I’ve watched his show, “Food Revolution,” on ABC since it premiered, (and honestly, my decision to watch it had nothing to do with his zexy accent…I swear…) and I was all about it instantly. I’d started WW a few months prior, so I was seated firmly in the “I’m all about getting healthy!” bandwagon. Shoot, I was driving the bandwagon.
For anyone not following this show, it chronicles Jamie’s attempt to help the town of Huntington, W. VA become healthier. He works with families, schools, and local organizations by trying to educate people about food and attempting to change the school food program.
The program is pretty shocking, to be fair. Early on in the series, Jamie enters an elementary classroom with a table of fruits and vegetables. He holds up vegetables and the kids can’t tell him what they are. Obviously, being a reality TV show, one must realize that they probably edit it to make it look exactly how they want it to look (i.e. SHOCKING!), BUT if even half of what they showed were true, honest responses from the children, then it’s a sad commentary on the state of education, to say the least.
I may not have known how to add in 2nd grade but I sure as hell knew what a tomato was.
What else is shocking, and this is shown in the talk (linked above) is his visit to a woman’s house. He pulled out all the food that the family eats in a week and the table was a sea of fried, greasy brown food. There were no fresh fruits, vegetables, or meats in her fridge or freezer. Everything came from a box.
Now, obviously I’m not exactly one to talk as far as healthy eating, because we all know I’m not the patron saint of healthy food. If I was, I wouldn’t be the weight I am now and needing to lose it. I also might be able to pass a Cadbury Creme Egg without salivating.
However, what I can say is that I did this to myself. I mean, truly. When I was a child, my parents cooked what Jamie would call “real” food. Pasta and sauce for dinner, eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch…We didn’t eat a ton of processed food, and we barely ate fast food. It wasn’t until I got my drivers license that I started to eat a lot of junk.
When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to have any cereal that turned the milk a different color. I used to joke and say that if you ate the lucky charms fast enough, it didn’t have the chance to turn my milk pink. Mom was generally unamused and would then hand me the box of rice krispies.
We also weren’t allowed to have kool-aid, which killed my social life in 6th grade, let me tell you. My friends always wanted to go to the house of the girl whose mom let them have kool-aid. Boo and hiss.
Another difference was that my lunch was often packed for me. I didn’t start buying school lunches until later in middle school, and even then it was only occasionally. I really started buying it a lot in high school, once I had a job and could pay for them myself. The school chicken nuggets kicked the crap out of my nasty (in my eyes, anyway) tuna sandwich.
In all seriousness though, what I notice about a lot of the people on the show (and again, it might be the editing) is that many of these kids don’t have access to healthy food. Certainly, in the case of the family Jamie works with, this seems to be the case. They eat fried, processed food at home. They eat fried, processed food at school. When, exactly, are they supposed to eat “real” food?
I was very lucky in that I had access to that food, and now, in my WLJ, I know how to cook and how to plan meals. I know what I have to do. Sadly, I think a lot of the people on the show truly don’t.
Anyway I guess the point of this was to share Jamie’s talk on ted.org. So…yeah. Go watch it! If you’ve watched the show on ABC, it’s a lot of the same stuff but he’s amazing and charismatic and wonderful, so it doesn’t feel like you’ve heard it all before.