Episode 34: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

What is real food, and what does it take for one to enjoy it?

Nowadays we’re so used to eating processed food. We indulge in fastfood, junk food, and pre-packed, heavily preserved meals. It turns out that this way of eating becomes part of a lifestyle that would eventually kill us.

Unhealthy eating leads to a variety of lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, heart problems, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer. At least 2.8 million adults around the world die each year as a result of being overweight. About forty-two million children under five are already obese.

To solve this, English chef Jamie Oliver started a campaign back in 2010 to encourage everyone to eat nutritious food, learn healthy eating habits among families, and choosing real, fresh food. This is what he called a “Food Revolution.”

Again, what is real food, and what does it take for one to enjoy it? Apparently, it’s easy to enjoy real food if you know where and how to start.

All those veggies… @_@

This was the focus of the launching of “Food Revolution Day” held on May 19 at the Center for Culinary Arts. Food lovers, chefs, schools and restaurant owners gathered to answer Oliver’s challenge to educate, empower, and inspire people to “stand up for real food”.

Joan Manalang, ambassador of Food Revolution Philippines,
talks about Jamie Oliver’s campaign for real, healthy food.

The Philippines is in dire need of knowledge about healthy food. Filipinos a long time ago were slim, lean, and much healthier-looking. This changed due to the fastfood culture we learned from American and other Western influences.

Oliver urges everyone to go “back to basics,” which means knowing what we eat, what’s in it, and where it comes from. For him, food prepared in factories with heavy doses of preservatives is not the way to go.
Being an agricultural country, this was not meant to happen in the Philippines.

Chef Tinette Miciano of Twenty One Plates
demonstrates how to cook vegetable and tofu spring rolls without oil.

Cooking meals at home is the soundest advice for those who want to make sure what they eat is affordable, healthy, and free from unwanted ingredients. It’s also a great opportunity to try out ways to make food delicious without sacrificing health benefits and vice versa. Not to mention that packed lunches are actually much cooler than fastfood.

Home-made yoghurt

Cooking healthy dishes involves monitoring the food we cook, and what we put in. There are lots of ingredients that can be foregone or added in small quantities to maintain the balance between benefits and taste. Examples are substituting tofu or fish for meat, adding extenders to rice, or cooking with little to no oil. Eating healthy, after all, is choosing what to add or not to add in your food.

Food blogger Marie Pascual talks about encouraging children to eat healthy.

Children should also be involved in shifting to real food. Parents should establish good food habits, whether at the market or at home. Kids should see that adults at home eat vegetables and other healthy food. They can also help out in the kitchen so they can understand what they are eating. Vegetables may be disguised in dishes until they’re ready to look at them face to face and eat them.

Nutritionist Nadine Tengco talks about ways to enjoy rice
as part of a healthy diet.

Oliver’s Food Revolution not only tackles healthy food, but also food security. Fresh sources of food are running low due to global warming. Fresh ones become too expensive, while the rest are probably filled with pesticides and other chemicals.

Schools and offices are encouraged to patronize locally sourced, fresh food for a change. Salads, juices, and fat-free dishes may be served in canteens. Campuses and companies may also build farms or gardens where they can grow their own food sources.

Center for Culinary Arts president Anna Guerrero
discusses the effects of global warming in the world’s food supply
Dinner plates like these can be prepared with homegrown vegetables and animals.
Squid ink bread. Yummy.

The Philippines joined more than 60 countries all over the world in celebrating “Food Revolution Day”. However, this campaign is meant not just to be a one-day learning event. Hopefully, this would pave the way to a continuous, conscious effort from all sectors to build a food program based on healthy, natural choices.

On a personal note, being health-conscious means having to stay away from fatty, heavily processed foods that may worsen my condition, being hypertensive and all. I’m glad to know it’s still possible to eat heartily and stay healthy at the same time.

To sum it up, being a healthy foodie depends on what and how much I eat, what’s in my food, and what I add in it. With this in mind and lots more that I can learn about food in the future, I hope to make Oliver’s Food Revolution my own revolution as well.

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