving life," she tells Parade. "That the pleasure was going to be taken away from me."
Instead, Deen hopes her openness will inspire others battling the disease.
"I understand that there's going to be some negative conversation, but that's all right," Deen says of those critics who may charge she shouldn't continue to provide calorie-rich recipes. "I've had to face many obstacles in my life and my concern is more for people out there that need the hope, the help, and the encouragement. They're more important to me than the haters or the naysayers."