Encouraging the Masses

I’m not normally one to get on my soapbox and spout my beliefs for everyone to hear.  I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and I try to respect everyone’s point of view.  The fact that we are all different is what makes each of us special and unique.

That being said, I must pull out the soapbox and dust it off today.  I’m not sure how many of you watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC last year.  If you didn’t, you missed out.  Luckily, it’s on again this year targeting the LAUSD school system in Los Angeles.

LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) is the largest public school system in California and second largest public school system in America (NYC’s public school system being the first).  They are responsibly for molding, shaping, and most importantly feeding nearly 700,000 children in the LA area.

With that amount of children’s health at stake, Jamie decided to try to improve the dietary guidelines in the school district.  California, after all, is known for healthy, active lifestyles, so you would think the school district would be concerned for their children’s health, right?

Guess not.  The reason I’m so irritated this morning is how obtuse the Superintendent and his staff are being as far as Jamie coming in and trying to improve the situation.  He was barred from entering the schools and was told if he tried to enter, the police would be called.

Here’s my question…if you believe you are doing a good job and you have nothing to hide, why are you not allowing just one person to inspect your cafeterias and the quality of your food?

I am a huge advocate of the prevention of childhood obesity.  I believe we should give our children wholesome, healthy foods as much as possible.  Whole grains, bright cheerful fruits and veggies, lean proteins.  That’s where it’s at, man.

One of the main topics of last night’s show was the prevention of sugar laden milk in the schools (think strawberry and chocolate milks).  Jamie did a presentation where he piled one week’s worth of the sugar found in flavored milk alone into a school bus.  By the time the sugar was emptied into the bus, there were HUGE piles of sugar flowing from the cracks and crevasses of the bus onto the ground below.  It was appalling.  All that sugar is unnecessary.

Granted, I am not a mom.  Yet.  I don’t have kids.  Yet.  But I do know what it’s like to buy school lunches every day.  I remember very clearly what my school’s lunch program was:

Day One:  Pizza
Day Two:  Cheeseburgers
Day Three:  Frito Chili Pie
Day Four:  Chicken Strips
Day Five:  Pizza
**Every day french fries were available and most of the time I would get those covered in ranch dressing.  It’s no wonder I have had weight issues my whole life!  (Disclaimer:  my mother did her best to encourage healthy eating at home, but she wasn’t there to slap the fries and ranch out of my hand at lunch!)

In fact, when I moved out and went to college, I lived on cheeseburgers, fries, pizza, chicken strips.  Typical college fare.  It didn’t help that I worked at a diner that made these foods readily available.  Luckily, in my third year of college, I began rooming with Carolyn, who slowly and gradually helped me see what exactly I was doing to my body.  Thanks, friend!

I really want to encourage everyone to pay attention to the health of the humans (and most importantly the children) around you.  Yes, it can be hard to eat healthy all the time, especially when you are used to eating fat and sugar and CRAP.

Make little changes.  Swap out whole grains for white bread and pasta, pick a yogurt that has more fiber protein in it (Chobani versus Yoplait or Dannon), drink one extra glass of water instead of that soda. If you made one change a week for one year, think of how much healthier you’d be by April 2012.  If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids.  Promote a healthy image for them!

If you feel like helping Jamie’s cause to bring healthy food to the children of America, visit his website to sign the Food Revolution petition and get tips on being active in your community.  Over 23,000 people have signed the petition in Ohio alone, yours truly being one of the few and proud!

Do your part, America.  GET MOVING!

(That is all.  Storing my soapbox under my bed for at least a week.)

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7 thoughts on “Encouraging the Masses

  1. School meals are a disgrace. The other unfortunate thing is that many parent can’t afford to send healthier options to school for their kids to eat. I did some work with the school system during my dietetic internship. Their excuse? The kids won’t eat the healthy stuff. I am sorry, but who is in charge here?

    • I agree! WE are the ones in charge of what they eat. I am not going to make three separate meals for my family once babies enter the picture. They will eat what I serve them or they will go to bed with empty bellies. Sooner or later, they will learn who’s in charge. Plus, like Jamie says, if you cover something in sugar OF COURSE it’s going to taste better to kids. Don’t give the kids a choice tater tots versus roasted sweet potatoes…give them a choice of roasted broccoli versus roasted sweet potatoes. Set your kids up for success, not failure!

  2. I appreciate you opinion on this subject and could not agree more. My son attends pre-school and the menu is just the same. I find it SO hard sometimes because we fall into this mentality of, “I just want my child to eat”, regardless of what that meal or snack consists of. As a mother of a very picky three-year old, I can attest to that. We often feel guilty because he won’t eat what we are eating, but he will have macaroni of ravioli. And oftentimes that is what I settle for in my household because, “at least he is eating something!” One of the biggest parenting mistakes I have made thus far is not encouraging my child to eat what his mom and dad eat from the onset. It’s hard, but slowly I am introducing healthier things to him!

    • First of all, GREAT JOB ON INTRODUCING HEALTHY THINGS!

      Second, I understand where you are coming from, but I guarantee he will eat if he gets hungry enough. That sounds way harsh, I know, but I just can’t, in good conscience, give my child something I KNOW could harm his health. Would you give your child alcohol because that’s all he wanted to drink? Absolutely not. What if you gave him ravioli made with whole grains and filled with spinach, a great source of vitamins and minerals? Would he eat that? Or whole grain macaroni with a healthy cheese sauce made with real ingredients (not the processed stuff in a box). I can understand the frustrations parents go through especially with picky children in the house, but, as my friend said, we are the parents. We make the rules. I hope I didn’t upset or offend you. I’m not in your shoes. I don’t have your same situation. This is just how I feel. 🙂

      If all else fails, try using Jessica Seinfeld’s approach…trick them into eating their veggies! 😛

  3. Bethany, keep up the good work spreading the news about healthy eating.
    As a mortician, I see the devastating results of unhealthy eating. People are dying as the result of obesity which, in turn, causes heart attacks, diabetes, etc. Also, professions like mine, emergency response, and healthcare are suffering physically from the unhealthy choices adults and children are making. The result, is not only physically injuries from lifting but higher cost for health insurance and rehabilitation following back injuries, etc.

    • I agree. I think being healthy is important for ourselves plus to set a good example for the future generations. We must make changes NOW to help create a healthier America tomorrow.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. Reblogged this on angelaluvnlife and commented:
    Ok so I totally agree with Bethany! I loved last years season and I know I think it is so sad that people aren’t willing to look at what they are doing poorly. There has to be some give and take. Watch what we are giving to our children! People watch what we are doing. Love this post Bethany 🙂

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