Revolutionizing Food

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a huge sensation. The TV program is airing in the US right now, and Jamie’s philosophy of cooking real food from fresh ingredients is hitting home. I live in Canada, but even here people are talking about what’s happening each week on the show. They’re trying out new recipes and re-considering their approach to what they feed their children.

What is Jamie saying that is spurring people to action? On his website, he writes:

Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you.

Jamie has a particular focus on school lunches, which are depicted as highly processed and artificial on his show. As I said, I’m not American, so I don’t feel qualified to judge the truthfulness of the claims. But if they are true, they are definitely alarming. I wouldn’t want my children eating these foods every day for lunch. I am trying to teach them to make healthy choices, and I hope their schools would reinforce that message.

Highly-processed foods are not only unhealthy for us, they are unhealthy for the planet. They carry a big carbon footprint, with all of their packaging and the miles that they travel from field to processing plant to warehouse to table. These foods may employ chemically-intensive processes to manufacture. The ingredients are sourced from produce grown using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and animals that are treated with antibiotics and housed in cramped conditions. The ramifications of eating a highly processed diet reach far beyond our own dinner table.

Jamie Oliver is hardly alone in his message, or with his call to action. People like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser also tout the ills of our current food system. Films like Food, Inc. highlight many of the problems with the way that we handle our food. No one has all of the answers as to how we can reverse the trends that are harming the health of the planet and the people on it, but most everyone agrees that a return to cooking fresh, nutritious, seasonal foods from scratch plays a big part.

If you want to revolutionize the food you eat, how can you start? If you believe in what Jamie Oliver is saying you can sign his petition. And then you can take action. Every time that you grocery shop, you are literally putting your money where your mouth is and making a statement about the kinds of food you want to eat. When you visit farmer’s markets or garden or buy fresh ingredients you’re supporting a more sustainable food system. You can also let your elected representatives know what you’re doing, and why. When the marketplace and the government understands what matters to the people they serve, change happens.

Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s show? What do you think of his message? And what steps, if any, are you taking to change the way that you eat?

:: :: ::

You can catch up with Amber, and find out what her kids are having for lunch, on her blog at

One Response to Revolutionizing Food
  1. Amy Whitley
    April 20, 2010 | 9:27 pm

    We’ve been watching this show with the kids, and learning so much! We already try to stay away from processed foods, but we’re taking it a step further and making/baking our own snack foods now, to reduce our packaging waste, save money, and keep away from all those additives, etc. I’m also trying to buy from our farmer’s market and cook seasonally. Jamie is great…and I want to slap that cafeteria lunch woman! :)