My Visit to the White House
Monday night, after a busy weekend at SXSW in Austin, I flew up to Washington DC.
I was invited to the White House to hear about the progress of the Let’s Move campaign, an initiative started by the First Lady to combat childhood obesity through exercise and healthy eating. I was thrilled, not just because it was a chance to go to the White House but because this is an issue that I’m so passionate about.
I met up with a few other blog friends, so it was fun to catch up in person!
Before the session officially began, we enjoyed some coffee and walked around part of the East Wing. Every single room was gorgeous.
I couldn’t resist a White House coffee selfie. Check out that fancy coffee cup!
Once we sat down, I was thrilled to see Dominique Dawes on the list of speakers! As a former gymnast, she’s always been one of my heroes! She was very well spoken and so relatable. She talked about the everyday challenges of motherhood and her personal journey in fitness. I liked how she reinforced that healthy habits start when kids are young. We don’t wait until the teenage years to teach kids to brush their teeth, so why do we wait to teach kids about healthy eating?
I also really enjoyed hearing from various departments of the USDA. After reading Food Politics back in 2010, I’ve been curious about nutrition policy and regulation so it was interesting to learn about the initiatives they’re working on.
On a lighter note, they played this video:
It literally made me laugh out loud. The kids are pretty adorable and Will Ferrell is hilarious.
Of course, the highlight of the day was hearing from Michelle Obama. I loved her perspective on healthy eating: If your child doesn’t like math, we don’t just tell them they don’t have to take math. If they don’t like the dentist, we don’t just tell them they don’t have to go to the dentist. Healthy eating is the same way. She talked about how she had to change the idea of dessert from “a basic human right” to a real treat. Now that her daughters are older, she can see how instilling those values in them early has made an impact on them as they make their own choices.
She also made a great point that we have to keep asking for healthier options. Big corporations have started creating healthier products with less sugar, less artificial ingredients, less junk because we’ve been asking for it. The change start with us. Whether it’s cost or availability or convenience, there are so many challenges people face but we’re making a difference one day at a time.
After the speaker sessions, we took a tour of the White House Garden on the front lawn. It was bigger than I had imagined and they had quite a few late winter vegetables popping up! It made me think I might need to start a garden again. Now that we finally have a backyard, a garden might have to be in my future!
It was such an inspiring day and it made me excited that these types of conversations are happening. We have a long way to go but it’s encouraging to be surrounded by others that feel as passionately as I do that we need to see change. The Let’s Move campaign has already made a lot of progress and I can’t wait to see how things continue to progress!