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food as the answer to world peace

Any of you that know me know that I am passionate about my one and only proficient sport – karate. I seem to recall that it was the one activity that I asked my mom to put me in when I was younger, but instead I got to do all the typical childhood activities – dance, swimming and figure skating. (Let me make one thing quite clear – I was not an active child. I much preferred to sit in our window seat in the living room and read a book.) So when I announced to my family that I was starting karate lessons at the age of 20, needless to say, they were quite surprised (and apprehensive as to how it would turn out). Long story short – I’m pretty good at karate! I got my first degree black belt in 3 years, have competed and won medals at the provincial, national and international level, and in less than 11 weeks I will be testing for my second degree black belt. In the last few weeks I’ve had lots of chats about diet with some of my other black belts who are in AMAZING shape and are very knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness. This is not me saying that I am going on a diet, because really, I don’t believe in dieting. I think you should eat simple, unprocessed food as much as possible to give your body the fuel it needs for whatever you do. In my humble opinion, diets do more harm than good. They’re not teaching you how to eat properly and for the long term. As one of my friends put it – if you want to lose weight, it’s 80% diet and 20% working out.

I’ve been putting this to the test this past week – not that I didn’t believe her, but I wanted to prove it to myself – and it’s working. In the last week, just by making smart food choices, I’ve lost 5 pounds.

I got this great little book at Chapters last week – it’s called the diet and fitness journal, and it gives you lots of spots to track your food, your exercise and your progress. For $13.99, I thought it was a great deal. I have an app on my phone called Calorie Counter by FatSecret that can be used for tracking all your info, but I’m kind of old fashioned in the way that I like to write it out by hand.

I use the app to find the nutritional value of what I’m eating, and then I copy it into my journal. I won’t use it forever, because honestly, it’s a lot of work to track everything that crosses your lips in day. I’m using it to teach myself how to recognize healthier foods and portion sizes, which is something I feel is sorely lacking in most people these days, especially in the younger generation. (btw, it pains me greatly to be old enough that I can use the phrase “younger generation”)

There’s been a lot of news lately about how our parents might be the first generation to outlive their children, because of childhood and young adult obesity. Now, as Shawna will tell you, I have a major problem with overweight children. I’ve had to hold myself back from speaking forcefully to parents of overweight children. I routinely shoot parents of overweight children dirty looks. I in no way blame the kids…. I feel this is a problem with the parents – parents who are too lazy to motivate their children to be physically active and who are not interested in teaching their children how to eat properly. I personally feel that childhood obesity is a form of child abuse. Does anyone else feel this way?

Anyways, what I wanted to tell you guys about is Jamie Oliver’s project – the Jamie Oliver Foundation. For those of you that don’t know, Jamie started off in British schools trying to get their school dinners to consist of something other than cardboard chicken and french fries. He went into schools in Britain and found that a significant portion of the students couldn’t recognize everyday vegetables (!), were not eating healthily at home, and were overweight. He successfully campaigned  to get a trial program in the works, where the school lunch ladies would cook the kids using REAL food, at a lesser cost than the pre-made chicken fingers and pizza. At the same time, he was educating the children on food and nutrition. After this project, he came to America and went to the “fattest city in the US” – Huntington, West Virginia, and filmed a show called “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” – if you have time check it out, it’s really good.  Jamie’s Food Revolution quotes the following as part of it’s mission statement:

“This Food Revolution is about saving lives by inspiring everyone: moms, dads, kids, teens and cafeteria workers to get back to basics and start cooking good food from scratch.”

And you know what?  I agree. If everyone would take a few minutes out of their day, or get their asses off the couch and spend some time in the kitchen, we’d be a lot healthier as a society. I think we’d also be more positive, optimistic and less grumpy. Food brings people together and it makes people happy (this is why I love to bake so much). I’ve got it! Mandatory family / communal meals could be the turning point for world peace!

But seriously, something needs to be done about the eating habits of most of the developed world (ok, mostly Canada, the US and the UK), because we’re eating ourselves to death. I think Jamie Oliver is on the right track, and with help from organizations such as Slow Food, they might get something accomplished.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2012 by in eating healthy, exercise, health, jamie oliver, life.

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