Jamie’s Chicken Nuggets…and, What’s Wrong With Fat?

I love Jamie Oliver and what he’s doing for the children of America. In my opinion, he’s one of the biggest heroes of our time. Having said that, I also believe there is room for some improvement.

What’s really wrong with the chicken nugget demonstration?

On Jamie’s second episode of Food Revolution, he is seen in his kitchen with a small group of kids showing them how processed foods – namely, chicken nuggets – are made. Standing there at a counter where a whole chicken sits, he tells them that the parts of the chicken like the breast (pointing out that it’s the most expensive), legs, thighs, and other more “recognizable parts” of the chicken are to be saved and eaten.

When the carcass is stripped from the meat, he goes on to tell them that the leftover components are really not useful and proceeds to hack it up and place it in food processor. “This”, he tells them, “is how chicken nuggets are made.” (not in America, but the demonstration is supposed to be for the effect of showing the kids how horrible chicken nuggets are).

At this point, I wanted to jump into the screen and yell, “but those parts are good for you to eat, just not like that!”

This scene was infinitely frustrating, but not because the children didn’t get the point he was trying to make; it was frustrating because traditional peoples all over the world use every part of the animal and bird. Why? Because this is where the most nutrient dense elements are found! Why didn’t Jamie tell the children that there is a good use for the carcass, and that some of the most vital nutrients come from it?

The entire point of why the nuggets were bad was lost. Children associate good taste with greasy slop from fast food. They don’t understand that you can take the carcass and make delicious, nutritious bone broth from it and it can be used in a variety of foods from soup to casseroles to rice, and the list goes on and on. And it’s not their faults, they’ve just never been taught!

The importance of real, traditional foods is still being completely missed by those who claim to know about nutrition. I love Jamie, I think he’s a hero in every way, he’s just missing this really important point that kids need to know. Kids think soup comes from a can, and don’t realize at all the versatility in a chicken carcass as to just how much food and nutrition it can provide. And it is not from grinding it up and putting it in a blender to put in gloppy cakes, coat in flour, and fry in toxic, industrial, vegetable oil.

Pastured animals and birds

The other thing that Jamie does touch on occasionally -which is good, but not emphasized enough – is that all meats and meat products that come from animals and birds on pasture are healthy to consume. We need real, saturated fats that are from healthy sources. They are some of our most important ways to obtain Vitamin A, D, E, and K – all nutrients that people in developed countries are in short supply of and desperately need to get more of in their diets.

Animals and birds on feedlots (and we don’t know the origin of this chicken he is preparing, now do we?) have obese meat from being fed soy and grains (cattle are ruminants and are not meant to eat grains), which is full of chemicals, antibiotics, and all manner of horrible substances we and our children should not be eating.

Animals and birds living on concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) do not get enough outdoor access and those important nutrients are not transferred to the meat from sunshine and grass – that’s where we get our Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Omega 3s and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (you know, the important stuff for our brains, hearts and circulatory systems).

Fat is good for you!

Which brings me to the next point, which is the one about fat. Fat has been made into a criminal, but rarely do people differentiate between good and bad fats. To modern health and science, saturated fats are the enemy. But to people who have lived all over the world, generations of children have been raised on good, real, saturated fats. Why would those substances just suddenly be bad for us to eat? They’ve been around for millennia, while the new fats created by hydrogenation, genetic modification, deodorization, and all manner of horrible processes are being heralded as fantastically healthy for us. And yet, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are epidemics to our culture. More than several times Jamie refers to how unhealthy fats are, but we know he knows better!

I’m so glad Jamie is doing what he is, and I really commend him for his efforts. I hope as time goes on, he’ll impress on these important points. Jamie is a smart man – I’ve heard him talk about locally-raised foods, pasture-raised meats, and even raw milk (hey, the Queen of England drinks it!), so it’s only a matter of time before this information starts to become more well-known by the average person. I also think if a lot of people were to send letters to Jamie and comment on his web site, there might even be a positive response.

There is a forum on Jamie’s site and I would encourage everyone to go on there and leave their comments. Please take a moment and express your views about these important topics, and let’s give Jamie 150 percent of our support! Thanks for all your hard work Jamie!

Want more information about school lunches?
Disturbed About What Your Kids Are Eating In School?
Hormones In The Milk – Do You Know What Your Kids Are Drinking
Changing The Face Of School Lunches – There’s Still A Lot Of Work To Do
Meals For Children – Restaurants and School Lunches Are Lacking In Nutrition
Want more information about traditional diets eaten around the world and how critical they are to health? Visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sad Changes In The Standard American Diet

11 Comments

  • April 2, 2010 - 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Thank you, Raine, for writing this post. I applaud Jamie’s efforts to improve school food but was also uncomfortable with his criticism of fat in the lunch program. It’s the oils we need to beware of. Children are not even allowed the choice of whole milk any more. Sugar, HFCS, bleached flour, and trans fats abound, though.

  • April 2, 2010 - 8:46 AM | Permalink

    Cathy – absolutely! I love Jamie so much and I definitely want him to receive all the support he deserves, as he’s doing an invaluable service to the children and to the whole country to raise awareness about important subjects that all affect food – social, mental, physical, academic, economic, political,and environmental.

    Like you, I also think it’s a shame children are not offered whole milk in schools. I was talking about that with a friend the other day, and she was saying how people don’t even seem to mind the taste, when it’s clearly gross. Gaaacckk!

  • April 2, 2010 - 8:51 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for writing this, Raine. I was waiting all week for one of you trailblazers to write this! I am so glad you did. But remember that Jaime is a stepping stone– just one baby step in the whole process. And when you think about it, what he is doing is actually a HUGE step, even if it isn’t exactly the way we want it to be. As a Yoga therapist I teach this stuff all day long to my clients, and trust me, its a slippery slope. You have to meet people where they are. You have to give them what they need, wrapped in what they want. And most importantly, you have to take small baby steps that are *sustainable*, so they don’t just slide back down to where they were (or worse) a month later. The reality is there are a LOT of people not ready to listen to what we know about fat, oil and cholesterol, yet. So you begin with what they can hear and absorb– cooking at home vs. fast food, shopping at farmer’s markets instead of the center of the grocery store, and trying one new real food dish each week. It may seem small, but I guarantee it will lead to more growth and commitment in a way that truly changes our world, one chicken nugget at a time.

  • April 2, 2010 - 8:57 AM | Permalink

    Kate – you are so right, and I couldn’t agree more. I think small steps are fantastic, especially when you look at how far we’ve come already in just the last few years of the sustainable food movement. I really hope he can help that adorable family, the Edward’s, on his show. That mother is so sweet and kind, and she just wants the best for her kids. When she started to cry after talking with Jamie, I just wanted to grab her and hug her. She’s a good mom and just needs a little help. Her children will benefit so much from what he’s doing for them, and for that I am really grateful. :)

  • April 2, 2010 - 10:52 AM | Permalink

    I know! I started twitching when he said that was the bad stuff. Better to have the piles of awful chemical additives and to show the gross conditions of the factory chickens and slaughterhouses to prove a point, but that’s just my opinion!

    I do like the show overall. I was one of the kids raised on nonfat milk that had to get used to the taste of whole milk. Kind of funny stuff

  • April 2, 2010 - 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Cara – I can’t even remember what we were drinking when I was a kid, but I know it was industrial milk. I’m just not sure whether it was non-fat or 2 percent. In either case, I know it contributed to decline my overall health during many years of my life.

    I had a conversation today with my Dad, who still doesn’t think we should be drinking raw milk. He said, “weren’t you drinking the other milk before you started drinking raw milk?” And I’ve explained this before to him, but I said again, “yes, but we hadn’t drank pasteurized milk for many years because it was making us not feel well”. And he said, “well how do you know it was because of the milk?” Then I said, “well the whole time we were drinking pasteurized milk we had health issues, but since we started drinking the raw milk, those problems have disappeared.” Still, he doesn’t believe me though.

    This was particularly true for my husband who had congestion, mucous, difficulty remembering things, and other problems every day of his life, for many years. When we connected it with the dairy, it took him a long time to give it up. Finally when he did, it was like a huge fog had lifted and his chronic allergies stopped. He had been on Claritin for ten years to stop his allergies and then he became immune to it and it ceased to be effective.

    When I started hearing about raw milk, I wondered if we could consume it. So I had a bottle of it shipped to me from Organic Pastures and had no problems. My son was also diagnosed with a dairy allergy around the same time. The nutritional therapist we were seeing at the time didn’t really know what to think about the raw milk, but we continued drinking it and never had problems at all. We’ve been drinking it for over 3 years, and all of our health has improved. Of course, we do a lot of other things in our diets differently too…so I don’t attribute all of our changes just to the milk, but I know it has made a big difference. It makes me sad to think that most of those children in the schools will never drink raw milk and will continue to be offered toxic, poisonous milk to drink. And it’s not just because of the cost, but because people falsely believe that raw milk is dangerous to consume and changing the laws are next to impossible to accomplish. I hope we can, though!

  • Pamela
    April 15, 2010 - 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more and I had the same thoughts when watching Food Revolution. It’s a really great effort but a few things missing. Thanks for the suggestion to leave feedback on Jamie’s website.

  • May 11, 2010 - 9:46 PM | Permalink

    Wonderful stuff.. really very informative. I’ll grab the RSS feed and will stay tuned for more. Oh, and I threw you a StumbleUpon vote ;)

  • April 18, 2011 - 11:56 AM | Permalink

    I thought of posting this comment on his website, but couldn’t find that clip to do so

    “Hey, Jamie. Why didn’t you go ahead and show those kids the real way to use that chicken carcass – make some good chicken soup!”

  • Angie
    April 19, 2011 - 12:41 PM | Permalink

    I agree with you 99% – Jamie Oliver is tackling suge a HUGE issue that he can’t possibly go into depth with every example he shows. He did practically the same thing with the cattle bones but seeing the meat cleaned with ammonia was enough for my kids to never want McD’s again!! If we can get kids of America thinking about their food, they’ll ask their parents to think about where the food comes from and then they’ll see all of these wonderful posts about chicken carcasses and their many many uses! One day at a time folks!

  • April 20, 2011 - 9:21 AM | Permalink

    I had the exact same response to that demo he did about what was in the chicken nuggets!! Great post Raine!!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>