Food Revolution: Flemington style

Here in my hometown of Flemington we have our local public school system featuring the famous Jamie Oliver’s menus and recipes. A third grade student was inspired by Jamie’s Food Revolution and approached school officials to set aside this week as “Food Revolution Week.” 

Nicholas brought his passion for leading a healthy lifestyle, his love of good food and his interest in the Food Revolution straight to the negotiating table. Through his efforts, Nicolas has persuaded the district to offer a full week of Jamie Oliver-inspired recipes in place of the regular lunch menu at Copper Hill School.” 1

The menu will include Beefy Nachos, Crusty Mac-n-Cheese, Sloppy Joe Sandwiches, Shepherd’s Pie, and Pizza. Are these foods health promoting? View the menu and Jamie’s recipes for yourself. Would you let your kids eat that stuff?

There are no nutritious dishes made with significant amounts of vegetables and beans. Amazing that Jamie Oliver has moved the nation to associate good nutrition with cancer-causing concoctions like Sloppy Joes and Mac-n-Cheese instead of true health-promoting, anti-cancer whole foods like vegetables, berries, seeds and fresh fruits. White flour, ground beef and cheese are not vegetables; and the message is still lacking in this “revolution” that without eating significant vegetables and beans we are going to have a nation of cancer-prone, heart-attack prone, overweight individuals.

Our students graduate from elementary and high schools, colleges, and even professional schools (such as medical schools) without ever learning the most critical information about how to protect one’s precious health.  Even highly educated individuals do not have a clear knowledge of the foods that prevent and protect against disease.  By attempting to improve the nation’s diet without incorporating these health-promoting foods, we are merely moving the chess pieces around aimlessly, and sadly the public does not become more educated about health, only more confused.

We need a real revolution, not a phony one that diverts attention away from the real problem. A revolution that places the power and the responsibility for health in hands of the individual, and gives them the power to live a disease-free life; free of toxic drugs, invasive surgical procedures, and futile and expensive medical care that is all hype but adds little to our quality or length of life.  




1. on behalf of L. Braun; June 3, 2010

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Comments (18) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Natalie - June 11, 2010 11:41 AM

As it's your home town is there any way you could offer to provide a week trial menu also?

When I was at school I don't remember seeing any vegetables beyond iceberg lettuce and tomato ketchup.

Greg Kaler - June 11, 2010 12:12 PM

Great post Joel. You know I travel to schools across the country preaching your message. As humans are killing the earth with their thirst for oil/the oil spill, we're slowly killing ourselves with the addictive unhealthy foods we are pouring into our bodies. I wish I could be your publicist.
Keep up your great work. As the Titanic in your post, I'll go down trying.

lauren - June 11, 2010 12:34 PM

I find it interesting that we see this kind of food offered at schools for children as well as nursing homes for elderly---it seems this establishment we live amongst is encouraging disease in children and death in the elderly.

Elijah Lynn - June 11, 2010 1:09 PM

What a fraud!

Crusty Mac N' Cheese?
Sloppy Joe's with WHOLE WHEAT buns?

Wow, pretty healthy stuff Jamie.

Elijah Lynn - June 11, 2010 1:11 PM

I drove by a McDonald's the other day and a whole slew of students were standing on both sides of the drive through holding up signs and washing windows to collect money for get this...

Cancer Research...

Oh, oh, the irony.

Denise D'Agostino - June 11, 2010 1:16 PM

Corn dog on a stick?? Are they serious???

Wow, this is sad.

Tim - June 11, 2010 1:32 PM

That's disgusting. Jamie's ministry of food is coming to our city in the UK apparently. The ethos of the ministry is to get people to cook healthier food but it's the same sort of rubbish on your school's menu. Pizza! Even if it's done the true Italian way with a thin base it's still really bad for you. Jamie is also one of the 'olive oil is a health food' brigade, like most Italian–trained chefs.

I pity the current generation of kids, their health is going to be trashed in their later years…

LaurieInOklahoma - June 11, 2010 1:46 PM

Suggesting that these foods are healthy only serves to confuse matters more. As if it wasn't hard enough already to get the message across!

Laina - June 11, 2010 5:28 PM

If these foods are considered, 'healthy,' I'm wondering what do the children normally eat at school? What does their typical menu look like?

SAD indeed.

Horsecrazy - June 11, 2010 7:31 PM

Along with the oil spill in the gulf, this just makes me want to cry! How can he be so ignorant to believe that those are health foods! Dr. Fuhrman - it would be so great if you could get together with Jamie and show him the way. He has such energy that it would be great if we could get him to send the correct message!

Sue - June 11, 2010 8:59 PM

A couple of thoughts here. Give JO a break. He's seems to be as frustrated by the school system as all of us. They may allow him to fix a menu, but he's got a list of rules and regulations a mile long. Our federal government subsidizes the junk food in our schools. Schools budgets keep getting cut. He's at least trying and is raising awareness. That's a good thing.

Keep writing to your lawmakers and tell them that nutritious school lunches should be every child's right. Ask them to subsidize local farmers that will grow fresh vegetables to our schools. I really believe that this will only get changed by letting our lawmakers know that their votes depend on it.

MIke Rubino - June 11, 2010 10:02 PM

The nation is doomed from within. When I was a kid back in the 50's we worried about Kruschev dropping the big one on us, however we were all kept apprised of the threat on a daily basis. Now we're killing ourselves and our offspring at record rates with our knives and forks and only a few know better or care .

Alexis - June 12, 2010 8:51 AM

Ditto Sue! I agree with least he is taking it to the streets and trying to do something. He has raised the awareness in children (and their parents) for that matter more than anyone else has even attempted. You have to give the man credit for at least trying to change our school systems. I don't think it is fair to slam Jamie when he has stepped up to the plate and been willing to sacrifice much of his time and energy to the children of this nation. I thank you for that, Mr. Oliver.

Ann - June 12, 2010 2:23 PM

I love this post and appreciate Dr. F for trying to raise awareness. I am also in favor of Dr. F approaching Oliver on some level. It was once suggested that they team up... rather synchronistic that Oliver is in Dr. F's's meant to happen! The writing's on the wall - they MUST pair up! Good luck Dr. F. - let the best data win!

Heather - June 13, 2010 6:56 AM

I'm with previous poster Sue on this one. Jamie Oliver's not the villain here. He's a big fan of fresh, organic fruit and veg and lots of it. But in order to effect lasting improvement at the school he had to design menus to meet USDA guidelines and budgetary restrictions, plus use government subsidized products. What the kitchen put out post-makeover was well below Eat To Live standards for healthy but considerably less harmful than the chemical-addled frozen Frankenfood that was being served previously.

Plus, the show put the issue of school lunches firmly on the national agenda. Michelle Obama had been trying to get the public's attention with her childhood obesity effort for months and she wasn't getting much media play, aside from the time she hula-hooped. Jamie put the sad state of school lunches front and center and generated mass interest and outrage.

FYI, interested parties should follow this father and former Washington Post investigative journalist as he reports on the state of the school lunch system. Here's a link to a recent overview post on his blog summarizing his observations and conclusions to date:

And, he also links to the Fed Up blog by a teacher who's eating and photographing her students' school lunches every day for a year. Terrifying stuff.

Ed Bruske - June 13, 2010 6:44 PM

It's not at all uncommon for re-vamped school menus to look very much like re-engineered kids food. In Berkeley, CA, for instance, the school district ditched industrially processed food and replaced it with meals made from scratch. Still, they serve pizza twice a week, and there's a pasta day, and a chicken day and every Friday nachos are served in the upper schools. That's because the kids went on strike--stopped coming for lunch--when the new chef tried to yank the nachos, those chips covered with gloppy, Dayglo cheese. Now they have nachos with whole-grain corn tortillas and freshly cooked beans and grated cheese.

The point is that school food is determined at least to a certain extent by the tastes kids bring to school, as well as the surrounding food culture. As well as influencing kids' eating behaviors, schools have to compromise some. Remember, kids' least favorite foods to eat are vegetables and whole grains. At least here in the U.S., if the meals aren't taken, the schools lose federal subsidy dollars and that can mean real trouble. Vegetables are worked into the menu in less obvious ways--in all of the sauces, for instance, and in the soups and on the salad bar. This reflects kids' attitudes to a certain extent, and also the very clever ways that the chefs who direct food services in places like Berkeley have learned to work within their budgets and still offer kids healthful alternatives. I think as long as the chefs are committed to offering kids food made fresh from healthful ingredients, you need to give them a little lattitude--maybe the benefit of the doubt--when it comes to designing their menus.

vegpedlr - June 14, 2010 12:42 PM

I applaud Mr. Oliver for trying to raise awareness, but his "solution" leaves a lot to be desired. Just because it's "fresh" and "organic" does not mean it's healthy. He needs a better set of rules. I fell into this trap for several years where I thought that as long as my food was made from scratch and mostly organic I would be fine. It wasn't until I learned the correct rules from Fuhrman, McDougall and Esselstyn that I got true health.

Hmmm - January 8, 2011 9:01 PM

I watched an episode or so of the show with Jamie Oliver trying to fix school lunches. He made a vegetable dish with 6 different types of fresh vegetables and then was told, there wasn't enough vegetable options so the school put out french fries, which the kids picked over the vegetable dish. Most of what he wanted to make had to be altered to suit the schools guidelines so perhaps this is what is happening with the mac and cheese menu and sloppy joe menu.

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