“Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat.”

That is how British chef Jamie Oliver started his acceptance speech when winning the 2010 TED Prize for his role in addressing unhealthy diets and reducing British waistlines.

Later in his TED speech, Jamie Oliver says “Fact: Diet-related disease is the biggest killer in the United States, right now, here today. This is a global problem. It’s a catastrophe. It’s sweeping the world. England is right behind you, as usual… We need a revolution. Mexico, Australia, Germany, India, China, all have massive problems of obesity and bad health.”

Over the last 100 years or so, processed foods have taken over the western diet. Statistics show that processed foods now make up around 60 percent of the western diet, with a further 30 percent or so coming from animal products. Typically vegetables and fruits make up a maximum of 10 percent of what most people in the western world consume.

Jamie Oliver describes himself by saying:

“I’m not a doctor; I’m a chef, I don’t have expensive equipment or medicine. I use information, education. I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best bits of life.”

I’m with Jamie on this. Since I started to educate myself on food and juicing, and change the way I provide my body with nutrition, my body is doing things I never thought possible. I no longer suffer from various illnesses, such as Asthma and IBS, and I have gone from getting out of breath running the bath to running marathons!

I firmly believe that the rise of so called “diseases of affluence” is closely related to the consumption of processed foods. Oh and diseases of affluence are no longer confined to wealthy countries as cheap processed food is spreading across the world, replacing many traditional diets.

In his TED speech, Jamie Oliver continued by saying that “adults of the last four generations, have blessed our children with the destiny of a shorter lifespan than their own parents”, explaining that our children will live a life ten years younger than us because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.

Jamie Oliver continues, “Thirty years ago, most of the food was largely local and largely fresh. Now it’s largely processed and full of all sorts of additives, extra ingredients, and you know the rest of the story. Portion size is obviously a massive, massive problem.”

He also points out the problems of food labeling and how the food industry wants to self-regulate. Something Jamie Oliver says they “don’t deserve”.

“How can you say something is low-fat when it’s full of so much sugar?”

I’ve commented many times about how a bag of sugar can be labelled fat free and yet we all know it is one of the key factors making our population gain weight and see a decline in health.

Jamie Oliver ends his speech with a wish. A wish that I fully support. A wish that may be exactly what is needed to reverse the rise of western diseases and give future generations happier, healthier and longer lives:

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


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