How Jamie Oliver's Big Rig Tour Changed Our Lives

How Jamie Oliver's Big Rig Tour Changed Our Lives

Thu 05 Jun 2014

Story by Laurie Cromie

My husband and I grew up with hard-working single moms. By the time we married, we had both established lifelong bad eating habits consisting of unhealthy convenience foods, and we were both overweight.

We first started thinking about unravelling those lifelong habits when we were hooked on watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on TV. A new mother of our son, Micah, I was worried about feeding him the right foods, and it scared me to learn how dangerous the food was in the local schools. We started the slow process of making small changes, cutting out soda pop, fast food, and learning to shop for cooking at home.

It was also around the time that Micah was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Though scientists are not yet sure what causes autism, I can't help but believe his diet affects every aspect of his being, and I can tell by his behavior when he has eaten something unhealthy.

Right after receiving the autism diagnosis, I became pregnant with my second son. I had already had one high-risk pregnancy with Micah, due to my weight, but with my second son, it was much, much worse. I delivered Gabriel eight weeks early due to severe pre-eclampsia. As I recovered in the hospital, my doctor advised me very sternly to lose the excess weight, or another pregnancy would surely kill me. She, along with several more doctors I would later consult, urged me to get gastric bypass surgery.

In the fall/winter of 2013, both my husband and I underwent gastric bypass surgery. We both had such severe health problems, due to our weight. We were ticking time bombs. Our parents struggled with similar issues. My own dad passed away from lung cancer, but it was the issues with his weight (advanced heart disease and diabetes) that ultimately took him from us when I was just a little girl.

My husband and I were determined that we would break the cycle here and now. We were going to put an end to the unhealthy habits and start new. We realized that our children are going to do exactly as we do, how could we possibly expect them to be any different? So we wanted to make sure we taught them well from the beginning.

With me cooking healthier foods at home, my son, Micah, began his obsession with cooking, too. People on the autism spectrum tend to focus on one subject that interests them, and can become incredibly submerged in learning all they can about it, all day, every day. He began talking to his reflection in the microwave as though he was Jamie Oliver, and was hosting his television show as we cooked together!

When I heard about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Big Rig Tour, from their Facebook page updates, I couldn't even believe it! I raced to sign up for every class I could with Micah. I was so excited for the opportunity for us to have that experience together. Check out this video from us on this rig.

What I did not expect, however, is how profoundly the classes changed our lives. We have learned several super easy dishes that only require a small handful of ingredients! Not only that, but all of the dishes were prepared in approximately 30 minutes each! That proved to me that cooking the way Jamie Oliver has demonstrated is both faster and less expensive than going to pick up fast food!

I also appreciated so much the enthusiasm and encouragement of the Food Champions. I was thrilled to hear from such knowledgeable people their great kitchen advice and insider knowledge. They were all so kind, friendly, and exercised infinite patience for my son's seemingly endless barrage of questions and comments!

I learned by watching them how to engage my own son in helping in the kitchen. I normally would have said, "Just let Mommy do it," but now I feel comfortable in letting Micah assist in helping to chop veggies, cook, and clean the dishes. I just know that involving Micah and Gabriel in cooking our meals is giving them an incredible gift that they can pass on to their own children. Plus, I have noticed that involving my boys in cooking has made them want to try everything we have prepared, when in the past, they would have turned up their noses and asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.

Since our surgeries, my husband and I have both dropped over 100 pounds each. Even though our stomachs are different, our brains are still the same. The biggest challenge has been to not revert to our old ways when times are stressful, or when I'm too tired. But the Big Rig classes have given us so many recipes and inspiration for other recipes to put into our daily meal rotation. Fast, easy meals that taste far better than take out. Plus, in this time, we have also established our own garden at home, where we are growing our own fruits and vegetables!

I look forward to soon reaching my goal weight, and being medically cleared to carry a third baby. And I will continue to nourish myself and my family with clean, healthy ingredients. My entire family is so grateful for the Big Rig Tour!

About the Author: Laurie Cromie is a stay at home mom to two boys in Los Angeles. She is the author of her blog Better Bee Daily, where she chronicles what she learns in the name of daily self-improvement. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and she also loves to Vine her favorite cooking tips and life hacks!


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