Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jamie Oliver Makes Me Sad.

***Disclaimer*** Before I get on my soapbox, let me preface this by saying I myself do not have a perfect diet. I am not vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, or anything. I don't even claim to buy 100 percent organic, all the time. I am also a pretty picky eater and don't love every single vegetable- but I do the best that I can do, just let like the rest of us.

Last night I came home from my kettleball class to an empty apartment since the boy was at grad school, and got excited when my friend reminded me that Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution premiered tonight. I really am not a big TV watcher, but I was pumped to have a show to watch that would keep me occupied before bedtime.

But instead of providing some mindless entertainment, the show just made me really sad. In some ways we have come so far as a country - running has never been so popular, healthy alternatives are popping up on restaurant menus everywhere (heck even McDonalds makes an effort) and vegetarianism is practically as mainstream as meat-eating. But then I see reminders like last night, and I realize how much farther we have to go.

For those who didn't watch - Jamie Oliver basically wants to give L.A. a food makeover. His first stop is to look at the food the school is serving to our children, which is obviously, processed and microwaved crap. BUT the L.A. Board of Education is blocking him from getting into schools. He attends a conference on "nutrition" in the schools system, hoping to get supporters, but instead finds himself in a lecture funded by the dairy industry showing "data" that flavored milk is a positive in schools (you know, because kids totally need all the extra sugar). He attempts to do his own demonstration on how much sugar kids consume from these milks by using a dump truck to fill a school bus fill of sugar - but maybe a handful of 20 parents actually show up. Because no one cares.  Later on in the episode, he wants to attempt to re-do a menu of a fast-food joint to see if he can make it more nutritionally sound, but of course none of the biggies want anything to do with him. A small mom-and-pop joint agrees to an initial meeting, but eventually rejects all of Jamie's ideas. Grass-fed beef is too expensive (who cares where your food comes from right?), it's not a "milkshake" if it doesn't contain 3 scoops of full-fat ice-cream, etc. etc. The owner because says he knows he is selling nutritional poison (that he admits that he wouldn't let his kids eat), he just cares making money.

I would love to brush this off as just one city - but really, this attitude is probably, no definitely, reflective of our entire country. Outside of those of us who actually do make an effort (and I realize if you're reading a blog about running and triathlons, I'm probably preaching to the choir here), nobody cares. They know what they are eating is unhealthy. They know their extra weight is putting them at risk for all sorts of health issues. They know they make an effort to exercise - even walk - more. But they don't.

I'm not saying that we all can't have our favorite meals once in a while (oh believe me, I love food, and we have some really fabulous restaurants in my area between southern CT, Westchester County and of course the city. And when I go to them, I'm not afraid to eat).  I'm not saying that everyone has to run 26.2 miles, or complete a triathlon, to be fit either.  But what's wrong with finding a little balance?

We have such a long way to go as a country in order to get healthy. And that just makes me really sad

Ok, that's the end my rant. Anyone else have the same frustrations, or am I completely off base?

5 comments:

  1. You definitely are not off base. I do see how food that is better for you is more expensive and that's very sad as well. However, there are kids who are being fed good for them food by parents who take the time and effort to show them the way. It's just sad that it's so few and far between. You might find this article interesting on how one man found how to feed those poverty stricken children in Vietnam: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/41/sternin.html

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  2. I'm new to your blog and liking what I see.

    I share many of these frustrations. I watched one episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution when he was in West Virginia. I didn't keep watching, as I don't watch much tv (and I especially don't care for "reality" tv), but I admire him and his goals.

    I'm not a parent, but I am very frustrated with school cafeteria food's nutritional value or lack thereof.

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  3. I watched Jamie's show last year and felt the same way you do. It's so sad, frustrating and maddening to see what is going on in the schools and how many barriers there are to get through before anyone can actually change things. Even though I think a lot of parents need to be more responsible and educated about nutrition for their children, they eat a lot of meals at school and therefore the schools should be more responsible about what they're serving. I hope it all changes someday - NYC schools are actually getting a lot better (salad bars, no frying), and hopefully other districs will slooowllly start to follow suit.

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  4. Thanks guys for your input - it's so reassuring to know that I'm not alone in my frustrations. I know I can't save the world, but it would be nice if there was some way to make a small difference...I'll let you know all if I come up with something, stay tuned!

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  5. I too share your frustration. It seems like health info is so pervasive its easy to assume everyone knows the 'right' healthy way to eat. But that's sadly so untrue. JO is fighting an uphill battle on his show and it is very sad.

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