Healthy Living

Patti LaBelle Uses Clean Food to Help Fight Diabetes

Patti LaBelle Uses Clean Food to Help Fight Diabetes

Patti LaBelle, iconic R&B singer, passionate cook, and diabetic was diagnosed with diabetes 21 years ago. Once she was diagnosed, LaBelle quickly discovered that she had to stop indulging in fried chicken and more salads. 

Making the switch to a cleaner diet was not as hard as it could have been for LaBelle.  She, unfortunately, had been surrounded by diabetes and knows full well what can happen if the disease gets out of control. Her mother required an amputation and an aunt lost her eyesight to diabetes. This was not something that LaBelle was going to let happen to her.

As many as 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes.  Diabetes is really a number of diseases that all revolve around problems with insulin, the sugar found in the blood.  In a healthy individual, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to help the body break down sugars and fats from food.  When the pancreas isn’t working properly too little or too much insulin is produced, making the body unable to break down what needs to be broken down and that leads to a build of sugar in the blood. 

There is currently no cure for diabetes. Only a number of treatments options that range from medication, diet and exercise, weight management and finally insulin injections exists for the disease. Diabetes is very hard on the body and overtime if left untreated or if the disease is uncontrolled for a long period of time can lead to other serious health issues.

Since food is as much of a passion as singing, LaBelle opted to change her eating habits to ensure that she followed a more diabetic-friendly lifestyle. But first, LaBelle had to equip herself for her many days on the road. 

Even at the age of 73, the very successful singer continues to have a loyal following and she continues to go on tour and perform.  Living on the road can have its challenges for anybody, and it’s easy to fall prey to unhealthy foods, especially with a chalk full schedule. LaBelle opted to take her real food with her and to continue to prepare her food as much as possible.  When packing for a trip, LaBelle makes sure to bring along two electric pans, her cooking tools and fresh herbs and garlic. She will often turn her hotel suite into a makeshift kitchen and prepare wonderful dishes like kale and branzino with heirloom tomatoes. Sometimes she enjoys it herself and other times invite band and crew to a home cooked meal on the road.

Her passion for cooking is obvious and her passion for cooking real food stands out even more.  Even from a young age, LaBelle would enjoy putting together recipes. As a child, she was not only inspired to make music but also food. She would often create her own sauce recipes in the family’s garage and seek out approval from her pet cat and dog.

Photo: Patty LaBelle performs during the AIDS Healthcare Foundation by AIDS Healthcare Foundation