Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jamie Oliver (health and fat acceptance)

I thought this video of Jamie Oliver talking about food and health was interesting:

I have to say I really like Oliver’s approach for the most part. Instead of fat shaming people, Oliver seems to genuinely want to change the way people look at food (though in all fairness Meme Roth has that covered pretty well). I feel like dieting and eating has become really clinical in the last few years and I like the idea of good tasting fresh food (vs. points or strict measuring). It amazes me when I think of how little my mom and aunt cooked that was actually fresh. I’m sure everyone has known someone, or was raised by someone, who essentially cooks out of boxes. And while there is nothing wrong with that, it definitely does not promote healthy eating or a balanced diet. The idea that vegetables are “gross” and “nasty” is outdated and based on ignorance. The problem isn’t that celery tastes bad, but that people don’t know how to make it taste good. (At least not without covering vegetables in heavy sauces and tons of butter; which kind of defeats the point.)

All of this is making me think about where fat acceptance and health overlap. Sometimes, out the constant bombardment of fat-shaming, I think people are too quick to dismiss any conversations about health. Promoting healthy living is not the same thing as fat-shaming. Just like revering thinness is not the same thing as promoting healthy living (though people still try to pretend like it is) and I worry that we may be shutting down the dialog needlessly sometimes. (I think it’s interesting how this conversation is similar with the issues surrounding victim-blaming and promoting precaution that I talked about the other day.) I want to make it very clear that I don’t think health has anything to do with being comfortable with who you are and your body. I just think that looking at this issue as something black and white is not going to help solve the problem.

The only thing I don’t like about Oliver’s speech is the emphasis on how much money we’re spending on diet based health problems. I understand Oliver is trying to make the issue appeal to pragmatic people who may not be sympathetic towards individual overweight people (I did the same thing when talking about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”), but I feel like the numbers may not be an honest reflection of the problem. Even though being overweight and having health problems are related, not all people who have health problems are overweight and not all overweight people have health problems. There was also a recent study showing overweight people are discriminated against by doctors so sub par preventative care may also be an issue here. Again, I’m not saying there are no health risks with being overweight. I just think the numbers might be misleading and should be looked at closer.

But the amount of extra sugar in kid's milk is frightening.

-via Swissmiss


  1. I don't know who this person is.

    You make some good points, but, to be fair, fatness isn't something you can discriminate against like with race or orientation. It's something you can change, if you want to. And, while you're right that fat people aren't automatically unhealthy, they are more likely to have health problems.

    But, as you said, numbers are misleading. In fact, they're always misleading. They're numbers. They split people into percentages.

  2. He’s a chef from the UK (obviously lol). He’s often referred to as “the naked chef.” And being overweight is not as simple as making the decision to be overweight (though I admit it is that way for a lot of people). There are quite a few “overweight” people who exercise and eat healthy and are still overweight (sometimes because of medical issues). The problem is health is on the inside yet we judge the outside. You simply can’t know what condition my heart is in or how high my blood pressure is by looking at me. Just like my skinny ass boyfriend could be a major coke head and be drinking his liver away. My point is ultimately that weight does not give us, non doctors I should add, enough information to know the whole of someone’s health.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by saying we can’t discriminate against people because of their weight. Even if weight was always a choice, and I’ve already said I don’t agree it is, so is religion. I’ll concede that it’s not the same as race, but I don’t see how that makes much of a difference to the person who gets shitty care from their doctor or is publicly humiliated in airports.

  3. Health care are essential to a dignified life.
    Very interesting your blog with relevant issues and very beautiful photos
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