Heaven only knows I take issue with Sarah Palin virtually every time she opens her mouth, but when she stuffs it full of s’mores and attacks Michelle Obama on America’s childhood obesity crisis, she really gets under my skin. I was immensely relieved to learn that I am not the only one she troubled. Her remarks provoked national outrage, as they are so often wont to do. Even several leading figures of the GOP joined the chorus this time. But most recently, I understand Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, has called Sarah a Froot Loop due to her stance on the issue.
Gotta love the guy, and I do. First of all, anyone who can provide me with books full of easy, delicious and nutritious recipes to feed my family is already a hero to me. If at the same time he is willing to take on an issue as serious as overweight kids, well, he pretty much flies off my ‘that’s my man’ chart.
So I’m worried about him. I know Sarah is likely to bristle (or is that the name of one of her kids?) at any criticism and because she might very well ‘attack’ him back, I think Jamie must be prepared. In Sarah’s own infamous word – he should ‘reload’ his verbal arsenal. So I looked up a few other cereal names he could use, purely in the interest of helping him out. I found a company called Tasty that makes a cereal called Crazy Flakes, which I can’t help but think would work very well.
The thing is America’s youth obesity crisis is real and has incredibly serious consequences. These range from sky rocketing rates of diabetes, asthma, cancers and heart disease to the basic ability of our kids to move around and not to become even more obese adults. The economic cost of the health care is staggering and on an exponential curve going up, up, up. So anything anyone tries to do to help solve this massive problem (pun intended) is just fine with me. I suffered from weight issues in my youth, and I know first hand the problems it causes are real.
And what’s more, Sarah, the kids that Michelle Obama is trying to help are not the ones whose families go on white water rafting trips and then light up the campfire to roast up the s’mores (a delicious outdoor treat of chocolate, toasted marshmallows and Graham crackers for anyone who might not know.) Obesity is far more prevalent among low income children - kids desperately in need of a bit of ‘nannying’ from the state or from anywhere they can get it, because they sure don’t seem to be getting much more than fast food and chips at home. Let alone the education they need to eat well.
Tackling the problem is hugely complex. Food is always a loaded issue – and not just in the United States, not just in low-income areas. I’ve been on the PTA of my kids’ International School in Monaco for years and I can tell you no single issue has been more debated at monthly meetings than that of the food doled out at the four school lunches served per week. Four meals per week. And luckily, as far as I’ve seen there isn’t a single obese kid in the entire school – it’s not a huge problem in the South of France, yet even so the concern to define proper nutrition is there.
So I say, ‘Go Jamie!’ ‘Go, Michelle!’ Do everything you can possibly do to reduce this problem. And Sarah, why don’t you pour yourself a nice big bowl of Fruit Loops and go check if you can see what they eat for breakfast in Russia!