Food for Thought: Coincidence or Karma?

March 22, 2010  •  Food for Thought

A coincidence is defined as seemingly unrelated things happening at the same time, and so it was when three things coincided yesterday evening: the passage of the healthcare reform bill in the US house, the annual Chefs Up Front dinner in Colorado to benefit Operation Frontline, and the sneak preview of Jamie Oliver’s new show Food Revolution. Let’s start with the good news.Crab Cake Sliders from Table 6, Denver

Chefs Up Front Denver is the annual fundraiser event for Operation Frontline Colorado, and I’m sure I’ve said before how passionate I am about them. I am a member of the advisory board and I volunteer as a chef educator, teaching nutrition and healthy cooking on a budget to families with limited financial means in an effort to end childhood hunger. Chefs Up Front is a great fundraising event because instead of being served “banquet food” each table of 10 has a high profile local restaurant chef cooking table side and pairing great wines with each course. Our restaurant was Table 6, listed by 5280 Magazine as one of the top 25 restaurants in Denver. Last night’s event was a rousing success, and I was relieved that my donation of a cooking dinner party for eight was popular enough that I ended up donating two of them.Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Rinds with Smoke Paprika from Table 6, Denver

The whole idea behind Operation Frontline is that we need to re-teach people, unfortunately, how to cook and eat real food. That may sound incredulous, but all you need to do is watch shows on TV like The Biggest Loser and you’ll see just how far so many, at least here in the US, have strayed from making healthy food decisions.Yellow Beet Risotto with Shredded Beets and Arugula

Which brings me to Jamie Oliver’s new show, Food Revolution. It airs on ABC and last night was just a sneak preview which I watched while exercising this morning. (Missed it? Check it out online here.) The episode shows him making his way through a school lunch system overrun by politics and a town in denial in order to simply try to change school meals from pizza for breakfast, frozen chicken nuggets for lunch, and pink strawberry flavored milk to a meal that’s made from real food. Sound simple? Guess again. The show ends with him choked up and frustrated because of how hard this work is.Beef Short Ribs with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts from Table 6, Denver

The only reason I didn’t break down myself is that I figure they are advertising the full season of this show, so clearly he must have made progress or they wouldn’t waste the air time. I mean, I can’t watch an obese woman crying as she buries her deep fryer in a hole in the back yard that Jamie dug for her, admitting she’s killing her (also very obese) kids with the food she feeds them, unless I know change is coming.Blood Orange Tart from Table 6, Denver

So if you’re still reading, you might be wondering why I included the healthcare reform bill as one of the coincidental events of yesterday. I won’t take a political stand here about whether the bill is good or bad, right or wrong. Honestly, I could present a pretty strong case both for and against the bill (as these others have as well). But what I’m most concerned about are root causes of things. I’m quite pragmatic by nature, and if there is one thing that seems abundantly clear, it’s that our poor choices in our diet are resulting in diseases which pretty much lead to skyrocketing medical costs. I just know in my heart that if our country (world) ate healthier, we’d be healthier, and our healthcare costs would go down.

I don’t feel I can do a darn thing about affecting outcomes on how the house or senate vote on these bills (if my recent letter to my CO representative concerning’s cancellation of the affiliate program in CO is any indicator). But I do feel that I can do things every day to make myself and those around me healthier, using my passion for cooking as the platform. These are some of the things I believe in, and we reinforce these in Operation Frontline classes every day:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less meat – aim for lean meat
  • Eat more fish
  • Eat locally whenever you have a choice
  • Eat seasonally most of the time
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store – that’s were the real food is found – and avoid the center aisles that are filled with all sorts of food-like products that are usually high in fat/sugar/sodium/preservatives
  • Choose whole grains over processed bread products
  • Eat low fat or nonfat dairy products (milk/yogurt)
  • Cut back on sugar
  • Get more exercise

And for goodness sake, get back in the kitchen if you’ve been avoiding it. Cooking dinner with real food for your family doesn’t have to take any longer than stopping at a fast food chain. Just focus on simple, fresh food and you’ll have it down in no time!


2 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Emily says:

    Well Michele I’ve got the Food Revolution preview DVR’ed. I’m almost afraid to watch! My mother watched it too and had similar comments to yours. I’m not one for conflict but here’s hoping he gets through to the lunch ladies!
    The Table 6 food looks yummy! Have you dined there before?
    And I received the latest Saveur in the mail. It’s got a piece on Rome. I thought of you and Suzanne et all eating some really, really good pizza soon.
    I’ll be excited to hear all about the trip.

  2. Alisa says:

    Good points…what a coincidence huh? I agree with you with getting the right nutrition and diet.

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