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Chicago had thousands of people ready to start a revolution this weekend, and I’m not just talking about the NATO Summit! Saturday, May 19th was celebrity Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day, a global event that took place in 488 cities around the world!

Whether it was a food festival, cooking class or dinner party, communities gathered together to draw attention to the obesity epidemic and the world’s poor nutrition habits. To participate in my own community, I headed over to the city’s flagship event at Centered Chef a venue for healthy cooking class and nutritional programming on the West Loop. Before the event kicked off, Centered Chef CEO and Founder, Ryan Hutmacher gave me the grand tour of his facility. Along the way we talked about his career as a chef and his growth into a wellness activist. He proved to be the quintessence of how healthy eating can change your life.

Hutmacher said he spent the early part of his culinary career disappointed with the food he was making- it was “healthy” but revolved completely around a calorie-based diet and it wasn’t making him feel good. Now, 50-70 pounds lost and an Iron Man title under his trimmed belt, Hutmacher joins Oliver’s cause as an advocate for understanding what “real” food is.

Did you know that it takes three years for an asparagus crop to be ready after you plant the first seed?! The festivities started off with a “How Well Do You Know Your Veggies?” segment featuring Irv and Shelley’s Fresh Picks. Then turned to chef demonstrations and tastings featuring Hutmacher who created an easy-to-make hummus and carrot salad, Protein Bar making a quinoa veggie wrap and Enlightened Flavors which finished off with a fettucini made of squash and zucchini.

The remainder of the day included appearances by TED talker and founder of Academy of Global Citizenship, Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Lululemon, Mark Beier of Chicago Fit Club and more! The brains behind the Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver, believes if something isn’t done about our food problem, than “Today’s children will be the first generation ever to live shorter than their parents.” So what was great about Saturday was all the young people in the crowd- especially since they were so enthusiastic about being involved in the event- shooting their hands in the air to ask questions and participating as judges in the cooking contest.The event was truly an amazing success- a perfect example of social engagement and inspiring others through action.

To donate to the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cause or to jumpstart your revolution, head to:

Lauren Neuschel

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