Monday, April 12, 2010

Food Revolution? Count me in!

Logan wants a Mountain Dew.

Big deal, right?

Well, the kid’s almost five, and he’s never tasted the stuff. He’s had other kinds of pop before—though not often—but I’ve never allowed him to “Do the Dew.” Why? I don’t know, I guess because to me it kind of represents the ultimate in gross-out junk food. It’s so sugary and full of caffeine and I am pretty sure it makes you glow in the dark when you drink it.

So what am I afraid of? Am I afraid he’s going to want to drink Mountain Dew every day? I shouldn’t be. Even if he did, I wouldn’t let him. I just know I would cringe seeing him drink some of that stuff. BUT, I can already see that he wants it more because I won’t let him have it, so I’m thinking I might just let him try it.


But then again, I don’t know.

Ugh. I wish it wasn't a decision I even had to make.

Speaking of cringing, have any of you been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?
I have, and I must say, the first episode really touched a nerve with me. It made me want to cry, throw up and rally for change all at once. Oliver is in the most unhealthy town in America, a town in West Virginia, and he is trying to get the people of that town to change the way the look at food.
He started out in an elementary school cafeteria. A place where kids go to learn, but their brains are being asked to function on trash. Even the milk was altered with sugar and dyes.

During the second episode, Oliver gathered a bunch of kids to show them how their beloved chicken nuggets are made. He took a chicken, hacked off the good meat and set it aside. Then he took what was left of the carcass and hacked it into pieces with a knife and began blending them up. At this point the kids were saying the expected “Ew” and “Gross” comments. Then he added a good chunk of chicken skin and fat to the blender, turning the mixture into a pink slime. To that, he added some flour and spices and whatever else they use to bind nuggets together and make them taste good. He cut them into little nugget shapes and fried them in fat.
Even after seeing the disgusting things that went into the nuggets, the children still raised their hands when he asked who wanted to eat one.

And you know what?

I made Logan watch that segment of the show and he agreed with the kids. He even asked if we could go to McDonald’s and get some Chicken McNuggets. Yes, watching that made him CRAVE nuggets. I nearly wept.

It’s so sad that our kids don’t know any different. I have been feeding Logan good food from the beginning but he hasn’t been completely sheltered from fast food, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and other nutrition-free nonsense. And of course he likes it. It’s made so he will like it. It’s designed to taste good and make you want more.

The choices we are given as “food” have been bothering me a lot lately. Every Sunday morning, I sit down with pen and scissors, and I go through the grocery store ad, clip coupons and make our list for the week. But so much of what is offered is not even food—or it’s so far processed from its natural state that it’s hard to remember where it even came from. Artificial colors and flavor, chemicals, etc. Even the stuff that is allegedly healthy has been pumped full of goodies like sucralose, which you might know as Splenda.

How did we fall so far away from real food?

I have a school lunch menu from the local school district for the month of April, and at kindergarten round-up, Logan received a pass to eat a meal there at the end of the month. We’re going to go check it out, but I have a feeling he won’t be eating many cafeteria meals when he starts school in the fall.

I hope Oliver does start a food revolution. A big one. This country needs it. This COUNTY needs it.

And our children deserve it.


Mellissa said...

I think about my neice and nephew and their aversion to anything that is good for them. Their parents have TRIED so hard to get them to eat their fruits and veggies and it just doesn't happen. It is such a struggle to get kids to eat "healthy" things.

Tina said...

This is something I feel so strongly about as well. I want Makenzie to eat healthy things, but I don't want that to be ALL she gets so she ends up wanting the junkier stuff more when she gets older. I want her to learn about balance, but she still ends up liking the junk more. I gave her a turkey dog a couple weeks ago for one of the maybe 4 times she has had one. Now she always asks "hot dog hot dog hot dog" when I talk about making her lunch. No, M! It's so hard to find that balance. And it would definitely help is schools did anything to show that balance.