‘Every year more than 300,000 Americans die from diet-related diseases’
Without boundaries that are often put by humans themselves, all cultures, all religions, all geographical regions – all of them celebrate food and the culture of food. And food has always played a very important part in human lives. Throughout history, birth or death, good times and bad ones; food has played a pivotal role – one that provides comfort and sustains us.
In the recent past, the culture of fast-food has enveloped us. We have become too dependent, too busy and far far too lazy when it comes to our food. In the world of ‘fast’ everything from the way we dress to the food we eat has lasting implications on our lives. Documentaries and books like ‘Super Size Me’ and ‘Fast Food Nation’ look into the results of our indulgence in the rich culture of fast foods.
Recently, Jamie Oliver, a renowned chef with a sterling list of credentials to his name won the much coveted 100,000$ prize awarded by TED. TED, or Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a nonprofit organization based in the US. The tag line ‘ideas worth spreading’ – it spreads ideas through lectures, widely using the internet to distribute it. In their speech, prize winners state ‘one simple wish to change the world’, a wish they’d like to see come true with the help of TED.
Jamie Oliver is well known by his Naked Chef series which plunged him into TV-chef stardom. Along with the Naked Chef, Jamie also has a series of other TV cooking programs to his name. But it isn’t his role as the much charming boy-next-door who cooks, has a pretty girlfriend that made him a house-hold name. Yes, that did play a very important part, but it was his role as a very vocal advocate against the use of processed foods and fast foods that the West was rearing its generations on that has made him a well-known campaigner.
In 2002, Oliver created the Fifteen Foundation – choosing 15 youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and taught them how to cook, so that they could make a decent living. In 2005, Jamie began ‘Feed Me Better’, a campaign designed to move the British school going children and entice them towards healthy eating. In 2008, Jamie’s Ministry of Food was filmed that inspired and taught the people of Yorkshire to cook healthy meals. In 2009, he started ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which was filmed in America and vies to change the American dependency on fast foods.
In his TED speech, Jamie startles the audience in house (and all those who globally watched it) on what they were doing to their younger generations. He cited various examples and gave facts that shocked everyone – from an elementary school going child who consumes a barrel full of sugar in just his daily milk to a mother of two who feeds a table full of pizza, fries and other fast food junk to her children. His plea was impassionate; at times you could almost feel his desperation in letting the people know the facts that were associated with diet-related deaths.
Jamie’s speech was an eye opener, especially to America – the unhealthiest country in the world. His emotional appeal something worth listening and paying attention to in a country where two-thirds of the public comes in obese or overweight category. Jamie was ready to lead the battle towards healthy living and away from unhealthy one. He asked everyone to help the First Lady Michelle Obama who was leading the ‘Let’s Move’ Campaign against Obesity.
Whether his impassioned speech will help people and move them towards a better life, or whether the issue gets lost in translation – that Jamie Oliver’s presentation opened more than a few eyes and made people think long and hard about food and the kind of culture they’re leaving as a legacy for their children goes without saying.
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