Complications with Diabetes Contributed to Brittany Murphy's Death

Brittany Murphy at her healthiest looking

Former actress and drug abuser, Brittany Murphy, was found unresponsive in the shower by her mother who told paramedics that her ailing daughter suffered with Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, or ‘diabetes mellitus type 2’, is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, or when cells in the body ignore the insulin it produces.

Essentially, the body uses insulin to break down the sugar from food and transport it across through the blood system to cells. This conversion of sugar and starches makes glucose which is required for energy.

When the body’s cells do not obtain enough glucose due to a lack insulin production, or when the cells ignore the insulin, it can cause serious consequences. The body’s cells first begin to starve which leads to high levels of glucose in the blood. This can lead to organ damage with kidneys, liver and heart affected most commonly. It can also impair sight and can seriously damage nerves.

Brittany Murphy looking painfully thin. Eating disorders, drug overuse and diabetes contributed to her death.

Anyone suffering with diabetes, just as Brittany Murphy did, stand a much higher risk of suffering from heart attacks or dying as a result of cardiovascular disease.

Whether diabetes played a role in the death of the actress remains unknown for now but questions have been raised about the pressure on actresses to be ‘thin at all costs’ after Brittany’s anorexic struggles. It has been suggested that her eating disorder played a major part in her death.

Other factors mentioned as contributors were her minor heart condition.

Brittany Murphy in Clueless

Despite starring in films such as ‘8 Mile’, ‘Clueless’ and ‘Girl Interrupted’, Brittany Murphy’s substance abuse and eating disorders have been well documented. Clearly she was beset by mental health issues which ultimately led to her demise.

Upon their arrival at her house, paramedics tried to revive her but all attempts failed and she was pronounced dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Oprah Winfrey chooses veganism for health reasons

oprah winfrey

TV stalwart, Oprah Winfrey decided to experiment with a raw vegan diet for seven days, and just for kicks she took 378 of her staff at Harpo along for the ride. She was joined by NY Times best-selling author on health and conscious eating, Kathy Freston who provided the queen of television with a diverse selection of vegan food to try.

Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that excludes the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavour not to use or consume animal products and it is a lifestyle that is becoming more and more popular with the rich and famous as well as us ordinary earthlings.

A vegan plant-based diet – which is just that, might sound a little dull but is in fact a very clever and inventive way to eat. The diet contains mostly fruits and vegetables and is said to have the ability to reverse cancer, heart disease and diabetes, reduce high-blood pressure and positively affect most degenerative diseases – not to mention obesity.


Nutrition researcher, Dr T Colin Campbell, details the connections between what we consume and the diseases that humans constantly battle with in his book, The China Study. His research spanned twenty years but by the outcome of its compilation he found that diets rich in protein, in particular animal protein, were the causes of liver cancer and obesity to name but a few. By switching people to healthy plant-based diets these cancers started to reverse.

Earlier in his career, Dr Campbell worked as a researcher promoting the healthy effects of a diet rich in eggs and meat. He conducted his studies diligently and with great enthusiasm, convinced that the American diet was the healthiest in the world. His later studies led him to research the role of protein in the development and treatment of cancerand his startling findings could not be ignored.

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease,” he reported.

For those of us willing to make changes to our diet but worried that a life full of limp lettuce and fruit salad will drive us to culinary suicide, fear not. Consummate vegan chefs are more than capable of preparing delicious, inventive gourmet dishes that are rich in goodness but tasty and filling with it. Restaurants such as Pure Food and Winein New York City and Café Gratitude(which has eight locations across California) specialize in raw vegan cuisine.

oprah winfrey vegan

Through centuries of meat and dairy consumption we have lost touch with the natural way of eating. What’s worse is that heavy meat and dairy based diets are condoned and encouraged by the food industry, opportunistic scientists and even the FDA/WHO. There is a vicious circle of bad food and unnecessary medication that accompanies it; all keeping us consumers unhealthy and mega-rich food and pharmaceutical corporations, well, mega-rich.

Oprah’s lead is a good one to follow as she threw herself into it and spoke of the virtues of the diet, the health benefits that she felt for herself and the compassion extended towards animal life as a result.

In her show Oprah also discussed introducing “meatless Mondays” at the network, adding “let’s try not to get sued for it,” referring to the risible case in 1996 when she disparaged the quality of beef on her show during the ‘mad cow disease’ outbreak and was subsequently sued for food defamation by Texas cattle farmers.

Betty Ford left and extraordinary life behind

Betty Ford

Betty Ford, former first lady and founder of the acclaimed Betty Ford Center died at the incredible age of 93 while under the care of medical staff at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho, Mirage. She passed away peacefully as a result of natural causes after a life of trials and tribulations which led to many great achievements.

She was born as Elizabeth Anne Bloomer on the crisp, 1918 spring Chicago morning of April 8th,and the later Mrs. Ford spent her childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the youngest of three children.

In her early days she loved nothing more than dancing and at the age of 16 she moved to Manhattan where she landed her first job as a fashion model. While there she danced in her spare time but after becoming homesick she returned to Michigan in 1941 to be near her family.

Betty Ford young


It was there that she first got a taste of selflessly helping others when she opened a dance performance group which taught handicapped children rhythmic movement through styles such as the Foxtrot and Tango.

In 1948 she married Gerald Ford, the 38thPresident of the United States of America and was her second marriage which followed two years after her divorce.

It was during her marriage as the president’s wife that she campaigned for women’s rights and one of her greater achievements was the legalization of abortion. She was a huge advocate of equal rights.

She lived in Washington DC for 30 years with Gerald and in 1974, the same year that Ford was sworn into office following the highly controversial resignation of Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal, Betty was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, an illness that she worked hard to bring to the public’s attention. She keenly impressed upon women the need to undergo screening and subsequent treatment options.

After Gerald’s term as president ended they moved back to Rancho Mirage butdue to a painful episode with a pinched nerve, Betty found herself having to also deal with an alcohol and prescription medicine addiction which took the intervention of her family to overcome. In 1978 she admitted herself into the Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment, an experience which inspired her to open the Betty Ford Center in 1982.

The recovery center was a great success and has helped over 9,000 men and women, including hundreds of celebrities, to overcome various forms of addiction.

betty ford  later days

Her husband Gerald passed away in 2006 but the family legacy is still as strong as ever today with the Betty Ford Center a shining beacon of hope to people with excessive behavioural problems.

Betty penned her experiences in several novels including The Times of My Life(1978), and her journey from chemical dependency to clean living again in the 1987 book Betty: A Glad Awakening.

Her ceaseless work brought her many awards and plaudits which included a 1987 induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of freedom four years later by President George H. W. Bush followed by the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

Betty Ford’s center will continue to help addicts to rehabilitate; a legacy which has rightly immortalised a caring and benevolent woman who used her own experiences to help others.

Tracey Gold sheds light on the reasons she developed anorexia

Tracey Gold

Tracey Gold, famous for her role as Carol Seaver in the hit American sitcom ‘Growing Pains’ has been acting since the age of four, when she first appeared in a Pepsi advert.

At the tender age of 11 her paediatrician diagnosed her with anorexia after he noticed irregular weight loss during a natural growth spurt. In what was termed a ‘desperate attempt to not grow up’ Tracey had been starving herself to stunt her growth.

When working on ‘Growing Pains’ she gained weight and the script was loaded with “fat” jokes which played on her mind. By the age of 19 she’d reached 133 pounds and that is when her compulsive dieting began.

I was made fun of by a casting agent. If I were a different person, it probably would have rolled off my back, but I have the kind of personality where I will let those kinds of comments affect me. I’ve always wanted to please people.”

Tracey Gold became a people pleaser at a very young age

Tracey Gold became a people pleaser at a very young age

She then went to an established endocrinologist who put her on a 500 calories per day diet, despite knowing her history with anorexia. She achieved her goal of reaching 113lbs in two months and looks back on the achievement as being an uplifting moment.

It was so wonderful. All of a sudden, I wasn’t awkward Tracey. People were saying I was pretty. I fell right into the pitfall of ‘I can’t lose this constant praise’.”

On the surface she had it all; a loving boyfriend in Roby Marshall, whom she later married, a supportive family and a hit television series. At the peak of her illness Tracey had starved herself down to an estimated 80lbs and became terribly frail.

Her mother, Bonnie, one day saw Tracey changing on the set of ‘Growing Pains’ and was horrified by her skeletal appearance. Tracey had taken to wearing baggy clothes to hide her growing thinness and had managed to deceive her parents well until that moment.

Being outed by her family didn’t stop her from starving herself and although she went for regular psychotherapy her weight continued to drop for another two years.

During a Christmas special she was suspended from the show due to her thin appearance. This made Tracey one of the first celebrities to be removed from a role due to anorexia but it was a good move for all because five days later she checked into a hospital for treatment.

From then on she fought the condition largely on her own, occasionally taking help from a nutritionist in UCLA which led to a vast improvement.

They’ve stabilized my weight now and I’m healthy enough to know that I don’t want to lose any more,”

I am fighting it, but it’s hard. It consumes my every thought.”

Tracey has written a book about her illness and recovery titled ‘Room to Grow’.

Thandie Newton almost wasted away with bulimia

Thandie Newton

Zambian-born Hollywood star Thandie Newton has always been open about her bulimia. The eating disorder affected her life at the tender age of 14 when she was training to be a ballerina. Her struggle lasted a year and left her scarred both physically and mentally.

I had terrible bulimia for about a year … I ate nothing but cottage cheese. I’ve still got the scars on my knuckles from where I put my fingers down my throat.”

After that year she put it to rest and lived a moderately normal life but it reared its ugly head in her early 20s.

I’d been involved with this guy for a long time, he was much older than me and I felt a lot of shame about my sexual relationship with him.”

I would have these dinners with him and then go back to the flat and I’d throw up. Then I went out with someone who was emotionally abusive, criticizing me the whole time.”

Thandie Newton looking very thin

Thandie Newton looking very thin

After two abusive relationships she realized it was time to seek help; that living with an eating disorder would only lead her to more misery.

While working on a film shoot in Los Angeles she enlisted the help of a therapist.

I saw a therapist for the first time,” she said. “After that first session, I never threw up again. I had made the connection between shame and self abuse.”

This ‘Mission: Impossible II’ actress successfully recovered from bulimia through the initial therapy and then with support and determination. After working herself into super slim looks she fell into a healthy relationship and has developed a love of children.

I keep getting pregnant. So one day I’m slim and the next I have a bump. In the last two years my body has changed so much. I think the Hollywood size is a bad thing. I don’t stick to any diets. I eat when I’m hungry. Thankfully I have my mother’s frame and I’ve always been slim.”

Today, leading a wonderful and healthy life, Thandie is working hard on her films and motherhood and when asked about her self-perception she cheerfully replies: “I see a happy, defiant, loving friend.”


Susan Dey's family support helped her through anorexia

Susan Dey overcame anorexia

Susan Dey’s attractive, fresh-faced charm landed her a role in the hit television series ‘The Partridge Family’. With no prior acting experience she took on the role of Laurie, the eldest daughter of the fictional family but with little in the way of guidance at the time she began to develop her eating disorder.

At the height of her illness she weighed a mere 92 pounds and stopped menstruating. Her skin colour became orange because she was reportedly eating nothing but carrots.

Anorexia researchers say that this is a common trend observed in people suffering from eating disorders: they eat exclusively one type of food.

Mono-meals are actually quite a natural thing which harkens back to our foraging days when we would hang around in one place and consume whatever we found – that usually being one thing.

Susan reportedly realized she had a problem during a cast party at the beach when Danny Bonaduce saw her in a bikini and commented, “What’s wrong with you?! Your skin is orange! You look disgusting.”

Susan Dey in the Partridge Family

Susan Dey in the Partridge Family

20 years later, Susan gave an exclusive interview in which she admitted she was still not over her eating disorder.

I’m not in the clear yet – I’m still trying to overcome my anorexia, It’s something that has been plaguing my life.”

Beating a severe eating disorder is something you can not do alone,” she added.

Eventually she did overcome anorexia and now works as a member of the board at UCLA’s ‘Rape Treatment Center’ where she is giving something back to other women suffering personal traumas.

Her TV career earned her critical acclaim and after her four-year stint with ‘The Partridge Family’ she moved onto ‘LA Law’ where she played Grace van Owen, a role that won her a Golden Globe, three statues at the Emmy’s and many other nominations.

Stephanie Pratt flaunted bulimia in front of her mom

Stephanie Pratt in 'The Hills'

Stephanie shot to fame through her role in the hit TV series ‘The Hills’ but during that time she caved in to public opinion and that led to a period of her life struggling with a return of bulimia; an illness she suffered with as a child.

As a young girl her parents were very conservative and she flaunted her problems in front of them without them ever noticing, knowing that there would be little chance of them working things out.

My mom and dad were very hands-on parents. They were never on vacations or anything like that, and I did everything right under their noses — I did drugs, I threw up my food — in the same house as them. And for them to never see that, my mom was just like, ‘What did I do wrong?’ ”

The ‘Hills’ star wanted to share her problems as they are being mirrored in so many young women who live apparently ‘normal’ lives and who are not subject to the pressures of the media limelight.

If she had known the signs of what to look for, I could have been helped a lot earlier,” she said about her mother.

I’m so thankful I got professional help and I’m healthy now, but I just really wanted to do this to help all of those moms to see those signs in their daughters. [Bulimia is] such an ugly, ugly word. I wish I could have danced around it and said I had eating issues, but this isn’t an article for me to shine.”

Stephanie Pratt displaying weight loss

Stephanie Pratt displaying weight loss spared rumours of eating disorders

The rumour mill went into overdrive about her eating disorders after Stephanie, the sister of Spencer Pratt (who is married to Heidi Montag), joined the cast of a reality TV show.

Although not officially confirmed that she suffered a relapse of her bulimia she was quoted as saying at the time: “I can’t believe how huge I look walking over to Lauren.’”

There were indications that she was unhappy with her body and these clues fuelled the fires for plenty of publications to have a field day. She reportedly once said: “It’s embarrassing working with skinny girls.”

After some help from her friends and family she has come to terms with herself and is now living a much healthier lifestyle.

Sally Field became bulimic after joining the Hollywood crew

Sally Field is all smiles after overcoming bulimia

During the early years of her career critically acclaimed actress Sally Field was struggling to live with bulimia. She realises that the illness began in her early 20s and it continued to dog her for a further three years.

The pressure of being around so many slimmer actresses weighted heavy on her mind and that sowed the seeds of her disorder

Everybody then was Twiggy, except me.”

A young Sally Field before her brush with eating disorders

A young Sally Field before her brush with eating disorders

The actress who featured in popular TV show the ‘Flying Nun’ and in the ”Smokey and the Bandit’ films where she starred alongside Burt Reynolds used to binge on balloons and candy during the filming of the popular 1960s show.

She became concerned when she drastically lost weight and the eating disorder converted her healthy body into a fragile one.

I was losing so much bone density that I would have been in grave danger. And I mean grave danger. If I had let it go just a few more years I could have broken my hip or spine just picking up my granddaughter.”

Sally’s battled with bulimia and anorexia didn’t leave her body unharmed and in a candid interview with People magazine she told them: “I would lose 10 or 15 pounds in a week, eating nothing but cucumbers and working all day. My hands would shake all the time, and sometimes I’d pass out. But then I would go on these enormous binges. I lived alone and was very lonely.”

She eventually returned to a normal lifestyle and with it came the realisation that that no-one can judge your body and that to be swayed by the opinion of others is complete counterproductive to a healthy state of mind.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”

Though Sally, 63, now suffers from osteoporosis, she is on a normal and healthy diet so as to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Russell Brand battled addictions and bulimia

russell brand as a young and chubby man

Russell Brand is a name associated with wit, charm and a scruffy hair do atop skin-tight pants. The quirky and oh-so intellectual comedian and TV presenter is also a terrific humanitarian.

His struggles with addiction are well known and he actively seeks to help others in their pursuit of ‘cleanliness’. With a broken marriage, substance addiction and he pressure of celebrity weighing down on him, Russell is incredibly bright in his outlook, but what many people don’t realise is that he also suffered with bulimia.

I was bulimic when I was 14,”

I had problems with food and self-harming, I’ve always had these odd compulsive traits looking for an outlet.

Growing up as an overweight only child, Russell says his battle with bulimia was greatly affected by his isolation and it returned with aplomb as he entered adulthood.

Russell Brand after his battle with sex, drugs and bulimia

Russell Brand after his battle with sex, drugs and bulimia

It’s awful to be bulimic but I lost a whole lot of weight when I needed to.”

I was a fat kid, not obese but chubby.”

He says he feels sorry for the child he once was and it became evident to him that he never really dealt with the eating disorders the first time round.

I didn’t master the bulimia, obviously.”

Of course I’ve been through lots of therapy. But I do feel a sense of ‘you poor little sod’. I loved my mum madly, but I had a lot of prohibiting, inhibiting things around. My feeling about my childhood was that it was lonely and difficult.”

He spoke of the return of his bulimia which happened when he was in rehab for drug addictions: “It was clearly about getting out of myself and isolation. Feeling inadequate and unpleasant.”

Now, as one of The UK’s most prominent comedians and a burgeoning Hollywood actor, he is turning his life into one success story after another, a process that doesn’t happen by accident. He works hard at improving himself and is always keen to share his insights to help others. Green tea and yoga have replaced the drugs, booze and sex and Russ is looking like a truly inspirational human being; a perfect example of the human desire to improve and grow spiritually.

Anorexic Portia De Rossi almost proud to weigh 82 lbs

Portia De Rossi opens up to Oprah Winfrey about anorexia battle

Portia De Rossi lived on 300 calories per day during the height of her anorexia, a fact she shared with another well documented eating disorder victim, Oprah WInfrey.

A tearful De Rossi admitted that it was almost a proud achievement to weigh in at just 82 lbs.

It wasn’t that I was proud of it,“ she told her host, “But it was certainly a recognition for my self control.“

As part of her purging ritual she would take up to 20 laxatives a day and her sense of personal perspective was seriously derailed by a ‘win or oblivion’ mentality

I would prefer to die than fail another diet.“ Became her clarion call.

De Rossi’s problems began when she left her native Australia for Hollywood and landed a role in US drama ‘Ally McBeal’, starring alongside Calista Flockhart, who was also battling anorexia at the time.

I’ve often wondered if I wasn’t on that show if it (anorexia) may not have happened. I didn’t really know at that point what it was like to be a celebrity, and the only people I knew at the time who had a similar experience were these women whom I worked with. They became my role models.”

Portia De Rossi almost hits her lowest weight of 82lbs

Portia De Rossi almost hits her lowest weight of 82lbs

De Rossi though was fortunate to have help on hand and were it not for the love of her wife, Ellen Degeneres, she fears she would have been consumed by the illness.

The couple were introduced at concert for ‘Rock The Vote’ in March 2001 and De Rossi admitted she was instantly smitten. In that year things had gone awry as she’d been diagnosed with oesteoporosis, cirrhosis of the liver, organ failure and the auto-immune disease lupus.

Ellen has taught me not to care about other people’s opinions,“

She saw a glimpse of my inner being from underneath the flesh and bone, reached in and pulled me out.“

In August 2008 De Rossi married Degeneres, who is 15 years her senior, in a private ceremony in their Beverly Hills home.

Now, with her life on track, she has written a memoir detailing her struggles with anorexia called ‘Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain.’