Gluten Free Thought-Full Thursday – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Did anyone happen to watch the new show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?  There was a premier on Saturday and the rest of the program takes place on Fridays for 6 episodes.  I believe this Friday is replaying episode one at 8pm on ABC.  The remaining shows are scheduled for 9pm.

Jamie Oliver is a chef, TV personality and best-selling author from the U.K.  He is “determined to take on the high statistics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in this country, where our nation’s children are the first generation not expected to live as long as their parents.”    In his home country he successful led a grass-roots effort to improve the school lunches in communities there.  Now he has turned his attention to our country.

Jamie went to Huntington, West Virginia where I used to live and my husband grew up.  He went there because it was deemed the unhealthiest city in America.  His goal is to get Huntington off that list and start a chain reaction around the country.

“The time is right for people to rediscover the sense of pride, satisfaction and fun you can get from cooking for the people you love. There’s an incredible community in Huntington, and I want this experience to be a celebration of what we can achieve when people come together. I want to prove that turning around the epidemic of obesity and bad health doesn’t have to be boring or dull in the slightest. Wonderful stories will unfold in Huntington, and hopefully this will inspire the rest of the States.”

My son (16) and I watched the program and had lots to talk about.  First off he was born there, so we know Huntington pretty well.  Knowing that, I was not surprised at the reception and response Jamie received at first.  I’m hoping that will change.  We have family that lives in Huntington and know lots of families there.  It’s a tight knit community that takes care of each other, but they do tend to dig their heels in when it comes to ideas different to what they believe or are just used to.  As an outsider that moved there this drove me absolutely crazy and obviously still does.

There was one scene in this premier episode where Jamie made everything this one family ate for an entire week and piled it onto the kitchen table (see video below).  It was full of pizza, corn dogs, hot dogs, french fries, deep fried foods, chips and chicken nuggets.  I think the mother was really surprised.  Seeing it all together really makes an impact.  I cried as that mother cried.

I talked about this with my son and he agreed he used to eat that way, just not as much.  Now that we have found foods we are intolerant of we’ve all changed the foods we eat including him.  It’s not an easy process as many of you my dear readers know, but it can be done.  We are living proof.  I hope the people in this show can make the changes necessary for them.

As you are watching this show you realize government bureaucracy is not very helpful in this matter.  When you see what they serve at the elementary schools and the guidelines that are mandated, you wonder how any of this will ever change.  It’s really difficult if you are working hard at home to serve healthy tasty food and then the kids go off to school and get junk.  For some reason junk is addicting and we crave it.  In order for this to really work I believe it has to be changed at home and at the school at the same time (for those kids who buy school lunches).

So what can we do?  What can you or I do?  Here are 3 of my suggestions and I want to hear yours.

  1. Start cooking more foods from scratch, whole food ingredients, raw foods, real food or whatever you want to call it.  The more you do this the more you find out what food is supposed to taste like.
  2. If you eat something that has a label, read it.  Not just for the ingredients that you know make you sick like gluten, dairy, soy or whatever that you need to avoid.  Read it to see how many chemicals and preservatives are in there.  Things you can’t pronounce and have no idea what it is.  If you were cooking this at home would you put the same ingredients into whatever it is you are thinking about buying?  I challenge you to look up any ingredient you don’t know exactly what it is before you eat it.
  3. Join Jamie’s Food Revolution and sign the petition to make a change in school lunches for better food and keep cooking skills alive.  His hope is to take this petition to the White House after the show airs and show it to the President and the First Lady so they can see people across this country care.  If you look to the right side of this blog you will find a direct link that looks like this.
  4. Now I want to hear your thoughts, ideas, suggestions on how to create a Food Revolution at home, at school and across this country.  Our lives depend on it!

Here is the trailer for the TV show in case you missed it.

By the way if you’ve not seen Jamie’s 20 minute meals  iphone app, check it out.  I have it and really like it.

11 Responses to Gluten Free Thought-Full Thursday – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

  1. Jennifer R. March 25, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    I am VERY excited about this show! And I wish I could make a difference in my own county here in VA. My kids take their own lunches every day because the school lunches are not what we can or choose to eat (we are gluten, dairy, corn, soy, dyes and preservative free).

  2. Alta March 25, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    I missed the first one, but I've scheduled it to record this weekend! I'm excited about it. It amazes me how much "crap" we eat as Americans – I think back on what our family used to eat. Now, those things are rare treats. Gluten intolerance was part of the shift, but honestly, we started well before that. A very small percentage of the foods we have around are processed at all – and even then, I check labels and try to buy things that have little preservatives.

  3. Kim March 25, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    I missed the first one, but plan on watching the rest.

  4. Katrina (gluten free gidget) March 25, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    The show was one of the most upsetting things I have seen in a while. It just makes you mad and makes you want to help at the same time. It is just so inconceivable to me that people can eat like that and not know or care that it’s unhealthy!

  5. Iris March 25, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Wow…I missed the show, but that trailer makes me both sad and frustrated and just…wow. I really hope he can make a difference.

  6. gfe--gluten free eas March 25, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    I watched the show and alternated being appalled to not surprised, I guess. The saddest thing was that freezer full of pizzas. I think that was more sad to me than the table full of equally bad stuff. And, then to look at all those people who were so clearly unhealthy, even at such an early age. I admit while I was being appalled, I was thinking that even in my days of eating poorly, I never ate that poorly. But, then I went on to think about how there's still room for improvement in my own diet. I'm betting that many are watching the program feeling smug about their own choices though. My hope is that the real food approach will come through from Jamie loud and clear. It's not just about fat and calories (or exercise if you want to throw that in the mix) as many people think. There are tons of folks who think they are doing well because they are eating Healthy Choice, low-fat, Splenda-enhanced beverages, etc. A co-worker had a Healthy Choice meal in the microwave today. I read the ingredients on the package while I was waiting to use the microwave. The meal was Sesame Chicken. It seriously had at least 25 ingredients, most of which were not at all real food. I'm hoping that the program will enlighten more and more as it unfolds and will keep me eating healthier as well. I think it's a progressive thing. We can only take in so much at once and soon it's old hat and easy to do. It's terribly sad (but not news to me) that our FDA guidelines would have you eat rice and bread at the same time. I heard that Michelle Obama's new healthy eating push includes getting lower calorie beverages in schools. I don't buy that particular item either. It's about so much more than calories. All calories are not created equal. A diet soda is no better than a regular soda, and in many cases may be worse. My biggest hope and I guess my part of the revolution is to show people how easy it is to make real food. It's not rocket science, it's not time consuming, etc. and in the end you get real food that tastes wonderful and nourishes you–a million times better than processed food "items" made by food scientists. Gosh, this is not a topic that is easy to give a brief comment on. Anyway, great post, Diane, and I'm really looking forward to the series and will be watching tomorrow night for the repeat of the preview airing and then the regular airing to follow. 🙂


  7. Lori March 25, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    I missed the show. I will probably watch it, but I already know that most Americans have no clue what they are eating. I hear it all the time from others during discussions. I know they are trying to help by recommending their low fat, low cal, "healthy choice" microwave meal, not even know just how bad it is for them, or the moms feeding their kids "fruit" roll-ups, thinking that they are doing something good for them. I personally don't trust what is served in schools, because of my son's allergies, so I pack him a lunch everyday and have since he has been going. I have alot more controll over what he eats. His school does offer some healthy meals, but I clearly remember going to eat with him once and a child sitting down with a brownie the size of my hand, and that was all he ate, because he could. I asked him why he wasn't eating a salad and he said he didn't like them and the brownie was better. That scares me. I feel sorry for the teacher that had to deal with him afterwards too. I am glad Jamie is enlightening people so they will have no more excuses!

  8. Holly April 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Just a note to those of you that missed it, it's available for viewing online at! 🙂

    • Diane April 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

      Holly- Thank you for the info. You can see lot of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show there in case you missed anything along the way.

  9. Christy - Delicious April 15, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Thanks for this post. I'm really happy that this show is on the air and that people are starting to pay attention. It's so great to see people waking up.

    Eating and cooking healthy food is not that difficult – most people just perceive it as so. It's just a matter of learning and planning. Even the busiest people that I work with can figure out how to fit healthy eating in – once they are ready to make the change. And that's the question. How sick does someone have to get first before they're willing to change? Let's hope that shows like this will have more people waking up before they're seriously ill.


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