My favorite part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution this Father’s Day week was Jamie’s visit back to the Barrett family to see if they have stayed away from fast food since his last visit. As Jamie strode up the sidewalk, he noticed that they were growing herbs and vegetables. The father and the teenage son answered the door in aprons, in the midst of preparing dinner for themselves and Jamie. They had even filled the living room with all kinds of produce in jest of Jamie filling their home with fast food on his last visit. The father stated that he had lost 16 pounds already and, most importantly, feels good about himself as a father now that he cooks and has dinner at the family table with his sons.
The episode started with Jamie visiting a convention for school lunch cooks. He let us know that it is not just the LAUSD, but he has also been denied access to 75 other school districts. The comments by the cooks and administrators made it clear that people are afraid of bad press.
I find it sad when we try to pretend that we are perfect and/or do not open ourselves up to improvement through real awareness. I work with people frequently who confess less than functional habits. Just because Jillian Michaels already works out daily, does not mean she is better than the person asking for help to start exercising more often. In fact, I often find that the person trying to make a change has more courage and is working harder than the person who has already developed a healthier habit. My favorite part of the school lunch cook convention was Jamie commenting on the fact that during airing of the Food Revolution, commercials for fast food or convenience food are also being aired.
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After the disappointment in the last episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it was a wonderful surprise to see that the administrator of West Adams High had hopefully found a loophole, so that Jamie and his kids could indeed cook for the entire school, at least as an assembly. The administrator said that the school was based on experiential teaching and preparing kids for college, so healthy eating fit right into their principles. In the mean time, Jamie continued his role of instructor, trying out different subjects beyond culinary arts.
In math class, Jamie taught about calories and consequences by allowing students to choose a snack between soda, chocolate bars, pizza, or oranges. He then allowed them to experience weight gain using weight backpacks. Jamie then took his math students out to the track having the students walk around the track enough times to burn the calories of what they had just eaten.
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If you are like me, you didn’t realize that ABC had snuck Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution back into the line up on a new day and time. Luckily, I was able to catch up on Hulu.com. Hopefully, the rest of the season will continue on Fridays at 9p EST.
In the third episode of the second season, Jamie finally made some progress with Deno at Patra’s who we saw last episode. Jamie offered to renovate the entire diner and join him live on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show if Deno would agree to upgrade the meat in his burgers from the patties he knows nothing about. Deno said that his concern was more about if his customers would like it rather than the extra 13 cents per patty, but he also spoke about the “bottom line” a lot in this episode. Jamie introduced Deno to Sophia, one of the students from West Adams High, who shared her story and her concern that fast food is the primary contributor to diabetes in her entire family.
I was appalled that Deno would argue to a crying teenager that fast food is a choice, just like alcohol or cigarettes. When a child is given fast food, whose choice was it to purchase it? When lower quality ingredients are used to make foods, whose choice was that? Yes, I choose not to eat fast food, and my coworkers have said they hide their “bad” lunch choices from my sight. Yet, I am disturbed by the lack of compassion and the choice to blame rather than to take responsibility for one’s own choices.
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The premier of season two of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was better than I had hoped. It had everyone in my house shocked and engaged. I couldn’t keep up with the discussion on twitter because #foodrevolution was a trending topic with hundreds of tweets every minute. If you missed it this week, I will catch you up. Hopefully you can join the conversation tweeting live with us next week.
This season Jamie is in Los Angeles, but he has been banned from the LAUSD school system. Even after going before the school board, not like a celebrity but like any other citizen in a three minute slot, Jamie was dismissed unceremoniously. At one point, Jamie stated that his welcome in Huntington, WV, reportedly the unhealthiest city in the U.S., was warm compared to the cold shoulder he was receiving in L.A. Because he was not allowed in the schools, he asked school children and their parents to bring him food items from the school. Jamie stated that it was the worst school menu he had seen anywhere (and twitter seemed to agree). It was revealed that to save money, food is only prepared in one kitchen for all the schools in L.A. – the meals were only warmed in house.
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The beginning of the year marked a turning point for schools in Mexico. In order to fight childhood obesity, a soda ban and new food guidelines were put into place. Unfortunately, the new food rules are proving to be too relaxed for the taste of some officials.
Mexico is among the most obese countries in the world and children are far from exempt in these statistics. To put it into numbers, one out of every three children in Mexico is overweight.
Schools in Mexico do not provide school lunches, but food and snacks are sold at recess. After long and painful negotiations with junk food moguls, officials stepped in to mandate what type of foods are allowed to be sold. Although considerable improvements were made, there is still a great need for change. Chips, candy and cookies continue to be readily available for children to purchase during school hours. After school, the situation worsens beyond the reach of the newly-set standards. Vendors eagerly wait outside for the throng of students to come pouring out. Nachos, ice cream and various confections tempt the children after a long day in class.
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