Paula Deen Biography
Claim to Fame: Celebrity chef, author, restaurant owner, and television personality
DOB: January 19, 1947
Diabetes Type: 2
Known for her pleasant Southern drawl, motherly warmth, and old-fashioned, home-style cuisine, Paula Deen cooked her way into the kitchens and hearts of mainstream America with generous portions of indulgent, delectable Southern fare. Rising from obscurity to become one of the world's most recognized chefs, Paula's career reflects a keen business mind, unrivaled talent and insurmountable spirit. Determined to spread a positive message of love, generosity, and family, Paula speaks freely about her relatives, their influence on her cooking, and her own life, welcoming friends and loved ones on her show. She addresses her audience with a casual tenderness and affability, creating an intimacy that has won her a loyal following and continues to captivate viewers.
A Georgian by birth, Paula's beginnings were bittersweet. Forced to deal with depression, the deaths of both her parents and crippling agoraphobia, Paula found little motivation and even less joy in life. An only child, drowning in a sea of anxiety, loneliness and despair, she relied on her talent in cooking, a skill she learned from her grandmother, to sustain her and keep her afloat.
In her early 20's, still dealing with her parent's deaths, Paula married, hoping to find a degree of stability. Struggling with panic attacks and a worsening fear of the world outside her home, she received another blow to her foundation when her marriage ended in divorce, leaving her to care for two sons alone. Prior to her divorce, Paula worked as a bank teller, but her anxiety and depression forced her back into the home. Now, forced to work to feed her family, the young mother had little at her disposal and virtually no support.
With no more than $200 dollars in her pocket and two adolescent boys to feed, Paula left her home in Albany, Georgia and moved with her sons to Savannah. Courageous in her willingness to start anew and determined to give her children a sense of permanence, she began The Bag Lady, her own catering business, serving prepared lunches to offices and companies in downtown Savannah. Still crippled by her agoraphobia, Paula would have her sons deliver the food, while she remained at home preparing the meals. The Bag Lady was a tremendous success, becoming so popular that the company was forced to expand, forcing Paula out of her house and into the world.
In 1996, after The Bag Lady had developed an overwhelming following, Paula opened her own restaurant, much to the satisfaction of Savannah. The Lady and Sons, as the new restaurant was called, attracted such large numbers and was so well received that Paula was shocked, expecting a far more modest welcome. The Lady and Sons received the distinction of "Most Memorable Meal of the Year" for 1999 by USA Today and remains a staple in Savannah restaurant culture, attracting food buffs from all over the globe.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...