Tag Archives: Jamie Oliver

Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

Food Revolution Day – What Is Your Role in Spreading the Word About Sustainable Food?

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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.
When so much is riding on the choices we make about what we feed ourselves and our children, when disease numbers are showing nothing but an upward trend, and when we’ve done the same things over and over again – followed the advise of doctors, health experts, dietitians, the FDA and the USDA to no avail – something needs to change. 

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.

 

 

 

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family

Don’t Miss Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – Season Two!

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I got so jacked up when Jamie Oliver’s first season of Food Revolution was on last year. I had such high hopes for the outcome of his visit to Huntington, VA. Although he didn’t achieve his desired goal of changing the food in the schools of this city, he did make a lasting impression and changed the lives of many people who live there.

Jamie spent years in his home country of Britain changing the way schools fed their children. He has most recently been working with L.A. Unified School District – the nation’s second largest school districts – trying to revamp the school lunch program there for the second season of his show.

See clips from last season and previews here. The new season will start on Tuesday, April 12th.

Here are some of the highlights from last season in Huntington, WV: I love how Rhonda McCoy, director of Food Services, says that they don’t want to eliminate the sugary milk because kids won’t drink it without.  If you remember back to just how bird-brained this woman is, she’s the one who told Jamie one day at the school that there weren’t enough vegetables being served that day (even though he and the staff carefully prepared and weighed all the vegetables to make sure there was the recommended amount), and said to add french fries because they are considered a vegetable (fried in rancid vegetable oil…YUCCKKKHHH!).

She’s also the one who said that things weren’t working out because the kids weren’t eating the food, and that if Jamie wanted the program to continue, he would have to do “a lot  better than what he’s shown us in the first couple days.” Showing her complete aversion to a program that serves children healthy food, and the fact that she wasn’t even willing to give it time – which, with anything like this, time has to be given in order to instill good habits in children who have been used to eating junk for so many years. It’s not going to happen overnight. Jamie firmly impressed that we should give the kids what we should give them, and they’ll get used to it. Go Jamie!

My thoughts about the school lunch program

For many years I’ve been active and vocal about school lunch reform. I spent over a year in my own city spearheading an effort to change the school lunch program in my son’s district. We brought the film Two Angry Moms to our city. Then we went back to home schooling for a year and my efforts on that project stopped. Since then, even with the efforts of other parents, nothing has changed. Now my son attends a public charter school and there is no lunch program. I’m a co-chair of our lunch committee and we’ve spent our time on various measures to help the families of our school be more aware of sending healthy, nutrient-dense foods with their children for lunch. Last fall, we had two holistic health counselors come and give classes for the parents to help teach them some simple ways to prepare nutritious foods that will give their kids the support they need while growing and learning.

I see some of the obstacles to improving school lunch (besides the huge piles of government bureaucracy about funds and “standards” created by the USDA about fat content) being the fact that most of the staff in the schools are incredibly rigid about the changes Jamie wants to make. They have done things a certain way for so long, they just don’t want to make the needed changes – whether it’s because it takes to long to prepare something or it’s just something they are completely unfamiliar with how to prepare.

I have to say, cooking has always been a challenge for me. I’m still nowhere as proficient at it as I’d like to be and feel like a total novice. And yet, I prepare just about everything in our house from scratch that I possibly can. I’m certainly no master at traditional foods like fermenting or culturing vegetables or sourdough breads, and I’m not great at trying new recipes or procedures that are new to me. But I still make all our meals from scratch.

As one example, we’ve started making all our beans from scratch by soaking them at least overnight (sometimes longer) in filtered water and apple cider vinegar, and then cooking them and adding lard to make authentic, traditional refried beans. If you make large batches up at a time, you can freeze and use later. We also make all our stocks and bone broths from scratch. When I have enough raw milk,  I make my own home-made yogurt. With a little planning, practice, and preparation, anyone can do simple things like this to improve the food they eat for themselves and their families.

What can you do to improve the quality of your child’s school lunch program?

  • Get involved. Parents who make their voices heard cannot be ignored!
  • If your child attends a public school, send your child healthy lunches every day.
  • Use fresh, real ingredients and avoid processed, prepared, canned, and jarred foods. Use leftovers from last night’s dinner in a thermos or hot pack, send fresh meats, seafood, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, organ meats, whole milk yogurt, almond butter, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other whole foods
  • Go organic or sustainable, if possible.
  • Avoid processed, industrial meats, eggs, cheese, and fats like canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil (check labels). Do use traditional, healthy fats in your cooking and with your children’s meals like butter, lard, tallow, olive oil, and coconut oil.

How does healthy food support your child’s health?

Your child’s growing brain, nervous and immune systems, and whole body need nutrient-dense foods found in healthy fats and proteins to be successful in his or her future.

The USDA Food Pyramid recommends limiting calories and fats, and eat more grains. But this advice is actually counter to the foundations of health. Grains are not easily absorbed by the digestive tract, making the nutrients in these foods hard for the body to use. And, consumption of grains can actually lead to the loss of nutrients in the body (including the bones, where critical nutrients like minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron are stored).

Nutrients from fats and proteins are easily assimilated in the body and contain more of what children need for energy and growth, and foods containing fats are some of the most nutrient-dense available. Since fat is more nutrient dense and provides the necessary energy in the most efficient way, why are we not taught that these are the foods which are the most important foundational elements of our modern diets? People all over the world for thousands of years have eaten traditional fats for health and survival, and our children should too.

Vegetables are important for children, but they are seldom prepared in a way that can be most easily digested. Vegetables contain nutrients that should be accompanied by fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods for absoption, which is why serving salads with healthy fats like olive oil and vinegar or steamed vegetables with butter is so important, and makes them especially delicious.

Sign Jamie’s petition and join the revolution in your community!

Nourishing Our Children

Farm to School

Chef Ann Cooper

Fed Up With Lunch – The School Lunch Project

Chez Panisse Foundation – School Lunch Reform

This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival