Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution


Now, I’ve not been one to jump on the foodie train. I don’t believe in a vegetarian diet because I know the nutritious benefits of meat and animal products. I don’t believe in a vegan lifestyle because I raise livestock and know my animals are cared for well and in return they will provide many products for my daily life. I support local food, but believe in producing in large quantities to provide for a global market. But knowing how to make better food choices and the origins of my food is certainly something I can encourage.  Jamie Oliver is promoting similar ideas on his ABC show Food Revolution. As he puts it our eating habits need to retain as “sense of balance.”

Not sure if you’ve seen the show, and I certainly would not have looked it up. But I turned on the tv one Friday night, Jamie’s show was on, and could not change the channel once I started watching. Jamie (British Chef) is in Las Angeles for the seconds season of the show, working to fight obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in Americans. Using the fact that today’s school-age children will be the first generation to not outlive their parents, Jamie is working to change the meals served in public schools. But the Las Angeles school district will not even let him or his cameras in the kitchen or even let him ask about the meals served because the meals “meet all nutritional guidelines” and the district claims there is nothing wrong with the meals served. So Jamie asks, why can’t we serve better food?

Jamie’s efforts to make Americans more aware of their food is a great thing. Any effort that makes consumers examine their eating habits is a good thing, but are the fear tactics and demonstrations he uses really necessary? What are his positions on food production practices? Maybe these tactics are what we need because there are millions out there that are far removed from food production, farming, and ranching.

At first I thought Jamie was all about the whole foods movement and I hesitated at the idea. A large part of his show is about food education and knowing what we eat. Something farmers and ranchers are working to do, right? What I found most interesting was the 17-year-old students thinking that Butter came from sweet corn, Cheese from macaroni, Cocoa from a cocoa lake, and guacamole from an apple. Last season Jamie showed how elementary students could not identify a fry as coming from a potato and even mistaking a tomato for a potato. It strikes me as out-of-this world, but I did not grow up in an urban environment.

Here is what Jamie shares as his “Food Philosophy”

My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.

Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you’ll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you’ll naturally start to find a sensible balance. Some days you’ll feel like making something light, and fresh, other days you’ll want something warming and hearty. If you’ve got to snack between meals, try to go for something healthy rather than loading up on chocolate or potato crisps. Basically, as long as we all recognize that treats should be treats, not a daily occurrence, we’ll be in a good place. So when I talk about having a ‘healthy’ approach to food, and eating better I’m talking about achieving that sense of balance: lots of the good stuff, loads of variety, and the odd indulgence every now and then.

Watch the video clip above and let me know what you think of Jamie’s work. What’s wrong with a little more food education in our schools? Maybe it’s not the right approach to raising food awareness, but are other methods working?

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About Ryan Goodman (972 Articles)
Ryan Goodman lives in Helena, MT and comes from an Arkansas cattle ranching family. Since growing up on a family cow/calf and stocker-calf operation, he has spent the last several years learning about farming systems across the country. A graduate of Oklahoma State, Ryan is currently working on a Master's degree from the University of Tennessee. He works continuously to share his story of ranch life through community outreach and social media, all while encouraging others in agriculture to do the same.

5 Comments on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

  1. I believe Jamie is doing what he does with a good heart: he wants to educate the younger generations on how to live healthily. It saddens me when he encounters so much resitance from the adults who should want to help educate children.

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    • I know what ya mean Colline. The food education segments they are including in the show are definitely eye-openning to what youth are missing out on in urban areas.

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  2. I too was drawn to his show recently, having never watched it before. Urban children are missing out. Sure, they have cool ‘city’ activities, museums, malls, movie theaters. But they don’t know the simple enjoyment of gathering fresh eggs out from under broody chickens, grabbing a handful of chives on the way to the house, making a fresh omelet with local cheese and snipping chives on top. Last year my daughter, an avid 4-H’er, was showing her leased Holstein heifers at our town’s Old Home Day. She patiently answered questions, explained the difference between a heifer, cow, and bull, and told folks how much water was consumed by most cows during the day. It amazed me that one city woman, given two breed choices : Jersey or Holstein, guessed incorrectly. City folks think county fairs are ‘quaint’. County fairs are more than that, they are the showcase for what is the pillar of our existance…..agriculture.

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    • Thanks for the words Julie. I agree and believe our County Fairs can and should be used to do more out reach and education to urban consumer groups.

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  3. Caryl Velisek // June 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM // Reply

    Schools are (obviously) not teaching what I learned in my own big city schools a long time ago. We knew where food came from and what good nutrition was. It was part of the curriculum. I learned it at school and from my mom, who served nutritious meals. We also went outside and climbed trees and fences and ran around the neighborhood playing games, rode our bikes and went swimming. We didn’t have T.V.s or video games or texting or fast food. We got physical exercise. I have been told by educators I know, that parents don’t want their children outside. They are ‘afraid’ for them. They also go to extremes about ‘cleanliness’, they say. I’m glad I grew up when I did and that I raised my kids when I did.
    It’s a different world, fascinating and exciting and full of all the new technology. I hope we can adjust and enjoy it.

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