Jamie Deen, who looks a lot like his mama, Paula Deen, was in Chicago at the American Diabetes Association EXPO to take part in a cooking demonstration featuring diabetes-friendly vegetarian gumbo.
The 9th Annual Chicago American Diabetes Association (ADA) EXPO was held earlier this month at McCormick Place on South Lake Shore Drive. The event was free and included health screenings, cooking demonstrations, leading experts talking about diabetes management and prevention, as well as product and service exhibitors. One of the event highlights was a cooking demonstration by Jamie Deen held on the Healthy Eating Stage.
Deen mustered a hearty “Hi, y’all” when he first got on stage in front a large crowd that had assembled for his cooking demo. He then said he’d been so busy he didn’t know what day of the week it was, so he asked the audience.
Deen was at WLS-TV Chicago earlier that morning, and said that in addition he had made his way over to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo which was also held at McCormick Place.
A diabetes expert who shared the stage with Deen was introduced by him and then he got down to business. He spoke of the adversity his family had overcome and what his mother had dealt with in the past, including agoraphobia. In recent years, Paula Deen was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and Jamie said it took some time for her to come to terms with the diagnosis.
As he spoke about his mother, Deen was putting ingredients into a large pot. Deen said she has been “doing a lot of walking.” He then pointed out the distinction between moving and exercise. “She rarely sits still ten minutes,” Dean said of his mother. “But it is important to carve out time to do exercise, not just moving.”
Jamie Deen during cooking demonstration at ADA EXPO. Chicago, IL. April 2012.
While Deen added peppers, onions, and celery into the pot, what he called “the holy trinity,” the diabetes expert offered some insights and tips. She said to use canola, olive or avocado oil when cooking, noting that “transfats don’t exist in nature.” She indicated that unsaturated fats have “looser fat bonds” and said that what can sit on a “shelf for 18 years, stays in your body forever.”
Moreover, she asked the audience to consider what salt does to us. “It makes us swell. Like when we eat fries and pizza and the next day we can’t get rings on.” Her point was that the heart has to pump harder when we are swollen, “so the heart enlarges and fights harder” to get blood pumped into our systems. In other words, cut back on salt. She said that managing diabetes can be challenging, but asked audience members to “make at least one commitment per month.”
In the meantime, the Vegetarian Gumbo (see recipe below) was coming along nicely. Deen said that we all know “fat translates into flavor, but lemon zest or orange zest add great flavor.” He said he would stay after the cooking demonstration to talks with folks, and that he would be at the Novo Nordisk booth afterward.
Paula Deen, 64, has been criticized for sharing her diagnosis only after apparently arranging a partnership with diabetes drug-maker Novo Nordisk. According to a recent report by ABC News, “[Paula] Deen has known about her type 2 diabetes for three years but only made it public in January .” Deen is said to use “the company’s drug Victoza to help her maintain proper blood sugar levels.” She and her son are paid spokespersons for the company.
On Jan. 17, the day she went public about her type 2 diabetes, Deen explained her reasons for keeping it quiet in a USA Today article. Dean said, in part, "I made the choice at the time to keep it close to me, to keep it close to my chest. I felt like I had nothing to offer anybody other than the announcement. I wasn't armed with enough knowledge. I knew when it was time, it would be in God's time."
It should be noted that, according to Deen, Novo Nordisk approached her about making her recipes more diabetes-friendly prior to the company knowing that she has diabetes.
Paula Deen display at Novo Nordisk booth at ADA EXPO. Chicago, IL. April 2012.
A display at the Novo Nordisk booth at the ADA EXPO featured Paula Deen, mother of Jamie and Bobby Dean and host of “Paula’s Best Dishes” on the Food Channel. A quote from Paula Deen reads, “I’ve made changes and I’m seeing my diabetes in a new light. Y’all can, too!”
The display also quotes Paula Deen as saying:
I’m exercising, eating smaller portions, and redoing some of my recipes to make them lighter – but still delicious! I’d like to help you manage your diabetes, too, so I partnered with Novo Nordisk to create Diabetes in a New Light. This great program includes: Diabetes-friendly recipes, approved by a dietician; Tips on diabetes management; and, Information on cooking events all over the country, featuring my sons Bobby and Jamie.
As promised, Jamie Deen came to the Novo Nordisk booth where he was greeted by a long line of fans waiting to meet him and get their pictures taken with him. He was the epitome of southern hospitality and, with a slight drawl in his voice and a smile on his face, took time to visit with everyone there, have pictures taken with them, and talk about Diabetes in a New Light.
Jamie Deen speaks with seniors at Novo Nordisk booth at ADA EXPO. Chicago, IL. April 2012.
The Deen Brothers are a busy duo as is their mom, Paula. Look for Jamie Deen on the Food Network where he will be the host of the upcoming show “Home for Dinner.” Jamie’s brother, Bobby, has a show on the Cooking Channel called “Not My Mama’s Meals.” Other events featuring Paula Deen and her sons can be found at this website.
Jamie's Recipe: Vegetarian Gumbo
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 tblsps Canola Oil
4 tblsps All-Purpose Flour
1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Large Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 stalks Celery, Chopped
8 oz. Sliced Brown Mushrooms
3 tblsps Chopped Garlic
4 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 (14.5-oz) can Low-Sodium Diced Tomatoes, with juice
6 oz. Vegetarian Spicy Sausage
1 cup Chopped Okra, Fresh or Thawed Frozen
1/2 cup Roasted Red Pepper
1 1/2 tsps Cajun Seasoning
Black pepper, to taste
4 Green Onions, Chopped
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
Hot sauce, for serving
Heat oil in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat.
Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until flour turns golden-brown and smells toasty, about 5 minutes.
Add onion, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes.
Add broth, tomatoes, sausage, okra, roasted red peppers, Cajun seasoning and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gumbo begins to thicken and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the green onions and parsley.
Pass hot sauce at the table.
*Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. You might try whole grain (brown) rice or barley. This has not been accounted for in the nutritional information listed below.
Per serving (1 cup): 140 calories, 6 g fat (.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.
On the placard given to cooking demonstration attendees and those at the Novo Nordisk booth is a quote from Paula Deen in which she talked about "Vegetarian Gumbo in a new light." Deen states, "Cuisine from the bayou will always have a special place in my heart; it's so full of spice and soul. This meatless version of a Cajun classic cuts down on the saturated fat and calories, but I promise y'all won't miss out on any of the flavor. Fix this stew on a chilly night for a dinner that's sure to warm you up."