J500 Media and the Environment

Focus on Life and Food will Follow by Kelly

I never, ever ate school lunches.  I never asked my parents why, but I’m guessing it was less expensive than the meal plan at school. In addition to sack lunches being cheaper, they were probably healthier than what they served at school.  I’m guessing my homemade lunches are part of what made healthy eating a habit for me. To this day I pack a lunch box, and I’m essentially in the 18th grade.

After watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,  I could kiss my parents a thousand times for packing my lunches while I was growing up.  In the past 20 years the percentage of children who are obese has doubled. Obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure, are more at-risk for diabetes, and are more likely to be obese as an adult.

In a testimony to Congress, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services noted that, as a result of obesity, many children in this generation of children will not outlive their parents.  Many say unhealthy school lunches, with high fat and sugar content, contribute to the epidemic.

from flickr.com, by SpecialKRB

Jamie Oliver’s show is new on ABC and it is tracking Mr. Oliver’s fight to revolutionize American school lunches.

Apart from being appalled and heartbroken by the food those little children were eating, I was struck by something profound. Jamie Oliver is reaching into families, churches, and schools in order to revolutionize the food habits of the city.

There is undeniably a food movement going on in America and there are voices urging us to make food a pillar of our lives.  However, Jamie Oliver’s voice in the food movement is pointing out that it already is.

Food is a constant and important presence in all lives.  Meals are important to families, food affects our bodies and minds, and it is often an integral part of any religion.

But despite food’s importance and omnipresence, somewhere along the line we’ve gotten unfortunately uncomfortable with food.  If you listen to people talk about their food concerns, it becomes evident that a lot of people are uneasy about food, but for a myriad of different reasons.

Some want low fat, some want low salt, some don’t have time, some don’t have money. Some don’t like to cook, others don’t know how. Some people eat too much, others don’t want to eat anything at all.

Considering we encounter food at least three times a day, people face these concerns at least that often. Furthermore, there are messages about what is “good” food everywhere.  Between the TV, internet, radio, newspaper, food packaging, and neighbors, we can’t escape it.

It. is. too. much.

When it comes to food we’ve been informed to our detriment.  All of this information about food has made us think that it’s the food that’s important,  but that’s the thinking that has gotten us in trouble.  Our intense focus on food has distracted us from what we really hold important.

In order to change our relationship with food, we each need to isolate what is important to us and focus on it.  I believe that if you focus on what is important, the food will follow. Of course, each of us will have different priorities, but the results will all be the same: we can solve our problems with food.

If you want more time together as a family, plan to be together for dinner more often. If you need to save money, eat at home more often. If you want a sharper mind, figure out how to eat to help that happen. If you would like a new skill, learn how to cook.

It is time to appreciate that we live with food and that we need it. I urge you to refocus and realize that food is not our primary concern, but is instead woven throughout our higher priorities.  So pick your priority and honor it, and I guarantee better food will follow.


3 Comments so far
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You know how I talk a lot in class about how much our “pool of worry” has been filled to the brim, and how it’s hard to try and tackle all aspects of one kind of problem. It’s posts like these that seem to give me hope. THANK YOU.

What will be YOUR focus or primary concern? Is it the fact that you can save money making lunch at home?

–Ben P.

Comment by Ben Pirotte

Yes, money is a big one and packing my own lunch certainly serves that purpose. But also, knowing what I’m eating saves me a lot of stress because a) I pack exactly what I want to eat so I know it’s healthy and that I’m going to like it, and b) It’s good food so I think it keeps me from getting sick. (I seriously haven’t been sick in years.) So my main focuses are money and health.


Comment by Kelly


You said in your comment that you “haven’t been sick in years…” I am wondering: do you have any sort of health requirements for your food that keeps you so healthy? Are you making sure you have your 5 fruits and veggies as we were all taught by the (former) food pyramid? Or are there other things you look for? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

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