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posted: 7/2/2013 5:00 AM

Deen missed an opportunity to help

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There has been much stewing in the media about the steady rise and the abrupt fall of the food-focused empire of Paula Deen. While as a nutritionist I've never been fond of the food she promoted, I've always admired her Southern grit for making lemonade of the lemons, so to speak. The question now is whether fans will support her as her personal lemonade has suddenly soured.

When Deen needed money to support her family she overcame huge odds to successfully parlay her knowledge and resources to build a better life for herself and her sons -- admirable, savvy, and action oriented. Forbes has recognized her as one of the more successful celebrity chefs. Now, one by one her sponsors have backed off.

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Not being African-American, I am poorly prepared to deal with the latest misspeak, but I regret that Ms. Deen didn't use the "lemon" of diabetes and come clean with her public until after she had landed a promotional contract with a drug company three long years after diagnosis. Her legacy would have soared had she revealed her illness, shared by so many uninformed Americans, while she helped them deal with the necessary dietary changes. A lost opportunity ... a falling star.

Audrey Beauvais

Arlington Heights

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