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article imageJamie Oliver bringing his Food Revolution to US Special

By KJ Mullins     Apr 1, 2010 in Food
Huntington - Chef Jamie Oliver has crossed the Atlantic bringing his Food Revolution to the United States. The first Jamie's Kitchen is in Huntington, West Virgina, deemed the least healthy town in America.
Oliver's Food Revolution comes down to eating healthy, balanced diets. A big part of that comes with learning how to cook with real and not processed food.
"I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!"
More than 147,000 people in the United States have signed his petition to to save cooking skills and improve school food.
Jill Moore is on the ground at the renamed Huntington's Kitchen.
'When Jamie left in January he renamed the kitchen Huntington's Kitchen," Moore said during a phone interview.
That renaming brings a true ownership for the town.
The kitchen is now run as part of the Ebenezer Medical Outreach program. The Outreach provides for those in the area who do not have medical insurance.
"The Huntington Kitchen just fit in with a healthy life style program that we were already running."
When it comes to healthy eating in Huntington, and for that matter in much of North America fast food plays a larger factor than the over abundance of processed foods that Oliver found in the UK.
"While the economy is a factor in non-healthy eating choices fast food places are a bigger problem." Moore added, "There are so many fast food restaurants compared with the population. Our town has a huge love of hot dogs. They are easily available and are cheap. We want people to know that you can eat healthy instead of eating just fast food. You can take simple raw ingredients and make great meals."
Moore started working at the Kitchen after Jamie left Huntington waiting to stay out of the limelight.
"I watched the show from the sidelines."
She had been working at the medical clinic. Before that Moore had been a full-time student and is a licensed attorney. When asked if Oliver's arrival had changed her food choices she said no but "my husband and I had decided to save money by improving our health and not eat out just a few months before we heard about Jamie coming to Huntington. Before that we had basically eaten out three times a day. Now we eat at home. We weren't doing it as a diet but since changing our eating choices I have lost 45 pounds. Trust me if I can do it, anyone can."
That message is a key one for the Oliver mission. Everyone can change their eating choices for a healthier life. Oliver has been focusing on those changes through his television shows in the UK for several years now. His first goals were to improve school meals for grade school students. That mission has expanded into getting entire families and communities to embrace a healthier way of life through their meals.
In Huntington Ms. Moore said that there is mixed reactions to the mission. Many are positive and she is working with several who have really taken to the change of life style. Still there are those who are against change and oppose the program.
"They don't understand why they need to change the way they eat saying that they are fine just the way they are. They just don't understand how much healthier they would be if they changed their diet."
The program is in it's sixth week without Oliver's film crew around. For those in the program change is being felt.
"Some have noticed weight loss but what everyone is seeing is that they feel better. This isn't a 'diet', it's a long term life style change."
Moore has completed one kid's program and just started a second one this week.
"The kids love it. We have a rule that they have to try everything once. One of the kids discovered this week that they really do like peas," Moore laughed.
Fast food places make it easy to grab a quick meal. In Huntington the choices for burgers and fatty foods is broad but when it came to healthy alternatives the town is lacking. As far as she knew there are no vegan places in town.
Moore wanted it known that Huntington is not the worst in America-it's bad everywhere.
More about Jamie oliver, Food revolution, Huntingtons kitchen
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