Kids For The Food RevolutionTue 07 Jun 2011
Story by Marcie Barajas
Megan and Braden Barajas attend elementary school in Broomfield, Colorado. They were both very inspired by watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last year. Watching the show led them to ask many questions. Specifically, they wanted to know about the artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives in their food.
The more they learned from the show about healthy eating, the more committed they became to changing their eating habits. Their family started following a doctor recommended eating program that eliminated all artificial colors/flavors and preservatives. Thanks to the show, they were very interested and enthusiastic about it.
The first day of healthy eating, Megan and Braden got involved by reading labels and discarding unhealthy food that was in their cabinets and refrigerator. They watched surprised as a garbage bag got filled to the top, “Oh, my gosh,” Megan said, “It’s in everything!”
As Megan started 2nd grade and Braden started 4th grade they were determined to keep the junk that they learned about out of their food. They went from eating school lunch every day last year, to always packing their lunches from home. Braden discovered that his focus improved and concentrating on school work was much easier with this new way of eating.
Like they saw with Jamie Oliver, their food revolution also wasn’t easy. As the year passed on it felt like an uphill battle just trying to eat healthy. They both had to repeatedly turn down chemically filled, processed treats brought into their classroom and for the first time, they had to sit at a separate table because they weren’t eating the school lunch! They came home from school in tears a couple of times after having turned down this food. “Why do they have to make it so hard?” Braden said, “School should be a place where they teach you about good nutrition, not teach us to eat chemicals.”
When Megan had the opportunity to submit a project for the science fair, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to teach about everything she had learned. She set up a demonstration where she removed dye from food by placing it in water. As the colors floated in the water she talked about how they come from petroleum and are a completely unnecessary ingredient.
She stood proudly by her rainbow of colors she had drawn, explaining how each artificial color has been linked to health concerns; allergies, asthma, hyperactivity, cancer and so much more. She brought in labels so people could compare healthier alternatives. She packed up her project at the end of the day and she remained hopeful that maybe one person would go home to get their garbage bag out and remove the unhealthy food from their kitchen.
As the school year ends, Braden and Megan have not seen the progress for change that they wanted. However, they both remain positive that each time they demonstrate a healthy choice or help educate their peers, maybe they are planting a seed that will one day grow into more at their school.
About the author: Marcie Barajas is proud mom of Megan & Braden
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