You Say You Want a Revolution

TV in the morning is terrible. For a sports junkie like Cam, SportsCenter has the same one hour show on a continuous loop until about noon. Revolution If he’s really bored, he can turn to one of the other 12 ESPN networks and watch former players, coaches and other talking heads break down for three hours a potential basketball trade that hasn’t even happened yet. Safe to say, this programming doesn’t hold the 13 year old’s attention for very long. Other channels aren’t much better. From reality show reruns to people in suits yelling at each other about what is wrong with the world, it’s no wonder that the Daytime Emmy’s this year was moved to an on-line only, viewing experience.

Every so often, I’ll turn on 20 minutes of the Today show. Honestly, I’m probably only turning it on to see what the local weather is going to be but I’ve done this enough to learn the format of the show. First, it’s four hours. The only thing on television longer than this is the annual showing of the Ten Commandments (clocking in at 5 hours with the commercials) and the Super Bowl pre-game show (endless). The mood and the seriousness of the Today show changes as the hours pass by. The first hour is the breaking news (usually something tragic) followed by the pundits who like to hear themselves talk. About mid-way through, the show starts to turn towards more pop culture focused stories and the latest shopping deals and try at home recipes. I guess the last hour is a gossip fest with ladies who are drinking way too early (happy to say, my viewership has never made it that far).

A few weeks back, the “middle portion” of the Today show had Bobby Flay on, demonstrating his cooking skills while making a meal that no one could possibly replicate at home. This was also right around the time that Panera Bread released a statement that they were banning GMO’s and other additives to their foods. When Bobby was asked about his thoughts on the Panera decision, he proclaimed that it was “the start of a food revolution”. I agree with Bobby in that I think Panera’s decision to move towards a “clean eating” experience and create foods with no additives is a step in the right direction and something that other large chains should emulate. But is it the start of a revolution or is it just another step forward for a revolution that has already been happening?

I Google’d “Food Revolution” and received multiple articles and sites concerning Chef Jamie Oliver’s outreach program and TV show of the same name. Jamie’s “Revolution” is about changing America’s health by changing the way that we eat and recognizing obesity as an epidemic. The televised “Food Revolution” began in 2010 so that precedes the Panera-Revolution-era by four years. This version of the Food Revolution has been around long enough that it already has a “day”, with Food Revolution Day having taken place on May 16th, 2014. That wasn’t the beginning though. Going through my search results, I found that in 1987, a gentleman named John Robbins published a book named “Diet for a New America”, which some have claimed was the start of the food revolution, a full 23 years before it hit the television networks. So, if my calculations are correct, the Food Revolution era has been in effect for the past 27 years.

But, these are just the “recognized” foundations of the movement. From my conversations with celiac and gluten-free individuals, the targeted evolution of “safe” foods has been the driving force behind the revolution of the industry. We have attended a couple of sessions at our local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), an organization that is dedicated to support those with gluten sensitivities through consumer and industry services and programs that positively promote healthy lives. At these sessions, individuals share their stories and provide a support system for those people new to the lifestyle and feeling isolated by their symptoms and now limited food choices. Those individuals who have been gluten intolerant for over three decades talk about the changes in the quality of foods available and the increase in the number of choices that they now have, a result of their advocacy for the cause. GIG has local branch offices and support groups in 33 states and is growing internationally. It’s the individuals that attend these groups, the volunteers that share their stories, exchange recipes and provide information to anyone who wants it, that are the driving force behind the real revolution. It’s organizations such as the Gluten Intolerance Group, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year (sorry John Robbins, they got you by 13 years) who are the un-celebrated leaders in the quest for better, healthier foods. It’s about time the celebrated leaders started getting on board.

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