Today is chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day, and I just want to highlight the importance of creating your own Food Revolution where you live by making an effort to be aware of how the choices you make in the food you eat impacts your children’s health, your own health, and that of your community.
Our health and view of food has hit an all-time low, and it’s up to us – the individuals in our communities – to make positive changes wherever we can. This is not only important for us but for those who come after us, our children, and their children, and so on.
Here are some sobering statistics about the state of our children’s health:
- In the last 30 years childhood obesity has more than tripled!
- Approximately12.5 million children and adolescents are obese.
- 25.8 million children & adults in the U.S. —8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
- In a classroom of 30 students 1 to 3 children have ADHD.
- 1 in 88 children is autistic.
- Studies show nutrition makes a difference of over 20 IQ points—which is the difference between below average and average intelligence, and exceptionally bright.
How I’m spreading the word
Besides my work for clients in writing and health coaching, blogging, and posting information on social networks, I do local work too. Over the years I’ve organized various events and gatherings to encourage people to support their local sustainable food system and why this is so important.
This week I prepared and gave 2 Weston A. Price/Nourishing Our Children-style presentations to the 4th and 5th grade classes at a local school in my city – Rolling Hills Charter School. I was invited to come and speak because I have a friend whose daughter attends the school.
I was delighted to visit this small, intimate school nestled on the edge of our city and meet some of the amazing students and faculty who make up this community. I’ll be returning next fall to do similar presentations to the 6th – 8th grade classes since their school year is coming to an end next week and I’ve been very busy with projects this spring.
Because of this willingness and openness of this school to hear the presentation I gave and their positive attitude toward the message I brought, I have high hopes that one of the best ways to get the message of real food across in the school environment is through charter schools, where parents have more of a say in what goes on and the environment is very different than that of most public schools. My own son attends a fantastic charter school, Sage International Charter School, and I’m going to be talking with the principal soon about doing this presentation at our school.
What can YOU do?
- Get involved in your local community and in the schools your children attend. Help spread awareness and education about the consequences of the highly-processed foods we eat that negatively affect our health. Learn about the big difference a nutrient-dense diet can make in your child’s health, attitude, growth, development, academic and physical performance, and future.
- Please sign the petition on Jamie Oliver’s site as a way to make a difference in your own community and for children everywhere.
- Get intimate with your food. Start supporting local farmer’s and food growers, and ask questions when you buy
- Learn about the dangers of GMOs – genetically modified foods – and how you can avoid them
6 replies on “Food Revolution Day – What Is Your Role in Spreading the Word About Sustainable Food?”
I would like to know more about what Jamie Oliver is advocating. I found his website to be pretty general and superficial.
I understand that the Los Angeles School District adopted his suggestions, but the result was terrible, consisting of soggy vegetarian dishes that were so bad that the school kids were smuggling fast food into the schools in their back packs. The schools started carrying the old items because the new, vegetarian themed items were so bad. I think that is the schools responsibility, but it left me with some questions.
Do you know if Jamie is advocating vegetarian meals?
Or whether he is advocating low fat?
Thanks for your help.
Stanley – Jamie’s program does have some things in it I’m not crazy about, but he’s moving in the right direction, I think, because of his repeated insistence – which he talks about frequently in his videos on knowing where your food comes from. He has also mentioned grass-fed and pasture raised meats. In the video I showed, he talks about how the meat comes from “parts” of the animal and implies that this isn’t good…but then he says he’s all for eating hamburger, just not from that type of source. I think that’s great that he gets the kids thinking about this. Here’s the video I used in my presentation where he shows how pink slime is made:
During my presentation, I was certain to tell the kids that all meat is good for you, all the parts, but it MUST be from a sustainable, pasture-raised/grass-fed source. I also had a slide which showed what chicken nuggets look like when they are being made, and what’s pictured is a horrible slurry of wet, pink, meat-like substance coming out of a processing machine. Ironically – and I pointed this out – it looks an awful lot like the stuff he makes in the video I used to show the kids what’s in pink slime.
His program is far from perfect (and frankly, I haven’t seen anything that is), but I like that it’s getting people to talk about real food being brought into schools. Another thing I love is that he’s got a family and is really great and engaging with the kids, parents, teachers, and other school staff.
One thing I’m learning – now first hand since I spent two years trying to change our school lunch program in our school district, and since having done 2 presentations at a local charter school last week – is that you can’t go in and start expecting people right off the bat to drink raw milk and ferment vegetables. It just won’t happen. But you can start with basic building blocks of supporting the local food system and returning to real food. That’s something people can wrap their heads around and comprehend without too much opposition. I used elements from the Nourishing Our Children presentation and also several slides where I talk about the work of Dr. Weston A. Price.
The presentation I did had the major themes I think were the most important for the take home message: know where your food comes from, eat organic, avoid processed foods and GMOs – and I explained and defined what all of those things were, and they were recurring ideas that came up throughout the presentation.
I watched both seasons of his show, both the 1st and 2nd, and I had no idea he was using vegetarian food. All I know is the school in L.A. resisted his suggestions. Ever since this show started, I’ve watched the videos he made and the shows in the series, and I have never heard him talking about eating vegetarian foods. Once or twice I have heard him make references to fat, but I’ve never heard him use the term “low-fat” or skim, and it’s usually something he lumps in with other elements when he’s trying to discourage kids from eating other things like sugar, processed foods, and salt. But he always does it in the context of removing the bad elements of those foods, like the chicken nuggets or french fries, which we know are loaded with bad fats, preservatives, artificial colors/flavors, and all the other garbage. There was an episode on one of his shows where he took some kids who he specifically worked with during the series with failing health, and they went to a ranch and cooked their own food – with meat at the center of their meal.
Where did you hear that he was using vegetarian meals? I’m curious because I’ve never come across that in all the things I’ve read and all the videos/shows I’ve seen.
Raine, thank you for the detailed and informative explanation. It makes a great deal of sense to me. Certainly what he advocates is much better than the standard school lunch wasteland.
I did not hear directly that he was advocating vegetarianism. What I heard was that the LA School district said they had adopted his program, and most of the meals served in that district were vegetarian. It is entirely likely that they did a variation of his program on their own, now that you have explained the situation.
I asked the question because there seemed to be a connection between the LA School District and his program, and the district was serving mainly vegetarian meals at the time.
I think these school presentations you are doing are a terrific idea, and I hope that you get to do a lot more of them. The misinformation that people get in schools these days is appalling, and I am so glad that you had some opportunities to spread the truth to these children.
Stanley – I would not be surprised in the slightest if the school district, who showed great resistance to changing their menus, would try to slam Jamie’s efforts. I bet they went out of their way to make his program look as bad as possible, and perhaps they decided to make it vegetarian, but with the same basic ingredients as he advocated, minus meat. It seems odd that any school lunch program would only offer vegetarian choices, I know many of them offer vegetarian options on the menus – as I’ve seen those. But it all smells sneakingly suspicious to me like a move to try and make Jamie’s efforts look bad and blame it on him.
This sounds exactly like something the school district in our city would do. There were so many instances of the superintendent and the head dietitian trying to derail our efforts, and one of them happened when I and another mother from the district brought the film ‘Two Angry Moms’ to Boise in 2008. After watching the film, the first thing the head dietitian did was get up afterward and make the comment, “I’m so glad we’re one of the good guys!” To which all the onlooking parents in the audience showed their complete astonishment with a collective gasp. How she could think our district was serving good food was beyond me…especially after we made the effort to bring that film to Boise in the first place.
We also went through the food warehouse and picked out a number of ingredients in the meals that were being served and presented our findings the school district superintendent and other staff just how toxic these substances are. And yet, after all of this, the superintendent got up after our presentation was concluded and gave his glowing endorsement of the school lunch program: “I stand by my reputation when I say that I am proud our district offers nutritious and delicious meals to the children.” Blech.
You know, it would be just like the LA school district to do that. They are horrible. The menu items that they had were almost totally vegetarian, and emphasized beans and GMO corn.
After reading your responses, I think what they did had very little to do with Jamie Oliver, though they blamed him for it.
Sounds like you have a horrible school district as well, Maybe everyone does, these days.
LA is one of the most fascist areas of the nation. Recently, the health department was actually sending their employees to the homes of people who were on Organic Pastures Dairy customer list, demanding that they turn over their raw milk, in conjunction with a totally bogus recall.
Thank you foe educating me, Raine, as I understand the situation much better now.
Stanley – I agree, L.A. is fascist. I’m so tired of hearing reports coming from all over where people are getting their homes and businesses raided over the food they are consuming/buying, when there is plenty of crime and problems going on that should have the attention of our lawmakers and police and doesn’t. That’s why we must keep talking about these issues, they are becoming more visible and people are slowly waking up. With activism and effort, we can make sure these companies and unjust laws enforced by our government don’t completely take over the entire reality of our world.