A Parent’s Reaction to Jamie Oliver’s Food Fight

article by former Co-Op employee Sara Wilson

As I was watching this video (Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food) it was a reaffirmation as to why I want to to get in to the field of exercise and nutrition. About six minutes in, I wanted to cry then when he showed what the families ate in a week’s time I was sickened and angry. How could any person not know that feeding a human stuff like that was not bad for them? Educated or not about nutrition, it is just common sense not to eat things you cannot pronounce. The next thing I thought of was when I would take my son with me to the grocery store. He went through a phase around three years old where he would walk up to produce and take a big bite and put it back. Needless to say I bought whatever he took a bite of. Usually it was broccoli. I felt bad for those poor kids in the video who don’t know about the plethora of vegetables out there.

As a mother nutrition has always been a concern for me. Since my son entered the public school system I have been fighting every school that he has been in. When he started preschool they wouldn’t let me bring his own lunch because they were funded by the based on the number of children who ate meals. My son would not eat because he had no clue as to what half of the crap was. They were feeding my son stuff that came out of a package like Macaroni and Cheese, hot dogs, and cereals like Lucky Charms. He literally starved until I picked him up.

In elementary school it was the same sort of thing. The teachers would give the kids Smarties candies as incentive to do well on standardized testing. As a treat each week they were allowed to go to the vending machine and pick out a snack. The snacks consisted of donuts, cookies, gummy bears, etc….. I wrote a letter to the school. My suggestions were along the lines of granola bars, nuts, or at the very least Goldfish Crackers. The school replied by saying that it was too much money for those items. The next year the vending machine was gone, I guess I wasn’t the only concerned parent. Now that my son is older it has gotten easier to control what he eats outside of the house. Unfortunately though there are parents who rely on this so called food to nourish their children.

I was watching the news recently and saw where some parents want to take milk out of public school nutrition programs. Jamie brought this issue up so I will say that I think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Milk is not mandatory for humans to consume. The argument against taking out of schools is that it provides adequate calcium, vitamin D, and protein. I believe that not only do we not need to be serving flavored milk, but regular milk is just as bad. Milk is a primary source of lactose which is sugar. If you pour that on to a cereal like Lucky Charms all you are doing is creating a huge rise in blood sugar. One serving of Lucky Charms with 1% milk is equivalent to one coke. The milk served in schools comes from animals that are given antibiotics as well as hormones. Our children don’t need to be ingesting that crap. There are plenty of alternatives such as soy or nut milks which would meet these nutritional requirements. Once again it’s all about what is cheaper right now not in the long term.

Another big issue is that people don’t cook anymore at home. One of the main reasons why I take on line classes as much as possible is so I can cook and be active. Where have our priorities gone? It is our responsibility as parents to care for our children. I think it is laziness and a poor excuse for parents to say I was never taught how to cook. If we switched the amount of time we watch T.V. a day with taking the time to prepare our meals we would probably be healthier. On average Americans watch 4 hours of T.V. a day. This does not include being on other electronic
devices. If you’re up preparing a meal and cleaning up after you are burning calories just in that process. Is it really more important to see what is happening on your favorite show rather than prepare a nutritious meal for yourself and family?

To me this issue is really one that is a no brainer. Education can help people who don’t know what they are eating but it cannot make them put that knowledge to use. We as a country have to make our health a priority. We have become reliant on the quick fix to everything. To me this problem spans way outside of nutrition. I think our government and us as individuals need to take more responsibility for ourselves and our actions. We need to be proactive instead of
reactive. A pill or latest fad in surgery should not be the way to fix these issues. We need to not let our health become such a problem it is the number one cause of death. We are literally killing ourselves with our laziness. This is something we can control, so why don’t we?

Herr, N. PH.D. (2007). Television Statistics. The Source Book for Teaching Science. Retrieved
from http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html.

Ireland, C. (2006, December 1). Hormones in milk can be dangerous. Harvard University
Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/12.07/11-dairy.html.

Self Nutrition Data. Self Magazine. (2012). Nutrition Facts. Retrieved from http://nutritiondata.self.com/.