Weather Updates

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution picnic coming to Mundelein

Lindsey Shifley said Chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolutimovement helped improve her daughter Abbie's ADHD improved health herself her husbsMac 8.

Lindsey Shifley said Chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution movement helped improve her daughter Abbie's ADHD, and improved the health of herself, her husband and son Mac, 8. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 49206092
tmspicid: 18273983
fileheaderid: 8218059

Food Revolution Day in Mundelein

When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 17

Place: Diamond Lake Sports Complex, 26630 Route 60, Mundelein

Cost: Free


Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 18, 2013 6:36AM

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched his Food Revolution foundation to fight obesity in the United States by promoting healthier foods at home, school and in the community.

For Lindsey Shifley of Mundelein, however, the foundation helped her manage her daughter Abbie’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Abbie is a first-grader at Diamond Lake School District 76, and her teacher called home in October to report academic troubles caused by lack of focus. Rather than putting Abbie on medicine, Shifley decided to change her entire family’s eating habits.

Following tips from Food Revolution, Shifley stopped buying all foods and drinks with artificial colors and progressively weaned the family off gluten, sugar and packaged foods.

Within weeks, she said, Abbie’s same teacher called home to report vast improvement.

And today, Shifley said her entire family’s energy levels are up, weight-management is easier and everyone sleeps much better.

“Our dependence on prepared foods has caused us to lose touch with what we put in our body,” Shifley said. “If you don’t recognize an ingredient, then your body won’t either and it will struggle to do something with it. I hope to spread that concept and empower people.”

Shifley is now a certified Food Revolution ambassador and she is organizing a picnic from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 17 at the Diamond Lake Sports Complex, off Route 60/83 in unincorporated Mundelein.

So far, 11 venders have volunteered to attend the picnic and demonstrate their healthy products, including Kildeer Whole Foods. The Greater Libertyville-Mundelein Jaycees will also offer free bike tune-ups and helmet safety checks at the event.

Lake County residents are invited to attend and bring their own healthy foods to eat or share. More than 50 people have already registered for the picnic online.

“I don’t know if I would have changed our choice of foods if my daughter’s situation didn’t cause me to press the panic button,” Shifley said. “Hopefully I can educate some curious people at the picnic before they get to where my family was.”

Edye Wagner, a licensed dietitian and nutrition manager for Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, said there’s no scientific research linking ADHD to diets. But she agrees that fresh food can improve quality of life and said she supports Oliver’s foundation.

“When many of us grew up we ate out once a week, maybe twice,” Wagner said. “Now people only cook once a week, and cooking does not mean heating up something from a box. We’ve become a fast-paced society that is either impatient or too busy to cook.”

Gluten-free diets have become trendy, Wagner said, but they’re not always appropriate. She said folic acid comes from gluten and is very important to the body. Oliver’s foundation discourages many wheat products that are high in preservatives or include an unhealthy blend of other ingredients, Wagner added.

“Gluten is tricky because some people are intolerant to it and may not know it, but you can still find good nutrients in many of the pure products,” Wagner said. “I wouldn’t take a child off gluten completely without a professional diagnosing an intolerance. Moderation is good though.”

In addition, the harmful effects of artificial coloring are being researched, Wagner said, but she agreed that consuming less is better, and said water should always be the primary beverage.

Shifley said shifting to all-healthy foods was financially difficult at first, because her whole pantry needed to be restocked. Buying more foods more frequently is also expensive, but Shifley said she and her husband, Chris, decided to be very strict about sticking to a list and avoiding impulse buys for the sake of their family.

“Food is a fuel for the body and I wanted my family burning clean fuel,” she said.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.