Food Revolution - Would you join?

by Amanda Lanum 

I don't know how many of you have heard about this new show on ABC called "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," but I just started watching it last week. Jamie Oliver is a chef from England who has made it his mission to change the way Americans think about food. The premise of the show is that Jamie has gone to Huntington, West Virginia - the most unhealthy city in the most unhealthy country in the world (the U.S. of course), according to a report Jamie read. This inspired him to bring his revolution to America. By revolution, I mean that he's trying to get people to realize what we put in our bodies and convince them to use fresh foods and get off of our addiction to processed and fast foods.

Watching this show has been completely disturbing to me. One of the biggest concerns is probably the reception Jamie received coming into town. A radio host talked to Jamie on his show multiple times. The guy insists Jamie is wasting his time because people want to eat what they want to eat, that Jamie's message is not important. The thing is, people are passing these things on to their kids. They are dying at high rates due to obesity-related causes. One mom that Jamie talks to says, "I am killing my kids. Literally." Now that's something to think about. Sure that food sustains us and keeps our bodies moving (not at their best, but efficient enough to get by... for now), but do you think about what it's doing to the inside? Does it bother any of you to think that the food you feed your family is slowing down their organs? That it could lead to heart disease, diabetes and early death? When you consider those things could come from that frozen pizza or fried chicken... is it still tough to talk yourself out of putting it into your body and putting it into the little bodies of your growing children?

That might be the biggest eye-opener of this show - the effect on children. Part of Jamie's mission is to change school lunch in Huntington schools. In the first episode Jamie went into the classroom and asked kids at the elementary school to identify different vegetables that he had. They could not name simple "real" foods such as a potato, eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes... It was ridiculous! But of course every student was able to tell him what the french fries were.

Then in the lunchroom of that elementary school, kids were eating pizza for breakfast, chicken nuggets almost everyday, and drinking flavored milks packed with sugars. Jamie was allowed to cook fresh food meals as long as they met guidelines. He outlawed frozen meat patties and flaky packaged potatoes and brought in real, fresh foods to replace the processed ones. An issue he ran into on the last episode: not enough veggies in his veggie pasta (even though he had seven different kinds!) to meet guidelines. But french fries count as a veggie serving. FRENCH FRIES COUNT AS A VEGETABLE FOR YOUR KIDS. The problem here, he says, are federal guidelines. The good news is Mrs. Obama has taken on the issue of childhood obesity as one of her projects because for the first time in history, kids are not expected to live as long as their parents.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a piece of pizza every so often just as much as the next person, but it seems moderation is a term Americans need to get back in touch with, along with healthier food choices. How about just "food" choices period? When was the last time you looked at the ingredients on something you ate and didn't recognize most of what is in it?

If you want to know more about the Food Revolution, go here --->

Bottom line: convenience and a few minutes of pleasure for your taste buds is not worth the effect some of these things have on your body. It doesn't, in all honesty, cost much more time or money to prepare a fresh meal or to have nutritious snacks on hand. The human body is amazing; wouldn't you like to know what it can do at it's optimum level? When it's not bogged down with chemicals and junk?

I'd like to hear your thoughts, issues, struggles or commitments when it comes to eating. Go!

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