Monday, March 22, 2010

"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution"

Did anyone see Jamie Oliver's preview of his new show, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" last night? I wasn't terribly hopeful going into it, but it was FANTASTIC! Jamie has challenged and improved the school lunches in his home country of England and he's come to America to try to do the same. He started with the town of Huntington, WV, as it was deemed by government statistics as the worst town for overall obesity and overall bad health. To say he was welcomed with opened arms would be a HUGE lie.

He is currently working with five "lunch ladies" in one of the area elementary schools. They took great offense at the term "lunch lady" and wanted to be known as cooks. But in my opinion, anyone, whether at school, restaurant, institution or home that only heats up food or reconstitutes food, isn't cooking. One lunch lady hung her attitude on the fact that in the LONG list of ingredients of everything Jamie was trying to point out as extremely processed, thus "not real" foods, the first ingredient was always the "real" food that the item was suppose to be. It wasn't pointed out that the one real food ingredient was followed by thirty other ingredients that the majority of us cannot pronounce or have a clue what is. Being a gluten and multiple other food-intolerant person, myself, I can attest that many, many things have wheat and milk added as fillers, so we are being hugely overdosed on some items we don't even realize would have those things in them. But I digress.

These ladies were nearly giddy when Jamie's first attempt at feeding the children baked chicken, roasted potatoes, salad and apples was a large failure. What few children chose this lunch, threw much of it out. Of course they did. They have had nothing but chicken nuggets and pizza their whole lives. And the school serves pizza for breakfast everyday. Jamie asked different children what they had for supper the night before and they unanimously said chicken nuggets, pizza, chicken tenders, etc. They are eating the same foods day in and day out, no matter where they are. Convenience items. Things we all throw at our kids when we have no time or energy to cook. By the time this preview show was over I likened feeding our children in this manner no better than opening a bag of feed and tossing on the ground for the chickens or slopping the pigs. Something that has to be done, but do it as quickly and easily as possible. I would hope we care more about our kids than the chickens and pigs.

"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" actually premiers this Friday on ABC at 9pm ET. I challenge everyone to watch and be as grossed out as I was about the state of our diets and what we are feeding our children. We should be outraged and demand standards to change. If we don't not only are our children dying before we will, but their children, our grandchildren will die even younger. Our laziness and habits shouldn't be so self-important to kill future generations for no good reason.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whose Fault?

Jihad Jane. Colleen LaRose. Everyone that has known her seems totally shocked at the turn of events that has exposed a side to this woman that no one seemed to be aware of. Her neighbors described her as a typical housewife. Her boyfriend didn't have a clue. Her ex-husband describes a "bible-toting church-goer". So when, why and how did her outlook change so much that she became willing to go murder a Swedish cartoonist and be a martyr for a cause that she, seemingly, had nothing to do with? Let me propose a theory. It may not have a lot of validity, but it's mine.

Anytime one used to be a "bible-toting" Christian and turns away from it, I think most people tend to think that their previous ways weren't real, putting on the mask to fit into the church crowd. It's always a possibility. There's certainly enough people running around, inside and outside the church alike, wearing various masks. And with anyone that seems to have such a change of personality and beliefs, you can never completely rule out a mental instability. But, again, I think that's an easy way out for explaining some situations. This one strikes me differently. She was married for 10 years to a man that says they lived a very routine, normal life and went to church every Sunday. Then they divorced. Now, I'm not saying divorce is the reason for people going over the edge, but its definitely seen as a failure to many. She moves to Pennsylvania and we haven't learned much about the next many years. But skip ahead 15 years and we learn of the death of her father and her attempted suicide. Suicide. Only people that are truly disillusioned and tapped out emotionally go this route. There's no indication that she continued going to church or had any kind of Christian support system after moving to Pennsylvania. We just don't know this part of the story yet.

Now, I've never been to Pennsylvania, except for the Philadelphia airport. But I'm fairly certain there are Christians in Pennsylvania. I have a few online sisters that are wonderful Christians. But have to ask, where were the church-goers in her community? In church? Going to choir practice, bible studies, having programs, breakfasts, dinners? There's nothing wrong with any of those things. But a lot of Christians seem s to hole themselves up inside the walls of the church. They keep themselves extremely busy with church activities. All their friends are other church members. They home school their kids and network with other church home schoolers. I've even known many that will only work for the Christian businessman that they know well from, yes, you have it, church. Many of them have themselves so insulated from anyone and anything in the world that they wouldn't recognize a real worldly need if it bit them on the nose. It is my theory that Colleen was badly disillusioned by Christians. How much did they try to help, without judgement, when she went through her divorce? How many tried to befriend the new neighbor when she moved to Pennsylvania? How many were there to comfort and lift her up when she was grieving at the death of her father?

We don't know the answers to these questions. But I've seen it happen over and over. Many Christians are so consumed with living the virtuous life and knowing virtuous people that they lose touch about what we are really here for. To touch the world. A very, very hurting world. Again, this is strictly a conjecture on my part about Colleen's life. But the observations of what goes behind my theory has been taken from years and years of spending time with "church-goers". Some are the most wonderful people in the world. And they are "in the world". But there are, sadly, still many that haven't woke up yet.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's been winter since Christmas, inside and out. You know that gray, bored, cabin-fevered emotional void that comes with the post-holiday letdown? And I always feel like I'm being ungrateful to complain about anything because, really, I have nothing to complain about. My life has been richly blessed and I never really forget that. I'm very grateful. But this is a feeling, a feeling that passes through me often. I don't know if its a chemical thing or a lack-of-sun thing but I get blue and this is certainly the time of year I feel I struggle with it the most. But for a very different reason, this has been a difficult last few months for me.

If you have read any of my posts in the last 9 months or so, you know I lost my father to cancer last May. Besides the usual grief that brings, its just weird to suddenly know at my age that one of my parents is no longer on this earth. Move ahead 8 months. I had an uncle that suffered many, many mini strokes the past 3-5 years. The past 3 years have been spent in in-home care and not always being terribly aware of who people are or what's going on around him. But he remained a large man and was a burden that my aunt and cousins dealt with mostly on their own all that time. It was an existence that certainly seemed to have no quality of life, not an existence that anyone would consider beneficial. But he had the stubborness and tenacity to hang on nearly 3 years longer than anyone, including his doctors, expected. But he took a sudden turn last month and in a week's time, he suddenly was gone. As with my father's cancerous decline, no one could be terribly sad that their suffering was over.

Skip ahead one more time one month later. Yesterday.