This season on ABC, Jamie Oliver is taking on a small town in Huntington, West Virginia in order to try and change the American school lunch system on the show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution which airs on Friday evenings at 9/8 Central time.
It is a very admirable and daunting task at hand and yet his winning spirit is shining through.
As a gluten free parent, I have hopes that if the school lunch programs were changed from processed food, that my daughter would be able to find healthy alternatives at school rather than in a packed lunch. I am sure that most parents would feel better about school lunches if that were the case. I think we forget that most parents are facing very similar struggles each week when the school lunch menu is revealed.
1. Not only are our gluten free children better off in the long run than on a regular school lunch program, but processed food could have been a catalyst for the onset of their medical issues to begin with. After all every immune disorder has to have a catalyst. How many of us were innocently opting for processed food all along from our children's conception to the time of their diagnosis? The question lingers for me quite often since diabetes and celiac are linked in some cases and other food allergies often accompany a celiac diagnosis.
2. Our children are blank slates begging for the knowledge of experiencing new things which includes starting a healthy relationship with their food by getting involved in the cooking. They are proven to be less likely to form negative opinions once they are taught about a new vegetable or food and then cook that very same food themselves - They will invariably at least try it.
3. Convenience and affordability outweigh the average consumer's viewpoints on food's nutritional values. Perhaps this is why movements like Slow Food or Food, Inc. have taken some time in becoming popular and only reach a certain faction of the general public. Thank goodness for people like Oprah and Jamie Oliver for at least making the subject matter more mainstream.
4. For gluten free parents, the struggles with providing nutritional alternatives are normal in the overall challenges that many parents face. The myth that the schools are providing our children with the right nutritional choices has got to be put to rest and we all need to get more involved with that process. The old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" is clearly having to be revisited for parents everywhere when they watch The Food Revolution.
Kudos to Jamie Oliver for tackling the challenges and bringing the realities back home that we should have been aware of all along.
Here is a preview of one episode:
Watch The Food Revolution every Friday night on ABC.