Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Reminds Americans “You Deserve Better”

My favorite part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution this Father’s Day week was Jamie’s visit back to the Barrett family to see if they have stayed away from fast food since his last visit. As Jamie strode up the sidewalk, he noticed that they were growing herbs and vegetables. The father and the teenage son answered the door in aprons, in the midst of preparing dinner for themselves and Jamie. They had even filled the living room with all kinds of produce in jest of Jamie filling their home with fast food on his last visit. The father stated that he had lost 16 pounds already and, most importantly, feels good about himself as a father now that he cooks and has dinner at the family table with his sons.

The episode started with Jamie visiting a convention for school lunch cooks. He let us know that it is not just the LAUSD, but he has also been denied access to 75 other school districts. The comments by the cooks and administrators made it clear that people are afraid of bad press.

I find it sad when we try to pretend that we are perfect and/or do not open ourselves up to improvement through real awareness. I work with people frequently who confess less than functional habits. Just because Jillian Michaels already works out daily, does not mean she is better than the person asking for help to start exercising more often. In fact, I often find that the person trying to make a change has more courage and is working harder than the person who has already developed a healthier habit. My favorite part of the school lunch cook convention was Jamie commenting on the fact that during airing of the Food Revolution, commercials for fast food or convenience food are also being aired.

Jamie went back to West Adams High for his final visit before being kicked out. He was able to speak at an all school assembly on healthy lifestyle and cook for the entire school to provide samples. Jamie told the students that he was moving his kitchen across the street, so he would still be available and would still teach classes after school. In an attempt to encourage the administrators of West Adams to break away from the food service of the LAUSD, Jamie took them to a school in nearby Santa Barbara who changed their menu three years ago to all fresh food, most of which is organically grown locally in the school’s very own garden. Many of the barriers to change were removed when the students raved about the food and school officials pointed out that even with 70 percent of their students on free or reduced meal plans, they are still able to provide healthy meals and break even.

During this episode, Jamie was also presented the UCLA Public Health Champion award and introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis. In his speech, Jamie stated that he has not earned the award yet and that this has been the worst month of his career so far. Jamie’s emotion shows that he really cares. One of the last things Jamie says in this episode sums up his motivation for the entire Food Revolution: “Remember, America, you deserve better”

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