Now Playing at The Case Against Jamie Oliver


In February, celebrity British chef Jamie Oliver scooped up the prestigious TED Prize, awarded for his crusade "against obesity and other diet related diseases" and for having "pressured the UK government to invest $1 billion to overhaul school lunches to improve nutrition." Upon receiving the award, he warned America that it was committing national suicide through food. In an attempt to recreate his British school lunch campaign in the United States, Oliver is launching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a reality show that attempts to overhaul the school lunch regimen in America's unhealthiest city. 

But while food nags like Oliver and First Lady Michelle Obama are surely right that Americans need to eat better, is he right that our eating habits are killing us? And do we need a massive budget increase to introduce fresh foods and food education to our schools?'s Michael C. Moynihan talked to food blogger and journalist Ed Bruske and Reason senior editor Katherine Mangu-Ward about school lunch reform, whether more government money could slim student waistlines, the United States Department of Agriculture's role in making kids fat, and whether young American really are, as Oliver claims, living shorter lives their parents and grandparents.

Approximalely 7 minutes. Written by Moynihan. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes. Production assistant, Joshua Swain.

NEXT: Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food Control

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  1. The Jamie Oliver fatwa is on, motherfuckers!

  2. Obesity, thy name is sugar tariff.

  3. If you don’t like fat kids, don’t let your kids get fat.

    If you don’t like other people’s fat kids, get a life.

  4. If our food is killing us, why are we living longer and better?

    1. Quit asking the tough questions! And quit disagreeing with Michelle, you racist.

    2. Our food is not really killing us it is making us sick. We have the medical technology to keep sick people alive for longer periods of time than ever before. So there’s lots of diabeetus, heart disease, etc from all the sugar and white flour and vegetable oils people are eating but they are still living longer (albeit living sick).

      1. Man, yoo are so intelligant.

      2. You get “diabeetus” from eating too many beets?

        1. Nah, from watching too many shitty medical supply commercials on TV.

          1. Shut up and eat your goddamned Quaker oats, Pablo.

    3. Ahem. Only when we are dead do others know how long we lived.
      The projection is based on the fact that illnesses such as diabetes, which reduce life expectancy, are much more common among kids today than even 20 years ago.

      1. A projection that fails to take into account advances in medical science and technology.

    4. We are good. I was worried because my great garndfater died at age 53 from a heart attack and Jamie Oliver said that we live 10 years less for the last four gentaations so, since I’m 25 that I should have died at age 23.

    5. Hygiene.

  5. Let’s face the facts junk food lovers and fast food defenders…if you love public education, and you’re satisfied with your childs substandard education, you should be satisfied with your childs substandard school food diet. The food they serve doesn’t exactly kill them…not on the spot. Rather, it slowly eats away at efficient body and mind functioning, which is the purpose of public education. If your child is not expected to spell ‘can’t’ or ‘cow’ or ‘cat’ or ‘teacher’ or ‘health’, then your child shouldn’t be expected to know what foods are health promoting or health detracting. Public schools, in fact, should be inundated with junk food providers…raising kids for over 12 years with such a diet style teaches them the lesson that the big corporation knows best about what food is good and what is not, better yet…the big corporation prefers you to actually take it for granted. I agree that Jamie Oliver has the right to be shocked at the fact that those kids are eating that skank-assed pizza for breakfast…but that shock is actually out of context. The pizza is supposed to be served…you’ll learn to throw money at Papa Johns and Pizza Hut later on when you start making money in this consumerist corporation called The United States of America. Public schools original purpose is to make your kids less than intelligent, so it makes sense that you reinforce such unenlightened behavior by dulling their senses with junk. If parents want to stop schools from eating crap food, let them actually work on banning public schools first and foremost…for no healthy diet at school is going to change the public school systems dysfunctional educational standards.

  6. Caption contest:

    “Bring me Solo and the wookie!”

    1. Dammit… Should have been “the cookie!”

    2. ah hah, those Jedi mind tricks will not work on the mighty Pizza The Hut!

  7. See, this is what I thought the message of Jamie’s show was going to be when I watched — about perverse government incentives and monopolies on lunch harming kids.

    But apparently it’s just not the right kind of monopoly. Yeesh.

  8. By the way, of course, no healthy diet is ever a guarantee to a longer life, it only increases your chances for such, for vegetarianism will not save you in the face of an oncoming truck.

    It is, however, in my experience, that a more natural diet has helped to sharpen my sensory acuities, as well as my mental health. If you’ve been eating DickMonalds your whole life, you won’t feel or notice the difference as an adult, that is till you feel some pain in your gut, and upon a doctors visit and a possible x-ray they discover that they need to remove your gall bladder. Many say that ‘I’ve been eating fast food for years and I feel just fine’. Of course they feel ‘just fine’; they’ve never known that a higher state of health and good feeling is possible because they ate what was given to them, and believed what was told to them by the schools.

    Rather than relying on statistics, experiment for yourself. Take a Dr. Oohira’s 12 strain probiotic and introduce huge quantities of leafy greens and enzyme rich foods into your system. Keep on doing this for months, for as long as you can, avoid fast food like Burger Krap…then, one day, toss down some of those chili dogs and Chicken DcPluggers and observe how you feel…depending on how clean your diet was and the degree of your intestinal and other organ system health, you’ll feel sluggish, and mentally slow as well, guaranteed! I did. My way of thinking has changed drastically because of a mostly vegetarian diet. Of course I agree that it’s wrong to enforce such a diet on anyone, but I think a lot of people who attend to forums like this will snub their conceited noses at people like me who disagree with them, and would love to try hard to persuade me to eat the junk that THEY DO!!! That’s not cool either way! The one who eats what Mr. Moynihan calls ‘delicious food’ every day can act just as condescending as the ‘nazi vegan’ who thinks that everyone should eat healthy like they do!

    On the other hand, it is expensive in the long run, that kids are fed non-food, in terms of health care costs. Eating a B.S. diet is cheap in the short run, and that’s the problem…convenient and thoughtless diets are not the cause, they are symptoms of a persons inability to think of the long term consequences of their actions…something that public schools prefer, or else they loose funding from the the Dairy Council and other organizations who promote false awareness of the benefits of ‘3 glasses of milk a day’ and other myths that, when practiced, can acidify your body and lead to toxicity of many different kinds. Public schools promote corporate health, not child health! That’s why public education was invented…for stupidity and sickness. Let’s make sure we understand this before we think we can ‘reform’ anything that public school has to offer!

    1. Why is there no such thing as a *silent* vegetarian? Holy fuckballs, leafy greens seem to loosen tongues, not to mention make people incredibly annoying.

      PS there is no evidence that vegetarianism makes you live longer, and you can eat a healthy diet that includes meat that doesn’t make one lethargic.

    2. Just for the record, Tony, I don’t give a flying fuck what you or anyone else eats and would never try to make you change your dietary decisions.

      Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like the rest of the world won’t return the favor.

      1. just for the record in time for the brave warrior…good for you!

    3. “It is, however, in my experience, that a more natural diet has helped to sharpen my sensory acuities, as well as my mental health.”

      You should go back on it, immediately.

      1. “It is, however, in my experience, that a more natural diet has helped to sharpen my sensory acuities, as well as my mental health.”

        You should go back on it, immediately.

        @k-y …better you did than me…and even sooner…and it’s funny coming from a man who named himself after an inferior anal lube company…I’d take your comment more seriously if you called your self astroglide.

        1. Tony: I really could take you more seriously if you didn’t have a grading system for anal lubricants. Way TMI.

  9. Not sure why Oliver’s efforts earn a slam from Reason. I understand that he’s not trying to get Americans to throw off the yoke of their overseers, that’s simply not going to happen. At least he’s trying to get the Overseers to provide better feed to their human livestock (which is us). With guvmint healthcare for all, we need all the help we can get. So far in the show, he’s not trying to outlaw crappy food for adults, just trying to inspire them eat better. That’s free speech. Something I thought Reason supported.

    1. Second

    2. Reason also havee de free speeches

      1. Never said Reason didn’t. Freedom of speech also allows me to critique Reason’s critique of Oliver. Which then allows you to critique my critique of Reason’s critique of Oliver’s critique of American school food. : P Again, Oliver is only trying to forcibly change the eating habits for those whose food choices are already forced upon them, the school kids. Since it would be basically impossible to end the school breakfast and lunch programs, at least get them to provide better food. Oliver is trying to redirect a force already applied. Kudos to him.

        1. School kids have all of their food choices forced upon them, mostly by parents (and indirectly by parents who choose to send them to a school without packing a lunch for them).

    3. I also agree. In fact, there was a part of the show where he scoffed at the USDA standards. I’m sure there’s room for agreement here.
      I do think feeding kids the same processed food over and over does harm them.

  10. If such anti-freedom busybodies would worry about their own pathetic lives instead what everybody else seat’s drinks, smokes, shits, watches or listens to then the world would be a much happier place for it.

  11. There’s also the expectation that the government school must feed as many of the kid’s in it’s care as possible with hot meals on the idea that the government must assure kid’s get one proper meal a day. How many parent’s are preparing big dinners for their children not being quite aware what the school is feeding them?

    1. Thats a good point. My school never provided lunches and I did just fine off of a light pack lunch, a light breakfast and a full supper.

  12. @Tim, come on bub, it’s time to graduate from junior high school, and when you go to college, avoid those frat boy antics that your language indicates. I did say that vegetarian diets INCREASE your CHANCES for a longer life, but no 100 percent guarantees, although if you said you’d rather live a short and happy life than a long and miserable one, I’d agree with you. Regardless of the length of a vegetarians life, his/her overall quality of life is generally increased…and yes, you can eat meat within the confines of a healthy diet and still not feel lethargic…just ask yourself what’s going along with that meat? If it’s additive and hormone laden beef, a vegetarian who introduces that into their system will feel totally lethargic…and that’s just the double at BK…you know that most won’t just get that burger alone, as those deal sweetening combos always are accompanied with the high cholesterol fries and the high sugar orange crush!

    I eat mostly vegetarian, but am not vegetarian…I’m very cognizant of the fact that not all meat is created equal my friend…ever try buffalo or ostrich burgers? You’re missing out my friend, if you haven’t!
    Keep in mind too folks, that the main issue here wasn’t even meat per se (so I got derailed, I must apologize)…the issue was the serving of fast food with no nutritional value at all…and still, that is totally in line with the original intention of the inventors of ‘egalitarian’ education! Everyone has less than peak health and less than peak intelligence!!! It’s communist genius at it’s best…it’s lowering of the standards for everyone except those at the top of the pyramid!

    1. Gawds, jovial friendly tony is even more annoying than the usual fuckwad political tony.

      1. and just who is the usual fuckwad political tony, as opposed to the jovial friendly tony misses juris! This is reason…therefore, don’t take anything I say personally, you can stop with the name calling! Uncool! Just make sure you get to know who the usual fuckwad political tony is before you compare him with the jovial friendly tony!!! Thank you imprudent…glad to see you live up to your name juris!

  13. by the way Tim…get your facts straight about ‘quiet vegetarians’…there’s no such thing as a ‘quiet junk food consumer’ either…for that diet and lifestyle leads to all sorts of mental and verbal discordance, as I see is the case with you. Vegetarians don’t have to ‘shut up’ and keep our ideas to ourselves…we can debate too, we don’t have to keep quiet! That wasn’t even an intelligent response! Come on man!

    1. “there’s no such thing as a ‘quiet junk food consumer either'”

      Exactly. They don’t tell you what to eat, but they are audible breathers.

      I understand what you’re saying, but this isn’t about vegetarianism. This is about school lunches. No one asked for you to educate us with your enlightened eating habits. You came in here blathering about how meat makes you sluggish and dumb. No one is arguing with you on that. We just don’t need your fucking self-righteousness. Its like you need to read/watch this kind of stuff to prove to yourself that your eating habits are satisfactory.

      1. and just who is the usual fuckwad political tony, as opposed to the jovial friendly tony misses juris! This is reason…therefore, don’t take anything I say personally, you can stop with the name calling! Uncool! Just make sure you get to know who the usual fuckwad political tony is before you compare him with the jovial friendly tony!!! Thank you imprudent…glad to see you live up to your name juris!

  14. “is he right that our eating habits are killing us?”

    Yes, but not for the reasons he believes in.

    1. We are dependent on the industrial food system

    2. and that system is dependent on the federal govt.

    3. that makes us dependent on the federal government for our very source of life

    4. that means our lives depend on less than reliable folks such as Congress, Big Agribusiness, the USDA and other bureaucrats, and the Chinese who fund those assholes.

    5. This dependency means that we are easily led into ever greater degrees of servitude.

  15. A couple of items I’d like to add to this discussion.

    1) There is a lot of strange crap out there regarding food science. Unfortunately our government is one of the worst for spreading misinformation. Read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” or watch Fat Head which both document that you don’t really know what is going on.

    2) It is great to talk about great food, but do you know how hard it would be to feed really good food to school kids? The worst month of my life was spent on KP duty in Okinawa. Talk about miserable, trying to get food ready for a couple thousand Marines to eat 3 times a day. Without paying through the nose, there is no way you could pull that off in our schools.

    1. This is exactly right. At least from this video, I don’t see what error Jamie Oliver has made. But Moynihan makes a gross error (among others) blaming obesity on “fatty foods”.

      I don’t know why GCBC hasn’t taken off with all these libertarian journalists. It’s a long read, but not exactly impossible, and probably deserves a Nobel for kicking the shit out of the cholesterol/lipid hypothesis of disease and obesity. Hell, you’d think someone around here would love it just for pissing Taubes does on McGovern …

    2. Word about GCBC and Fat Head.

      I think the point of a lot of these shows that reform lunches is to try and see if it can be done on the same budget as processed/frozen food. I also imagine that the caloric requirements of 3K marines are much higher than 3K of children… I would suspect the marines required a lot more food to be prepared. But yes, given subsidies and all, it’d be surprising if truly healthy, real food would be feasible to do long term in schools.

    3. Do what everyone else does in the restaurant business: hire illegals, pay low wages, disregard labor and safety laws, don’t give breaks, fire people for being sick even once, etc.

      Healthy food can be affordable, but as food cost goes down labor goes up and the more preparation involved the more skilled employees need to be.

      Also lets not forget that the original processed food: milled grains, we “invented” because people needed a cheap, easily transportable, long shelf life food stuff so they didn’t die from starvation while chasing migratory game. It’s always going to be hard to compete with that in terms of cost.

  16. Tony,

    Did you ever consider that you feel lethargic because you grew accustomed to the green leafy vegetables? It’s not uncommon to have negative perceptions after altering one’s diet radically. Recall when you started going vegetarian – I know when I started eating healthy I had a hard time tolerating the food initially.

    Just because it’s hard doesn’t always mean its good. I think the jury is still out on vegetarian diets… a lot of my “health nut” friends seem to be less healthy overall, ironically. Could just be my age [mid 20s], like you mention. Maybe they’ll be better off by the time we hit our 40s.

  17. Also, didn’t you mention “hormone rich” foods? That shouldn’t make a damn bit of difference. Proteins are absorbed in the SI as amino acids, not whole. Unless you provide some seriously good evidence to the contrary, I think you should think twice about buying into that sort of thing.

    1. Hormones in animals like cattle increase muscle and reduce fat. There are no more hormones in the meat but it is consistantly leaner.

      1. What a hormone does depends on which hormone.

  18. I think protions are far more important than what you eat. “Stop the growth of muffins people…no no leave the saran wrap on it I’ll use it to cover my pool.” Kevin James

  19. Wait wait wait.

    You point to McDonald’s and say “delicious food like this” and you expect people to take you seriously?

    Pick your battles, Reason. This one makes you look retarded.

  20. O and about the junk food black market.

    Ha ha. In 7th grade I was a Coke dealer. You know, the sugary fizzy drink. I’d buy Coke and Dr. Pepper at a convenience store by the bus stop and put them in my locker until lunch time and sell them for $1 a pop. That was twice what I paid for them so I made a nice profit. This went on for a while and I had a nice stash of cash in my underwear drawer, until I got caught…

  21. Have you heard his mother speak? That ridiculous “accent” of his – what a fucking phony.

  22. I didn’t know who he was when I saw his TED talk & I could have sworn it was David Brent.

  23. @Matt and Jurisimprudent – I thought this was a forum for ‘reason’, not name calling (fuckwad), and accusations (me being self righteous).
    @ Vinny – thanks for the more sober minded reply…not all diets are created equal, and that is no less true with vegetarian diets…even vegetarians of the same strip (vegans, for example) will have totally different eating habits. The sluggishness I was referring to wasn’t due to ONLY eating meat, for ‘just meat’ wasn’t what we where talking about…it was fast food I consumed after attempting to clean my gut out with probiotics and a lot of vegetables that I was referring too, (which is loaded with processed salt). The fast food meat that you get from B.K. is quite different from a buffalo burger you cook and prepare yourself.

    My overall point was missed…that the usual school lunch diet goes hand in hand with the faulty educational standards…in other words, less than substantial diets go hand in hand with substandard public education, hence, the reason why many Americans are sicker, more depressed and more inarticulate/incoherent than ever! What you eat doesn’t only affect your heart and your guts, folks, it also affects your brain chemistry, and hence, your reasoning abilities, in ways you don’t suspect. That’s all I said…some guy took it personal and called me self righteous and someone else calls me fuckwad…that’s reason for ya!…it’s called survival of the fittest.

    There could be any number of reasons why your ‘health nut’ friends feel less vital, so I won’t speculate. Only they can figure it out, for only they know what they eat!

    You do have a good point Vinnie, ‘harder’ doesn’t mean better…and you are right that the jury is still out on vegetarian diets, for the reason that not all vegetarian styles are created equal. It has little to do with age, and everything to do with the state of your internal chemistry at the time you start introducing more fresh produce into your system. I will also, look into the hormone thing, as it is a hot topic among vegetarians and non vegetarians alike.
    Lastly, I’d like to say that if this is supposed to be a ‘reason’ forum…let’s keep it that way.

    1. Go eat a fish.

      1. I wouldn’t be totally be opposed to that Douglas, but you gotta watch that too, as some fish can be contaminated…it would be hard for me to go totally vegan as I looove salmon…salmon doesn’t make me feel like crap…in fact, I don’t even recall being served salmon at school, probably because of the cost.

        1. You’re not even a good straight man.

  24. School food is the worst tasting shit that you could ever even fathom, Elementary kids get fed shit I would barely think of feeding my cat. So yeah we need to end the monopoly with the USDA and put some edible processed shit instead of that pig-feed processed shit we feed our kids daily, maybe then we wouldn’t have such a high drop-out rate.

    1. Good informative post. I will visit your site often to keep updated.

  25. Bah, pure bull. I’m in my mid 50s, no history of health problems, would put my ability to physically labor up against any one of any age, and have lived on a diet that would make just about any body cringe.

    Diet is far less important than most imagine. The only places I’ve witnessed it having an detrimental effect are too many calories for lazy or sedentary people and too few, or vegetarianism, for intense physical laborers.

    My father’s mother worked every day until she died at age 98 and lived on a diet of eggs, bacon, sausage, bread, butter, tobacco, and alcohol. Cases like her’s are hardly unusual since I’ve known several individuals such as her personally and have heard of or read about many others.

    Those who pee in fear over every percieved threat die endlessly without ever living even once. We have one chance to get this thing called life right, because it’s going to end like it or not and you will not know when whether it be 60 years or 6 seconds from now. Why would you or anyone else throw it all away, everything it could be, to take advice from someone who has chosen an existence in fear over living.

    Live your life the way you see fit. Don’t waste your one precious chance hiding from every thing you’ve told is a risk. Many of us will fall ill before this over, all of us will die, we can’t change those things by denying ourselves living.

    The worst fate I can imagine one could suffer would be spending their last moments here knowing they could’ve lived, but lacked the courage to simply do so.

    “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”-Benjamin Franklin

    1. Wow, nothing like food to inspire an emotional argument devoid of logic.

    2. If you live a physically active lifestyle, its no surprise that you can eat calorie-dense food and remain in good shape. Our ancestors’ food culture evolved as it did because they worked jobs that were much-more labor intense. However, we don’t need to consume as much as they did. Most of us aren’t cowboys or field hands, and most of us don’t need to eat 2,000 calorie breakfasts just to go sit around the office until lunchtime.

  26. Hey Reason,

    I know you like to be controversial some times, but try not to be ignorant about it. Peddling your ignorance to a large audience is doubly irresponsible. Nutrition is incredibly important and as long as our governments run the schools they SHOULD be pressured to provide good food.

    Would I prefer a more market-friendly approach to school choice and meal choice? Of course. But we don’t have that at the moment, and Jamie Oliver is just trying to work within the system we have to improve the health of the nation.

  27. I am starting to see a trend that food is the new religion. You can’t discuss it with any hope of a fact-based rational discussion. It’s incredible how angry people get. Anyway, I am in school as we speak/read studying nutrition, and the amount of misinformation in this comment thread is staggering. Truly amazing to behold. Yet another reason I am glad I chose losing 200-odd pounds (150 down, 50-odd to go!) and this career change as my midlife crisis. Hopefully I can find people willing to learn actual facts and teach them how to do the best they can with their health and nutrition.

    Seriously, people, read a book or nineteen on the crap we put in our bodies. It’ll change your minds. Knowledge is power.

    1. Food is indeed a religion.

      And you are a convert.

      1. And that would make you the insistently evangelical Believer. Biochemistry doesn’t belong in our schools!

      2. I am. I am a convert to fact, science and common sense. I eat crap regularly, I don’t eat enough vegetables, etc. But I’m also not stupid enough to pretend that nutrition has no effect on my short and long term health, because, you know…SCIENCE. Also, basic common sense. Your metabolism can only metabolize what you give it, and your short and long-term cellular activity is affected by everything you ingest. You’d have to be some kind of idiot to not understand that. You don’t have to become a granola-eating hippy vegan over it, but there’s also no need to spread misinformation and bury your own head in the sand.

  28. Yes, Jamie is a bit over the top on this one – but I think you should have aimed your logic at the USDA which:
    – subsidizes and buys lots of butter, cheese, beef and chicken
    – sets the school lunch rules to use lots of that stuff
    – Subsidizes HFCS and raises the price of actual sugar

    The food being served in our nation’s public schools is an embarrassment. I don’t even think it would cost that much more to serve good food. But you might have to eliminate the 1,000 page USDA School Lunch Program Manual.

    I am not a food purist – huge McDonald’s fan – all things in moderation kind of guy – but when I see sausage pizza being served as breakfast to little children, well that is just wrong. No other way to call it.

    So aim you “reason” at the USDA and the School Lunch Industrial Complex instead of Jamie Oliver.

    Tom O’Brien

    1. The big problem is the amount of school money which comes from the federal government. We need to go from atop down system back to a local system of running schools.

      The problem I see is that Jamie isn’t serving more vegtables he’s complaining that the cafeteria serves pre-cooked chicken breasts. It’s one thing when Gordon Ramsey walks into a dumpy resturaunt thats going broke and says you can’t sell this for $10.oo. Its compleatly another to say that low income people shouldn’t eat that or that we should put our taxes inot imporivng the part of the menu kids eat.

  29. School lunches are disgusting, I would never let my kids eat them. I suspect the food is better in prison.

    Still it seems Reason stooped to sensationalism to get views by bashing Jamie Oliver rather than focusing on the actual problem which, again, is inept government regulations.

    Food can be a wonderful thing, and better nutrition and food appreciation can be taught without drowning in ideology. I like meat, I also like vegetables. Fresh food generally tastes better. I feel great after eating somethings and feel worse after eating others.

  30. I’m overweight, and I suspect it has surprisingly little to do with the fat content of the food I eat. I started the South Beach Diet a few months ago, and since then I’ve lost 22 pounds.

    Based on my experience, I think that the biggest problem in my diet that I eliminated is refined carbs and not the fat that everyone is talking about. By refined carbs, I mean white flour, sugar and high fructose corn syrup among others.

    As Dr. Arthur Agatston, the creator of the South Beach Diet points out, the most unhealthy part of an Egg McMuffin isn’t the egg, cheese or Canadian bacon. It’s the white flour in the English muffin.

    Also the other reason I’m overweight besides the high carbs is because I’m fairly sedentary. Since the weather here is warming up, I’m hoping to exercise more.

  31. When schools put apples on the lunch tray a huge majority of them go to the trash.

    Good luck with this.

    1. They should use fruit thats in season (ie. in september-october apples, november mandarin oranges, December -January oranges, February- April mangos,
      May Apprecots/peaches/necterines

      1. Mabye they shouldn’t give fruit for lunch but they should give out fruit in class for a snack.

  32. While the food discussion is very interesting, it seems that one obvious fact is also missing from the conversation: the removal of physical education plans from public schools. As much as I loathed PE when I was in school, it did force me to work out whether I wanted to or not. Now, in the schools I attended (public education, 1970-80s) PE is no longer mandatory. I was in college when they lifted the mandatory requirement for graduation citing the negative psychological effects that PE inflicted on less athletically inclined kids (the evils of dodge ball, being picked last, etc.) As with any weight loss/maintenance regime, diet changes should go hand in hand with physical exercise. Yet, it seems that the focus is only on the evil foods: salt, fats, meats, sugar, white flour, GMO foods, etc. Just a thought…I am curious why this aspect (banning mandatory PE) is often forgotten. Cheers.

    1. Dodgeball is evil. I don’t know why anyone thight that was a good sport for kids.

    2. that is true…hellocatrine…I suppose that facet is one I’ve taken for granted being that I haven’t kept with that news…I graduated back in the early 90’s…and yeah, in junior high I had to take P.E. but the coaches and teachers really didn’t care if I slacked, and I did, and in high school I only took P.E. one year. That is a good point, for no good diet is gonna do much good at school without physical activity…they go hand in hand! I do remember being totally physically active during the elementary years, however, during the crazy pizza and mystery meatloaf days with the chocolate milk and orange soda…I also had child hood asthma as well…how my health would have turned out with a healthier diet and the P.E. is only speculation now….but yeah you have a point!

      1. When I was in school, we actually had PE tests…you know, you have to run this far in this time and do this many push ups, sit ups, etc. Not exactly the best way to encourage physical activity, for sure, but it made one get up and move. As far as dodge ball goes, I for one loved it, even though I could not throw the ball well (small hands)…I learned to maximize my best talent of catching the balls thrown at me or my teammates…then handing them to those who could throw. I loved being one of the last standing as it was a challenge, kind of like life. I also happened to be a gymnast, so it was not like I was ever picked first for anything because of my size. But I learned how to use those things to my advantage and the experiences made me a stronger person and helped prepare me for the real world, where we are often standing alone with other people trying to hit us and knock us down. Dodgeball aside, my post was about the decision to curtail PE requirements, and the overall impact on the physical fitness of children.

  33. You can put that stupid cheeseburger in your fat ass, ignorant. You just have to take a plane and go to Europe to see the way we eat and how much beautiful people are there. James Olivier won’t change anything here because you are a bunch of idiots. Until you all decide to be humble and learn with the world (like the all world does with your great contributions – yes we learn with america a lot) your going to be the asshole of the occidental world. And more is impossible. Reason, I thought you were the last chance to believe in something really intelligent here but I’m giving up.

    1. Piss off, Alfredo. Your superiority complex is insulting and pointless.

    2. I’ve seen what Europeans eat Alfredo – blood pudding, Foie gras, Haggis, and the such. That’s not really healthy stuff. There are beautiful people there sure but a lot of fat, malnurtion people same as here.

      If Oliver is so great, why is it all the European chefs with Michelin stars can’t stand him?

      How many does the Naked Chef have?

      1. How DARE ye ser’ me haggis wi’out chutney?!??

  34. Nice job of distorting all sides of this argument. Normally I

  35. I like this Jamie fella. I think I’ll make him head of my FoodSWAT Teams.

  36. I watched the show and enjoyed it. It is unfortunate that Reason and its readers see this as some sort of oppressive nanny-statism. Oliver seems to be trying primarily to inform people about the consequences of their choices, especially the consequences of their choices in aggregate.

    As a product of the public school system, I can tell you that school food is disgusting. I don’t think it is too much to ask that schools provide kids with decent and nutritional food choices AND the education to make better choices about food in the future.

    In the first show, the challenge Oliver faces is to work within the schools budget, with the facilities they already have, to put together a meal that meets the regulations for school lunches and that the kids will eat. Since school kids are a captive population and are in most cases largely ignorant of nutrition, I think this is a good thing.

    When you watch the show and see the family that literally eats only fried and processed foods, because they simply don’t know better or don’t realize the consequences, I don’t see how you can fault Oliver for informing them and helping them to change their ways for the better.

    I don’t think anyone here is suggesting these people should be forced to change their diet against their will, and the show certainly does not suggest that. But if you can inform people and empower them to make good decisions for themselves, where is the harm in that?

    I would hope that Reason readers would support people making intelligent, informed decisions.

    1. “But if you can inform people and empower them to make good decisions for themselves, where is the harm in that?”

      BECAUSE HOW DARE YOU USE FACTS, SCIENCE AND LOGIC. This is a religious war. You either eat like a bird or you eat like Michael Moore – THERE IS NO IN BETWEEN AND HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST FACT AND REASON (see what I did there?) BE UTILIZED?!?!

    2. Spot on Ben! Libertarians are all for choice, so shouldn’t healthy choices be available? Jamie isn’t harming anyone. And we are now paying for the health care for those unhealthy folks in WV. I support what Jamie is doing. Look at the change in soft drinks available at schools now, a lot less sugar. This change was directly due to awareness.

  37. I’m not going to disagree with school food. Personally, my daughter is a veggy head and I pack her lunch everyday. There are healthy choices in my daughters school though.

    The problem I think that Reason and most commenters here have is freedom, where do you draw the line. If they are telling you what to eat, where will they stop?

    I don’t drink beer so maybe we should stop everyone drinking too. Just because I don’t agree with someone’s life style or choices doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to make their own choices.

    But back to school, again parents need to be active in their child’s life and choices.

  38. Close but not quite, fatty foods do not make you fat. Foods which cause high insulin make you fat, i.e. high carbohydrate foods. Fat is metabolically inert.

    1. That is so scientifically flawed it’s amazing that you can write it without laughing at yourself.

      Fat is so metabolically NOT inert you;d have to be a frigging idiot to believe that. And when excess fat passes through the small intestine and is broken down to component form to useful energy, and that energy is not used, it is stored, like all other excess energy, as adipose tissue.

      Basic biochemistry, dude. Try getting data from nutrition or chemistry textbooks and not The Biggest Loser.

      1. ah…but don’t forget, the fat in an avocado isn’t the same as the fat in a cow…not all fats are created equal…and this isn’t even an issue here…it’s about whether ‘healthy’ food belongs in school lunches or not, and whether we should foot the tax bill. I respond that even a good change in diet is not going to scratch the surface of the deeper problem, which is substandard educational practice. My argument goes, that substandard education goes hand in hand with insubstantial eating habits…public education’s purpose was to make people sick and tongue tied, to alienate people from nature, and to prevent people from enjoying life to the fullest…that’s the reason why you spend all those days in a classroom (with summer off) for 12 years alienated from the outside world. You can’t raise dietary standards without a complimentary raise in academic standards. It is indeed to raise people who are physically healthy, but can’t articulate and act like morons!

        1. There are primarily 3 kinds of fats, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. A cow and an avocado both have all 3, but in differing amounts. The only thing is that the quality of the fat from the cow can be affected by what they eat, which is why grassfed is better than grain fed. Even so, the idea that saturated fat is bad, which is what I think you were getting at, is wrong… but cow fat has plenty of monounsaturated fat, too. The only fat you really have to worry about is polyunsaturated, and since both avocados and cows have low amounts of that, you can consider them approximately equal in terms of health.

  39. It is unfortunate that Reason and its readers see this as some sort of oppressive nanny-statism.

    Thank [insert deity of choice] Jamie Oliver doesn’t have a Cabinet position… because his kind of thinking WOULD lead to oppressive nanny-statism. Food Police the likes of which we’ve yet to see would be prowling the streets looking for guys in trenchcoats selling Twinkies at five bucks a pop.

  40. Some libertarians here sound like Rush Limbaugh:

    “If you like eating anything other than snack foods and fast food, you’re a liberal elitist busybody.”

    Jamie served chicken and beef to school kids, just not the lips and assholes that are in the chicken nuggets and burgers the kids normally get.

    If you like eating lips and assholes, keep it up. But why is it statist to espouse something other than offal for lunch?

    1. “just not the lips and assholes that are in the chicken nuggets and burgers the kids normally get.”

      I don’t know how they make chicken nuggets elsewhere, but in the US, most chicken nuggets are made from the breast meat. In fact, I think it is an USDA requirement that the chicken nuggets served in school lunches come from breast meat because it is the leanest part of the chicken.

      1. That’s not the name of the last porno I starred in!

        It’s the ingredients in a chicken nuggets.

        I think Oliver’s gripe is with “processed” food. That dude on the Travel Channel has eaten the balls of every animal with a sack, and he’s still alive.

        “Offal” isn’t the problem, it’s the high sodium, multi-syllabic stabilizers that hold the chicken mash together.

  41. And because Michael Pollan endorses New Deal-era farm subsidies, we should reject his criticism of corn and soybean subsidies.

    Cracky, does every libertarian have an Ayn Rand-purity test? If somebody doesn’t have an airtight argument, we reject them en toto…

  42. Ok, I’ve watched the first part of the program and here are my initial thoughts as a native West Virginian:

    Oliver does point to one if the biggest problems with the school lunch program. That is the massive amounts of red tape and government overregulation. Too bad he really didn’t cover the layers and layers of bureaucracy in the WV school system, which is probably more bureaucratic that most other states.

    One point he is wrong about is the idea that “raw” food is better. The reason he got worrying looks from the cooks over the raw chicken was because it is a huge vector for food borne illnesses. The last thing the cooks want is for the kids to get sick. There is also the matter of time. That’s why most school food is pre-cooked off-site. There is also the matter of storage as it is difficult to store raw food for a period of time between deliveries. Most schools’ food is delivered once a week, and even that isn’t always a guarantee. Since most raw foods can only be stored for a few days, it will require more deliveries to each school. More deliveries means higher costs. Though, Oliver does have some points about the poor quality of the pre-cooked food.

    I’m sure that the health department will have a field day about him not wearing gloves while handling food. He may not wear gloves over in UK, but here in the US, it is a requirement set by the health department for any establishment that serves food. Anyone who doesn’t follow this requirement will likely to have their food handler’s card revoked.

    I had to chuckle that the cooks were offended at being called “lunch ladies” and Oliver’s confusion about why they find that term offensive.

    So I was right, those aren’t real mash potatoes. They aren’t even the tasteless mash potatoes made from potato flacks. However, making real mash potatoes would take far too much time and effort.

    He picked a bad day to go head to head against the regular menu. If it was ham and cheese or taco day, he would probably have plenty of takers. But there is no way you can compete against pizza, even if it is bad quality pizza. Though pizza is only on the menu once a month or when it is “Cook’s Choice” day

    I saw very little about portion sizes. The only issue with portion sizes I saw brought up was the “2 bread” portion requirement that his alternative menu didn’t originally have. Often times, the amount of food the kids are served is very little and consists of mainly two items. But on top of that, an 8th grader is served the same portion sizes as a Kindergarten student.

    The WV menus can have some odd combinations of food, such as chicken soap and turkey sandwich. In fact any soap day is accompanied by some sort of sandwich to fill that “2 bread portions” requirement. Most of the time it is “grilled” cheese. Another odd combination is pizza with corn because you have to have the veggie portion. All of this is the result of the USDA requirements.

    And finally, the people of West Virginia are very sensitive about how they are portrayed. That is because for generations, major media corporations have always portrayed West Virginians as “dumb hicks” or people to be feared and never in a positive light. When a group of youth from a local church visited a collage in New England, one of the questions the questions they were repeatedly asked was if they wore shoes and hand indoor plumbing and bathrooms. Naturally, many of the teens on the trip were highly offended.

    He is an “outsider” who came here to “make trouble.” He may have good intentions, but West Virginians haven’t had a positive history of outside interference. That’s because most times, these outsiders are here just to exploit the residence or a situation and in some ways, the residence end up getting hurt, either economically or reputation, as a result. In many respects Oliver IS exploiting Huntington’s status as the “unhealthiest city” in the United States. Local residences won’t take too well to that characterization.

    1. Eat yourselves obese and prove Jamie wrong!!!

      1. What kind of non-sense is that?

  43. Does Reason.TV support highly subsidized corn (syrup) and beef products sold at McDonald’s?

    That’s oddly not very libertarian.

  44. Grow up Reason. Jamie isn’t saying legislate this, he is using power of persuasion and education. Isn’t that what you advocate. Go Jamie! Anyone opposed to his probably has shares in Sysco or McDonalds. See it, but pharma. Or is FAT.

  45. Reason’s stance here is that the gov’t is at fault here (subsidies for processed food, etc), and I have no doubt about that. But what Jamie is teaching here, proper nutrition, is arguably more important than the math skills kids are learning. After all, computers do all the calculating nowadays, but people are still doing their own eating. And if they are not eating well and staying healthy, guess who foots the bill????? So if you don’t want to pay more in taxes, you should be cheering Jamie on. Parent’s should unite and demand fresh food! The gov’t should subsidize fruits/veggies instead of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Processed food should probably be taxed but the food industry is too powerful.

  46. as a part-time public school teacher I see disgusting, cheese laden lunches provided by the schools but also Cheetos, cookies, “fruit” snacks, Capri Suns and M&Ms; brought from home and gobbled down during snack time.

  47. Jamie Oliver is taking on the man. And too many of you are busting his chops. Why? He is right that parents should be pissed their kids are being fed crap. He is doing the right thing and that is commendable. I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver.

  48. Kathy Mangu Ward is too ready to exhibit her ignorance by proffering “organic kale” as the only alternative to processed food. There are plenty of alternatives.

    Ironically, kale might not be a tough sell in WVA. I grow and sell organic leafy greens, and our two biggest demographics at farmer’s markets are trendy foodies and people with Appalachian heritage.

    If West Virginians would go back to the BACON and turnip greens, collard greens, beet greens, and kale of their grandparents, they’d be healthier. And who doesn’t like bacon?

    Oliver points out a problem that the government contributes to. ABC wouldn’t air this show if he doesn’t succeed. Let’s get behind the negative publicity of school lunches and taxpayer-subsidized fast food and junk food. Strike while the iron is hot.

    Or let’s wait for the libertarian Messiah to come and single-handedly dismantle the government apparatus…

  49. I fully agree with Jamie Oliver. I am a personal trainer and I will tell you that my client list has almost tripled w/in the last 2 years…not because people want to “get fit” or get buff, but BECAUSE OF HEALTH ISSUES. I am training more “post-trauma” (heart attack, stroke, diabetes etc.) than ever before. That being said, parents need to take the helm here, not the schools or the government. Parents are either too busy (an excuse I don’t buy) or too lazy (more accurate). I work a full time job, and I personal train full time,,, as well as train myself. There is always time for excercise and healthy food, people just need to MAKE the time!

  50. mangu-ward thinks pro-health lunch advocates want organic kale? get a life and stop the hyperbole: we just want healthy food. i was a high school student 4 years ago who was eating slushies because it was legitimate a fruit option as corn-syrup drenched canned peaches. deep-fried french fries and hamburgers were the staple – and only cost 2.50.

    the rich students brought lunches because their mothers didn’t have to work; the poor students and the kids with moms and dads who worked were screwed. i was trying to be a healthy kid, but found it very difficult. sometimes i’d go with no food at all because i wanted to barf. not everyone has that same will.

    this video is pretty insensitive and blind to lower middle class realities. we don’t need fucking organic kale – we need vitamins and fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and meat that isn’t made for dogs.

  51. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

  52. Even if you go on his website, it’s still just a a ten minute discussion. The interview with Jim Cramer simply amounted to Jim sputtering something every couple of minutes while John wagged his finger at him the whole time. I’ve never seen him have an intelligent discussion with anybody, and he only talks to people that he knows he can bully into a corner. Usually idiots, yes, but it’s still dispicable. I don’t watch him that often, but it is people like him that make me wretch. The fact that people go around saying “He slammed so and so” in that “debate” pisses me off. John’s not directly responsible for that, but he certainly plays his audience to get that effect.

  53. Well said. Tucker is despicable, Crossfire became despicable (despite the presence of supposed “heavyweights” like Novack and Carville), and Jon Stewart is a comedian who has never proclaimed himself to be anything else. Just because certain people here don’t understand how satire works doesn’t change that fact. The fact that The Daily Show has gained some cultural traction doesn’t change that.

  54. “The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one.”

  55. You can criticize Oliver’s solution to the school lunch program, but you should do more to reinforce the idea that there is a problem. You did this to a certain extent, but I do not think you gave Oliver any credit for this. School lunches are the worst of all worlds: big government in bed with big business. The schools are in bed with the cartels providing this grade X meat to children, as the schools actually receive money from Sysco et al. when the contracts are negotiated. These firms claim that they make hardly any money from these contracts. But this is the same company that needs to charge you $40 for 2 beers and 2 hot dogs at the ball park.

    The worst of all worlds: farm subsidies in the form of government purchase of excess low grade product, nameless, faceless out of town conglomerates hiring low skill workers to deliver a food like product, not food. Payments to the schools to encourage them to maintain these contracts. False barriers to entry for local food (faux insurance requirements that the conglomerates insert in the contracts to keep out small local producers). It is a government created netherworld, like so many others, that is intractable and unfixable. You would have Sysco lobbyists and big farm lobbyists up in arms in 5 minutes if you started to address this problem. The schools have no incentive to change because they can pay 2 or 3 pensions and retiree benefits from this single contract.

    Oliver also dealt with private families, he knows that schools are not the only, or even the primary, problem.

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