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National Diabetes Month

By Paula Deen

My life changed dramatically in 2009 when my doctors first gave me some terrifying news—I was Type 2 diabetic. It was at that moment that I was faced with a choice to make some important changes or risk leavin’ this wonderful life far too soon. Y’all, the choice was easy—and it turns out the changes haven’t been as hard as I imagined because I’ve been taking it at a turtle’s pace: slow and steady.

It’s paid off. Over the years, I’ve rearranged my plate, makin’ more room for the foods that are good for me. I started to learn about how to improve my diet by watching my starches and cutting way back on sugar and fats. I still treat myself to the occasional “comfort food” I grew up with, but more often than not, I enjoy a big salad or lean meats and seafood for dinner and chase it down with a leisurely walk. I plan ahead and make sure my kitchen is always stocked with fresh-picked fruits and vegetables that are within reach. I’m not moving mountains or partin’ seas, but these moderate changes to my life have made such a positive difference on my health, my waistline, and my spirit.

I felt so inspired, I put together a book chock-full of lighter dishes, including lightened up versions of some of my favorite classic recipes that I just can’t live without. If there is one lesson learned from the recipes in Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, it’s that little changes really can produce big results, and I really have embraced these little changes.

And I hope you’ll embrace them, too. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel isolated and alone. I know I sure did. But I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone. In fact, 30 million Americans are living with this disease. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so this month, let’s all make a conscious effort to live a healthier life, so we can live it a whole lot longer.

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.