Monday, March 29, 2010

Ready for the Food Revolution?

Forget the “War on Obesity.” There’s already a “War on Healthy Eating.” As a soldier for truth and tofu, I know of what I speak: I take the shots every day for the good and good-for-me food I eat (and enjoy).

And now, as a Mom, I take the shots for the nutritious, but apparently not “normal,” food I feed my daughter, like quinoa porridge. Processed chicken fingers are fine (says society), but an ancient grain that’s high in calcium and protein is highly suspect. Where are our priorities?

I do my homework. I read labels. I ask questions. I won’t settle. And, because of that, people around me think it’s okay to belittle me for feeding my daughter what is, essentially, real food. I honestly get asked questions like, “But you let her eat sugar, right?” And my daughter is not even one year old, yet.

Of course I don’t let her eat sugar! I am her parent, and I’m setting her up for a (long) lifetime of good health and good eating habits. It’s not always easy, but it’s always right.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for the last few, and I also eat a mostly organic, raw diet. Frankly, I’m tired of the abuse. As those around me get more and more obese and unhealthy, their attacks on my lifestyle now feel like desperate attempts to distract from the real issue: Eating unhealthy food is (get ready for it) unhealthy.

There are no two ways around it.

So, what is it about food? Why is it as bloody a battlefield as politics and religion? When I became a vegetarian, many of my relatives were upset. Upset? That I choose not to eat meat? That I care about other living things? That I want only what’s best to go into my body? What does that have to do with you?

I’ve come to understand that people are intimidated by change, never more so than when faced by change at the dinner table. Read Dr. Kessler's The End of Overeating, and you’ll see that it’s more than just all in our heads—it’s all in our society (and product marketing), too. But it is possible to buck the (sick) system, and make better choices . . . and to enjoy those choices, too.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a brilliant television show about just that. This show is on ABC Fridays at 9:00pm. This new series is “about how families eat, what kids get at school and why the diet of processed food and snacks is causing so many health and obesity problems.”

Sure, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a reality show (of which I’m not a big fan) but I’m so in love with the concept of revolutionizing the way Americans eat, that I’m willing to overlook a little creative editing and product placements.

British chef Jamie Oliver is known around the world for his back-to-basics approach to truly yummy cuisine; if you’ve ever seen his cooking show, you’ll know he tends to cook with ingredients he plucked himself from his garden. I like that.

I watched the premier of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and am rooting for Jamie and his quest. I’m also in a state of panic over the highly processed crap that serves as “food” in many American schools. As far as nutrition goes, our school system currently earns an F. Here’s hoping that, once the Food Revolution erupts, we’ll be on our way to that A. And while that might never include quinoa porridge, I am hoping it means a lot fewer chicken fingers.

Go Jamie—If your revolution needs a cheerleader, I'm here!

P.S. If you support Jamie's mission, sign this petition that Jamie hopes to take to the White House after the TV series airs, to show The President and First Lady how many people across the country really care about this and ask for their support.

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