Friday, April 2, 2010

My Personal Food Revolution

Dear Amy,

I’m disturbed. Let me clarify that statement…yes, I am disturbed in general (wink), but I am particularly disturbed about the eating trends of the general public. And although I’m vigilant about what we eat in my own house, I need to do better.

There’s a new show on TV called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I’ve seen Chef Jamie Oliver on the Food Network before. He’s entertaining to watch and makes everything look simple and fun…and he’s not big on exact measuring, which I love because I’m not either.

A couple of weeks ago, this new show aired. The premise of the show is this: Jamie goes to the most unhealthy city in America (based on government statistics, death rates, etc.), which happens to be a city in West Virginia, for a few months to start a food revolution. He wants to teach the public how to eat healthier. He wants to change the school lunch program to freshly made whole foods. He works with a family one on one. He offers cooking classes to the public. IT’S. RIVETING. You can watch the first two episodes online here.

In watching the first couple of episodes, I’m struck by how completely unhealthy most of us are and how resistant to change people are. On his first day in town, Jamie walks into a local elementary school and sees the kids eating breakfast…a breakfast of pizza—cheese-laden, pepperoni-topped pizza. FOR. BREAKFAST.

My kids are not yet school age, so I’m not super aware of what is now served as hot meals at school. We ate school lunch growing up, and it probably wasn’t the most healthy, but I don’t remember it being particularly unhealthy. I was shocked to see over the course of this episode what we feed our children at school. And when Jamie offered to prepare healthy, fresh meals, he was met with such resistance and so much red tape, it made me shudder.

I understand the need to keep costs down and to create a streamlined system for food preparation. A school is a business and needs to account for cost and follow certain guidelines. I understand all of that. It just seems that we are focusing on all the wrong things. That’s all I’ll say because I want you to watch the episodes online.

Remember that we spent some time at the big indoor water park this week? We weren’t allowed to take in any food or drink to gently encourage us to eat at the one snack bar in the park. We did eat lunch in the park and were forced to look to the snack bar for sustenance. Very disappointing. We had to choose between hotdogs, hamburgers and a variety of fried foods. We rarely eat out and even more rarely eat fast food…practically never, in fact. I don’t want that in my body or in the sweet bodies of my boys. I so wish that snack bar had some other options…perhaps some yogurt, fresh fruit, granola bars, maybe some wraps. This snack bar, like any other, is a business. And their bottom line is making money. It would seem that if the demand were there for healthier options, they would be provided. I vow to make my desire for healthier food known the next time I’m there.

Starting next Tuesday, our family food revolution begins. We do eat relatively healthy. I’m vowing to do better. Starting on Tuesday, we are going sugar and caffeine free.OUCH! Let me repeat that. OUCH! I. LOVE. SUGAR. I. LOVE. CAFFEINE. This will be extremely difficult to say the least. I know my body is dependent on these substances and I don’t want that anymore. I want to be free of unhealthy dependencies. This will most likely kill me. DEAD. I have already warned everyone I know that I will be a completely different beast next week and to please steer clear for their own safety. Headaches and a full-body rebellion are expected.

We are also going to eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods. I would like to go processed-food free, but I need to look more closely at the logistics of that before I commit.

In watching Jamie Oliver’s show, I was struck by how most elementary school kids could not identify basic fruits and veggies. I want my kids to be very hands-on in our garden this summer and every summer. I want it to be an integral part of their lives. I want them to know where food comes from, how it grows, how to harvest it, how to preserve it and how to prepare it. They are sponges and now is the time to instill good values and habits.

I’m stepping down now. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I feel super strongly about it. Wish us luck. I am so going to need it.

So, peeps, anyone want to create their own food revolution?

Have a great weekend!

Love, Kate


talesofahummingbird said...

i am right there with you starting my own at-home food revolution....i have big goals but i am just trying to make one change at a time. i've started cooking whole chickens a few times a month and then using the bones to make homemade chicken stock which lends itself to lots of homemade soups. i'm planting a garden. i'm choosing to buy poultry that is grass fed, hormone free, etc. i'm choosing to shop for produce at the farmer's market. and planning ahead on meals and finding new recipes that are all real food ingredients instead of canned/processed/chemical ingredients. its extra work but its so worth it. good luck on your journey, am looking forward to hearing about it!

Amy said...

Best wishes to you. I know it will be difficult, but you can do it. They may have to put you in some sort of sugar detox facility, but other than that it will be great! Keep me posted!! I also want to do better living on more fresh foods. I haven't come up with the particulars, but I will let you know. I am always interested in a more healthy lifestyle.

Magen said...

Kate, I know exactly how you feel. Recently we have also been doing a lot of thinking about this. We have made the switch to eating whole foods as much as possible and we rarely eat meat anymore. There are a few books that are really great if you are interested...check out Clean Food at your local library for eating in season... also, I recently wrote a post on Food Rules which is a very simple book that is VERY helpful! Good luck and thanks for the heads up on the show...i've never watched it but will.

Destri said...

I am a complete failure. Seriously. I so need to work on this. When I had my some I thought I would be the healthiest mama on the block, but then it turned out I wasn't. Sometimes I do better, but for the most part I need to do more. I have heard so much about this show, I will have to watch it!
Good luck, keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Katie! You have encouraged me as well to do better. Let's help each other. Keep me posted on what works for you. C. Rae

Sandra said...

Wow Kate I really admire you. We try to eat healthy around here too but we like our sweets. I wish I could swear off it like you have but I know I will fail if I do that. We are trying for dessert once or twice a week instead of every night. I hope you succeed. It would be very motivating to know that it is possible to survive such a system shock!

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