Patti And The Boom

La Belle promises to be around for another 100 years

patti labelle

patti labelle

Patti’s new album is out now, as well as her cooking show, "Patti LaBelle's Place," on the Cooking Channel. All of Patti’s current ventures involve her passionate actions to raise awareness about pneumococcal disease, a pneumonia affecting those 65 and older, almost 50% of whom have not had their vaccination. In this exclusive interview, Patti is joined by Dr. Riley, who answers questions about the disease, prevention and “All About Your Boom”, an organization determined to vaccinate all at age 50 and over. Patti also touches on her new cooking shows, which is a direct reflection of her knowledge and fondness of a healthy lifestyle, and shares what you could do to improve the quality of your life.

Healthy Living: How did your collaboration with Pfizer begin? Who reached out to whom?

Patti LaBelle: Pfizer reached out to my son who happens to be my manager. And of course I said, "Yes," because I'm about the biggest baby-boomer around. He wanted to talk about pneumococcal pneumonia. People don't realize how scary it is. I want older people to see your doctors and find out if you could have pneumococcal pneumonia and whether you are eligible for a vaccination, because most people think that vaccinations only happen when you're young. But at 65 and older, we do get those vaccinations for pneumococcal pneumonia.

HL: What do you think is the main reason adults over 65 don't get vaccinated for the pneumococcal disease?

PL: I think we don't think we are candidates for vaccination, and there are a lot of people who don't even know what pneumococcal pneumonia is. It's pretty dangerous.

HL: Dr. Riley, do tell us a little bit more about symptoms of PL and why you think boomers are not getting the vaccination and not understanding the importance of talking to your doctor?

patti labelle

patti labelle

Dr. Riley: As we age, our immune systems weaken, putting us at increased risk for diseases including pneumococcal disease. As Patti mentioned, coughing is one of the symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia, but the disease has other symptoms including high fever, excessive sweating and shaking chills. Some of these physical effects from the symptoms can last for weeks and take you out of your routine, keep you from doing the things. In serious cases, it can actually put you in the hospital. In fact those 65 or older are at 13 times higher risk for getting hospitalized from pneumococcal pneumonia than those under 50. Pneumococcal pneumonia is potentially a serious bacterial lung disease and those over 65 they are just simply at greater risk because of their age.

HL: How pneumococcal disease is different from pneumonia in younger people and children?

Dr. Riley: Pneumococcal pneumonia is an increased risk for adults 65 and over. In children it's a different type of disease that's just called pneumococcal disease. But I'm really not here to talk about pneumococcal disease in children. Our campaign, All About Your Boom, is about encouraging 65 and older patients who often don't think this vaccination is for them because they're 65 or older. We're just here to educate them about pneumococcal pneumonia and the potential for having it as well as vaccination options, and encouraging them to talk to their doctor or pharmacists about their personal risk, as well as the importance of vaccination.

HL: Is the vaccination covered by Medicare and other insurances?

Dr. Riley: In the United States, adults 65 or older, Medicare Part B covers pneumococcal vaccination at no pay.

HL: Patti, when did you start spreading awareness about the importance of this vaccination?

PL: Maybe a year ago.

patti labelle

patti labelle

HL: You're a best-selling author of a cook book and you have your own line of sauces and marinades. How should eating habits change after 65 and what are the main produces that you have limited or added to your diet?

PL: I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes maybe 21 years ago. It was a great wake-up call because of my mother having her legs amputated and diying of diabetes. My aunt and uncle lost their eyesight. So, when I found out that I was a type 2, I realized I had to stop with the great foods of most black people, and that's fried chicken, greens with ham hocks, potato salad and macaroni and cheese. So, I found a way to live and be loving my food but cutting down on it. For the macaroni, instead of the real cheeses, go low fat cheeses; low fat milk instead of heavy cream and so on. I just learned how to cook for myself with taste and that's fresh garlic for my chicken and fish and habanero peppers. The heat takes away all the things that you think you're missing when you're eating fried foods, and the garlic. I carry my pasta pans on the road to make sure I don't have to do room service or restaurants and cook in my room. I love branzino and kale greens, heirloom tomatoes, onions, lettuce. For dessert, instead of Haagen-Dazs crazy ice cream, I'll have an easy shake, something that's not full of calories and all that jazz. Then I walk my dog and I get in the low end of the pool and walk because I'm not a swimmer. I exercise every night on stage when I do my performance for 90 minutes, and half the time I might be on the floor rolling and that's truly exercise. I do everything that I can to stay young and to stay healthy, not that I wanna be a young girl because I'm 73, but I don't want my body to feel 73, so I do the best I can.

HL: How do you keep your skin looking so much younger than your age dictates?

PL: I'm blessed with the good genes. My mother and father, before they passed, their skin was beautiful. I use Vaseline to take my make up off and rub my body with Vaseline and La Mer face cream. I've been using Le Mer for some time. I've been using Vaseline all my life. And that's all I do. I drink a lot of water and I just keep my diet clean.

HL: What can your fans look forward to from you as an artist? What's coming next?

PL: My Christmas album with friends, Ruben Studdard, Vivian Green, Tamela Mann, came out 26th of November, and my cooking show on the Cooking Channel started on November 25th. I'm filming a show with Lee Daniels, called "Star." I'm playing the mother of Queen Latifah and Brandy. And I'm still touring. That will never stop.

HL: What is your number one health tip?

PL: To get up and do that water thing- drinking water- as much as you can in the morning. I do my water-water-water before I do my one cup of coffee. I walk around and try and get these bones moving, play with my little puppy. I just do those things that I know are right for me, and that will keep me probably here for another 100 years. And I cannot eat all of that clogging food. Let it go. Fatty, salty food… I eat a lot of grape seed oil instead of butter. It's all about eating properly.

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