Reading List: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Bake Sale Ban & Kombucha Madness

by in Food News, March 26, 2010

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In this week’s nutrition news: Jamie Oliver’s new TV show takes on fat America, stay fit by moving an hour a day and baby food is the latest snack trend.

Jamie Oliver vs. America’s Obesity Epidemic
Jamie Oliver revolutionized the school lunch system in England, and now he’s brought his crusade to America in a new reality show. His first stop: Huntington, West Virginia, a city many have dubbed the nation’s unhealthiest. If you caught the preview episode, you saw kids chowing down on high-fat processed foods at breakfast and lunch (one school had pizza for breakfast!). His mission is to introduce these people to more freshly cooked, nutritious meals, but will he succeed? I plan to catch the full premiere tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

NY Banning School Bake Sales
Home-baked cookies are a no no, but packaged chips and granola bars are okay — at least in New York City schools these days. After New York’s Department of Education passed a provision to help combat obesity among the city’s 1.1 million students, homemade baked goods went on a banned food list; meanwhile, 29 packaged items, including Pop Tarts and potato chips, are nutritionally sound, according to the new rules. Not surprisingly, some parents are unhappy with the changes; they argue it promotes processed foods over fresh stuff and they’re holding a “bake in” to protest. What do you think about the new no-bake rule?

An Hour a Day to Battle the Bulge
new study indicates that older women who aren’t dieting need at least one hour of moderate physical activity every day to maintain their current weight. What’s “moderate physical activity” exactly? Well, brisk walking, biking and golfing are options. If you can’t make time for that hour a day, even 20 to 30 minutes of exercise is better than nothing.

Newest Snack: Baby Food
If you need a portion-controlled snack, try baby food. At least that’s what  some folks who want more fruits and veggies are trying. Baby food fans, including the celebrity chef/model Sophie Dahl, say the fruit varieties are jam-like and addictive. Dahl even included a recipe for mashed bananas in her new cookbook. Most jarred baby foods range from 45 to 140 calories, which is appropriate for a snack. You can even find organic varieties with fewer chemicals and preservatives.

Another Hot Trend: Kombucha
Kombucha, a fermented tea that some claim boosts your immune system and digestion, is hotter than ever. Americans purchased more than a million bottles of it in 2009 alone, and an article in this week’s New York Times reports Bay Area fans are making their own brews — trading recipes at swap meets and selling the best stuff on Craigslist. Honestly, we’re not fans of Kombucha and agree with doctor and alternative health expert Andrew Weil, who warns that the tea can be dangerous to the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. Have you tried it?

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Comments (10)

  1. I love kombucha, and I am very excited that there are more and more companies making it. To date, there was 1 big manufacturer, and that monopoly allowed for really high prices. I'll be happy to see how this affects the cost

  2. julo says:

    I think NY is the first of probably many examples to come of taking a good idea, taking it too far and making it ridiculous, which is too bad because people who are against a healthy food movement will site examples like these of why things should not change. This is what happens when people fail to use good ol' common sense. In my opinion, if we could only eat what we made ourselves from scratch, no processed foods allowed, homemade cookies would be harmless. I completely agree that if the focus is going to be what's in the food (i.e. buttery and sugary baked goods), then they should really look. How about they can only sell food with ingredients the kids can spell? There go those pop tarts!

    The baby food thing sounded ridiculous to me until you mentioned the organic varieties. The preservatives in those things are horrendous, but I guess if you got it without, that would be better. It still seems stupid to eat a jar of baby food pears rather than just eating a pear. I get the idea of portion control, but you could just as easily use small containers of food you've made yourself. My 5 month old nephew has hated being introduced to baby food, but my sister a few days ago just mashed up from fresh avocado and he couldn't get enough of it. Only 5 months and look at that good taste he has. I wouldn't want all those preservatives either!

  3. Sarah says:

    I agree with Julo about the bake sales. I get that cookies are considered 'unhealthy', but what's going to keep you living until 100 years? Not the chemicals in processed foods, thats for sure. A little bit of fat though in a little treat (which all kids should be offered or else they'll just binge on it later) won't be harmful long term.

  4. Vivi says:

    jamie's food revolution left me speechless
    there were 5 yr olds who didnt know where fries came from, what REAL vegetables looked like, it was so shocking
    WATCH IT and see for yourself

  5. Lady Bee says:

    I live in Portland Oregon and homemade baked goods aren't allowed at bake sales due to the growing number of severe nut allergies. I don't know if New York is doing it for the same reason but if that is the case it changes the perspective of the article.

  6. Jen says:

    I LOVE Kombucha, GT's especially. Very expensive though, at about 3.99 a bottle so I usually only buy it when it goes on sale. It gives me a healthy buzz!

  7. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.Keep working ,great job!

  8. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day.

  9. Andre Rieser says:

    Same here …. seeing these 5 – 6 year old in the class room not recognizing vegetables was shocking. Imagine what their surprise will be when they find out, where milk is coming from! Good start of the show – wishing JO good luck and success in his endeavor

  10. tamidor says:

    Hi Lady Bee,
    I agree with you on the allergy issue–but that was not the reason why they banned it. The spokesperson for the New York City Health Department said that they banned it because they could not control the calories.

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