Paula Deen Feels Heat From Racial Slur And Diabetes Scandals, Unveils Pet Products, 30-Pound Weight Loss [Video]

Celebrity chef Paula Deen hasn’t gotten out of the kitchen, despite the racial slur scandal that rocked her cooking world. Now, she told People, she’s regained her determination to battle the past and is cooking up both a new defense and pet products.

Although she lost her endorsement deals and Food Network show after her admission that she did use a racial slur, Deen contends that she’s too old to change her Southern ways.

“I have no desire to change,” Paula defended herself. “They got me pretty late, they got me when I was in my fifties, the public. So I was who I was by then. It’s easy when you just be yourself.”

As part of being herself, Deen now stays close to family. She appreciates the way that they have supported her despite the scandal, she said.

“Just being at home with my family, we all live within a two-mile radius of each other. Our brothers and sisters, our kids and grandchildren. That keeps me very grounded and keeps life very very normal for me,” reflected Paula.

What has she learned from the attacks against her when her use of racial slurs emerged? Deen feels that it’s helped her become stronger.

“God knows I have had tougher moments in the later years of my life,” Paula revealed. “But it’s what builds character. That’s what makes you into the person that you are.”

And Deen is also happy to be back in business. She has a new cooking project that involves concocting food items as well as pet products named Paula Deen Hugs.

The new project is with a company called EVINE Live, reported Yahoo! Finance. The products are set to debut on March 25.

“We’re thrilled that Paula is joining the EVINE Live family and bringing her signature brand of Southern charm and style to our viewers,” stated Russell Nuce, Chief Strategy Officer of EVINE Live.

“For me, food has always meant comfort, friendship and love. My new collection of products is my way of welcoming EVINE Live’s viewers into my kitchen and sharing a home-cooked meal with them,” Deen explained.

The foods include entrees as well as desserts. Paula’s fans can choose from Southern favorites such as hams and “ooey gooey” butter cake mix in addition to the Hugs pet food.

But some sugar-free items will be available as well for dieters. And those may be an acknowledgement of Paula’s previous announcement that she has type 2 diabetes, which she initially tried to hide, reported Fox News.

That announcement caused a separate scandal for Deen from angry fans and critics, who charged her for admitting that she knew she had diabetes but still cooked up those buttery, sugary foods.

But the American Diabetes Association spoke out in her defense.

“People may benefit from seeing how others successfully manage type 2 diabetes,” said Geralyn Spollett, MSN, ANP-CS, CDE, president, Health Care & Education of the American Diabetes Association. “We commend her for speaking out on behalf of people with type 2 diabetes and welcome her to the Association’s Stop Diabetes movement.”

Others were angry that she signed a deal with a diabetes company for money, including celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, below.

Deen subsequently lost 30 pounds and shared her weight loss secrets, reported Reader’s Digest. She credits tossing out her sweet tea and using portion control with her slim-down success.

In addition, Paula has switched sugary food for sugar-free options, such as eating sugar-free ice cream for dessert rather than cookies. She also influenced her family to diet, resulting in a total 178-pound weight loss, as revealed below.

And Deen isn’t only in speaking out about her diabetes. As the Inquisitr reported, pop singer Nick Jonas also has been candid about how he manages his own diabetes.

“I don’t have the luxury of eating whatever I want whenever I want anyway, because of my type 1 diabetes, so I have been conscientious about food for a long time,” said Nick.

He added, “Breakfast was usually an omelet with veggies and cashew cheese, a turkey-meat patty, and some fruit; lunch and dinner would be lean protein, veggies, and nuts; snacks consisted of things like snap peas with peanut sauce.”

[Photo By John Parra/Getty Images]