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Help Your Child go Back to School Safely with a Peanut Allergy

My son has a severe, life threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. We discovered this food allergy when he was two years old and we just could not figure out why he had severe asthma, requiring multiple emergency room visits, steroids and the like. He also randomly developed enormous hives all over his body and had difficulty breathing when the hives occurred. We took him to an allergist who tested him with both a skin test and a blood test, and we learned of the severity and breadth of the allergies.

Food allergies are different from food intolerances. A food intolerance can cause stomach upset, gastric distress, and possibly digestive issues in the form of diarrhea and constipation. Many people claim that they have a food allergy when a food does not agree with them, and this diminishes the severity for those with a true, life threatening allergy. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system, and is most often triggered by the so called “Big 8″.  These eight foods account for 90% of all food reactions and are milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, sesame, wheat and soy.

You may hear of a person outgrowing their food allergies, but peanut and shellfish most often remain as lifelong allergies. A food allergy affects the breathing and heart and can, if not stopped in time, lead to death. People who have been diagnosed with a food allergy are often prescribed an epi-pen, an auto-injector of epinephrine that must be injected into the upper thigh to stop the reaction.


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Black Students Affected More by Soda Ban

A new study is suggesting recent state policies that eliminate junk food from school concessions has been successful, but more so with black students.

Daily soda consumption has dropped twice as much with black students. Overall consumption of soda in the states with junk food bans has dropped by an average of .09 servings of soda each day. However, among black students is dropped .19 servings per day.

“Soda is widely considered to be a contributor to the increase in obesity because it has been associated with excess energy intake and weight gain” wrote the study’s authors. “It became a larger source of energy intake among adolescents during the same period that obesity prevalence increased.”
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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Hope For the Future

The last episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ended with a teaser about the appointment of a new superintendent for the LAUSD. This final episode of the season began with Jamie meeting with Mike of MLS at Patra’s restaurant.

Deno, Patra’s owner, reported that business had continued to be good with his new healthier menu. Mike informed Jamie (and us) that the new LAUSD school superintendent was willing to grant autonomy to schools that can show results. I also learned that schools are not eligible for reimbursement for the free lunch program if they do not serve flavored milk. Later, when we get to meet the new superintendent, he says that he wants to get rid of flavored milk in LAUSD schools, which we now know that he has accomplished. Jamie predicted that with Los Angeles taking such a proactive move, that soon we may see flavored milk eliminated from schools around the country.

With the new superintendent, Jamie was allowed to go back into West Adams High, even into the school kitchen, where he and his culinary arts students got to try out the new healthier school menu items.


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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Reminds Americans “You Deserve Better”

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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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Lessons Learned

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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