Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food Revolution

I have been reading this blog: for several weeks. She or commenters often mention the television show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." I just watched the first episode on Hulu. I HIGHLY recommend that anybody who has ANY connection with children in the public school system watch this show and read this blog.

My own struggles with obesity, Type II diabetes and chronic pain issues in addition to Michael's dietary choices have made me very aware of food choices and diet. I love fast food. I love processed food. I was raised on a strange mixture of restaurant, homemade and processed/packaged food. I love it all. Fortunately I came out of it with the skills to cook homemade foods and a talent for adapting recipes to include whole food and whole grains. I don't always choose to do so or I wouldn't have so much trouble overcoming my health challenges. The reasons for my bad choices, however, are more self-esteem and emotional issues than knowledge or skill issues. It is AMAZING however, how so many people do NOT have the knowledge, the skills, or the education to really even have the choice to make. They settle for the status quo, not because of a self-esteem or other psychological issue, but because they really don't know any better. They really don't know how easy it can be to make whole foods, they really don't know that real food is better for you, and they really don't see anything wrong with what they are doing and with what they are feeding their children.

I am so happy that I am literate and could read and learn so many things that I have taken for granted my entire life. I really feel that as I enter this next stage in my life I need to become an activist in some way. I have been thinking and thinking about what it might be. The time that I have used and dedicated to fund raising and supporting the orchestras and Science Olympiad and such I thought would probably become dedicated to saving our elementary strings program, which has been cut from the budget. As I learn more and more about the foods in the schools, however, I think my time will be better spent literally saving the very LIVES of our children. What good is it learn to play the violin or cello if you're going to die of a stroke or diabetes at age 40, anyway?

I remember when they first started serving grapes and apples in our school cafeterias and I wrote the food service director a letter thanking and commending her for that change. Now, more is needed. Even when Michael gets a vegetarian sub at school it is on white bread with processed cheese and iceberg lettuce. There is so much more to be done. He eats more healthily when he packs his lunch and it is a sandwich on a whole-grain tortilla filled with veggies and real cheese and brown mustard instead of mayo (even though he actually needs MORE calories, most kids don't).

As I struggle to get my own health in control, reduce my need for medication due to obesity and learn to make choices based on my knowledge instead of my MOOD I want to make it a mission to share my knowledge. It is the most at-risk populations in our community who need advocates to speak out for them. I know I have the intelligence and the skills to become a voice. Perhaps as I work to develop more recipes using whole grains and local foods I can learn what are the proper fora and platforms to spread the word about healthy eating to the at-risk populations and also what are the proper channels to follow to make sure that resources are used more fittingly within our schools and other public facilities and programs.

Rant over - for now, anyway, just wait for more!

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