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Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

8/26 10:11:02

Until last week I've never heard of the TED Prize, and was only marginally aware of "The Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver, the recent recipient of the prize. But since I saw the news and the interview with Jamie, I was greatly inspired by him. TED Prize is an annual award of $US 100,000 given to a speaker at the TED Conference. The recipient is asked to express their wish they hope will change the world. Jamie Oliver's message was near and dear to my heart. He said:

"My wish is for you to have a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity".

Ever since I started following the clean diet I've been bemoaning the difficulty of living in the world so full of bad foods. I made a transition from eating lunch out every day and ordering dinners in to cooking 95% of my food. I changed the way I prepare food and the way I shop for it. Nowadays I say that I am now married to my kitchen because whenever I am away from it I feel like I struggle to find food that is edible let alone "clean"!
Jamie also highlighted the problem with the quality of food:

"I'm a food lover. The problem that we have is a burger is not a burger, a pizza's not a pizza. Milk's not milk anymore, do you know what I mean? The big clean-up needs to happen."

But we are clearly far from this clean-up Jamie is calling for! In this country we are hooked on an unhealthy diet that is practically killing us! Whenever on the road, anywhere I turn (in an major airport or a large shopping mall) I find a burger joint or a fried chicken restaurant, not a falafel place. There are clearly many more people who prefer a burger to a baked falafel, and the market responds accordingly! Jamie reflect on this:

"You know, we don't have to pretend that burgers aren't indulgent. We love burgers! The chip is the most incredible, brilliant invention in the world. Eat your chips!" he told CNN on Wednesday night. "But not every day."

Another point that Jamie brought up that was kind of brewing in the back of my mind. Ever since I started examining food labels, shopping for groceries feels like a gotcha game, where I can never let my guard down in case the list of ingredients in the known product changes or the new product is labeled misleadingly!
In his interview Jamie echoed my feelings. He called America's current food-labeling system a "farce" and said that food labeling needs to be improved to accurately warn about unhealthy products! He proposed creation of a role for "food ambassadors" in supermarket to explain to customers how they can prepare local, fresh and seasonal foods, called on food companies to make education of customers central to their business model, and wanted make sure that each high school student can make 10 meals before graduating!

Jamie is starting a new ABC series where he promotes local, healthy food as a way to fight obesity in Huntington, West Virginia, which he called the unhealthiest community in the United States.

"This is a global problem. It is a catastrophe. It is sweeping the world. England is right behind you [America], as usual," he said. "We need a revolution."

I agree with Jamie that we need a revolution in food industry, and just as he, I believe that it will happen as a grass root movement. We, the consumers, need to vote with our feet and our valets so the healthy food becomes more affordable, organic methods of growing food the preferred ones. I've been refining my food choices one step at a time: trying to replace produce with locally farm grown or organic whenever possible and tasting the dramatic difference in taste, texture and smell of the healthier choices! I am already noticing that the local organic stores lower their prices on certain organic foods to the level that the difference in price between organic and inorganic is miniscule. More and more new organic (and delicious, I might add) labels appear on the shelves of supermarkets. All of this makes me think optimistically that we can express our preference and force a change. I agree with Jamie when he says that US must demand this clean up, this food revolution and need to lead other countries in that effort.

"If America does it I believe other people will follow," he said. "It's incredibly important."

It is important, indeed. After all, out health is at stake! Let's bring it in the kitchen and spread the word about healthy food!

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