Archive for March, 2010

Jamie’s TED Wish

Following on the post I just did about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I wanted to share with you the talk he gave at TED this year where he had the opportunity to share his wish…powerful stuff.

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Jamie Oliver’s “The American Food Revolution”

I was first introduced to Jamie Oliver when I was living in London in 2003. He was a fairly unknown chef, the son of a pub owner, and considered to be a local kid who was making it big with his focus on fresh food and natural ingredients. I continued to follow him over the years and have watched as he’s worked to transform the school lunch system (really the mentality around food)  in the UK, started a cooking / chef certification school for kids who doesn’t have many opportunities and become an internationally recognized chef that is passionate about actually understanding where your food comes from (what a concept!).  The thing about Jamie that always comes through is he’s genuine interest in helping others – he has a unique gift of being able to share his passion without being condescending.

As you guys know from reading my blog, I share Jamie’s passion around fresh food, natural ingredients and understanding how the food ends up on your plate. This weekend, Tim and I decided to watch the first two episodes of Jamie’s new show, The American Food Revolution, and it blew us away.  For me, it was two hours of many emotions – excitement that this subject is being raised in the mainstream, confusion around the active dislike (and in some cases extreme hatred) for a subject that had everything to do with kids and health, extreme sadness as the show shared the story of a 12-year-old who didn’t have the tools to be who he wanted, amazement that there are people who don’t question where their food comes from, what it does to their body and why being 40-60 lbs overweight isn’t ‘okay,’ and last but not least, heartbreak that we as one of the greatest nations in the world aren’t taking better care of ourselves and those around us.  Even with all of that swirling around me, I came away from watching the show full of hope – we’ve brought change through grassroots efforts so many times in this country – perhaps this is the tipping point we need to do it again.

I found this petition on Jamie’s website, he’s planning to share the results with our government in the hopes that the regulations he’s coming up against (if you’ve watched the show this is an example of having to server rice and bread at one meal) can start to be addressed. I’m excited to part of this food revolution and how we can impact our food system.

I wonder how we could get this started at a local level in MA. Anyone have any suggestions?

Calorie Count Disclosure

I had the privilege of being in Washington DC when the Healthcare bill was passed. One of the things that excites me about the bill is the fact that we are starting to be more aware of our food and it’s effect on our health. One of the pieces in the new bill will make it a requirement for fast food and other chain restaurants to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-ins. The new law, which applies to any restaurant with 20 or more locations, directs the Food and Drug Administration to create a new national standard for menu labeling, superseding a growing number of state and city laws. The idea is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are ordering. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on a hamburger wrapper or on their Web site. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.

For those of you who have traveled to New York City you know this is already a law there and it makes you stop and think the second you see how many calories are actually in the sandwich or salad you are looking to order. I know that I’ve made better food choices in NYC based on being able to see the calorie count right in front of me.

What do you guys think? Will this new law make you more cautious of what you order?

Nursery-School Gourmets

I love food and I love eating. I love eating food so much that I think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast at night and start planning dinner on the way to work! I was reading Time Magazine the other day and came across an article about how French schools are teach good eating habits from Nursery-school up.

The pieces of the article that were so powerful for me was around the focus on the meal:

  • They don’t rush and teach students that your meals should be a time that is dedicated to the task at hand
  • They always eat at the table, I grew up in a house like this and I believe we’re a closer family for having that time together
  • They showcase a verity of foods, instead of letting kids get stuck in 5 foods they allow and encourage them to try new things

Even though it’s just me and my husband we still eat at the table. It’s our focus on the meal and our time together at the end of a busy day to share what happened to us. Do you eat at the table or in front of the TV?

I can’t go organic with everything. Are there some foods that matter more?

Which Has More Germs – A Restaurant Tray or a Park Sandbox?

I’m a bit of a nut about washing my hands. I think I’ve even written about this before as it’s a bit ironic that I want to wash my hands all the time but don’t find the need for antibacterial soap or hand ‘sanitizer.’ Why not? Because not all germs are bad and in fact most actually help you have a healthy immune system. 

Germs are generally benign. In fact, according to Scientific American:

“Most bacteria are well-behaved companions. Indeed, if you are ever feeling lonely, remember that the trillions of microbes living in and on the average human body outnumber the human cells by a ratio of 10 to one. Of all the tens of thousands of known bacterial species, only about 100 are renegades that break the rules of peaceful coexistence and make us sick.”

So how do ‘germy’ places rank? According to recent NSF International Swab Testing:

[These numbers represent colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch. A CFU is a measurement of microbial organisms.]

* Store shopping cart: 2
* Restaurant-restroom door handle: 4
* Children’s library book: 7
* Stuffed toy in a doctor’s office: 8
* School-desk surface: 12
* School computer mouse: 23
* Store floor: 33
* Public-park swing: 59
* Restaurant tray: 204
* School musical instrument: 262
* Video-game controller in an arcade: 551
* Public-park sandbox: 7,440
* Classroom faucet handle: 32,000
* Cafeteria water-fountain spigot: 62,000

ICKY! But as long as you wash your hands you are just fine. Here’s a CDC primer:

* Apply soap (regular soap works just as well as antibacterial and poses less risks). I use the Shaklee Hand Wash concentrate
* Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
* Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs.
* Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” all the way through – twice!
* Rinse hands well under running water.
* Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
* If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Mapping America’s Eating Habits

I saw this map last night and while a bit silly, it’s always fun to see where you net out in this country around eating habits.