> hey what's for dinner mom?: Dear Jamie Oliver,

3.30.2010

Dear Jamie Oliver,

Sir, you are annoying me. With your whole let's get American kids to eat healthy...by starting a television show thing.  Is encouraging people to sit on their asses in front of the television the best way to get through to them? To teach them? Are they really going to buy that from you? Are they watching for the freak show aspect or because they are too damn lazy not to? Are you even getting through to the people you are trying to get to?

I don't watch TV. Because I choose to live my life, rather than watch others live theirs. I choose to BE with my kids and model healthy eating for them, with them. Not watch it with them. Of course to be able to comment on your show, it's motives vs your motives I should really watch the show. But I won't because we disconnected cable and said no thanks to the lure of too many channels, sleazy people and fat-lazy-American-sit-on-their-ass-itis. TV is just not worth giving up on my own life with my family.

But I can judge you from afar and because I can, I will. You see I tweet on twitter. I saw tweets that your show is sponsored by Ragu? Really? Canned pasta sauce with "real vegetables" in it? A big WTF to you Jamie! I mean how about real food...milk? Spinach? Brown rice. Sure sure I understand you need to make money off this venture, what else it it for right? I mean if you did it for free on PBS I would feel a whole lot better about it and if I had TV I might have thought of recording. But no you need to be sponsored on 'real' TV by crappy processed foods, which are at the VERY HEART OF THE OBESITY PROBLEM IN AMERICA. A serving of their basic sauce has 20% of the sodium a full grown person needs, let alone a kid. And the super sweetness? You guessed it! High Fructose Corn Syrup!! Sweet and salty in a pasta sauce sponsoring your 'food revolution'. That doesn't sound so revolutionary to me.

And can I add America, you are embarrassing me. With your whole I can't do anything about this, that or the other until it's made into a TV show and then wham! Wow I really DO care about it. I mean who needs the added drama? We are the fattest laziest people on earth, can we be more lame? How embarrassing to have a celebrity chef from England come over and confront us about our crappy eating habits AND RECORD IT FOR POSTERITY. Or money, right? Ouch, that stings. And then to have them turn it into a TV show? To really rub it in our faces? Or to get us to pay attention. As if the fact that half of us can't bend over to tie our own shoes, our food stores all have fat carts so we can ALL get to the food (yes I know a legitimate number of people do actually need these!) and that there are special catalogs with toilet seats for the hefty set isn't enough to get our attention. We need to watch fat people get lectured by a foreign celebrity chef while sitting prone, mouth possibly hanging open?

I guess this is why I opted out of TV, I don't want to see it. I don't need to see it, it's right in front of me, I see people making bad choices all the time. Why make somebody rich off other peoples misery? Sure Jamie may be doing some good things, but making a shock jock reality style TV show out of this problem seems a sad solution to the food problems of America. Why isn't he going after big AG? The corn board, who promotes that High Fructose Corn Syrup is the same as sugar. Well indeed it is sweet but it doesn't produce the same results in your brain that say "hey, quit eating you are full", you never feel full and keep eating. Why doesn't he go after the fast food industry that for years have made "happy" meals that are dangerous for our kids by hooking them on the deadly trifecta of sugar, salt and fat? A pattern that they will be addicted to for life. Why not rage against processed foods? They are so over processed they can only loosely be called 'food'. Why TV? And here's a question for you, why not talk to moms who's children eat and enjoy vegetables? Whose kids self regulate their eating, find out their secrets. How they do it? Or don't do it. You want results? Go to the pros, who do it on a daily basis, happily for their families.

You want to help Americans get healthier? Figure out a way to get them off their asses, unplug their TVS, turn off their video games, take away their LayZ boys, sweat pants, Velcro shoes and remotes. MAKE them learn to eat fresh vegetables, drink enough water, chew slowly, talk during meals, make healthy choices, play and interact with their families, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.......keep repeating and never stop. Start when they are young, old or in the middle it is never too late.
 

Sincerely, Laura (a mom who knows the secrets)

Please if you are visiting from another blog consider reading this post for a few more thoughts on the subject of food in America


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17 comments :

  1. We don't do TV either and haven't for a couple of years. We don't feel as if we're missing a thing. I feel that Americans are getting dumber and dumber...one of the doctors I work with made a simple statement: IQ's are dropping everywhere. A funny thing to say, but sadly true.

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  2. this needs to be published far and wide - people love to be lemmings to follow the crowd - every "foodie" loves bacon, for example, because thats what "foodies" do - as soon as something becomes viral and cult like then it becomes legitimate no matter the message - I agree with you and in fact there are so many other things just like this but if I listed them I would certainly insult the cult.

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  3. http://www.ultimatetube.com/videos/4793/buy,-buy-american-pie

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  4. We recently cut out cable in our house, and I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. We still have the basic channels (abc, nbc, cbs, fox) so I was able to catch Jamie's show last week. Honestly, I rather enjoyed it. Yes, he was sponsored by Ragu, but he was giving the families a good message and showing them how to cook "real" food. Many of the kids couldn't even recognize a tomato. Sad. I guess it's got to start somewhere!

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  5. Sometimes it takes shock treatment from someone outside the picture to wake things up.

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  6. I completely, one hundred percent agree with you Laura. we have six at the table every night, and I try my hardest to put REAL food on the table. Our own eggs and veggies and then fill in with organic everything else. I think laziness is a huge cause and also misdirection of the important events in our days. Trips to the movies, favorite TV shows, and extravagant shopping have taken over the time that used to be spent at home, around the hearth so to speak. Preparing and enjoying our family meals. Thank you for your rant it! It is a great one!
    xoox~
    Abbie

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  7. Thanks for the support guys! Was afraid to publish but glad I did now.

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  8. I wasn't that impressed with the show either. I sat there wondering who the bigger morons were, Jamie or the lunch ladies.

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  9. Dear Laura,

    I am truly surprised at you vehement anger towards Jamie Oliver, when your philosophy of food and eating are completely the same.

    Not everyone on TV does what they do for money – he is quite financially well-off without being on American television. Jamie launched a similar revolution in England in 2004 because he is passionate about getting the junk and processed food out of people’s diets, and teaching them how to cook and eat real food. As a result of his movement the government pledged an extra $550 million to improve the standard of school meals, and to provide training for lunch ladies and equipment for schools.

    The reality is that this was HIS idea to help alleviate the obesity crisis and TV executives approached him to make it a show about it. If your heart was set on making a change and someone came to you, saying they would help spread your message with tremendous resources, wouldn't you do it? Why is it so hard to believe that he is doing this because he really believes he can make a difference? Is he getting money for his appearance, yes. Would he do it on his own without ABC and a paycheck, I believe he would. Just because you are getting paid for something you feel passionate about, doesn't mean you are a sell out. He doesn't have to be here, away from his wife and daughters, to make money. He is here because he cares.

    Regarding the Ragu sponsored ads during the program – that is a big shame on ABC, not Jamie Oliver. Do you seriously think that Jamie has control over the advertising purchasing decisions at ABC? It is terribly unfortunate that the commercial break coming right after Jamie is blasting them for serving chicken nuggets, is… a commercial for chicken nuggets. But that is the poor decision of ABC.

    Whether you like Jamie Oliver or not, how can you be against a campaign that wishes to help children have healthy food and learn how to cook for themselves? If you eat well, and your children eat well, and you know how to cook for yourselves, then hooray. But there are a LOT of people who don’t cook well for their children (or even cook), and there are a lot of parents who don't realize what kind of crap their kids are eating at school. There is value in this program, and education is the key to this country making better choices. As you said, there are way too many people who don’t get off there butt and sit and watch way too much TV. What better way to these people than TV?

    It is true he is tackling a multifaceted problem that needs multifaceted solutions. He is, however, raising awareness in a big way, and maybe that's a good first step.

    If you want to check out the show, you don’t even need a TV (I don’t have one either). I watched it on hulu, but it’s also on ABC site: http://abc.go.com/shows/jamie-olivers-food-revolution. If you don’t want to watch, no problem, continue to live your life and be with your kids, and teach them about the healthy ways of the world. But don’t blast Jamie for trying to do the exact same thing for people who don’t have the positive influences that your own children have.

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  10. Hi Laura,

    Since reading your post I have been giving much thought to your words and I hate to have to say this but I mostly disagree with you. And this is why:

    As per getting off the couch and getting people outside, Jamie Oliver is not talking to you or I, or most people with in the food community. That would be preaching to the choir- most of us with such intense passionate opinions about food already practice common sense with our food choices.

    What better medium than the television to convey his message? That is the audience he wants to speak to. If he gets one person, two people five to get up of their couches and cook a meal is that not better than none? If one of those people plants a pea patch will that not grow and become two?

    Personally my family and I don't watch TV, we watch selective programs that we download or rent and avoid commercials at all costs. I will not or ever be swayed by Ragu because it has some how become attached to J.O. You and I know how to make homemade sauce way better than Ragu ever could but there are millions of people who don't.

    If we keep cooking, talking, blogging, about it maybe our friends will learn to make a better sauce and teach their friends to make it and nobody will want to turn to an instant can of (my opinion) crap. High fructose corn syrup is a massive contributor to health issues in the western diet and invisible added sodium is right there behind it, but I would prefer that people eat a bowl of noodles, sauce, and a salad then go out to any one of of the fast food chain restaurants.

    If you and I keep critiquing Ragu and more people question that sponsorship as a result of J.O. show then maybe some of his Food Revolution ideas will rub off on the corporate giants of America and Ragu will change it's practices. Ragu can not sell its product if people don't want it.

    You have made some very valid poins that made me question my own opinions and that is what critique is about. Kudos to you for having the strength to express your onion. It is a relief to see that we don't all agree all of the time because with out check and balances change is not possible.

    Megan

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  11. NO ONE IS ALLOWED A DIFFERENT OPINION THAN MINE






    joking!!

    I thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully respond to my letter. I am thinking over my response so it can be equally thought provoking and nice and will definitely respond a bit later.

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  12. wow. you never know what you're going to find when you visit a new blog.

    I'm so glad that Brita and Megan commented because I didn't want to have to comment on my first visit and disagree with my hostess. LOL

    But....just a couple of thoughts... *grinning* I am a past school board member and one of my soapboxes was the food served in the school cafeteria.
    School cafeteria's are tied down by a lot of government interference. Oh, I'm sorry, did I say the "government interference" phrase outloud??
    Schools have their hands tied by government commodities that must be used because of monetary ceilings.
    So, our kiddos continue to be fed the same ridiculous excuses for healthy food.
    I think what Jamie Oliver is doing is fabulous. And, I am having a continuous discussion with our school superintendant about what Mr. Oliver is attempting to bring to the attention of America.
    Thank goodness someone is willing to do it.

    And, if you think about it, T.V. is the best way in America to reach the most people.
    Me personally?? I cook everything from scratch and that's how my boys were fed as we all sat around the table together for meals.
    We have a garden, we raise cattle so we grass and grain feed a heffer for our beef, the same with a pig and we visit the farmer's market weekly. HOWEVER, I am not and you are not the norm.
    I don't think it's fair to judge something that you have not witnessed. Give Mr. Oliver a chance by watching the show on your computer and I think you may change some of your opinions.

    Didn't I say that I wasn't going to have to comment?
    You hit a nerve, I couldn't help myself;)

    I love the idea of your blog and I plan on following it.
    I look forward to getting to know you, Laura.

    Warmly, Jan Thomason

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  13. I love this Laura. It's really scary to see what companies support these shows. Biggest Loser especially, don't even get me started on that one!

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  14. I feel really lucky having a parent who liked to cook everything at home and very healthy meals. We didn't have junk food growing up and had the odd treat at Christmas and Easter and Halloween. I also had a wonderful elementary school where the "lunch lady" cooked her own recipes. Back then, the school received real food to cook, unlike now. And the kids ate her food, except the spinach, because even then most kids didn't like it. But we were not allowed to throw out our lunches, the cafeteria monitors would ensure you ate your lunch.

    Today, my friends kids eat garbage at school if their moms don't pack a lunch. The schools feel that ketchup is a vegetable. It's so shocking! Because Alice Waters is local to me, I have heard more about the topic of school lunches and so this show wasn't all that much of a surprise to me. But for many it was.

    When I visited my Auntie back East, the entire state she lives in has many many overweight people. Most people there don't seem to cook much for themselves, judging from the lack of anything "real" in the grocery stores, and if you go to a restaurant, you can get green beans that have been cooked all day until they are spoonable, and mounds and mounds of sugar in your iced tea. When I asked for another vegetable with my meal, the waitress said, well, we have potatoes.

    I know why I'm "fluffy" and it has everything to do with lack of exercise, not what I eat. But so many people seem so clueless about their diet. Your kids are really lucky to have a caring mom who is not only feeding them well, but teaching them well.

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  15. Hi Laura,
    I left an award for you, for standing up for what you believe in on my http://kitschinthekitchen.blogspot.com .

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  16. Laura, I completely understand some of your issues, but I actually rather enjoy this show. I am appalled by some of the regulations that we have - and there aren't nearly enough people who know what is actually IN their food (shame on them, I know, but .. it is what it is) let alone what the government requires due to lobbying by agriculture and the oh so counterproductive farm subsidies.

    We don't ingest HFCS at all and do our best to avoid corn syrup at all (along with a number of other ickies). At 6 and attending school, Mister Man is now seeing that this is a rarity. He luckily has opted out of school lunches, and I make his lunch each day. However, when there are treats passed out at birthday parties, etc., and I give them the once over and reject most of them, he's having a more difficult time understanding why that is.

    I plan (when we have time to actually sit down in front of the tv - as we very rarely do) to watch this with him to help educate him further and get him to understand deeper the whys of what we're doing.

    Beyond that, I sincerely hope that - whatever the means - this is something that becomes larger in the public consciousness and that people demand change. I'm seeing more and more products that advertise no HFCS, but there aren't nearly enough. I want my son to be able to eat "normal" foods with his friends and not have to check everything three times.

    And a sad thing? Driving home from carpool, I have to provide a snack for our kiddos. Since I've not had time to make it to the store lately due to other constraints, I was down to my dried fruit puree - no sweeteners and no HFCS. The little girl we carpool with wouldn't eat it. She didn't like it because it wasn't sweet enough like the "other" fruit roll ups she eats. And to me, that's just sad.

    Keep in mind - you're more educated on a number of fronts than the majority of Americans, and particularly those who this is aimed at. We need the awareness, and I'm hoping this starts to make a difference. Soon.

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  17. I have a SERIOUS problem with ANYONE telling me how I should live my life; how much I should or shouldn't eat; how much tv I should or should watch; how much I should weigh; how much I should or shouldn't shop; what kind of food I should or shouldn't eat; what I should or shouldn't buy, etc. It's NO ONES business but mine.

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Am I talking DIRECTLY to you? Well then let me know!