food revolution

by humanmama on April 11, 2013

When I first began life as a mommy, I realized that there are a lot of kind-of gross things out there to feed your kids. Formula, like I mentioned, is not all it’s cracked up to be. But, unfortunately, not all of us can or want to breastfeed until eternity, so it’s a necessity. But that’s not where it ends! When your baby is about 4 or 5 months old, experts recommend you try feeding them some watery rice-cereal with a spoon. Then you move on to fruits and veggies (baby food is sold in jars that make it easy–#1’s for new eaters, #2’s for babies that can handle more foods and chunkier texture, and so on). You’re feeling good! You’re feeding your kid! And fruits and veggies, which is good, right! YAY!

But then. Then comes this. What–does my baby need a dessert?!

Yes, folks, that’s baby dessert so you can treat them with a sugary snack! Right before nappy time! It feels wrong. And you don’t have to give this to them. It’s okay to not let your kids know about dessert until later. Muuuuch later. And then when they graduate to #3 foods, for  kids who can feed themselves somewhat, toddlers who can use the pincer grasp, there’s even more goodies to be had. I mean, what is this?

So it begins. From basically birth, we’re encouraged to eat and feed our kids a variety of packaged, sugared, processed snack-like foods. And there’s evidence that it does things to them. It lowers IQs. It leads to ADHD symptoms. Heart disease. Diabetes. High sugar low-nutrient quality foods that are prepackaged are doing things to us. To our kids. And that’s where Jamie Oliver began. The CDC says that The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period. And that’s obese kids, not kids who are just overweight. Please don’t send them to school thinking they’re learning about food there. They often aren’t taught in school what’s healthy and what’s not–in many schools there is little to no food education at all. School lunches are nutrient-devoid, and kids aren’t sure what’s healthy and delicious. Often, we aren’t quite sure ourselves.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is coming to Pittsburgh! Led by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the Revolution is committed to working with representatives from local schools and agencies to achieve a number of measurable goals towards healthy eating and living in our communities. Pittsburgh is the first city to commit to a 12-month campaign to improve food in schools, homes, businesses and city government.  Several local businesses pledged to promote health and well being in the Pittsburgh area (including Phipps, Propel Schools, Whole Foods, UPMC, The Mayor’s Office, Eat n Park Fit United, and the Environmental Charter School/Bar Marco). And let’s get involved! (Quick! Go here and LIKE the page!)

The goals of the revolution? Taken from their FB page,

Over the next year, One Young World ambassadors will collaborate to empower Pittsburgh families to starting cooking real food using wholesome and nutritious ingredients. In order to make this possible, we are engaging all public sectors — including schools, hospitals, local government, businesses and individuals — to improve:

1. Food access
2. Food education and resources in our communities
3. Food education in schools

Our ultimate aspiration, with the support of Jamie Oliver and our thought-leaders, is to show the world that we are capable of making healthy food compelling, widely available and affordable, while making a profound difference for those in the greatest need here at home.

Pittsburgh-based organizations the Environmental Charter School and Bar Marco are carrying out their pledge to promote health and well being in the Pittsburgh area through their Food Revolution Cooking Club (FRCC) partnership.  The club is dedicated to working with high school students to provide them with education to make healthier food decisions and tools to learn cooking skills. The FRCC began its mission with the Barack Obama High School in East Liberty, and now has expanded to support Brashear High School in a weekly breakfast program. The long term vision of the Food Revolution Cooking Club include replicating the program in other schools, providing summer job opportunities for students and promoting a healthy school culture.

The official day of the Revolution is May 17th. Check out Jamie Oliver’s website to see what you can do, or join the revolution by having a healthy dinner with friends on May 17th! Maybe together we can learn to cook more and eat pre-package less. Let’s work together with a goal of having our kids eat things they can pronounce!

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**Food Revolution Pittsburgh is part of the global Food Revolution initiative**

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