Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food Revolution

I am a big believe and supporter of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  America is the most obese country in the world.  The Associated Press  stated that Huntington, WV was the unhealthiest city in the U.S. after the CDC report in 2008, This is based on data from 2006.  This report is what made Jamie decide to come to the U.S. and see if he could help positively impact the way Americans eat.  A lot of details I will be citing can be found on Jamie Oliver's website:  Check it out.
Jamie states: "I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!" 
I totally agree with this statement.  Slowly but surely Americans have stopped cooking real food.  I can tell you from my own experience that this is true.  My husband hates to wait to eat.  He has complained on numerous occasions that there isn't enough "quick and easy" meal choices for him in our house.  He is right about that.  I do a good job when it comes to more "adult" type meal choices. I try not to buy quick, microwaveable food.  However, I fail overall, because I do have frozen chicken nuggets, french fries and breaded fish fillets in the freezer.  The good news is that I'm trying really hard to stop purchasing those items.  My daughter is a fruit and veggie lover by nature and I'm thankful every day for that.  My son on the other hand won't touch a veggie unless it's a potato.  In my opinion (and Jamie Oliver's) a potato is not a vegetable but a starch.  I've told my son this and he has agreed to try and work with me on eating other veggies.  Once a week we go to the store and he picks a veggie to try.  He knows he doesn't have to like it but he does need to try it.  Weird as he is, he doesn't want to eat carrots or corn.  So far he's tried a variety of green veggies...artichoke, asparagus and celery.  Today we're going to shop again.  I'm wondering what his choice will be this time.  I am lucky that he will eat chicken and he actually likes "real" chicken a lot.  I've made homemade chicken nuggets/tenders and these have been a huge hit. 

I want to share Jamie's Platform with you:


“This Food Revolution is about changing the way we eat. We need to start cooking again, to make sure our children don’t grow up on a diet of processed food, at school or at home, and so they won’t have to battle obesity and diet-related illnesses when they grow up. Cooking is one of the most important skills a person can have and it has been proven that families who cook together eat better. A small change in your kitchen in could save the life of someone you love. America needs to do something now, before it’s too late.”

Do you know that obesity and diabetes are the only health problems getting worse in the U.S.?  Here's some states.  68% of adults are overweight.  1 in 3 Americans is obese.  If the rate of obesity continues at its current rate 43% of americans will be obese in 10 years.  People who are obese are likely to die 10 years earlier than a healthy person.  32% of american children are obese!  Here's a sad, eye catching fact Today's generation of children are predicted to be the first to die at a younger age than their parents due to obesity-related bad health.  Do you want this for your child(ren)?  I know I don't.  These facts scare me.  I (like most parents) want my children to live a better life than I have. If we continue to feed our children the way we have than these things will come to pass for them.  We need to make changes at home, at school, in our communities and in our nation as a whole.  We need to by pass the processed food and go back to the basics of cooking with fresh food.  Real food, as I'd like to call it.  Food without additives and perservatives.

We can set our mind to changing what happens at home.  But to change things at school we need to be aware of what's going on there and take steps to change it.  Most days I pack my children's lunches so I can control what they eat.  Yes, many days they have sandwiches with lunch meat but I am becoming more conscience of what I am buying.  I am trying to purchase lower sodium and healthier cuts of meat.  I make sure they always have fruit.  And I very rarely give them what I call a "sweet treat".  I try to steer away from cookies, brownies, candy or cupcakes.  Let me share a fact that floored me.  The National Dairy Council says flavored milk (8 ounces) has about 4 teaspoons (60 calories) of added sugar in it.  The Institute of Medicine estimates that kids are eating 19 (children) to 29 (teens) teaspoons of added sugar a day.  That is higher than even the recommended 5-9 teaspoons for adults.  It comes from sweetened drinks, candy, breakfast cereal and ice cream.  So, 4 teaspoons of added sugar to one 8oz flavored milk is way too much!  This was an eye opener.  My children like milk.  My son normally buys regular but my daughter loves chocolate milk.  So, I've made a pact with them to make healthier choices, especially when they're not with me.  She knows that she needs to pass on the flavored milk.  I hope she will make the right choice when I'm not there to remind her.
Another issue is that many people (especially the younger generation) does not know how to cook.  So, they find it easier to purchase cheap, prepackaged, processed food.  We need to teach them basic cooking skills and nutritional information so they can feed their families healthier.
Jamie states:  My Food Revolution is about bringing people together who care about the future of their children, about their right to good health and a proper diet. I know there are millions of people across America who care about these things and I’ve seen how, with a little confidence and basic knowledge, people quickly change the way they eat. This can happen all over America. We just need the support of your government, and your food and healthcare industries to do it.

Here's what changes he thinks our government can make to help school and our children.

1. Put meals cooked from fresh food at the heart of the school lunch program. Through the federal meal program, taxpayer dollars are being used to give 30.5 million kids in America a diet of processed food. Cheap nuggets, fries and snacks have no place in the school system. Kids need real food, not additives. Government regulations should ensure that the only food available in school is healthy food and balanced meals, cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. Raw food is only a health risk with bad ingredients and poor kitchen hygiene.

2. Find more money for better food. Across America, just $1 per child is spent on the food in a school lunch. It costs more to buy a cup of coffee. That’s not enough to put a good meal on the plate. The school meals sector cannot improve the quality of school food without more money. The £4.5 billion over 10 years proposed for the new child nutrition bill is half what President Obama has asked for. The promise of just six cents more per meal will not empower schools to make the changes that are so badly needed.

3. Make radical improvements to school nutrition standards. How can a portion of fries be classed as a vegetable when kids aren’t eating enough salad and greens? People are ticking nutrition boxes. No one is looking at the actual meal on the plate. School meal standards need to restrict processed foods and make freshly cooked meals the backbone of the service.

4. Love your lunch ladies. School cooks feed the nation’s children. They need recognition for the important work they are doing. Opening packets and reheating processed food has taken the skill and pride out of the kitchen. Funding is needed for training and equipment to help them start cooking from scratch again.

5. Put professional cooks in charge. Nutritionists and accountants aren’t professional cooks. Bean counters don’t know how to put good food on the plate. School nutrition teams need experienced caterers to run the kitchens.

6. Teach every child in America to cook. The food pyramid and nutrition lessons don’t teach kids the food skills they need for life. Every child should learn how to cook at school, and when they graduate, every child should have a basic knowledge of where food comes from, and know how to make 10 simple meals from scratch. Farm to School should be part of every child’s education.

I believe he is right.  He is also looking for our communities to support one another in helping to educate those that need it.  I think his community kitchen idea is right on target.  This is a great hands on way to bring people in and teach them the skills they need to cook healthy for their family.  He also states that corporate america must change.  The need to stop with their misleading food packaging.  All additives that add no nutritional value should be cut.  And the list goes on.
It takes one passionate person to start a revolution.  Jamie Oliver has done that.  Here's what we can do to make sure it continues.
1. Sign the petition on Jamie's campaign website Show government and industry how many of you care about the health of your children and what they get fed at school.

2. If you can cook, teach others. If you can’t cook, learn how. Pass on your food knowledge to your kids, your family, your friends. Pledge to make a meal from scratch with your family once a week. Don’t let cooking become a thing of the past.

3. Ask your child’s school these questions: - What’s the food like? Would I want to eat it? - How often are the meals cooked from fresh ingredients? - Exactly what is in the processed food on the menu?

- When will you stop serving junk food for school lunches? - When will my child be taught how to cook at school?

4. Complain. Start a letter campaign to supermarkets, food retailers, manufacturers, and fast food chains. I believe that the people of America are much more powerful than big business. Together you can challenge the food industry and demand better for your families, employees, and customers.

5. Know what’s in your food. Look at the label. If the ingredients list is full of things you don’t recognise, don’t buy it. If it has things you could find in your grandma's pantry, then do. You can make all the food in the world without these extra additives. Burgers, pizza, ribs, and pasta – the real versions don’t have all of that stuff in them.

I am a firm believer and supporter of Jamie's Food Revolution.  Please take a minute to check it out.  I hope you can become a believer and supporter to.  This is for the health of our children and future generations.  How can we turn our backs on them.  We've helped create them problem.  Now, let's help become part of the solution.  Our future depends on it!

Check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution every Friday

No comments: