Jonathan Breedon is 28 years old and attending York University full time as a student. Ana Ortiz is 26 years old and a stay-at-home mother. She moved to Canada from Nicaragua when she was 5 years old and says she’s struggled with weight since she was a teenager.
The couple have two children together--- five-year-old Ruby and 18-month-old Max.
They live in a neighbourhood in Scarborough that Toronto Public Health has designated as a food desert--- a residential area that does not have easy access to healthy groceries. Toronto Public Health has arranged for a mobile fresh fruit and vegetable market to set up in the lobby of the Breedon’s building every Wednesday so that they and their neighbours can buy affordable fruits and vegetables.
The family typically eats pizza, hamburgers and meat and rice for lunch and dinner. Although they used to believe that they were ‘cooking from scratch’, they were in fact using a lot of processed, pre-made ingredients in their cooking--- such as pre-made tomato sauce from a jar, bottled salad dressing and condiments.
At the beginning of the project, the fifth estate cleaned out the Breedon family’s refrigerator and cupboards of food. For the subsequent three weeks we provided the family of four with all of their meals prepared by professional chefs.
The meals were prepared half the week by award-winning Chef James Smith and half the week by meal delivery company Today’s Menu
The only instructions the chefs were given was to eliminate any added refined sugar from their recipes and to not deviate too much from what the family was accustomed to eating, such as pizza, hamburgers and meat and rice.
The family tells the fifth estate that they are now making an effort to buy fresh, whole foods and when not doing so, making a point of reading the nutrition labels of what they buy to ensure that they are not consuming too much added sugar.