Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

picture of Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver’s televised Food Revolution is an American sensation. I’m totally blown away and appreciative of his passion, genuine concern, overwhelming commitment, and sacrifice beyond-the-call-of-duty to see America (and beyond) get healthy; however, I’m concerned that zeal without accurate knowledge is potentially leading vulnerable people down a dangerous path.

Yes, Jamie is getting many, especially children, to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and that is a noble task. Most certainly he’s leading a renaissance of cooking again; getting both Americans and Europeans back into their kitchens to make food from scratch instead of filling freezers with frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets. We applaud him for accomplishing that wonderful feat!

However, and a big however, just because foods are made from scratch, using fresh ingredients, are they necessarily healthy? They may be healthier than processed foods, but are they truly health promoting? There’s a big difference.   

What struck me recently was watching the tears fall down Brittany’s cheeks, the obese teen from the Cabell County, West Virginia school corporation who only has five to seven more years to live due to complications from obesity. Will merely increasing fruits and vegetables in Brittany’s diet, removing flavored milk, and making food from scratch prevent her from dying an early death? Will it prevent any of us from needing dangerous drugs that have serious side effects such as insulin and diuretics?

I browsed through Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook1, and some of his recipes call for for sugar, white flour, heavy cream, butter, eggs, bacon, and cheeses. Are they truly healthy for the heart, pancreas and waistline? Will the following recipes free us from toxic hunger that propels food addiction, the root cause of obesity?

Perfect Pot Roast
Bacon Omelet
Grilled Filet Mignon
Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham
Grilled Lamb Chops
Pork Kabobs
Pan Fried Glazed Pork Chops
Spanish Style Grilled Steak
Baked Creamy Leeks
Braised Bacon Cabbage
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce
Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake (serves 4-6:  8oz cheddar cheese, 4oz parmesan cheese, sea salt, 1 c. sour cream, 1/2 head of cauliflower)
Mega Chocolate Fudge Cake (2/3 c. brown sugar, 4 eggs, flour)
Vanilla Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping (serves eight: 13 Tablespoons of butter, 24 oz of cream cheese, ¾ c. sugar, and 1 ¼ c. heavy cream) 
Sponge Cake (made with 2 1/2 c. of heavy cream)
Pudding Cake
Fruit Scones
Chocolate Fruit Nut Tart

Jamie OliverSalads are doused with oily dressings; three parts oil to one part vinegar or lemon, with the addition of pepper, sea salt, mustard, and sometimes yogurt. 

Among Jamie’s list of essential ingredients to have stocked in the kitchen cupboard are: olive oil, vegetable oil, all purpose flour, super fine sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, dry pasta, egg noodles, honey, maple syrup, mayonnaise; plus, ready made pie crusts and puff pastries for the freezer.  

If meals are made from scratch, using fresh and even organic ingredients, at home or in the school kitchen, versus processed through a factory assembly line then they’re health promoting, right?   

You be the judge. 

Jamie's a great guy. I admire his bravery, passion and zeal; but is he truly saving the sinking ship, or is this just more noise adding to the confusion?

       sinking titanic                            



image credits:  rhinestonesandtelephones.com; celebrifi.com; geography-site.co.uk  

1.  Oliver, Jamie (2009). Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution; New York: Hyperion Publishing

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Comments (54) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Tim Bennett - April 21, 2010 5:06 AM

He tried to do something similar a while ago in the UK with school dinners. I'm not a massive fan of the guy anyway but it was clear it was poorly researched. Far too much oil, animal products and pasta.

Carla Golden - April 21, 2010 5:55 AM

I totally agree with your sentiments and concerns. I have felt the same while watching the show. However, I must remind myself that it takes baby steps. The chances of someone jumping from the extreme SAD to, say, a China Study based diet is more slim that someone going from the extreme SAD to the Jamie Oliver diet. I commend Jamie and the people in Huntingdon who have made changes. We can all improve...little by little. In general, people don't mind changing, they just don't like being changed. If/when they feel better after a small change, chance are good they'll look for more changes to keep feeling good once they are motivated from within. Jamie is kickstarting that first series of changes. (I'm speaking here about people old enough to make their own food choices, not the children. They need to be directed, guided and have their choices pre-selected.) Thank you for all your work, Dr. Fuhruman!

Steve - April 21, 2010 6:03 AM

Sounds to me like Jamie's solution isn't much better than the problem he claims to be trying to solve.

I guess he hasn't read Dr. Fuhrman's books!

Sounds like he is just bringing "more noise adding to the confusion".

Gerard - April 21, 2010 6:33 AM

I understand your concern that Jamie is not teaching people how to eat the HEALTHIEST of diets, but he IS teaching people how to eat HEALTHIER. The general population can't handle such radical change as Dr Fuhrmans diet. They need baby steps. Adding fruits and vegetables to some peoples diets is a HUGE step. If people don't understand math you cannot teach them calculus. I think the same applies with nutrition.

Suzanne - April 21, 2010 6:42 AM

I see your point and I agree on some parts of it. I'm a member of Weston Price. I think eating their way (raw milk, almost all organic/grass fed everything else) is definitely healthier than eating processed junk. Weston Price was actually an original natural hygiene guy (which is what Joel used to be). I however often eat vegetarian meals and without soy.

I would definitely get rid of the vegetable oil from Jamie's essential list. He could also cut way back on the cheese and cut way back on the sugar and carbs. Actually Dwight Lundell (cardiologist) says that the carbs and sugar are more of a problem than the meat is, especially if the meat is grass fed and organic.

Also maybe you have to go in spurts. Get the kids knowing what a vegetable looks like, get them liking the taste of them, then teach them about food combining (or not) and finally then power up closer to 80-90% raw.

Greg Kaler - April 21, 2010 7:22 AM

I completely agree! I have almost the same opinion about Dr Oz, the guy on TV. I've looked at his cookbooks and they also contain recipes using unhealthy ingredients- ingredients that promote disease. Bravo Emily. I think you're always right on with your posts. You get it!
I am a school assembly performer traveling the U.S. performing my show called Fitness For Life, a program on non-competitive games from around the world. In between the games I present health messages- re whole, natural foods/healthy drink- water/freshly squeezed juice. I mention Eat To Live each show, and leave flyers with the teachers with Dr. Fuhrman's and Dr. McDougall's websites (drmcdougall.com). Joel knows who I am. If you'd like to see what I do go to ForPlanetHealth.com.
Quite honestly , I have a very bleak outlook for the great majority of America when it comes to healthy eating. Children and adults are addicted to their drugs- their unhealthy food and drink. Even if I only reach a few people in my shows, it's worth it. I'll go out trying. Keep up your great work.

Barry Honeycombe - April 21, 2010 8:06 AM

What we have to remember is that this is primarily about making good TV. It is not primarily about better health. Therein lies the conflict of interests. Jamie is committed and passionate about food, but he is first and foremost a "media personality".

If he starts people on the road to better health all well and good.

Wendy - April 21, 2010 8:15 AM

Excellent posting. I have been a nutrarian for about a year now and have been really inspired by antother Brit with a much better TV Show. It's called "You Are What You Eat" and her name is Dr. Jillian McKeith. BBCAmerica airs many episodes per week. This is the type of television that Americans really need to be watching. It's like
"What Not to Wear" but with food/diet.

I am thankful though that Jamie Oliver is at least attempting to start a revolution. It's just that Dr. Fuhrman has a lot of work to do to lead the revolution where it needs to go.

McBloggenstein - April 21, 2010 8:18 AM

I think we have to put the people's diets in question on a scale and always consider what it is relative to.

Keep in mind that in order for the school board to even consider letting him step foot into a school, his food HAS to conform to the food pyramid. He's not going to be able to change that. At least not while working in lunch lady land. So, what are some steps to start heading toward a disease proof diet? Step #1, cut out processed foods, make it real. Sure, it's a tiny step to people like us, but for these people, it's a pretty big one.

Remember the words of that radio dj in the first episode? "You're not going to make us eat lettuce." If he stepped in there making drastic changes, he would have been faced with way more opposition than he already did. Imagine suggesting to these people to eat a vegetarian diet... let alone a partially raw diet. They would seriously think you were insane.

If he got that family that deep fried everything they ate to eat just one thing green per day, and bury their fryer, I'd say that is a small victory. Is he saving their sinking ship? Probably not. But the ship may be delayed before it goes completely under.

I think one of the greatest things he is doing is trying to get the parents upset that the school is making their kids fat and unhealthy. Of course he should also be saying that the parents themselves are just as much to blame, but they would certainly take offense to that and never be on his side.

Scheree Coleman - April 21, 2010 8:38 AM

So maybe Dr. Fuhrman could give him some insight?

Elisa Rodriguez - April 21, 2010 8:42 AM

I am with you Emily - I have shared the same thoughts about the few episodes I have seen. I am thankful for Jamie's passion and unique strategies to recruit people, but I think that he is giving someone like Brittney (the obese teen with a fatty liver) false hope. As you said, the intervention thus far will not save her life! I feel frustrated that someone with Jamie's celebrity status has such easy access to spread his idea of a food revolution when there are far better strategies that actually work.

Christina Surtees - April 21, 2010 8:47 AM

I agree with Carla. Having lived in England when Jamie first started cooking, I am a huge fan of his. Yes, he uses many SAD ingredients. However, he has helped many people eat salads who before may never have considered them a possibility. It is extremely easy to be sanctimonious when following the ETL diet to the letter. But how many of us have had difficulties and "fallen off" the straight and narrow? When Jamie started introducing healthier food into schools in the UK, mothers would stand at the gates sneaking french fries to kids who were being "deprived" because they could not have their spaghetti and french fry sandwiches or bacon sandwiches they were used to having. Kids initially balked at eating strawberries because they were "newfangled" food. I applaud Jamie. We got to go for the big picture here not the perfect score for people who are never going to be perfect!

Sue Thomas - April 21, 2010 8:49 AM

Thank you for the comment I agree. Celebrity chefs I feel have done a lot of damage not only to nutrition, but making cooking overwhelming and complicated. Also, the commercialization of all the celebrity cookware, etc. I just read the book by Alice Waters, The Green Kitchen a wonderful, simple, uncomplicated book. We need more like this.

Zach Eaton - April 21, 2010 9:34 AM

Emily, as a fellow nutrarian, I of course, wish that everyone ate a healthful, beneficial, diet, if for no other reason than to drive healthcare costs down (not to mention, tasty vegetables would get cheaper too). But we must all remember that GOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY OF PERFECT. For the same reason it's not good to beat onesself up for messing up and eating a comfort food once in a blue moon, we must appreciate when a change is made for the better. Is it far enough? Hardly, but it will have a positive change in reduction of heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity related illness. Even just getting rid of the trans fats in all those packaged foods WILL extend lifespans. So I applaud the revolution. I don't think it's going to cause anyone eating better to say to themselves, "if Jamie says it's ok to eat butter, cheese and bacon, I think I can incorporate those things" but if someone is killing themselves daily with frozen foods and transfats and watches the show and says "I need to do this" that will be a step in the right direction. In my opinion, articles like the one referred to in yesterday's post that increasing vegetables and fruit have a small impact on preventing cancer (who are they to think that their relatively tiny study outweighs the conclusions of the massive China study that said otherwise?) is FAR more insidious and damaging to American dietary choices.

Wayne Ferguson - April 21, 2010 9:40 AM

Great piece Emily--Jamie's message certainly has its limitations! But given all the confusion that's already out there, I think Jamie's show has been a definite plus! It is waking people up and opening their minds to a new way of thinking about food. Obviously, people who are struggling with weight and health issues-- like Brittany, on his show --must be warned: his recipes include too much meat, dairy, and oils for them to achieve the results they desire. On one level, this is discouraging, but on another level, it gives me, as a resident of the Huntington, WV area, an open door to share more complete information with people. IMO, Jamie Oliver, Michelle Obama, and Michael Pollan are all doing their part to make our job, as nutritional educators, easier.

Lorianne - April 21, 2010 9:53 AM

If I had in any way thought that I had to eat the way I eat now (high raw vegan) 10 years ago, I would have laughed and said 'no way!', and I was vegetarian at the time. Imagine what these folks who eat frozen cardboard with additives every day would think.

The real issue is education, but most people don't care, they don't see what the point is, so a gentle approach is needed here if positive change is to occur, otherwise it can do more harm than good.

Gerry - April 21, 2010 9:58 AM

I agree with you Emily.

I don't think people, as rule, will go from a little better eating to really healthy eating.

That's what I thought I was doing when I ate the American Diabetes Assoc. diet and the American Heart Assoc. diet and then got sicker and sicker.

It was not until I got serious about the problem, and faced the unpleasant reality of my overindulgence with the pleasant truth of Nutritarian Eating that I really got well. Nor is it easy to stay on the right path. Everyting worth while in life requires commitment and work.

I'm also a fan of Dr. Fuhrmans first book on Fasting, another lost path to health, that I have used to bring incredible health and reorientation to my body, mind, and spirit, through periodic detoxification.

Going from really sick, to not quite as sick is a blind alley, in my opinion.

mykgerard - April 21, 2010 10:45 AM

I agree with some earlier posters, but strongly disagree with others. Most people especially school aged children and teens just aren't ready to take the jump to anything near a china study, Fuhrman, or Esselstyn way of eating. Could Jamie make things a little healthier? Yes, absolutely... but I'm not going to agree with the assertion that because he's not attempting to make these folks nutritarians or vegans that he's a moron, or that he is not going to elicit a significant impact. He's focusing on getting people back to the way food was a generation or two ago which is much healthier than today's SAD. I agree with other posters that this is very much a baby-step process. is it not enough... Absolutely... If I could get everyone on board with Nutritarianism I'd love to be able to but realistically that is not going to happen soon. The Dr. Fuhrmans of our time are decades if not a half-century ahead of the masses who are resoundingly ignorant about the true reality of Nutrition and that ignorance is fed and bred by the media and even the governments, so I feel any step towards the ultimate goal of a healthy society is good.

John Roche - April 21, 2010 11:35 AM

Come on give the guy a break...it is very easy to throw stones. He is a Chef and is making a difference. People are not going to go from living on fast food to fresh organic fruit and veg. Appreciate what the guy is doing rather than pointing out the flaws in his plan.

Michael Crosby - April 21, 2010 11:47 AM

Emily, first thing I want to say is if I have another daughter, her name will be Emily. What a beautiful name.

When I think of Jamie Oliver, I think of The Food Network. It's one of the few channels I watch. Especially Alton Brown's "Good Eats". Alton recently lost 50lbs. I think it would be safe to say that he did it by not eating the recipes on TFN. I would love to see him interviewed on how he lost that weight and how it relates to TFN.

Another show I like is Guy Fieri's Triple D, Diners Drive-ins and Dives. This is what TFN promotes, this is what people want to eat.

I mentioned to a golf buddy a restaurant in his area, he said, "I don't like that place, not enough fried food".

Jill - April 21, 2010 11:53 AM

I agree with Carla, Gerard, mykgerard and others, and I think Ms. Boller is being a bit harsh. Jamie and his show are steps in the right direction.
The fact that a show about healthy eating is on national television AND that 300,000 people have signed his Food Revolution petition is an achievement in itsef that should be celebrated. When our country was in the midst of the Atkins craze, could you have imagined a TV show promoting fresh fruits and vegetables being popular? Not a chance! We're heading the right way. It's just going to take time.

Cathy - April 21, 2010 11:57 AM

A sad commentary on our times...look what we've become, America. The typical American reaction to truth that leads to work and personal sacrifice: no thanks, don't want to even give that a try, it's too hard. What good is a half truth to a dying man? That's like telling an addict that they can recover completely by just using cheap morphine since its concentration isn't so high.
If we don't challenge people to want to really be free and healthy, then they won't rise to that goal, they will simply settle for what seems easy. The Bible says, "The TRUTH will set you free," not "The watered-down, wimpy, pleasant on the ears and taste buds truth will set you free." If we aren't willing to face ourselves in the mirror and admit the ugly truth of who we've become then there is no hope for our recovery or future. And if the people who are giving us information they claim will set us free are not 100% truthful (or educated and knowledgeable about the subject) then we have no hope to recover 100% by following their disinformation or incomplete stories. They need the full picture themselves before going out and claiming to have the answer.

Rupa - April 21, 2010 12:01 PM

I think it would be ideal if everyone was following the Fuhrman diet for optimal living, extended life expectancy and a whole multitude of other reasons, but given the stronghold of the SAD diet, this is an unrealistic pipe dream.

It's much more realistic to educate large volumes of people to move from eating boxed, processed foods every meal of everyday to choosing healthier options eg more vegetables, fresh ingredients, real chicken (as opposed to frozen chicken nuggets stuffed full of additives and preservatives). There were people on the program who had a freezer full of various boxes with not a single vegetable or fresh ingredient in sight. The Food Revolution accepts this, and gets people started on the journey of starting to love and be enthused about cooking and eating real food. Is it perfect? No. But it’s a good start. As someone who was a fan of Jamie when I lived in London and watched “School Dinners�, I’m pleased he’s applying his own unique charm to addressing this issue. I also applaud the efforts of Michelle Obama and the Alliance for a Healthy Generation in dealing with these critical issues – they are all advocating baby steps to get people healthier.

I run a program called The Babe Within focusing on Eat, Energize and Explore - encouraging pre-teen girls to make good choices in nutrition, fitness and self-esteem. I give out the Fuhrman pyramid magnets as part of the Eat module and tell girls about different pathways to better nutrition, rather than telling them they need to follow the Fuhrman philosophy in its entirety. There would be a revolution (entirely the wrong sort!) if I told all the girls and their parents to eat a primarily vegan diet from the get go – it would simply not work, as it’s too drastic a message, and too much change for them to accept. Instead we show them how to make some healthier recipes, encourage them to try out different fruits and vegetables, and the feedback has been incredibly positive. We encourage girls to love and enjoy food, but not get too obsessed by it, and also demonstrate how they can build more fun activities in their lives to keep them fit and feeling good about themselves. As we educate children to make healthier choices one meal at a time, I am hopeful that it will inspire them to ever greater health throughout their lives.

Lorianne - April 21, 2010 12:52 PM

I agree with Roche, it's just not right to point out his 'flaws' when what he's doing for America and the world is monumental.

I'd much rather see health-oriented people supporting what he's doing than bashing in any way.

This article has exactly the wrong attitude to take if we want to help people get healthier.

Judy - April 21, 2010 2:52 PM

I must commend Jamie for taking on such a bold initiative. He has gotten people out of boxed food and back into the kitchen,a huge step which will send a message to the food industry as well.
We must remember he is a celebrity chef, not a health professional. Perhaps a good approach would be for the chefs and health professionals to partner on this.

Kat - April 21, 2010 3:12 PM

Dr. Fuhrman....."sacrifice beyond the call of duty"? Come on. The guy is getting paid big bucks for his "sacrifices". That's great and all - I'm all for people making the big bucks, but let's not pretend he's sacrificing himself for the little people.

That said, I think that if he can get an American child to eat a vegetable at all, it's a massive improvement from the weird stuff that passes for food in America these days. Your eating plan is way better, but it's more of a challenge to switch from a chemical rich diet to a vegetable rich diet in one go.

Chris - April 21, 2010 5:31 PM

Although I agree with Emily's comments, this particular blog entry seems a bit elitist to me, which isn't good for the Eat to Live cause. Although I chose to eat a nutritarian diet, I can't and won't force my wife and kids to eat this way. Does it bother me they still eat processed food and too many animal products, of course it does. What I can do is improve the quality of their diet week by week, month by month until one day they hopefully learn to make the right choice 90% of the time. It's a process of education, and just reading Eat to Live one time doesn't convert everyone to the lifestyle overnight, especially people who are without any health problems (at the moment). It's taken me 3 years to fully convert. Although Jamie's recommendations for food are far from perfect, at least his intentions and heart are in the right place.

Kate - April 21, 2010 5:40 PM

I think Jamie is showing people baby steps. People are unlikely to suddenly change from a heavy meat and prepared diet to a radical healthy diet.
It is my recent brush with cancer at 29 that has encouraged me to further improve my diet. It was reasonably healthy before but is fantastically healthy now - reduction in red meat, huge increase in lentils, vegetables and of course the move to organic. I start the day with two glasses of freshly made organic green juice (kale, celery, cucumber, broccoli).

My point is though I had to cancer to make a serious switch from a reasonable diet to an excellent diet. I have never eaten chicken nuggets - do you know what's in there? It's not chicken! If Jamie can convince some people to stop eating frozen chicken nuggets and make there own food - it's a good first step!

Perhaps Dr Fuhrman could contact Jamie directly and talk to him with his concerns? Perhaps Jamie thinks that is healthy!

shels - April 21, 2010 7:01 PM

Gotta give it to him, love Jamie Oliver and they way he is able to get the kids motivated. I think he has a great attitude and the community really seems to be moved by him.

I was wondering when we would see mention of him on Onlyourhealth. I was thinking a lot of the same things others were about the choice of food. I guess the focus is really on getting people back into their kitchens and actually having to take out a knife, pots, pans, etc and do some real cooking. Beats pulling back the plastic on a meal and putting it in the micro.

I have to share with you all what my daughter can home and said a few days ago, "Mom, why did you say that chicken is not good to eat? We had a health educator come to school and tell us about how important it is to eat chicken and rice." It has been so confusing for her, and many of her classmates think we are crazy people for eating a mainly vegan diet. It's easy to see why so many Americans are confused.

Then, with the last study done that shows minimal benefit from eating a veggies and fruit, it added to the confusion. I have seen that research article mentioned on the national news almost every night.

I do applaud Jamie Oliver and his efforts, albeit no as superb a diet as could be, but he does put his heart into it.

Anne - April 21, 2010 10:22 PM

I actually live in Huntington, WV where Jamie Oliver has done his intervention. While it is a college town (Marshall University) and so has many well-educated individuals from diverse places, it also has many locals with very "set" ideas (lunch ladies, local DJ). I think Jamie has done an amazing job. To introduce change effectively to a population, it must be done in baby steps. While I have cringed with some of his recipes, they are an improvement over chicken nuggets and fries. While I certainly believe the nutratarian lifestyle is the way to go, it is too drastic change for large numbers of people...so introduce them to more vegetables and perhaps over time, they will make more changes. Bravo Jamie

Emily Boller - April 22, 2010 10:21 AM

I first heard about Dr. Fuhrman in 2002 after googling "diabetes." My husband and I set up a phone consultation with Dr. Fuhrman because we were dealing with some medical issues at the time, and needed nutritional advice.

After listening to what he had to say, I, in particular decided eating a high nutrient, plant based diet would be too radical of a change and too difficult to implement into daily life; therefore, we didn't follow his recommendations.

Six years later, weighing between 225-230 lbs, pre-diabetic, diagnosed with heart disease, and hypertensive, I decided to follow ETL. Actually, I wanted to see if eating what Dr. Fuhrman recommended was truly life saving. As an artist, I had a creative curiosity to see what eating nutrient dense food would do to the body as a work of art. Just as a potter uses clay, or a painter uses paint, I wanted to use food as the medium.

Within a year's time, I lost close to 100#, was no longer pre-diabetic, or at risk for heart disease; and more importantly, I was no longer addicted to low-nutrient, high fat, toxic foods.

Long story short, what I assumed would be too radical and difficult of a change, was in all actuality quite simple. The majority of food can be found in the produce aisle, a roadside stand, or grown in a backyard garden. Beans are about the only food that take some time to prepare, and I cook a large pot of them at a time. It's an uncomplicated way of eating, and most of all, it produced rapid and dramatic results without medications. Not only that, I felt better immediately. First "brain fog" disappeared, and then blood pressure and cholestrol dropped drastically within that first month, and for the first time in my adult life, even without losing a significant amount of weight yet, I had newfound energy.

Like I mentioned in my post, I admire and applaud Jamie for his passion and commitment to see America get healthy, but cooking with, and eating cheese, butter, cream cheese, flour, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, bacon, filet mignon, meatloaf, pasta, noodles and such just isn't going to get us there. It's not even close to being a baby step.
It's completely off the path to optimal health. It's disease promoting.

becky person - April 22, 2010 1:06 PM

Jamie is doing something no one else has been able to do to this point....get the nation's attention on the dreadful situation regarding health. I think he is giving people hope, and also helping lots of people see that, hey, what I eat is actually contributing to my obesity, diabetes, acne, or whatever. This is a giant breakthrough. Now since he has done this groundwork, he is still a great ally of health and a very strong presence. I suggest that he meet the Boutenko Family, read their book Raw Family, and then the raw and living foods movement will have another powerful presence. His heart is in the right place, and he could never ever have gotten into the public school system suggesting all raw foods (though I think the Boutenkos have taught at schools with amazing success) Let's get them together asap!!!

Maggie Macaulay, MS Ed - April 24, 2010 9:00 AM

Jamie is providing a tremendous passion and momentum which is inspiring people to become more conscious of what they eat and to make changes in their lifestyles and diets. He is reminding people that they are in charge of what goes into their bodies. And people are listening. Because of his "food revolution," people will be much more receptive to even healthier changes. I applaud Jamie, especially for his movement to change food in schools.

Beth - April 26, 2010 7:36 AM

I agree with most of you. I think Jamie Oliver is doing a wonderful thing, if nothing else, he is stirring up the rhetoric that should have been going years ago. As someone who has a Masters degree in Nutrition Science I must tell you that he is getting the ball rolling. Do I think we should be eating bacon and heavy cream daily, no. Do I think these items can be healthy as in moderation, yes. It is all about communicating sound facts and getting people motivated. Jamie Oliver is a chef by trade. He is getting the general public to listen and now it is the job of healthcare professionals to bring the message home. Nutrition professionals, who understand sound science, work to get Americans to eat a diet based in whole grains, fruits and vegetables with the addition of lean meats and healthy fats in smaller portions. For those of you preaching the health benefits of the China Study and a raw-vegan diet, check your resources. Neither is based on sound science and should not be used as benchmark for healthy eating.

StephenMarkTurner (formerly Steve) - April 26, 2010 11:31 AM

Hi Emily

I noticed there is another Steve who posts here, so I will change to a handle that I have used elsewhere.

When Beth suggests that The China Study is not based on sound science, she is essentially calling out T Colin Campbell. Gutsy! She should probably provide some evidence, though.

Also, Beth, Dr Fuhrman has spoken out against raw vegan diets. The post is probably still somewhere on this site.

Cheers, Steve (I mean StephenMarkTurner)

PS Emily, the spell checker protests when I put in the word "Fuhrman". That should probably be added to the dictionary ;-)

Elijah Lynn - April 26, 2010 2:43 PM

We should do a massive book bomb to Jamie Oliver! If he received 20 books in the mail maybe he would switch gears!

Anyone in?

Deana Ferreri - April 26, 2010 2:50 PM

I'm in, Elijah!

Emily Boller - April 26, 2010 4:28 PM

How do we get the ball rolling?

Anatol Zinchenko - April 27, 2010 8:51 AM

Barack Obama responds to vegan question
[not something we should legislate but change in diet would help save trillion $ in health care]

veganfuture — November 24, 2008 — Senator Barack Obama responds to a question from vegan, Nikki Benoit, during a public meeting at Gibbs High School, Saint Petersburg, Florida (August 1st, 2008)

The transcript of the conversation between Nikki and now president-elect Obama appears below...

Senator Barack Obama: The young lady in the t-shirt, right there.

Nikki Benoit: Thank you, Senator, very much for your strong environmental position.

The United Nations actually has reiterated that factory farming is contributing more to global greenhouse gas emissions than all of transportation. I think that as a global community we really need to be the leader and moving more towards non-factory farming animal agriculture. It's very egregious. There's 10 billion land animals that we are funnelling our precious water and grain through when 70 per cent of all of our grain could help feed the world's hungry. So, as the next leader of the most amazing nation in the world, how can we set the example on the more nutritional, plant-based diet that's more eco-friendly and sustainable, that can maintain our water resources and all of our grain. Thank you very much.

Senator Barack Obama: Okay. Well, it's a great question.

Now, I have to say in the interests of full disclosure, that I do like a steak once in a while. I'm just being honest. I like barbecue. I'm not going to lie. But the young lady makes a very important point and that is this: right now, our food system world-wide is under enormous pressure. It's under enormous pressure because as a consequence of climate change, you've had severe changes in weather patterns. We don't fully understand what these effects are. But, for example, Australia's had huge drought which has taken a lot of crops. Grain production has been much lower. And supplies are tight. You're starting to see riots around food in places like Haiti and other poor countries around the world. And what is also true is that as countries like China and India become wealthier, they start changing their food habits; they start eating more meat, more animals. And what happens then is because it takes more grain to produce a pound of beef than if they were just eating the grain, what ends up happening is that it puts huge pressure on food supplies.

Americans would actually benefit from a change in diet. I don't think that that's something that we should legislate but I think that it is something that, as part of our overall health care system, we should encourage because, for example if we reduced obesity down to the rates that existed in 1980, we would save the medicare system a trillion dollars. We would reduce diabetes rates. We would reduce heart disease. So, the fact that we subsidise some of these big agribusiness operations that are not necessarily producing healthy food and we discourage, or we don't subsidise, farmers who are producing fruits and vegetables and small scale farming that gets produce immediately to consumers as opposed to having it processed. The fact that we are not doing more to make sure that healthy food is in the schools. All those things don't make sense. It is important for us to re-examine our overall food policy so that we're encouraging good habits and not bad habits. For example, just making sure there are more fruits and vegetables in school lunch programs. That would make an enormous difference in how our children's diets develop. That would make us healthier over the long term. It would cut our health care costs and maybe it would help people elsewhere in the world, who are in less wealthy countries, feed themselves as well. So, it's a great question. It's important.

Barack Obama - www.barackobama.com
Nikki Benoit - www.myspace.com/nikki1sky
Vegan Future - www.myspace.com/veganfuture

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) - April 28, 2010 9:08 AM

I agree that the foods being used were not always the healthiest of choices. I am a nutritionist and I teach people to cook what is often referred to as 'hippie food'- lots of sprouting, lentils, beans, veggies, nuts/seeds, healthy oils etc. People come to my classes who are already cooking. I firmly believe that unless someone is in a healthy crisis- there is no way they will go from fast food and processed foods to a strictly veggie based diet. People need easy transitions- let their taste buds adjust and can then be pushed a little further along. If you make people do things too extreme, too quickly- the pendulum swings back hard and fast in the other direction.

There was enough resistance from the community with the foods being served- is it really realistic to expect teenage kids to go from pizza and fries to a quinoa salad?

Ginny Achstetter - April 29, 2010 5:25 AM

I saw his show and was disappointed but not suprised. Not many people understand what true nutritional eating is suppose to look like. I have even heard Jillian from the biggest loser talk about the 6 mini meals and only organic food , as though a food being organic is somehow healthier. It is what you choose and how you prepare it that matters most. Her methods keep the weight off and is much healthier than what they ate before but still is a far cry from a high nutrient diet. There is a true lack of education and knowledge in this country, world about nutrition. I don't think it will ever be mainstream.

StephenMarkTurner (formerly Steve) - April 29, 2010 10:41 AM

Hi Emily

Perhaps it's a male/female thing with Jamie. I am from England originally, so I am not impressed by the accent either.

I also am a bit surprised that readers of this blog would even watch the Food Network. What would you learn there? Perhaps it's changed over the years, but it was all oil and flour and and salt and sauce last time I looked.


Bonnie - May 5, 2010 11:57 AM

This is what I dislike about the Fuhrman and nutritatian community, they have a bad "holier than thou" attitude. There is no way you are going to get people to eat Dr. Fuhrman's way. It is too extreme! I was vegan and I could not even follow all of Dr. Fuhrman's plan. Give Jamie a break, I guess nobody is as perfect as Fuhrman and his followers. Plus, Dr. Fuhrman's recipes are awful!! I tried to like them for well over a year and still gag thinking about some of them. When I was cooking Dr. Fuhrman's recipes my husband stopped eating my cooking altogether and ordered take out all the time, he then gained weight. It is all about baby steps, I try to keep Dr. Fuhrman's values in my head but not to the T. It is too much! This way of eating will never be mainstream. I think baby steps and teaching to eat less processed and more veggies is best to start. get our yourselves nutritarians, seriously.


Dr. Fuhrman - May 8, 2010 6:18 PM

My motive is to encourage people to have a better, healthier, more pleasurable life. Not only are natural foods delicious, but whole natural foods, can be used to make gourmet recipes, which are not only healthier but even better tasting than the conventional disease-causing diet Americans eat. I do not know the details of your (Bonnie) emotional and psychological needs necessitating the attack against the 'awful' recipes that you gag over just thinking about but obviously, you are not experienced with the 150 delicious Eat For Health recipes and the many more award-winning recipes at DrFuhrman.com. In fact, there are excellent restaurants that are now featuring many of these delicious recipes and even changing over their menus to accommodate nutritarians and those knowledgeable in nutrient density and healthy eating. More to come on this exciting development.

People who don't give their taste buds a chance to adapt or who do not immerse themselves in a disease-protective diet-style do not have the improved taste sensitivity that healthy eating enables. Advocating not smoking cigarettes, not drinking, or eating healthfully to avoid heart attacks, strokes or cancer is not extreme or 'holier' it is allowing people to choose to be heart attack proof, stroke proof and dementia-proof. Anything less would be selling out those people wanting proper information to take charge of their health destiny. Conventional eating that causes medical tragedy and death is extreme. Bypass surgery is extreme, breast cancer and chemotherapy that makes people suffer to extend lifespan 6 weeks on the average is extreme. Living in discomfort and pain in your last 15 years of life is extreme. Half-baked nutritional advice that does not reduce heart attack or cancer deaths is a pitiful waste of a public voice and forum. When you ask more from people they do more, when you ask less they do less. Teaching modern nutritional science is independent of what people want to hear. People deserve the most complete and accurate information to make their own decisions, so if they want, they can feel better, reverse chronic medical problems, and have a happier, more pleasurable life. To not give them even the chance for a heart-attack free, cancer-free future is selling them out. Once people learn critical life-saving nutritional information, they can chose to make no changes, to make moderate changes, to make step-by-step changes in the right direction, or to make a dramatic change. However, a teeny-weeny baby-step approach, gives most people no option except failure, because it simply does not work in enabling significant weight loss or disease reversal or protection, plus their addictions and cravings do not cease.

Enjoying life without disease or fear is not extreme, it is sane. However, you and others have the right to do whatever you want. People can smoke, snort, inject or drown themselves in toxic food, thinking their lives are enhanced. Unfortunately some people may believe you because food addicts want to hear this kind of stuff, it supports their decision to remain out-of-control sick and fat. Unfortunately and most often it eventually leads to misery down the road. Nutritarian eating is a blessing, a blessing that brings the most pleasure in eating, while giving the unprecedented opportunity in human history to live longer and healthier than ever before. The vast majority of individuals who have read the Eat For Health book tried the recipes and stuck with it for some months have enthusiastically blogged and written thousands of praising and thrilling e-mails and letters, about the taste and many, many people have lost dramatic amounts of weight and serious illnesses have been turned around and lives saved. America needs to know these successes, they need to know they have a choice.

Bonnie - May 12, 2010 8:01 AM

Dr. Fuhrman it is pretty cool that you responded. Great points. I do have all of your books and have tried countless recipes and I just don't like many of them. I wish I did. What I don't like is how everything is seen as "bad" or "junk." Your way is the way to go but there has to be a little freedom without guilt. Thats all. Thanks for the response!

LaurieInOklahoma - May 13, 2010 2:52 PM

Bonnie, I was rescued from decades of yo-yo dieting by adopting nutritarian eating. I also no longer experience flareups of multiple sclerosis. Both those scourges are now in my distant past.

I'd like to write one post responding to "bad", "junk", and "holier than thou", and will write a second about nutritarian recipes.

My viewpoint is that it's not "holier than thou", but rather "Holy cow---look what truly healthy eating can accomplish with disease-reversal!!" I mean, Dr. Fuhrman's teenaged patient whose lupus was so bad she was on a waiting list for a new kidney? Her parents, and Dr. Fuhrman convinced her to change her diet, and she's now totally healthy. She never needed that new kidney!! There is no sign of her former lupus. And that is not just an isolated case; the number and quality of
disease-reversals that Dr. Furhman has seen in his practice are astonishing, bordering on miraculous.

All of that would mean nothing if the people who shed their (our) diseases were now living in some kind of food misery, with no enjoyment in life. The reality is quite the contrary. In my next post, I'll tell about the nutritarian "food paradise" that my husband and I find ourselves living in.

But first, some words about "bad" or "junk".

I found Dr. Ornish's diet before I found Dr. Fuhrman's. I will always remember what Dr. Ornish found in his heart disease-reversal study: that the extent to which people reversed their disease depended not on how old or how sick they were going into the study, but on how closely they followed the diet

What that says to me is that it's not a question of "bad" or "junk", but a scientific question of which foods are disease-promoting and which foods are health-promoting. Each one of us is doing a one-person, non-controlled, non-randomized study in the effect of our food choices on our health outcomes.

Even if some foods are disease-promoting, Dr. Fuhrman recommends in Eat to Live that if we consume 90% of calories from unrefined plant foods, it may not matter if we consume 10% of calories from whatever foods we want. Since I have MS, I choose to eat 100% nutritarian, but that doesn't mean everyone has to.

My husband and I now find nutritarian foods to be incredibly delicious. See my next post for a description.

I will be forever grateful that Dr. Fuhrman did not water down his recommendations to make them socially palatable. I'm so glad I found the truth about what it takes to get healthy. I now feel like I'm living in some incredible "bonus period" in my life (I'm 57) that I never would have dreamed possible, and I thank Dr. Fuhrman for that.


LaurieInOklahoma - May 13, 2010 3:23 PM

Bonnie, here's the rest of my post, about nutritarian recipes.

As a person who used to love tuna casserole, fajitas, pizza, cappuccino chunky chocolate ice cream cones (oh, but the lowfat frozen yogurt kind...), jr. burgers---so I'd have more room for ice cream) and chocolate sodas (although I did sneak in periods of following Weight Watchers), I can hardly believe that I'm by far the happiest I've even been in my life, eating 100% nutritarian. And that's not "in spite of" the foods---it's because of the foods.

I am just completely blown away by how much our tastes in food can change.

Bonnie, I, too, didn't like a number of Dr. Fuhrman's recipes. I find "Mrs. Dash" to be an inferior seasoning, that has no internal logic---just a mishmash of all different spices.
I didn't like the blended soups that are so important to me (with the MS), from the autoimmune disease protocol.

But once one has the basic idea of making nutritarian food choices, that enables you to create your own recipes that you do like. I started to make blended soups from kale, broccoli, carrot juice, red lentils, and Indian spices that I bought from Penzeys---basically a curry theme.

I made minor adjustments (all healthy choices) to Dr. Fuhrman's avocado herb dressing, and mango, or mango/orange dressing, and we learned Barb Whitney's berry dressing. Now I like a big salad with mixed greens, shredded cabbage,chopped turnips, goji berries, sunflower seeds, and one of these dressings every bit as much as I ever liked an ice cream sundae. I find our new dressings to be so far better than any commercial or restaurant dressing I ever had before.

And there are many, many recipes in Eat for Health, and at the recipe guide at the member center, and at the cooking forum at the member center, that taste just wonderful exactly as they read.

My husband and I are both amazed by how wonderful fruits taste, when one's tastebuds are not comparing them to peanut butter cups or that cappuccino chunky chocolate frozen yogurt.

We find that we like our new favorite foods every bit as much as we liked our former favorite foods. Very honestly, we do not feel deprived in any way.

I didn't used to understand why all the "good tasting" foods had to be the ones that were bad for us. Now I know that when one starts to eat entirely healthy foods, the healthy foods start to taste just great.

I would not have thought of myself as a person who could pull this off, make the dietary changes and learn to love the new foods. I hope reading this might encourage someone else to try!!! You'll be so glad you did.


Bryan - May 20, 2010 11:18 AM

One of the hardest things is convincing kids that it's "cool" to eat and drink healthy foods and beverages. Sure, they might know its healthy, but they are kids, the don't look long term at what eating these foods will do to them. They look short term at what is "cool" to eat and drink, and with this they turn to unhealthy snacks and beverages like sodas and sugary drinks.

So maybe in conjunction with this we need to make being healthy "cool".

That's what this company is trying to do, their marketing water (wat-aah) to kids in a cool way:

Lena - July 31, 2010 5:21 AM

The whole point of Jamie Oliver's project is to promote healthy eating in schools, and this would be absolutely impossible if he went into schools and said 'hey kids, instead of pizza for lunch you're going to have lettuce'. He tried a slightly less extreme version of this in an early trailer for the show and there was footage of the children not eating anything and chucking their full lunch trays in the bin.

Jamie's recognised that it'll take time to change eating habits, and this is why he doesn't try and take on a world issue in one day. The point of his projects and his cookbooks is to teach everyone how to enjoy food in a healthier way. This is why "some of his recipes call for for sugar, white flour, heavy cream, butter, eggs, bacon, and cheeses" - if you were a person that was accustomed to a fast food diet, do you honestly think you'd be happy to swap the fries and burgers for roast vegies? I think if you compare his recipes that do call for sugar, butter or cream to other similar recipes you'll find that his use alot less of these unhealthy ingredients, or the recipes incorporate healthy ingredients such as vegetables or fruits that are essential in our diet.

Talk to any nutrionist or doctor, read any well-researched text about healthy eating and they'll all say the same thing: PORTION CONTROL. Jamie isn't saying that we should never eat fast food, or that we shouldn't ever eat sugar, cream, eggs, etc. What we need to do is to limit how much of these unhealthy foods we do eat, and eat more of the healthier foods. So in his recipes, he's doing just that.

I've just studied Fast Food Nation at school, and watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and it really frustrates me how critical people are of these attempts to promote healthy eating. These men aren't miracle workers - they can't take fast food and unhealthy foods out of everyone's diet in a day, it takes time. And if people ate healthy in the first place (ie. fast food companies offered only the healthy options, and not both healthy and incredibly unhealthy) then the world wouldn't need texts such as Fast Food Nation, docos such as Supersize Me and series such as Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

Instead of criticising Jamie's project, how about you criticise the fast food companies who have been a significant factor in the current obesity issue?

Emily - August 30, 2010 7:05 AM

Unfortunaely, Jamie was restricted by USDA dietary guidelines for school children, which inevitably involve an unacceptable (to you and me) amount of meat, dairy and grains. Granted, he could use higher quality ingredients, but he is also limited by the palates of those for whom he cooks.

In my experience, nutritarian eating is something that takes a long time to accomplish for most people. I started off by becoming a vegan for animal rights purposes. I read ETL because I was interested in weight loss, and I read The China Study to fortify my study on vegetarian nutrition (for when I necessarily argue my case for veganism). The point is, people in general are not going to make these changes for themselves without some kind of motivation. Even then, changes are usually gradual.

Most people are motivated by taste-- pure and simple-- until something threatens their physical existence. It's sad to say, but it's true. I wish Jamie had done more research. His understanding of nutrition is perhaps one or two steps above the typical American understanding of healthy food.

louise - October 18, 2010 5:12 PM

Lets get real here,jamies fresh food recipes ,which may include essential healthy oils ie-virgin olive oil,dairy- cheese-VEGETABLES- PROTIEN.jamies food is much much more healthy and wholesome than any greasy processed poisen food.and all his recipes are not one portion per person,they serve at least 4 ppl!sorry but if he,s got you running to your nearest fastfood restarant in defiance then you have a problem with your own eating habits and just dont want to change.my 2 yrold eats his fruit and veg and loves it,and i am proud that i cared enough to make the EFFORT to give my child what is good for him.

Lynette - January 6, 2011 7:36 AM

The problem here also concerns a man's idealism versus a whole population's (or even a whole country's) cynicism. I highly appreciate poster Lena's observations because what she said was true. Jamie couldn't have changed everyone's eating habits overnight but at least he tried to balance it off with healthier foods (yes, even with bacon and cheese... at least those were real bacon and cheese and not 'fortified' with tongue-twisting preservatives and artificial chemicals). And so he tried to introduce healthy food along with what the community has gotten used to eating. It's a start at least... it's like being in a dark tunnel of junk food and seeing a light at the end of that tunnel.

Anna - June 5, 2012 10:41 AM

Dear Dr Fuhrman and Emily,
I think so very highly of you both!
Dr Fuhrman, I have read everything you have written!!! I have watched all of your videos, and listened to all of your CD's. I am a big fan, and have loaned your books, CD's and videos to many friends. Thank you so very much for all of your information and inspiration! I do regard you as the foremost authority on nutrition, and I take your advice over anyone else's.

I am from Huntington, WV. I cried when I watched Jamie's TED talk. Jamie is passionate enough to go there and offer to try to help improve people's diets, even though his approach is not perfect. Bless his heart for doing his best. He is at least getting people to think about the health effects of food.

Dr. Fuhrman, advocate knowledge and understanding as being so important for people making changes. I agree with all the other posts that it would be fabulous if you could team up with Jamie, to help his work have an even more profound impact.

Your "Eat Right America Nutritarian Handbook", (now out of print, and unavailable), was a great short introduction to becoming a nutritarian. This is a perfect short introductory book to help people ease into a healthier way of eating. It is simple and easy to follow. I have given this book to many people. Why is it out of print? It would be a perfect book for someone like Jamie to distribute.

Many people are not able to make drastic changes at first, but find that as they add more healthy foods, the junk food is not as appealing. Then, as they start to feel better, they want to know more and make more significant changes.

As much as I admire you and all you have done, I also agree with Bonnie, that I have not liked many of your recipes. Some have been great. But that is only a matter of personal taste, and certainly not a criticism, or a complaint. I use nutritarian foods in my own recipes that work for my own personal food tastes.

You care so passionately about helping people and so does Jamie. It would be wonderful if you could reach out to him, and offer to help him with his work. Your influence could reach so many more people.

Thank you again, for all that you do!

Nick - August 9, 2012 10:54 AM

This is utterly ridiculous.

"Will merely increasing fruits and vegetables in Brittany’s diet, removing flavored milk, and making food from scratch prevent her from dying an early death?"

Of course not, its too late for her. The damage has been done. Had she eaten properly prepared fresh food rather than gallons of sugar carbs and chemicals with some exercise each day then she wouldn't be in that problem.

To say that his food has oil and cream in it is completely missing the point. All food needs to be eaten in moderation but Jamie is highlighting the average persons ignorance when it comes to whats actually in their food. The only way to know what you're eating is to cook it yourself.. thats what he is promoting...

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