By Kristal Bailey
This week on Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver is still being marginalized at West Adams Prep and is only able to feed 100 students at the very back corner of campus. The teachers are loving the healthy food, because this healthier food should make them better students. Things are looking up with Jamie using the "Advisory" period to teach healthy cooking and eating, with a meal being served at the end. This "advisory" period typically serves as a college and post-high scool learning period where students learn any number of things that the school believes will help them through adulthood. This "creative thinking" allows Jamie to cook for everyone!
In his first advisory period, he had them grab a snack while they listen to his lesson. There were candy bars, soda, pizza, and fresh fruit like oranges. They were then labeled with their preference. Jamie goes in to detail on calories and how they effect weight. In only 2 months, girls can gain twenty pounds if they eat fatty, junk food and do not exercise. He then had them put on a backpack weighing 20-30 pounds to feel the difference.
Once every one has a weighted backpack, they go to the field. They now have to walk around the track however many times it takes to work off those snack calories. Oranges have 3 laps, cola has 7 laps, pizza has 8 laps, and candy bars have to do a whopping 11 laps. This example really brings to life the difference in calories in snack choices.
Now that he's seeing progress at Petra's fast food joint and even LAUSD, Jamie's going to try to get into a personal home to revolutionize their eating. This family doesn't cook and lives mainly off fast food and microwavable frozen dishes; they even average about 9 visits to fast food a week plus donuts and cereal for breakfast. Denny's a single parent with two teenage boys with little time and little kitchen skills, so he just doesn't know what else to do.
They go to a fast food joint with Jamie and order their usual meals, but once they got their food it just kept coming. Jamie had arranged for a month's worth of fast food and donuts to come out of that drive-thru window and everyone was disgusted with the amount there. After being trapped in that car with all the food, I thought the lesson was done. But they get back home to find a year's worth of junk food in their home. Denny feels just sick with guilt after seeing all that food in his home. "How can you say you want the best for your boys, when you're putting this in their systems?" If they had had any cooking or health lessons in school, their lives and eating would be completely different.
The next day, Jamie comes over to Denny's house to teach this family how to cook. The main reason people eat fast food is because they believe it takes less time. So to illustrate this, Denny goes out to buy a normal fast food meal, while the boys and Jamie cook a fresh, healthy meal from scratch. Now, let's see who has a meal faster! The boys made 3 courses in under thirty minutes, and even have time to spare to play football before their dad is back. They made delicious chicken, salad, juice, and more for only $23 and thirty minutes of work by two young boys. The dad spent $31 and 45 minutes to get junk. Not only was it cheaper and faster, they were eating at their dining table as a family for the first time since they bought it. It was a truly emotional moment for Denny, who had wanted this type of family moment for years.
Back at West Adams Prep, Jamie's teaching the social studies of health. He's got an assortment of adults to talk about their health history. One adult shared his struggle with diabetes - he lost one foot and can't feel the other, has eye problems, and so much more. These kids probably all have family with diabetes or know someone who's been diagnosed. Every student is being affected by their stories because it hits so close to home. He set up the class for the students to meet their possible futures, but the reality is that health issues are happening right now. They're all worried about parents or grandparents who have serious health issues rooted from their diets. While we hear about these afflictions all the time, it's these types of personal stories that cut through the clutter and keep the information in our minds.
After the very emotional class, trouble is brewing. Apparently the school board has revoked all filming permits in all schools. While the classes are going well, they've just reached a really big roadblock. MLA is going to fight for this, they're committed to this show and think he's doing great work, so they will not allow this to happen easily. He's going to fight back by finding a space right next to the school and set up his kitchen. "If they wanted a war, they've got one."
After the permit issue, Jamie goes back to the school board meeting to fight for his show again. He thanks the board and Ramon the superintendent finally responds saying that LAUSD is not a boutique cafeteria, but all the food follows the guidelines set out by the FDA. Jamie's not allowed to respond to further the discussion, but now we have a face to put on all the hostile opposition.
Next week, Jamie Oliver tries to expand the revolution and with a new superintendent on the school board, there may be new hope for his work.
Jamie Oliver airs on ABC Fridays at 9/8 c.
Image courtesy of ABC.
Follow Kristal on twitter @kristal_bailey