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“This is the first generation of kids expected to live a shorter life than you.  Or...you guys can start kicking some ass.” – Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

There’s been a show running on ABC recently…about 6 episodes.  It’s called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  It appears to have been taped during the fall of 2009 in Huntington, West Virginia (which evidently was selected because of high child obesity data).  The show absolutely has a bit of Hollywood, a ton of editing, but I don’t think anyone can doubt Jamie’s (and the producers, who also includes Ryan Seacrest) intention to get the word out about change in our food for our children.  Their target primarily was school lunches for kids.  This isn’t a review of the entire show, but I highly recommend watching the season finale of the show.  It tells a serious story that I don’t think is isolated to a small town in West Virginia.  In fact, as I look at my daughter (7-years old) and her school lunch offerings, I see the same things of food choices.

I’m a bit of a documentary buff.  I love controversial topics.  Perhaps that is why I’m drawn to this.  I am also a fan of things like Food, Inc., King Corn, and other food-based documentary.  If you haven’t seen these and want a perspective on where your food in the US comes from, watch them.  Are they one-sided?  Perhaps.  Are they factually inaccurate?  I don’t think so personally.  But it’s good information, controversial or not – as it caused me to think about the food I eat.

Several years ago my father had a heart attack.  His third in fact.  This one didn’t go well.  He went into intensive care and his heart was damaged beyond repair.  He needed immediate help.  For 8 months he had an artificial heart and had to live in Tucson Medical Center in a hospital room for this time.  You see, an artificial heart sounds ‘easy’ but it actually was an external ventricle system attached to what looked like a washing mashing.  He couldn’t walk without an engineer pushing this washing machine sized thing with him.  In a fortunate/unfortunate situations a heart was made available and my father is alive today because of a human heart transplant.  Truly a miracle.  His history in his family is one of obesity, high blood pressure, and poor eating.  And I’m the next :-0.

According to the CDC BMI indexes, I’m overweight and bordering on obesity.  Seeing that word ‘obese’ is frightening because I don’t at all consider myself obese.  This January I started to change that process.  I lost about 18 pounds.  Getting it off takes dedication and determination, but I did it.  Now keeping it off continues to be a tough challenge, but I recognize a healthier and better feeling as the pounds come off.

Now when I see Jamie’s show, it hits home a lot harder.  My kids Zane (4) and Zoe (7) are my only children and as I continue to grow as a parent.  Things like music lyrics and television shows or only half the battle.  My kids’ diets are a concern in my family.  Unfortunately I’m victim to the same things every parent is, being surrounded by hugely convenient options over healthy options.  Breakfast at my house?  Waffles.  Lunch for my son?  Usually chicken nuggets.  Frankly he doesn’t eat anything that isn’t orange.  My daughter is pretty picky as well. 

Jamie also had an opportunity to present at TED and actually won the TEDPrice for 2010.  His talk is worth watching.

If you are a parent, watch these shows (they are free on ABC.com or Hulu).  Like I said, sure there is some Hollywood action happening, but the message and reality behind school lunches is real.  See if you are the same parent that packs the brown bag lunch of crap like I do.  Is a hamburger at lunch going to kill your kid?  I don’t think so, but all things in moderation right?  We, as parents, need to help our children make the right food choices and provide a healthy lifestyle at home first as we know they won’t get it elsewhere.  It starts at home.  Period.

I’m grateful that Jamie and Ryan produced this Food Revolution show.  It was both entertaining and informative.  I hope that others can join in the ‘food revolution’ that Jamie brought awareness to in their own homes and communities.

Sorry for the distraction from the normal technology geekiness…but this ‘food revolution’ has struck a chord with me as an important thing to ensure I shared.  I’m going to try to start making changes at home.  I know it won’t be simple, I know it won’t be convenient, but I also know that my children’s health is MY responsibility.


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