Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Food with a capital "F"!

I'm sure you've heard of Jamie Oliver. He's a 34 year old chef from England who has launched one of the world's more effective campaigns for healthy eating.

The crux of his message? Cook. Don't pick up takeout. Don't reheat boxes. Cook. Take actual whole foods, spend a few moments in your kitchen, and cook.

If you were only allowed to choose one intervention to make to improve your health there's no doubt it should be to cook.

Great chance too that it'd have a positive impact on your weight.

Are cooking classes mandatory in Canadian schools? Nope.

Are there free government sponsored cooking workshops? Nope.

Is the government considering a means to subsidize whole foods, the building blocks of cooking? Nope.

Would any of those measures be difficult to implement? Nope.

Should we hold our breath until they happen? Nope.

Sadly I don't think things have got bad enough to warrant our government actually taking food seriously. Yet Jamie's right to label this a catastrophe.

You know there is this bad habit of folks stepping back and saying that all of this is too complicated. That healthy eating is too complicated, that obesity is too complicated. That everything is too complicated to turn around. Consequently it seems public health efforts are paralyzed.

You know what, yup this stuff is complicated. How we got to this point is complicated. Food labeling is complicated. Nutrients are complicated.

Cooking on the other hand isn't all that complicated and its impact would be immense.

Combine Jamie Oliver's perfectly aimed recommendation to ensure every graduating high school student knows how to cook at least 10 healthy, affordable meals, with Michael Pollan's 7 word manifesto,

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
and we'd be saving innumerable lives.

Jamie's wish?
"My wish is for you to help a strong, sustainable movement, to educate every child about food. To inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity."
Watch Jamie's speech from TED 2010. Set aside the 20 mins and if you don't have time today, bookmark this post and come back when you've got a moment.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I show you what we're up against in the schools.